Between the Lines

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Chapter 25

Whatever Roberta’s feelings were on her son's relationship with Kira, there was no doubt that Jessica’s were definitely positive. She started stopping by It’s Magic regularly, and was very interested in learning as much as she could about the law of attraction. Kira recommended several books to her, and when she’d read them, she peppered Kira with questions. Keeley noticed that she started to emulate Kira in certain ways as well, especially her way of speaking and the expressions she used. She wondered if Roberta had noticed, and if so, what she thought about her daughters case of hero worship. Kira was very patient and generous with her time, and confessed to Keeley that having Jessica around was like having a younger sister, which she found to be an interesting and fun experience. Growing up in foster care, Kira had never experienced a normal family life, and was enjoying this chance to learn what it was like to have something resembling a sibling. I’m glad things are going so well for her here, Keeley thought happily. She’s loving her job, and her relationship with Wayne has real potential.

Keeley’s own romantic relationship was less encouraging. Daniel was spending a lot of time with his family, and Keeley was seeing less and less of him. She knew this situation was hard on all of them, and she couldn’t fault him for wanting to provide support for his mother and his siblings. He phoned Keeley occasionally and texted more often, but she saw very little of him in person, which wasn’t very surprising, she realized. It’s natural the family would want to be close together at a time like this. Keeley knew the police were still considering Daniel and his mother as potential suspects, and she really hoped there would be a break in the case soon. This had to be an almost unbearable state of being not only for Daniel, but for the entire family.

“I really wish there was something I could do to help,” she said to Kira, Claire and Lily at their usual Thursday night get together. Daniel had declined the invitation to join them, saying he wanted to make sure his mom was okay. “The police don’t seem to be making any progress, and having this hanging over their heads is so stressful. I saw Irene the other day and she looked ten years older than she did when I first met her. I'm sure worrying about her, as well as the grief over his dad, is killing Daniel. Oh, that was a poor choice of words. It’s so hard on him, though. I’m really worried about him.” She stared morosely down at her glass of wine.

“What about hiring a private investigator?” Claire asked. “Maybe they could find out what really happened. The police are probably more concerned about more recent crimes.”

“Possibly, but I imagine private investigators are expensive. My money all went into buying my house and doing the renovations, and I know Daniel doesn’t have any extra money. I wonder if we could do a fundraiser?”

“You better run that by Daniel. The Freemont’s are pretty proud, and I don’t know if they’d be in favour of something like that.”

“I have an idea. Why don’t we investigate ourselves?” asked Lily excitedly.

“Just because you’ve read every mystery novel in your store, does not make you capable of being a private investigator,” Claire scoffed. “It’s not as easy in real life as they make it seem in books and movies, you know.”

“Actually, that’s not a bad idea. At least we could try,” said Keeley slowly. “We could ask a few questions, and see if we can find anything out. That shouldn’t be too hard. You’ve both known Daniel for a long time. You must know he couldn’t be involved in anything like this. We can’t let him be held responsible for something we all know he didn’t do, without at least trying to help.”

Claire was plainly skeptical, but the other three started to get excited about the possibilities, and she reluctantly agreed to help. Claire and Lily both promised to try to remember everything they could about the time when Joyce Williams and Mr. Freemont had disappeared, and to ask anyone else who they knew from that time to do the same. They would then all get together and determine if there was any information that might provide any clues. It was a long shot, but it was all they could think of to try.

It was nice to have the police tape removed from her yard, although Keeley still felt a shudder run through her every time she parked her car in the back driveway. She had been given permission to continue with the construction of the driveway and garage, but somehow, every time she thought about calling Bob to ask him to resume work, she felt a strange sense of resistance to the idea. She couldn’t explain it. “Maybe the spirits don’t want the energy disturbed any more than it has been until the murders are solved,” Kira suggested when Keeley mentioned to her that she couldn’t seem to make the phone call.

“Do you really think that?” Keeley asked doubtfully. It seemed far fetched, even for Kira.

The other woman shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s just a thought. But one thing I do believe, is that your intuition is telling you something, and you should always trust your intuition.”

Daniel was surprised, and touched, that the four women had come up with a plan to try and find out who had killed his father and Joyce Williams. “That’s really nice of all of you,” he told Keeley when she’d finally seen him, and was able to tell him about their plan. He wasn’t sure how they would be able to help, but agreed that it was worth a try. He was the first person Keeley questioned, hoping for some useful background information, but there wasn’t much he could provide. His father had not given any indication that he was having an affair as far as Daniel could remember. His disappearance had stunned the family, and when it had been revealed he’d been having an affair, none of them could believe it at first. For weeks they had hoped and prayed he would return, and it was only after the police had found a witness who had seen him visiting Joyce’s apartment on a number of occasions that they were finally forced to accept the appalling truth.

Keeley asked Daniel to arrange for her to ask his mother a few questions. At first he was reluctant, not wanting his mom to have to relive the pain of the past, but eventually he agreed to ask her if she would be willing to talk to Keeley. As Keeley had pointed out, the police were already asking difficult and painful questions, and if she had any information that could help end this nightmare, she probably would be happy to share it.

Irene Freemont did agree to talk to Keeley, and they met at the Freemont home. It was the first time Keeley had seen the house where Daniel had grown up and still lived. It was an older, modest home, but very well maintained, and with a lovely yard full of perennials and some beautiful, mature trees.

Keeley complimented Irene on the beautiful yard, and the older woman’s eyes lit up with pleasure. ”I love gardening,” she said. “I find it so therapeutic. It’s the only thing that’s kept me sane all these years,” she added. “That and my wonderful kids. Please come in. Would you like some coffee, or tea?”

Keeley followed her into a large, open area kitchen. Seeing a pot of coffee already made, she accepted the offer, even though she’d already had her quota that morning. She sighed over her lack of willpower.

She wasn’t sure how to begin asking what would undoubtedly be uncomfortable questions, and spent a few moments making small talk while she gathered her courage. Finally, Irene looked at her and smiled sadly. “You wanted to ask me about Tom, didn’t you? I’m not sure I can tell you anything useful, but go ahead and ask.”

“I’m sorry if this is painful for you,” Keeley murmured.

Irene shrugged. “I’ve had years to get over it. In a way, finding out that Tom was murdered was actually kind of a relief. Knowing he didn’t just up and leave us, I mean. Not that I would rather have him dead than to have left me,” she added quickly.

“I understand.”

“Tom loved our kids, and I could never comprehend how he could have just walked away from them, even if he had grown tired of me,” Irene continued. “I should have known that he would never do that, and insisted on the police looking harder for him. I guess when I found out he was capable of cheating on me, I believed he was capable of anything. Oh, God!” She covered her face with her hands.

“It’s not your fault,” Keeley said, wishing there was something she could do to make Irene feel better. “I’m so sorry. Do you want me to leave?”

Irene shook her head, and took a large gulp of her coffee. “No, no. I’m sorry, Keeley. Let’s continue. If we can get to the bottom of what happened that night, maybe we can all finally get some, what do the shrinks call it, closure?”

But, like her son, she was not able to provide any information that seemed likely to lead to the answers they were looking for. Her husband had not seemed any different to her than usual, although being busy with Daniel and his three younger siblings, and not expecting anything to be different, maybe she had just missed the signs, if there were any. It was not unusual for Tom to go out in the evening to check on a job site, and until he was still not home at their usual bedtime, she had not been concerned. At midnight, she began to fear he had been in an accident, and had called the police. Upon learning there hadn’t been any accidents, she called the hospital, and getting a negative there as well, had called the police back to report Tom missing. The police wouldn’t investigate until forty eight hours had passed, so after a sleepless night, she called all their friends and neighbors to see if anyone had seen Tom. No one had admitted to seeing him. Finally, the police got involved, and after their investigation, had told her it appeared her husband had run off with his young lover. With the information from the two witnesses who had seen Tom go into the young woman’s apartment on a number of occasions, there had been nothing left to do but try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

“Who were the witnesses?” Keeley asked.

“The apartment caretaker, and some kid. I’m sorry, but I don’t remember their names.”

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