Between the Lines

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Chapter 30

Once the renovations were completed, Daniel had other work to move on to, and Keeley consequently spent even less time with him. When he had been working on the house, she had been sure of seeing him every day. With his new work schedule, as well as his desire to make sure his mother wasn’t left alone too much, and the increasing demands on Keeley’s time, they had been spending less and less time together. Keeley had gotten used to him being there during the day, and missed having him around, but she understood he had more pressing obligations right now. She had been surprised but pleased to see him unexpectedly at her door this evening. He hadn’t called or texted first, but she hoped that he had come to spend the evening with her. One look at his face, and she realized something was wrong. “Daniel! Are you okay?” Keeley moved towards where he stood by the door, but stopped when he stiffened almost imperceptibly.

“I’ve been better.” He rubbed his hand over his bloodshot eyes, and then through his already tousled hair. He looked at her for a moment and then looked away. “Look, Keeley, this whole thing…” He paused, raised his eyes to hers and then tried again. “I really care about you, but right now it’s not…I need some time to try to work everything out.” He closed his eyes and shook his head.

“I understand,” Keeley said slowly, even though she wasn’t sure that was true. He looked so miserable that she wanted to try and make him feel better, somehow.

He looked at her, frustration, anger, and sadness all evident in his expression. “Thank you for being so understanding, and for not making this even harder. I really wish.…” He hesitated, and then turned to go, stopping at the door without turning around. “I’m sorry.” Then he was gone.

Keeley stared at the doorway through which he’d vanished. What just happened here? she asked herself. But it was pretty obvious she’d just been dumped, again.

“I’m sure he’ll be back,” Kira said soothingly, when she heard what had happened. “He’s having to deal with some pretty heavy shit right now, but once he comes to his senses, he’ll be begging your forgiveness.”

“I don’t think so. This felt pretty final.’ Keeley was silent for a few minutes. “It doesn’t feel very good to get dumped twice in one year, but other than the massive blow to my ego, I’m actually okay with this. Daniel is a great guy, but I’m not in love with him. We had a good time together, or at least I did. I enjoy his company, and once everything is back to normal again, I hope Daniel and I can be friends. Maybe even continue to spend time together occasionally.”

“Are you still going to continue with the investigation?” Kira asked.

Keeley looked surprised. “Of course. Nothing’s changed there,” she said. “I consider Daniel a friend, one who’s innocent, and I’m going to do all I can to help prove it.”

Since they’d agreed that Keeley wouldn’t talk to any more potential witnesses without one of the others being present, she had to wait for Kira’s next day off so that her friend could accompany her when she went to see Bryan Ferguson. Claire and Lily both only took Sundays off, and it was doubtful that the mechanic would be working on Sunday. Keeley was definitely not going to try to talk to him at his home, even with one of the others present. Kira had a day off on Wednesday, so they agreed on that day to approach him. In the meantime, Keeley would see what she could find out from John Banks.

The next day Keeley didn’t have to teach until the evening yin class, so she decided it would be a good opportunity to talk to John Banks about his former employee. She called him in the morning, and he said he could spare her a few minutes in the afternoon. She didn’t learn much from him that they didn’t already know. Joyce Williams had worked at the dealership for only a few months, and it had been a long time ago. Reading between the lines of what he said, Kira realized that someone with the oversized ego of John Banks would consider a junior employee to be beneath his notice. He probably never forgot the tiniest detail of anyone who he would consider worthy of his attention, she decided uncharitably. He asked Keeley how the yoga studio was doing, and told her she could always reapply for a job at the dealership if things didn’t go well. This was said with a jocular smile, and he probably was only teasing, but Keeley had to work at hiding her annoyance. She did learn that the accounting manager had been working there at the same time as Joyce Williams, but that was the only employee from that time. Unfortunately, the accounting manager was out sick that day, so Keeley felt like it had been an unproductive day. Hopefully, tomorrow would yield better results.

She finally caught up with Edith Cressley, the accounting manager, a middle aged woman with a sour look on her face, and an attitude to match. Yes, she remembered Joyce Williams, and it wasn’t fondly. The younger woman had not impressed Edith with either her work ethic, or her morals.

“What do you mean by that?” Keeley asked, hoping the information provided might be the breakthrough she was searching for.

Edith sniffed disparagingly. “She was more interested in her love life than in doing the job she was paid to do,” she said bitterly. A diatribe on the shortcomings of the younger generation followed, which continued on for several minutes before Keeley could finally steer the conversation back on track.

“Do you know who she was seeing?” Keeley asked.

“I think she had a few of them on the string. She was always coming in late because she’d been out the night before, and showing off the presents her men friends had given her. She had no compunction about taking extra long lunches either. I finally had to tell Mr. Banks that she wasn’t doing her share of the work. I don’t like having to report on another employee, but I felt it was my duty,” Edith said primly, and untruthfully. “She very likely would have lost her job, except that she ran off. Well, we thought she ran off at the time, but of course, now we know she didn’t.”

She didn’t seem to feel any sympathy for Joyce Williams, and Keeley suspected she had been jealous of the younger, prettier woman. Keeley was struck again with gratitude that she herself had not accepted a job a. She could have been working with this woman. Poor Joyce!

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