“Why can’t we see him?” Mom howled at the desk officer inside the police station.
“Mom,” taking her arm, so she didn’t tackle the poor woman over the counter, I wasn’t very calm either. My best friend was being held there, too. It was literally impossible for me to be calm. However, the thought of having Mom arrested was the last thing I wanted at that moment.
“His lawyer will be granted visitation rights, but we can’t allow anyone else, including family members, ma’am,” said the desk officer. “If you can’t afford a lawyer, you’ll be provided with one—”
Mom didn’t wait until she could finish. “A lawyer? We’ll hire one right now! We have money. We can hire the best lawyer in town. I just need to talk to my son first. Even for two minutes,” she begged as she leaned in closer. “We have the money,” she repeated.
It was the first time I heard Mom express so loudly and clearly that we had money. She’d been doing everything she could to act the same as always and thereby prevent anyone from ever suspecting we were suddenly wealthy. She was apparently desperate. Perhaps she thought that using the money card would somehow give us special privileges despite their strict rules and regulations.
“Ma’am, like I said, only lawyers are allowed to see individuals in police custody,” the desk officer repeated. “He is allowed to make one phone call. I’m sure he will call you if he needs to talk to you.”
“But he’s not calling us. That’s the whole point.”
“Is Sophia Johnson still in custody?” I asked.
The desk officer shifted her gaze over to me. “Are you a member of her immediate family, miss?”
I didn’t like the way the woman looked at me; it was condescending as if she were tacitly saying, You silly teenager. “No, but I’m her best friend—” I glimpsed Sophia’s parents, who were sitting on a bench anxiously. “Never mind.”
I made Mom sit down for a second while I approached Sophia’s parents. Her mom was too emotionally disturbed to explain to me what she knew. I supposed women were not designed to combat such a high degree of emotional distress after all.
Sophia’s dad told me the latest information.
This is what he knew so far. One of the guys who helped Jerry rape Sophia confessed that he witnessed her killing Jerry. The police arrested her at their house on a murder charge and took her into custody shortly after Zoe and I left. Kyle found out about it somehow, and confessed to the police that he killed Jerry, insisting it was a solo act. However, the guy who said he was an eyewitness to Sophia killing Jerry refused to change his statement.
Every single factor of that story sounded very strange to me. Evidently, someone had to be lying.
First of all, if the guy actually saw Sophia killing Jerry, why didn’t he tell the police immediately when it happened? He was Jerry’s friend, not Sophia’s. If your friend was murdered and you witnessed it, wouldn’t you report it to the police as fast as you could? What reason could there be for preventing you from doing that? Did he secretly hate Jerry and wanted him to go to hell with no justice served? Or did he kill Jerry himself and try to frame Sophia, who was the most convenient victim?
It was also strange that the Chief Deputy Sheriff, himself, took Sophia in for questioning the first time she went down to the station. Knowing he was Jerry’s father, didn’t that fall into the category of abuse of authority since he wasn’t the case officer? Not to mention, a conflict of interest?
How did Kyle know about it before any of us did? Was he stalking Sophia? Probably. Did he really kill Jerry? Or was he gallantly sacrificing himself for his everlasting love, now forever doomed never to see the light at the end of the tunnel?
“I just talked to the best defense lawyer in town. But he can’t come down tonight…” Mom’s eyes were so red, it looked like her blood vessels had burst.
I turned around to find Dad rushing into the station. He was literally dragging his body along as though it were a two-hundred pound bag of sand. He no doubt suffered from fractured bones and bruises all over his body. I could tell from the way he walked that it hurt a fairly decent amount. He should have seen the doctor. I didn’t know why he had to be so stubborn about not doing that.
My eyes soon shifted from him to the person I saw behind him.
That time, I had no trouble controlling my urge to scream his name.
“Honey, you should be resting,” Mom hurried over to support Dad.
“No, I’m fine. Did you talk to Kyle?” Dad was panting as if he’d just run a ten-mile marathon.
“Detective Lake, did you bring my father here?” I was so proud of myself. I sounded so damn mature. Calm, smart, reserved woman. Yes, that was how I sounded.
“Yes, I did.”
“Kyle didn’t kill anyone. There’s no evidence to support his claim. They can’t prove anything,” said Dad as his eyes scanned the inside of the station.
He couldn’t have known what evidence, if any, the police possessed, but of course, I didn’t want to argue or say anything. His son was inside a holding cell. What kind of a father would he have been if he just accepted that and said, If he says so, he probably did kill.
“I need to talk to him,” Dad insisted.
“They’re not letting us. I called a couple of lawyers but no one will come down on such short notice. Not at nine o’clock at night,” said Mom.
“Tell them we’ll pay whatever they want,” Dad’s heated voice echoed inside the station.
Everybody except Detective Lake, who was aware of the money we had, looked up. I especially noticed Sophia’s parents’ surprised expressions. They well knew we lived paycheck-to-paycheck, and certainly never had the money to pay for whatever they want—well, that was before winning, of course.
“Could you tell them?” Mom’s desperate eyes whipped over to Detective Lake. “Could you tell them to please let us see our son?”
“Mrs. Marcus. It is the standard policy. I’m sorry,” Detective Lake said politely.
Mom cast a look at him like he was a useless washcloth that couldn’t absorb water.
“Thanks for bringing Dad here in any case, Detective Lake,” I said, virtually apologizing for Mom’s attitude.
Sophia’s parents got up feebly, preparing to leave for the night.
Mom approached them. “What did Sophia tell you?”
“She hasn’t told us anything at all…” Sophia’s father answered somberly.
Mom touched her forehead as her head dipped toward the floor. She looked like she was about to pass out.
“Here, let’s sit down,” Dad said as he supported her body, almost collapsing himself.
We were a total mess. The whole thing was a sheer mess.
Detective Lake helped my parents sit down.
“Detective, why are you here? Why did you come back to our house again?” asked Mom, keeping her head bowed.
“There was another cyber theft. More money taken from one of your other accounts. It looks like the same group as before is responsible.”
Apparently, changing all the account information didn’t do any good.