Chapter 1 - Roxy's Suicide
There are many things he had done in his life, seeing someone kill themselves had not been one of them until now. Wednesday held Roxy’s note balled up tightly in his hand. He hadn't read it yet. He wasn’t sure he wanted to. "Who was she?" He heard Berwick's voice crackle over the line.
Wednesday didn't say anything at first. He considered hanging up, but thought better of it. Berwick would just come over if he did that. Staring at Roxy's lifeless body on the floor, he began to wonder. Her blood was seeping into the carpet; would come out or if he would have to be reminded of this every time he walked through his living room?
"Wednesday," Berwick snapped. He hummed in response. "Did you know her?"
Wednesday considered this question before answering. Had he really known her? Thinking about it now, he thought not. He and Roxy had done many things but knowing each other had not been one of them. "In a way," he finally answered Berwick, knowing he would not be satisfied with the answer. Wednesday also knew that Berwick wouldn't ask for anymore. Not right now.
"You called 911?"
"When everything is settled come to my house." Wednesday said nothing. "Wednesday? Did you hear me?"
"Yes," Wednesday said.
"You're staying with me tonight," Berwick told him, his tone left no room for argument.
"Okay," Wednesday agreed easily just this once. He didn't have the energy to fight Berwick right now. Berwick started to say something else but Wednesday hung up as soon as he heard the paramedics coming through the door. They hadn't even bothered knocking.
"Did you bring Dr. James?" He looked at the two men. One of them was a very large fellow. All muscle it seemed. The other man seemed intimidated by this fact as he was a skinny little thing compared to his friend.
"She's on her way," the big one answered him, his voice unexpectedly shrill.
None of them moved for a beat. All three of them staring at the dead body on the floor. The two paramedics didn't seem to know what to do. "She's dead," Wednesday stated the obvious.
Both of the paramedics nodded in agreement. "Was there a note?" The skinny one asked.
Wednesday looked down at the crumpled paper in his own hand. "Yes."
"Do we need that?"The big one asked turning to the other man.
The other paramedic shrugged. “I don’t know, maybe we should just wait for Dr. James to get here.”
They argued over that for a few minutes before Dr. James showed up. Wednesday left as soon as she set foot in the door. "Wednesday," she said trying to catch his arm as he passed her in the small foyer.
Wednesday evaded the small woman easily. She ran after him a few steps, but stopped in the doorway. He knew she wouldn’t chase him. There was a dead body, she wouldn’t just leave. “Wednesday!”She shouted at him from the doorway. He could still hear her calling him even as he set off down the street.
He did not go to Berwick's house as he had been told to. He walked like he always did when he got that itch. That itch that drove him to madness until it was too much and he went out on search of a fix. What that fix took form as remained to be seen until he finally broke down and went out looking for it.
When it was almost dark Wednesday stopped at a street sign that said 'Daisy Rd' and sat down under the streetlight there, suddenly feeling exhausted.. Staring at the piece of paper in his hand for a moment he deliberated whether he should just toss it or read it. With a sigh he stuffed it into his coat pocket, unable to bring himself to do either.
He sat there still as a stone until a woman came stumbling down the street. From the way she was walking, he would say she was drunk. She stopped when she saw Wednesday. "You look nice," she said, her words heavily slurred, further confirming his suspicions. "You got any cigarettes?"
Wednesday looked up at her with a sigh. As she came into the light he realized she was probably around 70 or so. If she were younger he might have refused her, as he usually did. Smoking kills, but he got the feeling that she was well aware of this. "Yeah," he said and began to pat his pockets trying to find them.
When he found them he gave her two and took one out for himself. She cackled at that. "Mighty generous of you,"she smiled taking them from his fingers gently. Her breath smelled like booze.
"I'm feeling generous tonight," he grumbled quietly as he began to search his pocket for his matches.
"You have a light too?" She asked, sitting down beside him.
"Matches," he said drawing out the box. Wednesday lit his own cigarette first before quickly passing the match to the woman.
"Not many people carry matches anymore," she commented quietly.
Wednesday shrugged, blowing smoke up in the air and watching it linger in the air for a few seconds before dissipating.
"What’s your name?" She asked.
She cackled again. "Ingrid,” she introduced herself.
There were a few minutes of quiet between the two as they both smoked. "Aren't you hot in that coat?" Ingrid asked, eyeing him curiously.
He didn't answer her. "Don't you have some family you need to get home to?" Wednesday said, annoyance now seeping into his voice.
"Nope," she answered. "Do you?"
Again he didn't answer. She continued to stare at him, waiting for his answer. He sighed and stubbed out his cigarette on the concrete beside him. "Depends on your definition of family," he finally mumbled, flicking the cigarette out into the street.
Ingrid seemed to consider this a moment as she huffed out a breath of gray smoke. "Who do you go home to?"
"I live alone."
"Well, who worries about you?"
Wednesday sighed. Why was he even having this conversation? "A few different people,"he told her, thinking of Berwick and Dr. James. They were usually the ones who worried about him. They were the ones worrying about him right now.
"That's good," Ingrid hummed. "We all need someone who will worry over us."
I’d rather they didn’t, Wednesday thought. "And you don't have any to worry about you?" Wednesday asked as she began lighting the second cigarette with the first.
"Nah,"she said. She smiled crookedly at him. She had several teeth missing, he noticed. “It’s just me.”
Wednesday was surprised at the pang of sympathy he felt for her. He looked at his watch. It was almost ten o'clock. On a whim he drew out the matchbox again and his pen. He wrote his number down on the lid of the box. "Listen, Ingrid, I've got to go.” He hesitated to offer his help but finally said, “but if you ever need anything call that number." He held the matchbox out to her.
She stared at him, not taking the box from his hand immediately. “I was right, you are a nice," she finally said taking the matchbox.
Wednesday shook his head sadly. "Not really," he said before turning away from her and walking in the general direction he had come from. He’d figure out where he was eventually.
When he finally came to a place he recognized his feet had begun to ache. Despite his aching feet he kept walking until he got to Berwick's house big brick house.
Wednesday unlocked the door with the key he had been graciously allowed to have, he paused only to ring the doorbell so that Berwick would know that he was there. "Where the hell have you been?" Wednesday heard Berwick shouting as he took his shoes off by the door as was customary for most of Berwick's house guests.
"Hello to you too,"Wednesday muttered.
Berwick rushed down the stairs, looking as though he had been asleep only moments before judging by his wild blond hair. Wednesday regarded him thoughtfully. They were so different, the two of them. Almost polar opposites. Maybe it was why they worked so well together.
Among other things, Berwick was the blond haired, blue eyed, baby of a large family while Wednesday was the dark haired, grey eyed, orphan. Berwick was a law abiding citizen who became a cop because he wanted to do good. Wednesday was the recovering heroin addict who became a detective because he was good at solving puzzles.
Berwick took hold of Wednesday's shoulders, snapping him out of his thoughts. He was checking him over like he always did on days like this. "I didn't do anything bad,"Wednesday said quietly, but let Berwick continue.
All Berwick would find was the smell of smoke, but then Berwick disapproved of that too. Berwick looked at his eyes once more before stepping back, apparently satisfied. "You did smoke though," Berwick said, but did not sound accusing as stating a fact.
"Yeah," Wednesday shrugged. It was better than shooting up heroin.
"I've got coffee," Berwick said already walking towards the kitchen. Wednesday followed him slowly through the dark hallways. The floor was cold, but Wednesday didn’t mind. It felt good on his hurting feet.
Berwick had a big house. It was old too. The wooden floor creaked beneath his feet as though in pain. It was very fitting for Berwick though. To think of him in a new, modern apartment or sleek, minimalist house just seemed wrong.
As they neared the large kitchen he thought he smelled something cooking. "Did you cook too?" Wednesday asked, entering the kitchen to find that Berwick’s sister Stella was there. Wednesday was surprised she was here, he was almost positive that she had been off to Europe doing some sort of cooking thing. He wondered if he was wrong or if she was back for some reason.
She stood at the stove stirring a pot of boiling something. Berwick made his way around her easily as he grabbed two mugs and the coffee pot. Stella looked up at Wednesday and smiled; it reminded him of Berwick. It was uncanny how much they looked alike. Same blonde curls, same blue eyes, same kind smile. "Hey,” she said, “long time no see."
"Hey, Stella," he nodded to her, his words coming out flat.
She didn't seem to notice the fact. "Aw, you remembered my name," she teased.
Wednesday took the mug of coffee from Berwick silently. He took a tiny sip of the coffee before he remembered the note balled up in his pocket. He dug it out of his pocket and put it into Berwick's hand. Wednesday made a split second decision. "Take that and never let me see it,"he told him.
Berwick and Stella both gave him a wary look. "If I read that I'm going to do something very bad," he explained uneasily.
Berwick cleared his throat awkwardly before speaking. "Is this from the woman who committed suicide in your living room earlier?"
Wednesday nodded taking another sip of his coffee. It was exactly hot but it was warm enough.
Berwick nodded. "May I read it?"
Wednesday shrugged. “Probably best not, but be my guest.”
He didn't want to even watch anyone else read it so instead he turned his attention towards Stella. He wasn't sure what she was making exactly but it smelled good. "What are you cooking?"He asked, trying to sound truly interested.
She smiled brightly at him. "Cheese stuffed raviolis with a white cheese sauce."
"Oh," was all he said, already uninterested.
"Are you sure you don't want to read this?" Berwick asked smoothing the paper out.
"Yes." There were few things he was more sure about.
A few moments passed as Berwick read what Roxy had written. "Who was she, Wednesday?" Berwick tried to make it sound light, as he folded the paper up into a neat rectangle.
"A woman I used to know. Her name was Roxy."
Berwick frowned deeply looking down at his folded hands. "Why did she have to go to your house and do this?" This seemed to be the part that confused Berwick. It confused Wednesday too. Why did she have to come to his home and kill herself in his living room? Had he been so cruel to her that he deserved to see her die like this?
"I wish I knew,"Wednesday said honestly. He had wondered about all this as well as he had walked around, but he simply did not have a clue as to what had gone through her mind moments before she did what she did.
"Where can I sleep?" He asked after a moment. He wanted nothing more right now than to sleep.
"Couch," Berwick said. "Stella's got the spare bedroom."
Wednesday left without saying goodnight.
He could hear Stella and Berwick’s whispers as he walked out of the kitchen. "Is he okay?" Stella asked, her voice barely audible.
"I don't know. It looks like he's in shock. We'll see tomorrow. This note though, it seems like Roxy knew him well,” Berwick tried to talk as quietly as his sister, but failed.
"What's it say?"
"There's a lot of stuff here about Wednesday and how she was sorry.”
Wednesday dug his earbuds out of his pockets even as he continued to listen. “I don’t know what she means about being sorry that time she showed up on his doorstep and then there's some stuff that's completely lost on me, like this, it says-”
Wednesday put his earbuds in before he could hear another word. Thank God he kept those things in his pocket. Stretching out on the couch that had been designated as his sleeping spot he set his music to instrumental so he could sleep with them in.
He didn’t want to think about what Roxy had said or how she had been sorry about showing up to check up on him that time. Nevertheless, even those bitter thoughts of her made his chest ache.
He could remember that day far too clearly for his liking. Roxy had been gone for maybe three months, but he had done it, he had moved on. Hell, when she knocked on his door there had been a woman in his bed. He had answered the door high as a kite though. Roxy had just stared at him with the saddest look on her face.
That look was what he would remember later that night when he cut eight deep lines into his right arm with a razor blade.
Shaking all thoughts of Roxy off he forced himself to put all his focus on the music. Drifting off, he listened to sorrowful piano music that reminded him of how his mom used to play.