Reading Between the Lines

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Chapter 4

The rest of the morning passed without anyone dying or getting robbed, so yay! Also, the coffee Samuel brought me has done nothing but accentuate the quirks that I already have which I’m more than ok. Better to have them accentuated than hidden when it comes to me. Currently, I’m making something my mom started called a ‘book bundle’. Let’s say there’s an author that has multiple books in multiple series. We take the first books of three or four of the series and bundle them together hence the term ‘book bundle’.

I had just put the finishing touches for one on James Patterson when Hazel had burst into the store, sweat pouring down her face. Considering she went out to get lunch I don’t know why it looks like she ran a mile.

“You were getting lunch at the deli down the street. How the hell did it take you- “I glanced at the watch on my wrist. “Almost an hour?”

“First, remind me never to run again. Ever. Second, the deli was closed so I had to walk the other deli a few blocks away when I heard some juicy gossip. Guess what happened to Mr. Crenshaw?”

“Mr. Crenshaw? The one who showed up to the new management party here drunk off his ass, spewing hateful and racist things towards us?”

“Yeah, that seems accurate.” She smiled briefly. “Mr. Crenshaw died. Someone finally got tired of him and murdered him. I just wish someone hadn’t beaten me to the punch.”

“You’re kidding me, Crenshaw’s dead?! How’d they kill him? I asked with fascination in my voice as I made my way closer towards Hazel. What can I say? Death and murder fascinate me sometimes. Ok, most of the time.

“Said he was stabbed- while he was taking a shower. Can you believe that shit? It’s like it’s right out of psycho. They say- he’s the lead detective on the case.” I could tell by the look in her eyes that Hazel had the urge to throw up just because she thought about saying his name.

Ahh, it all makes sense now! Professional curiosity really meant professional curiosity. He was asking me because of this case. My question is why he wouldn’t just say it was because of work. In his defense, professional curiosity does qualify as telling me it’s for work- in a weird way. Besides, he can’t just talk about an open investigation with you Cassandra. Woah, did you just defend Samuel's actions?

“Have they released any other details about the murder?” I asked, desperate to get my mind off of Samuel.

“What else could they release? ’Breaking news, the guy who committed this crime is you guessed it, a fucking psychopath!”

“Ok, that’s true. Now we have to worry about a murderer running amuck on these streets.”

“Cas, this is Penbrook Falls. This place has always been full of creeps.” Hazel pointed out to me.

“Touché.” As a small crowd of people entered the store, I managed to sneak off towards a corner of the store. Pulling my phone out of my pocket, I scrolled through my contacts to start a conversation with Samuel. He may not care that he lied to me, but I do! Part of me needs to know WHY he said what he said to me, and more importantly, why he came to me in the first place.

Cassandra: So, professional curiosity huh? It had nothing to do with the news of the murder that’s spreading like wildfire.

Within a matter of seconds, Samuel had responded. Isn’t he supposed to, I don’t know, working on solving a murder?!

Samuel: You found out about Crenshaw?

Cassandra: The entire town knows about Crenshaw, what did you expect? Why didn’t you tell me that it was professional curiosity instead of consultation on a murder case?

Samuel: If anyone asks me, I’ll deny it. In the academy, they always told me that if you need insight or advice on a case, go to someone that not only knows what they’re talking about but someone you can trust. I came to you.

It took me longer to come up with a reply to the last thing he sent. He trusts me. I couldn’t help but feel- honored. It makes me feel good about myself, knowing that people outside of my immediate circle trust me that much.

Cassandra: Thank you, but you trust me? May I ask why *laughing crying emoji*

Samuel: What’s not to trust with you?

Samuel: I’ve got to get back to work, as do you. Be careful out there Cassie, I mean it. We don’t know who this guy is or what he’s capable of.

I slid my phone back into my pocket with a smile on my face. People care, point for Cassandra!

“Cassandra- you’re smiling like a creep. Again.”

“I’m just- thinking about the whole murder thing.” The less Hazel knew about Samuel for now, the better.

Hazel must have bought it because she chuckled to herself. “Only you would find murder fascinating. Why exactly are you thinking about the murder?”

“I was wondering- what if we did our own investigation on Crenshaw’s murder?”

“Cassie- I’m going to say this as nicely as I can but what the fuck is wrong with you? In case you haven’t noticed, this is a job for the police. I may not like Samuel but I’m not going to ruin his career.”

“Hazel, I know you want to know about this murder just as much as me, if not more. I’m not saying we become the next Sherlock and Watson, but I want to know what’s going on in my own neighborhood. Is that such a crime?”

She got a wicked gleam in her eyes, smiling as she raised a hand in the air.

“Alright, let’s do this. To the modern-day, female versions of Magnum PI.” She stuck her hand out towards me for a fist bump. I just walked past her, shaking my head as I did my best to forget about the conversation with Samuel.

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