Sue Mackenzie (Late morning of September 11, 1994)
After finding the missing entry, in the hands of my youngest, no less, I desperately wanted to turn it into the police station right then and there. If what Amy wrote were to be true, then I would have an actual case against Adeline and could finally get some rest, knowing she was to be investigated. However, I couldn’t just leave the boys, not when I was the one responsible for looking after Zack until noon. Therefore, I began to clean up the house as I waited anxiously for Amelie to arrive.
“Hey Ma, do you know where we keep our flashlights?” Jake asked, entering the living room. Him and the rest of the boys were apparently dusting out the spiderwebs in the basement for Jeff. I suppose that means he’s keeping his word about renovating the place.
“I believe those are in the box, marked ‘camping gear,’ in the garage,” I answered, wiping down the coffee table.
“Thanks,” he replied, opening the door to the garage. Before long, he came back with four flashlights in both of his hands; two for Patrick and Zack, two for him and Brian. “You know, we should go camping again, sometime. We haven’t been in awhile and I think it’d be nice.”
“Yeah? We could probably do that for Thanksgiving break, maybe,” I proposed as I switched over to folding the laundry on the couch. “I’ll have to check with your dad and his work schedule, though.”
“Okay,” he said, smiling as he began to walk away. However, he then turned around as if he left out something. “Oh, by the way, I’ve been wondering, why don’t you like Adeline?”
“Adeline; you seem to really not like her. In fact, everytime I bring her up, you get tense. Why is that? I mean, I know why Brian has a distaste for her, but you, I figured of all people would be more sympathetic towards her.”
“Sympathetic?” I could not believe what I was hearing. What spell did that witch cast on him that would make him think she deserved my sympathy?
“The girl lost both of her parents, one of which was an infamous serial killer who brutally murdered three of her classmates,” he began to rant, pacing around the living room. “She’s still taking the heat for that, to this day, and she wasn’t even the one who committed the crime. And if that wasn’t bad enough, she now has to live with her super strange and ominous grandma who seemingly hates her as well.”
“Wait, hang on a second,” I interrupted. “You met Louise? What did she say?”
“Like everyone else in this town, she just gave me some cryptid warning of how I should stay away from Adeline or else. You two would actually get along, greatly. Anyway, why do you even care?”
“No reason,” I lied, Truthfully, I’ve been meaning to speak with Louise ever since I first saw her, outside the salon. I just wasn’t sure how to start a conversation with her or what to even say during such. Hi, I’m Sue, the retired cop who’s been obsessing over your dead son’s case. I know it probably doesn’t mean much now, but I think he’s innocent. However, now that Jake has been out with Adeline, I may finally have a more significant reason to introduce myself.
“See? There you go again,” Jake replied. I could tell he was getting more and more annoyed, by the minute. “Can no one give me a straight answer around here?”
“Look, I don’t what Adeline has told you, but—”
“She didn’t have to tell me anything; it’s what I’ve seen from her. Did Pat tell you just how he got away from those bullies the other day?”
I shook my head. Pat didn’t tell me much of anything about what went down that day. I think he was still too scared to do so.
“Well, she was the one to save him. They would’ve nearly killed him if she hadn’t stepped in and told them some terrifying story about child butchers. Granted, that resulted in Pat being scared as well, but I don’t think that intentional.”
“Wow,” I uttered, taking a seat on the couch. Maybe, I did let salon gossip get the better of me and misjudged Adeline too soon. Maybe it was facade, her wanting to help Pat. Either way, I was beginning to question everything I thought I knew about her. “I’m sorry, Jake; I had no idea.”
“It’s not me you should be apologizing to,” he responded as he began to walk away again, for real this time. Before I knew it, he was already downstairs, in the basement.
Knock, knock! I heard Amelie’s voice, from outside the door, telling me to open up. She was rather earlier than expected. “I come bearing alcohol,” she said, holding up a bottle of champagne as I opened the door. “Also, I’m well aware I said I’d be here around noon, but I’ve had such a long morning, I need someone to day-drink with. Now, where’s your orange juice to make mimosas with?”
I led her over to the refrigerator in the kitchen. I got us the glasses as she opened the bottle over the sink.
“I see you’re already prepared for the bake sale,” Amelie commented, noticing my spread of cookies, taking up the entire countertop. “I’m sure Adriene will be pleased.”
“Speaking of which, did you also get an invite to that dinner party she’s having later?” I asked, grabbing a bag of grapes out of the fridge to snack on.
“Every year. Why?”
“I’m just curious as to how those sort of events go down, over there, at the Ricci house.”
She looked down at the counter, hesitant to tell me. She then lifted her head back and stared at me with an expression that left me uneasy. “Well, newcomers have to drink from a chalice of goat’s blood.”
I nudged her arm, trying not to laugh along with her. “I’m serious. How formal is it? What should I wear? How should I act around these people?”
“Well, let’s see. You’ve been to church before, right?”
I nodded, unsure of where she was going with this.
“Just think of it as that, but at someone’s house, in the evening,” she explained, popping one of the grapes in her mouth. “No pressure, though.”
I chuckled as I went to take a sip of my drink. “So you said earlier you had a long morning? What happened?”
She got real quiet after, but at last, she spoke. “I don’t really want to talk about it because then I’ll just get upset all over again. I’d much rather talk about you, if that’s okay. How has your morning been?”
It was as good as time as any to finally spill the beans. I told her to wait there while I went to fetch the diary and its misplaced pages. As I came back in, I saw her, sitting at the dining table with more than half of mimosa already gone. I layed the item out, in front of her and we got to talking.