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Chapter twelve

Despite Dad and Detective Ruiz’ cautionary reaction to ITH and Dylan’s software, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Tracking the author’s thoughts and the readers’ responses astounded me. What changes would an author’s creativity under a scientific microscope bring? How different would stories become?

There must be someone who I could share my enthusiasm with? I definitely had to be careful who I told. I wanted to call my mom, but with the divorce I had to be so careful about what I said, especially where my dad was involved. I had posted a message to my friends that I needed the summer to deal with this murder and would be in touch in September. That left me all alone.

Then I got a text from Noah:

Meet me in Bryant Park. Bring your guitar.

When?

Now.

I didn’t even stop to think. I just replied: K

My relationship with Noah obviously had little to do with thinking . When I got to the park, I spotted Noah sitting at a table in the shade. Actually I heard him before I saw him. He was picking at the strings of his guitar and his mellow sound enticed me.

“Hey, Noah.”

“What’s up, pretty girl?”

I so wanted to tell Noah what I had heard about my grandmother and Dylan’s software plan, but something stopped me.

“Nothing,” I replied.

What was going on with our relationship? Why didn’t I confide in him?

How come Noah never asked me how I was doing dealing with my grandmother’s death? He seemed perceptive to the pain of citizens of the world and even more aware and able to share his own disappointment. Maybe I just expected too much from him. We really only just met. So I changed the subject.

“Noah, I was out when you called. So I don’t have my guitar.”

“Well, you should.”

“It’s not like it’s a body part, you know.”

“Zoe, if you’re a musician, it is.”

“Noah, this obsession with music, I guess you were born with it. You told me you started on piano. How old were you then?”

“Who knows? A little kid who didn’t like to practice.”

“When did you switch to guitar?”

“Guitar - junior high when I drowned out authority with loud, angry music.”

“Did you major in music in college?”

“Nah, I was a drama dropout.”

“Drama?”

“Yeah, so many different people living inside my head. The theater provided a chance to let them play on stage.”

Wow, music; now drama. This guy had talent. I couldn’t wait to see him perform.

“But you dropped out of school. Why?”

“Not enough money at the end of that degree.”

“Most musicians don’t earn enough to support themselves either. At least that’s what my parents keep screaming.”

“Yep, you need an angle to survive.”

“What’s yours?”

He paused for a moment and then kind of smiled. “I can’t tell you everything or you won’t come up to my couch. I told you it sleeps two.”

“How many days do we know each other?” I asked.

“Well if we are not sleeping together, the only other thing to do is to make music. Next time don’t come unprepared.”

I said nothing as he got up and sauntered off.

The majestic white library stood with those basement windows in view. Exhausted, I sat down to try and figure out my next move when I spotted Horatio sitting like a child waiting for me at the corner curb.

“Your grandmother has been chatting me up.” I pretended that I didn’t understand.

“Horatio that’s cruel. You were at the church when we buried her.”

“Yes, the world said good bye to her. Father Peter blessed her body and grave diggers buried it, but she still lives for me and you.”

Obviously he understood; I was so close to confiding in him.

“Your grandmother and –I – talked a lot about death. I feel her here, especially around the library and the park, near the windows and the cellar.”

“The library cellar. That’s where she was murdered.”

“Has she contacted you yet?” he asked.

Should I tell him the truth? I thought Horatio is my only living connection to the dead. So I confided in him.

“I sighted her at the back of St. Francis. I have seen her heading to the library. Have you seen her too?

Horatio clearly nodded his head. “Yes.”

Do you know why my grandmother is often headed in the direction of the library cellar?

Suddenly he moved back in a defensive way - someone or something -spooked him. He bolted.

As I climbed the steps, I felt I was being watched. Sure enough Detective Ruiz came out from behind the lions.

" Hey, Zoe.”

I was annoyed. I needed some time alone to understand my conversation with Horatio. Now I was stuck listening to this know it all detective who really didn’t seem to have a clue, especially when the supernatural was involved.

“Didn’t I warn you to stay away from that homeless guy? What did he want?”

“Nothing. He just misses my grandmother.”

“Really? Me and Horatio already had a talk about you and your grandmother. Apparently, he didn’t get my message to keep his distance from you.

“You know Detective, Horatio isn’t the bad guy here. I can feel he and my grandmother had a spiritual connection.”

“Sure,” said Ruiz. “After you kill someone, you’re spiritually connected.”

“I told you already, Detective. I saw the killer and it’s not Horatio.”

“Oh so you and he are on first name basis. How stupid of you, Zoe.”

“Stupid? And what would you know about brainless comments, Ruiz?

I’m finding out information that’s going to help solve this.”

“That drunkard knows something all right. I’m just watching and waiting for the exact time to close in on him.”

Ruiz just made me so angry. It took all my strength not to scream at him.

In a snarly kind of voice he added, “While I’m on the subject of your judgment of other people, get rid of that faux troubadour who lives upstairs from your grandmother’s apartment.”

“Detective, it’s none of your business.”

“Yeah, Detective! That’s what I get the big bucks, for, finding out the real deal. That drug driven, poor musician roaming our subways is really from a wealthy New York family and a Julliard graduate.”

“What?”

“Noah Jay.” The J stands for Jablonski, a wealthy manufacturing family that made millions in World War II. Old money. Go ahead and ask him.”

“I will not.” I just pretended I wasn’t interested because I didn’t want to give Ruiz any satisfaction. But I was shocked.

Finally, I asked Ruiz, “Why would Noah lie to me?”

“To get into your panties.”

“You have some nerve saying that. Noah has nothing to do with the case. It’s personal between him and me.”

Ruiz just stared at me. “Yeah, Zoe. I’ll tell you what’s personal - your grandmother’s murder - not some hot guy with a guitar.”

“Detective, just do me a favor and leave me alone.”

“Not a chance in hell,” he said with that stupid know it all smirk on his face.

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