26. You've given me a lead, Vanessa
“I’m sorry, young lady, but you can’t just come in and expect to see the Chief of Police!”
My eyes lowered to her name badge—Barbara. I refrained from her very punchable face. Barely. I stood in the police station for what felt like years, unmoving until I got what I came for and that was a meeting the Chief of Police.
Ever since reading my father’s letter, and taking note of his suspicions, I couldn’t let this go, especially if there was an expectation of a follow up after five years. And this bitch, Ms Barbara, was pissing me the fuck off.
She was an older white woman, perhaps in her late fifties or early sixties with salt and pepper hair. Her glasses were too small for her round face, her outfit very retro and resembling the late ’60’s. Instead of answering back, making it clear I wasn’t leaving. I’d set up a tent in front of the building if I had to.
Luckily for me, it didn’t come to that because I caught sight of Adam.
“Adam Knox?” I called loudly, ignoring Barbara and headed towards the man himself. Everyone glanced my way—probably because I stood out against their uniform—before returning to their tasks.
At the sound of his name, Adam turned, coffee in hand while the other was on the double doors. Barbara said something but I was too disinterested to pay attention. Instead, I looked at Adam with a ‘control this woman’. He understood.
Little Miss Barbara’s face was turning beat red. Her lips parted and I waited for whatever reprimand she had but Chief Knox cut in.
“Barbara, it’s fine, I’ve got this,” he said, raising a hand to calm her.
Her lips smacked shut, displeased that the outcome wasn’t in her favour. With a reluctant nod, she turned away and I waited for Adam. The questions in his eyes weren’t hard to miss. Before I could answer his unspoken question, he spoke.
“Miss Davies, follow me,”
Adam turned, walked through the double doors and I followed. My three-inch heels clicked against the marble floor, blending with the mild chatter and ring tones that polluted the air.
He stopped in front of a door, opened it and motioned for me to go in first. I scanned the room. Huh, it seemed like those type of rooms you would see on TV. You know, the ones where a cop talks to suspect. Not knowing which chair to pick, I sat on the one closest to me. I heard the door close. Adam rounded the table and took the chair opposite mine. I clutched my bag close to my chest, feeling uncomfortable, especially since the room was cold. Outside the station, it was warm. My above the knee sundress with open-toed heels wasn’t appropriate to a temperature that felt like the Antarctic.
Still, his questioning look didn’t fade. The silence festered whatever awkwardness was growing between us. I took my time studying his appearance. Adam Knox was an attractive man. Over 6 feet, dark-skinned with his hair trimmed close to his scalp. He was clean-shaven but unlike most men where without a beard they’d look twelve, he stilled looked like a man. He was masculine with very defined features. His brown eyes weren’t light enough to be considered golden but enough that I could differentiate the pupil from the iris.
Finally, he broke the silence.
“Is anything wrong?” He asked, leaning forward with his forearms on the table, his hands clasped together. Tilting his head to the side, he continued. “Are you in trouble?”
This time, his frown deepened. “Does Don know you’re here?”
“No, and I’d like to keep it that way.”
“It doesn’t involve the club, does it?”
“Not exactly,” I said, my fingers digging into the leather of my bag. “Well, what I have to say does have some connections to the club, and I thought you could help.”
At my cryptic message, he raised a brow. “What is it?”
Licking my bottom lip, I took in a deep breath and said. “My parents’ death. I have every reason to believe it wasn’t an accident. The same way I believe Mateo Reyes’ wasn’t either.”
Recognising Don’s father’s name, something flared with surprise. Adam leaned into his seat, dumbfounded.
“How did you come to this decision?”
I reached into my bag and the first thing I touched was the envelope. Honestly, other than my purse, it was the only thing in my bag; I didn’t plan to stay out for long. I pulled it out and placed it between us. Adam gave it a quick glance and returned his eyes to me.
“The very man said so himself,” I said, sliding my father’s letter closer to him. His eyes followed, and he didn’t hesitate to open it. I waited, leaning in the chair with my arms folded, watching the various expressions crossing Adam’s face. When he was done reading, Adam slowly lowered the paper to the desk, his eyes meeting mine in disbelief.
“I know,” I whispered with a tight smile. “I came to you because I don’t know what to do. Do you know any of the officers involved in my father’s case? Maybe they know more.”
He nodded. “I was one of them. Hold on a sec.”
He stood from his chair. Astonished, I followed his every move, watching as he took a step outside. He didn’t close the door fully, and I could hear his side of the conversation to whoever he was speaking. “Hey, send in the case file on Mr and Mrs Davies accident 2014.”
Facing forward, I waiting as I stared at the envelope in front of me. Seconds turned into minutes before Adam returned, resuming his place on the chair opposite mine. He was silent as he opened the brown folders. He searched through piles and piles of paperwork until getting to the pictures.
For a time, there seemed to be endless snapshots of the road—mostly of skid marks. When Knox found one of his likings, he placed it between us, turning until it was upside right for me.
“If you look here,” Adam said and pointed to the skid marks lining the concrete floor. “This is where I had my doubts. The reports say the cause of the skid was black ice. But from how the skids were made, almost as if they’re trying to avoid something… maybe another car or someone.”
I took in a deep breath.
“What makes you think it wasn’t caused by the ice?” I asked. My skin prickled with anticipation as blood rushed through my ears. My hands shook under the table.
“If it was there should be a gradual curve,” Adam replied and his pointer imitated a bigger curve compared to the curve in the image. “But this one, it’s too sharp, too sudden.”
Speechless, I looked at the rest of the pictures. I recognised the bridge and their wrecked car—the car they had since I was a little girl. Broken glass flooded the floor like shattered diamonds and blood…
No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t help myself. Bounded by a spell, my gaze tracked other pictures that had a flicker of red until they paused on a particular one. The one with a hand that I remembered all too well. My breath stalled.
It was my mother’s hand. Limp against the ground, the familial colour of dusky pink coating her fingernails. Her favourite colour. My nose burned, and my eyes stung as tears threatened to fall. Suddenly, the image was snatched from my view, breaking my trance. I blinked rapidly, wiping away a lone tear.
“You don’t need to see this,” Adam said, concern visible in his gaze.
“Okay,” I said, swallowing the lump in my throat. I took another cleansing breath before asking. “What about Mateo?”
“Wasn’t even a cop at that time. But from what I heard it was ruled as an accident. The same way it was for your parents.”
“He was running from something the day he died,” I said. “Mateo. My dad gave our family cabin to him for reasons I don’t understand. I asked Don about the cabin. He doesn’t know anything about it and neither does his mom. So whoever owns the cabin—”
“Might lead us somewhere,” Adam finished my sentence, pinning me with his eyes with a fierce promise that chilled me to the bone. “You’ve given me a lead, Vanessa.”
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