Two Halves of a Whole

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Chapter 6

Hours upon hours had passed, and the house was finally clean. Of course, Lola's standards of clean were spotless and making the entire house smell like chemicals, but if that's what it took, then that's what it took. Thomas was determined to ask her all his questions, and Derek was determined to get the two back on the same page again.

Lola plopped down in a chair that was far more expensive than it should have been. Derek stiffly sat in a chair that he could immediately tell hadn't been sat in for years. Thomas remained standing with his arms crossed over his chest.

"I suppose this is the part where I tell you my life story?" Lola asked as she leaned back.

"That would be preferable," Thomas murmured, half believing her and half thinking she was joking.

"My parents were John and Dayna Solest - unfortunate last name, I know. They owned Solest Medical, which shut down awhile ago due to scandals within the company. One day, we were driving on the highway as my dad was talking on the phone, it fell, and he reached for it. That was the last thing he did before he was impaled by a branch and crushed by the car. My mom was impaled in her lungs, only taking a few seconds to kill her. I, however, was stabbed through the kidney and lived."

Thomas looked over at her.

"Correct, I'm missing my right kidney." She answered his unspoken question. "My butler took over as my parent until I turned eighteen. He retired and moved to Europe. I haven't seen or heard from him since. So, it's just been me and ALICE for the past seven years."

"ALICE, is your house?" Thomas asked.

"Yeah. This is a highly advanced smart house that's equipped with a small A.I. unit."

"A.I.?" Thomas asked, almost in disbelief.

"That's right, for you seeing is believing." She broadly smiled as Thomas glared. "Hey, ALICE?"

"Yes?" she asked.

"What did I have for dinner last night?"

"You didn't have dinner. I believe you vomited up your breakfast, though."

"Thank you, ALICE."

"If she knows that you vomited, then that means she can see us?"

"Yep, the house has cameras all throughout it, which are ALICE'S eyes."

Thomas looked around the house, trying to find the cameras but, after a second, knew it was pointless.

"I know you have questions," Lola said.

Thomas glared at her before his mind began to fill with questions. "When I mentioned your parents at the station, you got sick."

"Yes. Believe it or not, my parents were not the best of people, and having your childhood consist of shady people threatning your parents and your parents returning the favor." She moved her head side to side. "It just doesn't sit well in my mouth. If you want more details, then feel free to google my parents. Actually, ALICE!"

"Yes?"

"Print out the final court case involving my parents."

"Printing now."

"Thank you."

Thomas' head snapped upstairs as the printer turned on, making one too many noises than it should have.

"So, what happened last night?" Thomas asked.

"I honestly don't remember. Because of the car crash when I'm under a great amount of stress, I sometimes black-out."

"You call trashing your house blacking-out?"

"Yeah," she said with a smile.

"So is this case stressing you out because I don't want you blacking-out and destroying my desk."

"First off, your desk is already mutilated beyond control. Second off, this job is a stress relief for me."

"Except when your parents are mentioned?"

Lola gave off a toothy smile. "Yes, except when that happens." Her finger tapped against the arm of the chair twice.

"So, will that affect your involvement in the case moving forward?"

"No. This stress was brought on by the initial surprise of finding out my parents might be involved in this little . . . serial killer epidemic."

"So no more panic attacks and calling the Captain to drag you out of your vomit and off the floor."

Lola leaned forward in her chair. Her heel hit the chair two times. The two enemies made eye contact, and neither blinked. "No, no more panic attacks, vomiting, or calling Derek to drag me off the floor." She smiled. "If you want, we can pinky promise?" She knew that this sarcasm in a serious moment would infuriate Thomas, but it was so worth it. A flash of anger crossed through his eyes, and the two began another stare down.

"For the love of everything holy, make-up and get to work," Derek finally said. If he had to watch the two get into one more silent battle, he was going to strangle them both.

Lola held up her hands and stood up. Instead of trying to shake Thomas's hands or do any other type agreement, she walked past him and to the case files which were on the table.

"ALICE?"

"Yes?"

"What time is it?"

"It is one-thirty AM."

Lola whistled a long, exaggerated whistle as she leaned back. "Wow, it's late. If you two can like you can sleep in one of the guest bedrooms or take up a couch."

"Wait, we're not going to work on the case?" Thomas protested.

"Not at this hour. I find that when it's later at night, sloppy mistakes begin to appear."

"This is unbelievable."

"No, what's unbelievable is that a serial killer is going around the city sewing up half a person's face."

"That's exactly why we should be working on this case!"

"And work we shall, but not at this hour."

"Both of you stop it!" Derek finally snapped. "If I have to listen to you two fight for the mental high ground one more time tonight, I will fire both of you." This grabbed their attention. "Lola, you can go to bed if you want, and Tom, you can stay up if you want. We will work on the case as a unit tomorrow."

Lola lowly bowed and walked upstairs. Thomas ran his fingers through his hair and groaned, which he had meant to keep contained. Derek glared at him but sat down at the table and began to go through the cases.

Thomas spared one more glance up at Lola's closed-door before he sat down in a chair. As he opened the case details, his mind wondered if Derek was playing favorites or if this was the best most efficient way to solve the case.

However, he knew that he and Lola would have to get on the same page if they even wanted a chance at catching Split.

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