Two Halves of a Whole

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Chapter 7

Lola walked out of her room and glanced downstairs. Both Derek and Thomas were passed out at the table, files and coffee cups spread everywhere. Her eyebrow twitched as she stared at the new mess.

Walking down the stairs, a small smile tugged at her lips, both of them didn't seem as mean or as threatning when they were asleep. Making her self a bigger than necessary cup of coffee, she walked back to the table and observed their work.

Thomas had the court case she had printed spawled out. Each victim's file was laid out and highlighted parts of the victims, and the court cases were trying to connect the two.

Her hand swiveled the papers so she could read them better as she refreshed herself on what her parents had done. How many lives they had destroyed, including hers.

Taking a sip of the coffee, she focused on the victims. They were all now vaguely familiar to her, but besides her and her parents being the connection for them, nothing else came to mind. Did this mean Split would target her at one point? If so, why hadn't he done so already? Was he saving her for something? One thought passed through her head, but it almost made too much sense to be true. That thought was that Split was a victim in her parents' old business. But, if that was the case, he was making it too obvious.

Lola knew Split's mind and new that it couldn't be that easy. Unless he wanted to get caught? But, if it were the case and Split was just another victim, what did that mean for Lola? She hadn't known what her parents had done, she was too young to try and even understand, but she found with people like Split, that also didn't particularly matter.

"Are you going to come up with a theory or continue to stare at me?" Thomas murmured, still half asleep. Though his eyes were closed, Lola knew he could sense her presence. A lot of cops had that ability.

"Actually, I was thinking of theories," Lola said as she sat down and took another sip of coffee. "Want some?" Lola asked. "I can have ALICE make you a cup."

"No offense, but I don't trust a computer to make my coffee," he mumbled, eyes still closed.

"You only don't trust her because you haven't tried her coffee."

"No, I don't trust any form of A.I. in general." He finally sat up and rubbed his face with his hands.

"You have a phone, yeah?" she asked.

He nodded and internally groaned, already knowing her next point.

"A phone is technically A.I.. It has voice recognition, is always listening for you to call its name. Ads pop up after you talk about a similar item. People's cameras have been hacked so they can be watched."

"I trust my phone more than I trust your house."

"ALICE isn't like that." Lola joked with a crooked smile.

"Do you know how lonely you have to be to give your house a personality?" He was only half-joking.

"Extremely. But, I live on Hollywood Hills, so my neighbors aren't exactly friendly. I'm an introvert at heart, though, so it's ok." She smiled. "I haven't had parents since I was what . . . nine? Then my barely involved butler moved and left me."

Thomas fell silent as she said those things. His parents were divorced, and throughout his childhood, he had only gotten to see his father on weekends, but that didn't even compare to what she said. And yet, it didn't seem to bug her. It seemed as if her mentioning anything that would scar a child for life was simply another fact. Her voice held no emotion to her what so ever, and for the first time since joining the Force, Thomas was scared. Not of Lola per se, but at her tone and overall lack of emotion, something she had proven to have within the past few days.

Her nails tapped against the mug twice. "I like it just being me and ALICE, though."

"I um." He scratched his head. "I didn't know Americans had butlers."

She silently laughed, aware that Derek was still asleep. "We don't. I called him a butler, but he preferred to be labeled as 'An Assistant'." She air quoted the term. "He was a butler." Her heel hit the ground twice. "A nanny butler?" Her head cocked to the side. "I don't know; he wasn't even British."

"What was his name?"

"Oh gosh, it was such a weird name. Give me a minute."

"Lance," Derek mumbled, eyes still closed.

"His name was Lance," Lola reiterated.

Thomas couldn't imagine forgetting the name of someone who had been working for your family for years before he became a caretaker from the ages nine to eighteen. He couldn't fathom forgetting someone who had raised you. Granted, Lance didn't sound like the friendliest of people, considering he left Lola alone the second she turned eighteen, but still.

"Morning sleeping beauty," Lola said. She took another sip of coffee, her finger tapping twice against the glass.

"Make me a cup," Derek mumbled as he sat up and popped his back.

"Hey, ALICE?"

"Yes?"

"Make another cup of coffee." The coffee machine flickered to life. "So, now that we are all awake did you guys have any more developments?"

"Not really," Derek said. "The only connection we can find is you."

"Yes, I came to that same conclusion this morning. Rather, my parents are the link. This person may want revenge on everyone who wronged him."

"What exactly was the illegal business?" Thomas asked. "The court case was vague."

"My parents probably paid someone off to not involve every detail."

"Your coffee is ready."

"Thank you." Lola placed her cup on the table and walked to the kitchen. "Milk, creamer, sugar?" she asked.

"No, just black coffee."

"The case?" Thomas asked once more.

"Yes, the case." She handed Derek his coffee and sat down. "It was a series of people, mainly the people in charge of every company, working together to get people's lives saving to go to them. There was never a starting point. If someone came to my parents' company, then they would find a series of loopholes and other such things where they could refer the poor victim to one another. That way, one customer gave a series of people a paycheck. Meanwhile, the bosses would be-"

"You are receiving a call from a number related to the police station."

Derek and Thomas looked at their phones and saw they were getting called too. Everyone made eye contact. This could only mean one thing.

"Answer."

"We need you at Greenhouse Grave Makers. Split has killed again."

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