Secrets

By BrittCav All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Mystery

Chapter 6

“Baby, you’ve been gone so much lately. I thought when I gave you this apartment and paid for your expenses, it meant you would be around for me when I needed you.”

“Greg, you never need me, you just want me. And I am here plenty.” Addison pulled a bra on and wrapped a robe around her body. She grabbed her phone off the bedside table, “Shit, my phone is dead!” She threw her phone at Greg, “could you plug that in for me?”

“Waiting on a call from your other boyfriend?” Greg snorted when he laughed, and Addison ignored his quip which made him nervous, “You don’t have another boyfriend? Right babe? Babe?”

A loud knock on the door pulled Addison out of the room with merely a smirk of acknowledgement, “There better be a good fucking reason for whoever this is to be knocking on my door at one o’clock in the morning!”

“Answer and you will find out.” Rossum’s voice came from the other side of the door and Addison glanced back to make sure Greg was still in the bedroom.

She angrily whipped open the door, “Why are you here, Rossum?”

“Your phone is off; I’ve been trying to call you for over 2 hours.”

“Have you tried not calling me in the middle of the night?”

Rossum was glancing down at his Blackberry as it chimed, “get dressed, we have a case.”

“Freelance, Uncle Ross, I choose what cases I participate in, and I think I would prefer to sleep then prod at dead bodies all night. Thanks though.”

“No, I need you for this one. It’s an old case, but a new body has surfaced. We’ve had a hell of a time trying to solve it, but you will add a fresh perspective.” He finally looked up from his phone, “plus we are really just out of options at this point.”

‘Golly, I’m just so flattered.” Addison untied the silk robe and wafted into the bedroom forgetting that Greg was there until she saw him in her bed, reading the paper.

“Who’s at the door, babe?”

“Uncle Ross. Family emergency, I have to go help him out.” She pulled a thin t-shirt and jeans, then gave Greg a quick kiss on the cheek, “I might be a while, but feel free to hang out as long as you want to.”

She grabbed her purse of the table and heard Greg yell from the bedroom, “It’s my fucking house!”

Rossum gave her a funny look, but she whipped past him and stood at the elevator. When he caught up Addison was slipping her shoes on, “can you catch me up on the case before we get there?”

“The first body was discovered 3 years ago this March. Abigail Resley was found in her apartment, but she was tortured. She ultimately died of drowning, but she was stabbed all over, and it looked like she had been revived multiple times throughout the weekend.” Rossum opened the car door for her and then walked around and got in himself, “this guy must have stalked her for weeks, knew her whole schedule, knew she had no plans that weekend, so he could be alone for two full days with her. A month later there was another body same thing mid-twenties, attractive girl, tortured and drowned.”

Addison pulled down the small mirror and spread a dab of concealer on the bags under her eyes and shook out her hair, “So we’ve got a full blown sadist on our hands, all the way down the helix. This guy isn’t going to stop killing until he is caught, or dead.”

“Yeah, well that’s the thing; he did stop for a while. More than a while actually, he stopped for a full two years, until tonight. You might want to get comfy; it’s a bit of a drive.”

Addison gave him an exasperated look, “How long is a bit?”

“Longer than you are going to be happy with, let’s just leave it at that.” Rossum took his eyes off the road and glanced to mysterious woman on his right, “can I ask you something?”

This was the reason Addison tried to avoid hanging out with people, they always felt the need to ask questions, to know more about her and that just wasn’t something she really wanted to talk about, “I guess so, but I reserve the right to veto any questions.”

“What’s with you? I mean, you live in that huge apartment and you wear very expensive designer clothes, but you drive a piece of shit car and almost fainted when Agent Mortimer suggested we were going to pay you.”

She exhaled in relief, this was a relatively easy one to answer, “My car is not a piece of shit, it just has character, plus I have a Mercedes in parking. Greg’s got money that he likes to flaunt, so I don’t pay for the stuff that I don’t want to pay for.”

“Ah yes, the boyfriend.”

“I don’t know if boyfriend is the right word. What would you call someone that you put up with because he pays for everything, but is deadly boring and… married.”

Rossum was silent for a while in the dark car, but it didn’t faze Addison. He finally cleared his throat, “I don’t think I would call them anything, but I would suggest the word you are looking for is ‘sugar daddy’”

“Well, whatever it is it’s going to have to end soon. He doesn’t really like me not being at his beck and call. I guess I’m at someone else’s beck and call now.” She nudged Rossum and laughed, “So what’s your deal, Uncle Ross? I don’t see any wedding ring on your hand, and you seem like a relatively good catch.”

“Me? Not really, I guess you could call me a bit of a workaholic.”

Addison snorted with laughter, “A bit? You just came banging on my door at one in the morning. I would classify that as a problem.” She closed her eyes and cozied up to the head rest, “go on, I’m still listening.”

“Well, I was married once. Right out of the academy, childhood sweethearts. I actually met her in the fifth grade. She always had fresh flowers around the house, in the summer it was like you could see every colour if you just looked in our garden, and the smell… whenever I smell that smell I think of her.” Rossum didn’t know why he was telling her all of this, but the words just seemed to be spilling out of his mouth, but he looked over to Addison and her chest was rising rhythmically, and a light snore was escaping her nose. “I haven’t seen her in ages, but I do when I look at you. Not that you are anything like her, you are actually the complete opposite, but that’s why you make me think about her, it’s kind of nice.”

He looked over to her again to make sure he was asleep, she was much easier to talk to when she couldn’t respond, “I would never dream of telling her this, but I miss her. I miss the way she used to smile, softly, like she knows something that you don’t. And she probably does, she’s smart like that, again, like you, like she always knows what you’re going to say before you say it.”

He wanted to go on; it was therapeutic talking about his ex-wife, and something that he hadn’t done, maybe ever, but Addison looked so peaceful that he didn’t want to risk disturbing her. His jacket was sitting in the space between the two chairs, so grabbed it and spread it across Addison’s body, “There’s something I can’t quite place about you, Addison Grace.”

Addison slept deeply until the vehicle jerked to a stop. A jacket she didn’t recognize fell off of her when she stretched. The building in front of her was terrifyingly normal, “is this it?”

Rossum nodded, “this is it.”

They both got out of the car and walked towards the building, but she let Rossum lead her to the room. A police officer stood in front of the door, but nodded at the pair as they walked through the doorway. The first thing she noticed was blood. Everywhere she looked there was blood. The mirror in the foyer had a bloody handprint streaked down it. The living room that she ended up in looked similar to her own. The couch was beautiful, but stiff and seemed like people rarely sat in it. There was a crème throw blanket placed carefully on the back that could have been pulled off her own couch. The walls were a warm brown so the patches of blood went almost unseen against them. Addison closed her eyes and blood soaked tools flashed behind her eyelids. She shook her head, “was she found in the bathroom again?”

Rossum nodded and an officer pointed the way. If Addison thought there had been a lot a blood in the entrance, she hadn’t seen anything yet. Blood covered the entire tile floor. The brown haired beauty was laying spread eagle in the middle of the floor. Mascara ran from her large green eyes down to her chin and there was already bruising evident on her neck and chest. Addison’s breathing became uneven, and she stumbled back a little. Rossum held out a hand to steady her and threw her a worried look, “wow, I haven’t seen brutalization this bad… in a long time. How long did you say he’s been at this?”

“Three years, give or take, from what we can see. Why, have you seen something like this before?”

Addison shuttered a bit at this question. Only once in her life had she seen anything this terrifying, anything remotely this hateful, “like I said, it’s been a long time, but this can’t be the same person, it’s not possible…”

“So you don’t happen to have one of those handy files that just happen to have the perp right there, then?” Rossum asked hopefully, trying to avoid looking at the young lady on the floor.

“I don’t have anyone in my files capable of this. Why have I never even heard of this case before?”

“He hasn’t been around the Washington area, started in Florida, moved to Texas, he was in Colorado for a while, plus we were trying to keep it out of the press, only fuels these ones.”

“Well, this one might take me a bit longer than the others.” Addison reviewed the scene. The bruising on her chest made Addison think she had been resuscitated multiple times before she had finally succumb to her wounds, and the apparent drowning. The young woman was also naked and must have been placed in her current position post-mortem. Addison glanced down at her shoes; a thin layer of blood pooled around them, there was so much resting there that it had clotted, but hadn’t yet dried. Kneeling down in front of this woman was strangely sad for Addison; she saw herself in the girls green eyes, she say herself in the girl’s apartment, and the clear way that she kept her life organized.

“What’s her name?” Addison wondered out loud.

Rossum pulled a small notebook from his chest pocket and flipped it open, “Leslie Rodgers. She was a 26 year old publicist. Lived alone, no boyfriend, family lives out of state in… Seattle. That’s his MO though, pick the ones with no connections, no ties to anyone. It enables him to take his time; no one comes looking for them until he wants them to.”

“Wow, that’s…” She narrowed her eyes at something beside the sink. It stood out against the cleanliness of the rest of the room, “give me your tweezers.”

“I don’t carry tweezers, Addy.”

She pulled her sleeves over her hands and opened the cabinet. Within two drawers she pulled out a pair of black tweezers and Rossum handed her an open bag. She carefully picked up the piece of hair, but it was caught under the sink so she had to tug it out. Once she did she tucked it into the plastic bag and handed it over to Agent Rossum, “can we find out who’s that is?”

He held the bag up to the light before handing it off to one of the CSI’s, “judging by the colour I would say it belongs to the vic.”

“If that’s the case then she cut her hair recently, but it seems odd because… that house is spotless. Other than the blood, this bathroom is spotless. It seems unlikely that there would be hair leftover from before a haircut. My bet is it fell off of one of them, maybe we’ll get lucky and out killer will be Fabio.”

“In my experience with this killer, he doesn’t make mistakes and we don’t get lucky.”

Addison shrugged her shoulders, took a fleeting look at the poor girl on the floor, and wandered into the hallway. Again, Addison dropped to her knees and picked up some substance off the carpet, she rubbed it between her thumb and forefinger. It was moist, but crumbled so she brought it to her nose and sniffed, it smelled earthy. “Can someone take a sample of this?”

Rossum appeared before anyone bothered collecting some of the dirt Addison had found. “I wouldn’t bother with that. I know exactly what that is; he leaves it at every crime scene. Peat moss, normal, everyday peat moss.”

Addison sniffed at her finger again, “why?”

“Be damned if I know. Why does this asshole do anything?”

“No, I mean what is he trying to tell you?”

“Nothing, he’s just taunting us.”

Squinting her eyes, Addison looked up at Rossum. The bags under his eyes revealed how long the overworked agent had been awake and it dawned on her, “not us, Ross, you. This message it meant for you.”

“Right, well, I still have no idea what it means.”

Her eyes darted around the room, “there are no pictures. It’s like she was never even here.”

Before Rossum could respond, Addison took off down a small hallway that led to the large master bedroom. The duvet was twisted and mangled on the floor and pools of blood dotted the stark white sheets. A chair was placed in front of the double doors that lead to her closet, Addison kicked it to the side and threw open the doors. An automatic light illuminated the space and Addison couldn’t help but smile. Leslie’s wardrobe was extensive and quite beautiful, for what she lacked in personal acquaintances she more than made up for in taste. The closet seemed to be untouched by either the killer or the victim in the two days they inhabited the apartment together, so she pulled out the top drawer of her dresser figuring that would be where Leslie would keep her undergarments. Sure enough Addison found her underwear folded and organized by colour, but there didn’t seem to be any missing or out of place, there even seemed to be a couple of pairs still in the laundry hamper against the wall. Shoes were hanging on a bar and seemed to be accounted for and there was money still laid out on her bedside table.

Addison gritted her teeth together and sighed. This crime scene was one of the most confusing that she had ever faced. She walked back out to the living room where the forensics team had loaded Leslie’s body onto a stretcher and was zipping the body bag over her face. An overwhelming feeling of emptiness filled her as she watched them roll her out of the apartment, but she was pulled out of it when Rossum placed a hand on her shoulder, “did you find anything in the bedroom?”

“I found everything in the bedroom. Nothing is missing. In the closet nothing is even out of place. As far as I can see he doesn’t have a foot fetish, or a panty fetish, there is expensive jewelry and bags in the closet and money in plain sight.”

“I’m not surprised. It’s like that at every crime scene. I’ve never understood it, this is my case, the one that eats away at you, and now he’s back.”

“Well, I don’t think we’re going to figure it out in here.” she looked around her, “I need something more, I need more background, files, pictures. I’m seeing this as an isolated incident because I don’t have anything else to go on.”

Rossum nodded, “All that is back at headquarters.”

“I guess we have a long night ahead of us, then.” She smirked and headed towards the door, the thought of leaving that place was already making her feel more like herself even though there was a sinking feeling in her stomach that she was trying to ignore. “Come on Uncle Ross, we’ll stop for coffee on the way.”

Rossum rubbed his temples, “I’m going to need a lot more than coffee, I’ve been up for the past 48 hours.”

“I know, I’ve been right there with you. I’ll tell you what, you sleep, I’ll drive.”

He tossed her the keys, “I’m too tired to argue right now.”

Rossum woke up alone in a dark parking lot. The car faintly smelled of coffee, but it looked like someone had tidied up. HQ glowed in the distance and he felt around his jacket for his employee pass, which was nowhere to be found. He pushed the familiar numbers into his phone and listened to the ringing, “I was wondering when you might wake up, Uncle Ross. You looked like such a precious angel I couldn’t bear to wake you.”

“So, you stole my employee card and decided to use government services unsupervised?”

“You can’t see me right now, but I am smiling very innocently.”

“Well, can you and that innocent smile meet me outside so I can use my own card and we can try to work on this case together?”

He heard the sound of a door open on the other end of the line and saw Addison waving from the entrance, “Let’s get on with it then.”

Rossum’s jaw dropped to the floor when he walked into his office. Addison had pulled, what looked like every file out of the archives and had it stacked in neat piles around the office, “you do know we keep this on the computer for a reason.”

Addison was already shuffling through one of the larger stacks and sipping at a brown liquid in a short glass, “I like hard copies, fewer mistakes in the transfer, and really, I just prefer the feel of the paper in my hand, helps me focus.”

He took the half empty Glenfiddich in his hands and smelt it, then recoiled from the burning sensation, “where did you get this?”

“If you look hard enough you can find alcohol in any office building. The key is to know which ones to look in; I didn’t even bother searching this one.”

“Well, I guess that just proves you don’t know everything, yet.” He walked over to his desk and pulled out the bottom drawer to reveal a bottle of Jack Daniels and poured himself a drink.

She examined it once he was done, “Yes, but you are drinking the drink choice of 18 year olds, whereas I am enjoying a 40-year-old single malt scotch. Do you see the difference?” A stack of paper fell off the desk, so she picked them up and read them, “From what I can see here, I would be able to put together a basic profile, but I would assume that you already have one of those.”

“Yeah, we have one.” Rossum pulled out a wrinkled piece of paper from the drawer beside his desk, he had been over it pretty much every day, “here, you can go over it.”

Both their eyelids were drooping. Addison sat in the leather chair and looked at the sheet.

  • Likely a troubled childhood where the father abused his mother, or both his mother and him

  • History of petty crime, and he’s probably been to prison before which most likely lead to the gap in murders

  • Could work as a travelling salesman, or a trucker would explain why the murders took place in different states

  • Feels oppressed in his marriage, and might continue on the cycle of abuse with his wife

  • Stabbings indicate a knowledge of human anatomy

“I guess these make sense, except I don’t think the break was because of him being sent to prison, I think there was something else to it. He’ll also be obsessively clean; everything will be neat and organized –”

“Like you?”

“If you are looking at me as a suspect again, I might as well leave.”

“You aren’t a suspect, I’m just commenting on your OCD.”

Addison ignored him and looked at a few photos, “He overpowers them when they answer the door; he cuts their throat right where their vocal chords are so they can’t scream, but he doesn’t kill them, that’s just the beginning.”

There was no answer from behind her, and when she looked Rossum was holding a piece of paper in front of his face. She went back to her pile and continued to examine them silently, but her long eyelashes kept touching the dark bags under her eyes.

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