Chapter 3

I slammed my palms onto the dark oak of Jaden’s desk and leaned over his desk, glaring at him with intent anger. He looked up at me with a slightly confused expression. The corner of his smile twitched and his brows lifted apologetically as soon as he noticed that I was not there to joke. I could see in his icy blue eyes that he was sorry.

“What were you thinking?” I demanded with my dark hazel glare.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said with an awkward laugh. He rubbed the back of his head, his hand brushing against the blue ends of his neatly cut blonde hair. He really was a horrible liar.

“You scared me half to death!” I lectured. “What were you thinking, sneaking up on me like that in the station when you knew I would be alone, and why on earth would you then run off like that?!”

“Woah there,” he said, leaning over in his chair and looking me over with a quizzical expression. “Sneaking up on you? Why would you think I would do that?”

“Don’t play dumb with me,” I said, my tone edging towards threatening. He seemed sincere, and he never really did seem so with a lie, but who else could it have been in the station? “You left that note in the box under my badge. It was obviously you in the station.”

Jaden let out a nervous laugh. “Yeah, but I put that there before I even left the station. Why would you think I was actually in the station when you were there?”

“Who else could it have been then?” I asked.

“Wait, what? So you actually saw someone in the station?” he asked with concern.

My fears returned instantaneously. “I did. So you can stop playing dumb.” I was beginning to worry and wondered if it could have been someone else in the station, but I was sticking to the theory that it had been Jaden. It was a simpler explanation—and a less concerning explanation.

“It wasn’t me, Lily. I swear.”

I looked at him. He seemed to be telling the truth, but as much as I wanted to believe him, I didn’t want to accept that truth. “You know if you were there, you really should admit it,” I said wearily. “Don’t have us go into a useless investigation.”

Jaden rolled his eyes. “Do you honestly think that I would put everyone here through that just to avoid a little bit of lecturing from you? We have enough on our plates as it is!”

I dropped my head forward as I let out a sigh.

“Now what?” Jaden asked.

I stood up and rubbed my temples with my fingertips. “I’ll let the chief know. I have to talk to him anyway. The bakery has been blocked off and they wouldn’t even let me in.”

“I heard about that actually,” Jaden mentioned. “Not that they wouldn’t let you in, but that it’s under strict watch now. Mrs. Jones has been furious. I don’t think I have ever seen her mad before. I didn’t know that she could get mad.”

“Do you know what happened?” I asked.

“A young woman apparently went over to Roy’s last night in a panic. I think she was your case actually. The one you were mentioning that had some memory loss. Well, she told the chief that she went back there to try and remember and I guess she noticed something strange.”

“What?” I was shocked; I didn’t know what else to say. If the woman brought the chief’s attention to something real in this case, I would have to cover it up. Getting that done would be an extremely difficult task now that the whole area was being watched and blocked off to the general public. This was way too much attention for that case in particular. If only I had gone down to the bakery earlier, I might have been able to avoid the whole situation.

“I don’t really know anything else about it,” Jaden said with a shrug. “You’ll have to talk to Roy.”

Before I could say another word, a woman’s voice filled what was originally a quiet and busy atmosphere. “I know what I saw!” the woman bellowed. “I know what I saw and you need to do your job to figure this out!” The yelling was then finished off with the sound of a slamming door.

I let out a sigh. “Hollowville used to be so peaceful,” I said.

Jaden rolled around in his chair and hopped up onto his feet. “We should go see what’s going on,” he pointed out as he stood. He was almost a head taller than me now that he was up, and at that time, I was wearing heals. He was a pretty tall man, with a little extra muscle mass as well. His skin was tanned, not terribly, but it was definitely a huge contrast from my own pale skin.

I nodded as he walked around the desk and we both walked over to the front of the station. We walked right past the front desk and noticed a red haired woman wearing a white fur coat storm out to the front door. I recognized her instantly; she was the woman from one of my cases.

A door on the other side of the front desk opened and Roy stepped out. “Mrs. Jacobs, please be reasonable. I am trying to help you, but I can’t do that if you storm off like this.”

Mrs. Jacobs pivoted around on what looked to be painfully high heals. “Be reasonable?” she asked in an outrage. “You’re asking me to be reasonable?” She gritted her teeth as she spoke, but then relaxed her jaw to continue on with a shrill tone nearing another yell. “I came to Hollowville for a peaceful vacation, and what do I get?”

“Mrs. Jacobs, you have been getting our full attention since this morning,” Roy put in.

“That was a rhetorical question Mr. Roy! Do not interrupt me!”

“Wow,” Jaden muttered. “Talk about a drama queen.”

I kicked his foot as Roy gave a reluctant, “My apologies.”

“See here, Mr. Roy,” Mrs. Jacobs continued as she stormed up to him to stand directly in front of him. Her expression was fierce, but the height difference between her and Roy made it difficult to take her seriously. Roy was a bit taller than most men, about the same height as Jaden. Mrs. Jacobs, who wasn’t exactly tall for a lady, looked very fragile in comparison, even in those freakish shoes, though her hair did put her up to a close height. She went on.

“Since my arrival, I have been hearing nothing but stories of these strange happenings in Hollowville. If I knew about them sooner, I would not have come! I came here requesting protection, and you all brushed it aside as if nothing, but you know what? It clearly isn’t nothing. If it was nothing, I WOUDN’T BE HERE IN THIS STATION!! A day after having my request refused, I actually experienced these-“

“Mrs. Jacobs, we kn—“

“Do not interrupt me Mr. Roy! Right after I was refused, I experienced a memory loss, and since no oney here seems to take that seriously, I decided to take things into my own hands and check things out, and after all that I had already gone through here in Hollowville, I WAS ATTACKED BEHIND A BAKERY! After all of that, you have the audacity to ask ME to be REASONABLE?”

After all of that, the only thing I managed to keep in mind was that she had been attacked. I was honestly relieved that an attack was the focus of attention, but even so, who attacked her? I was beginning to wonder if she was possibly blowing things way out of proportion. I knew that she wasn’t lying about the memory loss, but an attack just didn’t fit into the equation. It was possible that it was a coincidence, but it was also possible that Mrs. Jacobs just wanted us to look more into her case.

I stepped forward. “Mrs. Jacobs, why don’t you let Jaden take you back to my office? I will talk to Roy and then I can come right over and help you out.” I tried my best to sound sweet. I needed things to go smooth from this point on.

“Finally, someone with some decency around here,” Mrs. Jacobs said, “though I have been trying to find you, Lily.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, sounding sincere. “I have been working on a lot of cases these past few days, but if you just let me talk to Roy alone for a moment, I will come talk to you. I would like to get this figured out and solved as quickly as possible.”

“Alright, Lily,” Mrs. Jacobs said before turning to look at Roy with a glare. “That’s reasonable.”

Her shoes tapped sharply against the tile surface of the flooring as she walked past myself and Jaden.

“Wait a minute,” Jaden mumbled, realizing he was supposed to be showing her the way. “Right this way Mrs. Jacobs!” he called after her.

I walked around the desk over to Roy, who was walking back into his office. He took a seat on a chair and rolled himself close to his desk, wedging the arms of his chairs under the desk so that he would stay still.

“She was attacked?” I asked skeptically.

“So she says,” Roy told me with a sigh. “I need to retire.”

Roy’s hair and mustache were entirely grey, and his dark skin was just beginning to wrinkle. He wasn’t terribly old, but running a station did take its toll on a person’s body.

“Don’t say that,” I said. “We need you down here, and we both know you love this job. We just need to get through this rough patch. I’m sure things will blow over eventually.”

It was true that I did respect Roy, and I did think he was just the man for the job, but more importantly, Roy trusted me. What I needed from a chief then was trust and room to stretch with my position. I didn’t need a new chief to prove myself to. I didn’t have time for limitations.

“What was it that you needed?” Roy asked, getting straight to the point. “A briefing?”

“Well, yes, but before that, there is something that I need to tell you,” I said.

“What is that?” Roy leaned over and rested his chin on the backs of his hands, using his elbows to prop himself up. He looked worried. “You aren’t planning on going back to work on your own again are you?”

“No, nothing like that,” I assured him. “Though, this might be a little more serious.”

“Is something wrong at home?” he asked, “or with long distant relatives? You don’t have any family in the area, do you?”

“No, I don’t have family in the area,” I said with a sigh, “and this isn’t a personal matter; though, I do appreciate your concern.”

“Alright,” Roy said, leaning back in his seat. “What is it then?”

“There was someone in the station last night,” I told him, “in the middle of the night. Someone snuck in.”

“What?!” Roy yelled, slamming his desk with his fist.

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