Chapter 10. The Meeting Place
“And then you knocked him unconscious?” the officer eyed me as she asked the question.
She flashed a small smile at me. The smile said Good.
“I see. Do you know why this man tried to attack you?”
“My guess is that he’s an asshole?” I smiled. I knew better than to tell her that he’d been sent by the mayor to intimidate or kill me.
“I’m surprised that he would attempt a break-in at a home with a German Shepherd.” She said, nodding toward Victor. “That tells me that he was highly motivated to either get something in your home, or to get you.”
“Maybe he thinks I have files on him or something to do with one of our cases. We make a lot of enemies.” I said. She knew I worked with Nick—it was skirting as close to the truth as I could safely go, without endangering her. I had the sense that she hadn’t been in the force long, and her questions made it unlikely she was corrupt—she was asking the right questions, instead of trying to close things up in a hurry. Unless she was asking because she was working for the mayor, and wanted to know what I knew.
“Well, if you think of anything, give us a call—this is my extension.” She said, handing me a piece of paper. Nick waited until she was out the door.
“What did you do, Ed?” Nick said.
“I may have attended a fundraiser with Armand, and while there, talked to Donald Price. I guess he got jumpy.”
“Shit. Ed, what the hell? Come on. You know better than to pull stupid stunts like that.”
“I just….Nick, it’s looking more and more like he could have been the reason. Like he’s why Scott disappeared. I had to see…had to talk to him to see what he did when I mentioned his name. What he said. It feels like we’re so close to answers.”
“If you’re right, then do you really think that your intuition about the way his face looks when you say ‘Scott Prescott’ is going to give you anything you can use? Now he knows that we’re looking right at him, and he’s trying to kill you.”
“I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”
Nick frowned at me for several moments before saying, “Your place or mine?”
“Are you and Victor coming over to my place to stay, or am I staying here, with you two?”
I almost said that wasn’t necessary, but I knew that was just my pride. I’d successfully defended myself against one attack, but there was no guarantee I would be as lucky the next time. I was trying not to show it, but the attack had rattled me. “Mine tonight. Thanks.”
FRIDAY, 7:10 AM
When I woke up the next morning, I found three men in my kitchen, drinking coffee.
“Morning!” Kevin said.
“Hey! What are you two doing here?”
“We heard about your trouble last night, and decided to keep you company for a while, when you are at home. We’re taking shifts, beginning tonight.” Julio said.
“We got you, Ed.” Kevin said.
I couldn’t help myself. I grinned at them.
“I kinda love you guys. Who wants pancakes?”
SATURDAY, 10:45 AM
Jennifer and Logan were visiting, and I was glad to take advantage of the distraction they provided. Logan and Mom were playing with a train set that Dad had just bought, and Jennifer and I were watching them from the sofa. I gave her the latest information about the investigation into Scott’s disappearance.
“After all these years, finally it feels like some progress is being made.” She said.
“Not fast enough, for me.” I said.
“I know. But some progress is better than no progress. I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately. Especially about the day we were supposed to meet. I thought about going to the spot, today. I don’t want to take Logan, but I also don’t want to go alone.”
“You know I’ll go with you.” I said.
“Really? You wouldn’t mind?” Jennifer said.
“Not at all. We can go whenever you are ready.”
Jennifer drove us to a place just near the edge of Sunset Valley. We had to park and walk quite a while to get to a stretch of beach that was hidden from every other beach I’d visited in my time here.
“I had no idea this place existed.” I laughed.
“It felt like our own private beach—I mean, we would find beer bottles and stuff from time to time, so we knew other people were in on the secret, but we never saw anyone else out here.”
I smiled, and watched the waving grass, caught in the breeze off the ocean.
“This beach has changed a lot since I was last here.” Jennifer said. She hadn’t been there since the day she was supposed to meet Scott.
“Yeah, we’ve had several hurricanes, and even without that, the way beach sands can shift….I don’t know if the county is re-sanding it or anything.”
I was moving around the edge of a cluster of rocks when I saw it.
The beach had changed, and over time, sands shift. Sometimes, the sand gives up secrets.
I trembled, and stumbled back, running toward Jennifer.
“Ed? Ed, what is wrong?”
“I—I found–I think it is a body—the bones.”
“What? What?” Jennifer started to cry, immediately, because her mind had leapt to the same place mine had. That could be my brother back there. That could be the father of her son.
She sank down, sitting on the sand, and I fell to my hands and knees. I felt so sick. I stayed there, like that, for several minutes, waiting to see if I would throw up. I never did.
At some point, we recovered ourselves enough to call the police, and I called Nick.
I waited for Nick, and Jennifer walked away from the site, circling and pacing away from the rocks.
The police arrived first, and they brought in a team to collect evidence. Nick arrived soon after the detective that was sent by the police department. The detective questioned me, then Jennifer.
“Ed, you don’t know it is him.” Nick said.
“It might be.”
“What did the detective say about a timeline for identification?”
“He said it would be at least two weeks. They have to send the samples off to the state lab. Our lab doesn’t have the capability to do DNA matching.”
Nick frowned, then said, “Once the detective is finished talking to Jennifer, I’ll go with you both to your parents to tell them.”
Telling my parents had been more draining than I’d anticipated. I dropped onto the sofa when I got home, and I didn’t get up for a while. Nick was going in and out of the house, taking care of Victor, and going outside to make calls. I guess he didn’t want to disturb me.
“Why don’t you go rest in your bedroom? I’ll get dinner.” He said.
I did as he suggested, and after dinner, I went back to my bedroom and did it again. Nick came in and wrapped an arm around me.
“Don’t assume it is him.” Nick said.
I just–you know, I thought about it for years. What it might be like, to get the notice that he’d been found, and….not alive. And I thought I’d be prepared for it, because I had thought about the possibility so much. I was wrong. Completely wrong.”
Nick just ran his hand up and down my arm for a while, and I finally fell asleep.
The next morning, it was raining when I woke up. I took a shower, but it didn’t do much good for my face. I had the bags under my eyes again.
I walked out of my bedroom, and saw Nick reading the paper in the living room.
“Hey—have you been home yet? You don’t have to stay with me during the day. Besides, isn’t it Julio or Kevin’s turn? You’ve been here the past two nights.”
“My relief should arrive any minute now.” Nick said.
“I still think daytime watch is overkill.” I said.
“Mmhmm.” Nick said.
There was a knock at the door just as I was about to get a cup.
“Wow, you weren’t kidding when you said they’d be here any minute.” I said, and opened the door.
It wasn’t who I expected.
Authorial Interjection: Well folks, there it is. Sean is back! I told you he’d be back, and I know many of you wanted him back sooner. Hopefully, it was worth the wait.