Monthly Archives: December 2019

Rainbow Connection; chapter five, part one

Chapter Five; Part One

“Rayne!  The police!”  Paris looks at me with wide eyes even though neither of us is a stranger to the police.  During the last investigation, they talked to one of us at least every other day.

“Sergeant Grimes, Ms. Liang.”  He is over six-feet tall, rangy with a buzz cut and muddy brown eyes.  He is not prepossessing at all, except for the stare which all cops cultivate.  “Detective Brady.”  He nods at a shapely blond with a curvaceous figure not disguised at all by the black pantsuit she chooses to wear.  Her light green eyes are fringed with blond eyelashes—a contrast that should be off-setting, but is seductive instead.  Wire-rimmed glasses cover her eyes.  She is carrying a pad of paper.

“What can I do for you?”  I struggle to keep my voice matter-of-fact so he can’t read the panic on my face.  What can I tell them that won’t make me sound phony, or, worst of all, guilty?

“May we come in?”  The sergeant barges into the room, ignoring the fact that I haven’t answered his question yet.  “We just have a few questions to ask you about the murder of Ashley Stevenson.”  He pauses expectantly, waiting for me to fill in the blanks.  Resigned, I usher him and Detective Brady into the living room.  I gesture for them to sit, but they remain standing.  So do I.  “This won’t last long.  I just have a few questions I have to ask you.”  The sergeant’s voice is genial, as if he’s discussing different flavors of tea.  “Please have your roommate leave.”  Paris exits the room without saying a word.  I know he’s huddled in his bedroom, straining to hear what is being said.  “Ms. Liang, how did you know Ms. Stevenson?”

“We were in a group together,” I say firmly, hoping that will be the end of it.  Of course it isn’t, and they persist in asking me questions.  What kind of group?  Group therapy; therapy group—take your pick.  What was the group specifically for?  For some reason, I am reluctant to answer this question.  “Trauma healing,” I finally mumble, hoping they’ll let it go.  Of course they don’t.  How often does the group meet?  Who is the leader?  Who in the group didn’t like Ashley?  I finally protest as the content of the meetings is confidential.

“Nothing is confidential in a homicide investigation, Ms. Liang,” Sergeant Grimes shoots back as he looms over me.  Neither of us is sitting—he because he refused a seat; I because I won’t put myself at a further disadvantage by sitting down.  The man is over six-feet tall, so he’s already a foot taller than me.  The detective is discreetly scribbling away while the sergeant and I exchange glares.  I wish the cop from the other case, Inspector Robinson, was in charge of this investigation, but I understand that it’s outside of her jurisdiction.

“Sergeant Grimes, why are you asking me about the group?”  I stare at him as haughtily as I can.  “I only went one time.”

“You were involved in another homicide investigation quite recently,” the sergeant explains, a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth.  “Perhaps you weren’t as innocent in the last case as you make yourself out to be.”

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Rainbow Connection; chapter four, part three

Wednesday is uneventful, and I am grateful.  I wake up Thursday morning, cautiously optimistic.  For once, I have slept for several hours on end.  Paris isn’t up yet, which isn’t unusual for him.  He had gone on a date with Lyle last night and hadn’t return home by the time I went to bed which was a little past midnight.  This morning, I make an omelet because I’ve been hankering for one the last few days, but I hadn’t had the energy to actually make one.  Actually, I want scrambled eggs, but I’m no good at that so I stick to omelets which are easier for me to make for some reason.  I toss in some gouda cheese, mushrooms, and onions.  I am not as good a cook as Paris, but I can get by in a pinch.  I toast two pieces of bread to go with my eggs and pull out the tub of butter for my toast, not margarine.  I rarely use butter, but when I do, I infinitely prefer the real thing.  Margarine doesn’t taste right to me.  I pour myself a tall glass of orange juice and sit down to eat.

After I make a dent in my food (ok, six bites.  It’s a dent for me these days), I open the Chronicle to aid digestion.  I toss the front page aside as I save it for last.  The funnies aren’t very funny; the sports’ page only brings bad news.  After I read every other section, I glance at the headlines of the front page.  What I see makes me almost throw up my breakfast on the spot.  There is a big picture of Ashley, only she looks more like Marilyn Manson than Courtney Love.  Her hair is dyed dark brown but that’s not the remarkable part.  The knife slashes across her pretty face overshadows anything she’s done with her hair.  Her shirt is torn to shreds by a knife as well, and there are gaping wounds decorating the top half of her body.  At least, that’s my inference as the picture is cut off right above her breasts, and that part of her shirt is sliced to ribbons. Her eyes are wide with shock.  A moan rises from inside of me, forcing its way out.  My first impulse is to fling the paper in the corner and pretend that I never saw the picture, but being an ostrich is not an option.

I make myself to read the headline.  ‘Punk Princess Perforated!’ would have been appropriate, but the Chron is not that crass.  Or that ballsy.  Instead, the headline read, ‘Marin County Debutante Slain!’  Not nearly as catchy, but nevertheless accurate.  My eyes drop to the article.  Ashley Stevenson, seventeen years old.  A senior at Marin Academy.  Her daddy is a CEO with Godiva Chocolatier.  Her mommy was independently extremely wealthy before she died of cancer.  I steel myself to read the rest of the grim news.  Her body was found in the tennis courts of her school which were usually locked for the night, but were open last night for some unfathomable reason.  Her body was found by the cops who patrol the grounds once or twice a night.  They wouldn’t have noticed except the door to the tennis courts was wide open which it never was after school hours.  By the time they reached the body, she was already dead.  Stabbed.  Suspicion of drugs.  The paper hints of sexual interference, but refuses to elaborate.  “Mr. Stevenson is devastated,” a ‘close family friend’ says tearfully.  “My daughter should not have died,” Mr. Stevenson declares, looking twenty years older than his age.  “I know the police will get to the bottom of this.”

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