Tag Archives: chapter eleven part two

Duck Duck Dead Duck; chapter eleven, part two

“Let’s go through it one more time,” Detective Bradley said, sounding bored.  We were running through what had happened when I went out to the car and almost got shot, and this was the fourth time I had told the tale.  I didn’t know what else he wanted me to say because it wasn’t that dramatic.  At least Detective Sands hadn’t come, which made me happy.

“I opened the door and stepped outside,” I said snidely, not bothering to check my tone.  I was tired and achy and hungry as Detective Bradley had interrupted my breakfast which did not endear him to me.  “Just as I was closing the door, I heard something whiz by my head.  When I realized it was a bullet, I hurried back inside, but not before a second shot was fired.”

“Why were you going outside?”  Detective Bradley asked, as if he hadn’t already asked a hundred times before.

“I had bought my boyfriend some birthday presents, but left them in the car.  I went to go get them so I could wrap them.”

“Where is your boyfriend?”  Detective Bradley asked, taking a new tack.  He caught me off-guard with the question so it took me a minute to respond.

“We don’t live together, Detective.  He was, is, at his apartment.”  I hope, I added in my mind.

“Where was he last night?”  Detective Bradley continue, ignoring my tone.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged, careful not to dislodge my arm from the sling.  “Not here.”

“Any problems between the two of you?”

“Nope,” I said.  “Except that he doesn’t think I should be traipsing off on my own.”

“I would agree with that, Ms. Chen,” Detective Bradley said, scratching his jowl.  “So, you had words?”

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Duck Duck Dead Duck; chapter eleven, part one

After all that build up, it was anticlimactic that he wasn’t at home.  I called his cell, but he wasn’t answering that, either.  Briefly, I wondered where he was, but realized that I wasn’t in the position to query as I was the one who had insisted on my autonomy.  What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, I guess, though I really wanted to know where he was.  I left him a message requesting him to call me no matter how late he got home.  Hey, I didn’t have to work in the morning, so what did I care?  I was a night owl by preference, anyway, so being woken up once in a while was no big deal.

“Have you made up with Raphael?”  My mother poked her head into my room just as I was hanging up my phone.

“Couldn’t get a hold of him,” I said tersely, not wanting to discuss it any further.

“Well, make sure you make up with him before tomorrow night,” my mother reproved me.  “It’s his birthday.”  Shit.  I had forgotten.  Thankfully, I had bought his gifts, though I had left them in the car.  I went to retrieve them, leaving my phone in my room.

Just as I was stepping out of the house, I heard a crack, then something whizzed by my ear.  It took me a few seconds to realize that someone was shooting at me and I better get out of the way, damn it.  It took a few more seconds for the command to travel from my brain to my limbs and for me to respond.  Once I realized the danger I was in, I fumbled with the door and pushed it open.  Diving back inside, I heard another crack, but didn’t feel any pain, so I assumed that I hadn’t been hit.  I slammed the door behind me and locked it.  My heart was pounding as I sat on the floor, waiting to see what would happen next.  It wasn’t until there was a minute of silence that I thought it might be a good idea to peek out the window and see who had shot at me.  Of course, that would make me a sitting target, and I was pretty attached to my head.  I would hate to have it get blown off.  I waited another minute for good measure before risking a peek.  Nothing.  It was only after the adrenalin started fading that I realized I had banged my shoulder pretty good in my attempt not to get shot.  It hurt like hell.

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Plaster of Paris; chapter eleven, part two

Lyle went to see Ursula this morning, and she was gracious enough to receive him into her house.  He promises he’ll tell us about the interaction, but he has something else to relate first.  After his meeting with Ursula, he’s about to get into his truck to leave when this tall, leggy blond clamors out of a red BMW and slithers over to Lyle.  She looks Lyle over lazily, wondering if he’s Mom’s latest.  Because if he is, she tells him, he’s a definite improvement over hubby number three.  The blond laughed throatily, leaning forward so he could look down her low-cut sweater.  Despite the chilly temperatures, she wasn’t wearing a jacket.  Her cranberry-colored sweater clung to every generous curves, while her white jeans left little to the imagination.  Her blond hair draped seductively down her back as she batted her lashes at him.  Apparently, she thought of herself as a modern-day vamp.  Owing to her young age—late teens—and Lyle’s proclivities, she came off as more pathetic than sexy.

He simply said he’s not Ursula’s lover, and there’s a flicker of disappointment in the blond woman’s eyes.  She didn’t back down, however, as she introduced herself.  She’s Lois, the prodigal daughter, the one who gave her mother so much grief.  As Lois talked, she laughed deeply, thrusting out her hip at the same time.  Lyle stared at her for a long minute without saying a word.   Mistaking his stare for interest, Lois winked, moving closer to Lyle.  He felt her fake breasts pressing against his chest, but didn’t move away.  She rubbed against him for a few minutes, a patented lascivious look on her face.  Lyle continued to stare at her without smiling.  Unnerved, she backed off.

When Lyle was sure that he had her attention, he told her that he was Paris’s lover, adding that he was sure she knew who Paris was.  Lyle watched Lois carefully as he pronounced Paris’s name.  She started, unable to cover a flicker of surprise which crossed her face, then tried to cover by saying it was a city in France.  Lyle continued his silent stare.  Either she was the kind of girl used to men talking to hear their own voices, or she’s merely uncomfortable with silence because she babbled about ‘the Greek god who stole Helen of Troy.  Or was he Roman?  I always get them mixed up.’  She smiled again, but there’s a tinge of nervousness this time.  Lyle and Lois locked eyes.  For a minute, it looked as if Lois would just leave, but she caved.

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Rainbow Connection; chapter eleven, part two

We decide to go to the movies that afternoon.  I want to take my mind off the murders, Paris, and anything else depressing.  We choose to see Lord of the Rings part deux at the Metreon, which is a mistake.  Not the movie itself which is truly epic in scope and nature, but attending the Metreon where all the beautiful people hang out intermingled with the tourists.  The prices are jacked up even higher than normal.  There are too many people milling around for my comfort.  I am painfully aware during the entire movie that the large man sitting next to me has his meaty arm invading my personal space.  To say nothing of his body odor which is pungent.  I munch away from an enormous bucket of popcorn until I am sick to my stomach.

Even though I enjoy the movie in all its fantastical glory, I begin to get antsy two-thirds of the way through.  I look around the theater and think I see Maria from group.  I blink twice, but it’s hard to tell in the dark.  I shake my head.  Even if it is her, so what?  It doesn’t mean she’s following me or that she’s the one who tapped me with her car.  I’m just being paranoid, I decide and snuggle further in my seat to avoid looking at the supposed Maria.  It’s no use, however; my concentration is shot.  I can’t focus on the movie, not even on the scrumptious Orlando Bloom as he does his super-fairy act, because my thoughts keep drifting to the death of Mariah.  Of the three murders, hers seems the most senseless to me.  I know all lives are created equal and all that blather, but there’s something about the death of a child that really appalls me.  It’s presumed that someone cannot do anything to ‘earn’ being murdered in so short a time, therefore her death is a particular tragedy.  I don’t know if I agree with that, but the picture of her sticks in my mind.

The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that she must have overheard something or seen something pertaining to either her mother’s murder or Ashley’s murder.  A horrible thought strikes me—what if it’s Leticia or Sergio who killed Rosie, and Mariah discovered something in her aunt’s house that would indict either Leticia or Sergio?  That person would have no choice but to eliminate Mariah.  I hate being so suspicious, but nearly seventy percent of all murders are committed by someone close to the victim.  Who’s closer to Mariah than her aunt and uncle?  After a few minutes thought, however,  I dismiss the idea.  If they wanted to kill their niece, they wouldn’t do it with such a fanfare.  They had plenty of opportunities to kill her quietly and make it look natural.  It couldn’t be to their benefit to have her death be so publicized—I am relieved to be able to strike their names from my mental suspect list.

“Rainbow, time to go!”  I start at the sound of my mother’s voice.  The movie is over, and I have missed the last half hour of it.  The man next to me is staring at me in disapproval, as if he knows I drifted at the end.  My mother and I make our way out of the Metreon and onto the BART.  As we near the Mission, I am able to breathe.  These are my people—not those poseurs at the Metreon.  I smile at everybody rushing by out of sheer gratitude.

“Watch it!”  Someone shouts at me as someone, gender unknown but feels like a man, brushes by and tries to snatch my purse.  Unfortunately for the would-be mugger, I am one of those women who crosses the strap over my chest so he fails in his aim.  Cursing under his breath, the person sprints away.  This happens so fast, all I can do is stare at the retreating back.

“Stop that man!”  I finally shout, though it’s futile to do so.  My attacker is out of sight by the time I gather my wits.  I should have added ‘or woman’, but that’s irrelevant now.

“Are you all right?”  My mother asks me, patting me on the shoulders, chest, and torso.  She’s checking to see if I’m hurt, but I pull away.

“Fine.”  I am upset that I didn’t see the person coming—leaving me totally vulnerable to his assault.  I open my purse to make sure there’s nothing missing.  There isn’t.  I shove my hands in my pockets, trying to warm them.  There’s something added to my right pocket—a note.  I pull it out and unfold it.  It says, ‘Stay the fuck away or you won’t be so lucky next time.  This is your final warning.’  I quickly fold the note and shove it back into my pocket, struggling to maintain the neutral look on my face.

“What is it?”  My mom asks, ever alert to the changes in my expression.  She had been looking around for the attacker, but manages to turn around in time to see me frown.

“Nothing.”  I make up my mind not to mention the note to her as it would only make her worry more.  I don’t fancy hearing again the list of reasons why I should quit the therapy group.  “I’m just a little rattled that someone tried to steal my purse.”  What bothers me the most is that the mugger took such care to make it appear as if he was trying to snatch my purse down to the cursing after ‘missing’.  That spoke of premeditation, as if I couldn’t already discern that from the note.

“We’re going home,” my mother says firmly, tucking her arm through mine.  I don’t protest as I’m feeling worn.  When we get there, she makes some ginger tea to refresh my spirits.

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Don’t Rayne On My Parade; chapter eleven, part two

I shut my eyes and try to think about what I know so far.  However, my mind keeps returning to this information about Paris.  Adopted.  I try to put myself in my shoes and imagine how I’d feel if I realized that the people I thought were my parents weren’t, and that they’d been lying to me all my life.  That would mean Libby isn’t my sister—a thought guaranteed to bring a smile to my face.  It probably also would mean that Rayne isn’t my real name—another cheerful thought.  Maybe this adoption thing wouldn’t be as bad as I imagined.  Then I think about my father and something hits me in the gut.  Not being his real daughter?  Hell, no.  That would kill me to find out.  Even though Paris is not close to his mother and fairly hated his father before his father died, he must still be shocked by the news—especially finding out in this manner.

I stare at the blank television for some time.  My mind is racing with no real thoughts, just more glimmers of this and that.  I am tempted to call Paris’s mother back and cuss her out for not telling him the truth sooner.  I don’t know what she was thinking, despite my attempt at defending her.  She must have known that she couldn’t keep it from him forever, and yet, she never told him.  I wonder what her motivation was for keeping it a secret.  I pick up the phone, ready to hit the redial button.  I hang up without doing so.  Another call by me to her will be counterproductive.  There is nothing more that she’ll be willing to tell me at this point.  Better to wait and let it stew in her mind for a bit.

The phone rings, but I’m in no mood to answer it.  If I try to make chitchat right now, I’ll go out of my mind.  I can only focus on the stunning revelation that Paris just laid on me.  I don’t know how to react.  No matter how supportive I am of Paris and what he’s going through, a part of me is repulsed by the idea of Max being his mother.  Not just because I don’t like the woman and think she’s a blight to humankind.  If it’s true, she knowingly had sex with Paris—no, she seduced him!—knowing that he’s her son.  What kind of fucked-up, twisted mind would think of doing such a thing?  Then throwing it in his face.  It’s almost as if she is punishing him for something that only she understands.  If it’s true, I will never forgive her for pulling that kind of cruel trick on Paris.  If it’s not true, then I curse her for making him sweat and for forcing him to discover his adoptive roots in such a manner.  I don’t know what her game was, but I don’t like it any more than I like her.

I wait.  I don’t bother turning on the television as there isn’t anything I want to watch.  I glance at my watch periodically to make sure that I don’t fall asleep.  I want to check in on Paris exactly an hour after he went into his room.  I don’t think he’ll do anything stupid, but I’m not positive.  I slump down on the couch, unable to sit still.  I want to be a good friend to Paris, but I don’t know what he needs at this time.  I mean, what would I want if I just found out I was adopted?  It’s so far out of my realm of possibilities that I can’t even think what would be my reaction.  My mind races to the emails that Libby sent me earlier.  I have to make a decision by tomorrow what I’m going to tell her.  Truthfully, I’d like to skip the whole sordid event, but I’m afraid that we will never talk to each other again if I don’t agree to go.  There is no way I’m giving in on every point, however.  If I don’t make a stand now, she’ll just keep chipping away until I’m a carbon copy of her.  I resolve to email her stating my case gently, but firmly.

The next time I check my watch, I notice that over an hour has gone by.  I stand up and stretch, feeling as if I’ve aged ten years in the last hour.  I walk to Paris’s room, curiously reluctant to interfere with his emotions.  There are some things that even a best friend shouldn’t be privy to, and this is one of them.  This kind of news is best left revealed by the one to whom the news most affects, in this case, Paris.  Unfortunately, given the circumstances, we don’t have time to play by the conventional rules.  We need the information fast, and we need it unvarnished.  That means that Paris doesn’t have the luxury of sulking over it or hoarding it to himself.  Like it or not, he has to share what he knows with the good inspector as soon as possible.  It falls upon my shoulders to convince him of this.  Squaring my shoulders, I knock on Paris’s door.  Without waiting for a reply, I go on in.  Paris is curled up on his bed, staring at the wall.  I know he’s not looking at his drawings or anything else.  He is simply staring blankly at the wall.

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