“She’s pretty,” Harper spoke over my ear and I jumped.
“God Harper, must you always do that?” I snapped dropping my drawing pencil.
“Why so jumpy detective?” She laughed while dropping a mug beside my table.
“I’m not jumpy,” I scoffed, grabbing the steaming mug before taking a sip.
“You hardly draw these days and you missed dinner so decided to get you a coffee,” she shrugged.
“You are nosy that's why you are here,” I rolled my eyes, setting my mug down.
“So, who’s the pretty lady?” she wiggled her eyebrows at me, “I have only seen you draw a pretty girl once and that was a long time ago,” she added.
Harper was just as observant with a sharp memory as me, but there was one more factor: she was nosy. She is the only one who knows how to startle me because she is a sneaky troublemaker who likes hovering over me while I draw. She knows that when I draw, I lose focus of my surroundings with my attention directed to making a drawing come to life.
“Stop being a nosy little brat. Thanks for the coffee,” I said, raising the mug at her while shooing her away.
“I know when I'm not needed,” she rolled her eyes at me with a huff, “I’m going to bed. Your food is in the microwave so make sure you eat it.”
“Why? Are you trying to poison me?” I joked with a smirk while sipping my mug.
“Too late you already drank the coffee. Not very clever of you detective,” she countered with a winning smirk of her own.
“Well played,” I nodded, almost choking on the hot concoction.
“Night Jam,” she winked before walking away with a laugh.
“I hate that name,” I said through a smirk.
“Too bad,” she responded, looking over her shoulder with a grin and I shook my head.
I placed a half-drank mug of coffee on the table before I looked back at my drawing. Harper was right, she was pretty. Her face was staring back at me as I decided to explore my mind so I could finish the drawing. She was the most beautiful woman I had seen after her. Those funny feelings I felt ten years surfaced today after I met Miss Parker. I was captivated by everything about this therapist after our encounter that’s for sure. It made me feel all silly inside.
I feel stupid for not getting her name or number. I sighed and grabbed my pencil flipping the page. I decided to sketch the moment my eyes met her and stupidly lost all the right words and made a fool of myself. A smile curled after I looked at the sketch of her eyes, they were beautiful and familiar. She also had brown eyes.
Harper was right because I have never sketched any other pretty girls. I have only drawn a sketch of that girl I met for a short while ten years ago. Wherever she ended I hope she was alive. A part of me hopes it’s true because after that accident it was as if she disappeared. I went to all the five hospitals in the city and blew my pocket money looking for her so I could return her bracelet with no luck. She is the reason I decided to be a cop like my father. Before that night our paths crossed, I saw myself as an artist and spent my afternoons after college watching other artists' graffiti while I sketched them. I had hoped that I would meet the great artist El Anatsui.
I guess being a cop was more in my blood than I expected and something about that girl has always bothered me and there are questions I can never answer. I have achieved much in my years as a detective and solved plenty of cases but this one still feels fresh. Why was she running? What does KI stand for? Those guys in suits were bad news. I didn’t need to be a cop then, to figure that out. Why would I never get rid of that bracelet? If only I had found her I bet I would have solved the mystery ages ago.
“James?” I heard Harper call out from behind me.
“Huh? Yeah,” I looked as she rubbed her eyes.
“Don’t tell me you haven’t moved from there for the past hour?”
“I got a bit carried away, why are you still up? Don’t you have exams in the morning?”
“I was down to get a bottle of water,” she waved the bottle, “Don’t forget to eat?” she said moving up the stairs.
“Yes, mom,” I responded.
“You also told me to remind you about the flash drive,” her voice came in between yawns.
“Flash drive,” I spoke as I jolted up moving to where my jacket was.
I promised Romans, I would watch the feed and close the case. I decided to heat my food and insert the flash to my laptop and watch the footage while having my dinner. Harper probably would skin me alive if I don’t finish her cooking again. She was a great cook close to mom’s cooking but I sometimes eat less food because of my late lunches. I smiled as I tasted the chicken casserole. She had made mom’s favorite dish. She was showing more of mom every day. I chewed a mouthful as I watched the footage from Parker’s Associates.
“What is up with you?” I asked Nick who was sitting across from me at the restaurant.
“Why would you let a detective into our security room without a warrant?”
I cursed myself for lying about having dinner with my parents tonight because after their lunch dad decided to drag Nick out here with me. I think he was punishing me for lying because they were supposed to meet us at Julie’s at 7:30 PM and it was two minutes after eight and they were still not here. I was glad I had worn my watch after I went to change because constantly pressing my phone was probably going to annoy Nick more. There was something off about him since he burst into the security room feeling entitled.
“I don’t see what the problem is, you were the one who insisted on installing them all over the building,” I looked at him.
“For a good reason.” He responded without looking at me.
I waited in vain for him to explain but he raised his hand and a waitress came almost instantly as if Nick was royalty. “Whiskey double neat,” Nick spoke, the waiter left with a nod.
“Are you regular here?” I asked and he scoffed before smirking.
“You could say that,” he looked proud and I chose to ignore it.
“Excuse me,” I said.
“Where are you going?” he scrunched his forehead.
“I need to find out where mom and dad are. It's almost a quarter past 8.” I pushed the chair back without giving a second thought to his disapproving look.
I was getting a bad vibe from Nick and mom and dad being late, was unlike them. I walked out of the expensive restaurant feeling the breeze. I dialed dad first, but his phone went to voicemail, and I dialed mom and it was the same.
“That’s odd,” I said my thought out loud dialing the landline instead but there was no answer. I was worried and looked back to where Nick was before I decided to leave a message on the answering machine.
I couldn’t believe I was looking at her after so many years. Kioni was mere meters away from me. My whole body wanted to run and take her and bolt, but I knew we would not go far before they found us. I barely made it out alive and besides, I haven’t planned this far as I watched her with a phone in her ear. Something was wrong with the expression she had on her face. That was always her thinking hard and panicking face. I decided to move closer as she placed her phone on her ear for the third time.
“Mom? Dad? Are you guys there? It’s almost an hour and I’m stuck here waiting on you guys. I know dad is trying to punish me but-,” she said with worry, “You guys know I worry a lot so please get back to me or else I’m coming there if I don’t hear anything in the next 15 minutes. I hope you are alright,” she hung up the phone.
I took a chance as she was making her way inside pulling my dark hoody off as I walked to her. I needed to look her in the eye. I moved faster before she reached the entrance as the breeze blew over her face and she pushed back her dark curls which had been covering most of her face. I didn’t realize I had blocked her path as I saw her face fuller, her right hand still holding the curls back before she spoke.
“Excuse me,” she smiled looking at me in the eyes.
“What happened to your forehead?” I asked, horrified.
“Not a lot of people get to see this scar. Guess that means I can tell you something I never tell people. I was hit by a truck ten years ago and well the scar is proof plus the memory loss,” she shrugged.
‘What!?” I blinked at her causality.
She smiled at me before walking back into the restaurant leaving me standing in shock. I managed to pull back my hood and push the cap closer to my eyes. This explains a lot of things as I walked further down the street avoiding all the open areas. If Razor and Jay were to see me, I would be dead, and all this would be for nothing. Those two never quit. I barely made it alive the second time they tried to kill me. They blew up the wrong person thinking it was me.
Guess the mystery of Kioni’s silence is solved. She looked at me like I was a stranger and there was never a hint of her remembering me. I didn’t notice I let my rage take over as I was punching the wall before my hand was shaking with my knuckles bleeding. I should have taken her bracelet before she ran. She probably looks at the bracelet without any idea there is a small memory card that would change her life and mine, not to mention the power it holds.
All her memories are within her grasp if only she could remember how to unlock them. A lot of people have died for the information that is in her possession. I punched the wall with new rage not caring about the pain. My body had suffered way worse than this. I needed to come up with a solid plan to get Kioni Turner back no matter the cost. I wish I knew where Sebastian was. I sure need his help now more than ever.
James After an hour of skipping and punching next on my laptop I had almost missed the date in question and smirked as I watched the proof that I needed in front of me. Esther Hernandez was a filthy rich liar and the proof was all too clear to miss. I smiled at the discovery as I paused the footage. I hit myself in the head because I had skimmed through the report and it was too obvious. The clues were all there and I was ignoring them. She was jealous or embarrassed when Elijah broke things off with her. She was too proud to accept he had moved on. How do I always miss the answer when it’s always in front of me? James Miller Pega sometimes you can be so dull but right now you are one clever detective. The town will be talking about this for a few weeks. I laughed, shaking my head as I pressed the mouse to drag back on the footage and watched it again. It was like watching a crime series but this time it featured three people, Elijah the victim. Esther, as the puppet and mommy dear
Kioni I could feel shaking as something rattled or moved and my body was supine. I couldn’t figure out what was happening. I tried to open my eyes but the blinding light was too much, making my eyes roll back. I wanted to speak or get an idea of where I was but something was happening within me. My body was burning up. I could feel it and my head felt like concrete as if it was forcefully pressed down trapping me. It was too much and something was fighting and hammering in front of my heavy eyes. My body was resisting and I was fighting with a younger version of myself for control and I had managed to fight back which made me hear voices. “What's happening to her?” I heard a voice shouting but I couldn’t remember where I knew the voice from. “Stay on your seat, sir. She is convulsing. Dean, how far until we get to the hospital?” A female voice shouted. The voices faded again as if I was forced back into my trance. I was face to face with the one who was responsible for everything a
James I woke up in a good mood and I couldn’t wait to get to the office and hopefully the warrant of arrest will be on my desk. I wanted to do this as quickly as possible and hopefully close the case by the afternoon. It will give me enough time to drop by Parker & Associates and show her my gratitude and work on my Pega charm. I couldn’t wait to see her again. I smiled. “Jesus put a shirt on. You own a closet full of them.” Harper walked into the kitchen with a yawn. “Good morning to you too. Grumpy much today?” “You are in a good mood I see. What the hell did you do?” She asked, grabbing a mug to pour herself the already brewing coffee. “Can’t I be nice without you being suspicious? What am I to you, some bad guy?” I looked at her rolling my eyes. “God this tastes awful,” she spoke spitting back the coffee in her mug, “No you are my very good brother,” she responded and I smiled, “but you never cook so it’s either you finally decided to get rid of me or you want something,” she
Kioni I could smell the scent of disinfectant I had familiarized myself with over the months I had been hospitalized after the accident. The stench waffled in my nostrils as I opened my eyes feeling the worst of headaches. I blinked around the white walls steering my head with a wince. “She’s awake,” I heard my mother speak. “Thank God,” I heard my father speak after her as he jumped to be next to me. “What happened?” I asked, blinking again. “My sweet child,” my mother moved closer brushing her warm hands on my cheek, “Something happened last night, and you were rushed here.” “Let’s not talk about this right now, dear,” my father looked at me with a smile before looking at mother, “She has been through a lot and if it wasn’t for Nick,” he shook his head fighting words. “Who the hell is Nick?” I asked, looking at them. “Oh, my sweet baby, you know Nick, right?” she forced a smile before they shared a look. “What is happening, mom?” I looked at her first, “Daddy?” I looked at h
James I had just walked into the hospital after lying to the nurse that I was doing an investigation so I could see Miss Parker before anyone else and Nick had beat me to it. The lovely receptionist Anna was so kind as to tell me she was at the hospital and extra shared that she was very much single which brought a triumphant smile to my face. I quickly wiped the smile off as worry took over and I asked her to give me the details of where she was before I rushed here. I didn’t get a chance to ask what had happened and looking at her now I was confused. She looked fine when I walked in and the only thing I saw was panic. “Miss Parker, are you alright? Do you need a doctor?” I asked. “No, no,” she shook her head, “I need you to tell this man that I don’t know him. I already told my parents that I don’t remember him, and he is making me uncomfortable.” “WHAT?!” Nick spat out. He looked furious but quickly took a deep breath. Something about him was making the bells in my head ring.
Kioni It was happening again. I remember this moment so well. Back when I was sixteen, I woke up from a coma after six weeks and some people came to see me and it made me defensive. I would forget the faces of some detectives when they questioned or made me uncomfortable. I forgot some of their faces because I used to have blackouts from pushing myself too hard to remember. I don’t know what had happened, but I couldn’t remember Nick. I tried to make myself remember but my head hurt, and my vision was beginning to become foggy. I was glad when I was discharged and told to take a few days to rest. I wanted to go back to my apartment and my parents wouldn’t have it. “Make sure you get some sleep, honey.” “Yes, mom, you don’t have to worry. You will be across the hall if anything happens.” “How about we let her have her rest,” my father walked to kiss my forehead before brushing my soothing me. “Thanks dad. I already feel better,” I spoke with my eyes closed. “Make sure you get som
James I had the arrest warrants ready yesterday but hadn’t arrested them due to the mother and daughter in question being out of town. There are plenty of stores in the city for them to go on a wild shopping spree. I would know because I have a shopping driven sister who goes to Springs Mall every week. Too bad their out of town shopping for the social event happening at the Springs City Hall tonight will end with them in cuffs. I did leave a message to be notified of their arrival, but I was frankly told they would be too busy with the event to bother with me. I scoffed but they would soon regret acting richly entitled when I slap them with the warrant while reading them their rights. I know the chief is not going to be pleased with me after tonight, but I couldn’t resist showing up in front of all those rich snobs and take one of their own. I’m not going to lie because I’m going
Kioni I was staring but at James, he was here and I caught a glimpse of him and he looked like he was making his way toward me. My heart skipped making me look away for a second before looking at him and he was smiling at me. He winked at me and waved over as if calling over someone a little disappointed he was not waving me over. I watched where he was looking and two police officers in uniforms walked to where he was. I kept looking at him before he nodded at them saying something before they followed him. He pulled out a piece of paper from his back pocket before stopping in front of a girl wearing a pink off-shoulder princess dress. I didn’t hear what he said because there were gasps around as people looked. James nodded at the lady officer who cuffed the girl before she screamed and shook. “DADDY,” she shrieked.