“Can’t you go a day without needing to be taken to the hospital?” Dale Melon asked as he walked into her room. Her partner wore a forced smile.
“Yeah, because I so wanted to see my apartment blown apart,” Anne shot back. She wasn’t sure how she survived the blast, but she was pretty sure it was Erik’s doing. All she could remember was Erik screaming at her to run, and then she woke up in the hall. Oh, and there was pain. Lots of pain.
“What’s the damage?” Anne asked softly.
“Your next door neighbors were safely at church, so they’re alive,” Dale said, “Your downstairs neighbor wasn’t so lucky. She bled out before fire-rescue could reach her.” Anne didn’t know the young woman other than passing each other on the staircase. She was a student, Anne thought. Then, Anne perked up. Dale hadn’t mentioned a body in her apartment. What had happened to Erik?
“Listen, when you get out of here, if you need a place to stay,” Dale let the offer hang.
“Thanks, but I’ll find a place,” Anne said. The Avalonians would probably demand that she stay at that safehouse. Well, it was still better than staying with Dale, or her parents. Speaking of which…
“Dale, are my folks here?” Anne asked.
“They went down to the cafeteria to get some food,” Dale answered. “Your dad wanted to stay, but your mom convinced him it was okay since Jason and I are here.” Dale gave her a conspiratorial look. “Jason caught your bombing. He’s glad you’re okay and all, but he needs to ask you some questions.”
“Do I need my attorney?” Anne asked, quietly.
“I don’t think so, but it’s Jason,” Dale answered. “I can stay in the room if you want.”
“Thanks,” Anne answered. Jason was probably the second-best detective in homicide, as far as Anne was concerned. She was better, but not by much. Jason was good enough that he might just stumble into this Avalonian mess, and stubborn enough to get himself killed. Dale motioned for their colleague to come into the room.
Even in the dark blue suit, Jason looked like he should be on an Army recruiting poster. Tall, tanned, with cropped black hair and intense blue eyes, Jason had caught the attention of most of the women in the department. He was also scary good at reading suspects and knowing how the approach to get the most out of them. As he stepped into the room, his demeanor was purely professional. Oh, this wasn’t good.
“Anne, Dale told you I was assigned to your case?” Jason asked. Anne nodded. “Okay, I need you to tell me what happened.”
“That guy Kurt from last night invited me out to brunch with some friends of his,” Anne started. “When I came back, there was a man in my apartment. Caucasian, slim, and short, maybe five four. Dark hair. Jeans and a hoodie. I drew my gun and ordered him to stop. He moved at me and I fired. I think he fell out the window. I went to go check and called Dale. I told him about the intruder, and that’s the last thing I remember.” Anne hoped that jived with what the crime scene people dug up. Jason didn’t say anything as he wrote down some notes.
“Have you ever seen the intruder before today?” Jason asked.
“Not that I can remember,” Anne said.
“And no idea why he’d want to bomb your apartment?” Jason asked. Anne shook her head. “Okay, that’s all I have for right now, but I’d like you to talk with Jamie about a sketch. This may be related to those murders.”
“Maybe,” Anne said. Jason knew she was leaving stuff out. She’d seen him in too many interrogations. He never gave up that quickly unless he had some information to counter something she’d said. Exactly what did he have? Fortunately, her parents came to her rescue.
“Don’t worry, we’ll have your room all ready for you,” Barbara Hearst said, patting her daughter’s hand. “You can stay with us for as long as you need to.” Anne stifled a groan. She loved her mom, she really did. She just wished her mom was just a little less ready to keep her locked up in her old bedroom until a suitable husband was willing to take her away.
“Thanks, mom, but some friends of mine already offered,” Anne said. Well, the Avalonians hadn’t offered yet, but Anne was sure that they would want to keep her where they could guarantee her safety. Maybe even take her across into Avalon.
“Dale?” her mom asked with a hopeful twinkle in her eye. Damn it, Anne had worked nearly a year to knock that idea out of her mom’s head.
“No, some other friends,” Anne said.
“What’s wrong with staying at our house?” Fred Hearst asked. Her dad gave Anne one of his famous stern looks. Then her mom added that hurt look and guilt surged through Anne. Damn it, why couldn’t they play fair?
“Look, it’s not that I don’t appreciate it, but we’re not sure why my apartment was bombed,” Anne started.
“BOMBED?” her mom screeched. Okay, maybe the department was keeping that close to the vest.
“They told us there had been an explosion, not that it was a bomb,” her dad said, his stern countenance deepening, “It was one thing when you were chasing down murderers, but now someone is trying to kill you. I think it’s time we discussed you leaving the police.” Anne did groan this time. Her parents were already just barely coping with her job.
“I’m not going to have this argument with you again, Dad,” Anne said, “You don’t have to like what I do, but it’s not just a job for me.”
“That was fine up until someone tried to murder you,” her dad shot back, “Don’t make your mother and me go through that again.” Anne visibly flinched. Her mother started crying.
“That was a low blow,” Anne said through clenched teeth. “And I’m not going to stop living my life because of what happened to Miranda.” Father and daughter traded stony glares.
“Stop it, both of you,” her mom snapped. There were a few more snuffles as her mom composed herself. “Annie, would you at least stop by after you get out?” Anne sighed.
“Yes mom, I’ll swing by after they let me out of here,” Anne said. From the look on her father’s face, it was clear that going over there would be the start of round two. At least she’d have a temporary respite. Her parents made their good-byes and Anne slumped back in the bed.
“Mein Gott, I can see where you get your stubbornness,” Kurt said as he stepped into her room.