It was the next morning. Hazel was still reeling from the visit she had gotten from the detectives yesterday. She had called her Dad who had immediately gotten on the phone with the mayor, but she knew how it worked. She would have to comply eventually. And then they would know.
She picked up her phone and dialed a number. It rang several times. No answer. She picked up her car keys and was about to step out of the door when the front door opened. Jasmine and Toni walked in.
“Thank God you guys,” Hazel said. “I was just on my way to look for you.” She glanced at Toni. “Aren’t you grounded?” She asked Toni.
“It’s not like they can ground me twice.” Toni said. “So I heard the Cops came here again.”
“And I heard they caught you in Tom’s apartment.” Jasmine said. “So how long have you been sleeping with him?” She said disdainfully
“Keep your voices down my mom is home. And you’re one to talk Jaz” Hazel said. “Your boyfriend is the one in jail right now.”
“They released him” Toni said before Jaz could reply. “I saw his mum come and get him at the station.” She looked at Jaz “He didn’t call you?”
“We are not on speaking terms right now” Jaz retorted. “So what are you going to do?” She asked Hazel.
“I am just going to submit a sample.” Hazel said. “I have no other choice.”
“You know that is your hair right? I mean we were all there that night.” Toni said. “I thought Mrs. Heathway was helping you.”
“That was just a one-time thing.” Hazel said. “Besides, just because my hair was on Carla’s clothes doesn’t prove anything.”
“It places you at the scene of the crime” Jaz said. “Which is more than the police have right now.” She paused. “Do you think we should just tell them what happened?”
“What good will that do now?” Toni said. “I think we should just stay quiet and hope they don’t pin this on us.”
“Yeah you prefer someone else to do the pinning,” Jaz said spitefully.
“You did not-”
“Both of you quit it.” Hazel said. “The last thing we need to do is fight each other.”
“Yeah whatever” Toni said. She looked at her watch. “Look I have to go before they call and realize I am gone again. Did you get in touch with Jeremiah?”
“I called him but he didn’t answer his phone. Are you sure that was him you saw at the party Jaz?” Hazel asked
“A hundred percent,” Jaz said. “He was definitely in Newport that night.” She looked at Hazel. “Is there something we need to know about your boyfriend?”
“We hooked up just once.” Hazel protested. “Okay maybe twice but that doesn’t make him my anything. Let’s just hope he finds John.”
“Leaving now,” Toni said. “Call me when you hear from Jeremiah.”
Toni turned and walked out the door.
Hazel turned to Jasmine. “You know you could have hidden the disgust in your voice a lot more”
“What?” Jasmine said. “She sleeps with Carla’s boyfriend behind her back while they are still dating and you’re letting her off the hook? You of all people know how that feels like.”
“Look I am just saying there might be more to the story that Toni isn’t ready to share.” Hazel said climbing up the stairs.
“I don’t care.” Jasmine said following Hazel to her room. “She saw her hurting, Did you see how depressed she was when they broke up? And the little sop was there acting like she cared, meanwhile it was all her fault.”
“Maybe she did care.” Hazel said, opening up her closet and running her hands through it.
“Oh please she just felt guilty. As she should have” Jasmine sighed. “So what are you going to do?”
“Take care of it.” Hazel said. “How is Ben doing? I hear he is getting suspended.”
“I don’t know probably,” Jaz said. “Why would Carla cover for him anyway? It’s not like they were friends. She didn’t even like him, said he was too snotty.”
“Well it is Carla.” Hazel said picking out a dress. “Funny I remember you two fighting over it.”
“You mean when I started dating him, or when she lied that she framed him?”
“Both.” Hazel said. “So if you can forgive her for trying to frame Ben,”
“Then I’ll forgive Toni?” Jasmine snorted. “Not going to happen.” She paused. “Do you want me to come with you?”
“No I can do this on my own.” Hazel said. She looked at her phone. “Oh, I just got a text from Jerry.”
“Oh so he is Jerry now, without the smelly.” Jasmine said
Hazel gave her the evil eye. The she read aloud. “Found him. I am going to need tons of caffeine to get him awake. Calling the Cops.”
“Why is he calling the Cops?” Jasmine said.
“It’s better than them finding him themselves.” Hazel said. “So you’ll talk to him about Newport?”
“Sure.” Jasmine said. “Call me when you finish from the cops.” She headed out the door.
“Will do.” Hazel said. “Later.”
* * *
Have you ever heard of Jeremiah Gates?” James asked, putting down the phone receiver.
“Yeah name sounds familiar” Corbin said putting jalapeno sauce on his sandwich. “What’s with him?”
“He is friends with John Heathway”. James said. “He found our boy.”
“Wait, what? Corbin said with his mouth full. He swallowed and drank some water. “Where did he find him?”
“He didn’t say. Just said John is coming down to the station to speak with us.” James said.
“Question is where has this been all this time? I know he wasn’t home the night Carla was found but at least when you hear your sister is dead-“.
“And according to Adrian’s story he saw her on Thursday night. She was found on Sunday.” James added. “But from the way Gates was talking, I think he just found out Carla’s dead.”
“How?” Corbin asked. “It has been all over the news.”
“He was probably holed up in a room getting high.” James said. “They’ll be here in an hour.” By the way, did you get back the results from the lab?” James asked.
“Yeah the only DNA they were able to recover was Carla’s. The rest was corrupted.”
“Crap so we got nothing on Hazel.” James said
“Not exactly.” Corbin said. “Apparently there is a test they can do. They can compare two hair samples and tell if it came from the same person”
“So we just have to get a lock of her hair.” James said grimly. He picked up his bagel and took a bite into it. Then something caught his eye on the paper.
“Have you seen this?” He showed it to Corbin
Corbin looked at it. It showed a picture of Eric and Maria Stuart at the Fairway gala. They were accepting some kind of award.
“Yeah, it’s some charity ball or something.” Corbin said. “What about it?”
“Look at the far right of Eric Stuart. Tell me who you see at the edge of the door?”
“Christ. Is that?”
“What was Carla Heathway doing in Harbor when she was supposed to be in Newport?”
* * *
“Look I am just saying it didn’t look like anyone knew she was there” Corbin argued as they drove down the road. “She was definitely trying to hide.”
“Well she did a very terrible job.” James said. “She was meeting someone there. I’m betting the Stuarts would enlighten us” James pulled in front of the gate. He saw a silver Ford rolling off the property. It was Hazel. James got out of the car. So did Hazel
“So you are checking up on me now?” Hazel asked walking towards James.
“I was actually coming to see your parents. Is your mum home?” James asked.
“I don’t know. Can I tell you anything without a lawyer?” Hazel said crossing her arms.
“Of course you can. You are eighteen aren’t you?” James responded
“You know what I mean.” Hazel said.
James sighed. “So where are you headed?”
“I was actually on my way to see you.” She replied. “You gave me a subpoena right?” she said directing her voice over James shoulder. James looked back and saw Corbin walking up
“So your big shot lawyer couldn’t find a way to throw that out?” He asked.
“I guess not.” Hazel said. “So I should probably warn you guys before I submit it that-”
“The hair is yours?” James asked.
Hazel nodded her head. “I saw Carla that night.”
“What night?” James asked.
“Between seven and eight Pm, last Friday” Hazel said. “She looked like she had been chased down the forest.”
“What did she want?” James asked.
“Cash,” Hazel said. “She wanted to go disappear for a while.”
“I don’t know okay.” Hazel said. “But that was the last time I saw her.”
“So you gave it to her?” James said
“No I didn’t have any lying around.” Hazel said. “I tried convincing her to stick around but she didn’t want to.”
“So how do you plan on backing up your story?” Corbin asked.
Hazel handed over an envelope. “This is the security footage of the camera in our backyard.” She said. “It’s all there.”
“Is there audio?” James asked.
Hazel shook her head. “No just video.”
James looked at Corbin. They agreed silently. “Would you mind coming down and taking a polygraph?”
Hazel was hesitant. “Why I just told you everything and you have the tape.”
“Yeah but it would be better if you got everything on record once and for all”
Hazel paused for a moment and the shrugged. “Fine. When can I come?”
“I’ll take you back. O’Brian can finish up with your parents.”
“Okay fine.” Hazel said. “Let’s do this”
* * *
“Miss Stuart do you remember seeing Carla at the ball?” Corbin asked
Maria Stuart looked closely, “Well, that is Carla but I did not see her there.”
“Was anyone in her high school present there?”
“Well it is a family event, so lots of her colleagues attended with their parents.” She said. “Well except for my daughter and her friends, they were in Newport.”
“So was Carla” Corbin said. “Yet here she is.”
“Detective what are you trying to say?” Maria asked.
“Just that it seems everybody is not where they are supposed to be,” Corbin said.
“And you are talking about Hazel right?” Maria said. “As if that subpoena you served her wasn’t enough you want to pin this on her too?”
“Ma’am we are just trying to do our jobs” Corbin said. “Just trying to find out who killed your daughter’s friend.”
“Then why are you bothering Hazel.”
“Everyone has a piece of the whole story” Corbin said. “It is our job to get those pieces and put them together. In fact, Hazel is at the station helping us with that now.”
“What?” Maria said standing up. “Why wasn’t I called?”
“Hazel is eighteen isn’t she?” Corbin said. “I mean I know Toni and Jasmine aren’t yet because their parents were with them during interrogation but you stayed outside when Hazel was having hers.”
“Yes but I should be informed of these things” Maria said. She sighed sitting down. “Look I’ll get you a list of everyone who was at the gala, and I’ll see if I can get the security tapes too.”
“Thank you.” Corbin said standing up. “I’ll be in touch”
* * *
“So I’’ just ask you a series of questions and all you need is to answer yes or no, unless you are asked to elaborate.” The technician said. “Got it”
“You need to speak out.” He said
“Good lets’ begin. Please state your full name”
“Hazel Marie Stuart”
“How old are you?”
“When is you birthday?”
“January 3rd 1997”
“Did you kill Carla Heathway?”
“No.” The readings were normal.
“Did you see her the day she died?”
“I don’t know which night that was.”
Damn, James thought. That was a trick question.
“Did you see her on Friday April 10th?”
“Do you know who killed her?”
“No.” Again they were normal.
“Did any of your friends know she was in town?”
“No.” The readings changed. James leaned forward
“Are you sure none of you friends knew she was in town?” He asked.
Hazel paused. “Well Ben knew, but I didn’t know that at the time.”
“How about Jasmine and Toni. Did they see her on April 10th too?”
“No.” Hazel said. The readings went back to normal. James nodded at the technician to continue.
The interview went on for almost an hour. Finally they were through.
“Thank you for your patience Hazel.” James said. “You can go now.”
Breathing a sigh of relief Hazel picked up her bag. She was about to head out the door, and then she paused. “Detective?”
“Yeah?” James said turning around.
“Everyone loved Carla.” She said. “I don’t know of anyone in their right mind who would hurt her.”
“Are you trying to tell me something?” James asked.
Hazel shook her head. “Just saying,” She said. Then she walked out the door.