“So Thomas knew our killer.” Corbin said as they listened to the message again the next morning.
“Seems like it.” James said. “But guess the poison kicked in before he could tell me who it is.”
“Didn’t Finch say he died between 10 pm and midnight?” Corbin asked.
“Yeah, but it could have taken him an hour to bleed out.” James said. He sighed and stretched his neck. He had been up all night.
“You should really get some rest buddy.” Corbin said. “You can’t use that brain of yours if it’s tired.”
“Yeah I know.” James said. “So I should probably get something for that.” He got up and picked his jacket. “You coming?”
“Where are we going.” Corbin asked.
“To get some coffee.” James replied.
“You know, that’s what interns are for.” Corbin said following James as he walked towards the elevator
“You see any coming to work on a weekend?” James asked pressing the button.
“That’s the problem,” Corbin said getting into the elevator when it opened. “Not enough dedication.”
“Besides I could use the drive.” James said.
They bickered for a while as the drove down to the coffee house. They were still bickering when they got inside.
“What can I get you guys?” the girl at the counter said.
“Two coffees, black.” James said.
“Make one with cream and sugar.” Corbin interjected. “I hate black coffee.” He said defensively when James looked at him in disdain.
“I didn’t say anything.” James said amused.
“Sure you didn’t.” Corbin said collecting his cup. “You keep on drinking poison. You know what happened to Bridges.”
“Thomas Bridges?” The girl asked.
“Yeah you know him?” Corbin asked turning to her.
“Yeah, he was a regular here.” She said. “Always came in with Carla. Everyone knew her.”
“Is that right.” James said sounding disinterested.
“Yeah.” She said. “Was a good tipper too. Cant believe he is gone.”
“So you were on a first name basis with him?” Corbin asked.
“Not really.” She said blushing. “Just knew him from around. He never stayed long though.” She said wistfully.
“Never?” James said still sounding disinterested picking up his cup and getting ready to leave.
“Nah Well except for a couple of days ago, he was here all evening.” She said.
James ears perked up. “Say from what time?” He asked.
“I don’t know, he came in around five pm and I don’t think he left until well after eight pm.” She replied.
“On Thursday correct?” James asked.
She thought in her head, “Yeah I guess that’ll be Thursday.”
“What exactly did he order.” Corbin asked joining in on the conversation.
The girl looked confused. “What’s with all the questions?”
James and Corbin brought out their badges and showed it to her. She looked flustered.
“Well he kept ordering coffee.” She said. “Am I like being interrogated right now?” She asked looking mildly excited.
James smiled in amusement. “Not exactly. So did you recognize anyone who he met with?”
Her face went blank. “I don’t know, I mean it was a pretty busy day. Not as slow as it is now.” She nodded at the almost empty shop.
“Think harder.” Corbin urged. “Anyone who stood out?”
She bit her lip. “Well there was this one guy. I didn’t see him talking to him, but they kinda exchanged looks like they knew each other.”
“Can you describe him?” James asked.
“Well he is was tall,” she began dreamily. “Brown hair, blue eyes, had this perfect chin, and this cute smile-“
“Describe the guy you saw not Thomas.” James said rolling his eyes. This girl was obviously infatuated.
“Oh,” she said. “He was white, of medium height, black hair, was kinda built I guess.” She finished.
“And you are sure they knew each other?” James asked.
“Yeah pretty sure.” She said. They kept eyeballing each other.
“Thanks.” James said putting a five dollar bill on the table. “We may have to bring you in and answer a few more questions, maybe talk to a sketch artist.”
“Sure that’d be cool.” She said.
“Alright,” Corbin looked at her name tag. Eve. “We’ll be in touch.”
* * *
“Jasmine I can’t find my books have you seen them?” Keith said from Jasmine’s door.
“Which ones? You have plenty.” Jasmine replied.
“Calculus and trig. I can’t find them anywhere.” Keith replied
“Have you checked the porch?” Jasmine asked. “You were reading there last night .”
“Sure thanks.” Keith said. He left. Jasmine stretched and got up. It was 10am. She, Toni and Hazel had gotten back home at One am. Thankfully her mom was working late at the hospital so she didn’t get in trouble She heard Keith’s voice from the Porch.
“Found it.” He called.
“You’re welcome.” She called back. This was pretty much their conversation. They only spoke to each other when they needed something or wanted to ask something. Ever since Keith Senior died, they had pretty much drifted away from each other. Jasmine had been close to her dad, but she knew Keith shared a more special bond with him. He spent most of his time in the graveyard now.
She was about to hop in the shower when her phone rang. It was Hazel.
“Hey what’s up?” Jasmine said into the phone.
“I can’t find Toni.” Hazel said her voice panicked. “I called her house and then her mom told me she never came home last night.”
“But we dropped her home last night didn’t we?” Jasmine said. “I mean we watched her walk through the door.”
“Well her mom said her bed wasn’t slept in, and her phone is going straight to voice mail.” Hazel said still panicked.
“Hazel chill,” Jasmine said. “I’m sure she is fine. She probably went to clear her head.”
“Well I would feel so much better if she just picked up her phone.” Hazel said more calmly
“I’ll ask around see if anyone saw her.” Jasmine said said. “Meet up later?” She asked
“Sure. I’ll keep trying.” Hazel said. The line went dead. Jasmine sighed. She knew where Toni was.
* * *
She knocked on the door. The yellow crime scene tape was still on the door. There was no answer. Jasmine knocked again. Still no answer.
“Toni I know you are in there.” Jasmine called out. Still no reply.
Jasmine reached for her hair and took out a bobby pin. She inserted it into the lock and jiggled, after about a minute, the door unlocked. The opened it and found Toni on the sofa lying down.
“Go away.” Toni said turning her face away.
Jasmine said nothing. She just sat down on the floor next to her and reached into her bag. She pulled out a sandwich and handed it to Toni.
“What’s this?” Toni asked grudgingly accepting it from her.
“Peanut butter and Jelly.” Jasmine said, unwrapping hers and taking a bite.
“You made this?” Toni asked eyeing it suspiciously as she sat up.
“You don’t have to sound surprised.” Jasmine said.
“You hate peanut butter.” Toni said.
“But you love it.” Jasmine said. “Eat up.”
“How did you know I was here anyway?” Toni asked taking a bit out of her own.
“Just a hunch. My brother does the same. You want to feel close to someone you lost, so you go to a place that reminds you of them.” Jasmine said.
“Yeah whatever.” Toni said
They ate in silence.
“So you never did tell us how it went with you father.”
Toni was silent for a while. “He has a wife, two kids both boys. He was very surprised to see me.”
“Didn’t he know you existed?” Jasmine asked.
“Nope.” Toni said. “He left when my mom was pregnant with me. When she died, Tom and I both went into foster care.”
“What about Ava?” Jasmine asked.
“Not my sister.” Toni said. “The Bridges adopted Tom when he was nine.”
“What about you?” Jasmine asked.
“I was six months when I was adopted.” Jasmine said. “Tom and I were separated.”
“So your father knew Tom existed.” Jasmine said.
Toni nodded. “Tom said my father tried to find him when he was thirteen, but Tom didn’t want to see him. He moved to Harbor shortly after that. So when Tom told me three months ago, I wanted to see him, so Tom helped me track him down.”
“So how do you feel?” Jasmine asked.
“Like I never want to see him again.” Toni said. “I just needed closure.”
“Did you tell him about Tom?” Jasmine asked.
“Yeah I-” Toni started. Just then the door burst open and two policemen entered guns drawn.
“Freeze.” One of them yelled. “Lay down on the floor and put your hands behind your head.”
Toni and Jasmine complied. Jasmine sighed in frustration. This isn’t how the day was supposed to go.
* * *
“So can you two tell me what you were doing at a crime scene?” Corbin asked them as they were in the waiting room.
“Nothing.” Jasmine said. “Just call our parents okay?”
“Look you girls need to be staying out of trouble.” Corbin said. “You shouldn’t be messing around with things that could potentially get you in trouble.”
“Yeah we got it” Jasmine said.
James came walking up. “Hey Corbin you need to look at this report-” He stopped short when he saw the girls.
“What are you doing here?” He asked.
“They were found in Thomas Bridges apartment.” Corbin explained.
“They broke in?” James asked.
“I have a key.” Toni retorted.
“Oh I see.” James said looking at Toni’s tear streaked face. “Just let them go.” He waved his hands. “Corbin you have to see this,” He motioned for Corbin to follow him. They got to a room and James closed the door.
“I got some guys to pull some financials from Carla’s account.” James started. “She has a trust fund but she made some weird transactions about three weeks ago.”
“What kind of transactions?” Corbin asked.
“Well, she was turned eighteen last month so she got access to her trust fund.” James started. “Then a wired deposit of fifty thousand dollars was made to her account from a checking account.”
“Whoa,” Corbin said. “That’s some big bucks.”
“It gets weirder.” James said. “The next day she withdrew that same amount, in cash.”
“Did you find out where that money came from?”
“Yeah it came from an anonymous account.” James said. “Probably offshore, no name, Id or even address.”
“We can pull details from it right?” Corbin asked.
“No w cant.” James said. “It was closed three weeks ago. Someone wiped it it was like it never existed. The only record of it exists in this report.”
“So who was paying Carla?” Corbin wondered. “And for what?”
“I don’t know” James mused. “But this person sure doesn’t want to be found.”
Just the the door opened and Jakes walked in. “Laura and Wayne Bridges are here to see you.” He said
James sighed. His worst part was here. “Come on.” He said to Corbin. “Let us talk to the parents.”
* * *
“So did you know the extent of Carla and Tom’s relationship?” James asked the Bridges.
“They were casual, I think.” Laura said. “Nothing really serious.”
“So what was it that got them in trouble with the Heathway’s?” James asked.
“I cant talk about that.” Wayne said. “You are going to ask Moraine Heathway.”
“Tom told us it was about a document that he took?” Corbin said inquisitively.
“What does this have to do with him murder anyway?” Wayne asked.
“Because his murder is tied to Carla’s. Whatever she was doing got her killed and it most likely got him killed.” James stated.
“Well I can’t talk about what was in that document because I don’t know what was in there.” Wayne said. “It was just a list of names and accounts.”
“Did you know Tom hired Moraine Heathway as his lawyer?” James asked.
“What are you talking about?” Wayne said.
“We saw him at the fairway gala.” Corbin said. “He told us he was there to meet Moraine Heathway.”
“No he wasn’t.” Laura said. Her husband looked at her inquisitively.
“How do you know?” James asked.
Laura swallowed. “Tom was trying to find his father.” Wayne’s face clouded.
“I don’t understand.” James said.
“Tom was adopted. He just found his sister and she wanted to meet her birth father. So he was helping her.”
“And he was at the gala?” James asked.
“Eric Stuart was helping him. He owed me a favor so I called it in.”
“Why didn’t you tell me any of this?” Wayne asked his wife.
“Because Tom has been a touchy subject for you.” Laura said.
“Okay wait let me get this straight.” James said. “Tom was at the gala to meet Eric Stuart not Moraine Heathway.”
“Yes.” Said Laura.
“Why did he lie then.” James asked.
“He probably wanted to protect his sister.” Laura said.
“Who?” James asked.
“It’s Toni.” Corbin said suddenly. “Isn’t that right?” He asked Laura.
“Yes.” Laura said grudgingly.
Corbin smacked his hands together. “Now it all makes sense.” The Bridges looked at him in bewilderment.
“Sorry.” Corbin apologized. He stood up. “Thank you for your time.” He shook hands with them. “We will be in touch.”
* * *
“It’s a miracle your parents don’t lock you in your room.” Jasmine said.
“Yeah they tried once, I took the window out.” Toni said. “Could you please shut the door?”
Hazel shut the door. They were in Toni’s room. They had released both of them into Toni’s parents custody.
“Seriously they locked you in?” Hazel said.
“No.” Toni said laughing “It was a joke.”
Hazel and Jasmine stared at her.
“What? I am allowed to laugh.” Toni said defensively.
“Sure you are.” Hazel said quickly. “We just haven’t seen much of it lately.”
“So did you hear about the funeral?” Toni asked.
“Yeah, they are having it tomorrow.” Jasmine said. “Mrs Heathway told me.”
“How is she doing anyway?” Hazel asked.
“As well as she can be.” Jasmine said. “Jeremiah is helping with the arrangements”
“Didn’t Carla like, hate his guts?” Hazel asked.
“Carla hated all guys.” Toni said. “I never could determine if she was the nicest person I had met or the meanest.”
“Carla didn’t hate all guys” Jasmine laughed. just Jeremiah and-
Just then, there was a knock on the door. “Come in.” Toni called. A guy walked in it was Ben Adrian.
“Great, speak of the devil. What are you doing here?” Jasmine asked.
“I called him.” Toni said. “I think you guys need to talk.”
“We have nothing to talk about.” Jasmine said.
“I am not here to talk about us.” Ben said. “You made it clear you wanted nothing to do with me.”
“So then why are you here?” Jasmine asked him crossing her arms
“Okay look I am still under a microscope from the police. They called me in for another interview, and I don’t think I can go unless you tell them.
“Tell them what?” Jasmine asked
“Hazel told me what happened that night. I think you guys need to come forward.” Ben said.
“Thanks a lot Ben.” Hazel said indignantly. “I told you because I felt you could keep a secret not because I needed your opinion.”
“Look, this could help find out who killed Carla and Tom.” Ben said. “You can’t keep this to yourself.”
“We will get in more trouble if we tell.” Hazel said.
“And you can get in more trouble if you don’t.” Ben said. “Toni agrees with me.”
Hazel turned to Toni. “You agreed?” She said surprised.
Toni shrugged. “I’m tired of secrets. It’s best if we come clean.”
Hazel turned to Jasmine. “Jaz what do you think?”
“Seems you have all made up your mind. Let’s just get it over with.” She said.
“Okay.” Hazel said. “Let’s get this over with.”