Anyway, for this last installment, we're back with Laine Masterson.
If you missed the previous installments:
Relationships mend/ are torn asunder.
Word count: 489
Everything jars me. Every breath drums against my chest. Air burns my lungs. My heart beats quake through my body. All I can think of is the ring lying in an evidence bag. In the morgue. Like a message from the dead.
What are you going to do?
What am I going to do?
My merciful mind flings me back to an easier time. To the perfume of warmed chocolate and fresh cookies. Keith with doe eyes and crumbs on his chin. “No mom, I didn’t steal any cookies.”
I never notice the bustle in the offices anymore. I notice it now that it stops in consternation and shock.
Maybe I should have told the staff that Jack would be bringing Keith in. But then, this is Renaissance. News could have reached Keith before Jack did.
Keith. My son.
I got him arrested.
Guilt slams into me like a bullet to the head.
Keith frowns as Jack leads him into my office. “Mom?”
“Sit down. Jack? Please bring us some bagels.”
Jack doesn’t bat an eyelash as he leaves.
He should have. I shouldn’t be here, drowning in a conflict-of-interest soup.
Keith’s prodding settles me a little. He always does it when I space out on him. I glance his way, knowing that I’m at the edge of disaster. If he really did have something to do with this… Do I really want to know?
I close my eyes, unable to face him as I drop the bad news on his head. “Your father’s class ring was found in Sean Drummond’s hand.”
A deep gust of breath rushes out of him. I open my eyes in time to see him putting his facial expression back together. “Oh?”
What do I do? How do I react? “I have evidence putting you at the crime scene and all you say is ‘oh’?”
He shifts forward in his chair, his face greying. “What sort of evidence? Only the ring?”
The homicide detective in me snaps back before I do. She pipes up before I know to stop her. “DNA.”
Any remorse I might have felt for the lie vanishes as I watch his grey skin turn a waxy white.
“Impossible what? Impossible you weren’t there or impossible you’re too slick to leave evidence?” Det. Masterson’s on a roll.
Keith rubs both his hands down his face. “Mom! Could you be my mother for just a second?”
So helpless. Like the boy he once was, left at home when I got called. All that time that we could have spent together… The least I can do now is have his mother present too.
I kneel down in front of him, grasping his knees and looking up into his terrified eyes.
“Tell me you didn’t kill Sean.”
I wish with all that I am I didn’t spot his convulsive swallow.
“I didn’t kill him.”
No mom, I didn’t steal any cookies.