“Oh hi, Mom!” I remembered how awkward I felt as a teenager when I had a parent stumble across me with one of my dates, and I may as well have been sixteen years old all over again at that moment! I know my mother didn’t have a chance to raise me, but the sentiments of the situation hadn’t changed! I mean, I know that adults are allowed to do whatever they want, well, romantically anyways, but that doesn’t stop family from judging a younger relative’s relationship choices! I felt some comfort that I DEFINITELY made the right move in fighting the urge to sleep with him, but as I watched him pull away, a part of me still longed for that opportunity! I pushed that thought out of my head since my mom was right behind me, and as I turned back around, I had no idea how I’d explain this to her! It surprised me when, “Work assignment!” came out of my mouth!
“Looks like a fun assignment!” My mother grinned as she used a trowel to get the weeds from a small garden on the side of the porch. I didn’t know where to begin on explaining what happened that night, but before I formulated even a wisp of a plan on how to tell her, my mom regarded me, “You don’t gotta lie! You and Ben are separated now, so it’s okay to start dating again!”
I sat down on the porch steps as I revealed to her, “Well, it wasn’t a real date! You see, he’s the top suspect in my serial murder case, but the department cleared him of all charges! I still think he’s hiding something, so when he asked me out, I said yes so I could look for more clues.”
My mother continued working as she inquired, “Did you find anything?”
“No!” I lamented. “I gues ’cause I’m so tired, I lost my focus! Now that jerk just thinks I like him!”
“Do you?” my mom probed.
I begrudgingly admitted, “Well… kinda! He’s handsome and charming, but I can’t trust him. I saw a text from another woman asking if he’s still up. That’s suspicious enough, but then he hides his phone from me! He’s up to something, I just know it!”
My mother queried, “You mean besides possibly seeing another girl?”
“That girl was a Fay! And you know how much trouble they’ve causing lately! I haven’t heard of many who are actually nice to humans, but he employees them!” I ranted. “You see why I still wanted to investigate him?”
“If he’s doing all that, why did they clear him?” my mom questioned.
I sighed, “Legally, they had to. It’s not against the law to hire Fay Folks, and it’s not our problem if he’s hiding some of his shady business activities. We haven’t found any evidence at the last crime scene implicating him in any wrong doing, so if we kept pursuing him, we’d get sued. The law is on his side, unfortunately!”
My mother shook her head. “Sometimes the law is just dumb!”
“I wouldn’t go that far!” I disagreed with her premise. “The law is designed to protect us, and most of the time it does. It didn’t work this time, but I wouldn’t totally disregard the law!”
“I did say sometimes,” my mom pointed out. “Just sometimes a law does more harm than help! Sometimes, the law just doesn’t make sense and a few rebels have to disobey it to serve the greater good.” She saw the look of skepticism on my face, so she iterated, “Well, look at what you did tonight! You didn’t have any legal right to investigate this guy, but you did anyways!”
I defended my actions, “Hey, I’m not rebelling! I just had to do what I had to do in order to protect innocent lives!”
She didn’t appear deterred by my objection. “Exactly! Listen, I’m not an anarchist, but not all laws are good. We can’t just blindly obey the rules or we’ll never make progress in society! Rules and laws have to get re-examined, otherwise nothing would ever progress!”
“I guess so.” I hadn’t really thought about it like that, but while she had a valid argument, I still hated the concept of breaking the law. My insides squirmed just thinking about the fact that I did defy the rules for this opportunity, and I did it for my own selfish purposes! I really shouldn’t have gone along with that hare-brained plan, and I sincerely hoped that my colleagues never found out about it! I’d never work as a detective again if I got fired for doing a thing like this! “Ugh, I shouldn’t have done it! What a dumb idea!”
“What’s a dumb idea?” Wade suddenly came up to us, and his abruptness made me jump! I could see that his truck had, indeed, pulled up to the house, and it shocked me that I hadn’t noticed it! Normally, I was much more vigilant, and it bothered me that I lapsed like that!
I didn’t want to go over that whole story again, especially not to Wade! He didn’t seem intelligent enough to grasp onto new information so readily, and if I didn’t want to explain it twice, I definitely didn’t want to repeat myself several times! So, I airily brushed my concern off, “Oh, nothing! Just a problem I’m having with one of my suspects!”
Wade commented, “Oh, I bet you is dealing with one of them bohunks! Ain’t you?”
“He is not…” I paused when I thought about it a little. “Well, actually, I don’t know…”
“I bet you he is!” Wade chuckled before he asked, “Where’s your mom?” I gazed at him particularly and pointed to her next to the porch. I couldn’t understand how he didn’t see her when she was practically right in front of him! “Why are you gardening? It’s nighttime!”
My mother responded, “We have to keep this place clean or the park manager will tan our hides! I couldn’t do it earlier ’cause I had to help you at the restaurant, so-.”
Wade roared, “Oh, it’s my fault? Well, excuse me for giving you a job! Did you at least get dinner ready?”
“I didn’t have time yet!” My mom stared at the ground shamefully. “Sorry!”
“Don’t apologize!” Wade scolded her, “Don’t just sit there either! Get your butt in the house and make my dinner!” My mother scrambled inside, and Wade gruffly stomped in after her. It stunned me to have witnessed that spectacle! I wish I could have stood up for my mom, but with his short temper, I worried that Wade would kick me out. I made a promise to myself that I’d tell him off as soon as I could move out! I knew then that I really needed to find a way to make that happen soon!
Brigid’s Garden manifested another night filled with unbridled noise, and it greatly confused me as to why they would carry on like that so late like this until I remembered that it was still Saturday. This day felt like a week to me, so it didn’t occur to me that others just had a normal weekend. I couldn’t fall asleep like normal anyways, so I just laid in bed mulling things over. I partly pitied my mother for the way Wade made her miserable, but mostly, I couldn’t stop thinking about Aidan. I wondered if Jasmine’s text signified a romantic exploit or a signal for another night of deviousness. I dreaded the possibility of getting called into work again the next day only to investigate something that he did! I would have beat myself up for not doing something to prevent it when I had the chance, but I worried more about proving myself right about him. No matter how much I suspected him of the most heinous crimes possible, and despite the fact that I believed that he had been playing with my feelings all along, I couldn’t hate him! Quite the contrary, I actually found myself missing his touch and dearly desired for him to lay beside me right then! Not necessarily in a sexual way, but I longed for even a conversation with him! I really hoped that he wasn’t guilty because I knew it would really sting if I never got to see him again!
Apparently, I had fallen asleep around dawn! When the cacophony of the mobile home park had stopped, I remembered thinking it did feel nice to hear all those sounds that offended my eardrums, but I didn’t think I was tired enough to actually fall asleep! I woke up around noon, and it really disoriented me to have my day halfway gone already! It bugged me to have lost so much time, but then I realized that I really had nothing going on during my time off. I fully expected to get called into work at any time, and I didn’t think to schedule anything to do in case I didn’t get summoned to study a new clue or crime scene! I immediately checked my phone, and when I saw a dozen missed calls and unread text messages, I fully expected at least one of them to be someone from the department. To my dismay, they were all from Ben! It irritated me that he still tried so hard to win me back after I made my intentions perfectly clear, but then I saw that he did, indeed, have a good reason to contact me! The bank was foreclosing on our house and allowed us a day to retrieve our belongings. I really didn’t want to see his face ever again, but I did leave behind some sentimental stuff, so I agreed to go there tomorrow. I didn’t like it, but I had something to kill time with now!
I spent the rest of the day helping my mom clean the house. It sort of astonished me that she had gotten trained into toiling so much for a man who showed so much indifference to her good deeds! He parked himself in front of the television, which made him continuously within earshot of our conversations. It disappointed me at first because I wanted to talk to my mother about her situation, but I consoled myself with the fact that I could constantly bash Ben! I didn’t realize I had so much to say about him, but every time he texted me (which was a lot!), I thought about something new that bugged me about him. Like, I complained about how he never took the time to do anything particularly special for me. His idea of a romantic night out involved a drive through and a picnic in our own backyard. That venture was only cute once! He always listened to my problems, but he never really responded to them. Whenever a chore had to get done, he always fell ill or became too weary to use his magic, but if I were ill or weary, I still had to summon the energy to do a complicated spell! He had never thought about what my needs were, just his! During our decade together, I never griped about him, I never had any motive to until recently, and it didn’t make sense to me as to why, all of a sudden, it came out like that…
He kept bugging me about dividing our belongings, and I grew more and more annoyed each time he did. I couldn’t figure out why it incensed me more than it usually would, but then my mom observed my face light up and quickly deflate each time a message came in. I found that strange at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I deemed her correct. I kept getting let down that Ben contacted me as if I were expecting to hear from someone else. At first, I theorized that I wanted to go back to my job, but it seemed deeper than that somehow. Suddenly, it came to me- my heart was aching to hear from Aidan! I put a special tone on my phone to distinguish between Ben’s texts and everyone else’s to stop getting false hope, and as I unwillingly prepared myself to meet up with my soon-to-be ex husband the next day, I told myself it’d be better if I never heard from Aidan again. I needed to focus on my case, and I didn’t want to keep getting distracted by feelings that wouldn’t refrain from growing stronger. I laid in bed with a surge of sorrow that I didn’t get to communicate with Aidan at all that day, and I wondered whether or not I actually gave him my phone number. I truly didn’t believe I’d fall asleep that night, but then I found myself abruptly waking up to the sound of a knock on the front door…