The water rose to her nose in the porcelain claw foot bathtub, he watched as it poured from the faucet like a rainforest waterfall filling the bathroom with a misty steam. Her ears fell below the water and all the sounds of the day where drowning away as he began to feel like he was talking to himself.
“Some days it seemed the job never ends and today has been just one of those days. Haley’s body being found, the bar fight, Nathan following Charles. But it is good to let it all wash away down the drain of the tub.” she said to the computer screen. He only wished that the bubbles from the bath weren’t hiding her body.
He could tell that the laptop was sitting on the back of the just a few feet away. Keith could tell he was at an angle were they could see each other well, but as always, she made sure ‘she’ was just out of sight. He watched her, her eyes closed and breathing deep her small perky breasts moving up and down, just under the cover of her bubbles. Allowing him to see nothing. She had always been like this with him, teasing and keeping herself just out of reach, at times he felt like a lovesick puppet. She used him for what she want, teasing him with the possibility of conquest, but keeping him at arms length. Hell he hadn’t even been at arms length. He had always been at internet length.
He would give anything to touch those breasts and feel the warmth of her breath on his neck. Feel the soft touch of her hand playing with his chest after sex. He was thinking of her perky little bubble butt and how just one time he would like to pat it, lovingly, in a place were he shouldn’t and they could share a laugh as she playfully slapped his arm. He was thinking all those things when she jumped from the water, startled by a loud vibrating sound.
“Hello,” she answered in a raspy half asleep voice.
“Am I interrupting?”
“No, just taking a bath.”
“I see that, and it is very nice.” Keith had done all his work with Kelsey from a live video conference over the internet since they met. He didn’t even really know where she was from.
“What did you find out?”
“Oh, I see,” he said, “business then pleasure.” Keith Scott had always been a flirt. He had told her the first time they spoke, a little over a year ago, that he thought she had a lovely voice. She said she thought it sounded like a smoky lounge singer. Sultry, however, is what he called it.
“Get on with it.”
“Right, well seems your new boy toy has some money in the bank.”
“Oh, a lot?”
“Enough. One mil.”
“That’s not a lot in today’s money.”
“It’s enough to get by, especially since he put it off shore and the government more than likely won’t find it. It‘s sitting drawing ten percent. He could live comfortable off of that alone.”
“What did you find out about id, who is he?”
“Well sweetie that might cost a little more.”
“I’m not paying you anything.”
“Well maybe you could raise up so I can see all of you.”
“Not a chance, just yet, depends on what you have to say.”
“Fine, Nathan Collins is a banker in Chesterfield. Hasn’t been at work in over a week, but it’s nothing unexpected. They said he was about to get downsized anyway and probably ran off before he got the axe.”
“Or stole a mil as severance. Just thought it was owed him.”
He thought this was likely.
“So he wasn’t or isn’t a PI or a cop?” she asked.
“Not that I’m seeing. In fact he pled out on several drug charges, most likely snitched. Nothing ever made it on his record nor was he ever charged.”
“That’s why the only hit I got was a parking ticket.”
“I don’t know how you do it nor I care. But Keith you are amazing. I bet you could probably find the abominable snowman if you tried.”
“Now about that show,” he said.
“Not gonna happen today.”
Kelsey sunk back into her bath and Keith saw the steam roll in front of the tiny camera on top of the laptop. She lay the moving the water around her as the bubbles began to move, lapping up on the side of the tub and around her sexy body. Then he watched as Kelsey began to raise herself, pulling up from the water and reaching for the computer. Just a peek please God…Black. Damn.
After the phone call with Kelsey he decided to stay around the hotel in case she made a “surprise” visit. He needed some time to think anyway. With the discovery of Haley’s body he hadn’t really done much thinking, especially since the case has now went from missing person to murder. Suddenly he remembered that night at the bus station when he first saw the picture of pretty Haley. He had a gut wrenching feeling in that instant and knew this would not turn out good for anyone, especially Haley.
In three short days he had learned so much about Haley and the people of this town. But the more he thought about it the more he couldn’t figure out who would want this little girl dead. What could she have possibly done that would make someone want to kill her.
He thought back to Caleb West, a thirteen year old boy who went missing from Forest Park in St. Louis. He and his mother had been bike riding through the trails near the Art Museum and the Zoo. Most of the trails are in the open and more like a path through the park but there are several miles that snake through a heavily wooded area. He and his mother had been trail riding, she said he had been lagging all day and they were nearly done when she noticed that he wasn’t behind her. His bike had been found lying off the path with a stick rammed in the spokes. It had been assumed that he wrecked and got turned around trying to walk out. After three days his body was found off highway sixty-four in East St. Louis, in Illinois. Soon three more boys were found and then as suddenly as the bodies started showing up they stopped and the case died, for three years. Then one day Andy Stafford went missing from his home in Kirkwood. His bike was found two blocks away with a stick in the spokes. Three days later, Andy was found, dead. Strangled with a belt and duct tape on his mouth.
Then they stopped again, forever. All this meant nothing to the current case except that sometimes there seems to be no reason, or at least not one that the victim had any control over. Was that the case with Haley? Or did she in some way, inadvertently maybe, do something that caused her death.
Jacob turned to the one thing that might hold the answers. He had to look at the journal with fresh eyes. He knew that she wanted to go to Memphis, it was in the journal and then confirmed by Dean, but she never made it there. But why did she want to go to Memphis? Was it to see her mother, or had casual talking turned something more with Dean? Sex, or lust, was definitely a possible motive.
Seth’s secret (which wasn’t much of a secret as it turned out), Jordyn’s anger for breaking up the band, or Graham’s rejection. All seemed likely motives.
The BBS also had a good reason, money, as it turned out, was always a good motive. And speaking of money, where did Jerry and his daughters twenty mil fit into the picture. He assumed it would be going to her mother, but Jacob learned long ago to never assume.
He spread the photocopied journal out on the bed and stared at them, he grabbed a notebook and a pencil from the nightstand. It would take keeping notes to make sense of all the letters and abbreviations.
He saw mundane stuff that would be in any teenagers journal, shopping with J(ordyn),
had dinner with D(ad),
then going back a few months to before the break up he found things like,
S(eth) took me to meet his parents. Didn’t really care for them, his dad gave me the creeps.
Could that mean something? He knew more often than not a gut reaction to usually be correct. He wrote it down in his notebook, just in case.
Reading through the journal he noticed the letters that he didn’t know off hand last time. Then seeing them together something stands out about them. They now have a new meaning. R (Rainbow or Raymond), C (Charles), P (Piper), B (Bash). But there were still a few that he didn’t recognize. T, K, Ti, the Lady in Blue, not a letter but she seemed to be mentioned several times.
This morning was a drag, woke up on the wrong side of the bed and D was late getting up. Made me late for my run. I’m really starting to enjoy them, I know it sounds crazy but it relaxes me. Plus I get to write by the pond for a bit. Saw the Lady in Blue there again. She is really starting to make a habit of running, although I don’t know why, If I looked like that at her age I wouldn’t spend time running, I’d be flaunting it everywhere.
Had some alone time with C today, we practiced on the guitar and some vocals. We have been focusing on the songwriting a lot lately, he says that I have a talent that I shouldn’t waste. I can’t wait to go to M and study music. He said that he had a surprise for me that might make me change my mind about M. hmmm wonder what it could be. He had to leave early ‘cause he had to run some errands. I went with him though because we were really into this latest song that I have been working on. He said it could be a hit. When we got to where he had to go I saw the Lady in Blue there. She didn’t recognize me though, I don’t think. She didn’t say anything. I really wouldn’t have expected to see her in one of those places.
Then one passage stood out among the mundane, something haunting, something that Haley might not have even understood. But Jacob knew all to well what this might have meant.
I saw RE at the store today, I was in that new store at the mall, b t w LOVE the jeans. But he came up to me and told me how pretty I looked. He is really nice. Too bad he is like 25. D doesn’t even like me taking lessons from C. I don’t know why RE was there though, he doesn’t seem the type to be buying $200 jeans. I don’t even know what he does, hangs around the neighborhood a lot, and I’ve seen him at the park some during runs. I see him over at L’s house, maybe he is a pool boy, oh, that’s hot. LOL!
She knew Charles outside of the relationship between him and her father. Seems maybe he was giving her guitar or voice lessons. But that wasn’t the part that bugged him. RE, who was that. Only shows up in this one passage. A passage dated relatively close to when she disappeared. And he likes to hang out at the place where she disappeared.