Jacob sat in that chair for what seemed like hours, he had watched the sun fall from its orangey glow below the tree lined landscape the funeral home looked out upon. People kept piling in but people weren’t leaving. The large two story funeral home was now overflowing with people. Mostly elderly people in floral dresses or young people, Haley’s classmates. Jacob had been introduced, by Jerry, to some of the board members and his co-workers from Bledsoe Industries. Everyone praised Jacob for his work and thanked him for searching for justice for Haley.
He shook the hand of small squat man whose shirt and tie were unkempt and he seemed as though not really interested in being there except he felt obligated to do so, when noticed the legs walking through the glass double doors. They weren’t long legs but the black strapless heels made them appear longer than they were. Her black dress hung loose and low on her neck, revealing ample cleavage that Jacob hadn’t noticed at their last encounter. With her blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail Jacob could see the blue eyes that lit up the sad room the minute she walked through the door. Brooke was followed by Jordyn and Graham. He wore his green army jacket and black jeans. Jordyn wore a sleek black dress similar to her mothers, it fit her well for a sixteen year old, but by the way she kept tugging at the midriff of the dress it was obvious that she was not comfortable in such attire.
The door to the viewing room swung open and Jacob turned his attention from the band-mates to the person exiting the room. Seth’s tall godlike frame strolled through the foyer and passes Brooke and the band-mates without making eye contact. His father in tow like a secret service agent or a member of an entourage. Jacob made his way through the people entering the wake shoulder bumped Graham as he follows Brooke close. The smell from group captures Jacob’s attention, he can smell the sweet perfume from Brooke and the mix of must and cigarette smoke coming from Graham. He noticed that he didn’t notice a smell in the mix that could be coming from Jordyn, unless she was wearing the same as her mother which he found likely and unlikely at the same time.
“Excuse me, sir,” Graham announced, seeming to not even recognize Jacob. Jacob thought he might either high now or had been higher than Jacob had thought at their initial meeting. Jacob ignored Grahams apology and headed for Seth.
“Seth,” he announced. “Please, could I ask you a couple more questions?”
His father moved from heel to toe, stepping between Jacob and his son. Like a mother bear protecting her cub, he stood looking down at Jacob slightly. His chest ballooned outward and sat only inches from Jacobs. “If you wanna talk to my son there will be a lawyer present. He has talked enough to the police, he had nothing to do with this and if you think..,” he began to poke Jacob in the chest with his long forefinger. Jacob grabbed the mans finger and twisted it, pulling his arm around behind his back. He whirled him around and pushed him through the glass doors that Brooke had just entered through.
“I am talking to your son now, there will be no lawyers, there will be no cops. Just me and him. Your welcome to assist your son but I can guarantee you I will get some answers from you and from your son before you leave here tonight.” With that he pushed the man onto the hood of the Prius, slamming him hard into it and making a loud bang which echoed through the nearly empty streets.
Jacob turned to notice that Seth had followed them out into the grass lawn of the funeral home. “It’s okay Dad,” Seth began. “I want to talk to him.”
“What?” his father asked. “You know if you talk to him it could ruin everything we’ve worked for.”
Seth held his hand up, “Shut up for once Dad an let me handle my own problems.” Jacob liked this boy, he knew that had he not been gay he would have been a boy that any father would have been proud to have date his daughter. Except for the pot he seemed a very emotionally mature individual.
“Please have a seat by your father.”
The two Franklin men sat next to each other on the hood of Jacob’s Prius. Mr. Franklin held his hand with a firm grip on his son’s shoulder. Jacob thought this more as a sign of intimidation rather than a sign of consoling.
“You told me that you and Haley stopped dating around the 4th, correct?”
“Yes.” he said matter of fact.
“You already know the answer to the question, why continue to beat a dead horse Mr. Collins?”
“Its called interviewing, Mr. Franklin and I would appreciate you sitting quietly until I’m done.” He squeezed his son’s shoulder slightly, but enough that Jacob could see the fabric of his pastel designer oxford wrinkle under the pressure.
“Fine, but I will not sit by while my son is bombarded with questions over some skanky rocker chick.”
Jacob didn’t even feel his hand fly until his knuckles landed right on Mr. Franklins nose, throwing him back into the windshield of the Prius. “I don’t want to hear you say another word unless I ask you a fucking question. Is that clear, Mr. Franklin?”
He made no sound, only held his hand over his bleeding nose and shook his head to the affirmative.
“Now,” Jacob continued, “if you stopped seeing her on or around the 4th then why did you continue to frequent her home?”
Seth didn’t say anything, only glanced at his father. Jacob could see the betrayal in his eyes, the heartbreaking that was about to fall upon this strong, powerful man that everyone respected.
“Seth, if you had feelings for Haley at all, even minor ones. If she was ever your friend or confidant, tell me what happened. She held a secret for you, you two had to share some kind of relationship even if it was just a friendship.”
He began to cry, not a weeping cry but a soft gentle cry. Two tears rolled down his face and he looked at his father. “I did love her,” he began, “as a friend. She was probably my best friend.”
“Tell your father why you two broke up Seth.”
“I wasn’t attracted to her.”
“I understand son,” his father said, although the sound was muffled do to his hand. “She wasn’t your type. We all have dated outside our class.” Jacob raises his hand again and Mr. Franklin raises he bloody hand in protest. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
“It isn’t that Dad,” Seth began to cry a little harder now. “I was in the showers after practice one day,” he paused not really sure how to proceed. “I like the male body better, Dad.”
His father puts his hand over his face, blood smears down his cheeks and he stands from the car. He walks toward Jacob, but he stands his ground. Mr. Franklin, however, walks past him and leaves the two alone in the night.
“He will get over it, trust me.” Jacob says as he sits down next to Seth. “Now if you weren’t dating Haley anymore why did you continue to go to her house for so long that you were seen there a couple days before she disappeared?”
“You already know about my extra extracurricular activities.”
“You mean the sex or the drugs?”
“You guys do them together?”
Seth sets up from the car and looks at Jacob, “I should go get my dad.”
“Just tell me what you were doing there?”
Seth walked away, into the dark, tears rolling down his face. He had just lost the only friend he had plus broke his fathers heart. All just to tell Jacob something that he thought he already knew.
Inside the viewing room the crowd had gathered so large that Jacob had thought that the walls would burst. With all the people talking it sounded like the buzzing around a beehive. A lot of sound but nothing could be understood. Brooke stood up near the front of the room talking with Jerry. He located Jordyn and Graham near the middle of the room sitting in a pew. He found an empty spot just behind them. “Hey guys.” He whispered over the pew and into the back of their heads.
They both turned to look at him. Jordyn recognized him immediately and Graham still seemed at a loss.
“Nathan Collins.” The shot of recognition filled his face. “Could we have a moment in private please.”
“Could we not do this another time,” Jordyn asked. “It just doesn’t seem proper.”
“Well, I won’t really have any other time and it seems kind of important.”
She stood, brushing her dress back down from where it had rode up. Graham followed suit.
In the private room where he had talked to Wade, Jacob sat down with two thirds of Haley and the Comets.
“Listen guys, if there is anything else you can think of that might help me, now would be the time.”
They both shook their heads.
“I know she was dealing drugs.”
Jordyn stood and walked to a window on the far end of the room and looked out into the darkness. This seemed highly déjà vu to Jacob. She seemed very distant and unwilling to look people in the eye, which made her hard to read. “Please, Jordyn, have a seat.”
She sat back down next to Graham, “Yeah, she was dealing. A little pot and some E. That’s how it started anyway. Nothing major.”
Brookes face turned to disgust. Her mouth turned down in a frown.
“Graham bought from her.”
“I already had my suspicions,” Jacob said.
“As people started wanting more she found these guys that would supply her with the meth. She helped them, they helped her, you know.”
Changing gears Jacob decided to ask about the notebook. “What about her writings?”
“What do you mean?” Graham asked one the only things the boy had said.
“The notebook on the table next to the coffin.”
“That was her notebook that she wrote her so- our songs in.”
“You said ‘our’ songs.”
“Some of them were ours and some were ones that she did on her own. They were crap really. Then there were some that Charles helped her with. Those were a little better.”
“Not all of them,” Graham said.
“Really?” she said, “Everything we worked on together sucked. Haley was the lyric talent. We just played what she wrote. We couldn’t collaborate well.”
“Did you notice anything odd about the notebook?”
“We couldn’t touch it.” Jordyn said.
“Never, not when she had it or now that its here. It was as private as her journal,” replied Graham.
Jacob felt a little sting, he had been nosy when it came to her stuff, he knew he never asked and on most occasions he had been downright sneaky, but then he thought, it is my job.
“I just noticed that a page seemed to be missing. I didn’t know if this was something that she would have done or something that happened afterward.”
Jordyn’s face went slack. “No, she would have never taken it out. She believed that everything came from somewhere and she would sometimes revisit things that we, or she, had done and try to work out the problems. Nothing was wasted.”
That was what he had thought. It didn’t seem like her. “Do you know who had the notebook, I hadn’t seen or heard of it until today. I thought that she did all of her writing on the computer.”
“She didn’t start writing on the computer until she met with her stepfather. He inspired her to try it, said it gave her instant feedback. She could put notes in and it would play the entire band without getting everyone together and rehearsing. She would know right away if it worked.”
“So would all her old friends.”
“And Charles,” Graham added.
“He didn’t agree with Professor Dean. He was old school. He thought that ‘jamming’ was the best way to work out the sound. ‘Human inflection is the only way to get a song down’ she said he had told her.”
Why did everything keep pointing to Charles? Why and how would Charles get a page out of the notebook? Was he who she was ‘having problems’ with? And why had he yet to see Charles?