The Second Degree
It’s not how you think.
I wake peacefully; I’m not torn from my nightmare by my concerned boyfriend, nor am I sat upright, my breath escaping in huge, raking sobs… I simply open my eyes and blink, once… Twice.
The spring sunshine streams through the curtains, into my tired eyes and I lay there for a few moments recollecting my nightmare – the third this week.
I dress quickly and make my way out of the bedroom – neglecting to make the bed, Yves isn’t working at the moment – his latest Sci Fi novel takes up much of his time – I love that he’s so creative, but I’d also love for us to have a little more income so we can move out of his parents, but it’s hard to get the money together, especially with the recession going on – I think everyone is struggling.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore Tori more than life itself, I love Curtis and Rebecca and they’re fine to live with but I want my own place – a place to put my mark and make my own.
“Hey, hey sleepyhead,” Yves smiles at me from the kitchen and gestures towards the dining table.
“Take a seat!” he smiles and I scoot onto a chair, bleary eyed and heavy with stress.
Four slices of toast sit fresh on the toast rack before me, a fresh orange juice to my right and to my left a hot cup of tea – strong with a dash of milk – just how I love it.
“Nearly ready!” Yves calls, opening the kitchen cupboard and pulling out some plates. I smile when I hear him swear a few times – he burns his fingers whenever he cooks.
When he finally sits before me, a massive pile of waffles between us, he beams at me like a child hoping for praise.
“Wow, Yves..” I manage; I daren’t tell him I have to work this morning that I have to work on the case.
“You like it?” he asks, grabbing a waffle and taking a huge bite.
“I love it,” I say, starring around me at the feast, unsure where to begin – on both the food and broaching the subject of work.
“You sure?” Yves munches his waffle, swallowing, he takes a huge gulp of his tea.
I nod, “Yves, I’m so sorry; I know it’s our 2 year anniversary but I really have to go to work…”
“It’s Saturday!” he whines.
It always amazes me how he goes from normal to whinging in the space of a nana second.
“I know, I’m sorry, it’s just thi-“
“This case, I know…”
Yves flicks his waffle onto his plate and folds his arms childishly. If only he knew what was going on, we could avoid this.
A sudden vibration in my pocket makes me jump, I ignore it.
“That’ll be the office…” I say with an apologetic smile.
Yves waves me away, dismissing me from the table.
“I’m sorry, baby,” I stand.
“Promise me,” Yves stares up at me, “Promise me you’ll be home this afternoon? Meet me in the park, at the festival… 1 ‘o clock? I have a surprise for you…”
I nod, putting on my jacket, “I promise.”
There’s a bite to the March air.
I leave the house and hurry down the porch steps to my car.
Jack Frost has been out, the grass is stiff with cold and goose bumps prickle at my skin through my thin jacket.
I unlock my VW beetle and slide into the driver’s seat, taking a few moments there, I study the family home before me… its blissful ignorance. Yves literally has no idea what’s going on with me at the moment. I know he would understand if he did – I just wish I could tell him, but I can’t.
I start the engine and reverse off the drive.
Twisting the knob on the radio I hear the soothing tones of the DJ as he casually reads off the news for Maybury and its surrounding area.
I can’t decide whether to smile at the uneventful broadcast or feel distinctly annoyed. How can people be so oblivious as to what’s going on around them?
I know ‘cos I’ve seen it
it was great and I want it
there’s no point in sitting
going crazy on my own…
It’s pretty weird when I think about it, laughable even – how this time a month ago I was as oblivious as the next person… in fact you might even say I longed for a more interesting case than the usual crap with gnomes… I’d even moaned to Cassie about it down at the station… now… now I wish I hadn’t – and I bet Cassie feels the same way. How was Cassie Grant to know that after complaining about the lack of decent cases, the lack of intriguing stories – that her little girl would be abducted just hours after our conversation? For any mother to lose her child this way is horrific but the fact that a kidnapper abducted the child of a police detective? That’s just brazen.
Then there was Michelle, my best friend and partner. I can barely bring myself to think of her – 25 years old, so strong and full of attitude – and now she’s gone all because she wanted to help find a little girl by asking a few questions.
I pull into the parking lot and shut off my Kaiser Chiefs CD before heading into the building.
“Don’t get comfortable, Hart.” Sergeant Wilkes crosses the bustling office and approaches my desk, his greying ginger moustache almost bristling.
Ronald Wilkes is a huge, bear of a man, formidable and stern he’s an excellent boss, if a little pushy and anxious at times.
As he reaches my desk he slaps a file in front of me, causing my coffee mug to jump and spill.
“Shit!” he curses, pulling tissues from the box next to my computer, “Sorry, detective…” he attempts to mop up the liquid.
“It’s fine,” I say, “let me…”
“I’m just so goddamn stressed!” Wilkes snorts, “This bloody bastard!”
I sigh, one thing about Wilkes, he wears his heart on his sleeve and he doesn’t give two craps about insulting anyone.
“Where’s Lake?” Wilkes takes a gulp of my drink and I watch him wide eyed. “Bloody hell! There’s no sugar in my coffee!”
“Um.. Sir,” I take the coffee from him, “That’s mine…”
“Sorry I’m late… had to make a phone call…” Rueben ducks in behind me and starts to unbutton his coat.
“Stop!” Wilkes yells at him and Rueben freezes, eying me curiously, “both of you, just slow the hell down!” he booms, and he slams his hand down on the paper work before me.
“This,” he says, “Is your assignment for this morning… I know, you’re going to moan because it’s Saturday and this is going to take up your precious time… well, tough titties!”
I pull the file away from him and open the cover – I’m surprised when I’m met with a photograph of Cassie Grant. “This is Cassie’s file?” I enquire.
Wilkes nods, “She’s requested you personally- to be fair I think it’s a waste of time… but we have to deal with every call that comes through… so there you have it. Rueben, you have to go because you’re Hart’s partner.”