Mike was nearly speechless as he blankly mumbled, “She’s gone... So much left unsaid…um, I wouldn’t have let her go…I can’t believe…no one should have to go like that…it’s all over so quickly and before you’re ready.”
Petra was the first to grasp the situation and softly offered, “I’m sorry for your loss, Mr. Patrick. The Bobbies were here to tell you about her untimely demise, weren’t they? You were lovers, weren’t you?”
Jacob had trouble hiding his astonishment at the statement.
After a moment, Mike volunteered, “We went to a lot of trouble to camouflage that relationship. How did you know?”
Jacob, now moving his astonished gaze from one person to the next, was watching the dialog going on as though it was on a daytime soap opera and wondering what the next outrageous statement would be.
A single tear ran down Mike’s cheek as he tried to pull himself together. He looked at Jacob and challenged, “You probably think our relationship was funny, don’t you? Two large mammals, trying to mate for some desperately needed affection not offered from anyone else? It’s all my fault. All of it! If I hadn’t pressed her on the access rights issue for you two, she would have ridden home with me. But instead, she took the underground tube because she was in a snit.” Mike’s voice trailed off as he absentmindedly added, “…jostled and fell in front of the incoming train..., No time left to say sorry.”
Jacob and Petra glanced at each other and then back to Mike repeatedly during the ensuing silence. Then almost as if he had just woken up from a trance, Mike stated, “Well, you have your work that is still waiting. You have a new Administrative Assistant, Laurie, to help you conclude probing this problem, so don’t let me slow you down. Let me know when you find the source of the problem.”
Almost on cue Laurie showed up. Early twenties, dressed in business casual in grey tones, short almost black hair, just over one and a half meters and trying for trim, she ushered them to their work area. As they were getting settled in, Jacob turned to Laurie as he matter-of-factly stated, “I’ll need a copy of the accident report and a phone number of the officer investigating Roslyn’s accident when you get a chance.”
Laurie’s look of astonishment told all, and she was about to protest the request until Jacob lowered his head and gave her his I’m not kidding look that preempted any discussion.
After she left, Petra asked, “Why do you want that? We are supposed to be looking in their data systems, not into underground hit and run rail accidents.”
Jacob pondered her comment for a moment and then thoughtfully offered, “We now have an unbalanced equation. Yesterday, we had all the pieces but were looking in the wrong place, as you said. Today, we were going to look in the right place, but one key piece is missing. My hunch is that something rebalanced the equation for us, so we would continue to look in the wrong place. It all looks too convenient.”
Petra caressed Jacob’s face and smoothed his hair back behind his ear as she said, “How did you get to be so brilliant and handsome, my dear?”
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