I've been slacking on writing anything for my blog recently. Too busy writing fiction to make time to write anything useful.
Anyway, in order that this website does not stagnate, I have decided to post the next fragment of the story I am working on. Again, this is entirely unedited (I guess I haven't learned my lesson yet).
First part is here.
The air was brisk the next morning. I woke at my usual time, but didn't hurry to get ready since the appointment was at 9am. There would be plenty of time.
I decided to brave the cool, morning air and walk to the detective's home. It wasn't far away, and I had plenty of time to spare. A good walk would also serve to clear my head.
What I still couldn't figure out was what Gavin was doing in his office. I wasn't exaggerating before. He really never went in that room. It was almost as if he had an allergy to the place. He hated everything about it, and was not shy about expressing his feelings. Offices represent everything that is wrong in the world of science today. Science should be about discovery, not bureaucracy.
The police had quickly ruled this a suicide. There were no signs of foul play, and they had found a note and a prescription under his name for depression medication. They also had testimonies from several of his coworkers that he had not been himself recently. My story was the only one that contradicted the others, since I had been working so close to him. Sure, he hadn't been himself, but he kept telling me he was on the verge of something big, and he truly was a different person when he was making discoveries.
He, of course, would not reveal what he was working on to me. After all, I am just the errand boy, the coffee gopher. Nevermind my graduate degree from Stanford.
The street was busy with morning traffic, people heading off to work, school, or just out walking the dog. Those I passed were bundled up in layers of winter clothing, complete with scarves and knit caps. The sight of everyone so dressed put a little more of a chill into me, and I pulled my own coat closer to my body in an attempt to hold in whatever ambient heat I was radiating.
I nearly walked passed the detective's house, caught up in my own head. I must have looked quite lost, and before I knew it Charles was standing in the doorway waving to me. "Tom, over here! I warned you about getting lost." He smiled.
Worried that I was late, and keeping him waiting, I glanced at my watch. "I'm sorry, I thought I would have enough time to make the walk over." I don't know exactly why I was apologizing, as it was only 8:52. I had timed the trip almost perfectly.
"Ah, no matter. Come in and make yourself at home. I have a kettle on."
The house was large, but not overtly so. The front entryway opened into some sort of formal living area that seemed to be contrary to what little I knew of the detective; however, it was sparsely decorated and an utter mess, which suited him quite well.
He led me through to the kitchen, where he was steeping something warm and spicy in his mug. "Care for a drink? I think there is some coffee around here somewhere."
Sure, that would be great. My nose was warm and tingling, feeling finally returning. A quick glance in the mirror would have revealed red cheeks and ears to go along with it.
The detective began rummaging through a few cabinets, "Aha, here we are." He pulled out a bag of coffee and dumped the beans into the grinder on the counter. "Brewed, or espresso?" He had to shout to be heard over the whirring machine.
"Brewed would be great." I shouted in reply which, awkwardly, was only necessary for the first half of the statement.
"Well, Tom, as I suspected the police have ruled your boss' death as a suicide, and the case has officially been closed." He finished dumping the ground beans into the coffee machine, pressed a few buttons, then leaned against the counter. "Typical of them, unfortunately."
I nodded deftly, not fully convinced that Gavin had been murdered, but hardly convinced he could have committed suicide. It just was not like him, not to mention he was on the cusp of a breakthrough.
"Never fear. I have not given up." With that, he placed his tea cup on the counter, and strode out of the kitchen.
I followed him through a hallway and into what appeared to be a home office. He quickly scanned the bookshelves, then sat at the desk and began rearranging various items on it. "Now, your boss was onto something big, right?"
I nodded, "Yeah, at least I think he was. He never told anyone when he was getting close to something, which was kind of my first clue." I couldn't fathom how he could have known this, after all I hadn't told the police about my suspicions.
He must have seen the confusion on my face and let out a small chuckle. "You are wondering how I know all this, and it is a fair question." Though fair, he apparently was not interested in answering it. "But what could this something be."
He began methodically rifling through his desk drawers. I was clueless as to what he was looking for. In fact, I had been lost since the moment I stepped into this man's home. I had never met anyone like him in my life.
He pulled out a large folder of papers and placed it on the desk. They appeared to be financial statements, so I did my best to look away out of personal respect for his privacy. He muttered something and replaced the folder.
Charles finished his search of the desk, which oddly did not produce anything, and sat back in the office chair which reclined a little too quickly and threw him temporarily off balance. "You know, you can tell a lot about a man by the state of his desk," he said. "You boss, for instance. His desk was immaculate. Keyboard, notepad, pens, arranged just so," he gestured to the way he had rearranged his own desk. "It immediately told me that it was a neglected space, and a quick look around your lab proved it. Your Gavin was not an organized man, yet his office was the picture of tidiness."
"You are right. He rarely used that office. I don't think I've ever actually seem him in it."
"Alive, at least."
"Right." I looked around the room, taking in the cluttered stacks of papers, bookshelves overflowing with reference texts, loose paper, and notebooks. There was a plant in the window that was beyond any hope of saving, standing in stark contrast to the brilliant, green fake one across from it. "I always imagined that his office would look like this if he ever used it."
The detective smiled and stood from the desk. "Well, I believe we are done here," he said as he began walking from the room.
"Oh, really?" I stood and turned to follow him. "You don't have any more questions for me? You only asked the one."
He stopped halfway down the hallway. "I did? Oh, yes that's right, I can see how that would have been interpreted as a question." He didn't turn to face me, and continued to walk to the front door. "I may have some questions for you yet, but I am finished here."
Charles reached the front door, opened it, grabbed his coat form the hook on the wall, and walked outside. I paused in the doorway, confused by his lack of manners. Who just walks out of his own home while a guest, or client, is still inside?
He was at the sidewalk when I finally called after him. "I think you forgot to lock your door!" I pulled it closed behind me and stepped outside. "It's a good neighborhood, but you never can be too safe."
The detective stopped and looked back to me, confusion and what appeared to be genuine amusement on his face. "Tom, this is not my house. I thought you had figured that out."
I raced down the path toward him. "What? Who's house is this?" Realization hit me like a ton of a bricks, "This is Gavin's house isn't it. You broke in?"
"I wouldn't say broke in, merely circumvented the front door lock," he said as he continued down the sidewalk, "and the alarm."
We walked together in silence for a few moments. I couldn't tell you why I followed after him, I just knew that there was something about this man that drew me.
I finally had the courage to ask him where we were going, to which he replied, "Coffee shop. I feel the need for one of those drinks you had yesterday."
"Seriously? You called it, and I quote, 'literally a cup of sugar.'"
"Large cup of sugar," he corrected me, "but close enough. I would like one all the same." He buttoned his coat around him and smiled.