Heavens Alley - Chapter 10: Goodbye Mother
A young nineteen year old Eric watched as the closed casket that held the mortal remains of his mother was lowered down into the grave. It was a warm summer day and everything around was lovely except for the wailing mourners and dark graves. He was surrounded by Glenda Luf's close friends, colleagues and parishioners. Among the crowd were also many of the homeless and needy that Glenda and her church group 'The Little Flowers of Theresa' had nurtured and cared for. She was a good woman and the attendance at her funeral proved it. Everyone stared at the poor boy who had lost his mother, his entire universe.
To Eric however, the cemetery was empty, except for him and his mother. She wasn't in the casket. She was standing next to him, holding his hand and watching with him, the casket lower into the ground. She had a ripe red Lilly in her hand, which she gently threw into the grave. Eric watched it disappear as it fell 6 feet under. He felt his mother's grip on his hand loosen. He looked at her. She smiled. She looked prettier than ever in her floral sundress and red slippers. He never said it but he adored her. She leaned forward and whispered in his ear, "You know what you have to do." And then she was gone, vaporized into the unknown. He would never see her again. His beloved mother. He knew what he had to do.
He walked into the police station a week later. The place was bustling with activity. The big space with neatly arranged desks reminded him of school. He remembered the officer who had shown up at his doorstep to break the news. He maneuvered around desks until he recognized the face. He walked up to the officer busy perusing reports and read the nameplate on the desk. "Kami Jones, what a nice name." Eric said, extending his hand for a shake. Kami looked up, immediately recognized the boy and stood. He shook Eric's hand and tried to give his most sympathetic smile. "Hi, Eric if I'm not mistaken. How may I help you son?" "Mr Jones, I would like to know which hospital is running the medical tests related to my mothers case", Eric answered. "I'm afraid that's classified information Eric." Eric liked how Kami was to the point. No excuses, no sorrys and no beating around the bush. "Why not? I just want to check if they have any results" Eric pushed. "You will hear from us when the results are out. Eric I know you're grieving, you need to be at home right now." Jones answered firmly. Eric knew this guy was a dead end. He would have to find other means.
He walked outside the station into a scorching midday sun. It didn't bother him. He loved the heat against his skin and the smell of summer. He looked around and noticed a waffle stand nearby, and on a bench next to it was a lady officer, enjoying a Belgian waffle with caramelized bananas. He had just learnt some cold reading techniques at college and he thought he'd give them a try. He bought a waffle from the stand and sat opposite her. "You seem to be new here, miss Monroe", Eric said with a smile. The officer looked up at him. She was used to men making a pass at her. She was the prettiest girl at the academy and every male law enforcement aspirant had hit on her at least once. The entire experience had made her cold towards men. But this wasn't about being hit on, this guy guessed she's new and she wanted to know how. "Why yes I am. How did you know?" she enquired. "It's simple really, you're much fairer than the average Alleyan indicating you haven't been tanned by the Alleys fierce heat yet. The tan however seems to be setting in, considering the even lighter skin around your watch strap. I'd say you've moved here not more than a week ago, maybe from somewhere south." There's nothing more attractive than intelligence. Every man who had approached her had used the jock approach, expecting her to be bowled over by physical appearance. But this guy just came in with a different ball game and it seemed to be working. She smiled at him. "And you got 'Monroe' from my name tag obviously." Eric grinned. "Yes, I did. May I call you Haley? Miss Monroe was my eight grade math teacher and you're nothing like her, considering she was fifty five at the time and walked with a hunch."
A waffle and a cup of hot chocolate later, Eric asked Haley on a date. She happily agreed.
Haley didn't expect it but Eric managed to astound her even more at Lenny's that evening. Over beer and nachos, he made her laugh, told her fascinating anecdotes and also performed a few magic tricks. She was completely at ease around him and enjoyed every moment of their date. He exuded a charm that gave her a sense of familiarity. She felt she had known him all her life. That is probably why she didn't hesitate going home with him. She knew where this was leading and she was excited about it.
If she wasn't already, his skills in bed definitely made her fall in love with him. She woke up first the next morning and decided to surprise him with breakfast. She made waffles.
They sat in bed talking all morning, and that is when Eric told Haley about his parents, how he lost his dad when he was only 4 and how his mom was brutally raped and murdered just a week ago. When he was done narrating, she was in tears. He cradled her close to his chest. "Will you do me a favour my love", Eric asked. She looked up at him with teary eyes. Her mind registered the word 'love' and it warmed her heart. She would do anything for him. "Yes, I will", Haley answered. "I want to know which hospital is running the tests on my mother's case. I just want to know what the results are and get some closure."
He walked into 'Phyllis medical and research center' the next day in a cop getup he rented from the local costume store. A few questions and flirtatious conversations later, he was seated in the waiting room of the laboratory. A technician walked out with a few reports and handed them to Eric. "Now these are copies right? The actual reports will have to go to the precinct directly. I'm here just for the DNA results." Eric asked with authority. The technician nodded yes.
Eric met Haley that night for dinner at the plaza. He was smartly dressed in a black suit and she wore a blue gown. Haley hadn't been this happy in years. Her time at the academy was complete torture. Being a woman aspirant she was always harassed, by her peers and her superiors. She had to endure it with a brave face. She passed out with top honors and was in the top seven candidates, but being a woman she was assigned a duty much lower than her rank and ability. She cried over her fate everyday, until now. All those events had culminated to her meeting Eric. He was her silver lining.
As they were driving home from dinner, Eric asked his second favour. "I visited the hospital today. With a little convincing I managed to get the DNA reports." He said. He faced the road but from the corner of his eye he watched her expression change. She had taken a great risk telling him the name of the hospital. Now that he had gone ahead and extracted reports, she was in deeper trouble. "Eric! You shouldn't have! Do you know what will happen if anyone finds out? I won't only be fired, I will face actual jail time!"She yelled. Eric brought a frown on his face. "Don't you trust me?" He asked. She melted. "Of course I do. Promise you won't do anything more" She said. "I won't. But I need one more favour and after that I won't bring this up again I promise." He said in his most charming voice. She sighed. He took that as his cue to continue. "I need you to run these DNA results for a match in your official database." Her angry face was back again. "Are you mad? I am doing no such thing." "OK" he replied. They drove back in silence. When they reached home Eric walked silently into his room, changed and got into bed. He was clearly upset. Haley was distraught. She wanted to do what he asked but that would mean breaking the law, the one thing she had sworn to protect. She couldn't bear to see Eric upset. She sat at the edge of the bed near his feet. "Ill do it", she whispered. Eric turned to face her. In a sudden jerk he thrust forward, grabbed her and pulled her into bed. Her Eric was back again.
Eric woke up late the next day. Haley had left for work. A few hours later she called him. "So there were two sets of foreign DNA traces recovered from your mothers body. One there are no records of. One gave a positive hit in our database. I need to know why you need this information Eric", Haley asked over the phone. "You know me Haley. I won't do anything. I just want to know. I'm sure you guys will nab the perp when the official results come in. I can't wait that long to know, I just want to move on", Eric answered. "His name is Frank Duboy. He was charged with assault three years back and armed robbery two year ago. He came out on probation six months back." She answered. "Thank you Haley. I can now rest easy knowing he will be caught by the fine HAPD. I'll be seeing you tonight yes? I want to try something I read about, in bed." She blushed. The call ended.
Eric now knew there were two men. One unknown, but Frank Duboy would definitely help with that information. He was going to pay Frank a visit.