“Students, please take your seats.” The professor, a librarian-type with reading glasses perched on the end of her nose and a tight bun situated at the back of her head, addressed the class.
Audrey claimed the seat next to Destiny and powered on her iPad. Happiness sparked her day as the home screen came into view. Sweet little Grace’s face smiled back at her from the picture on the screen. Grace was sitting in the shade of an apple tree, a drooly smile lighting up her chubby face. The memory of that moment was etched on Audrey’s heart. Maggie and Andrew had propped Grace in the sitting position several times before getting a decent picture. Grace kept toppling over just as Audrey was about to snap the photo. Grace belly laughed every time she landed in the soft grass.
A notification popped up. “This morning, we will review … ” The professor’s voice morphed into faint background noise as Audrey read a message that scrolled along the top of her screen. It was from Mr. Preston.
I Believe We Have A Break In Your Case.
Audrey gasped, drawing the attention of those around her. Destiny peered over at Audrey’s iPad, her brow knit in concern. Audrey needed to read the rest of the message in private.
She hugged the device to her chest. “Take notes for me.”
Destiny nodded, seemingly happy to play a role in Audrey’s drama.
Audrey gathered her belongings, and hurried out of the classroom. She ran to the nearest vacant lounge area and dropped her backpack onto a chair. Her mind was a tangled web of what ifs. What if they found her attacker? What if Grace looked like him? What if this wasn’t her attacker after all? She sat down, said a brief prayer, and read the message in its entirety.
Call Me At Your Earliest Convenience. A Suspect In Serial Sexual Assaults Has Been Detained. Incriminating Evidence May Link Him To Your Case. Several Pieces Of Jewelry, Along With A Stash Of Date Rape Drugs, Were Confiscated From His Glove Box. It Is Believed That He Saves Jewelry From Each Of His Victims.
A sick feeling roiled in Audrey’s stomach. What kind of sicko keeps mementos from his victims?
She stood and began to pace. She’d always assumed she’d be elated to have her attacker found and punished. Instead, feelings of disgust rushed at her. She didn’t want to lay eyes on the pervert. Didn’t want to know his name. Didn’t want to waste another minute of her life thinking about him.
But in order to put him behind bars, preventing him from attacking another woman, she felt a responsibility to participate in the investigation.
She dialed Mr. Preston’s number.
“Hello, Audrey. I was expecting your—”
“Was there a diamond necklace?” Audrey’s voice was shaky, barely a whisper. Her throat felt almost too tight to speak.
“Audrey? We must have a bad connection. Can you repeat that?”
Audrey cleared her throat. She took a deep, calming breath, releasing it slowly. Her hand was so sweaty that she almost lost grip on her phone. “I need to know … was there a diamond necklace in his glove box? A teardrop diamond on a gold chain.”
Mr. Preston hesitated for what felt like an eternity. Audrey heard a shuffling of papers on the other end of the phone. Finally, he answered.
Read a chapter a day from Bittersweet Goodbye right here on this blog, beginning September 1st, 2019.