A to Z Challenge: X is for It Takes X Times to Get a Clue

posted in: Various Musings | 1

This is the final week of the A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge, and I’m writing a story about a character named Codie Snow. If you’re just joining me, you’ll want to start with these earlier posts so you’re not completely lost:

NOTE:  So you’ll see it when you get there–in the second scene of today’s post, I introduce a character named Kelly.  She might disappear at revision if I can’t find a better reason to keep her there and, upon reflection, I think it might make the scene even better if I had some interaction between her and Codie before the character Carmen joins the scene.  Both women could be characters later in the story, so I don’t want to lose them yet.  You’ll have to let me know what you think–but I can tell you this:  you don’t introduce ideas or characters in your story that aren’t important.  You definitely don’t give a character a name if you’re not going to use them.  So I’ll definitely have some work to do there…

Before Codie and Pete could make real plans for lunch or dinner, he was called away by his employers, that annoying dispatch woman who managed to steal his attention away from her “gorgeous tits.” She’d never admit it, but Pete’s rejection—yes, that’s what it was—hurt more than she would like to admit. Yeah, sure, they were friends, but she’d been under the impression that it was developing into more.

Stupid—because Pete had never said that or even indicated it, not once. It was just her own damn fantasy.

She let out a long sigh after she closed the door behind him and tried to decide if she wanted to dig out a drink—something she could take a shot of that would help her go to sleep—or if she wanted to let a few tears fall and then watch some TV until she drifted off. Whatever the case, sleep should have been her priority (should have been all along, but she’d allowed her heart to rule), because she had to work the next morning. Hell, the rockin’ orgasm she’d experienced thanks to Pete should have made her sleepy—but her emotions trumped anything her endorphins could offer.

She knew she was being silly and so she decided to go to bed, but before she could even make it out of the kitchen, Matthew slid on the linoleum, wearing nothing but ankle socks and navy blue boxer briefs. “I have a big hug for you, girlfriend!” He nearly crashed into Codie, sweeping her into his arms and lifting her up off the floor while squeezing her around the ribs.

When he let her go, she said, “Thanks, Matthew.”

“You know I love you.”

She grinned. “Back at ya.”

Matthew’s eyes lit up and he dropped his voice, his hands holding Codie’s shoulders. “Oh, my God. I have a beast in my room.”

Codie felt her eyebrows furrow. “A beast? What do you mean?”

Matthew’s eyes got bigger and he put a finger to his lips. “Shh. He’ll hear you.”

She lowered her voice to a loud whisper, echoing Matthew. “He?

“Holy God in heaven! He’s a bouncer—well, the bouncer—at My Cousin’s Place. I’ve been flirting with him for weeks now and tonight he finally came home with me.” Codie smiled, but before she could offer words of congratulation, Matthew added, “Boy, did came all right. I think I’m gonna need to have the carpet cleaned.”

“TMI, Matthew.” One thing Codie knew for certain was that her bestie was never going to change. He liked sex and burly men and oversharing was part of his makeup. The day Matthew didn’t tell her way too much would be the day Codie would know he was in love.

“Not even. I had lots more to tell you this weekend. In the meantime, the big lug probably needs some cuddles. But…I didn’t hear all of it, but it sounded like Mr. Asshole was giving you the brush off, and I wanted to offer my shoulder.”

“I’ll be okay. I think…I think Pete’s just in a weird place.”

“Um, yeah. It’s called Assholeville.” Codie laughed. “I can’t believe you gave him a second chance after high school, Codie. He didn’t deserve you then and he definitely doesn’t deserve you now.”

“That’s not fair, Matthew.”

Her friend’s face took on the look of a mother gently encouraging her children to wise up. “It’s totally fair. You’re just infatuated—probably from seeing his macho policeman act—and with a little distance, you’ll see what I mean. The cops in this town act like this is Denver or something and they love to throw their weight around—and they don’t care what breaks when they do.”

Codie wrapped her arms around Matthew. She didn’t want to debate it with him. Hell, she wasn’t even ready to talk about it yet. It was still too fresh, too raw. No, she didn’t love Pete now like she thought she had in high school, but that didn’t mean she didn’t have wounds to nurse. “Love you, buddy.”

“Love you too, sis. Now get some sleep.” Almost as an afterthought, he added, “I have a boss who’s still pretty damned fond of you.”

She shook her head. Nope. She wasn’t ready for Slade’s brand of heartache either. Maybe she needed to find a way to relish being single…because it was starting to look like she was going to be that way for a while.

* * *

After work the next day, Codie was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to sleep, but the one thing that had kept her going was thinking about what Pete had told her—not the let’s be friends bullshit, but the information about the woman who hadn’t actually committed suicide. For some reason, Codie was fixated on it, probably because it felt like she’d been personally involved. She definitely hadn’t had training on how to keep one’s emotions out of police work, because she’d felt a range of feeling while on the ride-along. If she ever would decide to enter law enforcement, she’d have to learn how to turn that part of herself off—or at least subdue it while working. It wouldn’t help a victim’s family if Codie was crying and carrying on that a lovely human being was found dead. She suspected that was why some cops did seem like assholes—because it was a shield to protect themselves.

For now, though, she was no cop, not by a long shot. She was merely a concerned citizen who was curious as hell and wanted to know more. She didn’t know if Pete had been giving her the runaround or if there really was no more information available, so she decided to take matters into her own hands.

She went to the police station.

Codie had actually been there quite a bit recently, mainly because she’d been setting up the ride-along in the first place, so she knew a few people there. She lucked out, because Kelly, a receptionist she’d developed a warm relationship, was near the front desk and spied her. As she stood, though, a woman Codie thought was the office manager or someone who held that kind of role, approached the window. Codie was pretty sure her name was Carmen, but the woman had never gone out of her way to introduce herself—they’d only seen each other while Kelly had processed Codie’s ride-along paperwork.

Through the glass, Codie saw Kelly shrug and then wave before returning her eyes to her computer monitor. Carmen asked, in a voice so monotone she could put zombies to sleep, “Can I help you?”

“Hi. I’m Codie Snow. I don’t know if you remember me…” Codie paused, waiting for some type of acknowledgement, but the woman’s brow barely budged a millimeter. Codie felt her breath pause in her lungs, and she wondered why she found this woman intimidating. Sure, she was a large gal, but she didn’t seem physically aggressive. It certainly couldn’t have been her penciled-in brow or the long fake fuchsia nails.

And then Codie hit the nail on the head. It was because the woman was a gatekeeper. But she pulled the rest of the air in her lungs and reminded herself that it didn’t matter. If the woman said no, Codie would just go on. It wasn’t like she had a personal stake in the matter. “I, uh, went on a ride-along with Pete Olsen earlier in the week and we were at a crime scene. Only we didn’t know it was a crime scene at the time. They thought the woman had committed suicide, only now they maybe think it’s murder?”

The woman’s face didn’t crack.

Her eyes didn’t light up.

She didn’t even acknowledge that she had any frigging clue what Codie was talking about.

But Codie chose to plow forward just the same. “So I was wondering—as a concerned citizen, of course—what information I could get about that.”

Monotone again. Delivered like a parrot. About as much warmth as a glacier. “I’m not at liberty to divulge any information while an investigation is ongoing.”

“Oh.”

Codie took that as a signal to leave and got ready to wave goodbye to Kelly if she could grab her friend’s attention. Before she could do that, though, Ms. Warm and Friendly added one last little nugget. “There’s going to be something in the paper tomorrow about it.”

Maybe she wasn’t so bad after all. “Great. Thanks!” She felt a huge smile on her face. “Have a good one.”

“Hah.” As Codie walked away, she kept her spirits up by imagining that the poor woman at reception probably just needed to get laid…


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