Viewing post #809333 by Sharon
Ron Banks was fuming. He’d told her to meet him at the pharmacy at 8. It was 8:15 when her car parked in the darkest corner of the lot. He waited.
Let her come to him. He knew she would.
They always did.
He’d left his wife just after dinner, saying he had to keep watch on the high school grounds tonight, common practice following another death of a student. Good thing his children were elementary school boys or he might be worried himself.
“Ha!” he thought, “Me worried? Fat chance.”
Finally he saw the interior light switch on in Jayne’s car, just like always. He watched it switch off, knowing she’d closed the door and was on her way to his own car. He was ready.
He flicked the lock button. Let her beg him to open his door. Let her beg.
She gently tapped on his passenger side door. He ignored her. She tapped again, this time a little louder. He ignored her.
For once, Jayne wised up. With one final tap, and with Ron ignoring her again, she jerked around and walked quickly into the pharmacy, where several people were doing some last minute shopping. She thought she saw a friend inside and too, she could always pick up a few things while she was there. She hid her disappointment behind her anger, hoping she hadn’t made a mistake with Ron. He’d played the pouting game one time too many with her. She didn’t need an affair with a pouting man. There were others out there who weren’t so temperamental, she told herself.
At about the same time, Coop was just finishing up a great lasagna dinner with Angie and her parents. They hadn’t visited in awhile and it was good to catch up with this family in the house where he’d spent so much time when he and Aaron were in high school. Not much had changed that he could see. The good natured bantering still went on around the table, the only difference was that Angie participated now. When he was in high school, she’d been very quiet at these family gatherings. Little did he know that she was speechless back then, puppy love had done that to her.
After dinner, and after helping clear the dining table and kitchen, both Coop and Angie began to gather their things to leave. Neither of them had mentioned the recent deaths during dinner. They’d both needed time away from the horror.
As Coop walked Angie to her car, he glanced around the neighborhood. The evening was cool; the streets were quiet. There was a slight breeze.
“I’m going to follow you home, Angie, just to make sure things are quiet there, just so I don’t worry.”
“Oh you don’t have to do that, Coop. I’ll be fine. I’m just going straight home to work on lesson plans for next week, no need for you to go out of your way.”
“Hey Angie, what about taking an after dinner walk? It’s a nice night. I need to walk off some of this fabulous lasagna. Not that you need to walk off anything, but it’s a nice night and . . .”
“Coop, I’d love to.”
“. . . we still need to talk about . . . OH, you would? OK. Well. Then. Uhhhhh, I’ll just follow you to your house and we can go from there. How’s that?”
Angie smiled at Coop’s stumbling words. She wondered if he was dating anyone. She wondered if he’d ever been in love.
She led the way in her little red Mustang, and Coop followed in his patrol car. They were both smiling as they drove toward town.
“That b#*ch”, Ron thought, as his clock showed 9:12. “She’s been in there for an hour. The pharmacy closes at 10. She thinks I won’t wait her out. She’s got another think coming. Nobody ignores me and gets away with it. I’ll give that little s#*t something to take home to show her sweet Steve. See how she likes that!”
He drove his car over and parked it next to hers. He waited.
The parking lot emptied. Still, he waited.
They parked near the curb in front of Angie’s quaint little home, the house she’d bought during her first year of teaching. The home she had decorated with finds she discovered at estate sales, consignment shops and some things she’d brought from her mom’s attic.
“Let me just take my purse in, Coop, I’ll be right back out.”
“I’ll walk in with you, Angie. Your house is lovely. I’ve always wanted to see it from the inside. I used to deliver papers to the old couple here, never been inside though.”
“Well then, Coop, I’ll give you the nickel tour. It’s not much, but it’s mine and I love it! I’m still working on the second floor. It was just an attic, but I’m making it my office space. I’ve already done the flooring, did that by myself. It’s easy enough when you have the guys at Lowe’s telling you what to do. Now I just have to get the walls painted and curtains up. Next paycheck, though!”
“You should have called me, Angie, I’m the king of flooring. Helped my dad when my folks redid their floors. Seems to me a big job for a little bitty girl like you.”
“Coop, I’m not that little bitty kid sister anymore.”
“Ummmmmmm, Angie, I can see that,” Coop said as Angie unlocked her front door.
She’d left a lamp on in the entry, otherwise, the house was dark and quiet. She flipped lights on as she walked toward the kitchen.
“You want coffee, Coop? I could make some in just a minute. I don’t usually drink coffee this late, but since we’re here, it might . . . “
Angie’s voice trailed off; the kitchen light revealed glass all over the floor.
Angie stopped, Coop coming up against her, both seeing the broken glass at the same time. They both felt the breeze coming from the broken window. They both saw the rock with the crumpled paper around it laying on the floor in all the glass.
“Wait! Don’t touch it, Angie! “ Coop grabbed her arm and pulled her into the living room with him.
“You stand here, let me make sure the house is secure, then we’ll worry about the glass.”
“No Coop,” Angie whispered. “I need to go with you.”
Nothing else seemed out of place as they walked from room to room. Coop had checked the back door first thing, it was as secure as Angie had left it. The only difference was the broken window over the sink and the rock on the floor in the broken glass.
They returned to the kitchen. Coop pulled the latex gloves he always carried from his pocket.
“Just part of the job,” he said, when Angie glanced at him with a question on her face. “I never know when I might need them.”
“Are you OK, Sweetheart? You need to sit down? Need some water?”
Angie shook her head. Her heart was pounding, she’d never had an invasion of any kind before; she wasn’t sure what she was feeling.
“Just read what’s on the paper, Coop. It’s probably a kid’s prank, I do have those mischievous boys in class, it’s probably nothing.”
Coop picked up the rock, placed it carefully on the table, untied the string that held the note in place. He unfolded the paper, opened it, with Angie looking over his arm.
He couldn’t hide the words; she saw them.
Written in a childish scrawl: “Your next.”
She reached for it but Coop was quicker.
“Don’t touch it! Fingerprints.”
“It’s just one of the kids, Coop, see? He didn’t even use correct grammar. He wrote ‘your’ when it should have been ‘you’re’. Just the kids.
Coop couldn’t believe she saw the grammatical error before she caught the warning of the words. He wasn’t going to mention that to her. She was already white, and her gorgeous eyes were round in her face. Let her be the teacher, let her see the grammar. He saw much more.
He made the call, then with their walk forgotten, he led Angie to her sofa where they sat until one of Coop’s men arrived at the door.
Steve glanced at the clock. It was nearly 10. Jayne had said she was going shopping for a few things when she’d dropped Jake off following his game. He’d seen that Jake was fed and put to bed, then he’d watched the end of the game on TV. He wasn’t worried, Jayne often met up with her buddies when she shopped and usually was home by 10. He knew his wife worked hard, knew she was a good teacher, a good mother; he wasn’t worried. But he did catch himself wondering how she walked around in those high heels she wore all the time. Perfect Jayne, picture perfect. He was one lucky man to have such a gorgeous wife.
Oh, he’d seen the looks she got from perfect strangers when they walked into a restaurant. He’d been proud as punch to have her on his arm and not theirs. One lucky man. He smiled to himself.
A little after 10 he checked the clock again. Jayne still wasn’t home.
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