TimeChange- Fourth Installment

???????????????????????????????????????CHAPTER EIGHT

11:39am

 

Dee dragged herself in to work later that morning. She shouldn’t have come in at all, but she couldn’t let Parrish interfere with her job. Damn him! She should have slapped him for the things he said and the way he acted before leaving. Reluctantly, she had to admit that there may have been some truth to his words. Still, it didn’t make her feel any better about what happened. She and Joel were supposed to be married for goodness sake. Now, she doubted that would ever happen…

Snapping out of her thoughtful state, she realized that her phone was ringing.

After voice responded a second or two after the caller was greeted. “Is this Demeshia Lincoln, the one doing to story on the Joyner murder?”

Dee’s brows drew together. “Yes this is.”

The mysterious female voice continued, “I read your story on Julian Reeves. You should be proud.”

“Oh I am.” Dee said easily, figuring the caller just wanted to congratulate her. However, the woman’s next words caught her totally off guard.

“Tell me Ms. Lincoln, are you interested in finding the real murderer or are you satisfied with proving Reeves’ innocence?”

“Well Julian’s guilt or innocence is very important to me,” Dee began, sitting up straighter in her chair, “but I would be very interested in any information leading to the real killer.”

“Good.” The woman said. “If you want to find the criminal, I suggest you look into Robert Joyner’s community programs.”

“Which…programs?” Dee questioned.

“I think that’s all I need to say. It should be more than enough to help you.”

“But-”

“Thank you for your time Ms. Lincoln, goodbye.” The woman cut in before hanging up.

“Dammit.” Dee whispered when she heard the dial tone. She thought for a moment, before an idea came to mind.

“Councilman Joyner’s headquarters.” A chirpy male voice answered.

“Yes, my name is…Vivian Neil and I’m a constituent of Councilman Joyner. I just returned to the country from vacation and I heard the terrible news.” Dee said.

“Yes mam, we were all very shaken up.” The young man said.

“Do they have any leads on the killer yet?” Dee innocently questioned, choosing to begin with light conversation.

“Well, they thought they had the killer. A guy named Julian Reeves, but he’s got an airtight alibi.”

“Yes, I recall reading something about that. It’s a shame, Robert Joyner was such a wonderful man. Actually, that’s the reason I’m calling. He was working on a program in my neighborhood. A crime watch sort of thing. I wondered if contributions could still be accepted and how many programs there were like that in other neighborhoods.”

The young man was full of information. “Yes, Ms. Neil contributions would be greatly appreciated. Councilman Joyner was          very interested in bettering conditions especially those in the housing projects. In fact, he had plenty of programs in the works for most of the minority communities.”

“How interesting.” Dee slowly replied, becoming more confused. “Well, thank you so much for your time young man. I’ll be getting in touch with your office in a day or so.”

“No problem, Ms. Neil and thank you.”

Dee laid the receiver down. The frown was etched deep into her forehead. Things just weren’t adding up. It sounded like Joyner was some sort of crusader for the minority groups in the city. If so, where was Julian Reeves’ motive?

***

By 3:00 that afternoon, Dee was thoroughly exhausted. She’d made trips to Joyner’s headquarters where a little detective work, proved helpful. She’d discovered that Robert Joyner had quite a few business and political deals in the works. However, the most interesting discovery, by far, was the fact that all those deals were centered in the black community. Dee found that there were deals for construction of recreation and daycare centers, among other things. There were also scouting programs to put together a minority campaign team for Joyner.

All the discoveries only served to aggravate Dee. The mysterious woman who called earlier, said that if she checked out this avenue, she find the killer. Unfortunately, nothing panned out. Maybe if she looked at the files that would tell her something. Dammit, there was no way those people would let her see company files. Was there?

***

“Thanks for meeting with me. I know how busy you guys are.” Dee was saying as she sat across from Dion Ames and James Willard.

“No problem Dee Dee, what’s up?” James asked.

“I need a big favor.” She quickly announced.

“So what else is new?” Dion teased, his dark eyes twinkling wickedly.

Dee smiled, showing off the double dimples at each corner of her mouth. “Seriously. It’s about the Reeves case.”

“I thought it was solved?” Dion asked, frowning slightly.

“Well Julian had an alibi, but we still need to know who the real killer is.”

“How can we help?” James asked, glancing at Dion.

Dee leaned forward slightly as she spoke. “I got a call today from a woman who told me that if I still wanted to find Joyner’s killer, then I should look into his community programs.”

“And?” James asked.

“And I did, but I didn’t find anything to help me. I figure the answer must be in his company records.”

“Which is where we come in?” Dion asked, nodding slowly.

“Mmm hmm. I can’t get into those files, but maybe you can since you both work for the D.A.’s office.”

“Why should they let us see them?” James questioned.

Dee shook her head. “I know you’ll think of something.”

“Mmm…I should’ve known you’d leave us with the hard work.” Dion said.

Dee’s large, dark eyes sparkled. “Does this mean you’ll help me?”

“We’ll try,” James replied, “but first, you’ve got to tell us what you know.”

“Well, you know that Joyner was real big on bettering the communities. He had countless neighborhood programs in the works as well as business and other political plans too. But, the most interesting part of it all was the fact that all these business and political plans were centered in black communities.”

“Really?” James asked.

“Mmm hmm…now all that makes me wonder where Julian’s motive was.”

“Yeah, that is strange. Have you talked to Parrish about this stuff? We know he’s in town.” Dion asked.

Dee cringed at Dion’s mention of Parrish. He was the last person she was ready to see. “I haven’t seen him today.” She lied.

“Well, here’s your chance.” Dion told her, looking towards the front of the restaurant.

Dee turned to see Parrish entering the diningroom just them. She felt her heart race as she stared at him. He was wearing an ankle-length black leather trench coat over a pearl gray double-breasted suit. Gorgeous. For a moment, Dee thought he wouldn’t see them, but Dion and James made that impossible. They both stood up and waved Parrish over, eager to see their old friend.

“Where the hell have you been man?!” James called, as the three men shared a group hug.

“Hell, man I been workin,'” Parrish said through his laughter.

“Congratulations on the case.” Dion added.

Parrish gave both men a bright smile. “Thanks, but credit really goes to Misha.” He said, turning to stare at Dee.

“Yeah, we were just talkin’ about that.” James said. “Hey Dee Dee, you ever considered working in the D.A.’s office. We could use a detective like you.” He teased.

Everyone laughed, but Dee found it hard to enjoy the moment. She looked at Parrish. He was laughing, but his eyes held the most intense look she’d ever seen.

“Uh…guys I need to get going, but you have my number so give me a call.” She quickly called, pushing her hair away from her eyes as she grabbed her coat.

“Since Parrish is here, ya’ll can fill him in on what we talked about. See you guys later.” She hastily added, her eyes lingered for a moment on Parrish’s ruggedly handsome face. Then, she was gone.

“Man, Dee Dee sure grew into a fine sista.” Dion remarked, watching her leave.

James nodded in agreement and Parrish’s brown gaze followed Dee until she left the restaurant. “She certainly did.” He said.

***

January 22,- 12:50pm

“Hi Ms. Lincoln,” The receptionist greeted Dee when she arrived at Joel’s office the next day.

“Hey Joy is he in? I told him I’d meet him here for lunch.” Dee informed the woman.

Joy frowned slightly before she answered. “He should be free. He was meeting but I believe that’s over.”

“Well I’ll just go on in and wait.” Dee said, heading towards the office.

When she walked to Joel’s partially opened office door, her fiancé was nowhere in sight. Still, she felt her heart drop to her knees. “Parrish? What are you…This is a surprise.”

Parrish slowly stood from his chair and walked towards her. He looked so good in a pair of blue jeans that hung well below his waist and heavy dark designer shirt. Black hiking boots completed the outfit.

Dee’s eyes however, were trained on his face. The smug look she saw there made her think he’d told Joel about their night together.

“What do you mean?” He simply asked, his brown eyes twinkling mischievously.

Dee felt her heart beating wildly in her chest. “You didn’t…”

Parrish’s eyes narrowed dangerously and a frown darkened his face. “Damn you Misha.” He fiercely whispered.

The guilt was evident on Dee’s face as she looked away.

“Misha as badly as I want you, I wouldn’t stoop that low to get you back-”

“I didn’t mean for it to come out that way.” She tried to explain.

Parrish held up one hand, not wanting to hear anymore. “I don’t care how you meant it. I’m through Misha. I give up. You should know by now how I feel. I’ll leave it up to you to make a decision about where we go from here. Don’t expect me to wait forever.”

Dee was speechless as she stood by the door and watched him grab a heavy dark jacket. Before leaving, he bent down to whisper in her ear. “Baby, you know I didn’t tell Joel about us because I think he’s a good man. You should think about that too. He deserves a woman who really loves him.” With that, he was gone leaving Dee standing in the doorway staring after him.

***

Parrish returned to his hotel not long after his ‘run-in’ with Dee. He’d been doing a good job of playing it cool and not losing his temper. Unfortunately, he’d never been very good at it and it was only a matter of time…He wondered if Dee had a clue as to how hard this was for him.

Of course she did, he admitted to himself. She was trying to be true to her fiancé. Well… she tried. Plus, she was trying to keep him from going off. He knew she hadn’t forgotten what happened all those years ago either. Looking back, he saw all his mistakes clearly. In a lot of ways he’d changed. All he needed was for Misha to give him another chance. Too bad she still saw him as the guy who had hospitalized her date their senior year in highschool…

Sighing, Parrish shook away his heavy thoughts and headed over to the front desk for his messages. The young woman behind the mahogany counter smiled at him as she laid a handful of pink tickets in his hand. Parrish’s gaze landed on a small white envelope nestled among the messages. Inside, was an invitation to David Lincoln’s birthday party. He wouldn’t mind going and Dee was sure to be there…He was so deep in thought at that point, that he didn’t hear the soft feminine voice calling to him.

“Parrish Jeffries, I know that’s you.”

Parrish finally turned to see the petite, browned skinned woman who was speaking to him.

“Melita? Melita Gerald?”

“You remembered.” Melita said, smiling as she opened her arms for a hug. “I couldn’t believe it when they told me you were going to be staying here.” She said, as she hugged her old highschool friend.

Parrish frowned. “They?”

Melita nodded. “Mmm…I’m the reservations director here.”

“I’m impressed.” Parrish said, nodding slightly.

“Thanks…So what are you doing?”

Parrish sighed. “Just goin’ through my messages and an invitation to a party.”

“Damn, only in town a couple of days and already getting invited to parties.” Melita teased.

Parrish bowed his head in a humble gesture. “David Lincoln, Dee’s father, is having a birthday party.” He finally explained.

Melita’s perfectly arched brows rose slightly. “Dee’s father?”

A soft smile tugged at Parrish’s sensual lips. “It’s not what you think.” Unfortunately, he silently added.

“Well I bet it’ll be fun just the same.” Melita commented.

“Would you like to go?”

Melita’s dark eyes widened. “With you?” She asked, watching Parrish nod. She finally caught her breath and accepted the offer.

“Good.” Parrish said. “If you give me your address, I’ll pick you up at eight.” He added, watching Melita write her address on the back of her business card. Parrish was glad she’d accepted, since he wasn’t in any mood to go alone. He didn’t think he could stomach watching Dee hang over Joel all night.

 

 

 

CHAPTER NINE

January 26,- 3:47pm

 

“I knew it!” Sheila screamed. “I knew it wouldn’t be long before you did it!”

Dee rolled her eyes at her friend. “Sheila it’s not as wonderful as it seems, you know?” She said in a tired voice.

“You’re as happy as a clam and you know it.” Sheila assured her. “Ya’ll should’ve never split up in the first place.”

“Well we did and I have a fiancé to think about.”

“And what about your fiancé? When are you going to break that off?”

Dee got up from Sheila’s couch and walked over to stare out of the windows. “I don’t know.” She finally said.

Sheila, in the midst of making preparations for a get together she was having, looked up from her pad to stare at Dee. “You don’t know. You are going to tell him?”

Dee heaved a deep sigh and turned to stare at Sheila. “I know I have to, but I just don’t want to hurt him.”

“Baby, newsflash, but you hurt Joel when you slept with Paris. The only thing you’ll do is hurt him even more if you don’t tell him.” Sheila said firmly.

Dee stared at her friend for a minute, before she dropped to the sofa and held her head in her hands.

***

4:53pm

 

Later that afternoon, Dee was catching up on some work at her home. She was in the middle of an article on a local, black dance company, when her phone rang.

“Dee Lincoln.”

“Hey Dee, this is Dion.”

“Hi.” Dee greeted, her curiosity peaked. “What’s up?”

Dion sighed heavily on the other end of the phone. “Not much, I’m afraid.”

“You couldn’t find anything?” She asked, disappointed.

“Nothing. They went over that place with a fine toothed comb and there was nothing to be found.”

“Everything checked out, even the records?” Dee persisted, hoping they’d overlooked something.

“Yeah baby, everything checked out. I’m sorry.”

Dee sighed and ran a hand over her face. “That’s okay, Dion. Thanks anyway. Tell James I said thank you.”

“No problem. We’ll keep in touch in case something turns up. Alright?” He asked her.

“Okay. Thank you Dion.”

“No problem, sweet.”

“Dammit!” Dee said furiously as she hung up the phone. She was beginning to wonder if that mysterious call was a prank. Nothing the woman said, added up.

The ringing doorbell interrupted her thoughts.

***

Parrish rang Dee’s doorbell before he could change his mind. He told himself that he was only there to discuss the case, but he really just wanted to see her. After that day in Joel’s office, he told himself he would leave it to her. Unfortunately, he was never known for his patience. He figured he’d be fine as long as he could see her.

Dee was thinking the same thing as she took in the cut of Parrish’s navy blue suit. She admired the way the material molded to his tall, athletic frame.

“Parrish.” She said in surprise, her double dimples deepening. She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed him.

“How you doin’?” He asked, walking into the house, slowly.

Dee smoothed her hands over her jeans and wished she was dressed in something less comfortable. “I’m fine and you?”

Parrish had one hand pushed into the deep pockets of his stylish navy trousers. “I’m good.” He replied. “I got an invitation to Mr. D’s party.”

“Are you going?” Dee asked, willing her heart to stop its rapid beating.

“Yeah, I’ll make an appearance.” He told her, leaving out the part about his date.

Conversation ceased as they stared at each other. Finally Parrish cleared his throat and began to speak. “I came to find out if you’d heard from James and Dion. I haven’t had a chance to call them.”

“Yeah Dion just called.” Dee said, stepping over to let Parrish inside.

“They find anything?” He asked, taking a seat on the sofa.

Dee sighed and shook her head. “No. Dion said they checked out everything, but nothing turned up.” She replied, taking a seat on the sofa.

“Damn.” Parrish murmured.

“My sentiments exactly.” Dee sighed, leaning back on the sofa and closing her eyes.

Parrish followed suit as he lounged on his side of the couch too. “I remember how secretive those people can be about “company business” from when I was gathering evidence for Julian’s case.”

“Yeah, I thought they’d find something in those records, but no. Joyner was clean as a whistle.”

“Did they think about looking for two sets of books?” Parrish asked in a simple tone, his eyes still closed.

Dee’s eyes snapped open at Parrish’s questioned. “Two books?” She repeated. “Dammit Parry, that’s it. That’s gotta be it!” She said, sitting straight up on the couch. “I don’t believe I didn’t think of that before!” She happily exclaimed, her smoky brown eyes sparkling.

Dee was so excited about the new lead that she leaned over to Parrish who was still reclining on the sofa, and kissed his cheek. When she tried to move back, Parrish grabbed her upper arms and they stared at each other for a moment. Then, they were kissing each other deeply. Parrish moaned as his tongue thrust smoothly into the sweet cavern of her mouth. He pulled her closer until she was straddling him. Still absorbed in the kiss, Dee gasped when she felt Parrish’s large hands gripping her bottom through her tight jeans.

Then, surprisingly, Parrish pushed her away. “Sorry Misha, I keep forgetting.” He said, breathing heavily.

“Forgetting what?” She asked, confused as she moved away from him.

Parrish’s gaze was intense. “That you belong to someone else.”

Dee frowned at the statement. “I don’t belong to anybody.”

Parrish’s wide shoulders lifted as he shrugged off her statement. “Maybe not, but you are engaged.”

Dee had nothing to say to that statement. She was quiet as she watched Parrish get up from the sofa and leave.

***

David Lincoln’s party was crowded and lively. Family, friends and business associates all attended the gathering. Dee had to hand it to her parents. They really knew how to throw a party. The food, drinks and music were all top notch.

The doorbell began to ring once again and luckily Dee was close enough to hear it. She broke away from Joel to rush over to it. When she opened the door and saw Parrish standing there with Melita Gerald on his arm, her heart sank.

“Hey ya’ll.” She quietly managed. “What’s goin’ on Melita?” She asked, hugging the woman.

“Not much.” Melita sighed, retuning the hug. “It’s good to see you.”

Dee slowly turned her gaze to Parrish. “Glad you could make it.” She told him, stepping away from the door to let them both inside.

“Mr. D blow out his candles yet?” Parrish asked.

“Uh-uh I think he’s avoiding it.” Dee said and they all laughed.

Unfortunately, the rest of the evening was filled with tension. Parrish tried to keep his mind and his eyes off Dee who looked utterly delicious in a tight, black ankle-length creation. Meanwhile, Dee tried not to spend too much time wondering what Parrish and Melita were doing together. Of course, they both failed miserably.

“Would Joel mind you dancing with me?” Parrish was asking an hour later.

Dee almost dropped her glass of champagne when the deep voice rumbled in her ear. She glanced over at her fiancé dancing with her mother. Then, she turned around.

“Joel’s not the jealous type.”

Parrish caught Dee’s meaning, but chose to ignore it. “Obviously.” He mumbled, sliding his arm around her tiny waist.

Dee prayed no one could tell how much she enjoyed the dance with the tall, gorgeous attorney. Parrish allowed no room between them as his strong arms held her tightly. Dee tried not to let her eyes flutter close at the sweet sensation of her full breasts being crushed against his muscled chest.

Pressing against the front of his brown and black checkered vest, Dee stared up at him. “So where’s Melita?” She challenged.

“Where’s Joel.” Parrish countered.

Dee nodded towards the center of the large den where the dancing was taking place. “Over there dancing with my mother.”

“Hmph.”

Dee frowned. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Parrish sighed. “I just don’t see how he can leave you alone looking like this.” He admitted, staring down at the cleft between her breasts.

“Is sex all you think about these days?”

Parrish looked wounded. “No…I think about other stuff.” He weakly assured her, smiling when Dee began to laugh.

~~~

Joel had finished his dance with Thelma Lincoln and decided to get a drink. He was at the bar waiting for a Scotch, when he overheard two women talking.

“Alisha, I tell you, Parrish hasn’t seen Dee in years and he still isn’t over her.” Melita commented as she sipped on a wine cooler.

“Well she’s getting married, so I think he might be too late.” Alisha noted.

“Hmph, tell him that.”

Joel took his drink and shook his head. He knew he shouldn’t be taking what he heard seriously. Still, he couldn’t help but listen.

 

 

 

CHAPTER TEN

January 27,- 12:18pm

 

“Well, that’s something we never considered.” James Willard was saying the next day when Dee spoke to him over the phone.

“You can thank Parrish. He’s the one who thought there might be two sets of records.” She was saying.

“You really think Joyner was crooked?” James asked.

Dee breathed deeply as she considered James’ question. “I don’t know, he wouldn’t be the first.”

“You can say that again.”

“I hope he wasn’t though. He was trying to do so many good things for the communities.” Dee told him.

“Well I’ll see what we can do about getting the offices and maybe Joyner’s home searched, but it won’t be easy.” He warned her. “The police are more concerned with finding Joyner’s killer than with proving his dishonesty.”

“I know that, but searching again, might just lead to the killer.” Dee reminded him.

“Let’s hope so baby. I’ll call you later.”

“Okay. Thanks James.”

“Anytime.”

***

February 2,- 11:45am

 

When James called Dee a week later, the news he had was bittersweet. The search did turn up two sets of books. Joyner had been scamming the communities he was supposed to be helping. The first set of books showed none of that. The late Robert Joyner, had been cheating countless families and individual constituents who had been counting on him to make changes in their living conditions. Unfortunately, Joyner’s discretions only made the police even more suspicious of Julian Reeves. Even the picture that proved Julian’s innocence, was being doubted.

“They can’t do that, can they?” Dee was asking Dion Ames, when she talked to he and James on the phone.

“Unfortunately for Julian, they can.” James informed her. “If they feel they have reason enough to believe he’s got something to hide.”

“But Joyner’s the one who was breaking the law!” Dee vented.

“Baby, we all know that, but that’s how the system works.” He reasoned.

Dee sighed and toyed with a curly lock of her hair. “Yeah, well I have one word for the system.”

Dion laughed softly, then cleared his throat. “Dee you can’t print any of this yet, alright?”

“Yeah I figured as much.” She drily replied. “Dion?”

“Hmm?…”

“Um…Does Parrish know about all of this yet?” She quietly asked.

“Well, it’s after eleven. I’m sure he does.”

Dee could feel her heart beating even more rapidly beneath the material of her black, chiffon blouse. “Yeah, you’re right. Dion, James thanks for calling about everything. I’ll be in touch, alright?”

After hanging up the phone, Dee sighed and ran a hand over the back of her neck. She prayed that Parrish wouldn’t kill her when he found out the police were suspecting Julian again. Unfortunately, she knew that she would be first on his ‘hit list’.

***

11:58am

 

“What do you think that picture’s going to tell you now that it didn’t before Junior?!” Parrish shouted at Junior McFadden, one of his old friends on the police force.

“Man, I hope it won’t tell us a damned thing. I believe the kid is innocent too. I hate this had to happen.”

Tell me about it. Parrish said to himself, absently running a hand over the back of his neck. He had spent most of the morning talking to, or arguing with, the police about how they were handling the case. The last few days had been pure hell. For the first time during his young career, Parrish actually thought he’d be sick if he saw the inside of another courtroom or police station. It was great knowing Julian was innocent. Now, the police wanted to prove him guilty.

“Look, all we need to do is take another look at that photo. Most of our new evidence really gives Julian a motive. We just want to make sure our bases are covered.” Junior told him.

“Yeah I know.” Parrish sighed.

Junior gave his friend a sympathetic smile. “We’ll be giving you a call.” He said, before leaving the small interrogation room where they were having the meeting.

Parrish slammed his hands down on the long table as soon as he was alone in the room. He had one person to thank for this mess. Damn Misha! If she wasn’t stabbing him in the back one way, she was in another. Sure, she found Julian a solid alibi, but her nosiness had opened another can of worms that would surely take Julian through more hell.

Reaching into his pocket for his car keys, Parrish decided he’d feel alot better if he told Dee off to her face. Pulling a heavy leather trench coat over a stylish three-piece, he stormed out of the room.

***

12:30pm

 

Dee tried to concentrate on finishing the mountain of work on her desk, but she just couldn’t keep her mind on what she was doing. Every time her phone rang someone walked into her office, she jumped. Dee knew she was being foolish. After all, she didn’t mean for the police to begin suspecting Julian again, Parrish must know that. Still, she couldn’t control the twisting of nerves in her stomach or her shaking hands. Sighing deeply, she decided to go home. She certainly wasn’t getting anything accomplished at the office. She stepped into gray pumps and smoothed down the gray and white pen-striped skirt. Pulling a matching jacket off the coatrack, she got ready to leave the room.

When Dee opened the door, she felt herself shaking all over again.

“Going somewhere?” Parrish asked sharply. His brown eyes travelled the length of her voluptuous body appreciatively.

Dee backed away from the door and nodded, her curls bobbed rapidly. “I have an appointment.”

Parrish walked further into the office. “It can wait, can’t it?” He asked, slamming the door viciously behind him.

“I guess.” Dee replied, in a weak voice.

Parrish slowly circled her like she was prey. “Nice outfit.” He muttered.

“Is that why you came here to admire my clothes?”

Parrish walked right up to her and poked her lightly in the shoulder. “You know damn well why I’m here.” He growled.

“Parrish I didn’t mean for this to happen. How was I supposed to know the police would start suspecting Julian again? And let’s not forget that you were just as helpful in all this as I was.” She accused. For all her courage, however, her legs still felt very weak beneath her so she made her way over to the desk and leaned against it.

Parrish walked over and placed his hands on either side of her. You weren’t there when I had to tell that kid that he still wasn’t in the clear. You didn’t see the look on his face. Don’t get me wrong Dee, I want to know who the murderer is just as bad as you do. I just wish we didn’t have to take Julian through the ringer to do it.” Parrish uttered a muffled curse and ran a large hand over the back of his neck as he turned away.

Dee looked down at the floor, unsure of what to say. Parrish’s next words, however, caught her full attention.

“You reporters,” He was saying, his back still towards her, “you do whatever you have to for a story except stop to think about how it’s gonna affect the people you write about.” Parrish spoke as if he were talking to himself, but Dee heard him loud and clear.

“What do you mean, ‘you reporters’?” She asked, walking up behind him and shoving her small hands against his back.

Parrish turned around slowly as if he couldn’t believe she’d pushed him. “You know what I mean.” He softly assured her, his deep brown eyes staring hard into hers.

“Bastard.” She breathed.

Parrish shrugged off her statement with his massive shoulders. “You know Misha, this job is perfect for you.” He began, running one lean finger down the length of her neck to the cleft between her breasts left bare by the cut of her blouse. “You always act without stopping to think about how it’s gonna affect anybody but yourself.” He finished, lightly massaging the soft skin of her breasts.

Dee slapped him full and hard across the side of his handsome face. “I hate you.” She breathed as she whirled away from him and headed to the other side of the room.

Before she got too far, Parrish grabbed her hard around her upper arm and jerked her around to face him. “You hate me? Why? Because I’m telling you the truth? Baby we had sex recently and you loved it. You still want me, you still love me, but you’ve got a fiancé to think about. You’re not thinking about him at all though. Don’t you believe he has a right to know he may not be getting married in June? Huh Misha?” Parrish asked, his grip becoming tighter.

“Parrish, please…this hurts.” She whispered, her eyes beginning to glisten.

“It hurts?” He asked softly, almost sympathetically. “Well, now you know the feeling.” He said harshly, jerking her even closer.

Dee uttered a sharp gasp as tears began to pool. She’d seen Parrish this angry before, but it had never been directed towards her.

Parrish saw the fear in her eyes, so he let her go. He turned to leave the office. When the door closed behind him, Dee let the tears flow freely.

***

February 5,- 9:47pm

 

Dee massaged her aching temples and hoped the aspirin she’d taken earlier would do some good. She and Joel were sitting at the inspection a block away from Sheila’s house, waiting for the light to change. From beneath half-closed eyelids, Dee looked over at Joel. Pretending that things were okay was really getting to her. It might’ve been easier to be honest with Joel, if he sensed something was wrong, but he didn’t. He was as loving and happy as always and it was driving her crazy. Parrish thought she didn’t know what being hurt felt like. Well, he was wrong. Every time she saw him, be it on the news or in person, hurt was all she felt. She wanted to be with him so badly, she could barely think of anything else.

Now she was going to have to get through three or four hours of socializing at Sheila’s party. “Might as well make the most of it.” She grumbled as Joel’s Mercedes came to a halt.

“You say something baby?” He asked. When Dee shook her head, he got out of the car and came around to open her door.

The party was in full gear when they arrived. Sheila loved throwing parties. Especially when the guest of honor was her brother. Once Dee’s deep brown gaze landed on Parrish, she couldn’t tear them away. To say he looked good, would’ve been an understatement. The mocha-colored trousers, matching jacket over a cream and brown striped shirt complimented his muscular frame perfectly. Dee’s attention turned back to Joel, when she realized he was talking to her about going to find Sheila.

The good music and even better food, made the party very enjoyable. Of course, Parrish and Dee did their best to ignore each other. If anyone had been paying them close attention, they would’ve seen the heated glances that travelled across the room.

A while later, Dee went upstairs to Sheila’s den intending to give her aching head a rest. To her surprise, the room was already occupied.

“I thought everybody was downstairs.” Dee explained.

Parrish gave her a smile, not bothering to move from his relaxed position on the sofa. “I can only take so much socializing.”

Dee managed a small smile and turned to head out of the room.

“There’s plenty of space for two, Misha.” He said in a deep, low voice.

“Oh thank you, but I should probably take something for my headache anyway.” She hastily replied, opening the door.

“Misha I’m sorry about the other day. None of what happened was your fault and I’m sorry I came across the way I did.” He said the words softly, but loud enough for her to hear.

Dee closed the den’s door and walked further into the room. Parrish’s warm brown stare roamed slowly over the short, forest green dress she wore. “Did I leave a bruise when I grabbed you?” He asked, looking at her arms covered with forest green chiffon sleeves.

“It was nothing.” She shook her head.

He nodded slowly, before turning his attention back to the book on his lap.

“What’s that?” Dee asked, coming closer to the sofa as she played with a tendril of hair that had fallen from the curls piled on top of her head.

“An album Sheila had all these old pictures in.” Parrish said, turning the book around so she could see the photos.

She gave a delighted gasp as she viewed the pictures. They were all vivid reminders of their colorful childhoods. For the next forty-five minutes, the two of them sat on the couch and looked through two more albums, teasing each other about old times.

“I can’t believe you use to wear that thick, gold chain.” Dee teased.

“Sign of the times baby.” Parrish proudly replied.

“Was it real?” She asked.

Parrish looked at her like she was crazy. “Hell yeah it was real.”

They were laughing so hard, that Dee had to wipe tears away from her eyes. “You are crazy.” She informed him.

Parrish’s expression became serious as he watched her. “Yeah, I know.”

Dee gave a short laugh as she stared at him. The humor left her face as well. One of Parrish’s hands grasped her upper arms and pulled her close.

“Parrish-”

“Shh…kiss me.” He ordered and Dee didn’t disappoint him. The kiss became deeper and Parrish’s other hand lowered to caress one of Dee’s full breasts through the soft material of her dress. They were so caught up in the kiss, that they didn’t hear the door opening.

“I need you Misha.” Parrish whispered to her.

“I know, I know…” She managed as she kissed his neck.

“Oh my God!” A voice shouted and they broke apart. Relief washed over Dee when she saw Sheila standing over them.

“Damn, girl why are you sneakin’ up on people like that!” Parrish snapped at his sister.

Sheila gave her brother a stale look. “Sneakin’? Boy you better be glad it was me instead of Joel. Then what?” She asked, looking at Dee.

Neither of them had a comment to that. Parrish muttered a fierce curse and left the room. Dee followed before Sheila could say anything.

When Joel spotted the threesome coming downstairs, a strange look crossed his face, but he quickly dismissed his thought.

 

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

February 6,- 12:15pm

 

“I can’t do this anymore. I have to tell him.” When Dee woke up that morning, she decided that she would break things off with Joel. Last night was a close call and she’d hate herself more if he found out that way.

Even though she regretted having to do it, Dee had to admit that telling Joel the truth would take a load off. Living this lie had consumed so much of her that she couldn’t enjoy the few good things that happened.

James Willard called earlier that morning to tell her that a friend on the police force had told him that Julian Reeves was officially off the list of suspects. The news lifted her spirits somewhat and she wondered if Parrish could call her about it.

She didn’t have long to wonder. Around twelve-thirty, she got a call.

“Well Misha, my work here is done.” Parrish was saying on the phone, the happiness evident in his voice.

Dee smiled at the comment. “I heard, congratulations.”

“Congratulations? Don’t congratulate me. If it weren’t for that picture, Julian wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on.”

“Well, well we’ve changed our tune from the other day when you wanted to kill me.” She said.

“Baby I’m sorry about that, very sorry. And to prove it, I’m taking you to dinner tonight.”

“Parrish-”

“I promise I won’t try a damn thing. Just want to make up for everything, that’s all.”

Dee sighed, thinking about his offer. She knew she shouldn’t go, but Parrish was a hard man to say no to. “Alright.” She finally answered against her better judgment.

“I’ll pick you up at eight.”

***

At eight o’clock, Parrish was knocking on her door. Dee checked her earrings and gave herself the once over at the long mirror beside her front door. She smiled, loving the way the long-sleeved peach dress hugged all her curves adoringly. The ankle-length dress had a thigh-high split in the side that left little to the imagination. Satisfied that everything was in place, she answered the door.

Parrish’s incredible brown eyes lit up as he stared at Dee. He’d ordered himself to keep his hands off her tonight, but it was going to be tougher than he thought.

Dee stood at the door, waiting for Parrish’s eyes to reach her face again. Taking in the suit he wore with a black and white checkered vest and matching bow tie, Dee guessed she wasn’t overdressed.

“Are you ready?” He asked, his lips twitching slightly as he watched her staring at him.

“Yeah.” Dee sighed, ignoring the knowing look on her face. She grabbed her coat, locked her front door and walked past him to his car.

***

“How is it?”

“It’s good, thanks.” Dee smiled across the table at Parrish. He had taken her to an elegant seafood restaurant for dinner and they were having a great time.

“I was surprised to get a call from you today.”

A frown clouded Parrish’s face as he stared at her. “Why?”

“You know why. We haven’t been getting along too well lately, you know.” She reminded him.

“I know that Misha, but hell I’m so happy now I could kiss the devil!” He exclaimed, his brown eyes sparkling.

Dee looked at him in disbelief. “Thanks.”

“Come on babe.” He whispered, taking her smaller hands in his much larger ones. “You know what I mean. It made my whole trip to tell Julian that he was in the clear.”

Dee understood, but she said nothing and nodded instead. Forty minutes later, she and Parrish were finishing up their meal and preparing to leave the restaurant.

“I had a nice time Parry,” She told him, once they were inside the car.

“Well it’s not over yet.” He told her, sending her a sexy smile and a wink.

“What?”

“We’ve got another stop to make.”

“Parrish-”

“Misha don’t say anything, just let me do this alright?”

“Well can you at least tell me where we’re going?” She asked, choosing not to argue.

“No, it’s a surprise.” Parrish stubbornly refused. He sped out of the parking lot and onto the busy streets of the city.

~~~

The eventual “surprise” was well worth the wait. Parrish took her to ‘Charlie’s’ the club owned by his uncle. She and Parrish both remembered how they used to sneak into the club when they were in highschool. Dee hadn’t been there in years.

Parrish hid a smile as he ushered her inside the crowded club. The excitement was showing all over her pretty face.

“P.J.!” A deep voice bellowed. Parrish’s Uncle Charles was rushing towards them. “Boy where the hell have you been hiding?”

Parrish chuckled as he hugged the uncle who was only a few years older than he was.

Charles Jeffries hugged his nephew, then his gaze slid over to the beautiful woman standing by Parrish’s side. Charles whistled. “Man, who is this?”

Parrish gave his uncle a surprised look. “You mean you don’t remember Misha Lincoln?”

Charles stared at Dee for a long while until realization dawned in his black eyes. “Lil’ Dee Dee? Can’t be. Where are those fat cheeks and double dimples?”

At the statement, Dee laughed. “Well the fat cheeks are gone, but I’ve still got the dimples.”

“I see, I see, girl come give me a hug.” Charles said, pulling her close.

“Charles it’s good to see you. It looks great in here.”

“Thank you sweetie.” Charles pulled Dee and Parrish along with him as they walked further into the club. “Now I know my nephew here has been busy in Chicago being a big time lawyer, but what about you Dee? Last I heard, you were working for a paper in…Queens? You still doin’ that?”

“Uh-uh,” Dee nodded, “The Queens Herald.”

“That’s right.” He said in an impressed tone, turning to look at her and Parrish. They stood that way until Charles heard someone calling his name. “The two of you still look good together.”

“Thanks Uncle.” Parrish said, slapping Charles on the back and watching him walk away.

A small frown clouded Dee’s lovely face and she pulled Parrish closer to her. “Parrish your uncle thinks we’re still together.” She whispered.

“We are, or we could be.” He replied simply, guiding her to the dance floor.

As promised, Charles got them a nice secluded table. Dee was having a great time, but it was hard being there without thinking about the incident that happened so many years ago.

“What’s wrong?” Parrish asked, tapping a finger to the deep cleft in his chin.

Dee smiled and shook her head. “Just thinking.”

“Have you been here since that night?” He asked, reading her mind.

“Uh-uh.”

“I didn’t mean to put him in the hospital,” Parrish said as memories of his rampage against the young man Demeshia had been with after their breakup siphoned in. “I’m sorry Misha.”

Dee stared at him for a moment. “Me too.”

Parrish looked down into his glass. “You know, after school when we went to different colleges, I thought that I’d never see you again.” He laughed.

“Why’d you decided to practice law?” She asked.

“‘Cause everybody told me I had a big mouth and could talk my way out of anything. So, I said ‘what the hell’.”

“And today you’re a star lawyer.” She teased.

Parrish gave her an embarrassed smile. “It’s my life.”

“There hasn’t been anyone special?”

Parrish leaned back in his chair and stared at her. “There’s someone, but I blew it with her.”

“Parrish-”

“So how’d you meet Joel?”

Dee hesitated, not sure if she should be discussing Joel. “I was assigned to do this story on black businessmen and Joel was one of my interviewees.” She explained.

“I bet it was the best interview of his life.” Parrish noted. “He probably didn’t know how to act.”

“We got to be very good friends. Then, we decided to take it further. I had no regrets.”

“Let’s dance.” Parrish suddenly said. He had gradually grown tired of the conversation.

The floor was packed, so they had to dance exceptionally close. Not that they minded. Dee lost herself in Parrish’s strong arms. She enjoyed the scent of his cologne teasing her senses. The last thing she wanted was to get caught up in another passionate encounter, but it seemed unavoidable. If only he weren’t so sexy and so hell bent on having her back…

Meanwhile Parrish’s chocolate gaze was focused solely on Dee’s mouth. Dipping his head, he touched her lips with his own. When she gasped, he thrust his tongue deep into the sweetness of her mouth, moaning at the satisfaction it gave him.

Time flew while Dee and Parrish were inside the club. When they left, Dee had to admit that she hated to see the evening end. Everything was going so well that it almost seemed like old times. When Parrish asked her back to his hotel room, she didn’t think to refuse.

“What do you want to drink?” He asked, once they were back inside his posh hotel suite.

“Something light.” Dee called, throwing her wrap over a chair and walking over to stare out the large windows. “I had a good time tonight.” She said, turning to Parrish who smiled at her from behind the bar. “I don’t know when I’ve laughed-”

Parrish heard her comment and a wall of tension rose quickly between them. “You’re never going to tell him are you?” He asked, handing her the drink and walking away.

Dee watched him for a moment, before she answered. “I decided to tell him the next time I saw him.”

Parrish turned around. “What?” He asked, certain he’d heard her wrong.

Dee began flexing her hand nervously as she stepped closer to him. “I decided to break it off with Joel the next time I see him.” She repeated.

Parrish said nothing, he only took their glasses and placed them on the coffeetable.

“I would’ve done it today, but we went-” Dee never had a chance to finish the statement. Parrish grabbed her arms and pulled her tightly against him. His mouth came down on hers as he kissed her long and hard.

Dee could barely breathe as Parrish kissed her, but she didn’t care. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she kissed him back.

Parrish groaned softly when he felt Dee’s body soften against his. His large strong hands roamed the length of her back then down to her rounded derriere, squeezing softly.

Dee felt herself being lifted and carried across the room. When Parrish set her down, they were in his bedroom. Dee pushed his jacket from his wide shoulders and loosened his bow tie before she unbuttoned his shirt. Meanwhile, Parrish had unzipped her dress and was beginning to push it down.

“Parrish don’t stop.” She softly whispered, while kissing his neck.

“Don’t worry.” He replied in a deep voice. Picking her up, he carried Dee the short distance to the massive bed.

Dee felt his mouth next to her as he kissed her breast. His arms were wrapped tightly around her body and she arched instinctively into his hard chest. She moaned softly when Parrish took only the tip of her breast between his lips and suckled gently.

“Parrish, Parrish…” She repeated.

“Hmm?…” He inquired, pulling her luscious legs apart and settling his well-built form between them. He moved one hand to the junction of her thighs and his fingers teased her gently. He gave a deep groan when he found her hot and very wet for him.

“Look at me Misha.”

Dee opened her deep brown eyes and stared into his much lighter ones.

“Do you want this?”

Her full lips parted in surprise and a shocked look crossed her face. “You know I do.” She softly assured him, pulling him next to her.

“Just me?” He asked, beginning to enter her.

“Yes.” She simply stated, then gasped when she felt his long, hard length inside her.

No words were spoken for a long long while. Dee thought she’d melt beneath the heat of Parrish’s deep caress and he could barely think as her warmth surrounded him.

***

February 7,- 7:45am

 

“I better get home Parry.”

Parrish stretched his muscular body and looked over at Dee. “I’ll take you. I’ve got some things to do anyway.”

“You don’t have to do that.” She told him, preparing to leave the bed.

“Hey,” Parrish called, grabbing her arm, “I want to.” He said, pulling her close to kiss her cheek. When he pulled away, he looked down to where the sheet had fallen from her chest.

“Parrish,” Dee warned, recognizing the look in his eyes.

“Misha…” Parrish replied in the same tone, pushing her back on the bed.

***

10:20am

 

For Dee, the ride back to her home seemed longer than it actually was. She was so wrapped up in her thoughts, she said very little.

Parrish could sense her tension, but he didn’t comment on it. He only knew that it felt good knowing she was finally going to tell Joel. Another chance with her was something he never thought would happen. Things certainly worked out funny sometimes. Still, he wished Joel didn’t have to go thought all this.

“Oh no.” Dee’s panicked.

Parrish looked over at her and his gaze followed hers to the Mercedes parked in front of her house. It was Joel’s car.

“What’s he doing here?” She said, as though she were speaking to herself.

“Well you can go ahead and tell him early.” Parrish smoothly suggested as he parked the car.

Dee gave him a strange look as she slowly got out of the car. This wasn’t the right time. Not with her just getting home, still in her clothes from last night. Well, you better think fast, because here comes Joel.

“Hey baby, I came to take you to breakfast, but I see you’re just getting in.” Joel said as he walked up to her.

“Yeah…I went out with Parrish and Sheila last night to celebrate the case. We got to talking and the night ran late. I just went on and stayed over.”

“Oh.” Joel replied, looking past her. “Hey Parrish.”

“Hey man.”

“I haven’t eaten anything, so I can just shower and change. Then we can go grab something.” Dee was saying to Joel.

Joel looked at his watch. “Yeah that sounds good. I’ve got some calls to make anyway. Parrish it was good to see you again man.” He shook Parrish’s hand before he took Dee’s keys and went into her house.

Parrish waited until Joel was back inside before he lit into Dee. “What the hell was that?” He bellowed.

“Shh!” Dee ordered, raising her hand. “Look, I’ll tell him, but now is not the right time.” She whispered.

“The right time?” Parrish was furious. “Last night you said you’d tell him when you saw him!”

“I will, but I have to do it my own way.”

“Dee, I think your way is nonexistent.” Parrish said in a tired voice. Then, he got in his car and drove off.

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

11:50am

 

After having breakfast with Joel where she still didn’t come clean about her true feelings, Dee went to her office to make a few calls.

When the line was answered, it sounded like the D.A.’s office was having a party. “James?” Dee questioned.

“Hello?…Dee is that you?”

“Yes, what are you doing over there?”

“Typical day, typical day.” James tiredly replied.

“Oh well, I was just calling to find out if you had any new info you could discuss?”

“Well, let’s see. The police got a tip the other day about Joyner’s will being read, so we checked it out and guess who came out on top?”

“I have no idea.”

“Patricia Morgan.”

“And she is?”

“Joyner was seeing her, sleeping with her.”

“Oh, I see. Well where did she come from? Who is she?”

“Right now she’s the prime suspect. She’s also Joyner’s personnel director.”

“Damn, in such a short time, a lot sure has happened with the case.”

“I know, maybe we’re on our way to finding the killer after all…Look Dee, I need to go, but call me back later alright?”

“Alright, thanks James.”

A will? A new suspect? For some reason, these new additions to the case sounded a bit too coincidental. Dee sat back in her chair and thought about what James had said. She wondered if they knew where the tip about the will being read came from. Most likely, they didn’t and the killer was probably the anonymous tipper. Then, there was this new suspect out of nowhere. The police probably didn’t know much more about her either. That, however was only a matter of time…

***

“Hello Ms. Lincoln, can I help you?”

Dee smiled at the young man behind the desk. She’d decided to take a trip to Joyner’s main office, hoping to stumble across something that made sense. Looking at the young man, she answered. “Yes, who in the office would know the most about the community programs?”

“Hmm…That would be Ms. Pierce, Mr. Joyner’s secretary.”

“Where could I find her?”

“Well, unfortunately she’s not working here anymore.”

“Oh? What happened?”

“Well, everybody’s going to be leaving soon anyway, but Ms. Pierce got a better job, more money. I guess she got tired of working for peanuts.” The young man grinned.

“I can understand that.” Dee smiled. “Do you think there’s anyway I could get in touch with her?”

The man gave a doubtful look. “That’s hard to say.”

“Well, what about Patricia Morgan. Is she here?”

“Oh Pat? No, I think she’s left for the day.”

“But she does work here?”

“You bet she does. In fact, you should probably talk to her if you want info on the community programs.”

“Why?”

“Well, she’s the one who really pushed Mr. Joyner to get involved with that. Most of the programs were her idea.”

“Is that right?” Dee whispered, making a mental note of the information.

“That’s right, but since she’s our personnel director, she’s been real busy because of the investigation.”

“Yeah.” Dee said, almost to herself. “Look, if she comes in, ask her to give me a call. It’s very important.” She told him, handing over a card.

“No problem.” The young man said, laying the card in the message box.

***

6:45pm

 

After leaving Joyner’s office, Dee went to ‘The Table’, a restaurant where she promised to meet Joel for dinner. The slight tension she’d been feeling all day, kicked in once she stepped inside the diningroom.

“Hi Joel, have you been waiting long?” She asked, once the maitre’d had shown her to the table.

“No, I just got here myself. You ready to order?” He asked, gesturing towards the menu.

“I’ll just have whatever you do.” Dee absently replied, watching him signal for the waiter and begin ordering.

“So what’s happening with the case?” He asked once the waiter left.

Dee gave a weary sigh, toying with a curly lock of her hair. “I just don’t know, everything is so crazy. We’ve got all these pieces that just don’t seem to fit.”

“You think the case’ll be solved by June?” He teased, referring to their upcoming wedding.

Dee caught the joke, and gave a faint smile.

Joel didn’t seem to notice her agitation. “I hope so,” he continued, “because have I got a honeymoon planned for you.” He promised. “You know how couples can never decide whether to go someplace warm or cold for their honeymoons?”

Dee frowned slightly before answering. “Yeah…”

“Well we won’t have that problem, because I’m giving you both.”

Dee sighed and looked away, feeling a slight pressure behind her eyes. “Joel-”

“Now don’t tell me it’s too much. I’ve got it all planned. I figure we’ll go to St. Thomas first, then spend two weeks in Switzerland. How does that sound?”

“Joel?”

“What?”

Dee hesitated for a moment. “We can’t.”

“Excuse me?”

“I can’t marry you.”

Frowning murderously, Joel leaned back in his chair. “Did you say you can’t marry me?”

Slowly, Dee nodded. “Yes…”

“What the hell is this? Have I done something, said something?”

“No! No Joel you haven’t done anything!”

“Well what is it then?” Joel demanded, pounding his fist to the table.

After a while, Dee answered. “It’s…Parrish Jeffries.”

“Mmm hmm…” A faint smile crossed Joel’s handsome face, but Dee didn’t notice it.

“Joel, when Parrish came back, I realized that I still had a lot of feelings for him that I thought died long ago.” She continued.

“I see.”

“I didn’t mean for things to go this far without telling you.”

“Dee-”

“I should’ve said something a long time ago. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it…” She trailed away, disgusted with herself.

“Dee?”

“Yes?”

“Do you think I’m stupid?”

Dee frowned and shook her head frantically. “No Joel never! I’ve never thought that.”

“Well did you think I didn’t notice what was going on?”

“What are you saying?”

“A man like Parrish Jeffries comes to town and his old girl just happens to be my fiancée. Now Dee, I may be laid back, but I’m not that laid back. Every glance, every casual touch, I noticed and I noticed your reaction too.”

“Why didn’t you say anything, confront me?”

“I thought you’d come to me.”

Dee just nodded, unable to argue. “You’re right, I should have. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for not telling you sooner.”

“You’ll have to forgive yourself one day. Hell, I think I’ll be able to forgive you.”

Dee’s eyes lit up at his statement. “Do you Joel? You really think you could?”

“I’d like to try Dee.”

***

Dee and Joel enjoyed their meal and even talked for over an hour. After dinner though, Dee was still feeling awful about what happened. At least Joel was willing to forgive her. Maybe if she and Parrish had been mature enough to talk like that when they broke up, so many years wouldn’t have passed before they saw each other again. Needing to talk to someone, Dee drove to Sheila’s house.

***

“How’d he take it?” Sheila questioned after Dee told her about the dinner.

“Well he surprised me. He already figured something was going on.”

“I’m not surprised.” Sheila said, shrugging. “Nobody could miss that electricity between you and Paris.”

Dee sighed and leaned back on the cushiony arms chair. “I didn’t tell Joel this morning like I told Parrish I would. God, he was so mad. I haven’t seen him since.”

Sheila gave her a concerned look. “You mean he didn’t call you or anything?”

“Uh-uh” Dee said, shaking her head. “Why?”

“Baby, he’s gone. He left for Chicago about twelve-thirty.” Sheila quietly told her.

Dee felt her breath stop in her throat and she couldn’t say anything. At first, she wished Parrish were standing right in front of her so she could slap him for leaving her. Still, she knew it was her own fault. He had given her ample opportunity to be with him. He said he wouldn’t wait forever, and he didn’t.

***

February 8,- 11:45am

 

“Dee?”

Dee looked up from the mess of paperwork on her desk to her secretary standing at the door. “Yeah Faye?”

“You’ve got a visitor.”

“Who?”

“Julian Reeves.”

Dee’s eyes widened. “Send him in.” She quickly ordered, standing behind her desk. She had only spoken with the young man once since the start of the case. It would be interesting to hear what he had to tell her.

“Hello Julian.” Dee said, offering her hand when he walked into the office.

“Hey Ms. Lincoln, it’s good to see you again.”

“My sentiments exactly and please call me Dee.” She said, showing him to the chairs in front of her desk. “What can I do for you?” She softly inquired.

Julian smoothed his hands on across his sagging jeans, before he spoke. “I just wanted to thank you for all your help on my case.”

“There’s no need to thank me. I was just doin’ my job.”

“Well your job, saved my ass. Excuse me, but if you hadn’t been doing your job, that picture might not have been discovered and I don’t know where I’d be right now. So thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Dee replied. She watched as a troubled look clouded Julian’s face. Of course, she questioned it. “Excuse me for saying this Julian, but you don’t look like a guy who’s just been cleared of murder.”

Julian stared at her for a minute, then gave Dee a short laugh. “Well, Ms. Lincoln it’s like this, I know I’m ‘free’, but I’m never gonna feel that way until they catch who did it. Do you know what I mean?”

“Yeah, yeah I sure do.”

***

After Julian left, Dee decided to head over to Robert Joyner’s office once more time. There had to be something that would shed some light in the dark case.

When she arrived at Joyner’s headquarters, the place was more chaotic than when she last visited. Dee used the opportunity to investigate the file room. Once she located the small, cluttered office, she rifled through a stack of folders. The sun is finally out, Dee told herself when she located the folder with the name Gwen Pierce on the front. Dee opened the folder and quickly scanned the pages. There was nothing major inside and with a disgusted sigh, she turned back to the front page of the folder. It was an application. As Dee scanned the information, a dazzling smile brightened her face.

 

FIRST NAME: GWEN

LAST NAME: PIERCE

MIDDLE INITIAL: R

LAST NAME: MORGAN

 

This was too much of a coincidence. Could Gwen Pierce and Patricia Morgan be related in some way? Dee didn’t have long to linger over the question though. Someone was coming into the room. It was the young man who’d been so helpful on her last visit to the office.

Ms. Lincoln, what are you doing here?” He asked.

Dee did some quick thinking before she answered. “I was talking to one of the office assistants, but she had to step out for a minute. I think she forgot about me.”

“Oh, well I guess I’m in the way here. I was hoping to get some info on those programs.”

“Oh that is right, you wanted to see Pat.”

“Yeah…well is she here today?”

“Mmm hmm…that’s her right over there.” The young man said, pointing across the room.

Dee looked in the direction he was pointing and saw the woman. “That’s Patricia Morgan? I just thought she was…”

The young man laughed, looking at Dee. “A lot of people wonder when they first see her. I think her mother is white.”

As Dee stared at the young woman across the room, a wide smile crossed her face. Bingo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Shantal says:

    AlTonya, I had at least three scenarios but none of them went in the direction that this installment took me. Loving it! More…more…more…pleeeaaaassssssssseeeeeeeeee! LOL

    1. altonyasblog says:

      Love that “please” Shantal! So glad you guys are enjoying this- more twists and turns to come!

  2. Nancy says:

    I am enjoying this story. I have a feeling Ms. Misha is heading into a little trouble with her investigating. I see Parry doing a little rescuing, lol

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