After making arrangements with Aiden, Detective Weinstein speaks to Deidre again. The police officer reveals that there was evidence of sexual assault, and she hopes it will help them bring the guilty party to justice. In the morning, Aiden tells his mother a little bit more about Wendy, and how sweet and smart she was.
“You really loved her.”
“Yeah. And she loved me. She told me—that night.” His lips trembled and he had to set his coffee down, his hands were shaking too much. “I wish we’d gotten together sooner, but she had this creep of a boyfriend.”
“What was his name?”
“I’ve been trying to remember. Troy, something. He was a couple years older than her, at least. So I didn’t know him from school. He was a real low life son-of-a-bitch. I can see the bastard’s face.”
“Did he go to school here?”
“You know they post all yearbook pictures now?”
“Shit? Really?” He snorted, shaking his head. “So my uber-goof expression from my freshman picture is immortalized?”
“For all to see, yes. And it was cute!”
“Boys aren’t cute past the age of ten,” he corrected her, sounding just like his father.
“My point, Mr. Uber-Goof, is that we might be able to track down his picture. Do you have any idea when he graduated?”
Aiden closed his eyes, inhaling slowly, trying to center himself. “He had a shirt that said Class of 2011. It was signed by all the class on the back. They do one every year.”
“So, we begin with that and then work our way out. You’re sure it was Troy?”
“Yes. He wanted her to get a tattoo of his name, but she refused. She finally broke down and got a henna one on her ass. She showed me. She said she wanted to sit on it every chance she got.” Blushing, he ducked his head. “Sorry. More information than you want.”
“Maybe so, but it’s helpful.” She booted the computer.
Once it was ready, they took seats and accessed the yearbook site. It took some digging to find Troy. He hadn’t been in any extra curricular clubs, wasn’t on any teams, and seemed to be completely unexceptional in every way. Finally, they hit pay-dirt with the auto shop class.
“That’s him,” Aiden pointed to the screen. His lip curled in disgust. “I can’t forget that face.”
Deirdre could understand that. Though he was very handsome, there was a cruelty and hardness in Troy’s eyes. He was about six feet tall, with bulging muscles. Curly, black hair fell to his shoulders, slicked back from his face. He had open gauges in both ears, at least the size of a silver dollar. He was the only one in the picture not smiling. In fact, he stood with his arms folded, glaring at the camera.
“Looks like a real piece of work,” she said.
“He used to hit her.”
“And you didn’t report it?”
“I wanted to, Mom. She said it would only make it worse. He seemed to have some magic pill, he never stayed in long.”
“And she stayed with this creep of nature? Why?”
“You’ve been really lucky with Dad. He’s a great guy, he’d never hurt any of us. Some people—they get into something, and they’re too scared to leave. She was using the move to Gainesville to get away from him. I think one reason she left so fast, and cut off her phone, was because of him. We need to tell Detective Weinstein. I’d have said something before, but I couldn’t remember his name.”
“Right away.” She pulled out Vanessa’s card and called.
The detective answered with a smile in her voice. “Deidre, hi. I was just about to call you.”
“Did you have more questions?”
“I did, for Aiden. I didn’t want to disturb him at school, so I thought I’d leave a message with you. I hate voice mail.”
“So do I. As a matter of fact, he’s here. I let him stay home.”
“Of course. May I speak to him?”
“Yes.” She handed the phone to her son.
Nodding his thanks, he took it. “Hello, Detective. Before you ask any questions, I wanted to tell you something.” He told her about Troy, giving her his last name, Intriago.
“Oooh, I know him,” her voice held a chilly malice. “Yeah, on more than one occasion, he’s graced our holding cell. Nasty piece of work. She was dating that—man?”
Aiden chuckled. “Detective Weinstein, my daddy was a Marine. He’s said so many curse words, he’s made up a few. Troy was an abusive bastard. I wanted to report him, but Wendy said he never was held long. She was afraid of retaliation.”
“And well she should be. He’s connected, or he was. A highly placed relative, maybe. More than that, I don’t know. Thank you. I was wondering if I could get you to drive along with me to the house? I want identification before I go talk to the residents.”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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