Both women felt a shiver up their spines. He might be young, but there was a suppressed energy there, core of strength they rarely encountered in men twice his age.
“I know some other people who knew her from golf team,” Aiden said, as if he hadn’t just revealed his inner self.
“Did any of them have a problem with her?” Stavros asked, recovering first.
“Not more than usual on a team. She was a strong leader, some called her a bossy bitch. She was a perfectionist. The women’s team did well under her leadership. Even the men did better, because she wasn’t above telling our captain how to do things.”
“Was Troy on the team?” Vanessa asked, taking out her pad.
Snorting, Aiden rolled his eyes. “Him participate in anything? He’s good with cars, not much else. You saw how easily I caught up with him. I could have taken him down in the parking lot, but I didn’t want us both to be bleeding, or broken. So I waited until we hit the grass.”
The women exchanged a surprised look.
“Did you know Wendy was back?” Vanessa asked sharply.
“If I’d known, she wouldn’t be dead. Wendy meant a lot to me, Detective. I wasn’t still in love with her, but I’ll love her for the rest of my life.” He could see that the two women understood the difference.
“Do you have a girlfriend?” Stavros asked.
Aiden had anticipated being interviewed by one or both of the officers. He smiled a little. “I’ve got a couple girls I date, nothing serious. No one special.”
“Are you sexually active?” Stavros said.
Giving her a patient look, he smiled. “I lost my virginity, with Wendy, when I was sixteen. I’m eighteen, and male. You do the math.” He shrugged.
“I think we need to get you home,” Vanessa said. “I’ve taken up enough of your time. The lab has your jacket and the desk sergeant has a receipt for you. We’ll stop for it when we go out. We won’t have results on DNA right away, but we can type and match the blood.”
“Good. I’m glad I didn’t have to fight him. I didn’t want to put you in a difficult position. Better this way.”
Vanessa drove Aiden home, feeling less sure of him than she had. He carried a lot of suppressed anger, though she couldn’t believe it was rooted in his family life. His mother was a lot like hers. She hadn’t met the father, but couldn’t imagine a woman like Deirdre putting up with an aggressive spouse. The things he said, often sounded so cold. It was hard to equate with the handsome, nurturing young man he professed to be. However, his grief at identifying Wendy had been real. Even the best actor in the world, couldn’t pull off that performance. Shaking off her doubts, she pulled up in his driveway, putting the car in gear.
“Thank you for letting me help,” Aiden said, holding out his hand.
“Bring it in,” she held out her arms, giving him a hug. He returned it warmly. “You were a big help. Oh, while I’m thinking about it, you said there were people who might have had conflict with Wendy—on the golf team?”
“Yeah. Jim Butcher, the men’s captain. He might be hard to get hold of, I think he went in the Marines? Maybe Navy. Lonnie Hamilton, she wanted to be captain, and got the job the following year. And Ed Bullock, the coach. He and Wendy didn’t always see eye to eye.”
“Do you think any of them knew she was in town?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t spoken to Jim or Lonnie in years. She graduated the year after Wendy and Jim. Mr. Bullock is still coach. I don’t have issue with him.” He shrugged. “I didn’t know any of her other friends, if she had any. Except for Troy, she kept to herself.”
“You believe he isolated her from others.” It was a statement, not a question.
“Yes. Making her live in that stinking hole of a house….”
“You think he made her?”
“Would you live there, when you could be in a foster home? Unless it was hell there, I can’t see her agreeing.”
“I plan to interview the foster parents soon. I won’t need an assist. I don’t expect them to run.”
“Will you let me know—what they say?”
“I can’t be specific, Aiden. Unless it directly involves you, I can’t allow it. I shouldn’t even have let you in on this much.”
“I understand.” The grim determination was back.
Vanessa had the impression that he would do investigating of his own, and wondered if he’d given her all the names. She drove back to the station, the three names Aiden had given her, resonating in her head. She was sure he’d kept a name or two to himself, so she made a mental note to check out the entire golf team. She also planned a more in depth investigation of Wendy, herself.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes