Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 22

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Cover image from Free Stock Photos: Railroad Track On A Fall Day by Curtis Dean Wilson

While going through pictures of the golf team, Vanessa spots something, with her husband’s help.

“No clue. But you noticed something, or it would be an 8×10, not a 10×13. I wouldn’t have spotted it so fast in a smaller print. That’s the dead girl? Wendy?”

“Yes,” she replied sadly.

“Beautiful girl. Too bad she was doing the coach. And probably the goob.” He pointed to Jim.

“You think?”

“Yeah. That old man has tapped that.” His nail clicked on her desk.

“That’s disgusting.”

“Very, but I’m not wrong. There are a lot of pervy old men out there.”

“A lot of pervy young ones, too,” she said, her mouth full of taco. “Oh-yum! Perfect! Thank you. This is amazing.” She took a sip of her soda. “You spoil me.”

“Whatever my baby, and her mama want—and she wanted tacos, enchiladas and flan.”

“Yes, she did. Funny that a baby who is half Peruvian and a quarter Cuban, wants Mexican food.”

“And a quarter Jewish. At least she doesn’t want gefilte fish.”

“Even if she did, no way I’d eat that. It’s bad enough to gag a moose. Now, matzo balls, I like.”

She finished the food, realizing Dario hadn’t eaten.

“Oh, God. I ate it all! Are you okay? Are you hungry?”

“I ate before I came. Can you go home? It’s after six.”

“Yeah. I’ve got what I need. I’ll start interviewing people tomorrow. I’ll just drop by the school to talk to Coach Grab-Ass. That will be a fun conversation.”

“Your idea of fun, and mine, are different. Meet you at home, love.” He kissed her, patted her belly and left.

Vanessa checked out and followed him to the parking lot. They drove home together. He arrived seconds before she did, and waited until she got out of her car before unlocking the door. Once inside, he locked up and pulled her into his embrace.

“I’ve missed you today.” He rubbed against her, kissing her deeply.

“I can tell. I want a shower, first.”

“Works for me. I’ll join you.”

Their union in the shower, was loud and spirited. Later, they made love more gently. Afterward, Vanessa was exhausted. She curled up and went to sleep. Dario was disturbed by the picture of Coach Bullock. He never went through Vanessa’s things from work, but this bothered him. Leafing through, he found the group shot. Scanning it, he pulled it up on his wide computer screen. What he saw unnerved him, but he kept looking. He told himself it was for his wife’s sake, but he knew it was for Wendy’s as well. After he was done, he put the pictures away and wrote his findings on a large Post-It pad, sticking it to the picture’s margin. Vanessa would find it when she got to work. For the moment, it was enough. Trying not to wake her, he got ready for bed and fell into an uneasy sleep.

After Aiden and Vanessa left, Deidre sat down at her computer and did some more digging. She wasn’t convinced Troy was the one who had killed Wendy, but she wanted all the background on him she could get. She also wanted to know more about the golf team. There was more going on than Aiden had told her, or Vanessa. She was sure of it. As the child of abuse, she had learned to read people well. Her son’s body language set off warning bells and whistles in her mind.

Going back to the yearbook, she settled down to research the students and faculty. Starting alphabetically, she read each person’s page. She didn’t want to print anything off, because the boys occasionally poked around her office looking for pens, paper, or other school supplies. She bought a lot of the common items when they went on sale just before school started, and kept them stocked in her office. She didn’t want them pawing through and finding something, particularly Aiden.

Deeply embroiled in her reading, she got a call around noon from Aiden. He was on the way to Port Orange with Detective Weinstein. He wasn’t terribly specific about their reason, but he did say it had to do with Troy. It would be time to get the boys from school, soon. She printed the pages about Troy, precious little, and made herself a sandwich for lunch. Tucking the pages in her purse, along with a steno-pad, she headed to the school. She hoped to talk to the golf coach, on the premise that she hoped all her boys were doing well, but he wasn’t in.

Going back to her car, she turned on the air conditioner and cracked up Space Lord by Monster Magnet, the unedited version. It boomed and thrummed, turning a few heads from parents and students who happened to walk by. Deirdre didn’t pay any attention to them, turning the radio up more when it started playing Closer by Nine Inch Nails—also unedited. Her first son hopped in the car just as the singer got to the chorus: “I want to f**k you like an animal.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

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