Driving to Eoin’s is taking forever. Aiden decides to drop the girls at the police station to talk to Vanessa. He thinks what they have to say will be helpful. They agree.
The others put their hands on hers as they pulled up in front of the station. “For Wendy,” they chorused.
Aiden parked in a visitor’s spot and opened the doors for the girls. They each took an arm and walked confidently to the front door.
Vanessa was at her desk, getting ready to go talk to some of the former golf team members, when she heard a familiar voice in the lobby.
“We’d like to see Detective Weinstein, please.”
“Aiden?” She turned with a gasp.
He stood in the lobby, grinning. Two young women, whose faces she recognized, smiled at her, too. Making her way out front, she walked up to the young people, smiling, her hand out.
“This is Detective Weinstein,” Aiden said. “Detective, my friends Inez Westerman and Fonda Hart. They were seniors on golf team with Wendy and me. They have a lot to tell you.” He bowed slightly, turning to go.
“You aren’t staying?” Vanessa said, sounding hurt.
“I have another errand. Besides, I think the ladies would talk more freely without a man around.” He gave the girls each a kiss on the cheek. “She’s good people. Trust,” he murmured to them. “I’ll go see….” He pointed over his shoulder. “I’ll be back. I promise.”
He rushed to exit, trying to act casual. He couldn’t listen to them talk about their pain. It would make him too angry, and he was already hovering on the edge.
He found Eoin’s home, in a cul de sac trailer park, not far from Beville Road in South Daytona. Making the loop, he stopped at his friend’s trailer and pulled into the short, narrow driveway. It was a nice, clean place, not junky like some. Eoin had been able to buy his mobile home for $1500 cash, because the owner wanted to sell quickly. He’d been asking $3,000, Eoin talked him down by half. It was a muted, rosy pink with dusky, dark rose colored shutters. A trellis, concealing the front window, was covered with Don Juan roses. Eoin had named it Rose Cottage and loved fixing it up.
Trotting up the steps, Aiden knocked. He knew his friend had probably been up late the night before, working, but this was special circumstances. Eoin yanked open the door so abruptly, Aiden nearly fell on his face. Strong arms wrapped around his neck, hugging him for dear life. Sobbing, Eoin pulled him inside. Shocked by the emotional greeting, Aiden stood there stupidly, watching his friend. Eoin’s eyes were red, bloodshot, full of pain. He wore a tee shirt, boxers and a silk robe, swirling with color.
“I can’t believe she’s dead,” he said, his Irish accent flavoring his words.
“I didn’t know you’d be so torn up about Wendy,” Aiden said. “Here I’ve been feeling sorry for myself….”
“Of course you are. Come in. Sit. Whiskey?”
“Mom would kill me.”
“Tea, then. I’ve been drinking both. Mostly together. Why wouldn’t I be upset? We were—friends.” His lips trembled and fresh tears fell.
“Oh, f**k! You were lovers—too! How long?”
“I fell for her shortly after I arrived. How could I not? She was a ray of sunshine. Grant you, tarnished and broken, I came to find. But sunshine in spite of all that. She loved me, she loved you—she had us both….” He puttered around the kitchen, setting up tea.
“So, that summer when you were consoling me, you were grieving? I’m a selfish dick, I didn’t even see!”
“How could you? Your pain was greater than mine. At least she wasn’t my first love. But the best one.” He poured hot water in the mugs and dipped the tea bags until it was the right color. Adding milk and sugar, he set one in front of Aiden.
They sat at the small table in the kitchen. Aiden blew over his tea. Eoin let his sit and steam on the table.
“You knew she was back,” Aiden said.
“I did. She stayed here a few weeks, before she got a place closer to you. She was going to tell you something….”
“About Rowan. She left a note. Why didn’t she send it?”
“Because, she knew that was cold and cowardly. It took a lot of courage to write it, but she couldn’t tell you that way.”
“How long have you been in touch?”
“She called me a little over a year ago, drunk. Lonely. We talked.”
“Why didn’t she ever call me? I’d have talked.”
“I know, Aiden. And I don’t mean to belittle, but you’re so young.”
“I’m almost nineteen!”
© 2018 Dellani Oakes