The next chapter in Asena is here and the spunky detective has some surprises in store for her! It has been a while since the latest update so feel free to check out the earlier chapters of Asena first.
My office usually felt like a second home. I had slept here many nights and I could walk around it blindfolded.
Today it felt a lot less like home.
“How dare you do something so risky without telling me?!” Marlene barked. She resumed her pacing, slowly wearing down my carpet in front of my desk. I was plopped in my chair behind the desk, attempting to act as if what she was saying was rolling off my shoulders.
Instead, all I could think of was how my father had betrayed every partner he had.
“I get you didn’t like our plan,” Marlene said, stopping in front of me. Her coat and gloves were discarded on the chair she had flung herself out of after hearing of my trip to the police department. She was in a flouncy green dress with crimson tights on that nearly matched her hair. “But we’re partners,” she said, her lip trembling more than it had been as she was raging. She sat back down and took a few deep breaths.
“I’m sorry,” I stressed. “I just didn’t want you to get hurt. And I had to move fast.”
“Texting takes like two seconds,” she said. She crossed her arms in front of her. “You didn’t need to put yourself in danger.” I resisted the urge to laugh. She had planned to deal with some big nasty criminals with nothing but a handful of money to keep her safe. Yet when I go in to a single criminal who was already behind bars that I had a great deal of leverage on, she gets upset.
“I was safe,” I stressed. “He never would have hurt me while he thought I had the tape.”
“But you were bluffing!” she said, her voice raising.
“Marlene,” I said, my voice dropping. “This is the world I live in. It isn’t safe. It isn’t an adventure or some fun mystery novel. People get hurt, and I will put myself in danger if I need to. I’ll do what I have to to get a job done. And that bluff worked. Trust me, I know what I’m doing.”
“You waved an old Maroon 5 CD at him,” she said, throwing her hands up in the air.
I stared at her, my arms crossed.
She stared back, her bottom lip stuck out in defiance.
“What did Danny say to this plan?” she asked.
I bit my lip. I hadn’t even realized she’d paid enough attention to Danny to even remember his name. But the smirk on her face told me she thought she’d won a point.
“Danny helped me, that’s all that matters.”
“Did he even know?” She was annoyingly perceptive, and I remembered again why I had agreed to let her help. She was good at getting a read on people, which meant I needed to be a lot more careful around her.
I put on a sweet smile as I answered. “Danny knew plenty. He may have not been thrilled with the idea, but do you really think he’d let anyone go in there if it wasn’t safe?” She frowned as she thought about it. “And speaking of, I had the whole of the police department around me. Nothing was going to happen and I have complete assurance that nothing will happen. And, now I don’t have to worry that my friends are going to get themselves killed on a fanciful idea.”
“Friends?” Marlene asked after a moment, a half smile curling her lip.
“Associates,” I corrected as if I didn’t care. What was I doing? I was getting way too close to her. Even Emmett was blurring the line of friend and informant.
I sighed loudly. “It’s probably best if you left. I have another case I need to do some background reading on and the quiet would help.”
She stood and gathered her coat. Her eyes darted around the office and finally landed on me again. “You can lie to me all you want. You’re good at it, but I figured out your tell.” She stalked out of the room, leaving a whisp of sweet perfume in the air.
It felt like she had taken all the energy out of the room too. I slumped in my chair and leaned my head against my palm.
She was right, I didn’t have another case. I had a few people I could call or email back but nothing that sounded worth it. I just couldn’t deal with this weird sense of guilt that kept rising as she sat there, concern seeping into every annoyed word of hers. I didn’t do guilt. I avoided the feeling as much as possible and if I couldn’t, I would avoid the person who reminded me of it. It’s why I hadn’t seen Danny in months. And it certainly was why I didn’t want to see Marlene.
I should read up the names that Bernie had given me, but even that didn’t interest me.
“Ahh,” I growled. I stood up, pushing my chair back forcefully. “I’m better than this. I don’t need anyone!” I shouted to myself, my breath coming out ragged.
“Well, I hope you still need your old man,” a voice said quietly from the doorway.