Sweet Kitty (Working Title)

Updated:  Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4

This is a story I started working on about a year and a half ago for a nanowrimo contest but couldn't complete for some reason..not sure if I became ill or something.  I was going through my manuscripts when I found this.  I've decided to continue with the story and finish it since I've already written six chapters worth.  I've posted the first chapter here and will post additional chapters in the coming weeks.  The title "Sweet Kitty" is just the working title.  I haven't decided on the final title yet...  Take a gander if you like and I hope you enjoy.  Constructive comments are welcome...  This is work in progress...  Thank you.  :-)

Chapter 1

"Goddam it Phil!" I heard Norma yell from the hall as she stumbled on my boots.  I  walked out of the kitchen, looked down the hall as she angrily kicked my boots with her mile long leg against the wall in frustration.  The offending leather footwear hit the wall with a thud and slumped sadly to the beige carpet from the abuse.  She eyed me with irritation.  She has never been a morning person.

"Hey watch it!  Those are vintage Zodiac!" I pointed out and headed back to the kitchen in my fuzzy slippers to pour myself another cup of coffee and leaned against the tiled counter while I took a sip.  I would have poured her a cup but I was irked.  I hoped the leather wasn't scuffed.

My name is Philadelphia but everyone calls me Phil.  Norma, I call her Norm, and I have been best friends since college.  Ever since we graduated and got our degrees in Philosophy, Norm, and Psychology, me, we moved in together into a two bedroom apartment.  We've been roommates ever since.  We flitted from one job to another but nothing ever stuck.  The desk jobs were boring and predictable.  After a few months we were bored out of our skulls and either we quit or were laid off shortly after our performance started to suffer.  In our spare time we loved to go shopping but since we were constantly running short on cash we could only afford to go shopping at garage sales, estate sales and flea markets.  After a few years we amassed quite a collection of what some might call junk but to us they weren't junk they all had potential to be something great.  They just needed loving attention.

One of my previous boyfriends about six years back made a comment that we needed to sell all our crap because our apartment resembled a hoarders nest.  Needless to say that's why he's an ex, among other shortcomings, but his criticism did plant an idea in our heads.

One weekend we had been absolutely restless.  We had no dates and we hadn't been invited to any parties so we took a couple of items from our collection; a wood picture frame with chipped paint and an old tired looking wreath.  We made a list of items to buy at the arts and crafts store and spent the weekend sanding, painting and breathing new life into the old pieces until they glimmered and shined.  Pleased with ourselves we decided to do the same the next weekend and the next.  After a couple of months our apartment no longer resembled a rummage yard but a high end boutique.  That was how our online store was born.  We became business partners and as soon as we started earning regular cash flow we devoted ourselves full time to our venture.  We scoured garage and estate sales and flea markets all over the state to find items to refurbish and sell in our online store.  It was fun, stress free and our schedules were pretty much ours to make.  We learned through trial and error how to repair a multitude of sins.  The perks of the business were; no managers, supervisors or coworkers breathing down our necks.  Used discarded items people were getting rid of for a quarter or sometimes even free we fixed up and made quite pretty and turned around and sold it for twenty dollars a piece or more.  It was great.  Business was booming and we were financially happy.

The only things missing for us, were men.  We had no love lives to speak of.  Which is surprising because Norma was gorgeous but she was picky and now that we were well into our thirties she has become even pickier.  Men still lined up to date her.  Who could blame them with her tall supermodel physique, long blonde hair and baby blue eyes.  She looked like a woman, a very sensuous woman.  They were tripping over themselves to ask her out but like I said she was picky.  Back in college for every ten that would ask she would say yes to one now it's for every twenty and that's only for a date.  If the date ended badly well it was 'See ya later Jack' and I never saw the guy again.

Now I was a different story altogether.  While Norma had legs that went on for miles mine were about a quarter of a mile give or take a few inches.  I was short and built boyishly thin.  My dark brown curly hair although thick did not do well long, the curls were erratic and uncontrollable, so I kept it short cut close to my head.  I have a very pixie like appearance with a heart shaped face, large green eyes, small nose and bow shaped lips.  I've been told I look like a child which wasn't meant to be a compliment.  So my pickings were slim to none when Norma was around which she almost always was.

I watched her as she walked into the kitchen wearing a cute shorts pajama set, a white tank top with pink trim and matching pink shorts not an ounce of fat in sight, grumbling about how I always leave my shoes in the hall and her always tripping on them.  Gosh get over it already!  Ok, I'll try harder to not do that anymore, I chided myself.

"I sure hope you didn't scuff them." I mumbled back at her.

"Well you shouldn't leave them out in the hall.  Why do you do that anyways?" she asked.

I shrugged.  We've had this argument a thousand times before.  She knows the answer she just continues to keep asking.  I've been doing that since I was a child.  My parents didn't allow us kids to wear our shoes in the house so we would take them off at the front door and carry them in.  I would set my shoes outside my bedroom door so that I would always know where they were and I wouldn't have to frantically search for them in the morning while getting ready for school.  I would just open my bedroom door and there they were, carry them to the front door and put them on before stepping outside.  Old habits die hard, I guess.  I'm just going to have to be more diligent in putting my shoes away in my closet.

She made herself a cup of coffee and sat at the kitchen table.  She glanced at our digital wall clock.  It was 7:00 o'clock am.

"Out of here in an hour?" she asked.

I grabbed our planner which was sitting on the counter, opened it to the correct calendar date and read the notes we scribbled in it.  Today is Saturday.  Our busiest days are the weekends.  It's when most people have their garage sales, so in our business weekends are money makers.  You have to spend money to make money right?  Isn't that how it goes?  So we spend a little and we make a lot.  Personally, I love weekends.

"Yes.  There is a garage sale a couple of miles from here.  I have the address and printed the directions a couple of days ago and then after we can hit up the flea market.  Hopefully we find some nice stuff.  We can have lunch after that and then we have the afternoon off."  I pushed off the counter to make some toast.  "You want some?" I asked her.

"Sure.  Thanks." she smiled a toothy grin.  The boots forgotten.


Chapter 2

It was a beautiful spring morning when we set off.  The air was crisp and the sun was rising in a cloudless sky.  We walked out of our apartment complex and crossed the street to our company vehicle.  We were given two parking spaces when we moved in but we filled those spots with our personal cars.  We bought an SUV specifically for our business.  It comes in handy when we find a treasure trove of stuff, which is very few and far between, and needed a big vehicle to haul everything away or when we have a huge shipment of items to take to the post office.  We made post office runs twice a week, as stated on our website.

Our morning, it turns out, was very lucrative.  We found an array of beautiful things at the garage sale; intricate jewelry boxes with jewelry still in it, pill box hats still in their hat boxes, vintage crystal perfume bottles, a set of six crystal champagne flutes, a pure silver cigarette case.  The list goes on and on.  The sellers were young siblings, in their early twenties, who inherited the house when their grandmother died and were selling her stuff off for cheap, not knowing the true value of the items.  To them, the prize was the house and the land it was sitting on.  After they empty the house they planned on selling it and divvying up the proceeds between them.  We were the first customers to arrive and bought almost everything.  We loaded up practically the whole kit and caboodle as quickly as we could before people started showing up and we took off quite excited with our find.  Apparently the old grandma was very eccentric and walked around in full finery; fur coats, a ring on each finger, electric blue eyeshadow, bright red lipstick and all, right up to the day she died.  The entire family was embarrassed of her apparently and thought she was a bit off and they all suspected that most of her things were fake, (which sadly was a mistake) especially since when she died she didn't have a penny to her name.  Ignorance is bliss.  One man's junk is another man's treasure, I always say.

We decided to skip the flea market and headed straight home.  We didn't want to leave all of these beautiful things in the car.  We brought out boxes, and carefully packed our treasures and stacked them in the closet and bolted it shut.  We put the jewels in our hidden safe to go through later.  By the time we were done our stomachs were complaining loudly so we set off to meet their demands.

The noon sun was high overhead but it wasn't too hot.  It was warm with a soft southern breeze.  It was a good day to walk.  Our favorite diner was a block away and who needs a car when you have a good pair of legs to take you where you want to go as long as it wasn't too far.  As we neared the restaurant we saw one of our favorite neighbors sitting at one of the patio tables.  She waved at us as we walked up.

"You want to share a table?  It's great out here." she exclaimed.  Her name is Kitty, well actually it's Catherine but everyone calls her Kitty.  She was younger than us by a few years.  I think she's in her late twenties.

She's very pretty in a natural kind of way.  Meaning, she looks great without makeup and with makeup, as long as it's minimal.  One time I ran into her at a party, unfortunately Norma wasn't with me at the time, she was on a hot date if I recall correctly, and Kitty was completely done up, a full on shellacked spackled face.  I DID NOT recognize her.  She looked awful, really awful.  She had to tell me who she was three times before I believed her.  It was a good thing she was already tipsy and I had a glass of champagne in my hand.  When it finally dawned on me I gave a hopefully believable drunken laugh and pretended to wobble away from her.  That was awkward.

Norma answered for us, "Sure why not." as she sat across from Kitty.  I followed and sat next to her.  Kitty seemed to be in a very giddy mood.  Her ass couldn't sit still in her seat, her lips set in a wide grin, her teeth sparkling in the sunlight.  I should have worn sunglasses.

"So what's up?  You look like the cat that just swallowed the canary." I teased her.

"I think I met my Mr. Right!" she announced happily.

Norm and I glanced at each other skeptically.  At our age we had the right to be cynical but we gave Kitty the benefit of the doubt.

"Really?  Wonderful!  How long have you been seeing each other?" Norma asked her.

"We've only had our first date last night but I know he's the one." Kitty peered off into distance dreamily her eyes sparkling.

The waiter came just then to take our orders.  We stated our choices automatically.  We all already knew what we wanted.  We had eaten here so many times before we knew the menu by heart.

"So does Mr. Right have a name?" Norma and I crossed our fingers under the table hoping Kitty's Mr. Right wasn't someone we had already dated and tossed out as Mr. Wrong.

"Kevin.  His name is Kevin and he's awesome!  He's new in town.  He just arrived a month ago and doesn't know a single soul." she gushed.  "He has thick wavy brown hair.  The kind you just want to run your fingers through and the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen.  When he smiles they crinkle at the corners.  It's so adorable."

Norma and I exhaled audibly.  We both have not dated a Kevin.  Which is weird since it's such a perfectly ordinary name that you would think we'd have dated one between the two of us but no we can safely say we have not. 

Our lunch arrived and for the next half hour we were busy stuffing our faces with soup, salad and a light fish entree.  At our age our metabolism was slowing down and we had to watch what we ate.  I've always wondered if Norma wasn't around would I be a tubby woman in her mid-thirties heading into middle age getting tubbier every year?  She drags me to the gym three days a week working out for two to three hours each day.  We did Zumba, cardio kickboxing, yoga, Pilates, weight training, you name it we've done it.  We were in great shape but unfortunately no boyfriend to share it with.  Kinda depressing really.

After lunch all three of us walked back home together.  Kitty was practically skipping all the way to our building.  Her wavy blonde hair caught up in a ponytail swinging merrily as she went along.  She was still so young and full of hope for the happily ever after we didn't want to burst her bubble.  Norma and I both knew it would happen eventually and we could only hope we were still around to pick up the pieces when and if it does.  We thought of her like a younger sister.  She was sweet.  

She moved into her apartment about four years ago.  She had landed a great job at one of the high tech companies in the city and she took it seriously.  She had been so busy building her career and moving up within the ranks she hadn't had time to date.  Now in her late twenties she was taking a step back and entering the dating scene.

When we arrived at our door Kitty invited us over for dinner and a movie later that evening.  We accepted and entered our apartment hoping to finish up some projects we had been working on all week.


Chapter 3

The pounding grew more insistent.  "Ok ok, I'm coming!" I yelled.  I sat up in my bed and threw the sheets back, the room was stifling.  I swung my legs over the edge of the bed and felt them dangling freely like a small child sitting on a highchair.  Peering down I saw that the floor was gone, the bed was floating in midair.  Feeling suffocated I drew a lung full of air.   The bed started shaking, I felt my body undulating back and forth...'Phil, Phil, Phil...'

"Phil! Wake up!" I heard Norma yell in my ear.

"Ughhh...huh?  What?" Groggily I slowly opened my eyes.  Oh, I must have been dreaming.  "What time is it?"

I sat up and shook my head trying to focus on the here and now.  Norma stood next to my bed with her arms crossed in front of her chest, a frown on her face.

"It's time to get up and get ready for dinner.  Dinner and a movie at Kitty's place remember?" Norma reminded me needlessly sounding annoyed.  "Man, you were dead to the world.  Did you take anything before your nap?  If you did, don't ever take it again.  You scared me the living daylights out of me.  I thought I was going to have to call an ambulance!"

"No, I didn't take anything.  You know I don't like taking stuff.  I was having a weird dream that's all.  Anyways, get out of here and let me get ready." I shuffled into my bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth.  Norma left to get ready herself.

After lunch, we had spent a productive afternoon.  We completed a couple of projects, took pictures of them, uploaded the pictures to our website added a written description, price points and we were good to go.  Two more unique products for sale.  We wrapped the items carefully, put them in individual boxes, taped a picture of the item as well as it's description on the box and stored it in our closet.  Once it's sold we just take the box to the post office for shipping.  Easy breezy.

Thirty minutes later we were walking out of our door.  We locked the door and bolted it twice every time we come in or out.  We had our whole life's work and investments inside and we never took risks with their security, we also had a top of the line alarm system.  We never forgot to turn that on as well whenever we left the apartment unguarded.  You might think we're a little paranoid since Kitty's apartment is only two doors away from ours but you just never know.  Of course everything we had was well insured, except for the new items we purchased this morning.  We had taken pictures of them and emailed them to our agent though.

We rang Kitty's doorbell.  No answer.  We rang it again and waited a few seconds.  Still no answer.  We tried turning the handle just in case she left it unlocked for us.  Nope, definitely locked.  This wasn't like Kitty at all.  She should have been running for the door by now.  Norma and I fidgeted.  We glanced at each other worry on both our faces.

"Maybe she's in the bathroom.  Let's give her a couple of more minutes." Norma suggested.  I shrugged my shoulders feeling anxious.  Kitty never kept us waiting in all the time we had known her.  Never.

I leaned against the wall next to the door jamb.  I mentally counted to sixty.  After counting to sixty twice I pressed the doorbell button again.  We could hear the chimes inside the apartment but we couldn't hear any movement.  That's it I can't wait anymore!  We need to use the emergency keys.

Kitty had given Norma spare keys to her apartment.  And she had it on her keyring. It was for emergency use only or if one of us needed to get away from the other.  We had not needed to use it until now.

"Use the spares Norm!" I begged.  "Maybe she fell and hurt herself!  Maybe we should call 911!"  I pulled my cell phone out of my jean's back pocket.

"Wait on calling the police until we know for sure what's going on.  She might just be sleeping or made a quick run to the store for something." Norma replied as she flipped through her keyring for Kitty's spares.  When she found it she unlocked the door and the bolt.

A foreboding sensation rippled through my insides.  My stomach squeezed in on itself.  Norma slowly opened the front door.  "Kitty?" she called out.  No answer.  We stepped into the living room.  It was immaculate as always.  Kitty's tastes runs towards country.  She had a large floral overstuffed sofa, so perfectly comfortable to lie in.  I should know, I've done it a million times.  Big fluffy throw pillows with ruffles and an equally comfortable matching floral love seat.  Her favorite grandmother's quilt was hanging on one wall and underneath it a refurbished buffet table she had brought from home, one summer a couple of years ago I taught her how to sand, paint, re-sand and varnish to give it that oh so sought after vintage feel.  At one end of the table sat her cherished porcelain doll she received as a gift from her parents when she was ten and on the other end an expensive vase full of fresh flowers.  Her home screamed 'Welcome!'.

Everything was so eerily still.  Even Norma felt it.  She paused in the living room not knowing which direction to go.  My stomach squeezed a little tighter.  She grabbed my hand and we held each other tightly.  "Come on.  Let's check the kitchen." she whispered.

"Why are you whispering?" I whispered back.

She glanced back at me and in a soft raspy voice she responded, "I don't know."

Together we headed in the direction of the kitchen our steps faltering.  When we entered the bright room it gave off the illusion that all was right with the world.  Through the large windows I could see the last glowing rays of the sun as it prepared to settle into twilight.  The room was clean and neat, all utensils and appliances in it's proper place.  On the counter was a container of pasta, a can of tomato sauce and fresh tomatoes.  It appeared as if she was getting ready to prepare tortellini for dinner.

We walked out of the kitchen our hands still securely fastened.  In my other hand I gripped my cell phone firmly.  Our eyes met, we knew where we had to go next but we were too frightened to speak it out loud.  Our feet moved in the direction of Kitty's bedroom one trepidatious step at a time.

Kitty's apartment was a one bedroom with the kitchen at one end, the living room in the center, the bed and bath in the other end.  We walked passed the living room towards her bedroom the fresh flowers gave off a sickly sweet scent in the stagnant air as we passed, we noticed the bedroom door was slightly ajar.  We stood in front of the door and paused uncertainly, my heart was beating wildly in my chest a sheet of moisture formed on my forehead.  Norma reached out with her free hand and pushed the door open, she froze her eyes staring at the scene before her.  My gaze travelled into the room not wanting to see what Norma was staring at but I couldn't stop myself.  There lying on the bed was Kitty.  Dear sweet Kitty lay naked spread eagled while her legs dangled off the edge, her dead eyes open and stared unseeing at the ceiling.

A strangled sob escaped my lips and my legs buckled underneath me.  Norma caught me and half carried me to the sofa.  She pried my cell phone out of my hand and dialed 911.  As she spoke to the dispatcher I watched her face struggle for composure.  Tears escaped and waterfalled down her cheeks.  Her voice broke several times as she tried to explain the events that led to us finding poor Kitty's body.

After the call ended Norma collapsed against me.  We cried and held each other until the police arrived accompanied by paramedics and an assortment of other official looking people.  They traipsed in without a word to either of us single file with hospital booties covering their shoes.  An officer in uniform approached to ask us if we were the ones who found the body and called 911, we nodded our heads and he asked us to stay where we were until the detectives arrived to speak to us after we gave him our names and contact information.  Crime technicians took photographs of poor Kitty, I felt so humiliated for her.  The indignity of it all.  They asked us if we had touched anything, of course we did was our response and pointed out where, we also pointed out that we were neighbors and were regularly invited over for lunch and dinner so our fingerprints could be found anywhere in this apartment.  It wasn't long before the detectives arrived.

They both walked in with an air of cool arrogance.  They were both tall, over six feet, from what I could gather in my seated position.  They both moved like well oiled machines, sleek and confident.  One of them, a blonde, was wearing a dark blue Armani suit, a yellow power tie and well polished Italian leather shoes.  His strong nordic features, intense blue eyes and clean shaven face didn't seem to belong in a crime scene.  His partner on the other hand was much more casual.  He was wearing black slacks and a cream colored button down dress shirt, the top three buttons undone I could see black curls peeking up from his chest, of an indeterminate brand but still seemed well tailored and fit him very nicely indeed.  His hair black as night and eyes just as dark, he looked to be of Italian heritage.  He had a five o'clock shadow and seemed intent on the matter at hand.  The responding officer was filling them in before they moved off into the bedroom.  They had ignored us thus far.


Chapter 4

Fifteen to twenty minutes later they emerged from Kitty's bedroom and turned their
attention to us.  Armani sat in the love seat.  His stiff dark blue silk clashed with the soft pinks, roses and greens.  Casual stood by the fireplace mantel his gaze studied the pictures Kitty had lovingly arranged on it.  One of them was a picture of the three of us of happier times not that very long ago.

Armani introduce himself, "I'm sorry for your loss ladies.  I'm Detective Breton and my partner over there is Detective Santo." Detective Santo nodded at us, hands in his pants pockets.

Detective Breton continued, "We need to talk to you two but not here.  I understand you live in the building?  Could we possibly go to your place and talk to you privately without all of these distractions?"

I shrugged.  Norma responded for us.  "Sure, why not.  I need a drink anyways."  She stood up first pulling me to my feet, our hands once again clasped and led the way to our apartment.  The detectives followed closely behind.

After Norma unlocked the front door and disarmed the alarm system we stepped inside.

"Two bolts and an alarm system?" Detective Breton asked one eyebrow raised quizzically.

"Yes.  We run our business from here Detective.  We have expensive merchandise and we can't risk being robbed." she pointed to the corner of the living room where our home office was set up.  There sat a cherry wood desk with a computer and a printer/scanner on top of the matching credenza along side it and an array of different sized flattened boxes leaned against the wall.  Our office was separated from the living room with a screen partition we made ourselves.

They scrutinized the living room with raised eyebrows.  "In there and there."  Norma sighed and pointed to our coat closet, well what should have been our coat closet, and our hall closet both doors with deadbolt locks.

"I see.  So what kind of merchandise do you sell?" Detective Breton inquired sounding a bit like an adult humoring a child.

"Refurbished items mainly, knick knacks, odds and ends.  We buy things from garage sales, fix them up and resell them.  It's amazing what people will buy if they think it's pretty enough.  We store them in those two closets."

"Really? And you can make a living doing this?" he sounded incredulous.

Norma bristled next to me, "See here Detective.  Don't come in here with your air of superiority and speak to us condescendingly just because you don't think our jobs are as important as yours." she huffed away towards the kitchen and I could hear her pull the half full bottle of white wine we had with dinner last night out of the refrigerator.  "Phil would you like a glass?" she yelled out.

"Yes, please." I yelled back and moved to our sofa, sat down and tucked my legs underneath me.  I grabbed the throw blanket hanging on the back of the sofa and wrapped it around my shoulders.

Our furniture was a diverse mixture of old and new.  I loved everything from the 50s, 60s, and 70s while Norma loved everything minimalist and new.  The differing styles blended well in this case because we both loved the clean straight lines the various eras offered.  The vintage lime green leather sofa and glass coffee table were mine while the cream leather chaise lounge and two yellow high-back chairs were Norma's.

Norma came back into the living room, handed me a glass of wine and sat next to me on the sofa.  We didn't offer the detectives anything to drink, for one, Norma was still miffed with Detective Breton and, two, because I was still in shock and not thinking clearly.  The detectives sat in the two high-back chairs and studied us.  We returned their scrutiny while we sipped our wine.

Detective Santo broke the silence with his deep baritone voice.  It washed over me sensually and I shivered.  "Ladies, why don't you tell us from the beginning how it is you came across the body of Catherine Carter."

"We ran into her at Triton's." Norma started.

"Triton's?" Detective Breton cut in as he pulled a small notebook and pen from his suit pocket.

"Triton's Diner.  Down the street about a block from here.  Anyways, she was already there when we arrived sitting at one of the patio tables.  She offered to share her table, we accepted and the three of us had lunch together.  After lunch we walked back home together and she invited us over for dinner and a movie.  We said yes we'd be there and later when we rang her doorbell there was no answer which isn't like her at all.  We waited a couple of minutes thinking maybe she was in the bathroom and rang again and still no answer.  So we decided to use the spare keys she had given us and found her in her bedroom dead.  That's when we called 911."

"Did she say anything during lunch that would make you think she was afraid of something or someone?  Or maybe just acted differently." Detective Santo asked.

"No.  As a matter of fact she was deliriously happy.  She said she had met her Mr. Right and his name was Kevin.  She was on cloud nine the entire time." Norma responded.

"Kevin?  Kevin who?  Did she give a last name?  How did they meet and when?" This time it was Detective Breton doing the asking.  He didn't even bother to look up.  He was busy scribbling notes in his notepad while Detective Santo continued to study us with his dark eyes.

"No, no last name.  Just that he's new in town and didn't know anyone." Norma answered.

"Why is it you have keys to her apartment?" Detective Santo asked.

"Phil and I met her four years ago when she moved in.  She lives alone and didn't want to leave her spares anywhere where someone might find it so she asked me a few months after we had gotten to know each other if I would hang on to them for her in case she ever locks herself out." Norma replied.

I was starting to feel groggy.  The combination of the shock and wine was really getting to me.  I stifled a yawn and squirmed trying to follow the conversation not wanting to seem rude after finding a dear friend dead but my body felt worn down and all I could think of was sleeping in my bed.

"How did she die?" I asked softly.  Maybe talking will keep me awake.

All three pairs of eyes turned to me.  Both detectives seemed uncomfortable with the question.  Norma's eyes showed concerned.

"We won't know for sure until after the autopsy but the coroner seems to think she was strangled.  Evidence of asphyxiation and all that. "

Norma and I both gasped.  Norma asked, "Why was she naked?  In the kitchen there were signs she was getting ready to cook dinner but we found her in her bedroom naked."

Detective Breton cleared his throat, "It appears she might also have been raped."

Norma and I gasped again.  I started crying for poor sweet Kitty.  She was so young, so full of hope, she still had her whole life ahead of her.  Her poor family.  This will break their hearts.

"Her family.  Her family needs to be told." I whispered.

"Yes, we'll be driving over there as soon as we are done here." Detective Santo replied.  "Has she ever had a serious boyfriend or relationship?  Someone who she would have given spare keys to her apartment?"

"No.  She had been too busy with her career to date.  This Kevin guy is the first guy she has gone out with in a year I think.  Is that about right Phil?  It's been a year since that Joe fellow right?" Norma turned to me for confirmation.

"Yeah, it's been about a year.  She didn't date Joe very long either.  He was transferred to another state I believe.  He was offered a good position with good pay if I remember correctly." I sniffled as I took another sip of wine.

"Has she ever locked herself out of her apartment or lost her keys?" Detective Santo continued his line of questioning.

"Well a couple of times.  Once a couple of years ago and again about six months ago." Norma answered.

"Locked herself out or lost her keys?" he persisted.

Norma sighed with impatience as she responded, "Two years ago she locked herself out but six months ago she lost her apartment keys.  She keeps her car keys and her apartment keys on separate key rings.  I asked her about that once and she said it was a safety issue but I can't recall what that safety issue is."

"If your car is ever stolen with the keys in the ignition and the thief finds your address in your glove box, say on your insurance documents or your registration papers, and decides to drive to your house he won't have the key to get inside.  Or if you lock your car keys in the car but have your purse with the house keys, you can at least still get in your house to get a spare if you have one." Detective Breton explained.

"Oh yeah.  I think that's what she said." Norma agreed.

"Back to the point, she lost her keys six months ago?" Detective Santo asked.

"Well she thought she lost them but she found them in her desk drawer in her office the next day.  She didn't remember ever putting them in there but she must have because that's where she found them." Norma supplied.  "What's with all the key questions?"

"I think we are done here." Detective Santo announced and stood up.  His partner followed and they walked to the door.  "If you ladies remember anything, anything at all no matter how small or insignificant it might be, please contact us as soon as possible."

"One more thing before we go.  Can you please give us your full names?" Detective Breton asked.

"My full name is Norma Jean Taylor and her name is Philadelphia La Roux." Norma answered pointing her thumb in my direction.  "Wait a minute.  You didn't answer my question.  Why are so interested in her keys?"

"All the windows in her apartment were locked and according to you the front door was locked and bolted.  So either you were wrong or lying about the door or someone locked it from the outside." Detective Santo informed her before opening the door.  He pulled a business card out of his back pocket and handed it to her.  "Don't hesitate to call if you remember anything."

Detective Breton also pulled out his business card and handed it to Norma.  With a wink he followed his partner out the door.

Norma closed and locked the door behind them, turned and walked back into the living room.  She dropped both business cards on the coffee table and laid back on her chaise lounge.  She seemed deep in thought and I was too tired to ask her what she was thinking about.  I curled my body into a fetal position and pulled the throw tighter around me.  Poor sweet Kitty.


Copyright © Allene Angelica 2014