“Mags?” a distant voice echoed, “Maggie?” I heard the voice becomes a little more clear, “Margaret?!” I was finally able to get out of my trance and look up. My father was kneeling right in front of me.
“Hey dad.” I whispered meekly.
I had stopped shivering as much but I was still cold. The big crowds had evidently dispersed while I had been zoning out. Jake told me that he wasn’t finished asking me questions, but that he needed to make sure that the scene was secure and do some crowd control. He mentioned that he would stop by my apartment in the morning to follow up.
He was probably just waiting to interview more people from the pub last night. Getting the last nails to drill into my coffin before he arrested me for the murder of Bridgett Star. I still couldn’t believe that she was dead.
“Honey! Are you ready for me to take you home?” Dad said a little louder than was necessary. Apparently I had zoned out again. I couldn’t shake this fog that was drifting into my mind. Seriously, Mags, get your shit together, you have a murder to solve. I told myself.
“Yeah, I’m ready to go home.” I started to get up from the sidewalk. “My car is here, I would really rather not leave it here overnight. Is there any way we could get it back home?” I didn’t like the idea that my car would be left here where a murder had occurred.
“I already talked to Victoria. She said that she would follow us home, and I would drive her home after that.” My dad lifted me up the rest of the way and held my hand like he used to when I was a child.
“I totally forgot about Vic. Is she okay?” I wondered why she hadn’t come to talk to me before this.
“She is fine, honey. She was held up by some police officers asking her questions and then calming parents down. Collateral damage. She was extremely worried about you so she called me to come and get you.”
We were almost to the car and I could see my mom waiting in the front seat. I saw that there were tears in her eyes as I got closer to the passenger door.
“Hey, Momma.” I muttered as I got into the back seat.
“Hey baby. You want to talk about it?” She turned around in her seat to look at me. That was my mother. She was more interested in making sure that I was okay that she totally ignored the fact that her makeup was running.
“Can it wait until morning? I just want to go home, take a hot shower, and curl in bed.” My eyes were starting to get heavy. I knew it couldn’t be later than 9:00 or 9:30, but it may have well been 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.
“Sure baby.” I heard before my eyes finally closed.
I don’t remember how I got to be in my own bed last night. I woke up in the morning with another splitting migraine, but this one was not due to drinking like yesterday’s had been. As I focused my eyes on the clock that was blaring in my ear as the seconds ticked by, I could hear someone moving around in my kitchen.
Everything from last night quickly flashed back into my mind. It was as though my brain was trying to protect me from what I had seen. Images of Bridgett that night at the pub stumbling around intoxicated, to her lying prone on the floor of the empty classroom with blood surrounding her body.
I got up from the bed, shook my head to clear it of the images and walked into the huge room that combined my living room and my kitchen. In my kitchen was my mom in her ratted blue bathing robe making me coffee and I believed I smelled bacon.
“Hey Momma, what are you doing down here so early? Shouldn’t you be asleep?” I was rubbing the sleep out of my eyes as she brought me my coffee and sat me down at the counter bar on the stool. I glanced at the alarm clock next to my bed and it read 3:15 am.
“Well, I couldn’t sleep. It’s another one of my insomnia nights. I decided that it was about time that you woke up and I wanted to talk about what happened last night. I know that you are pretty damn grumpy without your coffee, so I made some. Then I realized that you probably didn’t eat last night, and you get hangry, so I made some bacon and I’m about to make some eggs.” My mom was rambling. She did this when she was nervous and wanted to talk about something that she knew I was going to be uncomfortable with.
I can remember the last time she did this, it was prom night senior year, when I was humiliated by Bridgett and Jake. I came home, cried until I fell asleep, and I woke up to basically this exact same breakfast. My mom sure knew the way to my heart.
“Mom, I don’t want to talk about it, I want it to go away. I don’t want to picture it and relive it all over again.” I took a healthy gulp of my coffee, it needed some creamer. I moved around my mom to the fridge to get some of my favorite peppermint mocha creamer. It made my coffee smell and taste like Christmas all year round. My favorite holiday and season, but that is far away. Maybe too far away, I thought as I pictured myself behind bars and having to draw my Christmas tree on my cell wall with a rock.
“Honey, maybe it will make you feel better. You know, talking it out with someone who isn’t too close to the event or the person. Come on, Maggie, talk to me.” Mom looked into my eyes reading something that I wasn’t sure I wanted her to read. She always said that she could read my aura and knew how I was feeling.
“Alright, what do you want to know?” I caved knowing that she wouldn’t stop pressing until I gave in.
“What happened? Why are the police asking people about a fight that you had with Bridgett at Murphy’s?” Apparently the rumor mill was working overtime with everything that was going on.
“Remember when I went to meet with Vic to talk about lesson plans and the expectations of this new job?”
My mom nodded her head I told her everything that I had told Jake the previous night, “Though I remember one last detail, when Bridgett walked out of the pub doors she said that she would get me back. That this wasn’t over. Though I didn’t know what she meant. That was the last time I saw her mom. I promise.” I exhaled and put my head on the counter, the cool granite easing my headache.
“I know baby.” She patted my head and put some medicine and a glass of water nearby breakfast plate.
“They think I killed her mom. I don’t have a solid alibi. You were in Tulsa and Dad was at work. I was here working on things for school and getting ready for the big reveal at the school when she was killed. I didn’t do it, but I am sure they don’t believe me.” My eyes started welling up with tears, I was so scared.
“Margaret Ann Turee. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard you utter. Jake will not let that happen. He knows you better than that. He will find the evidence to prove your innocence.” My mom was at her most livid, her face was turning red, and her left eye was twitching.
“Mom, you have too much faith in Jake. He doesn’t even like me, why would he go out of his way to prove me innocent? I am the easy target.” My mind was going crazy, how could I prove I didn’t do this?
“Jake has always asked about you when he has stopped by to do the lawn or fix things around the house that your father couldn’t fix. He was also very curious about how you were doing in Oklahoma City. He never out right asked, but I think he was digging about your relationship status, too.” My mom winked at me as she cleaned up the kitchen and washed the dishes.
“I’m only going to tell you this once mom. Jake doesn’t care about me. He proved that a long time ago. I didn’t know that he kept cutting your lawn after high school. Why did he continue to do that? It’s not like he needed the money or anything.” I was confused, this didn’t sound like the Jake I knew or had known. Maybe time really does change people.
“I am only telling you what I know and what I see. I know that he has some feelings for you, and I know that he would never let any harm come to you, either. Have you even tried to get to know him for who he is now? Did you know that he runs the Anti-Bullying campaign at the school every year? Or that he volunteers at the local Y for underprivileged kiddos?”
She had dug her feet into the ground. When a Turee made up their mind there was no going back. I knew and she knew this. We were both at a stand still and we both believed that we were right.
“Time out?” We both asked at the same time and laughed holding each other in a hug. One of our favorite shows to watch together was How I Met Your Mother. I knew that Lily and Marshall used this to keep their relationship together, and so my mom and I did the same. Anytime we didn’t agree on something, we would just put it in a time out. We would get back to the problem when we both had time to cool down and rethink our positions.
“Alright sweetie, I’ll leave you alone now. I just needed to check up on you. I have to drive to Tulsa again, the curator at the Philbrook Museum wants me to be a judge for a First Friday’s festival next month and we have to go over the contract. If you need anything, call me. I love you.” She kissed me on the cheek and walked back up the basement stairs.
“Love you too”. I whispered back. That’s when I heard someone knocking on my door.