I post pictures on my blog because I love to take them and want to share some of the beauty I've witnessed. The glory all goes to God because he created what you see. The stories I post are usually ones I've written way earlier and are missing one element or other they need to be published. I really don't plan trying to get them published or I wouldn't post them on the internet. They are to be enjoyed without the added worry of critiquing. Please leave a comment and follow my blog on my journey to getting published. :)
Chapter Two ~
Two hours later Jude and Jackson were sitting in a mom and pop restaurant in West Valley City, Utah talking over what they believed was happening in this fast-growing suburb of Salt Lake City.
"Do you think we should alert other authorities to the possibility this might be the beginning of a serial killer's reign in our city?" Jude asked.
"No, I don't think we want to alarm anyone just yet, old chap. Let's keep a lid on it, at least until it happens again, and if I'm right, it will."
"Why do you think a serial killer would move hunting grounds, man?"
"There could be any number of reasons. Maybe the authorities are getting close to catching him, or maybe something turned him off there...like I said, it could be any number of reasons."
"Seeing Justy again was crazy, man." Jude confided to his friend. "I was just a dim-witted brat back in school. I was afraid my friends would reject me if I had a fat girlfriend. She sure isn't fat now. I about had a heart attack when she first turned around. I still feel those old feelings for her. I thought I’d banished them, but I was fooling myself. There's just something about Justy..." He trailed off in a dreamy voice.
"You aren't two, old chap. Sit up straight and look alive because she just walked in." Jack whispered out the side of his mouth.
"You're kidding me, right?" Jude turned around and his eyes clashed with Justy's. He jerked his head back toward Jackson and asked, "What am I gonna say to her, man? What happened to her parents was horrifying. How can I say anything about it without telling her the truth?"
"I don't know, but you better think fast cause she's here."
Jude turned around with a small smile. "Hi Justy, what are you doing here?"
Jack groaned from the other side of the booth. "Hi Justy, are you doing okay?" Jack asked with a note of concern in his voice. "Won't you sit down and join us for a cup of tea?" He gave Jude a pointed look and cut his eyes toward the empty seat next to his friend.
"Oh, I don't want to impose. I had no idea you guys were here."
There was a hopeful look in her eyes and Jude’s heart thumped painfully in his chest. "Go ahead and have a seat. We’d love to have you join us. Jackson's wife will be here any minute, and then we're gonna eat." Jude said. Slow down heart, you’re gonna burst.
"I don't feel like eating, but I'll sit down for a bit." She slipped into the empty spot beside Jude. "I can't think of anything but the horror of what happened. I don't even know the full extent of it, either." New tears formed in her already red-rimmed eyes and spilled down her pretty pale cheeks.
Jude moved toward her and put his arm around her shoulders. He gently pulled her head down and stroked her hair in comfort. "Go ahead and get it all out Justy, I'm here for you."
Jackson sat across from them, watching what was transpiring between the two with avid interest. This was a new side to his friend, and he found he liked it. Jude was a man's man. He never let his guard down for a second, no matter what the occasion, but his guard was down now. He smiled a secret little smile and cleared his throat quietly. "Do you want me to order a soda for you Justy, or maybe some coffee, or tea?"
Jackson's wife Amy slid in next to him and threw a puzzled look in Jude's direction.
Justy looked up, her big gray eyes still full of tears and said, "Yes, I'll have a Sprite." She looked over at the waitress, who stood with a pen poised above a small notepad.
"I'll have a Root Beer." Amy said, setting her shopping bags on the seat next to Jackson.
She put her hand across the table toward the new lady and said, "Hi, my name's Amy. I'm Jackson's wife."
Justy disentangled herself from Jude's arms and took Amy's hand in hers. "I'm Justy. I went to school with Jude. My parents were just killed in a horrific homicide and Jude’s on the case." Her voice broke and she began to sob again.
"Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn't know." Amy said. She threw Jackson a dirty look that said, 'you could've told me...'
"Justy just joined us. She ran into us by accident. We didn't know she was going to be here, but we're pleased she is." Jackson said with a small curl of his upper lip. Yes, he loved his feisty little wife very much. He pulled Amy over to him, dropped a light kiss on her nose and whispered, "I love you, baby."
Justy had reined in her crying for the moment. She looked at them with apologetic eyes and said, "I'm truly sorry for dumping my grief on you all like this. I can assure you it isn't like me."
"Nonsense, we're glad you’re here." Amy threw a smile toward the new woman.
Amy looked at Jackson and said quietly, "Sophia is going to feed the children so we can stay out a bit later, if you wish. I thought we might take in a movie, but I'm all for staying and helping in Justy’s time of need."
"That would be awesome. She's very distraught, and I can't blame her. You know how we men are. We have no idea what to say in instances like these," he whispered as he brushed another light kiss on her nose.
"I think I'll have steak. Justy, what are you going to have?" Amy asked in her usual 'take control of the situation' attitude.
"I'm not really hungry..." She began, but was cut off by Amy.
"Nonsense girl, you have to eat, no matter how bad the situation. I'll order some chicken soup and crackers for you. That should settle on your stomach in the toughest situation."
Justy smiled a little. "Thank you, I appreciate the thought."
"You're most welcome. I don't know how you're even coping, what with all that's happened today." Amy said as she laid her menu on the side of the table.
Jude stared out the window at the massive snow-covered mountains in the distance, barely catching Amy’s words. "I don't, either. I’m so sorry. I know it sounds lame, but I don't know what else to say." The emotion in his voice was thick, choking him up.
"I know this is a really bad time, but it's probably best to ask while it's all fresh in your mind. Do you know of anyone who would want to do this to your parents?" Jackson asked Justy, earning another dirty look from his beautiful wife.
"That question has been running through my mind all day, 'who would do something like this?' But I can't think of a soul. I mean, I'd be lying if I said my father didn't have enemies, he was a divorce lawyer, so he had plenty, but for someone to do something so vicious and, and..." Justy broke down, and Amy rushed over and squatted by her chair. She pulled her in for a hug and rubbed her back in a circular motion, trying to dispel the tears.
"It's okay Justy, you just cry as long as you need to. I'll be right here to hold you through it." Amy said sympathetically as she gave a pointed look to the men.
"Maybe we should wait to ask these questions." Jude said curtly. He was angry with Jack for opening the flood gates of Justy's sorrow just hours after this terrible tragedy. He wanted to catch the guy as much as Jackson did, but he didn't want to make his old school-mate suffer any more sorrow tonight. Because I love her, he thought.
Justy raised her head and looked at him. "It’s okay. I understand why he's asking. I know the sooner we get all the information, the sooner we can catch this guy, but I can’t help it...” Her head dropped, and sobs wracked her slight frame again.
"So no one sticks out in your mind as overly hate-filled? Maybe there was someone who got the short-end of the stick in a divorce settlement?" Jackson asked.
"There was this one guy last week," she stuttered through her tears. "My dad spent months on his divorce settlement. He came into the office screaming that my dad had given everything to his selfish, money-grubbing wife, and he wanted it all back. "I've never seen anyone so angry in all my life! He practically ran right past me, even though I was trying to tell him my father was in a meeting."
Jude pulled out his little notebook and asked, "What was his name?"
"His name was Bart Arsov, I believe." She pulled a tissue out of her pink coat pocket and wiped first her eyes, and then her nose. Jude’s heart jumped again and sighed. What’s wrong with me?
"So let me make sure I'm getting this right. You worked for your father?" Jackson asked. He had his own little notebook out, writing in it as he spoke.
"Yes, I worked for him as a paralegal. I'm actually a lawyer in my own right, but I chose to work for my father because that's what he wanted." She said softly. Tears were still falling, and she pulled the tissue up and wiped her eyes again.
"We'll get his address and interview him as soon as we leave here." Jackson said. "It's a good thing I'm still on leave." He picked his cup up and drained it of the hot, black sludge he called coffee.
"I am, too." Jude said quietly. "It means a lot to me."
"I know, and I'm glad to help." Jackson assured him. “When I called you a few months ago, you didn’t hesitate, and I’ll never forget it. I'm gonna see Amy back to the house and I'll meet you downtown." He extended his hand and shook Jude's.
"That sounds good. Justy, do you need a ride?" Jude asked hopefully. Calm down, man. Her parents were just killed.
"Yes, you can drive me back to the house if you would. I don't really feel like hailing a taxi." She sniffled pitifully. "I didn't even taste the soup. The meal went by so fast I missed it."
"You don't have to feel bad for enjoying my friends' company. They're good people." He guided her out the front doors after paying for the meal.
"I enjoyed your company, too." Her shy little smile lit up her wan face.
"I'm glad you did. I've got a lot to make-up for." He seated her in the front passenger seat of his government-issue car.
"Don't worry about what happened in high school, Jude. You were a beast, but if you find who did this and put them away, I'll wipe the slate clean." She said sincerely as he shut her door and walked around to his side of the car.
He got in, started the engine and looked at her, "Then you don't need to worry because I'm going to do everything in my power to find him and bring him to justice." After he pulled out of the parking lot he looked over at her again. "Where am I taking you?"
She gave him an address in Taylorsville and he drove that way with mixed feelings. He was upset about the deaths, yet he was back in contact with Justy...He shrugged to himself in self-disgust for his thoughts.
"What's wrong?" She asked.
"Nothing for you to worry about, it's just me. If it isn't too upsetting, tell me a bit about your dad's business, and some of the people he made enemies with. That seems like a good place to start."
"My dad was a good lawyer. He made a lot of friends. There were also a lot of people that didn't like him. They weren't enemies per se, but at the least, they were people who didn't look upon him kindly, if you know what I mean. I don't know why he chose to be a divorce lawyer, I wish he hadn't."
She sounded wistful, and Jude’s heart filled with sympathy. He reached into the pocket of his door and grabbed a packet of tissues and handed them to her. "Is there someone I can call to come and stay with you? I don't want you to be alone through this."
"I have a cat that will cuddle with me."
He pulled up in her driveway and she blew her nose, stuffing the used tissue in her coat pocket.
"Don't you have any friends I can call?"
"No, I haven't really had time for friends." She hopped out and shut the passenger door. "Don't worry, I'll be okay. She walked up the sidewalk to a cute brick rambler and disappeared through the iron-gated door.
Jude watched while she unlocked the white wrought iron screen door that hung over the front door, and then the door itself. There was a light on inside, and she turned to look out at him once more before shutting the door. He saw her shadow as she passed by the window, and then she was gone.
He pulled out his phone and called the local P.D. and arranged for a security detail for her house, just for a few days. He had some friends in the department and they assured him it would be no problem to keep an eye on her. He pulled away from the curb as he ended the call and headed toward the FBI office downtown.
Jackson called him, and when he answered said, "A friend of mine located Bart Arsov and he's on his way to the station as we speak."
"That's great news, man, great news." He rubbed a hand across his brow and sighed deeply. "This has been one long day I don't ever care to repeat. I just want to interview this guy and go home."
"I know, old chap. No worries now. Let's just concentrate on getting this guy before he kills anyone else, especially if he is the glitter killer. You know, I think Otis is somewhat of an expert on profiling serial killers. Do you want me to call him and ask him to work us up a beginning profile?" Jackson asked.
"Uhm...let's not do that just yet. Go ahead and call him, three heads are better than two, you know. For that matter, you could call Scott, too. I just don't want to jump the gun if it's a coincidence, ya know what I mean? I don't want it to get leaked to the press there's a serial killer if there really isn't. All we need is for Salt Lake City to be in a state of mass-panic over an unfounded rumor. I think I’ll call the rest of the guys, though. If nothing else, at least it'll be a good reunion. I haven't seen Scott since the night of your weddings, have you?”
"Yes, he calls Amy every day. He hasn’t been to see us since we've been back, though. I think his wife has him on a tight leash."
"Jack, you have to give her more time, man. She's different than us. She was raised mostly on the streets. She didn't have all the opportunities we did. Give her a chance before you discount her, okay?"
"Yeah, I'm gonna give her more time, relax. Amy likes her a lot, but then, she likes everybody." He chuckled.
"True that Jack, she does. She's a good woman," Jude said cautiously. Jackson was a bit jealous of him, even though he'd never given him much of a reason. He’d teased him about going after her himself, but he hadn’t really meant it. He’d just wanted Jackson to make his move.
"She definitely is." Jack’s tone was possessive and Jude laughed. "That's okay my friend, your time’s coming."
"What's that supposed to mean, man?" Jude asked, but he knew. He hadn’t been able to form a thought that didn’t include Justy since she’d walked back into his life today. How did I manage all these years without her?
"Oh it means just what it says, 'man.' I can already hear the wedding bells of love ringing in your ears." Jackson chuckled.
Jude responded by hanging up and slamming his phone up on the dashboard. The truth was Jackson was right. His old feelings for Justy had poured forth like a broken dam and he was powerless to stave the flow of love quickly rising to the surface.