Chapter 18: Chapter 18

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 67

Hazel stood in amazement how the same spot she came to almost each morning could feel like a new experience. Most people crowded the pier and beaches to witness the breathtaking sunsets, but she loved the moment the sun slowly rose behind her, breaking through the blue tinge created before daybreak. The light would then slowly sweep across the damp sand gradually warming the grains and reveal the boundless ocean. Even with the beauty of the changing light, it was the quiet that drew her more. Few souls occupied the vast beach and made it more welcoming. The tempo of the crashing waves, the chilled air, and nature waking to the dawn created a peaceful energy that radiated. 

That morning Hazel wasn’t there to meditate or practice her daily yoga. Scanning from the pier Hazel’s eyes fell upon the lifeguard tower that vertically cut through the horizon line and beach. Seeing Alex laying on the ramp that led to the tower, Hazel adjusted her grip on the two coffees and bag of breakfast burritos before she stepped across the beach. Mindful not to kick up too much sand, she took strides towards Alex. The brunette lay almost motionless on her back. Her arms crossed behind her head. She wore a dark grey sweatsuit with RPD on the chest of the hoodie. As Hazel approached Alex slowly tilted her head in acknowledgment.

“Did you sleep out here?” Hazel asked.

“Maybe.” Alex scooted to a seated position and uncovered her head from the hood that had shielded her face. As Hazel made her way around to the opening Alex brought her legs tight to her chest.

“Breakfast?” Hazel asked presenting the bag and then extended a coffee. “Pepe’s famous veggie burritos with extra avocado like you like.” 

Alex smiled slightly and accepted the coffee before moving over so Hazel could join her on the paint chipped incline. Hazel happily took a seat on the cold wood.The two women sat in thoughtful quiet and sipped their coffees while watching the ocean’s delicate ballet. Hazel couldn’t help but look from the water and over to her friend. Alex clearly resisted the urge to look back even though it was obvious she was aware that Hazel was watching her. Anxious concern was an understatement to how Hazel felt. For both her and Kate. Maneuvering around the obstacles of the newly presented journey was a task Hazel personally took on. The heart-shattering events left them all broken but also had separate and unique challenges. She chose to use what healing energy she could to help them when the cracks seemed irreparable. It was how she needed to find healing in her grief as well. 

“Remember when Tyler said the wind was caused by the waves crashing?” Hazel asked in hopes to crack through the tension but Alex didn’t physically react beyond nodding. 

“Sounds logical to me,” she whispered.

Hazel let the stillness return and watched the swells once again. When the last wave of the set had curled in on itself she began to count the smaller swells that would inevitably lead to the next set. She decided that when the next series arrived she would break the silence. She had only counted to three before Alex spoke up. 

Her voice came out in a hushed whisper as if she was simply speaking to herself, “Do you ever feel like the sand that is drawn away from the shore?”

“How’s that?” Hazel asked.

Alex lifted her arm and pointed to the scenery in front of them. “The sand lays there careless and free, but once made wet by the water each grain clings to each other like they know what’s coming.” She paused as the new set rolled in and loudly made its presence known. She sighed lightly and continued, “They’re sucked out with the pull of the building water and with a single crash they are violently separated and tumbled in churning chaos. Their destination’s now unknown, they’re ultimately alone, just hoping when the spinning stops they can find a calm spot to remain.”

Hazel stared at her friend intently invested in her words. In the analogy, she spoke more openly now about anything she was struggling with than she ever had in the years they’ve known each other. 

“You’re not alone,” Hazel reassured and grabbed Alex’s hand, “You’re in churning chaos but you are not alone, Alex.” 

Alex squeezed back and glanced Hazel’s way. “It’s just hard to explain.”

“I think you did a pretty damn good job right there.”

Alex didn’t acknowledge the comment and dropped her head. “I failed him. All I can see is that failure when I look at Kate.”

“No one sees it that way.”

“Doesn’t matter what others see or say, I’m not one to break my promises and I broke that one. I’ve lost my best friend, probably my job. For once I’m at a loss.”

“First, you have not lost Kate, and second you have more control than you realize.”

Alex looked at her searching her eyes for a flicker of untruth. “Do I though?”

“So what do you want to do about it?”

Her face twisted in a failed attempt to control her emotions. “I’m so tired, Hazel. I’ve had the truth in my grasps but every time I turn around it’s being swept away. I can’t keep up.” 

Hazel reached her arm around Alex. She expected her to tense and pull away but she didn’t. Alex acknowledged the embrace by leaning into her and placing her head on Hazel’s shoulder. When Hazel looked down and saw a tear glisten as it rolled down Alex’s cheek she tightened her hold. She was surprised by the unexpected release from a woman whose compartmentalization skills rivaled anyone. She could effortlessly tuck away the worst horrors and remain a sturdy structure. It was, however, a double-edged sword. It’s what made her an amazing detective, and friend, but was also a weakness. She was too stubborn and prideful to ask for help when it all became too much and she could no longer keep the darkness and pain secured. She had now reached that point, it was understandable, but Hazel was determined to not allow her to suffer in silence. 

Hazel moved slightly to reach into her pocket to remove a small device that she then slipped into Alex’s hand.

“What’s this?”

“Something you need to see. I know, and you know Kate’s right, and we need to keep digging.”

“Where did you get this? What’s on it?”

“I don’t know, Jeremy told me where to find it, and figured it was meant for Kate to find.”

Alex pushed back and sat up straighter; her eyes became wide with shock and concern. “You spoke to Jeremy? Why? You could be putting yourself in unnecessary danger.”

“A little late for that don’t you think?”

“Helping us,” she paused, “helping me is one thing, but direct contact?”

“Luke wanted me to ask him a few questions about his medical knowledge on drugs listed in a log book. Of course, he didn’t answer my questions. He just said that while he was waiting in Tyler’s room he enjoyed looking through his books. I thought it was odd, so I went to the house. Found that in between Tyler’s Harry Potter Series.”

Alex listened to her and flipped the card and reader in her palm. In that instant, Hazel felt the change in her. The determination that had been so bright once again flickered and sparked in her eyes. 

“Just be careful,” Hazel begged. “I have a feeling this is going to open a lot of doors people are working really hard to keep bolted.”

“I know and I will be. Now, you promise me you’ll keep your innocent ignorance.”

“That’s why I didn’t read what was on the card.” Hazel nodded and smiled as innocently as she could. 

Hazel didn’t hesitate then as she hadn’t when she accepted the possible consequences of helping Alex when she was shot and learning about her and Kate’s off duty activities. She knew how to play the role that made her look like she was in the distance, and unaware of any truth. She just hoped Alex wouldn’t draw any unwanted attention when she started researching the information Jeremy had provided on the SD card. 



Submitted: September 28, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Kathrynmp. All rights reserved.


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