Chapter 35: Chapter 35

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

Reads: 62

Kate laid across the couch, her eyes were cast upward as she mindlessly stroked Rontu’s fur. Alex paused at the door frame and looked into the office, but only fully entered when Kate caught sight of her and smiled. Alex graciously returned the expression before she grabbed a small basket that had been sitting on the desk and moved towards Kate. 

“Let me check to see if your bandages need changing. Do you need anything for the pain?”

Kate slowly sat up but didn’t answer her question. Alex set the basket between them and they remained in a tense silence as she pulled out new bandages and tape. When she looked up again she avoided direct eye contact and tried to focus on the simple task of the lifting Kate’s shirt to study the dressing already wrapped around her, but her head and hands dropped down before they reached Kate. The physical and emotional toll was evident but Kate could feel there was something more bothering Alex. 

“What?” Kate asked.

“Jeremy.”

“Jeremy, what?”

“Are you up for a visitor? I think you need to hear what he has to say.”

Kate looked around Alex and out the door. She saw him leaning against the bar. His curious eyes were zeroed in on her. A tentative and passive energy exuded from him. One she never expected, but began to understand. Her desire to know the information he held overwhelmed her and she nodded. Whether she was ready or not she needed to know.

Alex waved him in and rose, but Kate grabbed her wrist. “Stay, please.”

Alex patted Kate’s hand in compliance and held it within hers as she took the spot next to her. They both watched as Jeremy slowly made his way to them. He limped and tightly held himself, evident he was still recovering from the injuries inflicted by Kyle. The two women didn’t speak as Jeremy fully entered the office and carefully took a seat in the chair offered. 

He looked at Alex then directed himself to Kate. “I really have been wanting to tell you just how sorry-“

“Stop,” Kate immediately interrupted, “I don’t want to hear that. I want to know what happened.”

Jeremy couldn’t hide his initial shock but then his eyes adjusted in understanding. “The best place to start is at Manuel’s Dock. Kyle was there and the one who shot Manuel.”

“What?”

“I had no idea who he was until that day. Kyle showed up a few days before and Caleb almost lost it.”

“I don’t understand how we never came across him or a mention of another son,” Kate stated.

“He only came around if Caleb said he could visit. I had my suspicions, but even he played the role of whoever he was supposed to be well.” Jeremy looked around the room before he continued as if trying to pull forgotten details from the space around them. “I happened to be in the next room when Peter and Caleb were having it out about him. Kyle strolled up laughing calling Caleb an imbecile and how he knew how he’d run the business better. I really didn’t understand why Peter protected him as he had. He clearly felt everyone was intellectually below him.”

“What made you suspect more from him?”

“He showed up because he needed money to hide out.” Jeremy took a breath. “Kyle had no humanity, he saw killing as an experiment. He felt compelled to tell me about his latest, he was determined to create a perfect formula for whatever sadistic act he wanted to perform. The poor girl wasn’t more than twenty.”

As much as the information began to fill in the gaps, Kate couldn’t help but feel the puzzle still remained incomplete. “Why didn’t you tell us, or Byron?”

 “I didn’t really have anything, but that was the moment I put the tasks Byron had created for me to the side and focused on him.”

“Why was Peter and Kyle at the dock?” Alex asked to push the conversation forward.

“Manuel had boats, and they were using them to traffic guns and drugs, but Peter wanted to be able to use them as access for their personal use. Meaning, to dispose of bodies if needed. And it wasn’t just for Kyle of course but it just gave him more confidence because Peter would do what it took to cover anything he did.”

 “I’m still confused,” Kate said and sat up a little straighter, she was trying to process the information, but it still didn’t flow in her mind. “Why the hell did you shoot at me and then shoot Alex?”

“It’s not so simple,” Jeremy said and looked away briefly. “I had a role to play and at the same time needed to protect you both.”

“You got pretty close to the exact opposite.” Alex said pointedly.

“I have no excuse or words, Alex. I thought I had it under control, but that was when it all went to shit. I kept collecting any information I could and then brought it your house.” He gestured to Kate. “I had no clue what Kyle was planning. Caleb was so focused on how he would explain Peter’s death and made it seem like Kyle was out of the picture.”

“Okay, I guess I’m starting to see how it played out for you, but-” Kate looked at Alex then back to the man sitting across from them. “I need to know why you would take the fall and not just reveal the truth.”

“Because it meant you two would be safe. Before Detective Ryan brought me in, Caleb had shown me how effortlessly I had been set up once they found my fingerprints. I made a deal with Caleb. I confess and no more harm would come to either of you. As long as I kept my end he’d make sure I would be safe on the inside and out within the year.”

“Wow,” Alex scoffed. “I knew Caleb had reach, but this just confirms so much more.”

“As much of a monster Caleb is, he kept his word, but Kyle didn’t agree. He was obsessed with the idea he failed. I honestly don’t think that Peter’s death affected him, I think it became an excuse for him to keep killing.”

 Kate found herself leaning back in awe to the account of events through Jeremy’s point of view. 

“Don’t worry, Caleb is going to get what is coming to him.” Jeremy assured. “In the end Achilles may not have existed but it did stir up a deeper truth.” 

He spoke with such confidence, Kate wanted to truly believe him.

“How’s that?” Alex asked, pure distrust in her voice. “Caleb’s playing a victim right now, and how do we trust that those who had a hand in Achilles won’t want to make sure we’re done speaking?”

“With all the information and evidence you put together, Alex, he has no leg to stand on. There is no need for anyone to mention Achilles.”

With Jeremy’s last words the three of them sat quietly as all the information slowly filtered through. Kate had more questions but became satisfied with what Jeremy revealed. They had given their statements and Byron never reappeared to alter any of their truths. Kate wanted it to feel like a win, but she couldn’t grasp onto a feeling more than relief. Before he left, Jeremy voiced his own hope for a positive conclusion to everything. The truth was inevitable but he couldn’t help but express how grateful he was that they all had come out the other end. Wounded and scarred but on the side of good. 

“That was a lot.” Alex shook her head in her own uncertainty. “What do we do with all of that?”

“We can’t hold onto what was, we have to move forward,” Kate suggested.

Alex smiled and shook her head. “That’s so Zen of you.” 

With the sarcastic quip, Kate turned to fully face the brunette. “Then what do you suggest?”

“I don’t know. Maybe I wanted something more for Tyler, for you.” 

The lament in Alex’s voice had Kate grabbing her hand to bring her full attention around. “Release your guilt, Alex. If anything for me. There will always be an empty space in my heart designated for Tyler. Empty is empty, he’s gone and nothing will ever take the pain away.” Kate paused and sighed softly.“But, the love will always be there too. I have to hold onto that if I want to survive myself.”

Alex didn’t respond but her expression of understanding said more than words could. 

 

 


Submitted: November 05, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Kathrynmp. All rights reserved.

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