Thursday, September 22, 2011

Episode Thirteen

Everything was a blur after finding Nani shot through the heart. The police asked questions I couldn't answer, nor could I tell them how I knew where to find her. Debbie and Sean were there getting footage for their late night news. I refused both requests for interviews.

I paid the sitter then checked on Toby. He was peacefully unaware of what was going on in his life. I took a quick shower and changed my clothes that were still covered in Nani's blood. Picking up my phone to make funeral arrangements, I felt dead inside. Although I had no great love for Nani, she had been the mother of my son.  

Once everything had been arranged, I busied myself with household chores and just being there for Toby. The night of the memorial services, I sat on the floor reading to him. Perhaps when he thinks back, he will remember the fun he had with me instead of the sadness that would follow. 

People showed up in droves to the services. B was there with Silver. I avoided him as much as possible during the evening.

I was just reaching under the kitchen bar to have a drink when I noticed smooth, long legs stop right next to me. I knew those legs. Chloe?

Indeed, Chloe had shown up. She offered condolences to me and Toby. I watched her during the night as I received words of encouragement from everyone.

She approached me with Toby on her hip. She wanted to know what I was going to do with him when I worked. I told her I had been thinking daycare. She was adamant that daycare was not good for Toby right now. She offered to sit with him in the evenings after her shift so I could take on cases or put time in at the department.

I was surprised that she would offer. And at the moment, I wasn't sure my heart could handle being that close to her again.

Once Toby was asleep and the last guest was gone, she pressed me again to let her help. I gave in but decided to try and keep my heart at a distance. I knew it would be tough to do. When she leaned in to hug me, I was surrounded by her soft scent. Distance, Drake.

The next afternoon, Chloe showed up and took Toby outside to play. I put on my coat and took one last look at Nani's picture. I decided to move it to the shelves. I would keep it for Toby to remember her by. Her tombstone would be done by the end of the week.

Funny thing about life, it stops for no one or nothing. Toby continued to get bigger and he was learning new words everyday. He was so smart and not scared of anything.

I became relentless in my search for answers. I learned through Kels that Roarke's gang had been involved with Nani's death. 

More research showed that the hit had come from elsewhere. Silver, perhaps? But Twallan had been tied in somehow. And until I figured it out, I would be cautious about what I said or did until then.

Chloe became a big part of our household. I began to look forward to our evenings together. It was great to see this other side of Chloe. I never knew she was so into her shows. Why do I find that cute? 

One evening I was following a lead on the throw-a-way gun that was used on Nani. Ace claimed that she might have seen it just after moving into my old apartment. But that it disappeared right after. I couldn't trust her so I decided to have a look for myself.

I brought my tools and made quick work of the door. I did a quick skim of the room and found that Ace had changed very little since she had moved in. I noticed she had thrown my old lamp in the trash so I picked it up and put it under my arm.

As I cased the rest of the place, I noticed the stereo had been moved. After sliding it to the left, I noticed a small cubbie, just big enough to hide a gun. Someone had hidden Nani's murder weapon here?! Or had the weapon belonged to Nani all along? Due to a little mix up with Ace when she came home earlier than expected....

... I had some explaining to do. The police did show up but I was never formally charged. This new bit of gossip caused another dip in my case load.

I decided to seek legal action against that person. 

Apparently, Lacey can say whatever it is that she wants to. I firmly believe I lost that case only because she is a Five Star Celebrity!

I tried not to let it bother me. I had other things going on in my life.

Toby was learning to walk. And he was a whiz with that block set I had bought him.

I imagine that Chloe might be falling  a little in love with the guy, too. She has taken to spending her free time with us, even though I haven't had any new cases.

I have had a few ... episodes? I don't know what they are really. Usually its after a long night of tracing down cold clues to Nani's death or trying to dig up information on Twallan.

I imagine I can see her ... Nani. She is either doing normal things or staring right at me. I usually close my eyes then count to five. I don't know. Maybe I am losing my mind. But I have kept up with Twallan's updates. Despite changing my number and getting a new email address, I still get them. I file them all away on a jump drive I keep locked in my room. The only time I mention them is now, when I write my blog.   

Early ran off with Henna. Henna's ex-partner, Pheobe, was so ashamed that she took their children that were still living at home and moved as well.

Bina gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Elliot. Two days after coming home from the hospital, she reportedly told L she was running to the store. She has yet to return.

Tommy Wilde and Duffy Teen had an "oopsie" which led to them getting married in short order.

Ladybug and Beau are over the moon about their little bundle of joy, Nathaniel.

With their only child in High School, B was loathe to share the news of her pregnancy with Silver. How I wished that it wasn't his.

A lot of simmies are hooking up. Alecia Simself has snagged the attention of Brydon Tomson. 

And his little brother, Collin, was seen putting the moves on Bella Bachelor. And her older brother, Michael, and his wife, Horsey, are now expecting as well.

Dina welcomed home their newest member to the Crazy household, Cliff.

Paisley is obviously smitten by the dapper Elmer Simself. I hope he doesn't follow in his father's footsteps. So much is changing.

Even my little boy. Today is his birthday! Where does the time go?

Chloe offered to come over early and help set up. I have almost come to expect her to be there.

We had several people show up. My buddy Mark and his wife and a few of Chloe's co-workers as well.

I don't think I have ever felt as much pride as I did in that moment when Toby and I leaned down together and blew out his candles. This was my boy. And nothing was going to change that. I decided I had to put the guilt I felt at Nani's death and my inability to prevent it, away. Start living life and enjoying what I had.

Long ago, I had picked a special flower outside the graveyard. It has never wilted and I am told that it holds special powers. It's probably not the kind of present Toby was expecting at that moment, but one day he will come to appreciate it. 

After the party, Chloe and I cleaned up. I found Toby sleeping on the sofa so I carried him upstairs and laid him in his new bed in the spare room. Out of sentiment, I wandered back into his nursery. This is where Chloe found me.

I can't say it was unexpected. But to be pursued instead of the pursuer? To be in the position of accepting or refusing the happiness of another? Its shocking when you are in that moment.

Somehow, I felt like I was getting a second chance at life. Like this is what it had been meant to be like from the beginning. This time around, though, I wasn't going to do anything to mess it up.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Episode Twelve

I never got that "chat" with Silver. I like to think that Nani and I have both put our mistakes behind us. We still have our quarrels, but with Toby demanding so much of our time, we tend to just let them pass. 
I have noticed that Nani has been wanting to spend more time with Toby. I told her that tomorrow she could feed him, if it meant so much to her. She was in rare form this morning. Something must be bothering her.
I tried asking her what was wrong but, as usual, she put me off. Then she said something about getting out for good. I thought she was talking about her career in acting but I wasn't sure. Sometimes, I wished I could force her to talk to me.
Before she left, she gave Toby a quick kiss then handed him to me. She seemed to be in such a good mood compared to earlier. Looking back, I wished I had kissed her one more time.
We had settled into a routine since Toby was born. She heads out to work in the morning, either running errands for Lizzy or working with Clay on some project.

Then around 2pm, she'll come home and take over watching Toby while I do paperwork at the local department or take on a case.

I have been working with Toby on his potty training. He is doing really well for his age. I think he is smarter than most kids, but maybe all parents feel that way.

Some moments it just hits me that I am married with a kid. I mean, not too long ago I was hitting the clubs every night and falling into bed, completely drunk. Now here I am, making sure the laundry is folded and Toby has a clean diaper.

But I am content with my life for the moment. I like having Toby settled next to me in my office while I check in with T.
I still feel the pull of the drink.
But my love for Toby is enough to keep me strong.

Toby was playing with that creepy doll one of Nani's obscure relatives sent him when I opened up the email from Sean. He wanted to meet today at 4pm. I hated meeting with him. He always rubbed me the wrong way.
I also had a few updates from T. Fel's new job as a stylist has given her the freedom to bring little Erik to school each morning. He is still being bullied by Mike on the bus.

Kels and Dina have settled into married life.... for the most part. 

L is still working on winning Bina over. Bets are on that she bolts right after the kid is born.

The high school seniors are graduating today. Michael has asked Horsey to marry him. I figured they had been going steady for so long, marriage was inevitable. 

I scooped up Toby and laid him down for a nap. As I was checking the mail, I realized it was after 3pm already. Nani was late so I decided to call a sitter so I wouldn't miss my appointment with Sean. 
The girl the agency sent over was not what I was expecting. But after I talked with her, I realized she knew a thing or two about kids. I changed clothes, kissed Toby, then headed out.

My meeting with Sean went as expected. I insulted him, he yelled at me, then we got down to talking about why he wanted to meet.
He was rambling on about needing me to do an interview exclusive about the whole Project X and my understanding of it. I wasn't really paying attention when I heard my phone go off. A text from Twallan? Great, I needed a distraction.

What was Nani doing at the abandoned warehouse? That is where the underbelly of Harmony hangs out!
I decided to try her cell. Sean was complaining that both he and Debbie were only trying to inform our public. Damn! Nani wasn't answering her phone. I turned abruptly and left Sean blathering on about civic duty.
I stood outside Silver's house trying to decide which approach to take. I needed to know if he was still pulling Nani's strings ... and if they were still having an affair! 

I decided to try the understanding route. He said he couldn't tell me anymore about Project X, only that as of now, Nani was no longer involved.

When I asked for a straight answer about the affair, he couldn't look me in the eye! He said it wasn't what it seemed but that he was sorry things had to end. Still more confused than ever, I rang up my buddy Mark.

He agreed to meet me at Moe's Diner. We tried to keep things casual as people we both knew kept showing up and wanting to chat.

He collaborated what Sean had said. That Silver had indeed been picking Nani up and dropping her off at the warehouse. But why?
Mark whispered that T was the heart of Project X. He refused to say anymore because he had a family to think of. I understood now what it means to have to think beyond yourself. I casually walked into the diner while he grabbed a taxi and left.  

I have never met Twallan. I have only spoken to him through text and emails. And if he is the center of this Project X that keeps interfering with my life, then I thought we needed to meet. I asked him to meet me at the theater.

Not surprising, he never showed. I was beginning to think that these updates he sent me weren't as great as they used to be. As I walked out, I noticed Chloe was performing. Weird how she would be outside right as I left.
I awkwardly approached her. She seemed just as nervous as I. She offered congratulations for Toby's birth.
We spent a moment talking about what was new in our lives. She asked how Nani was doing. I didn't bring up what was going on. I didn't want any shadows to fall on sweet Chloe. We said our goodbyes and I walked to the local PD in a daze.

I was in the old file room looking for anything on T when he sent me a text. It was just another image...

My heart was pounding! Something had happened to Nani. Was T responsible or was he the one trying to stop it? Right now, that didn't matter. All I could think about was getting to Nani.

No, no, no, no....



Oh, Nani. What did they do to you?

(soft crying)