I didn’t trust Noah.
It was hard not to, but I didn’t. My dad was a cop. Cops were the good guys, right? But I’d seen enough to know that cops weren’t always the good guys, criminals weren’t always the bad guys, and most people lived in a murky sort of gray area. Until I found out what happened to Genevieve, I wouldn’t be trusting anyone anytime soon.
Noah was in plain clothes, not in a uniform, so that meant detective. What kind of detective – if they even had different departments in a shop this small – was uncertain. If he was a homicide detective, then maybe I wouldn’t have to work so hard to get the information I needed.
“What kind of detective are you, Noah?”
“What makes you think I’m a detective?”
Oh boy, here we go. He wouldn’t be the first hotshot cop to try and fuck with me, and in all likelihood, he wouldn’t be the last.
“You’re wearing plain clothes to an official visit, your hair is not in regs for a uniformed officer, and you have that general air of self-importance most detectives get when they have a high close record.” I paused to let him digest that before I decided to turn a screw. I probably shouldn’t, but I was going to anyway. “But you can’t be that good of a detective if you didn’t know that I was a cop’s daughter.”
Noah’s mouth curved in an arrogant sort of smile. “Oh, I’m a good detective. And I do my homework. I know you’re Gemini Marie Perry, daughter of Marcus Perry and Darcy Clareborne, half-sister to the recently deceased Genevieve Clareborne. At twenty-one, you are one of the highest paid private investigators in the Dallas area. You work everything from the cold cases the cops couldn’t solve to the everyday cheating spouses and worker’s comp. Your close rate is ninety-seven percent, and most of your clients are happy with your work. Before you were a licensed PI, you shadowed your father and helped him solve many cases off the books of the DPD. How am I doing so far?”
He knew shit he probably shouldn’t unless he called the DPD and talked to my father’s old cronies. So he was a detective who did his homework. It still didn’t mean he’d look into Vivi’s case. And why would he? He didn’t have that clawing in his gut like I did that something was wrong.
“One phone call and a five-minute internet search do not a good detective make.”
He gave me a dark chuckle. “You’re probably right about that. You got a reason for being so cloak and dagger about your sister’s file or is that just an occupational hazard of being a PI?”
If I were honest, it was a little bit of both, but I wasn’t going to tell him that.
“I wanted to make sure when I asked for a copy of the file, it hadn’t been tampered with,” I offered, shrugging off my actions with practiced ease.
I didn’t become one of the highest paid PI’s in Dallas because I always stuck to the rules like glue. In fact, I pretty much acted like the rules didn’t apply to me at all. I wasn’t above a little breaking and entering or some light trespassing to get what I needed, and so far, it hadn’t steered me wrong.
I doubted it would now either.
Especially since I had a legal right to be here. Even though my mother signed the papers for Vivi, she didn’t have a legal right to. I was my sister’s legal healthcare advocate, and now that she was no longer with us I was the executor of her estate. Legally, I could look at, copy, inspect, or do whatever else I wanted to do with those files.
I just hadn’t wanted to tip my hand this soon.
“You have a reason to think the file would be tampered with?”
“Not at this time, but shit happens. I like having all my bases covered.”
“You have reason to believe your sister’s death was anything other than an accident?”
I wondered how much I should say. Just because I didn’t trust Noah didn’t mean he was dirty.
“My little sister had a boyfriend she wouldn’t tell me about. She had a date with him the night before she died. The next day she turns up dead. You can see where the investigator in me thinks this is a might bit suspicious?” I asked, but it wasn’t really a question. Any cop with a bare hint of the facts would be jumping on this.
It made me wonder why he wasn’t.
“Maybe. And maybe it was just a car accident.”
“I caught a glimpse of the crime scene photos, Detective. My little sister was in just a bra and panties in the middle of December. Anything about that seem hinky to you?”
“Hinky?” he scoffed, repeating my word back to me as if he’d never heard it before.
“Off, dodgy, suspect, wrong, suspicious. Hinky. And because of that, I’ll be requesting a full autopsy and tox screen before the body is released to the funeral home.”
“What makes you think the ME didn’t already do one?”
The lack of ridges from a ‘Y’ incision under the sheet that covered my sister. The fact that she’s ready for the funeral home so early. The fact that her file was only four pages long…
“Call it a hunch,” I said narrowing my eyes at the very handsome, but exasperating man in front of me.
“Your mother already released the body to the funeral home.”
I kind of figured as much.
“Well, lucky for me she doesn’t have the legal right to do so, and I do,” I volleyed back producing the file with Vivi’s living will and last will and testament from my purse.
If this cop thought for one second that Darcy was in charge of any fucking thing, he was sorely mistaken.
I let him peruse the documents for a moment.
“Darcy Clareborne doesn’t have a legal right to do shit when it comes to Genevieve.”
Noah pursed his lips as he continued to look over the papers.
“So it would seem. But you can’t demand an autopsy if the ME doesn’t support it,” he countered with an outright lie. It was like he was testing me or something, and I really didn’t appreciate it.
I closed the gap between us, looking up, up, up at his stupidly handsome face. No one this irritating needed to be this pretty. Or maybe it was an evolutionary precaution, so the species didn’t die out.
“Yes, I can. And if you were really here to make sure everything was on the up and up, you wouldn’t be here standing in my way about it either. So stop being a dick. That’s my sister on that fucking slab, Detective,” I snarled, refraining from jamming my finger into his chest by sheer force of will.
The arrogant smile on his face died. “I’m sorry, Miss Perry. I’ll talk to the morgue attendant on your behalf to request the post-mortem if you want.”
Did I want to risk him never saying a word to her? Did I trust him any more than I did five seconds ago?
“No thanks. I can handle it myself.”
Noah nodded, stepping back out of my space and heading back down the hall to the waiting room. I followed him reluctantly, as I looked back at the now covered window.
I didn’t want to see her body, but a part of me didn’t want to leave Vivi behind either. Swallowing hard past the newly-formed lump in my throat I managed to fill out the forms to request a post-mortem examination.
All the while, the detective sat in the waiting area like he had all the time in the world. He was probably sitting there so he could roust me from the hospital the first chance he got.
“The medical examiner should do the post-mortem tomorrow, hon. You should have the answers you need in a few days,” Patience offered, her voice soft and conciliatory. Less fake now that she knew I wasn't a lunatic.
“Thanks, Patience. Give Piper a hug for me, okay?” I tried not to be bitter that she could hug her sister and I couldn’t.
“I will,” she promised, her eyes misting over as she handed me a copy of Vivi’s file. I didn’t ask for it, but Noah must have told her I wanted it.
Closing my fingers around the heavy file folder I turned to go, pushing through the thick morgue door, leaving the death behind. But it didn’t really leave me.
It clung to me like a macabre perfume on my skin.
Footsteps followed me down the hall, but I didn’t look at the detective as I made my way to the elevator and pressed the button.
“You’re going to interfere, aren’t you?” he asked, but not like he thought I was really going to answer.
“That isn’t the question you should be asking, Detective,” I warned.
“No? And what question should I be asking?” he asked as the elevator door opened.
In truth? All of them, but that wasn’t going to happen. I walked through the doors, leaving him behind.
“The question you should be asking yourself is if you’ll still have a job after I solve your case for you.”
Thank you for reading this chapter of Seek You Find Me! New episodes will release on the last Tuesday of each month. If you enjoy this story, you should check out the Shelter Me Series.