Monday, April 25, 2016

First Few, Arm part two

(yesterday was part one of the romance novel sample, today is part two. If you skipped part one here, this will make exactly zero sense. Remember, I need SEVEN comments! Thanks!)

     Just then, another car pulled up to the curb. I watched as two men got out, an older man in uniform, and another man, thirty-ish, in a teal polo and khakis. They spoke to the first officer for a moment, then walked over to where my attacker and I were seated. The older man went directly to the hedge, peering under. The younger man sat on the ground, next to my idiotic attacker, who was trying to hide his face. “Son,” he began, “I understand you’ve had a rough morning.”
     Sheesh, I thought. What the heck is this? Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood?
     My attacker just shrugged.
     The polo-shirted man spoke again. “I’m Detective Anderson. What’s your name?”
     I shot the kid the evil eye again. I was serious about him being honest. He spoke, almost more to me than to the officer.
     “Tyler. Tyler Whitmore.” The boy lifted his head off the ground, and strained to sit. I smiled, giving him a boost from behind.
     “Okay, Tyler. Can you tell me about finding the arm? Was there anyone else around?”
     Tyler looked at me. “No. Nobody else. She was walking by,” pointing at me, “but nobody else.”
     “That arm is pretty well hidden, Tyler. How did you happen to see it?”
      "Well…” I could imagine Tyler’s rusty wheels turning in his mind. “I dropped a quarter and it rolled under there. So I crawled under to see if I could find it.”
     Officer Anderson raised his eyebrows. I could tell he was suspicious of Tyler’s answer. “Oh, I see,” he said. “A quarter. Is the arm where you found it? Did you touch it in any way? Did you move it at all?”
     “Sort of. I sort of put my elbow on it,” Tyler answered. “I didn’t know. That it was an arm, I mean. Not until I touched it.”
     “You put your elbow on it? That must have been quite a shock.”
     “Yeah. It was pretty nasty.”
     “I can imagine. Where do you live, Tyler?”

     At this point, I looked at the man seated on the ground with us. I had not been too far off the mark when I believed him to be thirty-ish; he looked my age. He had chestnut-colored hair cropped with military-style precision. His eyes were hazel, with lines at the corners, as if he’d spent time in the sun, or laughing a lot. His skin was fair, and the sleeves of his shirt were tight—almost as if his biceps were too big for them. In three words: he looked good. I found myself scanning his hands for a wedding ring, but his right hand was clasping his left, covering the ring finger. Damn, I thought. This guy just sat down and I’m looking for a ring. I’ve been single too long.
     Tyler answered. “Off Longhill.” Longhill was a road with a lot of apartment complexes, some of them attractive, some of them less-so.
     The policeman nodded. “Anyone we can call to come pick you up?”
     “No,” Tyler replied. “My mom’s working.” He shrugged his shoulders.
     “That’s fine. We can take you home.” Detective Anderson helped Tyler to his feet. The young policeman whom I had flagged down came over at the Anderson’s gesture. “Cannady, can you take Tyler here home? Get his address and phone for our report, but make sure that he gets home safely.”
The last word captured my attention. Getting to my feet, I gave him a sideways glance. He caught me.
     “Is there a problem?” he asked.
     I turned towards him, one again startled by his hazel eyes. “I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe I should ask you that same question. You stressed the word ‘safely.’ Is there a problem with the way Officer Cannady drives?”
     A small smile appeared at the corners of Anderson’s mouth. “No, ma’am, that’s secret policeman code. It means we need to be sure the kid actually gets into the apartment. We’re also looking for evidence of a parent. I have a feeling Tyler’s rough morning is not unusual. The arm is odd, of course, but he looks like a kid that might have it tough almost any morning.”
     What do you know? I thought. A policeman who cares about a kid’s home life. That almost cancelled out the fact that he called me ma’am. Almost, but not quite.
     As Tyler and Officer Cannady drove off, two more police cars pulled up to the curb. Several people got out of the vehicles and began performing various activities around the hedge. By this time, several of the neighbors, including one dressed in colonial attire, were outside watching the hubbub and speculating as barriers were placed around the hedge. This was probably the most exciting event of the year.
     “Now, ma’am, I have a couple of questions for you, if that’s all right.”
     Placing my hands on my hips, I replied, “Well, Detective Anderson, I really need to get to work. I was going in early to get some work done, and I’ve already blown that opportunity. But you are welcome to walk and talk with me. Unless, of course, you’re going to arrest me. In which case, I think I get a phone call and I will use it to call my office and let them know that I will be late. And you need to stop calling me ma’am. My name is Liz.” I paused. “Elizabeth Carter.”
     “Fine, Ms. Carter.” He gave the last name a little emphasis. Locally, the Carter’s were known as a first family of Virginia…literally. There was a Carter’s Grove plantation as well as Shirley Plantation, which was owned by the Carter family. But I wasn’t any relation to them at all. I was one of the Carters whose ancestors were public school teachers, but Anderson didn’t need to know that. He continued. “I can walk you to work. Let me just tell Frank that he can pick me up…well, where do you work?”
     “I’m in one of the administrative offices at Colonial Williamsburg.”
     “Alright then, I’ll tell him to pick me up there. Just a second.” With that response, he jogged over to where the other officer was standing by the police cruiser. I began walking towards the office, and in a moment he joined me.
     I waited for him to start the conversation. I didn’t have to wait long. “So, Liz…it is Liz, isn’t it?” I nodded. “You said you were walking to work? Do you live close by?”
     “Not too far. My car decided not to start, so I decided to walk.” I thought it would be best not to offer more information than Officer Anderson asked for.
     He continued. “And you found Tyler passed out?”
     “Not exactly. Tyler was still standing when I first saw him.” Okay, that wasn’t the entire truth, just a little omission.
     “And then what happened?”
     “Well…” I’ll admit it. I was stalling. “Well, he went under the hedge and found the arm.”
     Officer Anderson stopped walking. I took a step, turned around, and looked at him. He stood, arms crossed, staring at me.
     “What?” I asked.
     “That’s my line. What do you mean, ‘he went under the hedge’?”
     “Yeah. Under the hedge. Where the arm was.”
     “Why on earth do you think he went under the hedge?”
     I couldn’t come up with a plausible answer. So I told the truth. Maybe it would set me free. Or at least let me get to work. I kept walking, wondering if Anderson would try to catch up, or turn around and go back. “I was hitting him,” I muttered.
     “What was that?” the detective asked as he ran to catch up with me.
     “I said I was hitting him.”
     “Hitting him? Why were you hitting him?”
     “Not really hitting, just kind of swatting him.”
     “Swatting him?”
      "That’s what I said.”
      “Can I ask why?”
     “Sure. I had my shoe in my hand and I swatted him.”

     Officer Anderson looked at me as if I was crazy. “I didn’t ask how, Ms. Carter. I asked why. I think you’re evading the question.” He paused, a moment. “You know, if you were swatting him for no reason, he could press charges. That’s assault.”

Okay, readers of Brandywine...I need a few more comments so that I can check romance off my list. Please leave one! Thanks!!


Rita C. said...

Reads well, love the regional flavor (since I'm in the next state over!). Let the romance begin!

andi filante said...

Oh my goodness I'll just bet she's wishing she'd hit that kid harder!


Sue Carr said...

Got me at teal shirt -can't wait to learn more about this fella!

Kathleen George said...

Please continue with the story, liking it:) Kathleen in Az

Bliss said...

Well now I don't know if it's a love story or a murder mystery.

Chris K in Wisconsin said...

I am a voracious reader, but I realize I am not much of a romance novel reader. I keep waiting for a bit more of character development, but I think that as in most true romance novels, you are right on target. Cute meet, etc. is the formula!!! (I have to know.... were these the kind of comments you really wanted??)

Rose L said...

Does not seem like a romance novel, more like a mystery. intrigued.

karen@somewhatquirky said...

I would keep reading. Are you interested in finishing the story???

Feral Turtle said...

Kirby you should publish this! I am hooked and will be your ninth customer. I wish I was the first but I seem to always be last to the party.

01 09 10