12:00 a.m. | Spectrum Arena
Long after the sports fans had cleared out, Chad, Cailean, and Gus had remained behind to discuss the game.
“So, you guys still planning on crashing at my place tonight?” Gus asks. “I was, but my mom called, she needs me to swing by the house to pick up some papers she left behind along with some extra clothes. It looks like she’ll be working all night again, so she wants me to drop it off for her.” Cailean replies.
“I think it’s better if I rain-check as well; Mai is planning on kicking me out of our place tomorrow for her monthly girls’ night, so you’ll definitely be seeing me tomorrow.” Chad chimes in. “Alright then, we can have a guys night of our own; I’ll see you both tomorrow night.” Gus declares. “Sounds like a plan.” Cailean says.
2:21 a.m. | Oldmerrow Police Station
“And how long have you resided at 212 Peace Lane?” The officer Aislyn learned was called Turner asks. “Though it was hardly peaceful tonight.” He adds with a chuckle, laughing at his own joke. “I don’t see why that matters.” Aislyn says; she’d normally give a polite laugh, but with what she was about to do, she didn’t have time to feign pleasantries. She’d already been here for an hour, providing all of her personal details from name and age to occupation and suspicions as to what Ollie and Dee could have wanted – which she lied and said she didn’t know. Her patience was wearing thin and she was beginning to regret showing up in her pajamas with just a hasty jacket she’d thrown on; she wanted this to all be over and done with.
“It’s just common protocol Ms. Persefoni.” Officer Turner says, losing his smile. “About six years, give or take.” She answers. “And you don’t know why those two felt the need to break in earlier tonight?” Officer Turner asks for what feels like the hundredth time. “Like I’ve said before, not the faintest idea.” Aislyn says.
“That about concludes the official report.” He says. Aislyn releases a breath she didn’t realize she was holding. “The commissioner should be out shortly to speak with you as a last formality before closing the case.” “Right.” Aislyn says. She’d already recited her story to Officer Turner who didn’t feel the need to nitpick the details. If she manages to convince the commissioner, she’d be home free. As she waits in silence, Aislyn’s eyes drift to the holding cells where Ollie and Dee are. Could they hear what she was saying now? She wondered.
Her thoughts are interrupted by a door opening on her right. “Ms. Persefoni, I’m Commissioner DeCarlo, come on in.” Aislyn was caught off guard; she didn’t expect the police commissioner to be a woman. This might make things slightly more difficult. She thinks.
As Aislyn enters she notices a wall of accolades and certificates dedicated to a Daphne DeCarlo. Yes, this shall make things incredibly more difficult. “I’m sure it has been a long night for you; I made you some tea.” Commissioner DeCarlo says. “Thanks.” Aislyn says as she takes a seat. “I know you’ve already been questioned and have given your statement to my officers. The case is just about closed, but I’ll need to trouble you and ask you to tell me again in your own words all that has happened.” She says.
“There are a few things that aren’t adding up in this case, and I’m sure a little detail or thing you’ve noticed that can come about through conversation will be more helpful to me than whatever my officers may have collected, that’s just how I work.”
Aislyn nods; her throat feeling slightly tight. “Now, then. Whenever you are ready Ms. Persefoni, begin.”
After taking a sip of tea in an attempt to expand her constricted throat, Aislyn begins telling her version of events, as the original involving her leaving a dead man’s body that his ghost led her to would be unbelievable to say the least.
Aislyn begins her tale – omitting her previous encounters with Ollie and Dee on the night of the party and again yesterday after her date with Gus. When she had finished, Commissioner DeCarlo ponders what she had said for a few moments in silence, while Aislyn fiddles with some hair that had spilled out of her braid, and tucks it behind her ear.
“So, you were listening to music off of your phone while you were preparing for bed, and heard their voices.”
“And after you had dialed the police they somehow heard you and attempted to keep you quiet while my officers inspected the scene?”
“Correct.” Aislyn says.
“And they already possessed the duffel bag when they entered.”
“To my knowledge, yes.”
“You mentioned you had forgotten to lock your door when you returned from work…”
“I was absent minded when I came home, and as I live in a relatively quiet and safe neighborhood, I didn’t think of checking on it.”
“You also have no idea why they happened to break in?”
“Well, I don’t have any curtains on my street facing window, and I had turned off all of my lights, I could take a wild guess and say they must’ve assumed the house was empty.” Aislyn says, pretending she was coming up with this on the spot, despite having rehearsed it in her mind several times already.
“Very well. That pretty much confirms everything the suspects have said in their confession.”
“What?” Aislyn nearly chokes.
“Something wrong?” Commissioner DeCarlo asks.
“No, I just assumed they wouldn’t speak without a lawyer or something…”
“Yes, well since we’ve linked them to other unsolved cases we had, they dropped the silent treatment and gave an official statement.” That doesn’t explain why they didn’t contradict my story… Aislyn thinks.
“I’m sorry to have made you recount this evening again.”
“It’s fine, I understand.” Aislyn says, feeling relived that the commissioner was no longer prodding.
“Do you have any family you’d like us to contact?”
“Why?” Aislyn asks.
“Well, as this wasn’t a simple breaking and entering case, we’ll need to do a search of your place, is that alright?” Aislyn nods, there was nothing they could find that wouldn’t corroborate her story.
“So do you have any relatives we can leave you with just for the night?”
“My family lives out of town.” Aislyn says.
“What about any friends, or coworkers?”
“I’m not the most social of people.” Aislyn says sheepishly.
“Well, my husband is out of town for work, and since I have not just one or two but several cases to finish writing up here tonight, you are more than welcome to stay at my place, if you’re ok with that.” Commissioner DeCarlo says with a warm smile. Now that Aislyn was no longer wary of saying something wrong, she got a good look at the Commissioner’s face. She was quite pretty, there was also something vaguely familiar about her that Aislyn couldn’t pinpoint.
“I’d appreciate that.” Aislyn says. “I’ll have my son take you, he’s around your age and quite responsible I assure you, but if you’re uncomfortable with that…” “It’s fine.” Aislyn says, eager to be gone no matter who or what got her out. “Very well.” The commissioner says with a quiet chuckle. Her phone ringing interrupts her laugh.
“Oh, that’s him now. We’re all done here, you may have a seat outside.” Aislyn nods and rises. “Hey sweetheart.” She hears the commissioner say on her way out.
Aislyn notices Officer Turner was no longer at his earlier post, in fact, no one was. Several things had popped into her mind while she was giving her statement. The first being that she didn’t know how Ollie and Dee broke in – aside from the television that had been turned off, there was no evidence they had entered that day. The commissioner had also mentioned that their statement matched her altered one. Why? A small voice was telling her to let it go and count her lucky stars that she wasn’t caught in her lie. But another larger voice was telling her to find out the answer to the first question at the least to avoid something happening like this again. She did live alone after all.
Luckily, the holding cell doors weren’t locked, and there was no officer inside – I guess Ollie and Dee aren’t much of a threat. Aislyn thinks; she scans the walls for cameras and is relieved to see none.
“Well, well, well… come to gloat?” Ollie asks when he lays eyes on Aislyn. “Hardly.” She says back. “That was quite the stunt you pulled.” He says with a chuckle. “You didn’t say anything.” Aislyn says. “Why?”
“Because anything we say will only incriminate ourselves further, but you were counting on that, weren’t you?”
“That’s not it.” Aislyn says.
“The jig was up, we got busted for our other heists we’d gotten away with, one more isn’t going to make a difference.” Dee says. Aislyn supposed that made sense, it was also unusually spite-less.
“You know, you actually seem like someone who’d be cut out for this kind of life, with the lying, the poker face, the lack of fear.” Ollie says. “How’d you get in?” Aislyn asks, cutting him off. “My, my. Aren’t we just full of questions?” Ollie says. “I don’t have a spare key.” Aislyn continues. “Why should I tell you?” Ollie asks. One out of two answers wasn’t bad, Aislyn turns to leave.
“Wait. Wait! I’ll talk, but only if you answer something in return.” Ollie states; before Aislyn can accept or reject his proposal, he continues. “Most people open the windows of their laundry room to get some fresh air when they have delicates they don’t want to throw in the dryer. When they close those windows, they often forget to lock them; you happen to be one of those people.” He says with a wink. Aislyn wasn’t sure what she was expecting but the fact that their entry was so stupidly simple made her want to slap herself in the face.
“Now it’s my turn to ask the questions.” He says. “What makes you think I’ll answer?” Aislyn asks; Ollie grins. “We played fair, doll. We went along with your twisted tale, and even told you how we got into your place. I’ll tell you, no other crook on this planet would be so kind.” Aislyn didn’t have a response to that, and Ollie took it as a green light to ask his question.
“I overheard a cop earlier say they found Trey’s body – apparently he’s been dead since the heist. Dee and I know for a fact that he had that cash on him, which then begs the question of how it fell into your hands, because he sure as hell didn’t have time to give it to you.” He says “Let’s not forget you showed up to the meeting spot, and said his name too.” Dee chimes in. Aislyn remains quiet. “Relax, there ain’t nothing we can do about it now, we aren’t going to take back our confession and even if we did it wouldn’t get us out of this mess.”
Aislyn supposed this was true; the fact that the Commissioner didn’t question her story was a testament to that. She had gotten her answers, again a small voice in her head was telling her to just walk away… Aislyn wasn’t very good at listening to it.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” She says. “What? Did his spirit tell you?” Ollie jokes with a crooked smile. Aislyn supposed it was a normal joke to make, but she couldn’t help but flinch at the accuracy. “What?” Ollie stops laughing. “You’re not joking?…” It takes her a second too long to recover. “It doesn’t matter now, does it?” She says. “No, I don’t suppose it does…” Ollie mumbles, lost in thought.
“You are the weirdest chick we’ve ever met.” Dee says. You have no idea... Aislyn thinks.
“You’re a lifesaver, sweetheart. I wouldn’t have been able to wrap up tonight’s case without these case files from the robbery a few days ago that I’d forgotten at home.”
“I hardly did anything.” Cailean says. “So what’s this about the two cases being related?” “It’s a long story, but I’ll need to ask you for one more favor. The girl, Ms. Persefoni, whose house was broken into, doesn’t have any relatives in the area we can send her to while we examine her place. I offered her our home for the night, I’ll need you to take her and set up the guest room for her.”
“Seems easy enough.” Cailean says. “Yes, I suppose it does…” His mom says quietly.
“You didn’t say that with much conviction.” Cailean says. “Well something about the case seems odd, but I can’t quite pinpoint what.” “How so?” Cailean asks.
“Like I said, I don’t know. But keep an eye on Ms. Persefoni, she has been a bit to calm about the whole ordeal… almost as if….” She was expecting it. The commissioner finishes the sentence in her head. “As if?” Cailean asks. “Oh, nothing, it’s just me over analyzing everything as usual. Anyways, make sure she’s well fed and rested when you take her home; she’s either in shock, or just extremely level headed.”
As Aislyn re-enters the waiting area, she notices a rather tall man there. The chill she feels as she gets close makes her realize that he’s not just a man. She assumed he had most likely come for her, but a closer look at him makes her realize that he doesn’t appear to be paying her even the slightest bit of attention.
“Aislyn?” A voice says to her left, drawing her attention away from the unknown ghost.
“You know her?” Commissioner DeCarlo asks.
“Yeah… We, um, have mutual friends.” Cailean says, seemingly unsure how to word how he and Aislyn know each other.
“Aislyn’s house was the one broken into?” Cailean asks. The commissioner begins to answer Cailean but Aislyn tunes them out and instead focuses on the ghost who appears extremely fixated on their every word.
“Ms. Persefoni? Are you alright?” The commissioner asks, drawing her attention back. “Yes, I’m fine. So Cailean is the son you spoke of?” Aislyn says, piecing together their relationship embarrassingly slowly. “Yes.” She says with a warm smile. No wonder something was familiar about her face, the resemblance was striking. “This is where we part ways, sorry for the inconvenience.” She says.
Relieved she was in the clear, Aislyn gives her first genuine smile of the past few days. “I feel like I’m the one who’s doing the inconveniencing. Thank you, for giving me a place to stay for the night.” “No worries, dear. Good night.” Commissioner DeCarlo says, and she pats her son on the shoulder briefly before turning back into her office.
After his mother leaves, there’s a few minutes of awkward silence between Aislyn and Cailean. He wasn’t quite sure what to say. He had a million questions, but the look on Aislyn’s face was one of complete exhaustion and he didn’t feel right asking them now. “I guess I’ll lead the way.” He says after a while. Aislyn, who had been staring at the corner of the room seemingly lost in thought, turns back to him and nods.
This wasn’t the first time Cailean’s mother had offered their home for a victim of a crime or as a witness protection location – but it was the first time Cailean had a lack of things to say. He strode a few steps ahead so that the silence wouldn’t be as awkward as it would be if he and Aislyn were walking side by side.
Chad’s smirk when they had gone to the library a few days ago pops into Cailean’s head and makes him stop in his tracks. I’m being ridiculous. Why am I not acting like my usual self? He thinks. “Something wrong?” Aislyn asks, as she catches up to him. “No, let’s go.” He says as he pulls out his keys and unlocks the car.
Thankfully he was spared any awkwardness on the ride back to the house as Aislyn had fallen asleep in the passenger seat shortly after driving out of the station. Mom was right in saying that she was unusually level headed. Cailean thinks.
3:47 a.m. | DeCarlo Household
“Aislyn, we’re here.” Cailean says as he gently shakes her awake when they pull into the driveway. “Sorry.” she mumbles, still half asleep as they walk onto the porch. “For what?” He asks. “Firstly, for sleeping on the ride back, and secondly for imposing on your home unannounced.” She says. “You didn’t ask for this to happen, it’s no trouble at all.” He says as he slides his key into the door and opens it.
“It’s not much, but make yourself at home.” Cailean says. Aislyn lets out a small smile as she takes in the sight of the house. “What is it?” He asks. “Oh, nothing.” She says with a slight blush when she realizes he is looking at her. Cailean was growing increasingly curious as to what she was thinking but decides to drop it. “Would you like something to eat?”
“No, no.” She says quickly, as if that would be troublesome. “If it’s alright, I’d just like to head to sleep. It has been a long day.” She says.
“Of course.” Cailean says, “I’ll show you where the guest room is.”
After giving Aislyn some alone time after leading her to the room, Cailean decides to go and check on her.
He notices that she had fallen asleep atop the sheets, probably too exhausted to settle in properly. With their house close to the river, even without the AC on, it gets extremely cold. He walks over to the dresser to pull out an extra blanket.
As he drapes it on her she doesn’t even flinch. It appears as though she was going to be asleep for quite some time. Cailean walks out and shuts the door as quietly as possible.
He was pretty sure Aislyn had work at the diner with Mai today, in fact, Mai would be getting up around now to get ready… he figured he’d give her a call to let her know Aislyn would probably not be coming today.
6:05 a.m. | Mai & Chad’s Apartment
A ringing sound wakes Mai up instantly. “That doesn’t sound like your alarm.” Chad mumbles, still half-asleep.
“It’s not.” Mai says, looking for the source of the noise.
She turns and sees it’s their land-line; the caller ID reads DeCarlo. What does Cailean want at this time? She thinks. “Hello?” Mai says after picking up. “Hey.” Cailean’s voice says on the other end. “You know, I have five minutes of potential sleeping left before my alarm is supposed to go off for work.”
“Sorry, I figured you’d be up by now.” Cailean says with a grin. “Doesn’t your shift start at 6:30? Aren’t you cutting it close?” He teases.
“I’m fast at getting ready.”
“Uh-huh.” Cailean says with a bit of laughter, he’s heard Chad complain that Mai was precisely the opposite of that statement.
“Well, I’m sure you didn’t call to help me make sure I get to work on time?” Mai says with a laugh of her own. “No.” Cailean says, regaining his composure. “It’s about Aislyn.” “Oh?” Mai says, extremely intrigued in the turn the conversation had taken. “What about her?” “I’m pretty sure she has a shift with you today, right?” Cailean asks. “Yeah, why?” Mai asks, “Well she won’t be able to make it.” Cailean says.
“I’d expect to hear something like that from Otto or Gus… but you?” Mai teases. ‘’What?” Cailean says. “No, no; it’s not like that.” He adds hastily, after piecing together what Mai was implying. “My mom made me bring her home because there was a break-in at her house.” Cailean says rather quickly to dispel Mai’s misunderstanding. “Oh.” She says, dropping her joking tone immediately. “Is she alright?” “Yeah, but she’ll probably be asleep for the next few hours and I don’t think she’ll be able to show up.” “I’ll take care of it.” Mai says. “Alright, good. Talk to you later, then.” Cailean says. “Bye.”
4:57 p.m. | DeCarlo Guest Room
Aislyn wakes up from a deep sleep, something she isn’t used to. She also wakes up unusually warm, another thing she’s not used to and notices it’s because of the thick blanket on top of her. I don’t remember this being here when I went to sleep… She thinks. She stretches and notices the bright sky outside. What time is it?
As she steps out she notices Cailean working on a computer.
He halts whatever he’s doing to speak to her. “Hey.” He says. “Hey.” She says back. “There are some spare towels and toiletries in the bathroom; down the hall, to the right.” He says. “Thanks.” She replies, unsure of what else to say.
“I’ll start making something for you to eat downstairs, you’re probably hungry.” He says. Aislyn hadn’t noticed until he mentioned it, but she was starving. When was the last time she ate? Cailean gets up and heads downstairs while she makes her way to the restroom.
Aislyn still couldn’t believe everything had worked out at the station, the whole situation felt like a dream now, and was mostly a blur as she was so nervous. Ironic that she was now in the police commissioner’s home of all places, but the fact that it’s also Cailean’s home didn’t make her feel uncomfortable in the slightest. Despite not knowing him that well, his presence was calming.
After brushing and taking a quick shower, doing her best to avoid removing the remnants of her makeup from yesterday, Aislyn makes her way downstairs. She glances at the wallpaper, which was reminiscent of the one she had in her childhood home and smiles. Just as she enters the kitchen, a wonderful smell in the air makes her stomach growl.
“Right on time.” Cailean says as he sets down a bowl of soup on the table. “Thanks.” Aislyn says as she settles in and begins eating.
Cailean makes himself a cup of coffee and sits across from her. “That was some ordeal you went through last night, but you seem to be taking it extremely well.” He says.
“I’m fine, others have it worse.” She says in between bites.
“Just because others have it worse doesn’t make what you went through any less frightening.” Cailean says. There’s an awkward moment of silence as Aislyn ponders this. “I suppose that’s true.” She says after some time. “I called Mai to let her know you wouldn’t be showing up to work.” Cailean says.
“You didn’t need to do that. I could’ve handled it.” Aislyn says rather warily. “Oh?” Cailean says, cocking his eyebrow. “You seemed too out of it to take care of it yourself so I thought I was doing you a favor.” He says.
“It’s not that I’m not grateful.” Aislyn says, realizing she probably came across as rude… “It’s just… I… umm… well… thanks?” Aislyn was so used to doing things alone, getting into situations and then getting herself out; dealing with the repercussions on her own along the way. The fact that someone had done something for her felt foreign and she wasn’t sure how to respond. “You don’t have to thank me if you’re that unsure you should be.” Cailean says with an amused expression.
“No, no… I’m sorry. It’s just…” She lets out a sigh. “Its been a while since someone’s gone out of their way to help me and… thank you.” She says genuinely, picking up her spoon and returning to eating immediately afterwards, hoping her awkward outburst could quickly be forgotten; she could feel the heat rising to her face. Cailean clears his throat. “It wasn’t something I had to go out of my way for, but you’re welcome.” He says with a soft smile. “Whenever you’re done, I can take you home – my mom called, they are just about done at your place.” Aislyn nods, not wanting to meet his eyes; her face still flushed. At this Cailean smirks and returns to drinking his coffee.
Thanks for reading! This chapter is the aftermath of the more eventful occurrences of last week, which is why it’s a bit more wordy and less action-y, but I hope you enjoyed nonetheless. Eep, these chapters are getting longer in my attempts to shorten them… How does that even happen? XD Any speculations as to who the new ghost is? Feel free to let me know what you thought. Take care~