The Paul Pemberton series pt. 4

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 I let my cruiser idle near the curb for a minute to collect and organize my information. Once I have straight in my head how this is going to go down, I stop myself before exiting the car. Jacob could be around, creeping around in some foliage across the street or something. I squint through the wind shield, searching for any signs of the lusting stalker. With the coast clear, I get out of the cruiser and head down the street.
I have to walk half a block along the sidewalk with weeds pushing up through the cracked pavement before I reach her house. I don’t want to chance Jacob dropping by and seeing the cruiser. It wouldn’t do well with the whole undercover part of the investigation. Then again, if he sees me in her house, he’s going to put two and two together. Keeping this visit short and sweet is vital.
After climbing the steps to her front porch, I knock on the door, three quick raps. I hearing some movement inside, and a few seconds later she pulls the door open a few inches. Pressing her face into the space she says hello.
“Hi there. I’m officer Pemberton,” I smile, flashing my badge. She takes it in but remains silent. “I’m here to ask you a few questions.”
“Questions?”
“You are Reina D’Angelo, aren’t you?”
“Yes.”
“I needed to ask you a few questions about your friend, Jacob.”
Her face flashes with surprise before settling into confusion. She opens the door further, revealing her knitted top and tan pants. “Please, come in.”
Once inside, she offers me a cup of coffee. I decline her offer and we sit in the living room. She sits in an arm chair across the coffee table and I take the opportunity to study her. She’s very beautiful, with long blonde hair draping around her like an angel painted on the ceiling of a cathedral. I’m reminded of what Glasses said at the coffee shop. Jacob mentioned something about his angel. Was he talking about Reina?
I shake my head wryly and glance around. The living room is pretty bare, with just the necessities present. There aren’t any pictures on the walls or personal touches. “So, Jacob. When was the last time you saw him?”
She twists her hands in her lap. “This morning. We talked for a little while.”
Her answer shocks me a little. The last time Jacob had tried to see her she shut the door in his face. Before that, he only seemed to observe her from a distance. “Are you two close?”
“We…. It’s complicated.”
I would imagine so. “Mhmm. Were you close when you were sexually assaulted.”
The memory clearly doesn’t sit well with her and she draws her legs up underneath her. “Yes. He was… is my best friend. He was there for me after that happened, always so caring.”
“So you would say he’s protective?”
“I suppose so. Why do you want to know?”
I scratch my knuckles absentmindedly as I consider her answer. “There have been a rash of disappearances in the city over the last few months. All of them men who had records of sexual assault.”
Her eyes go wide. “And Jacob is a suspect?”
I nod. “That’s why I’m trying to get an idea of what he’s like. I don’t think he’s guilty, I’m just trying to cover all my bases.”
“Are there other suspects?” she asks.
“I’m not at liberty to discuss that.”
She doesn’t like that because she leans forward, her eyebrows knitting together. “You’re trying to pin those disappearances on Jacob, aren’t you?”
“No—“
“Yes, you are. Just because he’s a little peculiar you automatically assume he’s nuts.”
“Your assailant disappeared before he could stand trial, correct?”
“Yes, so?” she says, standing from her chair. “If you dare try to point the finger at Jacob I swear I’ll…”
I hold up my hands in a surrendering gesture. The way she takes offence to any mention of wrong doing by Jacob is interesting. She seems over protective of him. “Whoa there, I’m just doing my job. No one’s accusing anyone.”
After a couple of deep breaths, she pushes her sleeves up. “I think you should go now.”
“No problem. I’ll let myself out,” I offer as I head for the door. “And I would appreciate it if you didn’t tell Jacob I stopped by, what with the investigation ongoing and whatnot.”
“Sure.”
“Have a good rest of your day,” I say as I pull the door shut behind me and descend the front steps. I can feel her eyes on me through the living room window as I leave.
Half way to my cruiser, a theory starts to form in my head. I’ll bounce my idea off Kevin tomorrow night to see what he thinks before I tell the chief.

-Collins 

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