More Than You Know
I'm not in love
I do think I have tried.
It cost too much
I don't have the money or the time.
Caused me to fall apart once or twice
It's worse can lack the beautiful mess.
In a perfect world we never came
Oh, we never left.
You remember what we were?
Do you find out what a kiss is for right before you die?
Rise by Will Dailey
Breathe. Run. Breathe. Run. Breathe. Run. Breath –
"That's hot!" Amaryllis hissed as she shook her hands trying to get rid of the coffee. She shifted around as she stood back up. She hardly noticed the hand that helped her up as she tried to gain her bearings. She hissed mentally as she spotted her scabbed knees and scrapped leg. Blood trickled down at uneasy pace. The coffee mixed in with the red of her blood on the sidewalk as she tried to remove what remained of the coffee on her shorts.
"Listen I am so sorry about this and I do want to make this up to you but I'm in a bit of a rush," the man quickly rattled off before she could even straighten herself out. Scant seconds later a small white card was shoved in her hand and the man was off. "Call me and I'll make it up to you!" Amaryllis watched the man as he took off once more. She sighed. It was only six in the morning, what a great way to start the day. As Amaryllis limped/walked back home she finally looked at the white card she was still clutching. Detective Don Flack she read. Below his name was a couple of numbers listed and as she opened her door she decided she would in fact make use of the card in her hand.
"Get lost on your way in?" Danny questioned when Don walked up. Don scrunched up his face as he responded to Danny.
"No there was an accident blocking my way here so I had to come on foot to get here at all," Don corrected as he looked down at the body. "Is that what I think it is?"
"Yeah it's a stiletto," Danny confirmed. Don blinked.
"Interesting choice of weapon," Don noted. "Means our killer is likely a female."
"Ah but you can't rule out males – crossdressing, transgender, and so on means a man might wear a stiletto as well," Danny corrected. "However considering the choice of weapon, this wasn't planned." Don nodded.
"I'm going to canvass the area and see if I can find any witnesses," Don said as he pulled out his pad and pen. Danny nodded and continued taking photos. Over the next few hours, Danny processed the scene with the help of Lindsey when she arrived. Don canvassed the area with several cops but did not come across any pertinent information. Once he finished talking to an older woman about her cats he headed over to the lab to see if they had found an I.D. on the John Doe. Before he could get very far out of the elevator, his phone rang. Without looking at the caller ID, he answered.
"Detective Flack," he said automatically.
"Uh, hi?" the voice was hesitant. "You ran into me earlier today…spilling coffee on me?" Don reared back in surprise. The events from that morning rushed back to him. He remembered a beautiful young woman looking stunned – she had just been covered in coffee.
"Ah yes, I am so sorry about that," Don apologized. "I had to rush in to work but I was on foot because of an accident nearby. I should have been more careful."
"Probably a good idea," she agreed. "I'm calling because you said you'd make it up to me."
"I did," Don remembered. "Are you collecting?"
"I suppose I am."
When she saw him, she was surprised. It was not every day that a grown man would sit in front of a restaurant ignoring the world around him. From what she could tell, he had been crying. He was staring straight ahead, not blinking. She crouched down in front of him.
"Excuse me are you okay?" Amaryllis asked. He jerked up in surprise. He really had been ignoring the world around him.
"No – no I'm not," he told her. He rubbed his face. "I just – I can't go home without thinking about how I'll never hear his laughter or hear him bang at my door early in the morning so he could ride his bike." Amaryllis took a seat next to him on the sidewalk. "He was just 10 years old. He had a great life ahead of him." She could see him slowly losing it; he wasn't fighting the tears anymore.
"I was a year and half old when I was first confronted with death," Amaryllis admitted. Danny turned toward her startled. "My parents were in a special branch of MI6. At the time, there had been a series of unexplained deaths. Scotland Yard was stumped. It got the attention of MI6 when an agent was killed. The deaths were all across the board – families, groups of friends, a couple of kids, on and on. They couldn't find a pattern until the agent was killed. That agent was a school friend of my dad's and he decided to take a closer look. He figured out that a man was leading a group who were clearing the world of those they deemed of unclean blood.
"He got to close for the leaders taste and he put out a hit on my family – including me. Once the agency caught wind of it, we were sent into hiding. However, another agent – someone who had been close friends with my dad, betrayed us. After we went into hiding, there were several narrow escapes and the leader decided he was going to go after them personally.
"I can still hear my dad telling my mom that he was there and to take me and run. I could hear my dad fighting against him, see my mom crying, and then silence. Footsteps and mom cries harder. He walks in and my mom pleads with him for my life but he ignores her and kills her. He went for me and then – boom. The door was thrown open and down he went. My dad had managed to call for help before he was killed. It saved my life but not my parents.
"He managed to escape from prison when I was 11. For several years, he would try to kill me but when I was 14, MI6 decided to train me instead of just protecting me. When I was 18, he grabbed me after killing my two bodyguards. He taunted me telling me about how after he killed me he was going to go after my friends, teachers, even the man who sold me candy. He did not realize I had destroyed the restraints. I took him down but he fought back. He had a gun and we wrestled for it. It went off and he dropped to the ground. It was over." Although she was still talking, tears streamed down her face. She had accepted a handkerchief a few minutes before.
"I blamed myself for years that I didn't stop him sooner. In his journey to come after me, he had killed several people. I lost my godfather, several friends, classmates, even complete strangers – all gone before they could truly live. I never had a childhood; I lost it the same day my parents were murdered. That young child no doubt witnessed something that would have haunted him for the rest of his life. Because someone else made a choice that day his mom, his dad will not get to see him grow up and change the world one-step at a time. He could have done so many things but the fact is you did not kill him. Nothing you can do will change that. Thinking of all the 'what if's' will only drive you crazy because life can change in a second."
"It was a robbery," he told her. "We had just come from his bike being blessed. He was up in front of me when I heard the gun go off. I told him to go home; we were not far from home. He lived down the hall. I am a CSI and my first instinct was to go to the man bleeding in the store and trying to find out what happened. It was not until later, when I saw his body in the morgue, that I found out he never made it home. A stray bullet returned by the sister of the person who was hurt went through an orange and hit Ruben. He probably did not even realize he had been hit until he went down."
"I remember someone telling me when you have lost a loved one, eventually it's always better to carry a part of them with you, than to leave a part of you with them," Amaryllis told him.
"Thank you," Danny said. Amaryllis smiled.
"You're welcome," Amaryllis responded. "Would you like something to eat?"
Tap. Tap. Tap. Tap. Don looked at his watch again. She was 20 minutes later. He sighed. Maybe this was her collecting her payment, having him sit in a coffee shop making people feel sorry for him as he tapped the table and constantly looked at his watch. Finally, when his watch showed that she was now 30 minutes later he decided it was time to leave. He stood and –
"I'm here! I'm here," a female's voice broke through. Startled Don turned toward the voice. It was the woman from this morning. She looked harried but she was still put together. Don wondered what had held her up for over 30 minutes. She weaved through the tables and headed straight for him. She took the seat across from him while Don sat back down, bewildered.
"I am so sorry I am running late," she apologized. "I own several restaurants and a stove exploded at one of them. Thankfully, no one was too badly hurt but my manager of that restaurant was one of those injured so I was called into deal with everything. I just spent the past couple hours at the hospital, with the insurance agency, and so on. I was going to call but I killed my battery before I could." Don chuckled.
"It's alright I am well aware of how the job can take over your life," Don admitted. She smiled.
"I noticed your card said you are a detective," she remembered. "I can imagine you are up and all over all hours of the day because of that." Don chuckled and nodded.
"Very true," Don conceded. "Now that I am not rushing off to a crime scene, let me introduce myself. I am Don Flack, an NYPD detective. In addition, I am so sorry for spilling coffee all over you this morning. And you are?" She laughed at his introduction.
"I'm Amaryllis Potter-Black, business owner," she introduced herself. "And I accept your apology as long as you get me a hot chocolate as compensation." Don laughed. He could tell she was teasing him but Don stood and gave her a mock bow before he ordered her a hot chocolate. When he returned several minutes later, he had no idea that they would get along so well.
For the next couple of hours, the pair talked about a variety of subjects – ranging from family to the political situation in North Korea. After Amaryllis told him, about what happened to her parents and a bit of her childhood, Don took hold of one her hands to comfort her. It wasn't until his phone went off that he realized he hadn't released her hand. He gave her an apologetic look and answered the phone. He was being called to a crime scene. He put away his phone and stood.
"I am so sorry but it looks like I have to go, another crime scene," Don told her as he put on his coat. She stood and wrote something down on a napkin.
"Tonight, tomorrow night – whenever you and I will go on a date," Amaryllis told him when she handed him the napkin. Don looked at her surprised by how blunt she was being. "For some reason talking to you is the easiest thing I have done in a long time and although I don't like hot coffee being spilled on me, I'm glad it brought us together. I would like to think there was a reason I ran later than normal today, a reason why you did not use your car to get to the crime scene, and a reason why we were brought together. Who knows? Maybe it is nothing, maybe it is a love for the ages. Either way I would like to find out. What do you say?" At first, Don was stunned but looking at her and thinking over the past couple of hours, he realized she was right. Talking to her, being with her was so easy it felt right. Don looked at the napkin and gave her a kiss on her cheek.
"I say that I am ready for the journey and I can't wait to find out," Don told her keeping his eyes on her eyes. He raised his hand and caressed the cheek he had just kissed. "I'll call you. Tonight, even if it is just to talk. We will have that date soon." Amaryllis smiled and leaned up and kissed his cheek then whispered in his ear.
"I look forward to it. Stay safe detective."
Don has seen many crime scenes in his life. Gruesome, dangerous, confusing, and bizarre were only a few descriptors of what he had seen. This one fell more into the confusing category.
"Is this become a new thing?" Danny asked while he processed the scene. Don raised an eyebrow at the man, wondering what he was talking about; as he crouched down to look closer at the scene.
"You showing up to crime scene late," Danny expanded. Don shook his head.
"I have a life Messer," Don told him. "I was on a date when I got the call so I was on the other side of town from the crime scene. It takes time to get across town, you know that." Danny snorted.
"Let me guess you were on a coffee date with some girl you badgered into going out with you," Danny ribbed Don. Don shot him a withering look.
"Actually no I met her this morning on the way to the crime scene," Don told him. "I spilled my coffee on her so I gave her my card and said I would I make it up to her. She called me late this afternoon. We talked for several hours."
"So are you going out again?" Danny asked as he pulled of his gloves. Stella and Mac walked over to them. The look on Mac's face told Don he knew something important.
"Yeah we are," Don confirmed. "What do you got Mac?"
"We have an ID on our victim," Mac told him. Don jerked back, surprised.
"That was fast," Don said. "Who is she?"
"Morgan Donnelly," Mac read off his pad. "She was reported missing by her boss, a manager at one of the locations of Marauder's Den. She's a waitress."
From the outside it appeared that, the diner was closed. However, the fact that they could see various people wearing the diner uniform told Don and Mac that was not entirely true; they were just closed to the public. The reason why, well they hoped they would find that out, and knocked on the door. An employee looked over at the door confused and spotting the badges went over to open the door.
"Hi how can I help you detectives?" the woman asked curiously.
"We need to speak to your manager," Don told the woman. The woman sighed.
"Well you will have to go to the hospital to do that," she told them. Both looked at her confused. "We had a stove explode earlier today and several employees, including the manager, were sent to the hospital with a variety of injuries. Nothing severe but the owner shut us down for a couple days to get everything back in order." Don and Mac exchanged looks.
"Is the owner here?" Mac asked. The woman nodded.
"Yeah she's in the back dealing with the insurance agent again," she told them. "I'll go get her." Don frowned as he thought back to something Amaryllis told him early that day. Before he could even finish his thought process, his beginning thought was confirmed.
"Hello detectives, how can I help you?" she asked walking up to them. She looked up and stopped when she saw whom she was talking to, Detective Don Flack. "Detective Flack good to see you again. Emma said you two wanted to talk to the manager here?"
"Yeah he filed a missing person's report a couple of days ago on Morgan Donnelly," Don informed her. Mac studied her as he tried to figure out why she seemed so familiar. Her eyes in particular seemed to bring forward memories but he was struggling to remember.
"He called me a couple of days ago saying one of the waitresses didn't show up for work again for the second time," Amaryllis recalled. "Normally that wouldn't be anything bad but when I went by her apartment she didn't respond to me asking to talk to her. I figured something was wrong and told him to file a missing person's report."
"Do you know of anyone in her life that would have cause to want her dead?" Mac asked. Amaryllis sighed.
"A week and half ago, I got a call from the manager saying he had to throw out her boyfriend," Amaryllis told him. "He showed up at her work and they got into a volatile argument. He called in the cops to have him removed because after he approached him and told him to leave he tried to fight the manger too. There should be a police report."
"Do you know what they were fighting about?" Don asked.
"Money," Amaryllis remembered. "It was about money. From what Anthony, the manager, told me it was not the first fight about money they had. I know that Morgan has two other jobs just to keep her head above water. We gave her as many hours as we could here but it didn't seem to be enough."
"Okay thank you," Don told her.
"If you know of anything else, let us know," Mac said as he handed her his card. She nodded and the two left.
Mac paced the length of his office as he thought about Amaryllis's eyes. They seemed so familiar but Amaryllis herself was a stranger. Why were her eyes, someone he had never met, so familiar to him?
"We caught the boyfriend," Don said without any preamble. "He killed her because she refused to give him anymore more money. Apparently, he had been spending his money on drugs and she refused to give him money to support the habit. So the case is closed but something else seems to be bothering you." Mac sighed.
"How do you know Amaryllis?" Mac finally asked after he was quiet for several more minutes. Don scrunched up his face wondering where Mac was going with this.
"I met her on the way to the crime scene this morning," Don told him. "I spilled my coffee on her in my rush to get there. I gave her my card, said to call me and I would make it up to her. I was with her when I got the call for this crime scene. Why?"
"I'm not sure," Mac admitted. "When I know, I'll let you know." Don nodded.
"Go home," Don, told him. "Get some sleep, maybe you will figure it out once you have a clear mind." Mac nodded and watched Don leave. He sat there for a few more minutes before heading home himself. He headed into his bedroom and pulled out an old shoebox. For the next hour, he looked through old photos, notes, and mementos of his past. It was when he found a picture from when he was in London teaching specialized training for soldiers that he realized why Amaryllis's eyes seemed so familiar.
He had gone out a couple of weeks into the program and met a woman at a bar. She had been crying because she had been recently informed her husband had been killed in the line of duty. For a whole month, they were lovers and friends. He almost believed that there could be a future for them, the white picket fence kind of future.
However once day he woke up to her packing all of her things. They began to argue because Mac feared she was leaving him for good. Then she told him the news. She had gone to boarding school and one of her close friends had been admitted to a hospital. Her friend had been missing for six months; they believed her to be dead. Marlene, her friend, had no family to take care of her and Lily had been her emergency contact. He let her go with a promise from her that she would return, she never did. He tried everything he could to find her but it seemed as though she disappeared into thin air. Comparing the picture of him and Lily to the one of Don and Amaryllis he realized something rather important, Amaryllis was Lily's daughter.