DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters. No profit is being made.
It's all for fun. OH! Wait – I DO own Caroline, Frank and the fictional "Lancaster," Indiana, and everyone you meet from "there." Please don't take them (unless of course, you want to publish them and make the New York publishing houses regret not doing it and then… call me!)
Author's Note : This second part has been very slow in coming – my apologies. Blame it on other fics and the fact that the story seemed to generate very little interest overall. Oh and the fact that in the last three months my life went kind of haywire in a great many ways!
My thanks to Rin22 And CavanaughGirl who reviewed and asked for more.
Part Two: Make New Friends
Jordan sighed as she stripped off her gloves and tossed them into the appropriate waste bin. The autopsy on Steve Makeham hadn't been that bad actually. She just found herself missing the "toys" she'd had at her disposal in Boston. A place like Lancaster obviously didn't need them. One part of her thought how utterly pleasant that was – a place where two or three murders in a year was a little higher than average didn't need every single piece of the latest technology. Another part worried how they solved crimes without such goodies. She smiled sadly as she recalled rigging up a light source for an old microscope during that blizzard, the one… well, that one.
"Interesting first day?"
Jordan jumped and whirled. Recognizing the detective, she blushed at her jitters. "You could say that."
He advanced into the room. "Anything you didn't expect?" His eyes twinkled. "Other than the lack of technology."
She arched an eyebrow. "Well, I – I-"
Frank Daniels chuckled at her. "Don't worry. Mel was always pushing for the new gadgets. I think she was finally getting through to our county councilors, too."
"Oh." Jordan nodded. "That – Yeah, that would be nice."
"So, Steve Makeham?"
"Oh, right. Pretty much what you'd expect. It does look like the spike used to – uh – spike him had been sharpened."
"Good. There would have been metal shavings."
Jordan shrugged. "Of course, the killer could have cleaned them up."
"Have you ever found a killer who cleaned up absolutely everything?" He forestalled her answer by raising his palms outward. "Don't answer that. Have you found many killers who are that good?"
She shook her head. "No. Of course, if you find shavings, I'm sure your hypothetical suspect would claim they were from some other project."
"Probably. Could you match shavings?"
She thought about that. "That depends. The equipment here may not be absolutely state-of-the-art, but someone could make a match. I'm an M.E. though."
"Well, we'll have to introduce you to our two Forensics officers."
Jordan nodded, still grappling with how small a place this really must be. "Oh, I did find a fairly high BAC."
"Figures. Steve rarely met a bottle he didn't like."
"And several blond hairs – female, just a guess due to the length."
Frank shrugged. "Steve also rarely met a bottle blonde he didn't like." He paused. "His wife's a brunette. Anything else?"
"I'm waiting for the tox results. Found a few contusions and cuts, some old, some probably from the night he died. No defensive wounds though and it didn't look like he'd been hit in the head." Jordan sighed again. "Oh, I'd put TOD around three to four a.m."
Daniels smiled at her. "Thanks, Dr. Cavanaugh. I appreciate your help."
"Uh – yeah. Sure." I wonder how long that will last.
"I'd better get going. My youngest thinks she something a prodigy and if her older sister has to hear the younger one recite the times tables one more time… well, we're likely to have some unpleasantness."
Jordan smiled and waved at him to take off.
Daniels turned at the door. "Doctor?"
He grinned. "Jordan, why don't you come to dinner?"
"Sure. It's your first day and I'm sure you're tired."
"Won't your wife mind?" Jordan gaped.
Frank shrugged. "Doubt it. Caroline has mistaken one husband and two small girls for an army battalion on the march. And like I said earlier, you two'd probably get along great."
She let a tired grin spread her lips. "What about the times tables?"
"You still remember twelve times twelve?"
"Mom! Dad's on the phone!" Anna bellowed at me from the landing at the top of the stairs.
I looked up from the Latin papers I was grading and sighed. A twinge of irritation assailed me as I thought of previous years slogging through the Senior projects – I'd lock myself up for a weekend and persevere until they were done. This year, my first in years with a husband and my only with children, the going was slow at best. Then I felt guilty; I'd hardly trade Frank or his daughters – mine now too – for long, empty weekends of 4th Year prose on such varied topics as "Roman sewer systems: Engineering Marvels of the Ancient World" to "Desperate Roman Housewives: Favored Poisons of Rome's Deadliest Matrons." I pushed back my chair and crossed to the phone in the kitchen. "Got it," I called up to Anna. "Hey," I answered.
"Hey, yourself. I'm about to head out."
I nodded, a grin spreading across my face. "And?"
"You don't usually call to tell me you're on your way home."
He chuckled. "Maybe I should. Actually I wanted to know if you'd mind if I brought someone home for dinner."
I did a quick mental calculation, knowing it wasn't necessary. I'm a firm believer in leftovers – or surprise dinner guests. "Sure. Can I ask who? Or is it a surprise?"
"The new M.E."
A twinkle lit up my eyes. "Anything to do with Steve Makeham?"
He groaned. "You can't possibly be interested in that."
"Why would you be? It didn't happen at Hampton, right before our wedding, practically at our house or at my boss' house."
"So?" As if those little personal connections mattered.
He sighed in defeat. "All right, you can possibly be interested. But to answer your question – no, not really. It's her first day on the job and I thought it might be nice to welcome her to town."
I arched a brow. "You didn't think a nice stake through the heart was the right touch?"
"Not entirely. I'll see you in a bit."
I hung up and went to clean up my papers.
Jordan followed the detective down a long, gravel drive until a big, two-story revamped farmhouse appeared. She whistled softly to herself. From the trees, just putting on their greenery, to the pristine white paint on the siding, the place was a stereotype. She had to wonder what the family the house contained would be like. She suddenly wondered if her jeans, sprung boots and casual blouse-over-tank-top ensemble would be up to snuff.
Frank Daniels indicated she could park wherever she wanted to. He walked over and opened her door for her, an action that normally would have set her teeth on edge, but in this setting seemed – well, inescapable. He chatted with her, asked how she liked Lancaster so far, had she lived in Boston long – small talk, but he actually seemed interested in her answers.
He led her through the garage, where the first thing Jordan noticed was a small, blue convertible. Daniels smiled as he followed her glance. "My wife's pride and joy."
"I can imagine."
He opened the door into a family room that was comfortable and gave way to a nook-and-kitchen combination. Jordan caught a flash of white and jumped back. The detective chuckled. "My wife's other pride and joy. Her cat. He's not fond of change."
"It's only been a year since we got married."
Frank smiled and his hazel eyes flashed with green. "He's really not fond of change."
They heard a door bang and voices. "Oh, hi! Sorry. We were out getting some fresh herbs."
Jordan surmised this was Mrs. Daniels. Tiny, maybe five-three, to her husband's six-four, she had dark blue eyes and pale skin. Jordan breathed an inward sigh of relief to see the woman wore an outfit similar to her own. She smiled and, after putting down the fresh cut basil and rinsing her hands, reached out to shake Jordan's hand.
"Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh, this is my wife, Caroline. Mellilla, this is Jordan. And these…," he tugged the two children trailing Caroline front and center. "The taller one here is Anna; the towhead is Delia."
"It's short for Cordelia," the little one informed the M.E.
"Very pretty," Jordan replied smiling.
"Do you like bugs and stuff?" Anna asked.
Jordan shrugged. "I guess."
The older one's eyes lit up. "Wanna see what we found?"
"Girls, Dr. Cavanaugh is our guest," Caroline reminded them. "Can we hold off on disgusting her, at least until after dinner?"
Their faces fell until their father offered to go check out whatever entomological discovery they had made, leaving the M.E. and his wife to size up each other. Jordan gazed around the kitchen and inhaled the aromas of home cooking. "Cacciatore?" Her voice caressed the vowels the way they were meant to be.
Caroline smiled at her. "Si, pollo alla cacciatore."
"Conoscete l'italiano?" Jordan's eyes lit up.
"Soltanto un piccolo. Conosco il Latino." Daniels' wife smiled and shrugged. "They're similar, of course."
Jordan offered to help with dinner, and, in an easy spirit of cooperation, both women put the finishing touches on the food. The M.E found herself relaxing, secretly glad Caroline Daniels was nothing like the perfect little wife she'd envisioned. She did share her cacciatore recipe, but their conversation also ranged over topics from her classes, to the lowdown on the people Jordan would be working for and with. Frank had still not returned with his daughters – Jordan quickly realized this was a second marriage for both and the children were both his – when Caroline posed a question which caught Jordan by surprise.
"So, what have you found out about Steve Makeham so far?"
END Part Two