Hey guys! So, for those of you still following this story-which I hope that is all of you-I decided to rewrite it. My writing has gotten ten times better and I thought I would make this story better. I did change a couple of things, like the spelling of 'Ashley' and even possibly her relationship with Swink. Not sure yet. But yeah, I hope you all like it. =]
Flip the page. Read words. Flip page. Scan over. Flip page. Maybe read what's written. Flip-
Ashleigh Parker let out a breath of annoyance as she let her head slip off her hand and onto the open textbook in front of her. Tomorrow was her midterm exam and she had spent most of the semester hanging out and partying. She was a responsible girl and got good grades, but the last few weeks she had let school slip her mind. She had planned on only taking a few weeks break from college, but instead it had turned into the entire semester. Now, she was going to regret all those late night parties and hangouts with friends if she failed tomorrow.
She glanced over at the clock resting on her nightstand and sighed when the time was a quarter past two. She had a class at ten tomorrow morning and she wasn't even halfway through the second chapter... and she had seven in total. Just as she had begun to calculate how many hours she could continue studying and still have enough hours left to sleep, her cell phone rang. She picked up the device from beside her and flipped the phone open before pressing it to her ear.
"Hello?" She asked after not recognizing the calling number.
The voice that greeted her was one she was familiar with, and it caused a smile to break across her lips. It belonged to one of her best friends, Loomis Crowley. He was someone she had grown up with since she was three years old and he was six. Despite there being a three year age gap, they had always been inseparable even throughout their school years. And now, Ashleigh was twenty one and in the middle of her Junior year at college. And Loomis was twenty four, out of college, and testing video games for companies.
"Loomis! What are you up to?" Ashleigh's voice immediately became excited, the sleepiness from studying fading away.
"Not much. Just playing that game I told you I was testing."
"Yeah? How is it?" Despite being a girly-girl, Ashleigh loved to play video games.
She blamed Loomis and Phineus for the addiction to video games she had since that seemed to be all the two boys ever did. Often, Ashleigh could be found playing indoors with them rather than out shopping at the mall with her friends. And because of her love, whenever anyone mentioned a game she hadn't played before, her interest was automatically piqued.
"It was... it was pretty freaky. Scary shit."
"Yeah? How scary?" Ashleigh moved away from her desk and sat cross-legged on her bed, excitement creeping into her voice.
"Sickest shit since Fatal Frame."
"That scary?" Ashleigh asked. "I can't wait to play it."
"Speaking of, you think you can come over tonight? Sarah's over."
Being a good friend of Loomis' meant she knew a lot of his friends as well, and even some of his friends' significant others. That's who Sarah was. She was one of Loomis' best friend's girlfriend, and the two were quite close. Ashleigh wanted to say yes, she really did. But her gaze drifted back over to her desk where her school textbooks laid opened and abandoned. She let out a deep sigh. She could take her books over to his place and study after a bit of gaming.
She bit her lip as the tempting thought began to grow throughout her brain, the seed having been planted. Now it was up to her to make the ultimate decision. After many moments of trying to reason it out and make an excuse for how it could work, she glanced back over at her desk, and she knew her answer. As much as she wanted to, she knew she couldn't. She had to pass her exams or she wasn't going to graduate college.
"Sorry, babe. I can't. You know I've got exams tomorrow," Ashleigh said, her voice full of disappointment that she was being responsible for once.
"Of all the times for you to be responsible, you choose now?"
"I know. I'm sorry." Ashleigh pouted on her end of the phone, very upset that she was choosing the mature decision for once. "I promise, this weekend I'll come up and hang out with you and Hutch."
"Of course. I gotta see what this new game is all about," Ashleigh said grinning. "Speaking of Hutch, why don't you call him? He doesn't have to go into work until later tomorrow. He might be able to come over and hang out." She paused, a teasing grin on her lips and she was sure the tone she was about to use held just as much playfulness. "If you're scared and need someone."
"I'm not scared. I'm just... bored. Playing games is more fun if you have a friend."
"Yeah. Whatever you say, babe." Ashleigh glanced at the desk with the clock and her books before sighing. "I'll try to come up tomorrow after my exams. I'll be there around like... two? But I gotta go right now. Gotta finish studying so I can get some sleep."
"Yeah. Get your beauty sleep, princess. Call me tomorrow before you come up."
"All right. Will do. Later." With that, Ashleigh flipped her phone shut, signalling the end of the conversation. She sat there a few moments and stared at the wall, hating her life because she was being responsible, before moving back over to finish studying for the night.
A few hours later, around five in the morning, she finally closed the books and let her head hit the pillow. Almost instantly, her blue eyes shut and she fell into a restless sleep that was interrupted all too soon by her alarm clock. She opened one eye and peeked out at the red numbers on the alarm clock reading 8:00 am. She groaned, her eyes closing tightly for a few moments. Minutes later, she threw the covers off of her and climbed out of bed to get ready. She wanted to be on time to her exam today.
Later, Ashleigh was standing in front of the mirror in her dorm room, checking over her reflection to make sure she was ready to leave. She ran a hand down the front of her dress, smoothing out the silk material. She wore a simple plum-colored dress with a ribbon the same color as the dress serving as the belt underneath her bosom to create the empire waistline look. Spaghetti straps held the dress up and it had a slight v-neck. The length of the dress fell a little past her mid-thigh. A pair of light brown, ankle boots completed her look. The heel to her boots was thick and only about two inches tall.
She ran a hand through her blonde locks, ruffling the curls and making them have a messy look to them. She smiled at her reflection before glancing behind her at the clock that hung on the wall. Her blue eyes widened in surprise at how late it had gotten. She had ten minutes to get to class. She quickly moved over to her desk and threw her books and pens into her bag before slinging it over her shoulder and dashing out of the room. She ran through the halls dodging people standing about before she rushed through the door to her classroom, two minutes to spare. She breathed a sigh of relief as she sat down in a chair near the top of the lecture room. After pulling out the proper utensils she would need for her test, she sat back in her chair to survey the room, waiting for her professor to allow them to grab their tests.
A few minutes past 10 am, the professor shut the classroom door and motioned for the students to grab their tests from off of his podium. Ashleigh walked forward and grabbed a test then took it back to her seat. She took a deep breath before writing her name at the top of the page. It was now or never. She began to read the first question and proceeded to take her test.
When she finished about forty-five minutes later, she was quite satisfied with the answers she had given. She hadn't known all the questions, but she knew most of them, which was good. Hopefully it would be above passing. She grabbed her messenger bag and slung it over her shoulder before grabbing her test and walking it to her professor's desk. She laid it face-down, gave him a smile then walked out of the room. A huge burden felt like it had been lifted from her shoulders when she walked into the hallway from the classroom.
As she reached her car, she heard her name being called. She turned around to see a friend of hers, Lori Michaels, waving her over. Ashleigh waited by her car as the dark-haired girl made her way from the main building to the blonde's car.
"I thought I had just missed you," Lori said, a little out of breath from rushing over to her.
"What's up?" Ashleigh asked her as she shifted her bag's strap higher onto her shoulder.
"There are some police officers in the dean's office. They were looking for you," Lori explained to her.
Ashleigh's perfectly arched brow rose a little in surprise that police officers were looking for her. She hadn't done anything wrong-ever. She was a responsible girl who followed the rules. She hadn't even had a drink until this year, when it was legal for her to drink. She cocked her head to the side, her blonde curls spilling out over her shoulder as she lifted her blue eyes up a little, trying to recall if there was anything that she had done that would remotely be even close to involving the police. Nothing came to mind.
"What did they want?" She asked.
Lori shrugged. "I'm not sure. They were just talking; I couldn't hear much. I think they might've mentioned someone named Loomis?"
Ashleigh's eyes widened, her stomach twisting into a knot. All of a sudden, the worst possible options began to play through her head. She mentally slapped herself and told herself to get a grip. Loomis was fine; nothing was wrong. She nodded her head to Lori.
"Thanks. I'll head up there now," She said as she slid her car keys back into her bag before making her way onto the sidewalk that led to the Administration Building.
The walk there was quiet, her mind getting the better of her. Whenever police were involved, the outcome was not usually great. She couldn't imagine Loomis getting himself into anything that would get him in trouble, but then again... weirder things have happened. She began to think of the worst: Loomis going to jail, Loomis in the hospital because he had been on the wrong end of a deal, Loomis dead... The last one caused her to snap out of her crazy, daydreaming thoughts. Loomis was perfectly fine, she told herself as she pushed open the door into the building. The lady at the desk recognized her and waved her through to the office she was needed in.
"Professor?" Ashleigh called as she pushed open the door that was open only a crack. As she glanced at the officers, the knot in her stomach twisted. Something was wrong, she could just feel it. "Lori told me I was being looked for?"
The man nodded his head. "This is Detective King and Detective Thibodeaux," He said and motioned to each man as he introduced them.
"But you can call me Detective T," The man who had been introduced as 'Detective Thibodeaux' said with a nod towards the girl. "Thibodeaux's a mouthful.
He must've figured she was worried and anxious at seeing police officers, so he offered her a smile, reassuring her she wasn't in trouble. It only half settled her nerves. While King's posture and stance seemed to say he was the more aggressive of the two, he seemed to be the lower ranking one. Thibodeaux was the one who spoke; King kept mostly to the background. Detective T was a heavyset man with skin the color of milk chocolate and dark brown hair in a short, cropped style. Detective King was a tall man and very lanky; he had light brown hair.
Ashleigh had to admit she was more afraid of King than Detective T. He just didn't seem very happy about anything.
"I don't mean to rush you guys, but I've got to get back to my apartment and get ready to go to a friend's house, so..." Ashleigh left the sentence trailing for the two detectives to fill in for themselves.
"I think it'd be best if you took a seat for this," Detective T said as he motioned to one of the seats in the office. Ashleigh glanced at the seat before occupying it. She took a deep breath, readying herself for what was about to be said. But nothing could've prepared her for it.
"What is it?" She asked, her worry increasing with each minute that ticked by.
"When was the last time you spoke with Loomis Crowley?" Detective King asked, speaking for the first time since the meeting.
"Uh... This morning. About two?" Ashleigh said, her voice a questioning tone as she tried to remember the exact time. "Why?"
"Did you see him or was it just a phone call?" Detective T asked her.
"Over the phone. Can I ask what this is about?"
The two detectives exchanged a glance before they looked back at her. "At about six am, a cleaning lady found Loomis Crowley, Sarah Miller and Rex Opperman murdered in Mr. Crowley's home." He paused to let this information sink in.
After a few seconds, Ashleigh's eyes widened and her lips parted in a gasp. A hand flew up to cover her mouth when the gasp turned into more of a cry. She shook her head believing she had just heard the information wrong. There was no way Loomis was dead. She was supposed to head up to his house and hang out with him... she had just spoken with him less than ten hours ago. It seemed like it couldn't be happening.
Her breathing became shallow and very hard to do. She felt her throat becoming dry and closing up. All she could do was take sharp, short breaths as the information processed over in her head. Loomis was gone, dead. She couldn't even cry; no tears would come. She just stared blankly ahead, her eyes not really seeing. Somewhere faint and far off, she could hear the detectives' voices trying to speak with her, but she wasn't listening. Nothing else was processing at the moment. She opened her mouth to say something, but no sound came out. She tried again to speak several times with the same result. Nothing.
"Miss Parker, I know this is very hard to understand at the moment, but is there anything you could tell us that would help?" Detective T asked her, playing the sympathy card. Ashleigh shook her head a few times, nothing helpful coming to mind.
"No... I mean, what kind of helpful information are you looking for?" She asked, her voice shaking and quivering as she tried to hold back her emotions.
"Was there anyone after your friend? Did he have any enemies, anyone that would want to hurt him?" Detective T listed off a couple of things that came to mind on what she could answer for him, but she shook her head yet again.
"No... He was a good guy. He was a nerd, he kept mostly to himself," Ashleigh said, her voice cracking on the end. "Look.. if there's nothing else you need to know, I'd like to get home," She stated as she glanced up at the detectives with her blue eyes that glistened with tears unshed.
"Of course. If you don't mind, we'd like to keep in touch with you," Detective said as he stood up the same time Ashleigh did. He sifted through his coat pocket before pulling out a small card and handing it to her. "If you think of anything, don't hesitate to call."
Ashleigh nodded her head once more before walking out of the room and back to her car. The second she had closed the automobile's door, the tears she had been fighting so hard to hold back finally fell. She covered her mouth with a hand, trying to muffle the sobs that racked her body. All she could think about was Loomis and how she would never hear or see him again. Her heart literally felt torn in two. She couldn't see anything through the tears, so she leaned her head against the steering wheel trying to gain control of herself; the tears only fell faster. She didn't know what she was supposed to do anymore. He had been her best friend, a huge part of her life and now he was just gone. The one person whom she would turn to in a situation like this was him... and he was gone.
Just as the tears had stopped and her cries grew silent because her throat was sore, her cell phone rang. As she fumbled to pull it out of her purse, she tried to wipe away the stains of mascara on her cheeks-like that would somehow calm her. When she saw the caller ID read 'Hutch' she felt a fresh wave of tears coming on as she flipped the phone open.
After a short conversation between him, she had agreed to wait in her car for him to pick her up. He knew she would be in no condition to drive, and he wasn't ready to lose another friend so quickly. She closed her phone and curled up into a ball in the driver's seat to wait. She almost wished she could sleep, but she knew her mind wouldn't allow her to do so. She wouldn't be able to sleep at all that night, or even the next few nights. Now, all she had left to do was wait for Hutch.