Title: The Case of Emily Neil
Pairing: Ali McCormick/Simon Ross
Disclaimer: I do not own Cold Squad and I make no money from this story.
Summary: COLD SQUAD. Ross assigns Ali a case she wouldn't normally get and as she soon finds out, there's much more to the victim than meets the eye. Post 02x14 "Gavin MacInnis".
Author's Note: This follows "The Case of William Black", but you could probably read this story without having read TCoWB. Please review and let me know how I'm doing.
Ali sat on the couch beside Stella Neil, Emily's mother, sipping the tea that had been pressed on her. "Why are you taking over my daughter's…case?" the woman asked, not making eye contact.
"Well, my bosses thought it might be helpful to get a new perspective, maybe the officers missed something the first time around," she said. It was a half-truth. She knew the only reason anyone was working the case was politics, but Ross had said something about the idea being to get a fresh perspective, so it wasn't a total lie.
"What do you want to know?"
"What happened that morning?"
"We had a fight, she came downstairs looking terrible, she never takes much pride in her appearance. I asked her to go comb her hair, and she started screaming at me. Before I could do anything, she grabbed her things and ran out the door."
Ali placed her cup on one of the coasters on the table, "Did she normally behave like that?"
"Well, she never gave us any respect, not like Kiran," her face lit up for a split second as she spoke her other daughter's name, "but she was never too bad. Mostly she was just moody and sat upstairs in her room, just like most other teenagers her age, right?"
"Some teenagers are like that," she responded carefully, "What did she do when she was upstairs?"
"I don't know. Not drugs or anything like that, if that's what you mean. Besides schoolwork, I guess she'd watch TV, go online, and she was always writing in that journal of hers."
"Journal? You didn't mention a journal after Emily went missing."
"No, and the officers didn't find one in her room."
"Well, I, uh, was worried about her, so the night before, after she wrote in it, I took it. I wanted to know what was happening," she admitted, her cheeks stained red with embarrassment of her crime.
Ali refrained from chastising the woman for her actions. "Did you find anything?"
"Nothing that would explain what happened." Tears welled up in her eyes. "I suppose I already knew, but she hates us, my husband and I and Kiran."
Ali put a comforting hand on her arm, "I'm going to need that journal. There might be something that can help us find her."
Stella nodded, "I just want my daughter back."
Ali was deep in thought, sitting at her desk with Emily's journal lying open in front of her. The sandwich she had picked up on the way back for lunch sat untouched beside it. Just reading the few pages she had was enough to make her wonder how much the initial investigation had missed.
There were repeated references to someone who seemed to be important to Emily, but there was never mention of a name or anything that would identify who he was. All she knew was that whoever this person was, they were male and seemed to be a large part of Emily's life. She had asked Emily's mother about it, but she didn't have any idea who the mystery man might be. Normally Ali might consider that this might be the boyfriend, but the tone of the writing didn't seem appropriate for that, though she couldn't quite put her finger on the exact reason she was comfortable completely ruling out that theory. She would read the rest of the journal later; perhaps a name was mentioned in earlier entries.
And then there were the references to her family. It was true, she did seem to hate them, given that she had written those words at least once, but more troubling was her justifications for that hatred, which seemed to be rooted in their day-to-day treatment of Emily. Ali couldn't be sure that everything written was entirely true and not exaggerated, but her parents seemed to be more controlling than most, and loved her younger sister more. The latter, Ali thought might be true, the way Stella's face had lit up when she praised Kiran in the midst of answering questions about Emily's disappearance was disturbing. At least there didn't appear to be any abuse going on, at least not physical.
The interview had lasted all morning, and she hadn't even had the chance to speak with Kiran properly because her mother insisted that she was ill and needed to rest, a fact that Ali doubted, but refrained from arguing about. The mother's opinions of her oldest daughter were troubling, she admitted that the girl was smart was claimed she had little common sense, poor behaviour and a terrible attitude, but though the father and sister had virtually the same opinions, all the other interviews in the file didn't reflect that at all.
More and more she was considering the possibility that Emily had in fact run away, but even if that were the case, that wouldn't mean the investigation would end. When a seventeen year old runs away from home, generally they intend on going home at some point. No, something happened to this girl and Ali was going to find out.
Ali picked up her phone and dialed Logozzo's cell number, perhaps some of Emily's friends or teachers knew who the mysterious person was.
Logozzo put his cell phone away, "Kevin, was there someone Emily was hanging out with apart from your group?"
"I don't think she had any other friends…"
"Did she have a boyfriend?"
"No, I would have noticed that."
"What about someone, maybe older, who she talked to a lot or you saw her with?"
"Maybe, there was this one teacher I saw her talking to a lot, but I don't think anything was going on…"
"Well, she was in his class, and whenever I overheard anything, they always seemed to be either talking about the coursework or something like that."
"And which teacher was this?"
"Mr. Levinson." He fidgeted. "Um, can I go now? It's almost lunch time and I have a math club meeting."
"Sure." Logozzo watched as Kevin walked out and the next student, presumably another former friend of Emily's walked in. It was going to be a very long day, and he still had the teachers to interview once the school day ended.
Ali was so absorbed in reading the journal that she didn't hear him come in. "Did you forget?' he asked.
Her head snapped up at the sound of Ross' voice, "I'm sorry, I just got so wrapped up in the case."
"What are you reading?"
"Emily's journal, her mother had it all this time."
"Can I persuade you to take a break?" he asked, "There's still time for dinner."
She smiled and stood, "Alright."
Author's Note: Alright, next chapter more Ali and Ross, and I'm already coming up with an idea for a story after this one that will focus more on them like the first did. I haven't written anything down, but I'm starting to get an idea. The next update for this story might take a bit more time, I have a busy stretch coming up in my life, but I'll do my best to write and get an update as soon as I can.