Justice will prevail…and so will love?

Chapter 1

I finished the last case, about a suspected embezzlement, and put my head down, pillowing it with my arms. I hadn't slept for God-knows-how-long, but at last I'd finished the huge pile of work Dad had brought home. He was a detective for the police, but he was terrible at deciphering cases. That was where I, his 'secret weapon', came in. I had conformed at a very early age that I was good at this kind of thing. I had sharp eyes, a good memory, and interpretive skills that were honed by the mysteries that I read. Sherlock Homes, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, I surpassed them at 7 years old. By the time I was 11, I was reading adult mysteries (carefully picking them out, because I just wanted a mystery, with as little romance as possible). By then, Dad had figured out that I was pretty good at solving mysteries and he wasn't, so then our working 'partnership' started. It was good for me, and good for him. The only thing was that he'd volunteer for so many cases that regular hours were no longer existent for me. When I wasn't working on a case, I was cooking and doing the general housework. Often I'd do them simultaneously. Dad helped out by doing his stuff, which I was thankful for. I was not going to investigate a bank robbery while pressing his socks. Oh, don't get me wrong, I love my dad to death, but couldn't he volunteer for fewer jobs? He made enough for the two of us, and a little left over for treats and surprise presents.

I had just started to finally drift off (thank you, insomnia!) when…BAM! I was jolted awake by the door slam that announced the arrival of my father. I hurried to my bathroom, to stall as long as I could. I was not ready for a new stack of cases. I looked flatly at the mirror, and decided that I needed a vacation. Or a job. Or just a full week of sleep. I was 16 years old, and looked more like my mother than my father. My hair was growing out of its pixie cut, except for two long locks that hung in front of my ears. Short tousled locks spiked everywhere. Many settled in front of my face, contrasting the white skin with the inky-black, with just a hint of red and blue. My eyes were the color of dark chocolate, with huge bags under them, and stared blankly from the partial curtain that was my hair. My clothes were rumpled, hanging limply off my short, slender, willowy to the point where doctors often asked if I was anorexic (which I was not, thank you very much) figure. I was underdeveloped, and recently started having my 'girl thing'. The thing where you need to by tampons. My skin just made me look worse. Overall I looked like I'd just been through the mill, or was homeless. I sighed, then braced myself for the worst before I opened the bathroom door. I walked to the kitchen with a false smile. "I-I've finished the cases you've given me, Dad," I said quietly. He looked—no, more like glared suspiciously—up from his hot cup of coffee that I'd prepared for him. "Good," he said, but made no move to shove another fifteen reams of casework and evidence in my face. "The boss decided to bring me along to the emergency ICPO meeting."

"And you want me to come with you, right?" I asked timidly. It was best not to get him angry. He had a short fuse, at the best of times. "Yup. We leave today," he said, getting up to freshen up in his bathroom. I sighed, then walked over to my room to start packing.

I opened my suitcase on my bed, then surveyed my room. What could I bring with me? My laptop was a definite yes, and I put that in the special pocket just for laptops/notebooks. I put my iPod Touch in my pocket, and plugged in the earphones. 'Sleep song' by Secret Garden started to pump into my ear canals, and so I started packing with a bit more vigor as music worked it's magic. Clothes, 'girl stuff', a good book or two, my drawing book and some pens and mechanical pencils all went in. So did my diary, a legal pad for taking notes, a first-aid kit, a toothbrush and toothpaste, extra socks, and a formal outfit for appearing at the meeting. At the last minute, I threw in my recipe book. I would probably be assigned kitchen duties once we got to the suite. I had defiantly inherited the kitchen realm from my mother. I closed my suitcase, and grabbed a black, non-descript shoulder bag. In it I put my wallet, passport, two cell phones (one was business/friends, and the other was private and/or for emergency usage—only my father, and my best friend had that number, and it was always at full battery. If it was an emergency, there was a special extension number that would turn it on, with all alarms ringing), a camera, and on an impulse, I slipped in my brand new makeup kit. If there was a formal occasion, I might as well be prepared, even though I'd use the smallest amount possible.

There, I was done. I closed them both and paused the music on my Touch. "Dad," I called through the door of his bedroom/man-cave, "I'm ready. Are you?" He opened the door with one of his rare smiles. "Yup," he said, and we walked to the car for the drive to the airport to meet up with his boss.