Out of the Pit (Short Story, Maybe — Day 4)

Detective Bruce Rivers and Officer Jerry Watts arrived about an hour later.  Bo greeted them at the door.  Bruce reached down and gave Bo a friendly scratch behind the ears.  “You have grown quite a bit since the last time I saw you.”

Bruce’s eyes met Lexie’s and he felt that familiar electrical spark shoot through him.  She was even more beautiful than he remembered from eight years ago.  He knew he had never gotten over her, but seeing her now, awakened all the old feelings:  love, desire, including the desire to protect her.  His arms ached with the desire to hold her and assure her that everything would be all right.

Lexie felt the connection and the electrical current between them as well.  The attraction was as strong as ever.  Bruce didn’t look much different than she remembered, though he had, obviously, built more muscle.  There was no doubt he was strong and physically fit.  Having him here brought all of the memories flooding back, memories that could push her over the edge again, and she didn’t want that to happen.  She was afraid that if she went over that edge again, she wouldn’t be able to find her way back.

Officer Watts went to work at setting up the phone tracing equipment, and Bruce approached Lexie, who was seated on the couch where Bo had returned to lay with his head in her lap.

“Lexie, it’s so good to see you again, though I wish it was under much happier circumstances.  Looks like this brute had been taking good care of you.”  Bruce grinned and patted Bo on the head.

“He’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.  I still remember how you showed up that day with him in your jacket, and he wouldn’t quit squirming and yipping until you pulled him out and placed him in my arms.”  Lexie smiled at the memory.

Bruce’s expression grew serious.  “Brad tells me someone’s frightening you with some strange phone calls.”

Lexie’s eyes never left his when she said, “Bruce, I know Kevin is dead, but whoever this caller is seems to know all about it.  He called me ‘Kitten’, said he misses me and said that eight years is a long time.  That’s the part that Brad heard.  I was glad that Brad was here to answer the second call because now he knows I’m telling the truth and not imagining things.”

Bruce reached out and covered one of her hands with one of his, and both he and Lexie were aware of the electricity in that touch.  “Lexie, whoever this creep is, we’re going to find him, I promise.”

Bruce then introduced Lexie to Officer Watts, and Officer Watts explained how the phone tracing equipment worked while Bruce spoke quietly with Brad.

Bruce and Brad both left around 2 a.m., and Lexie and Bo went to the bedroom to try to get some sleep.  Officer Watts bedded down on the couch.  He’d be a permanent fixture for a while as they waited to see if there would be any more strange phone calls.

——————————————————————————————————————-

Three days passed without incident and Lexie began to relax a little, until Tuesday afternoon.  A floral delivery person came into the bakery just before closing time and asked for Lexie Whitman.  He handed Lexie a bouquet of flowers, said, “Have a nice day,” and left.

Lexie unwrapped the bouquet and when she saw it, her hands began to shake.  It was a bouquet of eight white daisies and six yellow carnations with a single rose in the middle.  There was a card in an envelope.  Lexie was afraid to open it.

After a few minutes, she gathered her courage and tore the envelope open.  The card had been typed.  It read, “Kitten, it is time for you to take your rightful place, at the table, as the queen of my ladies.  I’ll be seeing you soon.  Love, Kevin”  Lexie fainted.

Someone was waving something with a strong odor under her nose and Lexie opened her eyes to find Brad, Patty and Bruce hovering over her.  “Lexie, are you okay?”

“I think so,” she said as she sat up.  “Who would want to do this to me?  That card was signed ‘Love, Kevin’, but I know Kevin is dead. Who else could know all of these details.”

“Is there a significance to the flowers?”  Bruce asked.

“I used to take a bouquet exactly like that to Kevin’s every Friday night to put in the center of the dining room table.”

“I’m going to the flower shop to ask some questions.  I’ll see you later, Lexie.”

“Okay, Bruce.”

Brad and Patty took Lexie home, and Brad called and ordered pizza delivery for dinner.

“Lexie, did Kevin have any close friends?”

“Not that I know of.  He was a loner except for the young women he chose.  That’s why he had his own apartment off campus.”

“What about siblings?”

“No, he was an only child.  His parents are rich.  His dad is a doctor and his mom is an artist.  The only time they spent with Kevin was once a year when they took extravagant family vacations.  The rest of the time Kevin was in boarding schools until he went away to college.”

“Well, those would be the most obvious possibilities.  I hope Bruce will have more ideas.”

“Where’s Officer Watts?  He’s usually waiting for me in the driveway when I get home from work.  He’s never been late.”

Someone knocked and Bo ran to the door, barking.

“That’s probably him now.  It’s too soon to be the pizza,” said Brad, who opened the door to find Bruce instead of Officer Watts.

“Lexie was just wondering where Officer Watts is.”

“I gave him the night off.  I’ll be staying tonight instead.”

Brad gave him a disapproving look.

“What?  It’s strictly in a professional capacity.  Don’t worry.”

“Sis, you okay with that?”

The thought of being alone with Bruce made Lexie’s pulse race, her palms sweat and caused butterflies to flutter in her stomach, but she knew Bruce took his job seriously.  “Yes, Brad.  I’ll be fine.”

The pizza arrived and they sat down to eat.  Brad told Bruce about the conversation he and Lexie had before Bruce arrived, and Bruce informed them that he might have a possible lead from what he found out at the flower shop.

“The clerk at the flower shop said a young man, about college age, made the purchase.  She said he paid cash, so there’s no credit card trail to follow, and he already had the card ready and in the envelope.  So I figure the creep making the phone calls got the kid to do his dirty work.  She had a pretty good description of the kid, which I gave to our sketch artist.  I’m hoping I can track the kid down and get some information from him, but it’s a long shot.”

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