Chapter 2

“So, what are you going to wear?” Kristy asked from her place perched on Meriel’s bed.

“What do you mean, what am I going to wear? What does one where to an interrogation?” Meriel responded looking in her closet. She had just gotten the message from Agent Richards and told Kristy about it. Kristy seemed way too excited.

“Are you sure that’s all it is.  I saw the way you looked at him. You’re into him”

Meriel took out a purple t-shirt. “Doesn’t mean he’s into me.”

Kristy sighed, getting off the bed she took the purple t-shirt from Mer’s hands and placed it back in the closet before withdrawing a black form fitting shirt instead and handing it to the brunette. “Can’t you tell if he is or not?”

Meriel took the shirt. “That’s just the thing. I tried and got nothing from him.  No emotions at all.”

“So, he was blocking you.”

“I don’t think he was. It felt different than that. It was just…empty.” Meriel changed into the black shirt, frowning at the low neckline in the mirror. “Are you sure about this?”

“Positive.” Kristy picked out a necklace and a pair of earnings and handed them to her. “So, he’s the one person in the world you can’t read. That’s a good thing, right?  You always said you wish there was someone who didn’t affect you.  Maybe he’s the one.”

“Maybe” Meriel responded as Kristy clasped the necklace.

“Don’t be such a downer. They think an animal was responsible for the deaths.  I’m sure he’s using the case as an excuse to get to know you.”

Meriel’s frown deepens. “We know what killed them, Kristy. You…”

Kristy cut her off. “You’re just being paranoid. It’s a coincidence that you knew both victims. Hell, you know most of the people in this town. It’s not your fault.”

“But if I’m right…Agent Richards, the police…They’re in danger”

Kristy put her hands on Meriel’s shoulders and turned her away from the mirror to look at her.  “Mer. Honey. None of this is your fault.  You did the right thing.  You did what you had to do and fight it every day. I’m proud of you.”

Meriel could feel her concern as well as the fact that she was indeed proud and loved her like a sister. “I love you too, Kristy.  Just promise me you’ll be careful.  Okay?  Watch your back tonight.”

Kristy nodded. “Only if you promise to quit worrying and enjoy yourself.”

“I’ll try. I promise.”

“Good.  You look great. You’re going to be late.  Walk me out?”

Meriel took one final look in the mirror before nodding to her friend. She grabbed her purse and the two friends left the apartment together.


*     *     *


Sam closed his laptop and looked at the clock.  In a few hours he had found out all there was to know about the two victims and the young woman he was about to meet.  Oddly, she had been born and grew up in the outskirts of Lawrence, not too far from where he had been born. Meriel appeared to have been home schooled until college where she graduated from the culinary program at Kansas University in Lawrence and worked as a baker until six months ago when she moved to Wichita.  She opened her business just within the last few months.  The business itself appeared to be good according to Yelp ratings.  At 28, the petite brunette had made quite a life for herself. Nothing about her history stood out to him as being put of the ordinary except for maybe the sudden move.  He would have to ask her about that.

Sam got up from the small table in the motel room and stretched before heading into the bathroom to take a shower.  He then got dressed, ditching the FBI uniform for the familiar plaid and jeans he was most comfortable in. Miss. MacKenzie intrigued him. He didn’t quite know why. He usually had little interest in getting to know anybody beyond what was necessary for the case, but something about this woman was different. She had caught his attention unlike anyone else.  Sam slipped on his jacket and left for the café.