Author's Note: This is strictly a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, alive or dead, is purely coincidental. The Author hold exclusive rights to this work.
Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
© A. Clark.
When We Wither (Historica/Romance/Crime/ & a pinch of Supernatural)
This is my first fic, so please R&R!
Chapter One : Chase Me Home
Why do they make these trays so small?'
I balanced the coffees precariously in one hand as I tugged open the car door and slid into the driver's seat.
"Here," I passed the grey tray over to Cole. He wiggled a cup out of its tight hold and inhaled half its contents before I could even buckle my seat belt.
"Ah," he sighed contentedly, "now I'm awake."
He slouched down slightly into his seat. I hummed in agreement, starting the car and pulling smoothly into the morning rush. When I had settled comfortably into the traffic rhythm, I held out a hand towards Cole silently and wiggled my fingers. He plucked a steaming cup from the tray in his lap and handed it to me. I took a quick sip. It scalded my tongue.
"So, what's on schedule for today, Alain?"
I sighed silently through my nose.
"It's Clark." I corrected. "Same as usual."
"Huh. Well, think the chief left us a good one?"
Cole sighed and ran a hand through his short blonde hair. I glanced towards him at the movement; a few locks fell back into his eyes. He sure had nice hair. I looked away and focused back on the road.
And just in time.
"Whoa!" Cole shouted. He grabbed my elbow and jerked, trying to pull the steering wheel right so we wouldn't hit the oh-so adorable squirrel that chose to idiotically dart into the middle of the street. I flinched at the pressure on my arm and tried to pull away. I ended up turning the wheel left, and I inwardly cringed at the following 'bump'.
Cole sighed in frustration and slumped back into his street. We continued down the street in an awkward silence. I could feel his eyes boring into the side of my head, but I busied myself with glancing between the road and the small fuzzy lump in the rear view mirror that was slowly growing smaller.
"You're pretty high-strung, aren't you?"
"No." I replied shortly.
"…And not particularly talkative either, huh?"
He sighed again in return, and a short silence descended between us.
I glanced at him for a moment, but his green eyes were focused elsewhere. I followed his gaze to my wrist. Oh.
The bracelet was thin but strong, and wrapped twice around my wrist. The silver shined dully in the morning light. Deceptively plain, and for some reason I liked that. A small bubble of irritation welled up inside of me, and I resisted the urge to cover my wrist from his curious eyes. Though, it was nice.
"Where'd you get it?"
'What a nosy…'
"A friend." It was a wonder how Don was even able to afford it. I was definitely going to need to get him something just as nice when his birthday came up. Or Christmas, which was right around the corner.
I pulled the Altima into a small space.
"Really? What was the occasion?"
'Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.'
"It was my birthday." I turned off the ignition and gathered my papers from the dashboard.
"Then…how old are you?"
I slammed the car door behind me.
Damn, early Warner December is cold. I tucked my hands under my arms, trying to keep my fingers from going numb. The icy wind whipped around me, pulling a stray lock of hair from my bun. A car door slammed behind me and I glanced back to see Cole's hunched form jogging towards me.
"Slowpoke," I muttered under my breath, and flipped my coat collar up to cover my neck.
He fell into step beside me, but it was too cold to say anything. We walked together in silence to the double doors of Warner's 5th Precinct. The building's run-down and its bricks are typical grunge red. I ran my fingers lightly against the rough brick as we passed; it easily chilled my fingers to the bone. I tucked my hand back under my arm.
As we neared the entrance, Cole stepped ahead of me and dramatically threw open both doors. I paused. The wind nipped at my face, but the chill was nice. The wind blew a white mist along the sidewalk, and I turned, hurrying to follow Cole into the overwhelming warmth.
'He does have nice hands.'
Whoa. Pause that thought and shred it.
We entered the general room to find dual blue folders on our adjoining desks. Cole simply draped his coat over the back of his chair before draping himself into the chair and propping his feet up onto the edge of his desk. He picked up the file and thumbed carelessly through it.
I glanced up at him from my own desk. His hand cradled the spine of the file and, in the dim lighting, was strangely attractive. Nate always teases me for having a hand fetish, but it's definitely something different. Hands…hands can be beautiful, and they can say so much about their owner. Cole Kennedy probably shares my hand fetish, because his nails look suspiciously manicured.
I looked down at my own file; the pile of blank forms looked pretty thick.
'Now that's a crap-load of late nights ahead.'
He flipped another page. "I always figured you guys would be boring and use oatmeal colored crap for these," he held up the file.
I inwardly sighed. "Blue is for homicide."
An eyebrow rose. "Already?"
"Crime isn't going to wait for you, Kennedy."
"It's Cole." I skimmed the address quickly before snapping the file shut and standing. Cole stood too, confused.
"Bring the file with you and read it in the car," I said over my shoulder as I passed him. "I'll let the Chief know we're leaving."
"But I haven't even gotten my doughnut yet!" he whined.
"I doubt you'll want it," I muttered under my breath as I knocked on the Chief's door, thinking back to the file.
I lifted the yellow tape and ducked under it, not bothering to hold it up for Cole. It slapped him on the forehead.
"Thanks." His voice was laden with sarcasm, and I inwardly smirked.
I advanced down the alley, weaving between and through the crime scene technicians that were already swarming the area. There was a bright flash, followed by a low but distinct buzz. A short pause, and then another flash. I blinked, trying to clear the spots from my vision.
"So that's why you shouldn't look into bright lights."
I turned slightly to see Cole blinking rapidly.
'Who ever heard of a man with lashes that long,' I grumbled inwardly. No, I was definitely not jealous.
He caught me staring and returned it. I held his gaze for a moment, before biting out a low, "Hurry up." His lips quirked faintly upwards.
I turned away, glad that my cheeks were already red from the wind so he couldn't see the flush I felt blooming across my face.
"I like your earrings."
"Aren't they against policy?"
'I take that back.'
"They're studs," I said, "They don't get in the way."
Cole hummed in response, and we reached the ME* and flashing bulb in relative silence.
"What've we got?"
The ME glanced up at me.
Margaret Bryan was a small woman, dwarfed even by my short five-four frame. Her hair was mousy brown and very curly. The glasses she wore were at least a decade outdated, and I winced behind my own new square frames. But she held herself with a quiet confidence, and I respected her for it.
"It's not pretty." She tugged on a pair of rubber gloves.
"The waiter," Margaret pointed towards a figure at opening of the alley, "was out taking a drag when he spotted a hand poking out from under some boxes and trash bags. From what I've seen, I'd say time of death was sometime early this morning. I can't be sure, since it's been unbelievably cold, but once I get the body back to the lab I can give you more accurate details."
Margaret reached for the edge of the tarp that separated us from the body, but hesitated. She looked back, her eyes darting between Cole and me awkwardly for a moment.
"When I said this wasn't pretty, I really meant it. After 21 years on the job, this is the first time I've almost lost my breakfast after seeing a body."
"O.K…," I wasn't quite sure where she was…"Oh. Oh."
I turned to Cole. "What?" he asked. "What are we waiting for?"
"It's your second week on the job," I said bluntly. "Are you ready to see this?"
He huffed indignantly, his breath coming out as a white mist. "This is not the first time I've seen a dead body."
"She," I nodded towards Margaret, "has never been fazed by any dead thing she's come across in her career. You sure?"
"If anything, I'm more worried about you." He raised a brow at me.
I searched his expression for a moment, picking up the challenge in his eyes.
I made an obvious glance toward his eyebrows. "Tweeze much, Kennedy?"
He sputtered first in confusion, and then disbelief.
"I don't tweeze my eyebrows! They're just naturally beautiful and refined," he wiggled his brows.
"Right," I shrugged. "Your choice." I turned towards Margaret and nodded.
She took in a long, steady breath, and pulled back the tarp.
* ME – Medical Examiner (but you probably knew that)
Author's Note: What'd you think? R & R, it'd be appreciated!
The craziness has YET to begin!