(Previous post: A disrupt routine)
She saw him before he saw her. He walked trough the door his head buried in a folder he held in his hand. He didn’t lift his gaze up until he sat in a wooden chair across the table from Latricia. By that time her mind had gone completely blank and she wished that she had listened to her mother for once and let her call her cousin Sara. Outside of that cramped little room in the police station life went on. There were voices and noise and phones ringing but for Latricia time stopped.
And then his eyes met hers and she tried to smile, look apologetic, something… But she doubted she succeeded in anything apart from looking stupid. The still growing unease and discomfort prevented her from even uttering a single word. It was as if her lips were sealed shut and she felt more self-aware then she ever did in her whole life.
The young man on the other end of the table didn’t seem to be affected with the same affliction because he managed his recognizable half smile-half smirk before speaking:
“Well hello Tricia. It has been a long time.” Hearing him use her nickname was like a stab right to the heart. She wished he had been formal and professional, referred to her as Miss Caliente or maybe that he even left sending another officer her way. That would have hurt too but somehow this was even worse.
“Hi Mika.” She said softly thinking how much the dark color of his uniform suited him. He had contacts on so his lovely eyes came in focus. Even the goatee was a nice addition. But she could not say any of those things. Her right to comment his appearance was forfeited the day she rejected his proposal. That had been the last time she saw him, in truth she had been avoiding running into him ever since she got back to Sunset Valley. She had no idea he was a policeman now, he dropped out of the Conservatorium the semester after they broke up and she had no idea what happened to him, apart that he was back home too.
“It is good to see you.” He said. There was no sense of sarcasm in those words Latrica noted. He sounded warm, pleasant even… As if she hadn’t shattered his heart in a million pieces when she refused to take that ring. “Well… Maybe not considering the circumstances… I see you have been robbed?” Latricia nodded weakly. I am sorry Mika… I was not ready… Things were… What? She asked herself. She had no explanation, not even now. So she said nothing. All she could think of was their parting kiss, the softness of his lips on hers, the wet tears on her face, the music playing on the old gramophone…
What if she could go back to that moment… Would she have done things differently? She believed she would… But things don’t quite run that way and besides it seemed Mikha’il had gotten over her. Something she knew she should be happy about but she really wasn’t….
“Unfortunately robberies have been common in the town recently.” Mikha’il continued blissfully unaware of Latrica’s troubled thoughts. “And since Officer Hoves retired our forensics department had gone to shit. We will of course send a pair of CSI’s to sweep your home but I don’t hope for much…” He sighed. “I recommend you invest in home security, I am sure your mother can pay for that… I wish I could do more but that is the brutal truth. We have a new lieutenant, your cousin and I believe she might change things, I believe we can finally put an end to all of this but we shall see…” Latrica just stared at him still regretting coming here. “If you are uncomfortable staying home you should go to your mum’s or… a friend’s house.”
“I’ll be fine.” Latrica said.
“I am sure you will.” Her ex boyfriend replied smiling. Latrica still could not respond in kind. “Well I have your statement here… And your contact information. If there is anything you could do, or if we find anything someone from the department will contact you….”
“Not you?” She asked with maybe a tad too much hope.
“Well due to our personal history it might be best to give this case to someone else… Since you are a Caliente it might go directly to your cousin…” He smiled again. “Seriously though, you were doomed the moment you got here, you could have gotten either me or Vanessa.”
“Vanessa works here as well?” Latrica asked surprised. Seeing her former high school best friend on the other end of the table might not have been as uncomfortable but it would have probably made Latrica feel bad. She missed Vanessa although they haven’t spoken in years. Almost as much as she missed Mika.
“Small world huh? Well anyway that is all from me. You are free to go.” Latrica slowly got up. For a moment there she wasn’t sure she wanted to go.
“I did mean it. Really.” Mikha’il said noticing her lingering. “It was nice to see you. You look good.”
“You too.” She said managing a smile at last. “Police work suits you.” He laughed getting up.
“Well when our class voted me most likely to be a millionaire they probably didn’t imagine me here. It would be hard earning those six figures on a state pay. But it is a good job, I might make a difference. Take care Tricia.” He said touching her arm lightly. Latricia felt if a surge of electricity rushed trough her whole body at that touch. She wondered if Mika felt it but if he did his face didn’t betray a thing.
“Goodbye Mika.” She blurted out and rushed trough the door back to the real world overwhelmed with emotions she thought were long gone…