Don't Leave Me Hanging

Chapter 2

"So, yeah, I'm not sure what to do, really," Jason admitted, staring out of the window while talking to his wife, Maria. He'd not-long entered the house and had immediately needed to get his confusion and worries about the new case off of his chest, wanting the opinion of somebody who heard so much about his work that she was probably nearing qualification to be a detective, too.

 

After having entered the house, having greeted both Maria and his twelve-year-old daughter, Evie, he'd dropped into a chair by the dining table and had ranted to Maria about the day which he’d suffered through. Jason knew that she probably wasn't listening as she was reading an email to do with something which she'd ordered online- it had been due to arrive a few days before, but it had never turned up, something which had angered Maria deeply as anything similar always had done. Jason also knew that Evie, sat in the living room which was only separated from the joint kitchen and dining room by a thin wall, had probably been eagerly listening to his explanation. She'd always had an interest in his job, but Jason hadn't been a fan of letting her hear about what he had to investigate constantly. After all, as a result of living in a city, there always seemed to be some type of grimy detail which was linked to what he’d have to study and evaluate every day, whether that would be murder, rape, suicide, abuse, anything which wasn’t the best thing for a twelve-year-old to be consistently hearing about. Once, only two or three months before, Jason had dealt with a prostitute ring and had struggled a decent amount to strategically and stealthily explain the details to his wife- something which he knew that he wasn't supposed to do, but something which he couldn't resist doing as she was usually brilliant when it came to offering the views of a slightly interested outsider looking in.

 

As if wondering whether or not she was listening to what he was saying had summoned her, Evie waltzed in from the living room, an empty glass in her hands which was clearly her excuse for entering the kitchen and attempting to catch a few more details of the explanation, no doubt.

"What's going on, then?" She asked, moving to the sink to refill the glass. Maria glanced up from her computer, stifling a laugh at Evie's obvious scheme to hear about something which she almost definitely fantasized about taking part in.

 

"Nothing that's appropriate for you to hear," Jason grumbled, also amused but slightly annoyed by Evie’s persistent attempts to overhear what she most likely hoped to be action-filled adventures which her dear father was living through when he wasn’t at home and caring for her. After all, he'd only just finished explaining the situation to Maria and was awaiting her input which, as it always seemed to, would probably help him.

 

Evie shrugged lightly, turned to lean against the kitchen counter and gazed at Jason as if expecting him to explain everything which was going on. Or, Jason wondered, maybe she'd already heard the details which he'd relayed to Maria and was hoping to hear her mother's suggestions.

 

After a few moments of the three of them sitting in silence, Maria slammed her laptop closed and sat back in her chair, looking slightly triumphant. "That'll show them not to reply sarcastically," she grinned, prompting Jason to latch onto the alibi which Maria had clearly set-up on purpose in order to get their daughter out of the room.

 

"Why?" Jason inquired, leaning back in his chair, folding his arms and tilting his head slightly as he posed the question, using the very limited capability of his acting skills to convey a faked interest in what Maria had done.

 

"Well," Maria began, leaning forwards slightly as if gearing up to get into a long explanation, and that was seemingly enough to tell Evie that there wasn’t much of a point in sticking around, prompting her to leave the room, not wanting to be dragged into a rant, not wanting to be bored by a discussion about buying something online.

 

They waited for a few moments until they heard their daughter making her way up the stairs and to her bedroom. Another few seconds passed before they heard the door close and they knew that they were in the clear.

 

"Any suggestions, then?" Jason pressed, feeling desperate. After leaving the crime scene a few hours before- well, the apartment where the "suicide" had occurred- he'd spent a while mauling over as many details as possible with Connor and Courtney, the three of them wanting to come up with the basis of an idea which they could then expand upon and, hopefully, come to some sort of conclusion, but no ideas had come. The three of them had simply been stuck, sat there, thinking for however long.

 

Maria was silent for a moment, not fuelling Jason's hope very much. "No, to be honest," she admitted, to which Jason sighed.

 

"I don't know what to do," he mumbled, resting his arms on the dining table and gazing at the treated, varnished wood.

 

Maria was silent for a moment, watching her husband until she had a suggestion. "Maybe something will prove if they're connected or not," she suggested, making Jason look up and shrug. He gazed at his half-Italian, half-English wife, traced the waves of her dyed-blonde hair with his eyes, then moved to follow the shape of her oval-like face. He stared at her as if waiting for the answer to break through her skin and to wave at him, as if her hazelnut-coloured, soft and loving eyes would reflect something useful into his vision. But no. Nothing like that would happen. Jason knew that he wouldn't have an easy time discovering the answer to the case which had been assigned to him, to Courtney and to Connor following their adventure to see the dead man.

 

“As in?” Jason pushed, wanting to understand what she meant, wanting to know if she was suggesting that there was a possibility of having the answer displayed to him, either handed to him or simply flashed in his direction to give him the slightest chance of understanding what to do next.

 

“As in: maybe time will give you the answer,” Maria stated, pausing for a moment to watch Jason’s reaction, continuing once she could tell that he wanted an elaboration. “Maybe another death will happen and there’ll be a clue which can point you to the possible killer,” she continued, stopping once she knew that Jason understood.

 

“They’re sure to leave some evidence at some point,” he agreed, nodding lightly to himself, his hands clasped together and residing in front of his mouth as if trying to hide the fact that he was the one uttering the linguistic sounds to his wife. “They won’t get away with however many murders without leaving some DNA, at least.”

 

Maria nodded lightly, confirming that she had meant what Jason had explained, that she agreed with that thought. She then opened the laptop again, probably to continue with the email which, Jason guessed, she hadn’t really finished, had only pretended to have sent as a ploy to get Evie out of the room, something which he still felt incredibly grateful for.

 

They were silent for a few moments, Jason absentmindedly staring at the table, trying to think a little more but also trying to clear his mind of work. He didn’t like the thought of depressing Maria with talk about people dying, about killers, rapists, abusers. He’d never been fully comfortable with discussing those things, had only done so when needing to rant about the stress which he’d constantly experience from the pressure of wanting to make the city safer or when needing another opinion.

 

Maria glanced up from the screen, something which Jason didn’t even notice, and let out a light sigh before sliding from her chair, making her way around the table and towards him. She then placed her hands on his shoulders and rubbed them lightly, teasing Jason with the concept of one of her infamously incredible massages, though disappointing him when she then slid her hands down his chest and wrapped her arms around his torso. She ended up essentially draped on his back, her mouth only a few centimetres away from his ear, whispering about how everything would sort itself out, how it would be better to forget about it all until returning to work.

 

Jason turned his head slightly to the right, trying to catch a glance of Maria’s beauty which he’d always found himself in awe of. How had he managed to find someone so amazing who was willing to waste their affection on him? Though he wasn’t complaining. Not in the slightest.

 

“Do you know how lost I’d be without you?” He muttered, conscious of the fact that her ear was so close to his mouth, not wanting to damage her hearing by talking too loudly.

 

Maria let out a light, satisfied breath through her nose before turning her head to give Jason a long, reassuring kiss, only pulling away from him after a few moments in order to check the time. “It’s your turn to cook tonight,” she reminded him, to which Jason hid his surge of apathy at the thought of conjuring a meal with the toothy grin which the kiss had plastered onto his face.

 

The two of them had agreed since moving-in together fourteen years before that they would share every single responsibility in the house. Barring when Jason had returned to university to study to become a detective after having fancied a career change from being an engineer, having decided that it would be easier to move into a dormitory on campus to save the costs of commuting, they’d stuck to that plan of dividing every task evenly between the two of them. It hadn’t been very long before then that Maria had given birth to Evie, the career change coming as Jason realised that he needed a larger income to support the three of them comfortably, something which was proven with their upgrade from living in that shabby apartment to their fair-sized, lovely home. Well, it had only really been made into a lovely home by Maria’s in-depth planning of the interior.

 

Jason slid from his chair and made his way to the fridge to pull some vegetables out, having decided on the spot that he would make a stir fry. Behind him, Maria returned to her laptop, probably to continue plotting the best way to make the email which she was working on fully effective. Above him, Jason could hear Evie moving around in her room, quick, rhythmic movements, making him wonder if she was dancing to a song which he couldn’t hear, probably being played through headphones.

 

Stood there, chopping carrots into long, thin strips, Jason smiled to himself. He wouldn’t swap his life for anything else. He knew that he was fully content. It felt amazing to stand there, cooking, listening to the rhythmic clacking of Maria’s fingers slamming into the keyboard of her laptop, the thumps and light bangs coming from above his head, Evie no doubt having tremendous amounts of fun… Jason knew that he couldn’t even begin to describe just how pleasant life felt. Well, aside from the struggles of work, the knowledge that he was going into work every day to deal with horrible situations ranging from minor abuse to serial killers on the loose, but he loved his job, loved that he was contributing to making the world a better place by finding the evidence needed to stick the most dangerous people in prison, away from the rest of civilisation.

 

Despite the grotty nature of his occupation, Jason loved what he was doing, loved his homelife, loved his family. Jason could recall that he’d never had an argument with Maria. Well, a serious one. They’d had their spats over small things, the conflict only coming due to conflicting opinions such as Maria’s atheism when it came to religion and Jason’s agnosticism, but nothing had ever been so serious between them that they’d been in danger of ruining their relationship. Everything had always been steady. What more could he ask for? Well, aside from the answers to the case, but Jason wanted to push those thoughts and worries aside. He was at home. He was with his family. It wouldn’t be smart to let work get in the way of his homelife, to let it intervene in even the smallest of ways. He didn’t want the two of them to be connected at all, would rather leave everything detached, have two separate lives: home and work. Why would he want it to be anything else?

 

He’d always made an effort to keep Evie from hearing his tales from his job, had never wanted to make her scared by detailing all of the gruesome things which would happen much more than expected. Of course, he’d openly tell Maria about those things, but that was only when he’d need help with something, an extra opinion. Aside from seeing his wife’s view on the case which he was working on, trapped with no idea as to what to do, where anything could lead, how he could figure out why these people were dying, he didn’t want her to be intertwined with his work. She had her own job in an office, she had Evie to look after when he was still working, though, despite the fact that she was also his emotional support when he needed it, she never seemed to be overwhelmed. Why overwhelm her by introducing her to the worrying occurrences which seemed too prevalent with his job? Why provide her with extra stress? That just seemed incredibly silly to Jason.

Don't Leave Me Hanging