Another Julian Files excerpt. As I mentioned yesterday, I might stop these excerpts if I decide to post the whole thing as a book, or even if it just seems like no one is interested and it’s taking up unnecessary space. Whatever works! We’ll see!
By the way, as this is NaNo, the below excerpt is unedited–as will be any NaNo excerpts I do.
Anyway–look! This time you get Cedrick POV with baby Boyd cameo.
The receptionist looked ready to deny him entry beyond the front area at first, but then she gave Cedrick a second, more searching stare. At first he was too harried to understand why, until he realized why she looked so familiar to him.
Cara Jorgenson, sister of Timothy Jorgenson. Almost five years ago, when they were both teenagers, Timothy had been murdered in their house when Cara had left to find food rations. It hadn’t been long after the bombs, which had claimed their parents’ lives. Cara had been left suddenly alone, with no one to help her, and no one to find her brother’s killer. She’d been desperate when there had been almost no investigation, and had finally resorted to calling the local news media to see if anyone would pick up the story, maybe put pressure on the police department. Cedrick had been the only one who had listened, and while he hadn’t been able to do much through his job, he’d exhausted his resources trying to find someone who could.
It was how he’d first met Julian, the only private investigator who had given a damn about the story. With Julian’s help, and Julian’s contacts in Lexington PD to the decent cops left on the roster, they’d eventually found out who had done it–but there had never been a trial, because the perpetrator had been killed on the streets not long after the murder. He’d been mugged for the cash he’d stolen from the house.
When Julian and Cedrick had stopped by her house to tell her that, she had been drawn and hollow-eyed, and with bloodless lips she’d said maybe there was justice in the world after all.
“Cara,” he said in surprise. “I didn’t know you worked here now. How are you doing?”
Maybe it was the genuine concern infused in the last question, or maybe it was simply that she appreciated being remembered four and a half years later, but she smiled widely. “I’m… Well, I’m okay. Some days are better than others. I still expect him to walk through the door, but I think over time that will fade.” She leaned forward to peer over the counter. “Oh my God. Is that your little one?”
Cedrick grinned proudly. He nodded and grabbed Boyd from under the armpits so he could hoist him up for official presentation. Simba-style. “This is Boyd. Tell Cara hi, Boyd.”
Boyd obediently stuck his hand out, which Cara took in slight confusion. He shook her hand while saying politely, “It’s nice to meet you, Cara. I’m Boyd. I’m five.” He splayed out all the fingers of his free hand, as if she needed help visualizing such a large number.
Despite the fact that he was being held up like a cat slowly falling out of his dad’s grip, he managed to sound dignified and solemn. Cara did a double take and then burst out laughing. Her cheeks flushed, and she grinned even larger than Cedrick had. She stood up so she could lean at a better angle over the desk.
“It’s very nice to meet you too, Boyd. Should we have your dad put you down?”
“He won’t drop me. He’s very strong. My dad could probably lift a car.”
“Oh really?” Cara’s eyes sparkled as she looked up just in time for Cedrick to smirk. “Is your dad a superhero?”
“Hmm.” Boyd considered that with all the solemnity of a five-year-old with his little train underwear peeking out from his pants while his shirt rode up past his belly button. “He’s not Batman, but he can be close.”
Cara laughed again.
“Gee, thanks, son,” Cedrick muttered, but he couldn’t hide the amusement in his voice.
He set Boyd down carefully, and then tightly grabbed his hand again. He knew Boyd wouldn’t wander off without him but he was always strangely afraid of Boyd disappearing in a crowd. The thought of losing his son was so unbearable that even just imagining it constricted his lungs and set his mind abuzz.
“So, what are you doing here?” Cara asked, eyebrows furrowing. “Are you visiting someone?”
“Actually, yes. An old woman should have been brought in almost an hour ago. We wanted to check her status.”
“Hmm.” Cara dropped back down into her chair and swiveled it back to face the computers. “What’s the name?”
Cedrick hesitated. “I… have no idea.”
Cara gave him a strange look, and Cedrick felt oddly abashed.