Just like a regular nine-to-five worker, Seth packed up his things and walked out with Angela and Kim. With the autopsy mostly wrapped up, it seemed Seth’s involvement at the morgue would be drawing to a close. They’d spent the rest of their afternoon laughing and teasing each other about being the killer but the idea of having his story’s MDI as the killer was too appealing for Seth to let go. He couldn’t wait to get home and revise everything he’d written up to that point.
“Thanks again for everything. I can’t thank you enough for letting me tag along. I’m going to dedicate my next book to you two and Detective Crash.”
“Does that mean we get signed copies?”
“You bet! In fact, once it’s published, I’ll not only write an inscription; I’ll even take you all to lunch and hand-deliver your copies.”
“You know Kim and I are going to hold you to that promise, right? And I expect to be played by an Oscar winning actress in the movie version.”
As he drove home, sadness tugged at Seth’s heartstrings. He’d grown fond of his two “Angels of Death” and he wished he could find a legitimate reason to continue hanging out with them at the morgue. Just imagine how much more you could learn if you spent a few weeks there, instead of just a couple of days. He was still trying to determine whether it was the devil on his shoulder, the one who always found distractions when there was writing to be done, trying to convince him to spend more time with his new friends or if it was a genuinely good idea. Melanie will help me decide. She’s always been my voice of reason, my anchor. I should see if she’d like to meet them too, just not at the morgue. Poor Mel, she’d be sick for a month.
When he pulled into the garage, Melanie’s car wasn’t there. Checking his watch, Seth tried to quell the voice of panic whispering in his ear.
“She should be home by now,” the voice hissed. “There’s another serial killer on the loose and Melanie isn’t here…she always calls when she’s running late.”
A horrifying shriek cut through the air and Seth nearly jumped out of his skin.
“Damnit!” He shouted to the void. “I really need to change my ringtone.”
A text from Melanie, saying she was running late, scrolled across his screen. Laughing at his overactive imagination, Seth went inside, still gasping for breath. I scare myself more than I ever scare my readers. No longer panting like he’d just run a marathon, he called Melanie’s number and asked if she’d like to go out to dinner.
“Seriously? Mr. Homebody wants to go out to a restaurant and it isn’t my birthday or our anniversary… Why, what did you do wrong?”
“Gee, thanks. Forget it. I’ll order pizza instead.”
“No, wait! I was just kidding. I’d love to go out to dinner with you.”
“No you weren’t but that’s okay. We’ll go out anyway.”
Laughing, he hung up the phone and went inside to shower. Strangers looking in might find their dialogue disturbing, or mistake them for being cruel, but Seth and Melanie had always had a teasing, sarcastic, banter uniquely their own. Each playful jab was their secret way of saying I love you.
Seth was showered and dressed when Melanie pulled into the garage. Inside, he breathed a sigh of relief when he saw her. Though he didn’t want to admit it; the voice of panic had sown havoc. His greatest fear was losing the one person who was, and would always be, his world. With great pride he escorted her to the very same café where he’d had lunch earlier.
“You’re going to love this place. Bill, the detective I told you about, took us here for lunch and the food was phenomenal. Not to mention, the dessert menu was downright sinful.”
As the hostess showed them to their seat, Seth smiled at his wife’s reaction. Melanie was soaking in the very essence of the atmosphere: classy but not stuffy, distinctive art from local artists on the walls, and friendly staff. One glance at the menu sealed the deal; Melanie decided if the food was even half as good as it sounded she had a new favorite restaurant. Too busy deliberating between entrees; she hadn’t noticed they’d attracted someone’s attention.
“Back so soon?”