GH Tuesday: Day 03 Scene 15
She returned to her desk to find Robbie gone, Megan with her headphones back on and two messages in her inbox. Well, there were a lot more than two in her inbox, but these were the two that got her attention. The first was from kitty789.
- If you want to meet at Starbucks on Broadway, opposite Rindge and Latin, I’ll be there at 3pm.
Rindge and Latin was a school with a good reputation for getting kids into Harvard, hence the high proportion of white kids in attendance, unlike most of the public schools in the Boston area. But it also had it’s share of problems, being the only public high school in Cambridge. Drugs were a perennial issue, as were kids from East Cambridge playing at gangs with the Somerville High kids, acting like they were from Dorchester.
She didn’t know if kitty789 was a student or a teacher there, but she had time to grab a quick sandwich and find out. She replied, agreeing to the meeting.
The second message was from a Lesley University student.
- Do you know about Delgado’s wife?
- No, she emailed back. - Can you fill me in? Can we meet somewhere?
She didn’t wait for a reply (that was what smart phones were for), but changed back into her snow boots and shrugged on her parka.
“Short day?” Ben suggested, looking over at her.
“Chance would be a fine thing,” she grinned. “I’ve a couple of interviews to do.”
“Any excuse to get out on the road,” Ben sniped.
She said nothing. Ben was notorious for doing all his work on the phone and internet. He was effective, but he hated having to leave the office. Megan thought he might be agoraphobic, but Indigo suspected he was just lazy. Phone work is easy, you don’t have the frustration of time swallowed up with travel. You also don’t get to see a person’s face when they’re lying to you, or get the visual clues of their clothes, their apartment, their car. All these things can be important, Warren had taught her that.
She grabbed a sandwich from the foodcourt and drove up Broadway one-handed, scarfing it down. Traffic was light and the drive was short enough that the jeep never really warmed up. She drove with her parka’s hood up for warmth. An ambulance passed in the opposite direction; a banshee, grey-haired and wild-eyed, was holding on for dear life to its roof, howling with glee.
She found a metered parking spot near the library. The snow bank from the blizzard was so large, the jeep was partially blocking traffic, but so was every other car parked on the street. She clambered over the snow bank to feed quarters into the meter, making a mental note, in case she should be bothered to expense them. She walked into the Starbucks at five to three, ordered a pike coffee, added milk to it, and then sat down in a window seat to wait for kitty789. The coffee shop was full of students from the high school, ordering hot chocolates and other non-caffeinated beverages. She wondered how they could afford them. They were noisy, as all teenagers are, and oblivious to everyone around them.
She pinged Kitty a message, indicating she was waiting, wearing a red hoodie under a grey suit jacket (she’d taken her parka off the moment she walked in). There was a message waiting for her from the Lesley student.
- okay. When and where?
Indigo thought. There was no telling how long she’d be with kitty789, but if she made the Lesley student come down as far as Harvard Square, she might balk.
- Can you meet me in about an hour, hour and a half? I can come to you if you say where.
Indigo looked up to see a young Asian woman with pink and blonde hair standing over her. She wore a black puffa coat and little make-up.
“Yes.” Kitty slid into the seat next to her. Though the place was still noisy with school kids, the place was starting to empty out.
“Can I get you a coffee?”
“I’ve got one ordered, thanks.”
Indigo appraised the girl opposite. She looked very young, her nails kept short and painted bright blue, the polish chipped a little. She had a rucksack bookbag and wore black leggings with an oversized grey sweatshirt under her winter coat.
“You’re a student at Rindge and Latin?”
“Oh goodness no,” Kitty gave a nervous laugh. “Joe is many things, but he’s not a cradle snatcher. I’m a teacher.”
“Soy vanilla latte for Kitty!” the barista called and Kitty fetched her drink. She wasn’t much above five feet and though it was hard to tell under the bulky sweater, she seemed very petite. Hard to believe she was old enough to go to high school, let alone teach there.
“What do you teach?” was Indigo’s first question when Kitty sat back down.
“Drama,” Kitty said shyly. “I’m hoping to get into school in New York, but in the meantime, I need to get some work experience.”
“The school in New York, you would teach there, or study?”
“Study. But I want to be able to pay the bills by teaching, if I can. The alternative is this place,” she looked around her with a sigh. “I’d like to avoid it.”
“You were telling me that Joe Delgado’s faults didn’t include liking young girls.”
“What did they include?”
Kitty looked down at her coffee. She’d taken off the lid and was scooping up the foam with her finger and licking it off, like a child playing with her food.
“This is difficult for me to talk about.”
“I mean, I haven’t told anyone,” Kitty looked up, her eyes bright. “It’s so… I know I shouldn’t, but I feel so ashamed.”
“He hurt you?”
Kitty became absorbed in her latte once more.
“Did he hit you?” Indigo tried to keep her voice soft, gentle. This woman wasn’t much younger than her, but she seemed to be a different generation. Vulnerable and soft.
“Did he rape you?”
Kitty shuddered, shut her eyes and shook her head. Indigo wasn’t sure she believed her.
“Was he often violent?”
“No, only towards the end.”
“What set him off, do you know?”
“Anything. Nothing. At the time I thought it was my fault, but looking back…”
“Who ended it, him or you?”
“Oh he did,” Kitty suddenly sounded more grown-up, her voice losing its softness. “I would never have had the guts to leave him, but he found someone else.”
“How long ago was this?”
“About a year ago.” Kitty looked out the window at the passing cars, her voice soft again, the bitterness back under control. The coffee shop was quiet now, the school kids all gone home, or to wherever.
“How long did you date?”
“Seven months,” Kitty looked down at her chipped nails. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this, it probably isn’t relevant to him disappearing.”
“It’s useful to know what kind of man he is,” Indigo was thinking of Delgado’s mother, the fading bruise around her eye. “Do you know who he’s been dating recently? Everyone I spoke to is an ex.”
“There’re a lot of those,” Kitty gave a quiet huff of sardonic laughter. “But no, I don’t know who he was dating. To be honest, I was just so relieved when he left, when I realised he was going to let me go and not bother me any more…”
She shook her head. The foam on her latte was rapidly disappearing, but she’d yet to take an actual drink of it. “I suppose you think I’m pathetic.”
“No,” Indigo hastened to assure her. “I don’t think any such thing. I’m very glad you contacted me. This is useful for me to know. And I think you should tell someone. If not a friend, then there are groups you contact.”
“And tell them what?” Kitty asked, putting the lid back on her coffee. “There aren’t even any bruises anymore.”
“I don’t think you should try to deal with this on your own,” Indigo urged. “I wouldn’t. If it was me, I’d be wanting to reach out to someone, ask for help. There’s no shame in that, you know. Like I say, if not a friend, than a woman’s helpline, something like that. I can get you some details…”
“It’s fine, thanks,” Kitty stood up abruptly, grabbed her coat and rucksack. “I’ve got to go. I’ve nothing else I can tell you.”
“Okay, thanks,” Indigo stood up, but Kitty was already gone, out the door, putting her coat on outside as she walked away. Her coffee remained on the table.
Indigo checked her phone. There was a message from the Lesley student.
- Can you meet me in the Starbucks on Shephard Street at 4.15?
What the hell was it with these students and their liking for $4 coffees and over-priced, under-sized pastries? She was a New England girl herself, raised on Dunkin’ Donuts. But she emailed the student back, agreeing to meet.
If Delgado really did have a wife, one his mother failed to mention, that would be one hell of a break in the case.
© Essie Gilbey, 2014