So, on this cold November morning, where a good dozen police officers were going sifting through evidence and taking copious pictures twelve floors below us, instead of her. typical, skin baring garb, that yes, she’d be wearing at least until advent, she was in a turtleneck, with sleeves covering her skin, all the way down to her wrists. And instead of her. typical mid-thigh skirt, she was wearing a pair of slacks.
This wasn’t to say she still didn’t look good. But I knew what she was hiding.
You understand now, right? Teresa is a werewolf. And, despite what some people still think and occasionally fill the conservative airwaves with, it wasn’t her fault. She just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. And yeah, the guy who killed her is still in jail and will be for at least the next twenty years if we are all lucky. It’s tough way to die, raped and stabbed to death, but she recovered well, all things considered. And then there were the reports of hate crimes targeting people like her on the news every day.
And she aced the interview. I am lucky to have her on staff.
So, when I got into the office that morning, I looked over at her desk, so what she was wearing, and we went through the monthly ritual.
“That time of the month again,” she almost growled.
I’m must have had my usual smirk on my face at that lament, because she offered me one of her patented glares. It didn’t really fit my mood, more of an automatic reflex. .And then she told me off, pretty graphically.
My mental reflexes seemed intact despite the apprehension that I could feel all the way to my bones.
“You know that’s not anatomically possible,” I said despite myself.
It’s something we do. It cuts the tension and gets both of us through the day better, on days like these. But today it was for her benefit alone.
“When are you going down,” she asked back in sympathetic mode.
Oh, bloody apartment 212? Or so that’s how Arturo had described it while crossing himself several times when we met only a few hours ago.
“I’m not,” I told her. “You haven’t been through a death like this in the building. I’ve got to send out emails, texts, a press release. Emily’s going to need to hear about this before she sees it splashed across the news. Vaclav too. I’m going to have to compile a shitload of forms and waivers for him to look over.”
Teresa stared at me. So? her eyes, the expression on her face told me.
“Fingers dropped by a few minutes back.” Teresa told me, looking confused at my desired plans. “He told me he’s expecting you. I thought–”
“You thought what,” I snapped, I couldn’t help myself. “That an apartment covered in the blood was something I need to see? That I had any reason to go down there? Oh sure, nothing says good morning like a bunch of cops pouring over the scene a suspicious death.”
“I’m–“ she started a response, then stopped herself, clearly taken aback at the strength of my reaction. You know, I was too. That dream, it really wormed its way into my skull.
“He acted like you know all about it. He’s a police detective,” she argued. “What was I supposed to do? Tell him to f-off?”
Oh great, now I’d made her pissed, for real. Just the way to start of a morning at the office, both of us on edge.
“I’m sorry,” I told her, looked her in her angry and hurt brown eyes. “I didn’t mean that. You did okay, you didn’t know. I’ll handle it. All right.”
She nodded, that sort of nod women give you when you will handle it.
I turned the knob on my office door, looked back at her after I opened it.
“It’s bad, isn’t it?” she asked, I looked back to see her curling her upper lip, seeming kind of caught between dread and morbid curiosity. “Arturo told me it was bad, in between all that Spanish.”
“Then you should believe him,” I told her. “But if you don’t, take a look outside and tell me what all those police vehicles can tell you. But shit happens, and we have to deal with it. Or at least, I have to.”
She stared at me, as if expecting more. What more was there to say?
“We’ll get through this,” I told her. “It’s happened before, it’ll happen again.”
But, as I was to find out, I was wrong. And in the worst way.