[size=9]February 5, 2018[/size]
?Hey boss?? Alex Brighton opened the door to Cane?s office after knocking, poking his head inside.
Cane was seated at his desk which was covered with paperwork of all kinds; there was a method to the madness, but he was the only one who knew what it was. How he managed to keep track in the chaos was a mystery, and yet all the bills were paid on time, payroll completed, bank notes processed. The only thing he required was to be left alone when busy -- something Alex was not currently doing.
Looking up in mild irritation, Cane eyed the young man expectantly. What?
?There?s a couple officers here. Say they need to talk to you.? Alex?s expression was uncertain.
Sighing, Cane straightened up and sat back in his chair. ?All right. Send ?em in then, Alex.?
A pair of somber officials dressed in neat gray uniforms filed into the office. Cane didn?t move from his relaxed position until the taller of the two closed the office door behind her.
?The one and only,? he answered easily.
?I?m Inspector Miranti,? the woman replied. She gestured to the shorter male with her and said, ?This is Inspector Stitt.? Stepping closer, she pulled a clear plastic business card from her chest pocket and handed it over to Cane. ?Do you know Lirssa Redbane Sarengrave al Amat??
?Yeah,? he replied cautiously. The Cajun took the fancy holo card containing all of the Inspector?s credentials, barely glancing at it before frowning at the pair of suits. ?What?s this about??
?Sir, we sincerely regret to inform you that Ms. al Amat was killed in an accident outside the 11th District Courthouse in Stars End on January 30th.? Inspector Miranti paused there to give Canaan time to absorb the information and react, but he only continued to stare at her. As the growing silence became uncomfortable, she looked aside at her partner and took another tentative step forward. ?We have grief counselors available to speak with you if--?
?I don?t need a grief counselor,? Cane interrupted dully.
?Of course, Mr. Devillier. Everyone processes differently. I understand you worked with Ms. al Amat? Were you two close??
?She--? Start and stop. Canaan was having trouble concentrating. This wasn?t happening like last time -- when Lirssa?s ship sailed into the sun, there had been a grapevine of gossip that carried the news to his ears. He hadn?t believed it then, refused to accept what could not be physically confirmed. But this was different. Logic added up all the pieces for him in his head so that it made perfect sense. An undeniable, inescapable truth. He closed his eyes. ?Yes.?
?We?re very sorry for your loss.? The words solemn, but earnest.
Mind spinning, Cane got up from the chair to stretch his legs and crossed both arms tightly over his chest. ?What happened??
?She was stabbed,? Stitt said gently. ?Emergency officials were dispatched quickly, but Ms. al Amat expired on the scene.?
Cane frowned. ?Expired. You make her sound like something gone bad.?
?I?m sorry.? Inspector Miranti interjected quickly. ?We mean no disrespect to the victim, or to you, sir. The loss of a life is supremely consequential. We?re doing everything within our power to ensure Ms. al Amat receives all the dignity she deserves.?
He?d gotten over the poor verb usage before Miranti had even gotten around to apologizing, but let her drone on without interruption until she was finished. It gave him time to think. Cane couldn?t figure out why they?d come to him specifically. The bright image of Lirssa?s father?s face flashed behind his closed eyelids. He?d only met the man once, didn?t like him. And yet he felt a stab of jealousy. It was unlikely he could even be found to inform. Wherever Ali al Amat was, he?d probably never learn of his daughter?s fate, leaving this burden for Cane to bear. The spark of dawning realization burned low but hot in his chest. He opened his eyes.
?It?s been, what? A week? Why are you just telling me this now??
Inspector Miranti?s expression was apologetic. Cane didn?t doubt she felt genuine regret in bringing this news to him. ?We have been unable to locate any relatives; Ms. al Amat did not have a designated next of kin contact. But in our search, we managed to discover that you, sir, are listed as the victim?s executor. In the event that a family member cannot be reached, the disposition of the body falls to the executor.?
Cane was falling. Though he?d about guessed as much before asking, the confirmation felt like having the rug pulled out from under his feet. His body felt as though it was stuck in a perpetual state of plummeting to the ground, the swooping sensation in his stomach never quite letting up. His breath left him in a rush as everything, slowly, started sinking in.
Lirssa was dead. His girl was gone and she?d saddled him with the aftermath. It was just like her to have never even asked him if it was a responsibility he wanted. Imagining Lir in the midst of deciding this sassy, secret rebellion made him smile ruefully despite the expanding hollow emptiness he felt.
?Well ****.? The Cajun unlocked his arms and ran a hand through his hair, then over his face to scrub the smile and all the hurt away. He looked around the cluttered disarray of his office in search of his phone. Work would have to wait, everything would have to wait now. ?Take me to her.?