The DebtHaving trouble with the names in this one, it's a novella that I just started cause I'm blocked on the others. It's the first few pages of the story.
Thoughts, critiques and general comments are welcome. It's the first real draft of the story.
Every DEBT comes due.
That’s what the note attached to the partially opened front door of Janae Marie Devere’s condominium read.
Still standing on the front porch, Janae made two phone calls one of which was to the police. And the other was to her best friend/part-time lover, Diego Martinez.
She called the police so she could make a report. Janae called Diego so he could investigate and for morale support.
Diego Martinez was more than just a friend to her. He was the only man Janae trusted completely. It didn’t hurt that he also ran one of the top three security and private investigation firms in Detroit. She also happened to be in love with him. Janae kept it at a distance, inside the safety of their friendship, wanting but never telling him.
It was still a nice evening out so she leaned against the hood of her car and waited. She didn’t want to trample on any evidence by going inside or staying on the porch to long.
As she suspected, Diego was the first to arrive. She leaned back onto the car, palms pressed against the steel to keep from running to Diego.
"I got here as fast as I could." He said stepping his six-foot four-inch frame out of his SUV. Diego went over to her and wrapped his arm around her shoulder, pulling her into him.
Janae inhaled the deep, sensuous scent of his aftershave. Light and crisp, never one to overdue, you always had to get closer to smell and appreciate the scent.
"You okay lil’ bit?" he asked, his head cocked to the side to see her face. He involuntarily inhaled the scent of the rosewater spray she wore and brushed a stray lock of ebony hair out of her face.
She nodded weakly, leaning into him even more. Diego gave her a kiss on the forehead, "I’m fine. Shaken up but fine, I didn’t go inside." She leaned her head on his chest and sighed.
"Good." Diego said giving her another squeeze. He knew she was lying because she didn’t protest him calling her by the nickname she’d earned as a child that still followed her to this day and which she loathed.
With Diego came his partner and another one of their friends, Sebastian Goddard.
"Tell us everything." Sebastian spoke with a firm but gentle. He leaned on the opposite side of her on the car as they all waited for the police.
Janae never got a chance to answer and reluctantly, she moved away from the warmth of Diego’s body when the police arrived.
It was strange but the air seemed cooler somehow. She straightened and waited for the officer’s to get closer.
"You called in a complaint?" the first officer who had stepped out of the patrol car said. When he got closer, Janae was able to see that his nameplate read, W. Carlyle.
"What seems to be the problem?" the other officer said, D. Noble asked. He pulled out his notepad.
"I came home and my front door was half open." She explained to them.
"Are you sure you closed it?" Officer Noble asked.
Janae blew out a breath, resisting the urge to roll her eyes, instead, she responded, "Yes sirs. I closed and locked it after I set the security code."
"Okay. And this is your residence?" Officer Noble asked.
"Yes sir." Janae responded.
"And your name, full name please." Officer Noble asked.
"Janae Marie Devere."
"Thank you." He made a note in his note pad, "And do you own or are you renting or purchasing this residence?" Officer Noble inquired.
"I own it. I brought it a little over 2 years ago." Janae replied.
"Maybe the wind blew it open." Office Carlyle suggested, looking around the condominium complex.
"No." Janae shook her head, "If that had happened, I would have gotten a call on my cell phone that the door was open or had been tampered with." She paused, looking each officer in his eyes, "That didn’t happen."
"The lines must have been cut." Diego said.
"Or jammed." Sebastian added.
"And who are you?" Officer Carlyle asked looking from Diego to Sebastian.
"We’re friends." Diego said, stepping up behind Janae, he put his hands on her shoulders, pulling her closer to him.
"We also set up the security for Miss Devere. As well as run the MY Security Agency." Sebastian explained.
Both officers’ nodded.
Officer Noble made a note in his notepad.
"There’s also a note attached to the front door." Diego pointed out.
The officer’s climbed the stairs to the front door. They read the note, looked at each other and then called for back up.
The police were there for over three hours. They questioned Janae, glared at Sebastian and Diego, dusted for fingerprints, more questions, questioned Diego and Sebastian, searched for evidence, messing up her immaculately organized, arranged, and clean house.
When it was over, Diego simply looked at her and said, "You can’t stay here. We’ll have a team over in the morning to go over everything."
"First of all, that’s not necessary. I’m sure I’ll be fine here." Janae told them, "The police went over everything. How are your people going to be able to get anything now?"
"’Cause they’re good. Among the best in the city, if not the state and the Great Lake region," Sebastian explained without hesitation. "And they’re the top in their fields and areas of expertise as well as having been trained by the best. That’s why we hired them."
"Okay. Save the sales pitch for someone else." She paused, looked around the room, "I’m sorry. I’m tired. And I really don’t know who would do this or why? I’m a party/event planner and organizer not someone typically on the list of people who alienate others to do this." She sighed, ran a hand through her ebony hair, "Can you just leave now? I really want to get started here."
"You’re not staying here," Diego said. He had been listening to the conversation but also was mentally going over an inventory of things in Janae’s house that he remembered. He was thankful that he had helped her pick out most of it. He planned on coming back to her place and getting started once he had had her settled at his house.
"Maybe it was a bad party?" Sebastian joked.
"Ha ha ha. " Janae faked a laugh, "Now if you’ll just leave I can try to clean up and get some sleep before your crew gets here."
"You ARE NOT staying here." Diego repeated slowly, emphasizing each word.
"Fine! Take me to the Marriott Downtown then. I just have to pack a bag." Janae said.
"No." Sebastian said stopping Janae’s assent up the stairs to her bedroom, "Leave it."
"Then what the hell am I going to do for clothes?" She said, glaring at him, hands on her hips, from her place on the landing.
"You have clothes at my place that you’ve left." Diego told her, "And before you protest, you’re staying with me. That way I can better protect you."
"Yeah, that’s the reason you want her to stay with you." Sebastian muttered under his breath.
Diego stepped outside to make a phone call and set things up for the next day with their people.
Across the subdivision parking lot, a rented Chevy Blazer sat with its lights and ignition off. The car was backed into the space. The driver leaned forward intently watching the interaction between everyone and all the activity going on at Janae’s.
She watched as some neighbors came out to gawk and a few went over to her, hugging her. She growled, her eyes turning black from their natural gray color.
The car was silent except for the noise from the driver tapping her fingers on the dashboard.
"I noticed you didn’t protest too hard when Diego suggested you stay with him." Sebastian said.
"He didn’t suggest, he ordered." Janae reminded him.
"If it’s a problem, you know my place is huge and way too big for just one person. You can always stay with me." He offered.
"No. That’s okay. Diego’s place is closer." Janae gave him a smile.
Sebastian shook his head and laughed, one of these days those two were going to let the other know how they felt and their relationship was going to go from casual sex and best friends, more than friends to the next level. He knew she was lying but didn’t call her on it, because in actuality, his apartment downtown was closer than Diego’s house which was on the city’s west side.