Written by: roseyn
Vince barged into the police station. He was sweaty, out of breath. His car keys jangled, felt strangely heavy in his hand. He found Fiona slumped in an old wooden bench. Her hair hung low, covered most of her pretty face, her small fingers clumsily twisting her white-strapped watch.
Guilt squeezed Vince’s throat, struck him momentarily speechless. In four long strides, he reached her. “Fiona?”
When she looked up, her weary, cheerless eyes told him more than he needed to know. He felt a sharp twist in his already queasy stomach. “Are you alright?” he asked, dropping to his haunches.
Fiona nodded. “I’m sorry, Dad. I didn’t know what else to do.”
“You did the right thing calling me. And it’s I who am sorry.” He swallowed back another punishing surge of guilt. “Tell me again, tell me exactly what happened.”
The unbroken buzz of human activity surrounded them, sharp, urgent voices, phones ringing relentlessly, impatiently, metal framed chairs scraping along the generic epoxy flooring.
“Inspector Rex phoned,” she began. “He said my International License had expired, that I was in a lot of trouble and that it was in my best interests to come down to the station. When I got here, he wanted me to make a statement about what happened yesterday and that it’d better be the truth. Otherwise, I’d be in more trouble. That’s when I rang you.”
“You know he can’t force you to make a statement?”
She shrugged. “He just said that things would go better for me if I did.”
Anger fuelled Vince’s body, gradually extinguishing any guilt. He stood, searched for Rex, found him smugly leaning against a weathered-looking doorjamb. “Damn you, Rex,” he mouthed as he sensed the incredible urge to pulverise his ugly, smirking face.
He grabbed Fiona’s quivery hand instead, and they both left.
The drive home was silent. Vince was in part grateful for it. It allowed him thinking time, without the paranoid hindrances of alcohol.
Had she then been living in Auckland all this time? If not, why were her husband and child here? More importantly, who wanted them dead?
He re-considered his initial belief that he had been framed. The whole idea now seemed ridiculous. It would mean someone knew he’d be driving on that exact road, at that exact moment. And even he didn’t know that.
“Fiona, who else knew where we were yesterday?”
Fiona blinked several times. “Just Sarah.”
“The girl you were getting the notes from?”
She nodded. “Why?”
Fiona fell back into her cold silence, Vince back into his make-believe thoughts. Was Sarah somehow involved? Surely not.
But either one or both drivers of the other vehicles were.
Vince swung into his long, stone covered driveway, slammed the car to a quick stop, decided, for now, it was best that he and Fiona maintained their lies.
Until he found the truth.
From out of nowhere, a woman with mascara-smudged eyes and wild cherry-coloured hair appeared.
Fiona gasped. “Mum?”