It had been many weeks since Tess and Phil began their rituals of lunch and cocktail meetings. Tess had remembered their first cocktail meeting. They had scheduled it right after they met at Starbuck’s.
At first, they had a tempestuous nature to their relationship upon her revelation that it had been more than just a TV appearance that had sucked her into the case not just her desire to write true crime. What Tess had rarely shared with anyone were her psychic gifts. It hadn’t been just the body in the trunk or the handsome detective who had ignited a passionate desire to know what had happened and share it.
After she had seen the show, she had gone to bed that night and had a dream. She had seen a woman’s hand on the trunk of the Camry, but it hadn’t just been the hand it had been the feelings – like emotions plugged into and replacing her own. It had been the yearning she felt that pulled her heart. The woman’s distress along with her intense craving had drawn in Tess. She had felt a sorrow and a need for love. This pain had been like a residual trace feelings left behind in Tess’ mind like an aching numbness and a depth of unrealized desire. This strange connection had clung to Tess’ being like an ardent lover bound to his desire to make love to his beloved. It also had made Tess want to hug someone she had never met and reassure her life would get better.
She had sensed from the first meeting that Phil wouldn’t be easily convinced that she could use her psychic gifts to help the case. She had felt he was a skeptic; but she had known she would have to tell him regardless, so she had decided to reveal it during their first cocktail meeting.
She walked up the stairs to The Mix, which was located on the second floor of a downtown mall. She stopped to fluff her strawberry blonde curls in the mirror that lined the stairwell. She smiled with her raspberry-frosted lips. She wore faded designer jeans and a grape-colored T-shirt with a scooped neck that tied at the waist and let the drawstring hang. She also wore matching White House Black Market black strappy sandals that sexed up her look. Her ever-growing crush on Phil had influenced just how hot she had wanted to look for him. He was dryly funny with her, and she saw him look at her in ways that suggested a mutual crash, but still he maintained at a professional distance.
Once she got to the top of the stairs, she looked around. The space was designed in modern chic with brown leather chairs that were rounded with deep seats that hung close to the floor. Various patent-leather lounges were puzzled together in zigzag shapes, and to the right was a glass wall that quartered off the outdoor patio with similar furnishings and fire pits for guests to eat appetizers, drink frothy cocktails, and sip expensive wines.
She noticed Phil sitting on an uncomfortable barstool pushed up against the slick, black bar. His head was lowered, and this time it was he who played with a matchbook even though in California you could not smoke in bars, and most health-conscious Californians didn’t smoke these days anyway.
She made her way over toward Phil, and she didn’t notice all the men whose heads turned to watch the pretty woman pass. She wasn’t one to notice men’s heads turn. She was always thinking and focused, and she didn’t pay attention to what was around her, which her Grandma Murphy had warned her about safety. The warning had gone unheeded. Tess really didn’t have the mind to pay attention despite what anybody suggested she do.
Today’s singular focus was on her handsome detective whom she had imagined seducing and kissing when she closed her eyes at night. Her fantasies involved brash moves in which she would crawl up to him while he lay amused against a black headboard; but the idea always got interrupted with lack of knowledge of what his full lips really felt and tasted like. She came up quietly and touched his muscular bicep to get his attention. His muscles were tight and well-formed, which caused her to have a surge of lust, but she held her desires in-check. She also hated chasing men, and she would not give her smug detective a hint about the carnal knowledge she wished to possess about him.
“Well, look at you. All normal citizen and all,” she teased as she sat down next to him.
She saw Phil’s eyes run her up and down, and she felt positive that qualified as an eye-fuck.
“So, you’re here right on time,” said Phil. “I thought I might have to take these,” he gestured to the matches, “and fire up a stogie outside.”
Tess grimaced, “You smoke?”
He held his fingers just an inch apart and shrugged.
“Oh,” she said with disappointment.
Phil took this as a cue to wave over the bartender, a young man with a clean-shaven head and a nose ring in his right nostril.
“I’ll have a dirty martini, and my friend here will have …”
Tess became comfortable and thought for a second, “A chocolate martini.”
Phil waved that off and rolled his eyes, “That’s dessert,” he groaned.
“Tastes like it, too,” she replied with a pleased smile.
“So, Tess what do you want to know?”
“Well, I thought it was strange you found a body in a Camry, and I had this weird dream the day before. It was like déjà vu. I saw that Camry. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but I had this feeling about it. And I had these feelings of depression and sadness and … yeah, longing.”
“Are you psychic or something?” chuckled Phil.
“Don’t make fun. Nonbelievers have gifts, too, they just don’t know it,” she said just as her “dessert” arrived in a chocolate-coated martini glass. “I have visions. I don’t know when they’ll strike. They just do at odd times. Loading the dishwasher, making the bed, whatever.”
“And you had a vision of the car? What about the person in the trunk?”
“Nothing … just the car.”
Phil’s dirty martini had arrived. He nursed it and plucked the green olive off the toothpick to eat it.
“Well, we have prints of the car’s owner, a one Mia McIntyre, but she disappeared. Her husband is gone, too, but her little girls are with the grandparents who said one day the dad came by and dropped them off to go to the movies and he never returned. The couple was in the middle of a really nasty divorce I was told. We identified the body as one Rachelle Anne Fernando, some gal from the East Coast. Died, blunt trauma to the head. Found some of Rachelle’s blood at Mia’s place, which indicates the kill took place there. No idea about motive. And that Tess is all we got to date.”
Tess sipped her sweet drink and pondered that information. She closed her eyes to remember the dream, but all she could see was a feminine hand on the trunk. She opened her eyes. She glanced at Phil who looked skeptical.
“Really Houdini, you going to pull a rabbit, too?”
Tess shook her head and said, “It’s the woman, Mia. She dumped the body, but …” she paused, “I’m not sure she killed her.”
“What? You can’t know that?” Phil shook his head. “In homicide they call that bullshit.”
“Whatever, Phil,” she sneered at him. “I had the vision; saw your show, and I just have this ability to see things. I’m not embarrassed about it.”
“You go to Psychic Fairs and let some lady named ‘Crystal’ tell you, ‘You’ll meet a nice boy and get married in the year 2025’. You go for that crap?”
“You mocking me? Cause if you’re mocking me, I’m going to prove you’re wrong.”
“We got those government-certified psychics who come into the department all the time, and frankly nine times out of 10, they’re wrong.”
“Well, okay fine so maybe one says, ‘I see … a gold scarf and a pearl necklace,’ but the case doesn’t get solved that way.”
“But there was a scarf and necklace?”
Phil flipped the matchbook case away toward the bar, turned to her, and put his hand up on the bar, “All right, and your point is …”
“My point is that I have some psychic connection to this case, and I don’t know why or how, but I’m going to write a book about it, and you’re going to help me,” she replied with a raised eyebrow.
Phil glanced at her and rolled his eyes. Tess felt an increasing attraction toward her cynical detective. She noticed his blue eye deepen in contrast to his brown eye. He was annoyed with her, but she didn’t let that cool her desire for him that kept fluttering in her stomach and dampening her black-silk panties. She crossed her legs and tightened her thighs to suppress the desire to reach down and relieve her own passion. She shifted uncomfortably, and the booze heating up her insides didn’t help alleviate her urge to reach across to stroke his package – you know just to find out how big a surprise she might be in for.
As for his displeasure in her story, she knew she would just have to show him. Besides how was she supposed to explain her gifts to some guy who clearly thought that a chakra was an ’80s rock band? Even her own father had wanted to take her to the funny farm when as a small child she had seen what she thought was a hunter wearing a red jacket in the woods. When she had told her father, he had said there was no hunter in the woods. Young Tess had pointed to the man in the distance. She had seen him walking with a rifle in one hand with his head down. Her father told her there was no one there, and that he intended to get her head examined when she got home. This threat scared her along with the vision of the man who was still clearly walking through the woods.
As she grew older, her visions increased between seeing ghosts and predicting the future. To her girlfriend’s chagrin, she could always tell them when prospective boyfriends wouldn’t last or when she would get married. All of it always turned out to be true, so none of Tess’ friends ever questioned her abilities. Now she had her sexy detective annoyed over her revelation of why she took an interest in the case; but it didn’t matter. She was determined to continue.
Phil groaned at her and said, “All right there, Psychic Network, I’ll tell you we don’t think it was the woman who did it anyway. From what we know this Mia gal was a tall, petite thing. Her friends and family said she was a total pacifist and never hit a thing in her life. She didn’t believe in spanking kids either. The kids said they never so much as had a pat on the ass let alone a good old-fashioned swat. Mom was sweet and gentle by all accounts, but they did say the dad was a real piece of work – selfish prick. If anything they would have predicted she shoved his ass in the trunk not some stranger.”
“It wasn’t her.”
“Oh, you got evidence?”
“No, it wasn’t her,” Tess reiterated.
“Well, you’re so certain then who was it? Lead me to the person. Let’s make some arrests.”
“Oh, I’ll help.”
“What? You got a degree in forensic science now, too?”
Tess started laughing and took another sip, “Nope, just got this,” and she tapped the side of her head and winked. “And now you,” she said and fluttered her eyelashes. Tess noted how carefully Phil watched her. She saw a little smile cross his lips, and she wondered about that bit of pleasure on his face. She was definitely attracted to him, and from that night forward she made him the object of her sexual fantasies.