The Neighbours: Part II

It took extra effort for Alex to keep Toby a safe distance from the bloody heap of fabric. The blood was drying so it looked like a grotesque tie dye of reds and rusts. The fact it wasn’t fully a dark rust meant it was fairly fresh since it was a warm late summer afternoon. Dragging Toby away, Alex juggled her next move in her brain. Call the cops or leave it alone. Given her day at work and shirking her responsibilities there she decided to call the police.

A non-emergency call is not a priority. They would send someone shortly. So Alex figures she had enough time to let Toby relieve himself with a short walk around the block. They head out to a quiet street; things died down activity wise at dinner time. Kids were called home to eat before the next series of events such as little league or girl guides. Seemed like there was always movement from mini van to house to mini van. And in between the kids played outdoors or at someone’s house. Alex wondered about the shirt in her lane way. And hoped that it wasn’t anything sinister. Not wanting to let her mind take her on a “what if” journey she returned her mental focus to her work dilemma.

Her colleague Carrie worked in the marketing department. They had started at the firm 12 years earlier as eager college grads on their first job. Both had interned at the company and that’s how they met. Each year the company took on interns from universities in the province to let them experience the real world. For Alex that meant making copies of employee handbooks and posting health and safety memos. For Carrie it was consumer survey data entry and providing hostess services for endless marketing meetings. They were both hired on full time after their graduation. Alex was working towards her HR certification and designation, the CHRP (entry level designation). Carrie was placed in the newly formed Social Media Group; they managed the various platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram.

Their work friendship flourished as they learned the ropes together. They enjoyed frequent lunch breaks in the cafeteria and then it morphed naturally into off site get togethers. Then they met each others boyfriends and double dated. As young professionals they celebrated work milestones and life events. Both married their boyfriends and were involved in each others weddings and, ultimately, Alex’s divorce 6 years later. There wasn’t much the two didn’t share. Carries husband Tim was a physiotherapist who worked out of his clinic and at clients homes; his practice was busy and lucrative almost from the start. Carrie and Tim decided that kids didn’t fit into their driven schedules. Unlike Alex who felt the tug at her maternal strings but her ex didn’t feel the same. Ultimately it caused a rift that couldn’t be repaired and the inevitable split occurred. In the years since her split Alex had tested the dating waters but was to this point not successful and preferred the company of Toby to men. It seemed like the best men turned out to be married and the others were annoying players still grappling up the ladder in their careers.

Carrie and Tim were consumed by their careers. Both had hit their stride and were making their mark. Both had achieved great success and the accolades that followed. Carrie had been recognized both individually and with her team at the CMAs (Canadian Marketing Awards) several times. So with stars on the rise how did Carrie get embroiled in this messy situation?

Alex reviewed the complaint in her head: Luke, a newly hired advertising apprentice, alleged that Carrie made flirtatious comments to him in public work spaces over a period of time. (Witnesses?) Eventually the comments turned into gestures; touching, bumping. Luke then advised Carrie he wasn’t interested and the gestures were unwanted. Carrie made yet another attempt when the two were alone in the boardroom between meetings. At this interaction Luke physically pushed Carrie away and left the room. Carrie thereafter engaged in a series of acts to make Luke look bad and jeopardize his position; Luke was put on warning by his boss.

Alex couldn’t reconcile the interaction between Carrie and Luke. Surely Carrie would have made a comment about Luke to her? Even something jokingly about him which was Carrie’s style.

Alex was snapped out of her work trance when the cop car pulled into her driveway and Toby let loose the alarm barking system. Alex stepped outside without Toby (who was not impressed) to meet the cop. A young cop stepped out if the vehicle and introduced himself. Alex told him the basic facts while he took notes. Then she showed him the shirt in a heap. The shirt now was almost fully dried. The young cop took a few photos and then bagged the shirt. He told her that they would keep the shirt in their forensic department until (if) a connection emerged. Like what Alex wanted to know. The cop wouldn’t speculate but indicated that the database they used picked up on key words entered in by all law enforcement. Should a match occur they would take the next steps and she may have to make a formal statement. He encouraged her to jot down specifics (timelines and observations) while they were fresh. He left leaving Alex with more questions than answers.

Alex poured herself a glass of wine and started typing into her notes feature on her phone. She replayed the afternoons events chronologically including leaving work early and her dogs strange behaviour. After some time and lengthy report, Alex realized her evening had been chewed up and she (nor Toby) had eaten dinner. But she’d made a good dent in her bottle of wine. She peeked into the fridge to find something to satisfy them both. Leftover meatloaf it is. Hers with a small salad and Toby’s nicely mixed with yummy kibble.

Later as she crawled into bed with Toby she reviewed the days happenings. It was a day in the “strange” category for sure. So strange in fact that her indecision on whether to talk to Carrie was moot. She started to dread the next days roster of meetings.

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