Home > Left to Envy (Adele Sharp #6)(8)

Left to Envy (Adele Sharp #6)(8)
Author: Blake Pierce

Sometimes, boundaries were set for a good reason. And in John’s estimation, that reason was often an invitation for him to cross it.

The case of the copycat killer was up to him. It had originally been assigned to Agent Paige, but he’d begged, pleaded, and bribed. After nearly three eighteen-hour days of Paige’s paperwork, and a series of promises to Foucault he’d be on his best behavior, he’d been assigned the case.

He shivered, remembering the crime scene in the dingy park, beneath the malfunctioning safety light. The young woman had been tortured to death, and such images were hard to dislodge from one’s memory. Which was why he was here.

For a moment, John stood on the threshold, holding the handle but not turning it. The metal was cold beneath his fingertips.

Some boundaries couldn’t be uncrossed. He knew more about the case than most of the local authorities. Adele had let him in on her own findings.

And yet, the trail was going cold. He hadn’t managed to come up with anything new.

“Which is why I’m here,” he said, speaking to the door. Perhaps by hearing the words it would ease his conscience to what he was about to do.

He dabbed at a tooth with the tip of his tongue and then pushed open the door, stepping into Adele Sharp’s apartment in Paris.

As he did, he quickly closed the door behind him. The moment it clicked shut, he breathed a slow sigh of relief. Invading the apartment of his colleague and friend wouldn’t bear up under witness speculation.

Adele had shared with him things she’d known about the case. Things even the locals didn’t have. Things that weren’t even in the case files. But now, a week had passed since the copycat killer had attacked, and there were no leads. But John wasn’t one to be held back by setbacks. If anyone had something hidden away, it would be Adele.

The tall Frenchman scratched at the scar beneath his chin, moving slowly through the apartment. The floorboards creaked beneath his feet, reminding him of the age of the building. One of the older apartment complexes in Paris. There was a neat row of dishes in a dry rack by the sink. He spotted a cereal bowl, yet to be cleaned, resting in one of the basins. Beside the fridge, the microwave, and the oven, the kitchen was relatively sparse, displaying only a single cupboard for dishes.

Adele was often the sort to pack light. It allowed her to move at a moment’s notice.

He wrinkled his brow at this thought. Adele was her own woman. She could make up her mind about what she wanted to do with her life. She’d been very clear the last time they’d spoken. She wanted some space.

He moved further into the apartment, glancing at the furniture in the living room just off the kitchen. Also small and sparse. This was not a home for entertaining guests. There wasn’t even a TV. He moved down the hall, heading past the bathroom and toward the single bedroom.

The door was slightly ajar, and his hand hovered.

John wasn’t familiar with guilt. It wasn’t an emotion that cropped up that much in his life. So it took him a moment to realize the source of the needles in his stomach.

If Adele ever found out, she wouldn’t be happy. But then again, she had already distanced herself. He had thought things were changing between them. He remembered their kiss, the night spent in the motel after news about Robert. Then again, maybe she had just been emotional.

But he also remembered the time at Robert’s swimming pool, the attempted kiss in the parking lot outside the hospital. Then again, if they really were so close, how come he had never been here before? Her apartment wasn’t exactly what he had imagined. But it wasn’t far. Neat, sparse, lacking most modes of human entertainment or comfort. He had seen soldiers with similar arrays, even after returning from duty. Sometimes training was hard to forget.

John moved into her bedroom, steeling himself. If he was going to do it, he would do it right. Besides, if he managed to find this killer, she’d thank him soon enough.

He moved across toward the bed with a single pillow and a thin blanket. Again, very little comfort. No TV in here either.

He moved over to the desk, noting a thin layer of dust had accumulated across the back. A rectangular portion in the center of the desk, mostly clear of dust, suggested this was where Adele would place her laptop when she worked.

He began scanning the contents of the first drawer.

He tried the second drawer, and it was stuck at first, but as it pulled, it creaked against the wood. A pile of sticky notes, some staples, an old folder which was empty when he glanced inside.

He wrinkled his nose and turned toward the bed, dropping to hands and knees. He grunted as he peered beneath the frame and spotted an empty suitcase. Fitting. A clean sweatband sat on a pair of blue and gray running shoes.

He grunted as he pushed up, moving over to the nightstand. A single lamp, with no shade. And there, a small journal. He lifted the journal and opened it, but it was empty. He frowned, and spotted a couple of places where notes had been torn out.

He placed it back down. As he did, a piece of paper fluttered out of the journal and fell behind the desk.

He frowned, peering at it, but then shook his head. Just a piece of trash.

For a moment, he thought to do her a favor and throw it away, but then decided he ought to leave the thing where he found it unless he wanted to face questions he had no answers for. As he began to place the piece of paper back into the notebook, he paused.

He lifted the thing; not paper. Rather a wrapper. The yellowish-brown wrapper of a Carambar.

Adele had spoken of them before. In fact, he seemed to recollect they had something to do with her mother’s killer. Foucault had chewed her out for interviewing factory workers in a chocolate bar packing facility.

He shifted and flipped open the wrapper. There, in marker, were written the words, “I miss her too.”

John stared, and then felt a prickle across his spine. This wasn’t Adele’s handwriting.

I miss her too.

Not trash then. Something important.

The wrapper looked fresh enough. So not something from a decade ago, not something old.

Her father? John highly doubted it. Adele and her father hadn’t been on good terms. He wouldn’t want to agitate old wounds.

Adele had once mentioned someone taunting her mother with jokes on wrappers. And now this…

He stared at the little wrapper, pulled out his phone, and took a photo of it.

Adele had been on the right trail. He took a picture, and then another, and then placed the strange wrapper back in the notebook and placed it back on the nightstand. After another quick survey of the room, refusing to go through her clothing drawer, deciding that some things were best left unseen, he turned and moved out of the room.

Adele had been on the right trail. But he’d heard what had happened at the crime scene in Paris. He’d heard the quaver in her voice when he’d talked to her. He’d seen that sort of PTSD before. Many times in soldiers. Hell, he’d tasted his own share.

Adele would come back at her own pace. She always did. No one was nearly as relentless. And in the meantime, John would make sure she had something to come back to. Something that would blow the case wide open. Now, he just had to find what that was.






Adele had once heard that Italy had some of the best views in the world. Sitting in the precinct at the Vatican, staring across the break room table where Agent Leoni was running files on his computer, she couldn’t help but agree.

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