Chapter 15

Annie had been questioned and released already, but that was before they knew the whole story. The team surrounded the Perkins house. It was early in the morning, this time, they knew they had to be there before the sun rose as they had caught Annie already outside last time. Two officers with a battering ram broke in the front door and ran up the pristine white stairs of the house and found Annie and Eddie just waking up in their bed. Janet stood like a magnificent statue at the foot of the bed and ordered them to get up and get dressed. Eddie looked terrified, Annie looked furious.

They got out of bed and got dressed. Eddie said nothing. He looked both afraid and confused. Annie had begun to move is swift, angry, jerking motions as she pulled on her clothes. She was staring at the shoes the officers wore in the house. Instead of arguing about being dragged back into the police station, she cared only about the officers shoes on her perfect, white carpet. When she walked by Greta she seethed, “Who the fuck do you think you are?” “A detective with the Portland Police Department” Greta answered proudly, but not without a hint of sarcasm.

Annie and Eddie Perkins were taken to the police station and put into two separate rooms. This was standard practice as the officers did not want them to be able to conspire with one another. Greta prepared herself to question Annie and Janet was in charge of questioning Eddie. Greta went first, Annie watched the interview from the other side of the mirrored glass. Greta walked in and smiled pleasantly, she said, “Eddie, would you like a cup of coffee? Tea? Water?” “No thank you,” Eddie whined, “I want my wife, where is my wife?” Greta said, “you’ll see her soon, I just need you to answer some questions for me first.” “Ok,” Eddie said cautiously, “What do you want to know?”

Greta was ready, she began by asking, “Where did you meet Annie?” Eddie quietly replied, “We met while I was working in LA and she was getting her art degree. We ran into each other on the subway and have been together since,” Eddie said with a small smile. Greta kept the questions coming, “How long did Annie coach the college swim team.” A flicker of something crossed Eddie’s face, but he was able to quickly control it. “She coached there for three years while she finished her MFA.” Greta was salivating, she couldn’t wait to ask the next question, “Why did you leave LA so quickly to come to Portland?” “I got a new job.” Eddie answered simply, “they wanted me up here as soon as I possibly could. They had recently lost and employee unexpectedly and needed me.”

Greta knew it wasn’t going to be that easy, but she couldn’t help but wish it was. “Do you remember a woman named, Genevieve Jones?” Greta asked. “Yes I do,” Eddie responded, “I think she was on the swim team Annie coached. Why?” Greta thought for a moment and responded, “You will find out soon enough. What was your relationship with her?” “I didn’t know any of the women on Annie’s swim team.” Eddie said. Greta asked, “You never went to any of the practices?” Eddie said, “uh, well, I mean, I picked Annie up a few times.” “And during those times, you never once spoke to any of the swimmers?” “I never got the chance! Annie doesn’t like me to talk to other women.” Greta smiled sweetly, “Is it ok if you talk to me, Eddie?” Eddie stammered, placed his hands together on the table and looked directly at Greta. Greta saw something in his eyes that terrified her, a split second, a moment of darkness, he pulled himself together, looked back at the ground and said, “yes.” Just, “yes”. And with that, the conversation was over. Janet stood in the adjacent room listening and shaking her head. She knew enough to know that even though Greta was a skilled interrogator, she wasn’t going to get anything more out of him.

Janet walked out and went down the narrow orange hallway to the next interrogation room. When she opened the door, she could see that Annie was a snake ready to strike. So, slowly, and methodically, she pulled the chair out from under the table, adjusted her suit jacket and sat down. She looked across the table at Annie and said nothing for a long time. Janet wished she could open up her skull and look into the mystery within, but she could not, we just don’t have the technology for that yet. Annie looked back at her, face expressionless, there was a hint of churning waters underneath the placid surface nonetheless. Janet was hopeful that she would get somewhere with this one. So began the dance.

Janet finally asked, “Would you like some coffee, tea, water?” Annie sat silent. Janet said, “OK” let’s just get started then. How do you know Genevieve Jones?” Still Annie said nothing. “Is it true that you were Genevieve’s swim coach?” Annie said nothing, but Janet could see the faint red rising up her neck, just like it did when they had interviewed her in the garden last time. Janet took it as a sign that she was getting somewhere. So she pushed ahead, “Why did you leave LA so abruptly, Annie? Did something happen? Did Eddie hurt Genevieve?” Annie’s face was fully red by this point and she stood up in her chair and yelled, “No! Are you going to arrest me or what?”

Janet saw the red flag and responded, “We are not here to arrest you, we just wanted to ask you some questions.” “Then I am leaving.” Annie stated. She got up and walked out of the room, down the hall and out the door. She had left Eddie behind, it didn’t seem to bother her at all. Janet watched her go in awe, she had left Eddie, just walked out and left him here. They had been brought in a police car, so Annie stood outside, ordered a car, and waited for it to arrive, she got in and away she went. It seemed as if she had forgotten that Eddie was even there.

Greta had finished her interview and watched Annie walk out. She decided to follow her. This was not exactly best practices, but she had this feeling that would just not let up. So she got in her car, and when Annie’s driver pulled out, so did Greta. Halfway there, Greta realized that she should have brought someone with her, she was injured and moving slowly, but she was already too invested and kept going. Annie took the quickest route home. When she got there, she went into the house for a moment and came out wearing her old black rubber boots and carrying her journal. She went to work immediately, taking notes, touching leaves and flower petals, looking for blight and bugs or anything else that could possibly ruin the perfection of her plants.

Greta watched with fascination at how Annie moved and worked. She was meticulous, she missed nothing and wrote furiously. Greta watched Annie set her notebook down on the small black garden table near the door and went inside. Greta was sure she would not get another chance, she ran over to where the journal was ducking and hiding behind bushes as she went. Greta picked up the journal and her stomach dropped and splattered on the gravel beneath her feet. She furiously flipped through the pages in completely and utterly dumbstruck. She heard the door creaking open and in a split second she made a decision she would regret for the rest of her life.

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