Dust Up with the Detective

Dust Up with the Detective by Danica Winters Read Free Book Online

Book: Dust Up with the Detective by Danica Winters Read Free Book Online
Authors: Danica Winters
Everything from the red-and-white-checkered tablecloths to the hanging stained glass lights was the same. It even smelled the same—yeasty with a hint of garlic and overcooked dough. The place was nostalgic in all the wrong ways.
    His parents were sitting at their regular booth, and he made his way over.
    “Hiya, Jeremy,” his mom said in an overly chipper voice.
    He nodded and sat down next to her.
    “Did you talk to Robert?” his father asked.
    Maybe it had been an error to meet them in a public place to tell them about Robert’s death, but at least this way they couldn’t start fighting.
    He picked up the napkin in front of him and started rolling the paper into little balls. “I saw him.”
    “Did you tell him that he needs to call his mother?” she asked, taking a dainty sip of her pop.
    “Actually, I couldn’t tell him anything.” He laid the napkin to rest on the table. “Mom, Dad, I have some bad news.”
    “Is Robert in trouble again?” his father started. “I tell you, I’m going to have to sell our house to pay for his bail this time. He’s got me about tapped out.”
    “He’s not in jail.” Jeremy ran his hands over his face and looked up, across the table at his father. “Robert’s dead.”
    His father’s mouth hung open, and his mother turned to stone next to him. He instantly wished he had taken Blake’s offer of coming along to tell his family. Maybe she could have softened the blow. Maybe the news would have been better coming from a woman. Yet, after their kiss, it felt like the only thing she wanted to do was get away from him. No, there was only him to impart the news of his brother’s death.
    “We found Robert’s body. It’s on its way to the Missoula Crime Lab for an autopsy. Right now the cause of death is unclear, but we should know soon.”
    “You don’t know how he died?” his mother asked in a stunned whisper.
    He put his arm around her and pulled her close. “He died instantly from a gunshot wound. Other than that, there’s not much I can say.”
    He envisioned Robert’s body slumped over. The gunshot to his head. The blood trickling down his neck, staining his shirt. He tried to blink the images away but failed.
    His mother looked across the table at his father. “I told you that you should have gone out there sooner, Glen,” she spat. “If you would have just listened.”
    “Veronica, this is hardly the first time Robert hadn’t called us back. If I ran out there every time you wanted to, we’d practically live with him.”
    “If we had, maybe he wouldn’t be dead.” His mother started to cry. She pulled away from Jeremy’s hug and ran out of the restaurant.
    The beep, beep, beep of some video game in the back room echoed through his thoughts. He had hoped things wouldn’t have gone this way, but his parents would never change—they would forever live in a state of turmoil.
    His father was staring at his hands. “Do you think he did it to himself?” he finally asked.
    Jeremy shrugged. If he had to guess, the whole scene felt off . When most people committed suicide they left something to explain why, and normally there was some sort of indicator. Sure, Robert had been acting strange, but if he had been planning on suicide, he would have been getting rid of personal effects and saying his goodbyes—but none of that had happened.
    Then again, maybe it was impromptu. Things with Tiffany were going to hell, so maybe he thought he could make her pay by taking his own life. But that didn’t account for the mine entrance’s collapse. Either there had been some kind of accident that had led to the collapse or someone else had been involved.
    If he listened to his gut, someone had murdered his brother. He thought of Blake. She must have been thinking the same as he was.
    “I don’t know, Dad.”
    “Robert and I have had our fair share of problems, but just like you, he’s my son... I need to know what happened.”
    “Don’t worry, Dad. Come hell or

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