Leila and Luxe did the usual casual conservation. Small Talk. Leila wasn’t generally a fan of small talk, and while she enjoyed getting to learn the basics of a person; if what he was saying was true, she wanted to know more. He caught on rather quickly her dislike for small talk and called her out on it. She grinned slowly at him, but the smile vanished the moment his hand reached towards her face. She tensed, holding her breath as she allowed him to tuck a lock of her hair back. Leila wasn’t generally a person who liked to be touched by anyone or anything. Normally she would have backed away and told him so, but for some reason she allowed it…. For some reason, that fleeting touch made her shiver. He was single, had never married, but there had been one girl. Of course, there was always the [i one that got away]. He then asked her if she was seeing anyone, or if she was strictly work. Leila shrugged after giving it a bit a thought.
“No. Not really into today’s dating scene. I don’t understand Tinder, and the instant gratification mentality my generation has, makes finding another human with a sane and reasoning head attached to it, nearly impossible. So I guess you could say I’m all about the job right now. However, I would phrase it as: Pursuing my passions.” She gave him a sly grin, “what about you? Anyone one special back at home?” she teased.
[i “No attachments, I do have a cat. Do you enjoy animals?”] A Cat… she wasn’t too surprised by that. With his neo-goth vibe, he really didn’t strike her as a dog person, and if he had a dog, she’d guess it would be something sleek and regal. Greyhound? Even that seemed oddly paired, but a cat or two she could definitely see. She wanted deeper information, what made this guy tick? What were his turn ons, who did he talk to, who does he know? Those sorts of things. Still, she knew the small talk was a necessary evil.
“I love animals. Never home enough to take care of one. My family however has three dogs, two cats, and a small family of hermit crabs,” she told him. “So you just a one cat kind of guy, or are you polyamorous with them? Because if you’re looking to expand the cat family, one of the cats we have we are trying to rehome,” she chuckled. She did find it surprising how easy it was to talk to the mysterious Luxe.
"What in the world..?" The driver suddenly questioned. That was when Leila noticed blue flashing against Luxe’s pale skin. She turned to look out the front window as the car came to a stop and spotted the cop cars the were surrounding her Parent’s home. She tense in her seat and stared on hoping it was one of the neighbors. It wasn’t. She spotted two CSI officers exit out her fucking front door. She didn’t listen to what the driver and cop were talking about, but Leila didn’t care. She stepped out of the cab without another word and moved to rush the house when the female officer speaking with the driver stopped her.
“Ma’am, this is a crime scene. You have some identification on you?”
“Piss off…” She murmured and walked as if in a daze towards the house and army of flashing lights.
“Ma’am!” The cop didn’t take kindly to Leila’s lack of respect to officers -and frankly, at the moment, she didn’t care. Leila cared when the officer put a hand on her shoulder and stopped her. ”Hand over whatever you have. We will be needing you to come down to the precinct-“ Leila looked over at the officer and gave her a disgusted glare.
“This is my house! What is going on! I’m going inside!”
“Ma’am no!” The officer tried.
Shockingly, Leila heard Luxe’s voice interrupt them, deescalating the situation that Leila was creating with her attitude. He asked what was happening, not that either of them got an answer as another officer rushed out to empty the contents of his stomach. Leila glanced over and listened as they two officers now bickered. She spared one glance to Luxe before she used the distraction to her advantage and slipped away to her house.
She bolted, running full speed to the house and even though a couple officers tried to stop her, they gave up when they heard Leila shout.
“MOM!?” She called into the empty house. She noticed the door had been broken, the house was in shambles and there definitely signs of a struggle. The first body she saw was her father’s. Prostrate on the ground, his shotgun laying useless beside him. His throat was mangled covering him in a pool of his own blood that he laid in and soaked up through his clothes. It looked like an animal had mauled him to death. She felt her body grow cold.
“Ma’am,” A male officer tried to collect her shoulders, but she pulled from him.
“No… this isn’t happening…” She breathed, feeling sick and sweaty. Outside the dogs lay in the yard dead. She felt a panic attack growing ever near, but she pushed past it to rush further into the house. “MOM!” She demanded, but the next body she found was her sister’s, mangled and lifeless. Her mother was up the stairs to the second floor, her head bashed in with bits of her brain falling out. Body shaking Leila started up the stairs. “Peter?” She called nervously.
The upstairs for the most part looked untouched. Bloody footprints stalked and stained the hardwood of the upstairs hallway. “Peter?” She called again and went for one of the white washed doors. She opened it and found her nephew’s bed was undone. “Peter, sweetie?” She called. She opened up his closet to look inside, be screamed when a mass of white fur came jumping at her. The God Damn Cat! He hissed and spat, running clear from the room and right out the front door of the house. There were no prints in Peter’s room, but she shoved the clothes in his room out of her way and pushed in at a sliding wall compartment. Doing so caused another shout and wail of terror. This one from Peter. Leila lost it then, falling to her knees in the midst of his shoes and toys and pulled the small six year old boy from the storage cupboard.
“Aunt Lala!” He cried diving into her arms. Leila felt tears falling down her cheeks. Her whole fucking family was dead… but not her precious nephew.
By then, several cops had come running up the stairs after hearing Leila scream. Leila sat in the closet hugging and holding Peter as he cried into her chest.
“I need a medic. Male, child, signs of distress…” A cop said into his radio on his shoulder.
“I scared!” He cried and Leila shushed him.
“Oh I know! I know,” she told him. “I’m here, I’ve got you, and I’m going to take care of you, and we are going to be okay…” she told him. Would she be okay? Sitting here, holding her nephew she realized she’d seen her whole family had been brutally murdered. For Fucks sake, she’d just seen the inside of her mother’s skull!
Leila wasn’t sure how long she sat there with her Nephew, but she sat long enough for the Paramedic to arrive. Two adults and one small autistic child in a small closet made for close spaces, but the EMT looked Peter over and determined he was physically fine. Peter had been spared. Now how would his mind process all this? Therapy… they were both going to need copious amounts of therapy.
“Momma with you?” He asked. Leila, bit her lip and shook her head.
“No baby,” she whispered, and stood up, lifting him into her arms and had him lay his head on her shoulder. A Cop handed her a blanket and Leila draped it over his head and her shoulder, trapping him inside so he wouldn’t see the carnage within his home. The Cop with her kindly grabbed Peter’s bookbag, emptied it, and then filled it with clothes for Leila to take with her for him. She grabbed her sister’s car keys off the kitchen counter and carried Peter, hidden under his blanket out of the house.
She kept her head up the whole time, doing everything in her power not to see her family murdered across the house. CSI still walked through taking photos of everything. When she reached the door her father’s body had already been bagged up and removed, the coroner leaning over her sister. Leila thought she might be sick… she was certain she would be once the shock and reality set in. Leila was shocked to see Luxe was still standing there. What a strange man, most people would have just left. She wouldn’t blame him. Who would want to deal with that kind of drama? She looked at Luxe confused as an officer guided her towards her sister’s car. She would have to go to the precinct for interview.
Peter was crying in confusion and with exhaustion. He didn’t want to get in the car, and he certainly didn’t want his Aunt Lala to leave him alone. Leila didn’t mind his tears, or his screams… she was accustomed to all of it. Like most children with Autism, Peter was no different in the way he also had melt-downs. Hell, Leila wanted to throw down with him, crying and screaming too. This couldn’t be real….
With Peter in the car, Leila looked over to see Luxe was coming her way. Now he was the one giving her the hunters look, just as she’d given it to him earlier in the Uber. Now the roles were reversed, he had the questions. She could seem them burning inside him. She didn’t have time to answer questions right now… she was afraid of the truth it might bring…
That she caused this.
She had stuck her nose where it didn’t belong… and now her family was gone.
What was she going to do?
She glanced back at the car realizing she was going to have some fun days in court ahead of her. Anything to make sure Peter didn’t end up with his junkie piece of shit birth father.
“I suppose you have a lot of questions…” Leila murmured when she sensed Luxe’s presence was close enough to hear her. “I’m sorry, I can’t give you answers… I don’t want to get you involved. This is all…” She stopped to hide her face behind her hands, and fought with herself not to cry. The only thing stopping her was the slam of a hand on the car window. Peter was watching her. Leila quickly lifted her head, eyes glassy and bloodshot, and her lips pursed into a tight line. “All I can tell you,” she said to Luxe while she stared at her nephew, in a way vowing to both of them. “I will figure out who did this and I’m going to make them pay.” At her sides her hands balled into tight fists and a spark flickered in her eyes -one that hungered for vengeance and justice.