Jay was only a few meters away when I noticed him. His usual smug smile was tugged down, the playful gleam gone from his eyes. He was wearing a uniform, black except the silver badge that flashed as he walked under a street light, and it dawned on me that Jay was a police officer. The fact that he hadn’t divulged this information fluttered briefly through my mind. It was promptly buried by dozens of questions, all more pressing in this moment, and I launched into them as soon as he was within earshot.
“Jay, what is going on? What did you mean it was about my parents?”
His hand found my arm, a steady but gentle pull leading me towards one of the benches that dotted Channelside, “We should sit down.”
I allowed him to lead me, stomach flipping, tongue tingling with the need to vomit, ears deafened by the rhythmic whooshing of blood until he took a seat. I followed suit, expectant.
“We have him.”
“Him.” I echoed.
Jay kept his gaze level but didn’t respond. He didn’t need to. I knew who he was. I just needed a minute to process the mixture of emotions that was sweeping over me: the heat of anger was soothed by relief as the buzz of joy was overshadowed by an intense desire for answers. Why had he committed such a heinous crime? Why were my parents, who were beloved by all, his targets? But most of all: Who was he?
“I want to see him.”
Jay nodded, “As soon as there is a court date I’ll let you know. You can attend the hearing and trial. You can give a victim impact statement at sentencing.”
“Where is he now?”
“He’s at the station. He was waiting to be interrogated when I left.” Jay said slowly as if he wasn’t sure he should be telling me at all.
He probably shouldn’t have. “Take me to him.”
“Will, I can’t do that -”
“Take. Me. To. Him.” I enunciated every syllable as I spoke, leaning towards Jay as if I could intimate him into what I was asking.
And maybe it was working. I could tell Jay was conflicted. He wanted to appease me, but he was also an officer. Even I knew that what I was asking of him bent the rules at the minimum. At worst, it was against the law, “Willow, even if I brought you to the station I can’t let you talk to him.”
“I just want to see the man who..” Three months and I still couldn’t bring myself to say it, “I promise I won’t do anything else, Jay. I don’t need to speak to him, just see him.”
Jay rubbed his face, “There’s a one-way mirror but -”
“Thank you!” The phrase fell out of my mouth on repeat as I wrapped Jay into a hug.
He returned the embrace but warned, “Don’t thank me yet.”