Confessions of a She-Geek

June 5, 2016

Anchor Point, part 3

Filed under: Anchor Point — Teresa @ 8:03 pm

Libby waited anxiously for the police to arrive, grateful that Bob had arranged for her co-workers to cover for the time being. Given how distracted Libby was, it was unlikely that she’d be of much use fielding technical problems until this interview was out of the way.

She was still surprised that she hadn’t been asked to come to the Law Enforcement Center to give her statement, but apparently whoever was conducting the investigation either didn’t want to wait or was already out of the office and found it more expedient for the interviewer to come to her.

Finally at half past ten, two suited men approached the reception desk. After exchanging a few quick words with them, Tina pointed at Libby. The men nodded, then made a beeline for Libby’s desk as Tina attempted to watch what was happening without giving the appearance of watching. In Libby’s opinion, Tina failed miserably in her efforts.

Rising nervously, Libby waited as the men closed the distance, coming to a stop by Libby’s desk.

“Libby Edwards?” The taller one spoke while his slightly-less-tall companion looked on.

“Yes.”

“Ms. Edwards, thank you for agreeing to talk with us today. I’m Detective Delgado; this is Detective Chau. Is there somewhere private we can speak?” The detective managed to be simultaneously deferential and authoritative.

Libby gestured toward Bob’s office. “We can use my manager’s office.” She led the way, navigating between the rows of desks separated by low partitions.

As they entered Bob’s office, Libby wondered what the protocol was, seating-wise. Should she be behind the desk as the “host”? Or should one of the detectives sit there since they’d be running the interview?

Detective Delgado took the guesswork out of the way by perching on the edge of Bob’s desk while his partner and Libby sat in the chairs. at a look from Delgado, Detective Chau closed the door.

“Okay, Ms. Edwards. Why don’t you start at the beginning and walk us through what happened this morning?” Both detectives watched Libby intently, pens poised over their notepads.

As they did this, Libby became gradually aware of a faint sense of unease, reminiscent of how she’d felt when she’d encountered Annie/Anita this morning. “Well, I was getting ready for work this morning, and -”

Chau held up a hand. “Excuse me. About what time would you say this was, so we can establish a timeline?”

“Oh. Maybe 5:15?”

Chau nodded and scribbled something in his notebook. “Thanks. What happened next?”

“The doorbell rang.”

“Would it be safe to say this is not a common occurrence for you?”

Huh? What did that have to do with anything?

Something must have shown on her face, because Chau added, “If not, there’s an outside chance that someone else might have seen something; another possible lead.” He leaned toward Libby slightly, leaving Libby fighting the urge to lean away slightly in compensation.

That…  kind of made sense, Libby supposed. And it wasn’t like Libby had a lot of firsthand experience with police interviews anyway; what little she knew was gleaned from various TV shows and movies; it’s unlikely they were terribly accurate.

“I hardly ever get people dropping in without calling, and never that early.”

“So the doorbell rang, and what then?” Delgado prompted.

“I opened the door and saw her standing there.”

“‘Her’ being Anita Wilkes?”

“Yes. Only she called herself Annie Wilcox. She asked if she could borrow my phone.”

Chau and Delgado locked eyes for a split second. “You’re sure about that? Annie Wilcox?”

“Yes. She said her boyfriend was gone when she woke up, and that she needed to make a call.”

“Did she say who she was calling?”

“No; she gave me the number, and I dialed it in, then handed her the phone.”

“You dialed the number?”

“Yes; I dialed and when someone picked up, I told him I was calling on behalf of Annie Wilcox, who wanted to talk to him.”

“What did he sound like?” At Libby’s confused look, Chau continued, “Did he have a discernible accent? Vocal tics? Was his voice high or low? Old or young?”

Libby thought. “Nothing jumped out at me as unusual. Which I guess means he sounded like he was from around here. He sounded like an adult? Not old, and definitely not like a kid.” She paused briefly. “He slurred a bit, but I’m guessing that might be because he just woke up.”

“That’s a definite possibility.” Chau agreed, smiling briefly at Libby. “Do you think you’d be able to recognize his voice if you heard it again?”

“I doubt it. I talk to a lot of people on the phone during the course of the day. Most voices just don’t make that much of an impression.” She looked apologetically between the detectives.

Without looking up from his note-taking, Delgado asked, “Did you hear anything she was saying during this conversation, once you handed Ms. Wilkes the phone?”

In addition to coping with an increasingly-insistent case of the willies, Libby now had that little voice to contend with. Careful. Here be dragons.

Without really understanding why, Libby found herself saying, “Not really; sorry.” At seeing the beginnings of twin scowls, she hastily added, “I wanted to give her some privacy, so I left the storm door closed. She walked a few feet away and was talking pretty quietly.”

That seemed to allay their concerns.

“Okay; let’s go back to Ms. Wilcox, then. What was her demeanor?”

“She seemed pretty upset. Scared, you know?”

Delgado nodded. “Did she seem to be injured in some way, or in pain?”

“Not really. She seemed fine, physically; just upset.”

“So once the phone call was done, what happened next?”

“She gave the phone back to me, then she just left. I asked if -” Libby’s brain caught up with her mouth. I should call the police. And she’d said no. That sense of wrongness surged.

“You asked if?” Chau prompted.

“If there was anything else I could do. And she said no,” Libby finished lamely. It was sort-of true, she told herself.

Finishing his writing, Delgado closed his notebook and tucked it into a pocket. “Okay; I think we have all we need for now.” Standing, he extracted a business card from another pocked and extended it to her. “This is my direct number. If you think of anything else, no matter how small, please don’t hesitate to call me. It could be the difference between life and death.”

Libby took the card reflexively as Chau got to his feet. “That’s it?”

“For now at least. If we have additional questions, we’ll be in touch.” Delgado extended his hand. “Thank you.”

Libby shook his hand, then Chau’s. With a nod, Chau and Delgado left, taking the oppressive sense of wrongness with them as Libby let out a sigh of relief.

 

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