Categories > Original > Mystery > Miss Barnes Investigates

Miss Barnes Investigates

by Constantine00 0 reviews

Chapter 1

Category: Mystery - Rating: R - Genres: Drama - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2016-08-28 - Updated: 2018-05-08 - 6908 words

0Unrated
NOTE: This is the newly reconstructed first chapter of this story. I am (slowly) working my through the story reinventing it. If you like it please stick around and continue to read the chapters I hope to re-publish over the next few months or so. Also if you like this story I have another part of this "Generations" series up called "Lettie" (which isn't under reconstruction). Thank you and enjoy!


"Hello, Mr Booker," Rosemary Barnes announced, entering the morgues' examination room.

The young man, who was stood on the opposite side of the relatively small room, behind a large metal examining table, that was situated in the center of the room, nearly jumped out of his skin at her loud entrance.

James Booker looked up, dropping the scalpel he was holding out of fright.

"Miss Barnes," he greeted her with a squeak as he bent down to pick up the fallen medical instrument. "You frightened me. My apologies."

She shook her head, dismissing his apology and stepped further into the room. The familiar disgusting chemical smell that always seemed to be present in this room, never mind how many times or how hard James scrubbed this place, hit her fully. She somehow never got use to it, which deeply disappointed her as it reminded her of death. A subject nobody was particularly fond of thinking about, especially her considering her line of work. She supposed she'd just have to put up with it.

Then again it wasn't just the putrid smell that disturbed her,(and brought back bad memories of going through murder case files), the dead body in front of her didn't lift her mood either.

She looked at the pale, almost blue, naked female body on the metal table pitifully. There was a white sheet covering her lower half, which left her top half completely exposed. The poor thing looked like she had been badly beaten. God knows what had happened to her.

This wasn't an unusual sight for her unfortunately.

"Having fun?" she joked, trying to ease the tension forming between them.

A dumbfounded James stood up straight, after having retrieved his fallen scalpel and asked in a confused tone, "excuse me?"

She nodded to the corpse on the table and raised an eyebrow.

He looked down, still completely oblivious to watch she was hinting at. That was until his nervous gaze landed on the deceased individual. A light blush quickly formed on his pale cheeks as he realised the indecent nature of this situation.

He grabbed the white sheet and quickly pulled it over the rest of her. "My...my apologies again, Miss Barnes," he stammered, looking sheepishly down at the ground.

She smiled brightly at the petrified man,"stop apologising, Mr Booker. You're making me feel guilty."

"My apologies," he repeated again, running a shaky hand through his messy dark brown hair. Realising his mistake he looked up to apologise again when Jack Harland, Rose's work partner, entered the room huffing and puffing.

"Jesus Christ! It took me forever to find a parking space!" The blond huffed, taking his fedora off to allow the cool air of the morgue to dry his sweaty face. "And it's sweltering out there!"

"Yes, I know, Jack. I've just been out there," his partner replied, rolling her eyes at his whining.

He moved forward to stand beside Rose. Eyeing her eagerly. "And yet somehow you still look absolutely perfect, how's that then?"

"You have those reports for us?" Rose asked James instead of answering his question.
The trainee coroner nodded and hastily turned around to the table behind him to locate the folder.

Whilst he did this, Jack continued his questioning.

"Yanno, I mean it, doll, you look ravishing today. Do something new with your hair?"
She nodded and patted her styled black hair affectionately, "tried one of those updos. The hairdresser suggested it. She said I'd look amazing."

"That you do, my dear."

"My dear?" she laughed, knocking her shoulder off his. "Don't say that, you sound like an old man!"

He smirked and nudged her side, "yeah well I am."

"No you're not. You're... You're nine years older than me! That's not old."

He sighed and shook his head, "it is, trust me. Ten years make all the difference."

She rolled her eyes at his preachy comment, something which she had become accustomed to doing considering how much cringy things he said, and replied accordingly, "why don't you retire then, old man? Give me some peace finally."

"Nah, I ain't that old."

She smiled at this and turned her attention back to the other man.

"Come on, Jimmy. We haven't got all day!" Jack hissed, also turning his gaze to James.

"Sorry, Mr Harland," he apologised, turning around and handing the file to him with such hast that he nearly tripped over his own feet.

The blond, snatching the folder from him, muttered under his breath, "finally, you useless bastard."



Rose, hearing this, elbowed him violently but discretely and thanked James, "thank you, Mr Booker." Really, she did not understand Jack's need to be cruel to the poor man. He was just trying to help. For God's sake, he was their work colleague! He had no right to speak to him like that.

"You're welcome, Miss Barnes."

Jack looked up at the other male and grinned deviously. "You're welcome, Miss Barnes," he mimicked him mockingly.

"Shut up, Jack," Rose huffed, grabbing the folder from him.

"Aww, he's blushing. Rose, look! He likes you."

"Shut it, Harland," she ordered, scanning the information in front of her. Why must he constantly act like a five year old?! There was no need for his pathetic pestering. This wasn't kindergarten.

"What's happened?" she asked James, keeping her eyes on the papers. There was no need to embarrass him further by looking him in the eye, that would only unnerve him further. That was the last thing she wanted to do.

"They found a body down by the railways," he answered, fiddling nervously with the scalpel he was holding. "Mr Biggs told me to tell you two to go to the railways and investigate. Once you've finished send the body here."

She nodded and closed the folder, finally allowing herself to look at him.

He was quivering mess. Poor thing.

It was probably best to leave before he passed out or something horrific like that. "Alright, thank you, Mr Booker."

"You are very welcome, Miss Barnes," he beamed watching the detectives leave.

Rose walked along the dusty and golden weather beaten ground towards the sectioned off area. Jack caught up with her quickly whilst tucking the car keys in his pocket as he pointed to someone in the distance, "there's a negro over there who needs speaking to."

She glanced at him as they trekked over to the small group of police officers to their right. "I hate that word. Don't say that."

"Bet he fucking did it, damn niggers," he hissed under his breath, glaring at the man stood just beside the group of policemen.

On hearing his disgusting comment, she stopped walking and turned to him, placing her hand on her hips. "Shut your God damn my mouth! He is our only eye witness! Don't you dare make us lose this case because of your small minded views, Jack!"

He frowned at her and spat on the ground close to her new high heels. "Nigger lover," he snarled before storming off towards the body and the officers.

Guess she'd talk to the worker then.

She sighed at his unsurprising attitude and made her way over to the witness.

That, unfortunately, wasn't the first time he, and a few other people, had psychically displayed their distaste for her comments about the African American community amongst a number of similar liberal opinions.

As she drew nearer she realised it was a man. A middle age man, from what she could see. She'd have to remember to right that down.

On reaching the man, she smiled kindly at his uneasy expression and introduced herself.

"Hello, sir. I'm Detective Rosemary Barnes."

His expression changed dramatically as he reacted to her kind tone and formal greeting, "morning, ma'am."

She pulled out her notepad and pen, "can you please tell me what happened?"

He nodded and swallowed nervously, "well, I-I was walkin' into work this morning."

"At what time?"

"Round five."

She nodded.

"I was walkin' along these here rails from the office o'r there," he explained pointing to the shabby and grey looking building behind them, "when I noticed that lady lyin' down on the dirt o'r where she is now."

"What did you do then?" she asked, scribbling away.

"I ain't touched her! I ain't no creep."

"I would never suggest that, sir," she said, looking at him. "Relax, just tell me what happened next?"

He nodded, gripping his dirty flap cap tighter, "I thought she was just sleepin'. We get a few drunks nappin' around here so I weren't too concerned at first. I went to start my work as I usually do, when I thought 'no lady should, or would, be kippin' out on these tracks. Definitely no white lady'. So I walked up to her to tell her it's mornin'... The closer I got, I realised she ain't got no clothes on. I ran back to the office and called the police."

"Did you see anybody around?"

"No."

"Ok, thank you for you're help, Mr?"

"Wallace."

"Thank you, Mr Wallace. Please remain here until one of my colleagues allows you to go."

"Alright...and uh Detective Barnes?"

"Yes?"

"You a kind lady. Ain't no officers nice like you."

She smiled a large smile at this. "Thank you, that's nice of you to say."

"Ain't no problem. Good day."

"Good morning, sir," she said, turning to locate her sulking partner. It was about time she looked at the body. From the vague case notes she had gotten from James, which she assumed were clippings from a trainee police officer, it sounded horrific.


"Find anything?" she asked, stopping at Jack's side. He looked at her, his eyes portrayed an emotion she had never seen him emote before; Absolute horror. "This is fucking disgusting."
She looked down at the body eager to see what caused him his discomfort.

Her gaze was instantly drawn to the crudely scratched D shape on the corpse's exposed torso. The victim's mousey brown hair was splayed out behind her on the dusty golden ground. Her face was seemingly untouched. There was no bruising or cuts. "That's odd," she muttered, crouching down and examining her features more closely. She first thought, from the notes, that this was a spontaneous murder and assault by a rapist or drug mule, which meant that there would possibly bruising or cuts from a blunt weapon. But there was nothing. No self defence wounds or anything. So that meant only two things; This lady either knew her attacker or she was so intoxicated that she could no fight back thus explaining the lack of defence wounds.

"This is very unusual..."

She gripped the woman's jaw and turned her head from side to side gently to check she hadn't missed anything. She didn't see anything but she did hear something.

Every time her head swayed there was a clinking sound.

"What in God's name?" Furrowing her brow she shook the corpses' head again a little more vigorously this time to get a better sense of where the sound was coming from.

"What the hell are you going?" Jack hissed, watching her shake the woman's head.

"Shush!"

"The mouth?" she asked no one in particular.

"What? Have you lost your mind?"

Rose, ignoring his question, pulled her mouth open carefully and peaked curiously inside. Was this where the sound was something from? She gagged slightly as she noticed something shining brightly inside.

Was...was that a necklace?

Without thinking, she reached a hand forward and pulled out the piece of jewellery.
Standing up, the young woman held it up to the glaring sun so she could examine the sparkling rocks. "Jesus Christ, Jack, I think these are the real deal."

The blond man breathed out slowly trying not to vomit as he watched her eye the glistening necklace, "that was fucking disgusting. What the hell?"

She took a little plastic evidence bag from him and placed the diamond necklace in it. "Well...that's a piece of evidence." She looked at the retching man, "find anything else?"

"Searched her bag," he managed to blurt, thrusting a piece of paper towards her as he covered his mouth, suppressing a gag. "Ugh..." he gagged, stumbling back, "I'm gonna puke."
She rolled her eyes and looked down at the paper he had handed her. It was a receipt for the necklace, "Margaret Larkin." Brilliant, that was the victim's name sorted. They didn't have spend hours trying to find that out.

She looked over at Jack's doubled over figure beside her, "we need to get to this jewellery store. Pronto."


Ten minutes later, after Jack had finished vomiting, Rose drove them to the jewellery store. The five minute drive there was quite an uncomfortable one as she had to listen to him retching and groaning beside her. Thankfully, he didn't vomit in her new car though his reluctance to do so might have been brought about by her threatening to slap him if he did.
Once they stepped in to the blissfully air conditioned store, they both let out a sigh of relief. "Thank God, that sun is so unforgiving," Rose muttered as they made their way up to, what looked like the reception area, a circular counter which was situated in the center of the medium sized room.

"This is a nice place," the female detective whispered, looking around at all the casements containing glittering jewellery. An expensive place also by the looks of it.

"Excuse me?" Jack said to the woman behind the counter as they stopped in front of her. She turned around, an overly happy smile on her pretty face, "how can I help you, sir?" Her eyes flickered to Rose then back to him, "buying an engagement ring?"

Rose sniggered and pulled the bagged receipt from her jacket's breast pocket, "he wishes. No, actually we're here to ask about a Margret Larkin." She handed the receipt to the befuddled woman.

"Who? Why?" the woman asked.

"She was found dead this morning. This receipt was in her bag. It's one of our only leads.
Please answer the question," Jack said stiffly.

The, now wide eyed, woman nodded and looked at the receipt. Her brow quickly furrowed, "it's not signed."

Rose raised an eyebrow at this, "excuse me?"

The blonde looked up at her, "usually whoever is helping them will sign the receipt to establish that they bought it."

Jack nodded as he wrote the new information down, "is it a legal requirement?"

"Yes, sir."

"Do you, by chance, know who was working here yesterday?"

"No. I can ask the manager though."

"He's here? We need to talk to him immediately."

"Of course." She hurried out of her confined work space and over to, what seemed to be, the
back room.

A minute later a podgy middle aged man waddled out of the room and over to them, followed by
the frightened saleswoman.

The man smiled at Jack "how can I help, detective?"

"Detectives." Rose corrected, stepping forward to make her presence known.

His eyes flicked to her and then back to her male partner, a sparkle of amusement in his gaze.

"We would like to know who was working here yesterday. More specifically who helped Margret Larkin," she continued, a small smile of triumph forming on her pretty face. He nodded, "Mrs Johnson was. It was her last day here."

"Why?"

"She's eight months pregnant."

"I see, can we please have her home address?"

"Of course."



Rose sat down beside Jack on the couch, placing her cup of tea on the coffee table in front of them. Mrs Johnson waddled over and eased herself slowly into the chair opposite them, placing a hand on her large stomach, "how can I help you, detectives?"

"This morning Mrs Margaret Larkin's body was found at the railways with a diamond necklace in her mouth," Rose said calmly.

The blonde's hand that was resting on her stomach rose to cover her agape mouth momentarily before she asked in a frightened tone. "That's so awful to hear but what has that got to do with me?"

"Your boss said you served her yesterday. We want to know what happened."

Jack held up a picture of the victim, that they collected from the morgue, to try jog their witness' memory. "Do you remember her?"

Her eyes widened and she nodded wildly. "Yes! Oh dear lord, it's so awful to think about I just saw her yesterday."

"Can you please tell us what happened?" Jack asked gently.

She nodded and breathed in, collecting herself before she began to speak. "I was just standing behind the counter, minding my own business, just waiting for anybody who needed my help, when I heard a woman laughing and the door's bell ring. Naturally, I looked up to see who this new customer was... It-it was Mrs Larkin."

"Was anyone with her?"

"Yes. A man."

"Description, please."

"Uh...tall, blond, well dressed and very handsome."

"Interesting..." Rose muttered, writing the information down. That didn't narrow it down at all and it wasn't particularly detailed information, but at least they had some sort of description to go off.

"What was his name?"

"She called him Johnny."

Johnny? Well that certainly narrowed it down... It wasn't like every second man in Los
Angeles was called John...

"Anything that stood out about him? This is extremely important. Please try and remember."

"Uh...um..." The pregnant woman hummed, trying to jog her memory. "Well, he had blue eyes. I think he was clean shaven...uh..."

Sensing they were over working her brain, Rose changed the focus of the subject to something else. "Alright, well, what happened next?"

"They approached me and asked me for my help. I said yes, of course. The man asked to see the diamond necklaces. So I showed them a shelf of necklaces." The woman's face suddenly scrunched as a memory hit her, "they acted like newlyweds...so happy especially Mrs Larkin. He said to her to pick any one she wanted." Her face drifted to the bag Rose was holding that contained the necklace. She pointed at it which caused the detectives to look at the bag. "She picked that one... It was one of the more expensive ones. I was amazed, not many people buy the expensive ones, you know, for obvious reasons. She didn't look that rich. She looked like a normal housewife. Once she realised the price, she went to pick another one but he insisted. Eventually she accepted. He opened his wallet and pulled out a large wad of money. He counted out the amount needed and handed the money to me. I placed it in the register and printed them a receipt."

"Why didn't you sign it?"

"I didn't?"

"No you didn't. Why?"

"I thought I did."

Jack showed her the receipt, pointing to where she should have signed.

Her eyes widened and she gasped. "Oh my God!"

"Why, Mrs Johnson? Why didn't you sign it?"

"The man was talking to me..."

"Jack," Rose whispered, looking at him. He looked back at her.

Mrs Johnson looked between, "a-am I in trouble? What's happening?"

Rose looked to her, smiling a reassuring smile, "the man obviously distracted you to make
sure you didn't sign your name on the receipt."

"Which was his pathetic attempt of trying to stop us from tracking you down and finding out more about yesterday," Jack said, finishing her sentence.

"You mean I was talking to the killer?!"

"Possibly. Well it's more thank likely, actually," Rose added quietly.

"Is he going to come after me?! I'm due in a month. You people can't let him kill my baby!" she cried hysterically.

"Nothing will happen to you or your baby. We will station an officer outside your house for a day or two. Will you tell your husband for us?" Jack shushed the hyperventilating woman. The last thing they needed was her to have a sudden birth. That really would be the icing on an already shit cake.

On hearing this, she nodded and went to stand up. Rose stopped her whilst standing up herself, "you need to relax for the baby's sake. We'll see ourselves out. Thank you for your help. We've learned a lot today."

Back to the morgue it was then.



"What's the damage, Doc?" Jack asked, entering the room. An aging Doctor Robert Murray looked up at him, his constant frown set on his face. His eyes flicked to Rose, who was right behind him, "maybe, Miss Barnes shouldn't be present for this. It is quite awful."

Before Rose could tell him for the hundredth, no, thousandth time that she was able to handle it, and that she had already seen the body, James interjected.

"Miss Barnes will be able to stomach this, Doctor."

She smiled at him, "I certainly can. I'm the one who pulled the necklace out of her mouth anyways so I'm fine."

Jack covered his mouth at the mention of the necklace, "ugh... don't."

She chuckled at his discomfort and looked down at the body on the table, "tell us what you found."

He sighed and pointed to the corpses' neck, "she was strangled with a belt." Rose looked closer noticing makes that she has seen before in many other case folders she had the opportunity to flick through. "Leather. An expensive belt at that. The marks are little lines rather than zig zags," she examined the marks closely.

He nodded, rather surprised by her knowledge, "yes, that is correct, Miss Barnes."

"What else?" Jack asked.

"The obvious cut to her torso. A knife clearly caused it," the doctor explained, pointing to
the crude markings.

"A switchblade, I believe," James said meekly.

Doctor Murray nodded in agreement. "Did you find it?"

Rose shook her head. "No, he must have brought it with him when he was...finished."

"Alright, well." He pointed to her hair next, "a lock of her hair is gone. I did not notice this actually, James did. He has very keen eye for these sort of...uh...feminine aspects."

Jack raised an eyebrow at this and sniggered, "of course he does."

Rose, resisting the urge to nudge him, told him to write what Dr Murray was saying down.

"He keeps locks of hair. This man is getting sicker by the second... Any signs of sexual assault?"

"Yes."

"Quite brutal, may I add?" James asked quietly, "what kind of man does this?"

"A sick, demented, twisted one," Jack answered, "and we're gonna find the bastard who did this and put him behind bars where he belongs."


After another two hours of reviewing the body's state and writing up a report on the crime and said body's state, Rose was finally able to leave.
Today had been a long day.

The young detective pulled up into a parking space and got out of her car. She proceeded to lock the vehicle, secure her handbag on her shoulder and walk towards the apartment block, every once in awhile glancing at her shadow on the ground that the setting sun was creating. Finally, the temperature was going down. She swore the heat was going to be the end of her, never mind being fatally shot or whatever her family was worried about.

She walked through the front door of the apartment block, in which she lived, and through the dingy foyer towards the stairwell. She climbed the stairs quickly and reached her apartment door in no time despite being on the fifth floor.

Unlocking the door, she stepped into the small space of her living room, she let out a sigh of relief.

Home at last.

"Rosemary!" A high pitched feminine voice called from her bedroom.

What the--

"Mom?" she asked hurrying into her room.

"Yes, darling," her mother replied, turning around to face her shocked daughter. A pink lipsticked smile was plastered on her pretty but ageing face.

"Mom, what are you doing here?"

"It's Thanksgiving, sweetie," she answered.

Rose sighed and placed her coat and handbag on her bed, "oh my God, I completely forgot."

The blonde shook her head and whipped around the modestly sized room, collecting items of clothing and accessories. "You're so silly, Rosie. You work too hard. I've always said that."

"I know, mom. But I've finally got a good case. A proper brainteaser, not some missing cat case."

"That's nice, sweetie," Mary threw a compliment over her shoulder as she flicked through the item in Rose's wardrobe. "You should wear this tonight, Rosemary." She spun back around and showed her the baby blue dress she was holding.

"Mom the last time I wore that was at Beth's wedding. That was a year ago. It might not fit me anymore."

"It will still fit, you're the same weight," her mother insisted, placing the dress on the bed. "Wear it with these shoes." She placed a pair of cream heels next to the dress.

"Yeah, mom, that's nice in all but- Wait! How did you get in here?"

"I have a spare key," she said as if it was completely normal to have a key to your adult child's home... Without their knowing so.

"When did you get that made?"

"A week after you moved in here."

"Mom!"

"You never know what might happen, Rosie."

"I've been living here for three months and nothing has happened to me yet," she huffed, disgruntled at the thought of her mother allowing herself into her apartment when ever she wanted. That habit was supposed to stop when she moved out of her childhood home not continue into adulthood!

"A young unwed woman should not be living by herself. A horrible man could break in and do God knows what to you. It's even more likely considering your job!"

"Oh don't start with the burglary thing and definitely don't start with the whole marriage thing again, mom."

"Why don't you ask that Harland man to come to dinner tonight?"

"He has a girlfriend and he's going for Thanksgiving at hers."

"Do you know any other men?"

"No, mom."

"None?"

"I will find one when I'm ready, ok?"

She nodded but nonetheless muttered under her breath, "hopefully soon."

"Like I said; When I'm ready."

"Well, your sister and brother are married."

She just couldn't let it go, could she?

"Yes because they have found the person they want to be with. I haven't, good God, I'm only twenty one!" She huffed, sitting on the edge of her bed so she could take off her heels.

"Your sister met her husband in high school."

"Well that's Beth for you," she mumbled, placing her shoes on the unpolished wooden floor.

He mother ignored her snide comment and ushered to the dress. "Put it on and let me do your
hair and make up."


Twenty minutes later, Mary was huffing and puffing about Rose's "unsuitable" makeup and her "unkept" hair.

"I can't believe at twenty one years old I still have to do this," Mary mumbled, placing the nude colored lipstick down. She absolutely detested the red lipstick her daughter wore. It was promiscuous. Very inappropriate for a woman with her dangerous job.

Rose rolled her eyes, "I can do this myself, mom. It's just you insist on doing it."

"Stand up," she ordered, ignoring her daughter's complaint.

Rose stood up and looked herself up and down in her full length mirror. She had to admit, she looked beautiful. She didn't know how her mother turned her from a sleep deprived wreck to a lively looking newlywed. How was that even possible?

"You look gorgeous, darling." Marry commented, grabbing her handbag off the dressing table, "now come on, drive us home."



Rose opened the door, letting her mother in first. Once the older woman had stepped inside and disappeared off down the hallway, the dark haired woman stepped into her childhood home instantly feeling the heat from the kitchen, which was the room her mother had disappeared off in to.

She smiled and closed the door, breathing in the pleasant smell of roast turkey. A plethora of happy childhood memories hit her as she began to stroll into the dining room, which was to her immediate left.

"Rosie!" A familiar voice cried as she entered the room.
Rose grinned at the sound of the voice and looked across the room to see a tall figure beaming at her. "Pete!"

Her brother hurried over to her and wrapped the detective in a tight bear hug, "it's so good to see you! God, I thought I'd just be stuck here with moaning pregnant Beth and our boring parents."

She chuckled and looked up at him. Jeez, she forgot how much taller he was than her. It had been too long since she had seen him.

His blue eyes were sparked with joy and his usual messy blond hair was slicked back neatly. He was also wearing a somewhat formal blue shirt and black pants. "Hair's slicked back and you're not dressing like a five year old, must be a special occasion."

He laughed and released her. "I could say the same about you, Detective." Before she could respond with a witty retort, he ushered to a pretty, but exhausted, blonde woman sat at the appropriately sized dining table. "Remember Helen?"

"Of course," Rose said smiling kindly at her pristine sister-in-law, "how are you, Helen?"
She smiled tiredly back at her whilst smoothing out the creases in her lilac dress. "Tired, the boys keep me busy. But I'm glad to be here and to see you, Rose."

"Likewise." She nodded and looked over at her heavily pregnant sister slumped in a chair, one down from Helen. "Hi, Beth," she greeted her with a bright smile. Good God, she was huge! Her stomach was double, no triple, the size of her head. Was she having twins or triplets? If so, why hadn't she told her?... Well actually, she hoped she wasn't because one nephew was enough. She didn't think she could handle two or three more.

"Hey Rosie!"

Peter pointed to a chair opposite Beth's before he pulled it out for her. She thanked hm and sat down. "So how are you feeling? You're what? Eight months now?" Rose asked, turning her attention back to the pregnant woman.

"Yes, as much as I love being pregnant I want this baby out!"

"I could imagine." She couldn't really as the thought of becoming scared the life out of her, but hey, what else could she say?

"No." Her husband, George, who was sitting to her left, joked "you really can't."

"Oh," she said in a fake sympathetic tone, "how are you possibly getting by without another human growing in you?!"

He laughed sitting back in his chair and raised his hands in surrender.

"No but seriously," Rose said, "congratulations on the baby. I can't wait to be an aunt for the second time."

"Aunty Rosie!" A familiar child's voice cried from behind her. She looked over her shoulder at the little boy stood in the doorway. "Hi Charlie."

The five year old ran up to her side with a large grin on his face. Rose reached down and pulled him onto her lap. "How are you, Monkey?" she asked, tickling his side.

"Good!" he giggled, wiggling on her lap as she attacked his side. "We went a museum yesterday. There were dinosaurs!"

"Dinosaurs?! Wow."
"They were huge!" he exclaimed, stretching his arms out to express their size.

Rose went to answer when a gruff voice from behind her piped up.

"Rosemary."

Her grin quickly fell as she recognised the voice. Automatically, she stood up, handed Charlie to Peter's outstretched hands and turned around. Her eyes met the somewhat bemused but disappointed gaze of her father, John.

"Hi, dad."

He nodded and looked her up and down, "dressed like a lady, I see."

She sighed under her breath, "nice to see you too."

"Please, no fighting!" Her mother begged rushing into the room holding a large tray, on which was a turkey, "it's Thanksgiving. A family event."

"I can be civil if he can be," Rose muttered, sitting back down next to Peter. Her mother placed the tray in the middle of the table and immediately rushed back out into the kitchen via the archway at the right end of the room, "can you help me bring out the vegetables, Rosemary?"

She got up reluctantly and followed her into the kitchen, preparing herself for a telling off. On entering, she found her mother turned away from her scooping various different vegetables into individual dishes at a kitchen counter. Rose never understood why she didn't just pour all the vegetables into one big dish so she didn't have to spend an extra five or ten minutes washing up.

Once the older woman had finished scooping all the carrots and peas into two dishes, she placed them aside and ushered for her daughter to take them. "No fighting, Rosemary. You know what your father's like. Let's just eat in peace," she said as Rose walked over to the counter and picked the dishes up.

"Of course, mom," she muttered walking back into the dining room and placing the dishes next to turkey. She sat back down again beside her brother and made small conversation with her sister and sister-in-law as Peter got up to help his mother bring in God knows how much more food.

"Mary! Peter! Stop fussing in there and come sit down!" John called out, glaring at the archway that was directly in front of him. "The food's getting cold."

They reappeared with a plethora of dishes and plates balanced on their arms. They quickly placed the items on the table, arranging them as they went. Her mother was stickler for that sort of thing so the siblings all automatically made everything neat and aesthetically pleasing when they came over to visit their parents or when they came to visit them, which was very often, especially in her mother's case. Rose, sadly, and probably correctly, guessed this was because she was extremely lonely. With an uncaring husband and a very limited social life, her poor mother was helplessly secluded. This realisation made Rose very upset and contemplate not moving out and even made her want to quit her job. Eventually Peter convinced her to indeed move out and to keep working. He told her that she would be fine and even confessed that she spent most days around his and Beth's houses, because of their close proximity, (they lived in the same suburb as her).

Rose was brought out of her thoughts as her mother brushed past her to give John the craving knife so he could initiate the dinner.

After the meat was craved up and the trimmings were serviced, Mary, who was sat at the right head of the table, smiled at the people around the table. "Now that our plates are full," she announced, catching everyone's attention, "I would like to say I'm thankful for my fantastic, smart and beautiful family." She looked at Peter, who was the first person to her left, "go on, darling."

"I'm thankful for my beautiful wife and child," he began awkwardly, clearing his throat as he went,"and...I-I'm thankful I survived that horrific war to be able to see my son grow up and to grow old with Helen."

Mary cooed before looking at Helen, who was opposite Peter, "and you?"

"I'm thankful for my two gorgeous boys and my amazing life."

She then turned her gaze to her daughter, who was sat next to her husband, "Marybeth?"

"I'm thankful for my lovely caring husband." She placed a hand on her large stomach, "and for the angel I am going to be seeing soon."

"George?"

"I can't say much more than that. She hit the nail on the head. I'm thankful for her and our baby."

Her gaze then turned to her husband, who was sat at the opposite head of the table, "John, darling?"

Rose cringed slightly, waiting for him to complain about her. They watched as he glanced around the table, a small, and very rare, smile appearing on his face. "I'm thankful for my family. My children who have succeeded in finding good jobs, marrying kind people and giving myself and Mary, amazing grandchildren."

That was surprisingly tame....

"And Rosemary?"

Rose felt her heart stop momentarily.

God, she hated this bit.

Clearing her throat, she raised her glass, "uh...I'm thankful for my job, my apartment, my friends and family. Oh and my car." She heard her father groan under his breath as everybody raised their glasses.

"Happy Thanksgiving!"


About ten minutes into their meal John began his much dreaded questioning of his youngest daughter.

"So," John said to Rose. "Meet anybody at your...job?" He hissed the simple word as if it was something illegal. Well, in hs eyes, she supposed it was, considering her gender.

"No," she answered curtly, stuffing a carrot into her mouth to stop her from saying anything...distasteful.

He nodded and hacked into his turkey on his plate, "what are you doing there again? Secretary or something?"

She took a swig of her wine, resisting the urge not to get up and leave as she believed he was just saying that to annoy her. "No, I'm a detective, dad."

He sniggered at this and shook his head, "Jesus, they're letting women be detectives now. What next monkeys?"

"John!" They heard Mary hiss from across the table, "don't say that!"

Rose looked at her to thank her, but before she could say anything, she spoke,"we're very proud of you, honey. What kind of cases do you do?"

"Well...uh...I don't mean to be crude but my partner and I are currently investigating a murder."

"Cool!" Charlie cheered, from where he was sat beside her, "what happened?!"

"Murder?" Marybeth said in a shocked tone. "Oh my God, that's horrible, what happened?"

"I don't want to be too graphic, because of Charlie, but-"

"Never mind the child! There's women present too! Rosemary." Her father barked cutting her off, "what kind of barbaric job do you do?! I'll tell you! Something a lady shouldn't be doing!"

"John," Mary hissed again, "stop!"

Everybody had stopped eating now. They turned to look at the patriarch.

"No, Mary!" He roared at her, before looking at an infuriated Rose, "why can't you be normal?!" He pointed at the meek Marybeth, "like your sister! Why can't you get married and have children?! Be a woman! Why do you have to do a man's job?!

"Dad, I-"

"You're going to die an old maid! No children and no husband! Just like your nigger loving sister! An ugly old broad who nobody wants."

Rose swallowed hard, feeling tears prick her eyes. Silently, she stood up, placing her cutlery down, "I think it's time I left. I'm clearly not wanted here." She looked at her siblings, in-laws and mother, "it was lovely seeing all of you."

With that, she turned around and walked into the hallway to collect her coat and handbag. She knew this was going to happen. What else did she expect from him? The last time she saw him, which was at the George's birthday a few months ago, he had down the exact same thing except on a smaller scale.

"Rosemary darling!" Her mother cried, running into the hall to stop her daughter from leaving, "he doesn't mean it. You know what your father's like! He just gets upset. Please sit down and finish your dinner. I've made pumpkin pie for dessert."

"I can't mom, he hates me," she whispered, wiping hot tears from her eyes.

Mary shushed her and wrapped her in a hug, "no darling, he could never hate you. He just has a hard time understanding you."

"He's right I am going to die an old maid. Nobody will love me."

Mary frowned at this and stepped back to look her in the eye, "stop that right now, young lady. The day you listen to your father will be the day he defeats you! You're a smart, strong and beautiful young woman. Don't listen to your father." She grabbed her hand and started to direct her back to the dining room, "come on, dear, let's finish dinner."

"No, mom. I can't be in the same room as him."

She sighed and thought for a moment.

"Alright, well at least let bring some food with you."

"Ok, mom."

Moments later, Rose was stood in the kitchen, watching as her mom packed away the rest of her dinner and a generous slice of Pumpkin pie in to two Tupperware containers. "We all love you, sweetie. Especially your father, he's just worried, that's all. He'd feel much more comfortable if you had someone to look after you."

"I can look after myself, mom."

"I know, sweetheart. But you must be lonely. Wouldn't you like to have a partner?"

"I don't know. It'll happen when it happens."

"Ok, sweetie."
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