“You really think that?” Bobby asked.
“I don’t know what to think.” I rested my head back on the couch and stared up on the ceiling.
“The patio is officially cleared off!” Jack announced and walked into the living room. His jeans and hoodie were covered in packed snow, and some of it fell off and dripped onto the floor.
“Good job.” I wanted to smile up at him, but I didn’t feel like smiling. “You’re dripping snow all over.”
“Yeah, I’m gonna go change and hop in the shower.” Jack brushed chunks of melting snow from his hair. “I just thought I’d let you know.” He stood there for a minute, eyeing up Bobby and me. “Is something wrong? It seems pretty somber in here.”
“Nah, me and Bobby were just talking. Everything’s fine.” This time I did force a smile.
“Alright.” Jack looked hesitant, but he shrugged and decided to believe me. “I’ll be upstairs if you need me.”
I didn’t have any real reason not to tell him that Bobby and I were talking about Jane, but I didn’t really want him to know. It’d make him worry or stop me.
I didn’t have the energy for arguing about whether or not I should do what I’m doing, or feel what I’m feeling. I knew what I had to do and I wouldn’t let anyone stand in my way.
“We need somebody in the know,” Bobby said, picking up on where our conversation left off before Jack came in. “That’s how we’ll find out what really happened to Jane.”
“Well, yeah, duh,” I said. “That’d be nice if we-” I hadn’t even finished my sentence when it occurred to me. “We do know somebody.”
“Who?” Bobby asked.
Without telling him, I shut his laptop and got off the couch. Bobby followed me, and I think he figured it out when we turned down the hall and walked toward the den. We knew Ezra.
“You have got to stop moping,” I said. I pushed open the door and flicked on the lights without waiting for Ezra to respond.
Ezra stood in front of the large windows that faced the frozen lake behind the house. He had his back to us, and he didn’t turn around. The speakers on his computer played out the same classical music it had over the past few months.
“I don’t know how you can listen to this all the time,” I said, walking around the desk. I clicked off the computer, noting the name of the composer Joseph Haydn before closing Ezra’s iTunes. “I’d get sick of listening to the same piece over and over.”
“I saw him perform once.” Ezra said as he turned around to face me. “Back when I was still under Willem, my maker. We saw him in London towards the end of the 18th century, I believe. It was quite moving. I don’t think you understand what it was to see a concert like that, when music was so unavailable.”
“This isn’t gonna turn into ‘the internet is magic’ speech again, is it?” Bobby asked. He’d gone over to Ezra’s bookshelf and picked up something that looked like an antique slinky.
“Of course not. I wouldn’t want to bore you,” Ezra said with exaggerated indifference and lowered his eyes, so I shot a glare at Bobby. He shrugged sheepishly in return and sat down on the sofa.
“You need to stop sitting in the dark, listening to music,” I said, leaning up against his desk.
“So you came in for a pep talk?” Ezra raised an eyebrow and sat down in the office chair next to me.
“Well… no, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need one,” I said.
“What can I do for you?” Ezra leaned back in the chair, ignoring my advice, much the same way he did every day prior.
“What do you know about the cops?” I asked.
His expression changed and he shifted his eyes between Bobby and me. For a change, Bobby kept his mouth shut and crossed his legs so he could play with his shoelace.
“I’m afraid you’re going to have be more specific,” Ezra said, resting his gaze back on me.
“How come you weren’t questioned in November when the lycan attacked?” I asked pointblank, and his dark eyes never left mine.
“I’ve lived here for a very long time, and it suits me well to have an understanding with the people in power,” Ezra answered evenly. “But if you’re looking to get out of a speeding ticket, I won’t get involved with that.”
“No. It’s not that.” I chewed my lip and looked to Bobby for help.
“Ah,” Ezra said knowingly and swiveled the chair side-to-side. “This is about Jane.”
“Yes,” I nodded.
“Nothing you find will bring her back or bring you any comfort.” He looked out the darkness behind the house, the frozen lake looking black in the night. “Death, unfortunately, doesn’t have a cure, not even for the pain of those left behind.”
“Maybe not,” I said, but I wasn’t sure that I believed that. “But someone is out there killing girls, and I’d rest a lot easier if I knew who it was.”
“And you think that the police know who it is but haven’t bothered to catch him?” Ezra asked when he looked back at me.
“No.” I sighed and shook my head. “I don’t know. But I think they know something.”
“Maybe they do,” Ezra allowed. “What would you do with that information that they aren’t already doing? You’re presuming that they’re hiding something for a reason. What would they hope to gain from this?”
“I don’t know,” I sighed, growing frustrated. All of this felt so logical in the living room with Bobby, but Ezra had a way of punching through everything.
“Just because we don’t understand why they’d cover up something doesn’t mean they aren’t,” Bobby said, and we both turned to look at him.
“Now you just sound paranoid,” I said.
“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you,” Bobby said with an expression so serious that I couldn’t help but laugh.
Milo came home a few minutes later, breaking up any chance I had of convincing Ezra that I needed to know what the police were up to. I’m not sure that I did actually need to, and I hated that he had a point.
What could I do that the cops already weren’t? It wasn’t like I had any experience with solving crimes or forensic equipment. My knowledge was Law & Order reruns on TNT, and I doubted that would help me catch a serial killer.