Rin needed the mother’s name if she was going to track d0wn what she truly was. The acid in the pit of her stomach was telling her not to waste her time and go directly to the deadliest, but that wasn’t effective detective work as far as she was concerned. Every time she crossed something off her list there was less of a chance to get stabbed in the back or in her case to have her heart torn out and subjected to fire.
She shivered involuntarily at her thoughts and started researching the web for information on Jay Collins and when he entered into an agreement with his ex-wife. Specters didn’t do marriage they did agreements which worked for the Earth government who felt like specters weren’t human and didn’t deserve to marry a human.
Rin didn’t care what you called it, if you were joining your life with someone else’s, it was marriage. There was always an announcement on the interspecies site when one of these agreements was entered into. It didn’t matter if the couple posted it or not it was posted and pretty close to the actual event. You got together at one pm, and it would be on the site at one-ten pm the same day.
She started with the approximate year she thought Saber was born and went back from there. A year and a half later she found the announcement. Not any announcement this one had the happy couples picture attached. Although the female stayed to the shadows, Rin could see enough to make out a few details. Alisia Collins was her name, and she was definitely dead or a candidate for death even in the shadow there was a thin layer of death clinging to her. Now for some real detective work.
It didn’t take a lot for her to leave before Hawk could call her back to his office. He’d be calling her for several reasons. The most important one was he didn’t want to lose her, and death specters were bad news. Then she headed to a safe house. She had several of those across the city in case something like the fire happened. When this case was over, she’d have to find a new place to stay but for now, she’d use her different safe houses.
This one was in a rundown portion of town with several winos that liked to sit on the street corners and pay attention to anyone coming through human or specter that they never laid eyes on before.
The streets were dirty, and the building looked like more graffiti than actual brick, just the way she liked it.
“Rin,” George greeted her when she walked up to him. “Haven’t seen you in a while.”
George was sitting on a broken stoop to the building she was about to entered. That was his spot, and everyone in the neighborhood knew it. He also knew everyone’s business. In a way, George was the neighborhood protector because no one wanted him to see what they were doing.
“Haven’t needed this place in a while, but things are heating up, and you know how I hate the heat. Have you seen anything around that’s out of place?”
“Not yet same faces doing what they do.”
“Perfect let me know if something strikes you as wrong.” She took out a fifty and gave it to him. The one thing she learned a long time ago was to take care of your informants.
Rin walked around him and skipped the first step altogether because it was nothing but a collection of crumbled cement. She started with the second step and went up until she reached the hallway that reeked of something she didn’t want to think about. Her apartment was in the basement. It was the only one apartment down there, and it was hers. She liked the protection the extra thick cement walls provided, and she had an escape root under the city if it came to that.
She walked in; it wasn’t the Ritz bit it was cleaner than most thought a basement apartment could be, and it was well taken care of. She walked into the bathroom, stripped her clothes and took a shower. Her hands went to her black leather pants before they hesitated. She was going to need to take a good look at Saber today and approaching her in her work gear wouldn’t work especially if her father was around. She ground her teeth together before settling on a pair of faded jeans with a few rips that had happened over time and a cami top.
One look in the mirror had her nose wrinkling. This wasn’t the badass Rin looking back at her and she didn’t like it. With a soft growl at her reflection, she left the apartment and went for the car she kept parked in a garage two blocks over. She was being watched but were they human or specter. The eyes weren’t close enough for her to lock onto them.
She was just another human strolling down the street as far as anyone else was concerned. She blended in well with humans on the outside. And she wasn’t planning on letting anyone cut her up to find out what made her tick on the inside.
She took the time to flirt with the man coming out the bar before she walked on. Her car was a simple blue Dodge. It looked so old most people wouldn’t think about stealing it even in this neighborhood. Like with everything Rin owned it wasn’t the outside that mattered but what was under the hood. This car had everything and a few of those things were illegal. She patted her baby while she was at a stop light as a smile came over her.
The drive was long since she was on the opposite end of town but eventually, she ended up in the playground she met Saber in last night. She knew their address but why would she just show up since Jay didn’t know she was working on his case. She got out of the car and went to swing on the swings hoping that he would bring Saber out to play.
Rin had been swinging for about fifteen minutes when she saw Jay and Saber enter the playground. Saber looked up her laser-eyed focus saw Rin immediately. Dropping her father’s hand, she ran over like she was excited to swing. Jay watched her and slowly closed the distance.
“Did you find her?” Saber asked fast.
“Not yet but I’m looking for her. Does she ever threaten you, Saber? Try to come to you when you’re all alone?”
Saber gave a quick nod of her head before she turned to smile at her dad.
Rin saw it before Saber it hid it. There was fear in her eyes. Her mother had done more than threatened her.
“Rin,” Jay’s deep voice reached out to caress her. “I’m surprised to see you here. In fact, I’ve never seen you here before. Did you bring your daughter or son?”
“No I came alone; I don’t have any children. I think almost dying has given me a slightly different perspective of life.”
“Almost dying will do this. This is Saber, my daughter. Saber this is the woman I told you about who was trapped in the fire.”
Saber’s eyes got big, and the fear came back.
“I wasn’t scared Saber, whoever set that fire wasn’t going to get me. Your dad came along before I needed to break into my bag of tricks but I was determined to be safe either way. Do you understand?”
Saber nodded and gave her a shaky smile. “Dad, can I go slide on the sliding board?”
“I’ll come with you.”
“I’m a big girl, daddy.” Saber put her hand on her little imagination and shot her father a big smile before she turned and ran off calling some of the names of the kids sliding.
“Have you ever gotten the feeling that a five-year-old was setting you up?” Jay asked his head shaking as he watched his daughter climb the slide.
“Yes, I think I’m familiar with the feeling. Tell me something about yourself Jay. I know you do amazing feats and rescue women from burning buildings.”
He looked at her before his eyes went back to his daughter. “If you want to know about me come to dinner with Saber and me tonight.”
No! Everything inside of her screamed. She needed to stay away from Jay he would be bad for her. It was decided she’d hit the Chinese place on the way home.
“I’d love to go with the two of you to dinner.”