Chapter XXVI – Adrian Terrence
Adrian watched Ginger sit down, noting the change in her manner. Earlier, she had been compliant, but confident. Almost arrogant. Now, she sat with her shoulders slightly bowed and her eyes lowered.
“You said that you wished to speak with us, Miss Thomas?” Xavier finally spoke, when the silence had lasted a full minute.
Ginger still sat silent for several seconds, before she raised her head. She seemed to notice Monique and nodded toward her with a questioning air. The child sat, trying to poke some life into the flattened face and ears of her stuffed bunny.
Xavier followed the look. “She stays with me.” Monique glanced up at Xavier, looked at Ginger, and went back to Mr. Pickles in silence. “She can’t be shielded from what’s happening. Just use discretion where you can.”
Ginger nodded, then continued to hesitate. Adrian began to expect her to up and walk away.
Instead, she pulled back her shoulders and raised her head, but the same defiance did not surface as before. “Listen, I have to start out by repeating that Eddie did not kill anyone.”
“But you’re afraid that he may have done so anyway?” Xavier asked.
“No! It’s…” She sent a look toward what could be seen of Eddie still lying on the floor. “I did – for just a minute – consider that he might have done it – but I panicked! I would have known better otherwise.”
“What made you panic, Ginger?” Adrian hadn’t opened his notebook and decided to push it aside for the moment.
Ginger spread her hands flat on the table, her eyes closed for just a second. She opened them with a sigh. “I know who Gary Bradshaw is from previous experience.”
“Before last week?” Adrian wanted clarification.
Ginger nodded. “From six years ago.”
Adrian looked directly at the woman. “When Eddie was questioned for shoplifting?”
Ginger nodded again.
“Perhaps it would be wise to tell us how you know about him.” Xavier folded his arms onto the table. “As well as how Eddie knows about him.”
“That’s just it.” Ginger curled her hands into fists and then shoved them into her lap. “Eddie didn’t even meet him. Gary Bradshaw was one of the witnesses from the shoplifting case. Eddie was put into police lineup three different times. Gary Bradshaw was the only witness who identified Eddie as the thief.”
“And you know this how?” Adrian asked.
Ginger shrugged. “I went to the station to get Eddie. Someone slipped up or outright gave the guy too much information, including Eddie’s name. Gary Bradshaw was ticked that they wouldn’t arrest Eddie on his say-so and was loudly complaining to the lady with him. I didn’t even have to eavesdrop to hear him. Everyone heard him.”
Ginger glared at Xavier. “Eddie said that they wouldn’t tell him anything. The police wouldn’t, that is. I didn’t tell him either.”
“Why didn’t you tell your brother about the person who accused him of theft, Ginger?” Adrian finally pulled his notebook over, but he still didn’t open it.
“I thought… I thought that if he knew about it and they questioned him again, it might sound badly. He said that he didn’t do it and I didn’t want to make things worse for him.”
Xavier remained impassive. “And yet, you panicked, Miss Thomas, if only for a moment.”
“It wasn’t just Gary Bradshaw who made me panic.” Ginger shook her head emphatically. “It… It was the ice pick.”
The cousins exchanged glances. “The ice pick?”
“You defended him when Eddie found the ice pick.” Adrian felt more than a little confused.
“No… I mean, yes, I did. But that’s not what I mean. I mean, when I found the ice pick.”
Even Monique looked up and Adrian dropped his pencil. Xavier cleared his throat. “You found the ice pick, Miss Thomas? Before your brother?”
Ginger nodded again.
Adrian tried to process and frowned. “When exactly did you find the ice pick and where did you find, Ginger?”
Ginger’s voice dropped very low. “In the neck of Gary Bradshaw.”
Adrian couldn’t help but stare at her.
Xavier continued to remain unfazed. “Please explain, Miss Thomas.”
Ginger clenched her hands even tighter. “It was a couple of minutes after the explosion. Eddie ran off to help people. I started to go talk to Timothy Teller and Anna Carpentier. I had to pass Gary Bradshaw as I was standing behind the counter, and… and when I did, I saw…” For a moment, her voice wavered. She stuck her chin up. “I saw Gary Bradshaw just sitting there. He was obviously gone and I recognized the ice pick. We keep it on the wall and I knew who the man was. I just panicked! I pulled the ice pick, threw it on a shelf under one of the counters, and hurried over to talk to Timothy and Anna. It might have taken me two minutes and everyone was too distracted to notice me. Even Eddie.”
“You thought that Eddie committed the murder, because you knew of the previous connection and you knew that he had access to the ice pick?” Xavier asked.
“And because we were both right there. Eddie could have walked over to Gary Bradshaw without my knowledge, while I talked to a customer.” She shook her head. “It was irrational, but not impossible. I know he didn’t do it though – because I know him.”
“Regardless, you decided to protect a murderer, Miss Thomas.”
Ginger glared. “He’s my brother.”
“That does not make it right.”
Ginger wavered. “Which is why I am talking to you now. But I didn’t care about right nor wrong. I didn’t really think at all – or I would have never panicked.”
Xavier only nodded.
“I’m telling you everything now.” Some petulance reentered Ginger’s tone. “Surely that counts for something.”
Adrian opened his notebook and began jotting down notes. “It would count for more if you saw someone else near Gary Bradshaw near the time of the murder, Ginger.”
“I didn’t.” Ginger sighed. “I wish I did. I’d certainly tell you about it. But I didn’t see anyone. I didn’t see anyone at all.”
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