Café Chocolaté

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Chapter XXV

Chapter XXV – Ginger Thomas

“You’re a little arrogant for someone who just admitted to being a liar.”

Ginger could feel her face flame at Kimberly’s words, but for Eddie’s sake alone, she didn’t raise her voice. She couldn’t help, however, but reply. “I did not admit to lying. I admitted to an omission of fact – and one that could have no bearing whatsoever on this case.”

“Maybe we should be the judges of that.” Kimberly glared down at Ginger over her crossed arms. “I still don’t fully believe that you are siblings, but if you are and you omitted one thing, who knows what else you decided not to tell us!”

“Enough, please.” Adrian cut off the reply on the tip of Ginger’s tongue. “This conversation is going to lead us nowhere and arguing will not do anyone any good.”

“If she’s hiding something-” Kimberly began.

“If she’s hiding something, then my cousin and I will talk to her. That is what you asked us to do.”

Kimberly huffed, marched over to a chair, and sat down with crossed arms.

Ginger just caught her glare, before redirecting her gaze. She looked down to find Eddie watching her. He looked confused and it worried her that it might have something to do with his loss of blood.

“What do you know, Ginger?”

“Never mind.” She squeezed his hand, despite the somewhat rough tone she used. “Don’t worry about it.”

“You only say that,” the words came quiet and strained, “when there’s something to actually worry about.”

Ginger could feel him tense, then he closed his eyes again.

“I don’t know how he’s bearing the pain so well.” Renee pushed her hair out of her eyes. “It must be terrible.”

Ginger had a ready retort about the understatement of such a comment, but at a warning look from Timothy, she bit her tongue instead.

Mary crept closer again and Ginger tensed. “He’s still a-alive. I didn’t kill him. I keep expecting him to slip away.”

“Yes, he’s still alive.” Timothy didn’t look up.

The woman stepped even closer.

Fabian beckoned her back. “No, you didn’t kill him. No, you may not try again.”

Mary opened her mouth to wail or argue, Ginger didn’t know which, but a look at Fabian and another at Adrian clamped it shut again.

With a sigh, Adrian turned to rejoin his cousin. Ginger watched him go, then looked across Eddie at Timothy.

“You’re sure that he’s stable?”

“For now, at least.” Timothy gave her a hint of a smile. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to keep him there.”

She nodded, then gently squeezed the hand she held. “Eddie?”

He opened his eyes, but didn’t bother answering.

She tried to speak gently. “Will  you be okay if I go talk to the cousins for a minute? It’s probably better if I volunteer, before they call me.”

He stared at her for a long moment. “You’re sure everything’s okay, Ginger?”

She shook her head. “Don’t worry about it. Will you be all right?”

He nodded faintly and Ginger hesitated.

“I’ll call you if he needs you.” Timothy kept his voice lowered, as she had done.

Ginger looked up at him a moment, then nodded. Squeezing Eddie’s hand again, she tried to push to her feet. Fabian noticed her and offered a hand of assistance.

She nodded at Fabian, looked down at Eddie, and tried not to sigh. “I’ll be right back.”

She made herself ignore Mary Dill’s stare as she passed her, heading straight for the cousins. Mary, however, didn’t care to be ignored.

“You know that he killed Gary Bradshaw.”

Ginger stopped in her tracks, but didn’t turn toward Mary.

“You know it. We all know it! Just… let yourself admit it.”

Ginger slowly turned to face the woman, whose wide-eyed expression had changed into a serious, almost crafty stare.

“Just let yourself admit it.” She spoke in a low, wheedling tone. “It would help all of us.”

Ginger grit her teeth. “Eddie didn’t kill anyone, so there is nothing for me to admit. You are the psychopath who thought ending a person’s life was a good idea. Which reminds me; where is the weapon? How do we know that you won’t try again?”


“We took the knife.” Fabian gestured across the room. “The lawyer has it. I don’t know where she got it from though.”

Mary looked between the two rapidly. “I – I saw it over the counter as I passed. I just grabbed it while I walked. I was trying to protect us!” She started to raise her voice.

“Oh, save it.” Ginger turned away. “The only person who believes such a stupid reason for stabbing someone, especially Eddie, is you.”

Mary stopped her escalation toward a wail. “And the only person who thinks Eddie McIntyre did not kill Gary Bradshaw is you!”

Ginger paused again.

“Mary…” Adrian rose from his seat.

“She is! Why are we placating one angry woman! We need to do something!”

“What would you suggest?” Anna’s eyes flashed. “The man is lying on the floor with a knife wound in his side! Would you like to tie him up?”

“It – it would be a start!”

“Even is he is the killer, do you really think he looks able to hurt anyone right now?” Anna pointed to where Eddie lay. “He’s barely moving!”

“Mary does have a point, Anna.” Kimberly sat forward in her chair. “We don’t want another incident.”

Ginger looked back at Timothy, who hadn’t left Eddie’s side. He didn’t contribute much, but he didn’t seem to be missing anything either.

I wonder if he would let them tie up Eddie…

“Mary does not have a point.” Anna shook her head. “You do not tie up a badly injured person. You of all people should know that!”

“You will not throw that into my face.” Kimberly’s cold voice took on an angry edge. “Disrespecting me by bringing up the past…”

“It’s not only your past.” Anna’s eyes glistened. “You weren’t even there. I was.

“It doesn’t matter. I-”

“It does matter, Kimberly. If the past can’t give you compassion for others, that’s up to you. Even if Eddie is guilty, we have no way of knowing that yet and there is no way that he ought to be restrained. And…” She glanced at Ginger and tried to smile just barely. “I don’t believe that he’s guilty either. Ginger isn’t the only one.”

“I can’t say that I believe it either.” Fabian pushed his hands into his pockets. “It hardly seems likely.”

Ginger did all that she could not to sigh in relief.

“But, he did do it! You can see it in his face! In her face too!” Mary raised an accusatory finger in Ginger’s direction.

“That is hardly evidence, as we might have mentioned before.” Fabian almost seemed to smile.

“It’s true though!”

“It’s not!” Ginger glared. “You can’t see something in a person’s face, if it’s not actually true.”

Mary wrung her hands. “It is true!”

Ginger grit her teeth until they hurt to prevent a reply escaping her tongue. She wanted to throw herself at the woman, but held back.

Eddie. Eddie doesn’t need me acting on my temper right now. Everyone doesn’t even believe her. Stay calm for Eddie.

Fabian shook his head. “Maybe we should let our ‘detectives’ do their jobs and stop trying to ‘help.’”

“They aren’t doing their jobs!” Mary wailed. She fled across the café, much more swiftly than Ginger expected. She shook the door wildly, her hair sticking out even more than before. “We’re still locked in! With a murderer! They haven’t proven who is guilty. They haven’t done anything!”

“They were trying, until you stopped everything by stabbing a man,” Fabian answered mildly.

Mary blinked.

“You need to give them time.” This time Renee spoke in a very soft voice.

“Time!” Mary recovered from Fabian’s remark. “We’ll all die one by one!”

“One person has died.” Xavier made everyone turn toward him. “We will do everything we can to find out why and by whose hand. Panicking will not help anything.”

“I just want out!” Mary shook the door again, but nothing happened. “I can’t be stuck in here any longer!”

She grabbed a chair with rather astonishing strength and threw it into the fogged glass window. She screamed when both she and the chair met an impassible barrier. It must have hurt, but the glass remained unbroken.

Ginger coughed to keep back her laugh. “You won’t break it. It’s bullet proof. I’m pretty sure that makes it chair proof too.”

“Why on earth does the café have bullet proof glass?” Anna raised an eyebrow as she stared.

“How should I know? I don’t own the place. I just work here.”

“Curiouser and curiouser.” Fabian could barely be heard.

Mary’s hands shook. “We can’t get out! We can’t get out!”

No one answered her. Ginger expected that someone would, but they didn’t.

Fabian finally shrugged, turning away from Mary Dill. “What should we do now? I hardly think that we can return to Agatha Christie.”

“If we’re so certain that those two should be left to investigate, perhaps they should go back to investigating.” Kimberly bit out the words savagely.

Ginger recalled why she no longer knelt beside Eddie and glanced toward the cousins.

I should still talk to them. Before they make me.

“We’ll need to confer for a moment, but then we can continue our investigation. We’ll probably continue the interviews, as well.” Adrian looked incredibly weary.

Ginger swallowed. “Can I talk to you for a moment first?”

Adrian glanced toward Xavier and then nodded. “Certainly, Miss Thomas.”

“It’s about time,” Kimberly muttered. “Keeping secrets at a time like this…”

Ginger ignored the added glare and marched toward the booth.

You and Mary Dill are the reason why I’m not letting most of these people know what I have to say. You can not be trusted.

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