* 8: Bittersweet Confession *

Two weeks had passed and JC's hope was fading. There were no more signs from Christina or any news about where her body might be. He had not gotten anywhere with Courtney. She continued to act innocent and was adamant about her alibi. Everything seemed to be in place with Courtney and the thought of her being guilty was diminishing along with the whole case.

The only good news was that the cold streak had broken and the snow had finally stopped. For the first time in a month it was getting warmer and the snow was starting to melt. The cold weather was unexpected to them and the hint of warmer weather had chased away the sadness of the city and was returning color to their world.

If only JC could live in a world that wasn't black and white. Sitting alone in the darkness of his home he listened to the silence. He missed the sound of her laughter and the touch of her hand. The tears didn't fall anymore. His eyes were all cried out and now had turn cold with anger. There was nothing left for him to do and only wished for a miracle. He would try with Courtney one more time. His final choice was to lie and he would go no further than that.

"Jace, you home?" Courtney yelled as she barged into the dark house.

Asia barked at his feet to reveal his hiding spot in the chair beside the burning fireplace. "Right here."

"What are you doing in the dark?" she asked as she reached under the lamp to turn the light on.

"Leave it go." he grumbled.

"Geez, what's your problem?"

JC sighed, wishing that the voice he used to love would stop annoying him. "Oh, I dunno, Court. It's the same 'ole shit just a different fucking day."

"You know, you should get over this depression you are in. It's been like what, a month now? You need to move on." she snapped back as she sat on the arm of his chair.

"What exactly is there to move on to?"

"Well, you finally got the club up and running again. There is only so much I can do there by myself so you need to get out of this hole you are living in and come back to the social world."

"I bet you feel so at home in my office, don't you?" JC smirked as he got up from his chair.

Courtney uncomfortably stood up and followed him to the kitchen. "What are you talking about JC? If you don't want me to run the place for you then you should just say so."

JC's anger swirled in his head. He so badly wanted to point the finger at her but couldn't. He sighed to himself as he tried to slow down the conversation. He wanted her to feel guilty on her own if she knew anything. If he pushed her too far she might not ever trust him.

"No, no. Sorry, you are doing fine." he leaned in and kissed her convincingly. "You're doing fine." he finished in a whisper with his lips near hers.

"Mmmmm, what was that for?" she licked her lips wanting more.

"You know I always come back to you." JC continued his lie, biting his tongue for acting like he still liked her.

"See now that's what I like to hear." she said seductively as she lightly brushed his lips with hers.

"Court, you need to help me here." JC said as he pulled himself away.

"Oh, I can help you." she smiled as she placed her hand below the belt.

"No." he backed up and walked away from her. "Not that."

"Then what?" she asked with a confused look on her face.

"Are you sure you don't remember anything else about that night?"

"Ugggh! I am so sick of that question." she grumbled.

"Please tell me if you know something." he walked back up to her.

"Why does everyone keep asking me that? Am I supposed to know something? Because, I don't." she turned and went back to the living room.

"I have this feeling that you know something but you might not know it yet." he followed her.

"What does that mean?"

"Like, its in your subconscious or something."

"Why would I know anything? she asked as she sat down on the couch.

"Because," he paused, thinking of his only weapon and ally. "Christina said you did." he partially lied.


"Christina told me that you know something." he swallowed hard, not knowing where the conversation was going.

Courtney looked at him strangely. "Are you saying you talk to Christina?" she asked him but he didn't respond. "Are you on crack?"

"No, I see her sometimes and I talk to her." he lied about the talking part although he wished he could.

"Uh, okay. Have you told anyone else about this?"

"No. Not even Maddie. I only trust you." he confessed. The police had removed the bugs he had in his house after several unsuccessful attempts for Courtney to spill something. He knew he could tell her his secret without anyone listening.

"I think you need to see a shrink." she breathed in deeply as she started to get nervous.

"Do you want to know what she said?" he asked.

"No." she stood up and made her way to the door. "I need to go now. I'll come back and check on you tomorrow."

"Okay." JC agreed as she quickly left the house. He smirked to himself as he walked up the stairs and went to bed.

He woke up with a jolt in the middle of the night. His dream had seemed so real and it took him a moment to figure out where he was. He could see Christina reaching out to him but she seemed so far away. He could hear water rushing in his ears but only darkness in front of him. He saw her face quickly before he woke up. She called out in silence as she cried bloody tears. He sat up in bed full of sweat. He knew he was getting close.

The sound of the phone ringing woke JC up the next morning. He rolled over and stumbled around with his hand to grab the phone off the nightstand next to him.

"Hello?" he answered groggily with his eyes still closed.

"Jace, hey its Lance."

"Hey man, what's up?" he said softly as he tried to open his eyes.

"Would you be able to come down to the station today?"

The sound in Lance's voice made JC sit up in bed. "Why? What's going on?"

"I just need you to come down here as soon as possible. We might have something that could give us a lead and we would like for you to give us some information."

"Oh." JC paused to let things sink in. "Yeah, I'll be down as soon as I can."

They hung up a moment later and JC rushed around to get ready. He was anxious and nervous at the same time to see what they had found. Within ten minutes he was out the door and already at the station.

"JC, hey, that was quick." Lance met up with him at the main office desk.

"Can you tell me what's going on?" JC said, out of breath, as he thought he noticed Maddie out the corner of his eye down the hall.

"Detective Reed is waiting in his office for you." Lance replied as he showed him the way to his office and walked in with him.

"JC. Glad you could come down on short notice." Detective Reed stood up and shook his hand.

JC sat down on the chair across from his desk, still looking for answers that no one would answer. "Can you please tell me why I had to come down here."

"The snow is starting to melt, JC, and it's a very good thing."

"What do you mean?"

Detective Reed sat back on his chair and motioned for Lance to leave the room. "We found something that might help us with the case. Something that was buried in the snow. It's like frozen evidence waiting to be revealed."

JC sighed. "Can you please get to the point."

"We found a sock and a shoe along Ridge Road by the old mill bridge. We had them both sent in for testing. I just want you to see if you can identify them."

"That dirt road to the old mill? No one has used that in years." JC explained.

"Well, some kids like using it for parties."

"What do you mean?" JC repeated.

"A police officer was on patrol on the highway by there and saw a bunch of kids back by the bridge partying. He called it in to get back up and after all the kids were hauled off they found the shoe and sock near the tree line." he finished as Lance returned to the room.

"Have you questioned them? Do they know anything?" JC asked inquizitively.

"No, I'm sure they don't. They were just trying to find a place for some underage drinking. Actually, thankful for their stupidity, they led us to something that may be important." he added as he opened the brown bag that Lance had handed to him.

"Is that the shoe?"

"Yep." Detective Reed answered bluntly as he pulled it out of the bag. "Do you recognize it?"

JC sat silently. As soon as he showed it to him his heart broke. Detective Reed noticed as his face turned white and tears started to form in his glassy eyes.

"You do don't you?"

JC just shook his head.

"I was hoping you would. We found a hair on this shoe and we had it tested. We brought in everyone we questioned close to you and Christina: Maddie, Courtney, Joni, Jack, Abbie and Kelly."

JC remembered seeing Maddie in the hallway as he opened up. "Why did you bring them in?"

Detective Reed put the shoe back in the bag and gave it to Lance to return to the evidence room. "We need to find out of any of their DNA matches the hair we found on the shoe. The results should be here any minute."

"And if it doesn't?" JC asked quickly.

"Well, let's just say we better find a body to go with this shoe soon or this case will have to be closed." Detective Reed sighed as he sat back in his leather chair.

"No, you can't do that!" JC exclaimed.

"Now, don't get all crazy on me JC. Let's just see what happens with this new evidence before we think that far ahead."

JC sat back in frustration and there was silence for a moment until Lance barged into the office.

"Sorry sir, but I thought you'd like to know about the DNA results." he said out of breath.

"That's fine Lance, go ahead." he said quickly as both he and JC perked up out of their seats.

"The DNA matched one of the suspects here in the building."

"That's great! Who is it?" Detective Reed said as he stood up out of his chair.

"Well, sir, before I tell you that I want you to know that they also confessed to murder when confronted with the DNA match." Lance continued as he stretched out the answer to his question.

"My God, Lance, just tell us who it is!" JC exclaimed as he jumped out of his chair.

"Courtney Mallone."

JC took a step back, shocked but yet not at the same time. He hoped that they wouldn't have been right a month ago but they were all along.

"There is something else sir." Lance swallowed hard as he broke the silence that layed thick in the air.

"What is it Lance?" Detective Reed asked as he walked around the desk to stand beside JC.

"She confessed to the person who helped her with the murder." he paused as Detective Reed and JC stared a hole right through him. "The thing is, that person is here. It's another one of the suspects..."

To Be Continued...