Amanda gave her full marks in the courage department

Sheryl’s Daily Prompt

The unlucky individual who had found Mr. Monroe’s lifeless body sat before Amanda, shattered, in pain, shock, horror, and disbelief, all pouring off her like water while equally visible in her eyes.

It was easy to see she was a tender heart and up until today, life had treated her kindly, her world far removed from violence and the viciousness people were capable of handing out. Obviously it hit her hard, slamming her, knocking her sideways and she sat hunched as if to protect herself from any further pain. She held a Kleenex clenched in her fisted hand fighting for control. Amanda gave her full marks in the courage department as she attempted to move past the visual and forever etched picture of the dead man formulating in her mind and which would undoubtedly haunt her for a long time to come.

“Miss Cartwright, how long had you known Victor Monroe?”

She searched her memory and said, “Probably three years or so. I can’t recall the exact moment in time, really. It was one of those casual things. We were both shopping at the same store and literally ran into each other.” She smiled, at the memory, “We both apologized and randomly began chatting and found we had a great deal in common. We met several times for coffee before we realized we’re neighbours of sorts. I live a few blocks from his home. That sealed the deal, we spent time together nearly every day enjoying coffee and pie – his favourite was raisin and so is mine – isn’t that coincidental?” Tears flowed freely once again and again she fought for control.

“Did you ever meet any of his other friends?”

“On occasion. There was a man named Jonathan Fairbanks, they seemed to know each other well, and he always left when I showed up. Not sure why that was, don’t know if it was an arrangement or coincidence. There was a Helen Jones that I met once, they seemed amicable. That’s about it.”

“When did you last see Mr. Monroe alive?”

A shiver roared through her body as she remembered that fateful moment and pulled back from it, “Um, um” (the words shook and tumbled around before she continued, “Two days ago. We went grocery shopping together and he said he had plans the following day and asked if it was alright if we got together today at our usual time. I agreed, it wasn’t a problem. We both have our own lives, but we always made time for each other.”

“Was there any romantic involvement?” At the woman’s startled look she continued, “I wondered if anyone could have been jealous of your relationship – another man or woman.”

“It would have been nice if that had happened, I certainly wouldn’t have said no, but although we skirted around the subject, we never acted on it.”

“Had he voiced any concerns problems or difficulties with anyone that you know of?”

“No, oh, he said his son was at it again and when I asked what that meant, he said, they never saw eye to eye and his son wanted his inheritance early. Mr. Monroe suggested he was a bit of a gambler. When he didn’t say anything more, I didn’t ask since I assumed he didn’t want to talk about it, perhaps it was too painful or personal.”

“To your knowledge, was he wealthy?”

“I know he had money, we never discussed it in detail. It only came up because we were daydreaming and I’d mentioned the desire to go to Hawaii. He said he’d been and it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. We discussed other possibilities and were heading down the road to taking a vacation together later this year.”

When tears flowed freely again, Amanda walked around her desk and gently held the woman’s hand. “That’s all for now Miss Cartwright. If we need anything else, I’ll contact you.”

“I’m truly sorry for your loss.”

When she rose, she held onto Amanda’s hand and said, “Please, Miss Jarod, get who did this, will you? He was a good and decent man, full of laughter and humour and he was a gentleman and worth knowing. Please get them and make them pay!”

“I plan on it, Miss Cartwright.”

As Miss Cartwright walked away, Amanda couldn’t help but smile. A gentle soul who cared deeply had laid her heart in Amanda’s hands and asked her to find the guilty party. It moved her more than she could imagine. Time to get into it not only for Mr. Monroe but for this lovely woman as well.

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