So a week ago Jessica came to town. Jess and I have talked on the phone a few times the last couple of months, and I feel like I’ve gotten to know her a little bit better. I was surprised to see her post to the blog last week—especially since she is so tight lipped about her past.
I sent her a text message after reading her post.
Ashlyn: Welcome to da blog!
Ashlyn: Hey—you didn’t give your original name in the post. You just put detective.
Jess: Really? Isn’t that interesting… :P
I decided that just the way she is—friendly, outgoing—but some things she likes to keep to herself. I don’t blame her, I do the same thing myself—I’m always struggling with what I should or shouldn’t put in this blog.
Anyway, I met Jess at North Station last Friday morning. I see Jess walking up from the train. She’s attractive, with long brown hair and the bluest eyes I ever seen--partially hidden by glasses. She was wearing one of her signature t-shirts with a cartoon girl and the words ‘geek girl’ on it. We hug and she instantly hits me with “So where’s Louise?”
“I guess you read she wants to meet you.” I say.
“Well, duh.” She said in typical teenage fashion with a grin on her face.
“She has a room at the Marlowe in Cambridge. She said she ‘didn’t want to intrude’ on our plans. I tried to tell her that we didn’t have anything set in stone, that she wasn’t intruding, but I couldn’t convince her. I was thinking maybe we could dump your stuff at my place and then swing by a get her to have lunch with us.”
“Thanks for letting me crash on your couch.” She says.
“No problem—but don’t thank me yet. I have a lot of house mates, and they all keep different hours. It may be tough to get any sleep.” I tell her.
“I’m young. I’ll survive. Besides, this will be good practice for living in a dorm.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
We bump into Logan—one of my roommates—as we were dropping off her stuff. It seemed only right to introduce them to each other since she was going to be around for a few days.
“Hey Logan, this is my friend Jessica. She’s going to crash on our couch for a few days.”
Logan smiles, shakes her hand, and gives her a once over.
“Your friend is very pretty.” Logan says smiling at her. Jessica looked a little surprised by Logan’s straight forwardness.
I’m sure Jess could handle herself—I know she’s older than she looks or sometimes acts—but I couldn’t help but to feel a little protective of her.
“Jessica,” I say firmly, yet as friendly as I could, “Has just turned 18 is off-limits --and she is a friend of mine.”
Logan grins at me, shrugs and walks away. Jess turned a little pink. There was a little awkward silence for a while as Jess put her things away. She opened one of her bags and pulled out a folded up t-shirt.
“I bought you a gift. I thought it was funny.”
I unfold the t-shirt and it read ‘who needs brains when I’ve got these?’
I threw the t-shirt at her.
Louise was thrilled to have lunch with us. We met at the California Pizza Kitchen at the Cambridgeside Mall—it was within walking distance for all of us. When Jess and I get there, Louise was already there.
Jessica points her out. “Let me guess, Louise is the attractive dark haired woman reading the book.”
We join her at her booth, Jessica and Louise exchange handshakes.
“Is so good to meet you.” Louise tells Jessica. “I’ve always wanted to meet a real detective.”
Jessica shrugs. “That was a lifetime ago.”
“Don’t let her kid you. She still has skills—she found me with very little information from the blog.” I tell Louise.
“Riiiggghhht. Like finding you was hard. I called restaurants around Cambridge asking if a busty redhead named Ashlyn worked there.” Jessica rolled her eyes.
“Still, you did it.” I insisted.
The waiter walked up and took our order. We get salads and split one pizza between the three of us.
“So you want to find the original Marie?” Jessica asked between bites. “Tell her about her Mother and give her an opportunity to get her life back?“
Louise nodded. “Yes.”
“It’s difficult to find someone who goes missing—it’s incredible difficult to find someone who wants to go missing.” Jessica states seriously. “Difficult, but not impossible.”
Louise was excited. “You have some ideas?”
“A few. I know Liz didn’t get much information from the previous Marie, but didn’t the original Ashlyn get some sort of letter from the original Jean-Michel? And if they are together…”
“I’ve talked to Jean-Michel—the new Jean-Michel—and he has no clue where the original Jean-Michel and Marie are located.” Louise interjected.
“Still, it would be nice to read that letter. “ Jessica says. “Also there are the other victims of the Inn from when Marie and Jean-Michel where there. They could give us a physical description and maybe some other leads. They are probably not as difficult to hunt down.”
“Good. That is an excellent suggestion.” Louise says.
Jessica turns to me. “Ash, has that secret admirer sent you anything lately? You haven’t mentioned him lately.”
I was a little surprised. “Um yeah. Well, He had a gap there for a while, but he did start sending me things again… I just haven’t mentioned them because—well because I’ve been keeping the gifts.” I was slightly embarrassed.
Jessica nodded. She had warned me a long time ago not to keep things from the secret admirer; I just couldn’t see what harm could come from it.
“Why do you ask?” I asked.
“The secret admirer has been sending things to Jean-Michel as well. I find that interesting. “
Jessica and Louise really seemed to bond quickly. They started discussing strategies on locating some of the Inn’s previous victims.
“It would be interesting to run down some of the more current victims of the Inn as well. The more information the clearer the overall picture. Maybe we could find out why the Inn is cursed.” Jessica added. “Maybe we could do something about the Inn.”
By the end of lunch Jessica and Louise were planning an extensive road trip. They invited me along, but I declined. Jessica was kind of surprised.
“You don’t want to come?” Jessica asked.
“Sure, I want to come. I just want to stay here more. I’m not thrilled with being a Headlight’s girl, but I am finally making money—also, things have been really good between me and Matt. I don’t what to screw that up.”
Jessica and Louise continued to plan and I began to feel like a third wheel. My phone rang, it was work, and they wanted to know if I could pick up a shift. Jessica and I were originally planning on hanging out that evening, but I could see her becoming focused on the road trip.
“Hey Jess, it’s work. They want to know if I can work tonight. Maybe you and Louise have got some things to work out tonight?”
“Yeah, go ahead. That would be great.” She tells.
I left them there, excitedly talking about the trip—it made me a little sad to be left out, but that was my choice.