Nodding, I said, “Yeah, we usually talked or texted a few times a week.”
She jotted something down and replied, “Okay, good. What did you two talk about recently?”
This was why I’d wanted to talk with the detective away from my parents. I hadn’t told them that I was pregnant yet. Except for Sadie, I hadn’t told anyone yet.
“Well,” I began, a bit nervous, “we’ve mostly been talking about me lately.”
“You?” Detective Carlson asked. “Why is that?”
I sighed. “I thought I was pregnant,” I reveal. “And then I found out that I am pregnant. So Sadie and I have mostly been talking about that, about what I plan to do.”
“Okay,” she said, writing something else down. “How did Sadie act when you told her about your pregnancy?”
“She was really supportive and told me she’d help me however she could. When I told her that I planned to keep the baby, she was really excited. Sadie said that she couldn’t wait to be an aunt.”
We talked for about ten more minutes.
“I think I have everything I need for now,” Detective Carlson said. “But I may need to talk to you again, okay Jada?”
“Can I ask you a favor?” I asked, biting my lip. “I haven’t told my parents yet, so could you not mention it to them?”
Her face softened. “I can promise that, as long as it doesn’t compromise your sister’s case, and I doubt it will, I won’t tell them a thing you’ve told me, okay?”
A few days later, Detective Carlson showed up unannounced to my parents’ house. She had a grim expression on her face when I opened the door.
“Oh God,” I murmured, my hand covering my mouth.
My parents looked up from where they sat on the couch. Mom stood and took a trembling step forward. “Did you find her?” she asked, her voice shaking. “Did you find my baby?”
“We don’t know,” Detective Carlson said.
She was about to say something else, but Mom interrupted her. “You don’t know? How can you not know if you’ve found my daughter?”
The detective remained calm. I’d bet anything she was used to dealing with hysterical mothers working in Las Vegas.
“Mrs. Hartville, we found a body matching your daughter’s description. We took a DNA sample, but we’ll be able to identify her sooner if someone identifies her.”
“Identify her,” Mom mumbled to herself. Her knees gave out, but thankfully Dad shot up from the couch and was able to catch her.
He wrapped his arms around her and they rocked together on the living room floor.
Turning to Detective Carlson, I said, “I’ll go.”
“Okay,” she said. Her voice was quiet, sympathetic.
I looked back at my parents but chose not to say anything as I left the house.
My morning sickness was nothing compared to the dread-induced nausea I felt as Detective Carlson drove us to the morgue. It felt like I held my breath during the entire ride.
I was glad Detective Carlson didn’t try to talk to me during the drive. I liked her, but I didn’t want to talk, not when I might be identifying my dead sister in mere minutes.
When we reached the morgue, I silently followed Detective Carlson through the halls of the building. After what seemed like hours, we reached the morgue. Walking inside, I saw a few silver metal tabled in a row. One of them, however, had a white sheet draped over it, a body underneath.
“Are you ready?” the detective asked me.
I wasn’t. I could never be ready for this, but I nodded. I had to know.
Detective Carlson gently grabbed my arm and led me to the table. A tall older Black man gave me a sorrowful look and pulled the sheet back to reveal the woman’s face.
She had beautiful dark brown curly hair streaked with golden highlights. Her cheekbones were high, her lips were full, and her skin tone was close to my own. She looked as if she could be my sister, but she wasn’t. It wasn’t Sadie.
I knew the cops were working on Sadie’s case, but I just couldn’t sit in my parents’ house waiting for something to happen.
The best place I knew to start was Sadie’s house. Technically speaking, it was still a crime scene, but I had a key and let myself in.
Mom and Dad hadn’t been exaggerating when they said Sadie’s place was trashed. Things were thrown around everywhere. Some stuff was broken or ripped. It was a disaster.
Looking around, I didn’t know where to even start. Would I even be able to find something the cops hadn’t? The only thing I had in my favor was the fact that I knew my sister better than any other person on the planet.
I decided to start in her bedroom. I flipped on the light and saw that the bedding had been ripped from her bed and the nightstand was tipped over.