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Appisode 2: 46:52 - Life After Death

Previously on Disorderly Conduct: Widower: Natalia dos Santos and her partner Emerson Mackabe landed a new case that leaves them both dumbfounded. Even though the very pregnant Natalia is regulated to desk duty, she manages to bend the rules - much to the chagrin of her captain, Jaqueline Bridges, and heads to the crime scene; the only lead to the brutal murder is DNA from a dead woman, who just so happens to the be victim’s dead wife Jane Paxton; the victim’s current wife Sabrina Paxton is interviewed.

Should Emerson and Natalia look further into Sabrina’s alibi or should they follow the lead of Jane and see where it goes?

Click To Reveal Results
LOOK INTO JANE
82%
LOOK INTO SABRINA
18%

“This place gives me the creeps,” Emerson muttered as he walked in behind Natalia.

“Y’know, Mackabe, you are a cop. You’ll have to get used to seeing dead bodies at some point,” Natalia pointed out, looking back at him with a smirk on her lips. “Besides, we’re looking at files. Not bodies. Don’t be such a wuss.”

“Easy for you to say, you were gonna be a doctor for God’s sake,” Emerson snapped, stuffing his hands in his pockets. There was a small pout on his lips, he got it whenever he knew he was being illogical and didn’t know how he could fix it. For the most part, he never realized it was there, but Natalia always did.

Natalia laughed and shook her head, avoiding any more comments from Emerson about going to the morgue. A receptionist greeted them as they walked in, Natalia walked up to the counter. Emerson followed grudgingly. The receptionist had curly blonde hair and green eyes, along with a small amount of stubble lining his jaw. He wore circular framed brown glasses that made his eyes look humungous.

“Hi, we’re here with the police department,” Natalia announced as she and Emerson held up their police badges. “We’re just going to look for a file and then we’ll be out,” She explained, although the young receptionist didn’t seem to mind why they were there. He was too busy looking at a photo of who Emerson assumed was his girlfriend and the infatuation in his eyes admittedly made him want to throw up.

Love and relationships weren’t really Emerson’s... thing for the most part. His last relationship had been while he and Natalia were still in the Academy of Justice, and it had been with a woman who was simply using him to get her grades up. Natalia had to be held back from beating the living daylights out of the woman when she’d found out. Unfortunately for him, that relationship had left a sour taste in his mouth which kept him from looking for someone else after that, despite the fact that Natalia had his back about it. Before he knew it, they were working, and he was still single. He wasn’t all too worried about it, he was only 29 after all. He had all the time in the world to find the right person.

“Right this way,” the receptionist said.

He got up from his desk and led the two down a hallway, turning a single corner. Natalia was hot on his trail, Emerson followed closely behind the two. It worried Emerson that Natalia was so comfortable in the morgue. Then again, he tended to try and block out the things he knew about the morgue and what had happened to the bodies that lay behind its closed doors, Natalia didn’t.

“Here you go, knock yourself out,” the receptionist unlocked the door and swung it open. “Put anything back if you don’t need it for your investigation. Let me know if you take anything.”

Natalia walked into the small room filled with dusty filing cabinets.

Emerson sighed and nodded towards the receptionist. “Thanks,” he said for Natalia, who had already flicked the light switch on and had begun her search.The receptionist nodded and walked back to his desk, his footsteps echoing as he walked away from them.

Emerson made a face as he looked around the room. He swore he watched spiders run and hide behind the backs of the cabinets - he elected to ignore that and move on from there. Natalia was on a mission, her eyes scanning each of the labels on the cabinets.

Finally, the Oldman - Quart tag appeared.

“Bingo,” Natalia muttered as she opened the drawer. Emerson walked over as Natalia flipped through the files, her eyes scanning for the label she desperately needed for the case.

Emerson had thought Natalia was insane when she’d announced that she wanted to see where Jane had ended up and what happened with her death. He, regretfully, had made a comment about how Natalia must have some kind of “deranged corpse fetish” because she spent a good 20 minutes looking at pictures of the Hunter Paxton crime scene and reading up on Jane before suggesting that they go to the morgue to do more reading up on Jane.

Natalia, being Natalia, lucked out on her hunch of searching Jane on the police database. A lengthy record of mental health issues had led to many police-recommended stays in Lakesight hospital, the only mental health facility anywhere near where they lived. Somehow, she’d always avoided spending a lot of time in there, despite being diagnosed with both bipolar and paranoid personality disorder.

She’d been arrested twice, once on a charge of driving under the influence, but she wasn’t sentenced for reasons unlisted. The other time was for abuse, but what Natalia found curious was the fact that it hadn’t been Hunter, who Natalia found held a clean police record. It actually was a man named Christopher Greenway, who also had no police records himself. Christopher had no ties to Jane listed, the records simply looked like she had lost it and attacked him one day. She’d never gone on trial for the abuse, as she had died hours after the court date had been set. Found dead in her house, with no leads as to who had killed her.

After looking up and reading many news articles, Natalia had come to the conclusion that most people had Christopher pegged as suspect number one. Though he was never charged with it, as no evidence rose against him. One of two things had happened; he was good and covered his tracks, or he hadn’t done it. Either way, no killer had been caught. Her untimely death had made Hunter Paxton a widower.

The entire case as a whole frustrated Natalia to no end.

Loose ends angered her in her own cases; let alone when she was in all likelihood going to have to tie up strings in cases that weren’t hers in the first place.

Emerson crossed his arms as he leaned against the door to watch Natalia work, he knew he shouldn’t try and help her, she’d just push him away. Of their partnership, Natalia was the brains… and, if he was being honest with himself, the brawn as well. But, in the state she was in, he’d taken over most of the brawn area.

Natalia slammed her fist on the cabinet, a sure sign that Emerson was allowed to intervene, finally. Before he could even take a step in her direction, Natalia turned and looked at him, taking in a deep breath through her nostrils and exhaling angrily.

“I know how to spell, right?” She asked through gritted teeth.

“Um… Yeah, course you do,” Emerson replied as if it were obvious, frowning with worry as he walked over to where she stood. “Why? What’s going on?”

“Not here,” she muttered, looking back into the cabinet and sifting through each file once again. She had a crazed look in her eyes as she looked at him once again. “It’s not here!” Her fist slammed against the top of the cabinet again in frustration.

“The file isn’t there?” Emerson asked, his eyebrows knitting together. His expression read beyond confused.

“No, her corpse isn’t in there,” Natalia snapped sarcastically as she rolled her eyes, “Yes, the file is missing.”

Before Emerson could reply, Natalia had pushed her way past Emerson and was storming down the hall that they had come from. Emerson dashed out of the room and closed the door behind him, eventually falling into stride with her.

“Look Nat, you gotta think rationally,” Emerson reasoned, his hands accentuating his words. “Maybe someone was looking at the file and put it in the wrong drawer. Happens all the time at the precinct.”

“Doctors don’t make those kinds of mistakes, Emerson,” Natalia replied, her jaw tightening.

That’s when Emerson realized how worried and angry she was.

Punching things? Not out of the ordinary for Natalia. They put a punching bag in the precinct’s gym just for her because they were tired of paying people to fill in the holes she’d put in the wall. The filing cabinet had been an innocent casualty in the case of Natalia’s rage. But when she called him by his first name and not his last… that’s when it was serious.

“Hey, relax, okay. Stress isn’t good for you, especially when there’s nothing to stress about. Just breathe. We’ll find the file and you’ll get your information, okay?” Emerson tried his best to calm her down before things got out of hand. He had always been decent at keeping her calm, as he knew when to pick his battles and when to let them go. Of course, his amount chosen was significantly increased since she’d announced her pregnancy to him, but that was beside the point.

Natalia walked up to the counter and slammed her hands on it, causing the receptionist to jump and look up at her. “Jane. Paxton. File. Where?” Her words ground out as if each one was its own sentence.

Who?” the receptionist asked, looking at her.

Emerson stepped in before Natalia could snap at the poor man again. “We’re doing an investigation on someone close to Jane Paxton, but your file is missing. Is it possible that it was put into the wrong drawer or something?”

The receptionist hummed and logged into his computer. He scrolled on his mouse. “How do you spell-?”

“J-a-n-e P-a-x-t-o-n,” Natalia answered inhumanly quickly. Emerson raised his eyebrows, impressed despite the situation.

The receptionist tilted his head, shaking it slowly as he drew in a sigh. “Says here that the file was never transferred to this location. We moved last year, maybe it was lost in the move.”

“That’s impossible, you guys keep copies of copies of copies,” Natalia replied, waving her hands as she spoke. “How could you have lost it?”

“Things get lost sometimes,” he said with a shrug, obviously not realizing how annoyed and overly hormonal Natalia was.

“That doesn’t just happen,” Natalia pressed, her impatience and anger taking over. “We need that file for our investigation… So help me God, I will have you arrested for withholding information!”

“Look, Missus, I’m sorry, but I can’t help you. The woman died two years ago, there’s really nothing I can do if her records are missing. My hands are tied,” he looked at her regretfully. “If you want, I can send away and see if someone’s got a copy. There’s a slim chance if any, and it would take a couple months-”

“Nope,” Natalia replied, sighing and walking out the front doors. She would have to find the information she wanted some other way.

Emerson sighed as he watched her leave. “Thanks for your help,” he said with a stiff smile. The receptionist nodded and Emerson walked in the direction Natalia had gone.

By the time he’d made it outside, Natalia was already in the squad car and buckled in. To his surprise, she was in the passenger seat with her head bowed. He frowned but rolled with it. After all, it had been a long time since she’d willingly let him drive. When he got in, the whole thing made at least a bit more sense. She was on her phone, madly typing.

As he buckled his seatbelt, Natalia’s hand flung in front of his face, waving the keys around. He sighed as he took the keys, but said nothing. It wasn’t worth making her angrier. She went back to typing with both hands.

“Whatcha doin’?” Emerson asked as he started the car and drove out of the parking lot.

“I don’t know,” Natalia admitted with a sigh as Emerson heard her phone lock. “What are we supposed to do now?”

Emerson looked at her briefly before looking back to the road. “We’ll get the file, okay? Somehow, some way, we’ll find it. Don’t worry about it.” His words weren’t antagonistic or bitter at all. Calm, cool and collected, which was just what Natalia needed at that moment to find her center again.

Natalia nodded, “Let’s get to work.”

Emerson smiled as he drove, “There she is! Glad to have you back, Nat.”

Natalia laughed, shaking her head. “You’re an idiot,” she replied. Which Emerson knew was Natalia for ‘thank you.’

“Greatest idiot in the world,” Emerson confirmed. Natalia knew that meant ‘you’re welcome’ in Emerson world.

 

*

 

Natalia quietly opened the door and placed her keys on the small wooden table beside her. She pressed her lips together as she closed the door ever so silently. Carefully taking her jacket off and sliding her shoes into the rack, she placed her tan trench on the coat hook tucked in just behind the door. She blew a gust of air out, finally getting a second to herself. It had been a long day. For her, and for Emerson, who’d had to put up with her the entire time.

They had spent the day trying to find any information that they could about Jane. Emerson had left at one point to check out Sabrina’s alibi, but he came up short with information in that area too. He’d sent her home when he knew that they weren’t going to get anywhere and said that they could get a fresh start in the morning. Usually, Natalia would stay and see if she could find one more piece of evidence or bit of information, she always wanted to be one step closer. But she’d been stressed and angry and that wasn’t good for anyone. So she’d obliged, and there she stood.

She walked into the kitchen, opened her fridge and pulled out a carton of orange juice. Without bothering to find herself a glass, she unscrewed the cap and took a long drink. Letting out a commercial-worthy ‘ah’ after her drink, a light flicked on over her head, causing her to jump. She looked up and sighed in relief when she realized who it was standing in front of her.

Matthew Turner, her husband.

Although his arms were crossed and he looked genuinely mad at her, Natalia was still happy to see him. He was her husband after all, and she loved him more than anything in the world. A grizzly brunette beard was evenly trimmed around his thin strip of a mouth. Jaw length hair that perfectly blended into his beard was tucked behind his ears. Fierce green eyes met Natalia’s hazel ones with a fruity cocktail of a look that blended worry and anger together.

“Seriously, what kind of a time is this to be coming home? Veronica went to bed three hours ago. She didn’t even get to see you today,” Matthew scolded, sighing to an extent that Natalia thought was a bit overdramatic. The fact that he’d used his daughter’s full name was an accurate representation of how angry he was because Natalia knew that on most days, he called her ‘Ronnie.’ “Also, are you actually drinking out of the juice carton… again?”

“Wow, Mom, who knew you’d moved back in? The beard’s a good look on you, though I didn’t know that you could grow one of those when you’re a woman… and dead. That’s definitely noted,” Natalia quipped, flashing a smile to her husband. He rolled his eyes, about to go out into a full protest. “Look, Matt, I’m sorry. The investigation took longer than I thought it was going to, you know how it is.”

“No, I don’t know how it is, Nat,” Matthew’s eyebrows knit together as he held his hands out to his sides. “You’re doing a 12-hour shift at seven months when, in reality, you should probably be on maternity. What’s going on?”

“What’s going on?” Natalia repeated, placing both her palms on the cold marble countertop in front of her as she leaned towards him slightly. “People are being murdered. That’s what’s ‘going on,’” Natalia made air quotes as she spoke, her tone was evidence of her almost tipping over the edge into the bottomless pit of rage. “It’s my job to find out who killed them, bring that person to justice and to get those families closure. I’m sorry that you don’t understand the fact that things like that can take 12-hour shifts, but that’s how it is. You knew what you signed up for when you married me.”

“I’m not trying to be the bad guy here, Nat, calm down,” Matthew held his hands up defensively in her direction. The last thing he needed was to set her off. “I’m just…” He sighed through his nostrils before continuing. He wanted the right words, but he couldn’t find them. “I’m just saying. 12 hours is a long time when you’re not pregnant. You’re not even supposed to be out of your desk, but I know you’ve been going to crime scenes with Emmett-”

“Emerson,” Natalia corrected.

Whatever,” Matthew replied, drawing in a breath. “I’m trying to look out for you. You tend to be a bit tightly wound up on good days, let alone when you’re a little bit on the hormonal side…” Matthew knew he was treading in dangerous waters, and he didn’t know how much longer he could go without getting attacked.

“I know what I’m doing, Matt,” Natalia supplied with a soft sigh. “I’m sorry that I didn’t see Veronica today, I meant to, but she was still sleeping when I left this morning. I didn’t want to wake her up. After this investigation is over, I’ll spend the day with her, alright? I promise. But that’s going to take a few days of 12-hour shifts. I can’t just abandon being a detective.”

“You have a family to be there for too, Nat. I can handle Ronnie, but she needs a mom too,” Matthew replied with a soft sigh he thought Natalia wouldn’t notice. But she did.

“I’m not her mom, you know that, Matt. I’m fine with being her stepmom, more than happy to be, actually. But I am not her real mother. She has Dakota for that. Your ex-wife, remember?” Natalia retorted, knowing it would sting. But she was tired of hearing about how she’d spent too much time at work, it was time to bring out the big guns.

“Yes, I remember,” Matthew answered stiffly, his jaw was tight as he forced the words out from between his lips.
How could he ever forget Dakota Brooks? The woman who had said ‘through thick and thin’ and still abandoned him because she didn’t think that anything could mend their tattered relationship, even their newborn. The two were hardly ever perfect, but, for the longest time, in love they definitely were. That was for certain. But that certainty had only lasted so long.

That one night had ended it all. For good.

Both their vocal chords ached from screaming, broken plates littered the floor, cheeks were stained with tears, and Dakota’s grandfather clock in their living room chimed three times. Matthew had moved out a week later, and, thanks to the judge at their divorce court, he’d taken Veronica with him.

Deep down, he had known that it wouldn’t ever work out between the two of them, but he’d desperately wanted it to. He had always been a firm believer in one marriage for your entire life, one partner with you for all of eternity. Veronica was their last hope at staying together, they hoped that she could mend their marriage and get them to where they had been: very much in love and happier than ever, even with their fighting. Love could pierce through any veil, it was the strongest force in the universe. They got divorced a year after getting married, a mere two months after Veronica had been born.

Then he’d met Natalia, and the rest was history.

“Nat, I need you to take tomorrow off. It’s just one day,” Matthew said quietly.

Natalia looked at her husband and sighed.


‚Äč

Does Natalia take the day off for the good of her family, or does she go to work for the good of the case?

You Decided

Click To Reveal Results

WORK DAY

52%

FAMILY DAY

48%

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~Toni Morrison

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