shop, your parents, Talan, and the shop’s surveillance videos, there isn’t much left to piece together. All we need from you is to positively ID the two individuals out of a lineup of pictures we will place atop this table. Take your time. Look at them carefully and push the one that is correct toward us. After that, a few simple questions and we will be out of your hair.”
“You have a surveillance system?” For some reason out of everything they’d just said, I was still stuck on that. “Since when?”
With an indulgent smile on his face, Talan tapped me on the nose once before taking a seat beside me. “Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Babe, I run a very successful tattoo parlor. Clients, mostly the males, come through those doors in all states of awareness. Belligerent and high as a kite. It’s there for our protection in case someone gets out of hand and gets knocked the fuck out.”
“You could’ve gone with destruction of property.” Marquez tried to sound stern, but his amusement was clear. “Recording this, remember.”
“Why lie?” And that right the fuck there was one of the main reasons why I adored him. Honest to a fault. Sees no point in lying for anyone’s benefit. “Plus, there’s never been a big enough idiot to go there with me or the boys. The few times it has gotten out hand—very few and far between—have been amongst themselves and broken up before it went past words.”
I laughed, couldn’t stop the giggles that burst through as something came to mind. “ Kill yourselves outside, but never in my shop. That’s why you have that on a plaque behind the reception area?”
“Yup. Pretty much, you adorable dork.” Talan leaned in and kissed my forehead, taking in a deep pull of my scent into his lungs before sitting back, his hand placed on my knee. “I’m a firm believer in giving people a fair warning. Can’t cry foul when you’ve been cautioned.”
“Getting back to the point…” Gulver raised a brow at Talan and shook his head “…I’m going to lay down four pictures faced down atop this table. No hurry. Once they are in place, take your time, Maya, and look at them carefully. We need both a verbal and visual confirmation from you on which of these was your attacker. If she’s not in any of these, we have more photos to show you.”
Dad and Talan stood then and removed the few pictures and the bamboo dish I had filled with colorful eggs carved in stone atop the coffee table. Everything was set aside and a large binder was pulled from a leather messenger bag Gulver had by his feet.
Loud, the sound reverberated throughout every square inch of the now quiet room. Filled to the brim and overflowing, he flipped it open to a yellow tab and pulled out a few sheets of papers. Two sets; separated by gender. Mug shots and license photos.
“Ms. Owens,” I heard Marquez call out, but my attention was glued to the two sets of faced-down pictures. “I understand you have some questions of your own?”
“Not questions. More like concerns.”
“We have some time right now if you’d like to step outside? Let her have a moment to concentrate without everyone watching.” If it wouldn’t piss off Talan, I’d kiss the man at the moment.
“Let’s go, Linda.” Dad’s voice held finality and after a loud huff, she came and kissed my and Talan’s foreheads. Was her way of letting us know that she was here for us, and it also served to start mending the rift she’d caused with the man sitting close beside me.
Ignoring the hand Dad held out for her, she walked out of the room silently through the sliding glass doors. And being the smart man that he was, he followed after her with a Marquez who looked unsure of himself.
“That was interesting.”
“Detective, that’s the norm around here.”
“He isn’t lying.” At that, we all erupted in laughter, theirs being loud and boisterous, while