Copyrighted © 2010 Elizabeth Parker
FIRST COMES LOVE,
THEN COMES MARRIAGE…
Fate is ultimately defined as the preconceived notion that our future has already been determined.
Regardless of the precautionary steps we take to avoid misfortune, our lives cannot be altered and what was meant to be will be, whether it is a chance meeting or being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Sometimes our destiny is fruitful and welcomed. Other times, a series of catastrophic events that impinge upon one unsuspecting person could easily produce a domino effect, distressing the lives of strangers and distorting the future forever.
They were considered the perfect couple. They were young, smart, good-looking, and well on their way to having the ideal life.
It hadn’t always been that way. Actually, it had been quite the opposite. Alexandra, more commonly known as Alex, was always a shy girl. Though naturally beautiful, she lacked the presumed confidence that was typical to accompany that beauty. Her parents thought she would never date, no less find someone as wonderful and personable as Jack.
Jack, on the other hand, was always outgoing, charming and confident in his appearance, manners and the way in which he spoke. He always had a firm handshake and would look you straight in the eye upon first meeting you.
There’s nothing worse than initially meeting someone and having them shake hands like a dead fish, or having them look at the ceiling as they say hello. Alex's father always preached that those were the type of people you had to watch out for. If they couldn't look you in the eye, they were more than likely hiding something.
Whether speaking about the weather, sports or idle chitchat, Jack’s singsong conversations always possessed a polished luster to them that made you want to stick around to talk a little more. The inflection of his words made it seem as though what he said was the most interesting thing said all day, perhaps all week.
Prior to getting together as a couple, Alexandra and Jack frequented the local bars and dance clubs separately with their own friends, as most twenty-something year olds do. It was here where they started taking some slight notice in each other. At first, it was just some shy, flirty glances, then some acknowledgement, then some lingering eye contact. It eventually went on so that they would occasionally say hello to each other, but that was about the extent of their meaningful dialogue.
After a few months of their initial encounter, it was actually Alexandra who made the first move in starting a conversation. They were both hanging out at the Seaside Manor, a high-end bar/restaurant that was known for its beautiful and stylish décor, mostly of elegant cherry-wood or black lacquer. Every weekend night, a popular local band is chosen to play, ensuring there will be a large crowd and even larger profit.
Alex was about to leave, as she noticed Jack leaning against the cherry-wood bar ordering a drink from the attractive bartender.
She felt a bit courageous and walked over to where Jack was standing. As she got a bit closer, she stalled, pretending to take notice in the framed abstract art positioned on the wall, each one carefully placed in perfect proportion.
When she recovered her nerve, she walked over and extended her hand to introduce herself. She feared he would say something rude and turn her away, leaving her to stand there looking like a complete fool. To her surprise, he did the exact opposite.
He had the most beautiful, friendly, light brown eyes. They shined as he spoke, and when he smiled, they seemed to have lit up the room. He reached for her hand to shake it with his right hand and with such gentleness, covered the top of her hand with his left.
If there was such a thing as sparks flying, followed by love at first sight, Alex believed she had just experienced them both within a matter of a few timeless seconds. She was mesmerized by his good looks and intrigued by both his intelligence and perfect manners.
They stood at the corner of the bar, barely noticing the enormous crowd encompassing them, or the blaring, loud music that screamed while they spoke. When they finally did look at the time, they couldn’t believe that they had been standing there for almost three hours. It was now ten past midnight and Alex had to get home.
Her heart wanted to stay and talk all night, but she knew that her parents would be worried sick about her. With a great deal of regret, she made it known that she had to go, but not before offering her phone number on the back of an unused napkin in hopes that Jack would call.
Upon saying goodbye, Alex surprised both Jack and herself when she swiftly leaned in for a good-night kiss that seemed to have lasted forever. She pulled away almost as quickly and as she ran to her car, realized she regretted it, at least somewhat. She was certain that this newly-discovered forward nature of hers would deter Jack from ever calling.
When she got home, Alex gently knocked on her parents' bedroom door to let them know she was safe and sound. She slipped into her own room and rested her head on the inviting, fluffy pillow. Though not at all drunk, it felt as if the room was spinning. She fell asleep hoping upon hope that Jack would call as he had promised and dreamt about him for what seemed like the entire night.
The morning sun was barely rising, and the fog had seemed to lift, promising a beautiful spring day on the sandy shores of Long Island. Though the skies above illuminated the day with brilliance, the mood in the air was somber and dismal. The police had no concrete leads. The killing seemed random, yet so perfectly staged. It was as if the killer had wanted this victim to be found or at least did not go to any great lengths to try and conceal it.
The estimated time of death was around one a.m. and they surmised that the victim must have known his assassin. There was no struggle, no contact; just a gunshot wound to the chest. Clean, simple and effective. No witnesses had come forth claiming to see anything or even hear anything out of the ordinary. It was like there was not one person within earshot of this killing, which seemed almost impossible since it was a fully-developed neighborhood with occupied houses only a few feet away.
No weapon was found, just the fatal bullet that entered this victim’s heart. It was indeed a male; estimated age of twenty-eight years old, seemingly otherwise well-groomed and healthy, aside from the gaping hole going through the middle of his body. He had nothing on his person that indicated who he was, where he was from or why he was the target of a horrific shooting.
No one had yet been reported missing, but it had only been approximately eight hours since the murder took place. Someone would have to step forward, claiming this young man as their friend, son, brother, boyfriend, co-worker or just even an acquaintance would suffice.
The reporters were swarming the area like bees drawn to honey, as it was not a common thing for a murder to take place in such an affluent area. Police cars, emergency vehicles and news vans with extended cameras attached to large poles were saturating the crime scene, as well as the adjoining blocks. Yellow caution tape blocked off any entrances to the area so that local bystanders would not be subjected to seeing the horror that took place only yards from where their children played ball in the park.
This upscale portion of Long Island was typically a good, safe area; the kind that you hope to live in, raise your kids and, with any luck, eventually enjoy retirement. There was always the occasional robbery or domestic violence phone call, but nothing that ever stood out and definitely nothing that reached the news to this level. They never had to answer a call from someone who had found a body hidden in a makeshift grave.
The Suffolk police were going to be thoroughly questioned and they had better come up with an answer sooner than later. The public was sure to go haywire within a few short hours. How could a possible local man be murdered in such a prestigious area? This was not acceptable and would not be tolerated. Not in this town. The locals were starting to get closer to the crime scene, huddled together trying to see if any of their neighbors had acquired the inside scoop.
Once they made a positive ID on this unfortunate man, they would have more luck in putting together the clues and finishing the puzzle. The problem was that there was no identification on him. No license, no wallet, no identifying features to give this poor soul a proper name. All they had to go on was a few footprints and a somewhat old wrist watch.
Usually the dead can speak, only not in a language most people would understand. There are sometimes subtle clues that tell a sad and grim story, helping to properly bury the victim and with any luck, convict the appropriate suspect.
If the victim or suspect had no prior records, chances are there would be no fingerprints on file to match those found on the watch. From this point on, it was just a tedious, prolonged game of wait and see.
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