Summer Kids

When Lucas Tweedle, leader of Left Hand Private Investigators, receives a box containing a film he hasn't seen in years, he is prompted on a road trip across miles and years. He has to save Eva Grey, the only girl that ever loved his teenage self.
She may be in the clutches of the Nemesis Crime Ring but the memories of the summer after college graduation haunt the both of them.

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37. FEARS

 

CHAPTER THIRTY SIX – FEARS

LUCAS

 

Shawna was left at the hospital with Kayleigh staying with her for the night. The rest of the team retreated back to their hotel to relax and brainstorm. Lucas felt tired, knowing that recollecting his own memories of Eva was as draining and enlightening as the car crash itself.

“The attacks were coordinated then, so they wanted me out of the way,” Lucas murmured into the comfort of his bed, noticing the Plexiglas board that was slowly filling up.

Edward opened up his laptop and checked his emails, clicking his tongue against his lips as the notifications rang through, “They may then view us as a threat and they needed to distract us to have full effect.”

“And they didn’t even win when they distracted us,” James triumphed in the corner, removing his shoes to prop his feet on the side of the bed.

Edward made a noise that his team couldn’t decipher and then he propped an elbow on his legs, humming as he read through something. He kept the team on edge, leaning forward as Edward’s eyes got further down the page. Finally he looked up and grinned.

“The DNA underneath Shawna’s fingernails came back as William Denton’s, a thirty one years old male and bodyguard to I&A Chemicals.” Edward grinned again, “Everything leads back to the I&A Chemical Plant.”

His fingers tapped at the keys as Lucas heaved himself up to write Lloyd, Rowan, car crash and I&A Chemicals onto the board. “There’s not much on their website, just their current CEO, projects and a memory wall of their best workers. There’s some redacted documents that the police flagged about a discontinued batch. Apparently they had several months where all new batches produced failed regulation standards, among those were a dopamine agonist and a so called fear toxin?”

“Fear toxin?” Lucas asked, peering at the younger man.

“Apparently it stimulated the mass production of glutamate which is the neurotransmitter involved in fear responses. The test subjects suffered hallucinations and the ethics board shut the project down before it could be developed further.”

“That connects the fear factor that Shawna mentioned,” James inputted leaning over Edward’s chair to look at the computer.

The word bounced around Lucas’s head and drew him in to the fatal day where he and Eva broke apart for good.

They were back in Penrith for the final days of their road trip. The ride from the Lake District back to Penrith was wrought in held hands over the gear shift, musical renditions where they tried to hit the high notes and snuck in kisses when they pulled over for petrol. They had been together for just over a week, nearly two and the honeymoon stage had overwhelmed them quick and heavy. The feelings they had kept hidden for so long were bursting out of them and they felt like they had been together for years.

The summer house was just as amazing as it had been when they had begun their journey but now it represented something else. They parried around each other like they were both swords and not human beings, not knowing what to do with themselves. The first night they spent on the sofa, their legs wrapped up around each other with a film playing until they fell into sleep. The second night they got drunk and tumbled into bed together, making youthful mistakes and enjoying it all the while.

The third night, was one that neither would forget. One minute they had been sleeping as the sky turned from blue to purple and then the next there was empty space where Eva had been laying. Lucas had wandered out to the back garden, where the hazy white curtains blew inwards from the evening chill and there Eva had been, poised on the springboard over the pool. The lace over shirt flapped over her purple silk pyjamas and her arms were spread wide as she contemplated the water beneath her. She was terrified, rightly so. She hadn’t went near water if she had the chance, being deadly phobic of drowning in the liquid. Before Lucas could shout to her or even move, she was diving off of the board and being swallowed by the water.

Lucas found himself stuck by the door, watching her shrink underneath the water like her father had done when Eva was six. Then he was rushing to the side of the pool and dangling his hands over the edge, plunging them into the cold abyss to alert Eva that he was there. She didn’t try to get to him, in fact she sunk to the bottom and stayed there, not looking up.

Then he was struggling out of his pants and into the water, his eyes burning against the chlorine. He grabbed Eva, who was shaking even under the water, and hauled upwards, breaking the surface and dragging the girl out of the pool. She was made out of static, never moving except for her trembling and Lucas was quick to wrap a towel around her, warm her up with his own wet body heat and encourage words out of her.

When she looked at him he found anger in her eyes and it made him still in his actions of rubbing the towel around her shoulders. “How could you?” she spat, water dripping down her chin and eyelashes as she blinked rapidly.

“I just saved you, I–“ he didn’t understand and didn’t have the chance to understand as she tore herself away from him and stomped back inside, not caring that the water was still teeming off the both of them. “Eva wait!”

She did not wait and so he followed after her, wiping the water out of his eyes as he tried to keep up with her incensed steps.

She whirled around to face him, her wet hair slapping her cheeks, “I tried to beat my fear, don’t you understand!”

“You could have actually drowned you know.”

“I wouldn’t of, I would have come up before that happened!” She turned around again, storming away from him to enter the kitchen, another towel was used to dry her off and she rubbed at her skin angrily.

“How could you have known that? You could have been so terrified, so paralysed that you could have stayed there until…” he couldn’t finish the sentence, what if he had never woken up and she had drowned? What if he had woken up to a floating body and…? He couldn’t bear to carry on the thought.

“Well we’ll never know,” Eva grumbled into her chest and carried on before Lucas could remark on, “I finally wanted to beat it; I wanted to get rid of this stupid weakness that claws at me every time I get near some fucking water.” Lucas remarked that Eva was angry at herself more than anything else but that didn’t excuse the action.

“That isn’t a weakness, it’s avoidable,” Lucas tried to say but then the towel was whacked against his skin.

“Like hell it is, I can’t go the beach with you or a lake with you. I can’t even have a long bath. What life is that?” she was crying, the water from her eyes mixing with the water falling from her.

“You could have told me, I would have helped you.” Lucas was adamant that Eva didn’t trust him enough and he told her that, then their conversation dissolved into an argument of trust and why Eva had to do it on her own. “I’m your boyfriend for god’s sake, I’m meant to be the first person you come to!”

“Am I not allowed a bit of personal space?” she threw her hands up in the air, “Maybe you don’t really know me?”

“Maybe I never knew you, because I don’t recognise the person in front of me!”

“I’ll show you unrecognisable,” and their words descended into hell. Insults were traded. They were shouting and screaming at one another, their words not even being heard to their own ears properly nevertheless to the other person.

“You’re being completely air headed,” Lucas was shouting, “Like Megan McQueen at prom, throwing herself over Scott just to win the prom queen title!”

“Are you insinuating that I’m like Scott’s slut Megan McQueen?”

“You’re certainly not thinking like her and you acted like her last night too” He retorted back and Eva was scoffing, irritated at the sexual insult. “I don’t want to be in love with an airhead, in fact sometimes I regret falling in love with you.”

Silence ballooned in the kitchen, freezing the water on their skin. What had he just said? He regretted it , well maybe not in that moment there, and maybe in the way that he had struggled with the very concept of love for so long, but he had never regretted loving her.

“Sometimes I regret meeting you in the first place,” Eva had mumbled back and stalked back to the bedroom they had shared since arriving back in Penrith. “How could I have ever loved a jocky bully, one who used words as weapons, one who left his family behind even though they love him, one who makes reckless airheaded decisions?”

The bedroom door was slammed shut before he could retaliate. He had cooled off, had a shower to warm him through and he had camped out of their bedroom door all night, whispering apologies into the wood as his head thudded against it.

“I’m sorry Eva alright, I didn’t mean it.”

“Oh but you meant it,” she whispered back and Lucas didn’t know what she was doing, “I meant it too.”

He fell asleep with his head rested against the side board and when he woke up the next morning the bedroom door was open but Eva was nowhere to be found. Her clothes were gone, Betty was still in the driveway and a note rested on the bed saying ‘Leave me be Tweedle’. She hadn’t called him Tweedle since he had met her and he didn’t regret the way he punched the wall and proceeded to trash the place with his anger.

He had wrecked it all, both metaphorically and physically during and after that argument. He hadn’t seen Eva since, not even at results day. He frowned as Edward and James discussed I&A Chemicals, “We are going to have to pay a visit to I&A.”

“Right now boss?” Edward whistled, “But you still look half mauled.” The younger man smirked at the bruises on Lucas and the cut eyebrow that he sported from the car crash, but Lucas just grumbled.

“It’ll get me sympathy points, now who’s with me?”

Both men followed him, Edward providing directions to the chemical factory on the edge of Edinburgh. A flash of the badge at the door and they were in, they didn’t disclose that they were there on a murder case and instead they provided the excuse that a toxin was used in connection with a crime.

The CEO was none other than Richard Ivory, the father of diseased Carson. The team did not mention that fact and Richard was happy to lead them around the factory, boasting about the safety regulations that they now had in place.

“Which toxin were you referring to?” Richard asked, his hands around a clipboard as he looked over his inventory.

“A discontinued fear toxin, we found traces of it in our victims system,” James was quick to come up with an excuse and Richard peeled his eyes down his built stature, feeling slightly intimidated Richard moved on and nodded.

“That hasn’t been in manufacture for nearly five years.”

“Is there any way that an old employee could have leaked the chemical formula?” Edward suggested while Lucas had a look around Richard’s office, which was surprisingly clear and minimalist. There was something Richard was hiding, something that they couldn’t pull out of him without telling him the real reason they were there.

“Only the chemists on board that project knew about the fear toxin, after the ethics board shut the project down they had to sign a confidentiality agreement not to share the formula. That applied for the subjects of the experimental tests as well. I don’t believe my team would have leaked it especially since it may have contributed to a workers death.”

Interest peaked after that bit of information, “Someone died,” Lucas asked the CEO, “Who?”

“The previous CEO and my fellow business partner Frederick Able was a researcher that offered to be a subject for the first round of trials when volunteers didn’t come forward. At first it didn’t have any symptoms which is why we proceeded with the clinical trials but then he suffered from anxiety and hallucinations, we discontinued the drug, changed the formula and then ran it through the ethics board. Sadly several years later Fred developed cancerous cells, the first one originating in the brain where glutamate is produced. That tumour was controllable I think but more progressed and…” he paused for a moment, “Fred wanted to keep our involvement in his death a secret and we commemorated him on it.” Richard pointed to the series of frames on his wall. The first two frames were of Richard’s family, one of Carson on a beach. But the final one was of a man with blonde hair and stern blue eyes, a goatee hanging off of his chin and a frown to his lips. The plaque underneath it proclaimed him as Frederick Able.

“We’ll still need a list of subjects and employees,” Edward interjected and Richard was happy to get them that. But through that conversation Lucas was drawn to the framed photograph, the eyes piercing even when Lucas turned away.

 

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