Both Reid and Jason ordered beer, and they all ordered food.
Before the food arrived, Cameron’s guests seemed to prefer to stick to more
general topics, a kind of “getting-to-know-you” conversation. Cameron
wasn’t thrilled about that; he didn’t like to waste his time, and he had no
interest in knowing these men better. He didn’t care that Jason came from
Idaho. He didn’t care that Reid came from Oregon, or that they’d met up in San
Francisco. He didn’t see what relevance that had to his life.
Once their food was delivered, Cameron stopped being
patient. “All right,” he said, over a dish of oysters. “Let’s
cut the bullshit, can we? You’re not here for a meet and greet. You’re here
because you want something.”
Jason picked up his burger and smirked. “Smartest thing
you’ve said since we met.”
Cameron ignored him. “Whatever it is that you want has
something to do with my house. What is it?”
Reid had been in the process of picking up his sandwich, but
now he set it down with a sigh. “Cameron, does the name Catherine Teixeira
mean anything to you?”
Cameron squeezed his fork so hard that it bent in half.
“Is she the one who put you up to this? Because I’ve got to say, that’s
not the right name to bring up if you’re trying to get on my good side.”
Jason’s eyes widened, and he lowered his burger in shock.
“You have a good side?”
Reid glared. “Shut up, Jason. Why do you think that
Catherine would have put us up to anything?”
Cameron huffed out a little laugh and bent his fork back
into shape. “Oh, come on. She hated the idea that I was going to inherit
that house. Whatever it is that you’re trying to do, run me out of it or
whatever, it would have to come from her.”
Reid and Jason looked at one another. “You don’t
know,” Jason said, tugging at his collar.
“Know what?” Cameron turned his head to look
between Reid and Jason, trying to figure out what they were hiding.
Reid cleared his throat. “Catherine Teixeira is
dead.” He toyed with the buttons on his shirt, avoiding Cameron’s eyes.
“She was found in her cell. She’d hanged herself with her own sheet, but
she’d cut her arms up – I’m sorry. You probably don’t want those details.”
Cameron frowned. Did he want those details? His hands felt
numb, but he wasn’t sure how else he was supposed to feel. She’d been his
mother – well, she’d given birth to him. She’d been violent. She’d been cruel.
He hadn’t had the worst of it, out of the three of them, but he’d still carry
the scars for life. “The details don’t matter to me,” he decided.
“She was a biological donor, nothing more.” Whatever his feelings
about Catherine and her death might be, he would deal with them in private.
Reid frowned. “She was your mother.”
“That’s a box on a form.” Cameron made a mental
note to check with MCI-Framingham to make sure that these guys were telling the
truth. Just because they told a good story didn’t mean that the woman was
really gone. “What is it that you want?”
“Okay.” Jason shook his head, like he was trying
to clear it. “You’re a cold son of a bitch, you know that?”
Jason wasn’t the first person to say that, and he probably
wouldn’t be the last. He was probably the person with whom Cameron was the
least intimately involved to say it, though. “That’s probably the single
most accurate thing you’ve ever said,” he told Jason. “Can we cut the
crap? I’m not feeling charitably inclined right now. Tell me what it is that
you want. I’ll say no, and then we can all move on with our lives.”
Reid lifted his eyebrows and a smile ghosted across his
lips. “At least there’s a plan. Look. I promised honesty, okay?”
“You did.” Cameron ate an oyster and fixed Reid
with a stare.
“Okay. We have reason to believe you may be in
danger.” Reid took a bite of his sandwich.
“I may be in danger. Well I’m sold now.” Cameron
rolled his eyes.
Jason snorted and took a swig of his beer. “Told you we
should’ve just broken in.”
“Not helping, Jason.” Reid swallowed his food.
“Do you believe in the paranormal, Cameron?”
“No.” Cameron wasn’t sure if he wanted to laugh or
to throw more punches. He attributed the urge toward violence to Jason, because
he’d already established that Jason had that effect on him. “I believe
that the only monsters in life are human. We invent things to explain the
monstrous things that people do, but in the end it’s just people, being
evil.” He shook his head.
“Well, that makes this whole discussion a lot
harder.” Reid grinned. “We really are paranormal investigators. We
really do travel the country helping people to solve issues that they wouldn’t
be able to solve any other way.”
“What, haunted houses, vampires, ghouls, stuff like
that?” Cameron kept a straight face only by remembering his anger.
“Among other things,” Jason said, leaning back in
“You guys watch too much late-night television.”
Reid shrugged. “Sometimes we find cases by reading the
papers and drawing our own conclusions, or by examining local legends. But
sometimes I’m drawn to a place through visions. I’m psychic.”
“You forgot a syllable.” Cameron turned back to
snickered. “I think I said the same thing when I met him. Although psychotic was about the nicest thing
I had to say.”