I'm worried about her. Ever since she found out Dastan's going to be back in the city for the foreseeable future she hasn't been alright. She's been trying to hide it but I know Kiera better than she knows herself, and what I know is that something's wrong. She hasn't said anything to me but I can tell it's been bothering her. I don't, for the life of me, know why. She and Dastan ended on, relatively, good terms. I mean Kiera broke his heart. So, he was entitled to a moment of rage, which he did not waste, by the way. But to be honest, I really don't blame him. I would go ballistic too if I'd ever lost someone like Kiera.
She's one of the best people I know. My best friend. She's brilliant, and funny, and kind. Not to mention, so excessively beautiful it seems almost cruel that the rest of us are forced to exist around her, constantly being reminded of our inadequacy. So, I can understand Dastan losing his shit for a brief moment when she told him they were over. Especially, considering the two of them had been dancing around their feelings for each other since we were kids.
I'd always known they'd end up together. It wasn't even surprising when Dastan's dad caught them making out on his couch when they thought he wasn't home. By then, I'd already known to some extent that they were involved. It was pretty obvious; those two weren't adept at subtlety. All the heated glances across the room, the innocent but suddenly very frequent touches, the disappearing together and showing up hours later looking like they'd been caught in a windstorm. I didn't have to be a genius to figure it out. We all saw it coming.
What we didn't see coming, was what happened to Kiera's family. The robbery was a tragedy. One that shook the foundations of all our lives. Haider and my mom lost their best friends. I lost one of the only father figures in my life, Dastan lost a mentor, and Kiera…
Well, Kiera lost herself. We were all reeling after the murders of the Landry family. None more so than Kiera. She withdrew into herself in a way I've never seen before. She stopped eating, stopped sleeping. We'd have to force her to get out of bed most days. She was barely a person. That was when she broke up with Dastan. I know she's always regretted it, but she's far too stubborn to admit that.
We all thought it'd get better when the case was closed. It took a few weeks but the police finally closed it and everything was looking up. Barely a week out of the hospital and Kiera spiraled. Being out in the real world, knowing that her parents and her brother were gone, it triggered something in her and the next thing we knew she'd lost her memories of the night of the attack. It was like it didn't happen. She still had nightmares about it but she never remembered them afterward, she remembers things in brief flashes now. Months of therapy have allowed her at least that. But it still affects her and I know she feels like she's crazy because of it.
Without her memories things got worse. She knew they were dead but it was like a part of herself couldn't move on. Like it was trapped in that house the night it all happened. She started insisting there was something more to whole thing. She couldn't give anyone a reason why, but she was adamant. I figured it was about her needing closure. So, in a mad grab at normalcy I helped her start the investigation on her own. I thought maybe she'd see that the cops were right, that it was just a b-and-e, and she'd move on. Maybe, get some therapy and start remembering. Except that's not what happened. She became obsessed. It's been exactly two and a half years and she's refused to move off the idea that this was more than some low-life looking to get lucky. I blame myself for the way this turned out. She might've made actual progress if I hadn't encouraged her to pursue this madness. Why is it that our best intentions always manage to make the worst messes?
My best intentions are the reason I've spent all of Saturday morning hacking into the cities databases trying to find a new lead for Kiera to investigate. I know I shouldn't have told her that I'd found another lead in the case. I know it's not healthy to keep encouraging this but when I found her on her bedroom floor last night, she just looked so helpless. Surrounded by half her closet, her hair a golden blonde hive of chaos. I couldn't help it, not when she looked at me with so much sadness and confusion clouding her sea-foam eyes. I caved. I'm not proud of it, but I'd do anything for her. She's the only person in the world who's ever truly known me and she's loved me unconditionally. The least I can do for her is help her work through her trauma. Give her something to look forward to, a place to channel her emotions.
I'm currently elbows deep in the city's police database, sifting through old leads and dead-end in the Landry case. The original investigating officers and detectives left no stone unturned, which isn't surprising considering Haider forced his way into the role of lead detective. I remember those weeks so clearly; he'd gone batshit trying to catch whoever was responsible. He was almost in as bad a state as Kiera. He spent every moment he wasn't sleeping or eating, hunting for the killer. It's, actually, how I got access to the system in the first place. I stole his login credentials when he called me over one night to help with an I.T problem. I'd been curious about the progress in the case and Haider was being very tight-lipped about it. Maybe, I'd been hoping to see something good to tell Kiera. Honestly, I don't know what made me copy it onto an old receipt I'd found in my jacket but I did and it's come in handy.
There's a part of me that wants to stop this now and walk away. A really big part. I feel conflicted. Kiera's been through so much already and it seems almost cruel to keep encouraging her in this fruitless pursuit of justice. If we were ever going to catch this guy, I'm pretty sure that between her determination, Haider's well-established investigation, and my brain power; we would've cracked it by now. The fact that we haven't seems as clear a sign as any that maybe I should put an end to this insanity.
But then I think about Kiera, lying on her floor, freaking out about seeing Dastan but refusing to acknowledge that she still might have feelings for him because she's too afraid to lose anyone else and I can't. I huff an irritated sigh and scratch at the tip of my nose, pushing my glasses upward. There's got to be something I can use, even something small and irrelevant. Just a tiny crumb for her to look into until I can figure out another way to tackle this. She needs something to distract her from the impending doom of a reunion with one Dastan Haider.
It takes about an hour before I stumble upon what might just be the holy grail. An otherwise unremarkable note made by an officer canvassing the area after the murders. It reads: 'man spotted by middle-aged woman stumbling down the street. Looked distressed and hands covered in something that looks like blood.'
Well, that at least seems a promising lead. I comb through the officers notes and piece together a basic description. It doesn't take long before I have a rough idea of what new lead I'm going to give Kiera to investigate next. Hopefully, this business with Dastan keeps her occupied until I can pull together something more substantial but at the very least, for right now we have a direction and a place to focus Kiera's mind. Relief washes through me, soothing and cool like a summer rain. We can do this; I've bought myself a little more time to figure out a way to get free of the net I've ensnared myself in. I slump back in my chair and remove my glasses, rubbing my palms over my tired eyes. It's going to be okay.
Now, all I have to do is get through what's sure to be a nightmare of gargantuan proportions and navigate the mine field that is Dastan and Kiera's unresolved feelings for each other. Oh boy, this ought to be fun! I mean what's the worst that could happen? I'm probably going to regret this.