Jasmine considers her future

wp_20160902_10_44_17_proNot a lot of writing done this week as there have been one or two distractions – two AGMs for a start. I have also been mulling over a few things which perhaps I’ll say and show more of in the near future.  I have decided to have a go at a few agents with The Brides’ Club Murder, having won an up to date copy of The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook in the NAWGfest draw. Who knows what might happen. I don’t want agents and publishers to write Jasmine Frame off as niche interest only. I hope her stories have mainstream appeal while exploring the trans community. With trans people and trans issues such a focus of interest for the media, and crime always a favourite, Jasmine surely has an appeal to publishers. It is just a question of making that first contact.

Anyway, in Perspective, Jasmine is clinging on to her interest in the murder investigation. Here is episode 7.

Perspective: Part 7

Jasmine stretched her arms and legs, slowly surfacing from the unconsciousness of sleep. She was too cosy to open her eyes. The soft duvet and sheets, the firm but comfortable mattress, the warm air, each conspired to keep her snuggled under the covers. It had been a relaxing night’s sleep. A vague thought surfaced that perhaps she should have a hangover after all the wine, that perhaps Angela wouldn’t want her sleeping on.
Angela! Her eyes snapped open and memory returned. She was in the spare bed in their old house, Angela’s house as it soon would be. This wasn’t right. She should be alone in her own flat. She started to push the covers back, realised that she was naked except for the knickers that kept her “appendage” out of sight.
There was a tap on the door. Jasmine hugged the duvet around her.
‘Jas? Are you awake? I’ve got you a cup of tea.’
Tea? She hadn’t had a cup of tea in bed since she had moved out. She cleared her throat then called, ‘Yeah, I’m awake. Come in.’
The door opened a fraction and Angela peered in. She’s checking if I’m covered, Jasmine thought. Angela pushed the door wide and set a mug down on the bedside table. She was fully dressed in a fawn, cowl-necked woollen dress. Jasmine thought she looked smart, work smart.
‘How are you feeling?’ Angela asked, her eyes showing concern.
‘Fine, yes, fine,’ Jasmine replied checking that her first impressions were correct.
‘You shouldn’t be, nor me, after all that wine we got through.’
‘Was it one bottle or two?’
‘The best part of two.’
Jasmine shook her head, ‘I haven’t drunk so much since I moved out.’
‘Well, I’m glad you’re not sitting in that flat knocking back the booze.’
‘No time for that.’ The real reason was that she spent as little time as possible in the dreary flat and was watching her spending too closely to go buying bottles of wine, or spirits.
Angela retreated to the door. ‘Look there’s no real rush. You can stay if you like, but I’m seeing a client at eleven, in Abingdon.’
‘A client? On a Sunday?’
‘A private job. I’m helping with his business accounts. A bit of extra expertise.’
Jasmine knew that Angela was an increasingly high-flying corporate accountant but she understood little about her work.
‘Oh, I see. What’s the time now?’
‘Nine-thirty.’
‘Nine-thirty!’ Jasmine couldn’t remember sleeping in so late. Certainly not since she and Angela ceased to share a bed. She started to twist her body in preparation for leaping out of bed, remembered that she was almost naked. She felt embarrassed about revealing her manly body even to someone who had explored every square centimetre of it. She froze. ‘I’d better get out of your way,’ she muttered.
‘As I said, there’s no rush. I can leave the spare key with you and you could lock up after I’ve gone.’
Jasmine shook her head. That sounded too much like the old days when they had both called this house home. ‘No, I’d better go.’
‘Well, you can use the bathroom. I’ll get you a dressing gown.’ Angela left but reappeared a few moments later. She tossed her own fluffy gown onto the bed then left again.
Jasmine pushed the covers back and put her feet on the floor. She reached for the dressing grown and held it to her face.  There was the hint of Angela’s perfume and more, the odour of a woman. Jasmine wrapped it around herself merging with it.
Standing in the shower, enjoying the comforts of plentiful hot water and a warm environment she reflected again on what she had given up. She knew that Angela wasn’t tempting her to return, as Angela had been her fiercest supporter of her transition while saddened at their break-up. Nevertheless, the home comforts were beguiling. Jasmine dried herself off and borrowed Angela’s razor to shave her face. It wasn’t too successful and she realised that she would have to redo the chore when she got back to her flat. Unplanned nights away were really not an option.  That point was reinforced when she came to dress. She had to put the frankly, rather tarty clothes she had worn the previous evening back on.  Neither did she have all her cosmetics with her. She called down to Angela and got her permission to use hers. When she was moderately satisfied with her appearance she remembered one final daily chore – her hormone tablets. At least she always carried them with her. She popped them down with the remaining drops of the tea.
Down in the kitchen there was orange juice, toast and marmalade and coffee awaiting her. Jasmine glanced at her watch. It was already ten o’clock.
‘It’s okay. You’ve got time to eat your breakfast if you want a lift,’ Angela said.
Jasmine didn’t want to walk the couple of miles back to her flat in the high-heeled boots. She gulped down the juice.
‘Yes, please. I won’t hold you up.’  She gobbled the toast and threw back the coffee which had had time to cool. ‘There,’ she announced, ‘I’m ready.’
Angela had already put on her coat and collected her handbag and briefcase. ‘Let’s go.’
Jasmine waved to the departing Angela and let herself into the cold, dingy flat. She put the heating on. She wasn’t going to freeze on this cold, November day. As she changed into more sensible clothes she reflected on the conversation she and Angela had while they had drained the almost two bottles of wine.  More of it was coming back to her.
First there were her complaints about her job: DS Palmerston’s antipathy, DCI Sloane’s discomfort in her presence, the side-lining in investigations, the monotonous office work.  Angela had advised sticking in there, seeing it through, things would improve but Jasmine had her doubts. A new idea had taken root; one she had never previously contemplated. Perhaps a career in the police force wasn’t for her now she had transitioned to become a woman, but investigating was in her nature. Was there an alternative, as a freelance detective. It seemed unlikely but held an appeal.
Then there was the case. Angela had seized on Jasmine’s mugging by Nate and Wizzer and Palmerston’s apparent exclusion of it in her analysis of the events that lead to Wizzer’s death. Angela questioned the motive of two drag queens attacking two mixed race youths on a cold, damp winter night. Angela’s comments reinforced Jasmine’s hunch. There was something wrong with Palmerston’s version of the affray.
She sat at her dining table and switched on her laptop. While it took its usual long minutes to boot up she considered what she could do. The first thing was to see what the local media thought of the incident.  She soon found reports by the local newspapers and radio stations and a clip from a regional TV report. It was taken outside a scruffy terraced house showing a handful of bunches of garage flowers and a woman being interviewed. She was pale, dark eyed, tearful and barely coherent. Jasmine gathered she was Wizzer’s mother grieving for her lost son. The camera panned back to show the street and Jasmine recognised and located it. Presumably Nate Gayle lived nearby. She had an idea.
Even in the old Fiesta it was just a couple of minutes’ drive to the sixties, former council estate. She drove slowly along the road in which Wizzer’s house stood. There was still a small police car parked outside and one or two more sad looking bouquets propped against the wall.  Jasmine drove around the corner and parked alongside a car of similar vintage to hers that lacked two of its wheels and had polythene instead of glass in the front passenger’s window. She got out, made sure the Fiesta was locked and began to walk. There were few people about on this damp Sunday morning and she wondered whether she would be successful.
She had traversed most of the streets on the small estate, most with houses more looked after than Wizzer’s, when her heart suddenly beat faster.  Slouched against the side wall of a row of garages was a familiar character. He didn’t look up or take any notice of her until she was a few feet away and his escape routes were limited.
She spoke in as friendly a voice as she could muster. ‘Hello again, Nate.’
………to be continued
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