Miranda Blake’s morning routine had more or less been the same since she made the decision to stay in Mallorca.
Wake up at 6, if it was a run day go for a run, if not then do some yoga. Have a shower and get ready for work. Almost never did she grab a decent breakfast, it was usually a breakfast bar or a biscuit or two.
Most days she had a tea in the morning, although on the rare occasions they had an early brief she had a coffee. Usually with Max.
If Max had any dry cleaning for her to pick up she did that before work. If she was feeling kind she stopped by her local independent deli, Marco’s Deli, and bought a café con leche for her and an espresso for Max. She always made sure to put a tip in Marco’s jar, before heading into work.
Today though, today was different.
Miranda woke up to a knock on her front door. She looked at her alarm clock and saw it hadn’t gone off yet, it was just gone half past 5.
“Who the hell?” she groaned and sat up. She rubbed her head and grabbed her dressing gown. Yawning, she moved downstairs and opened her front door.
Inés nodded at her, “Detective Blake…can I come in?”
Miranda nodded and stepped back, “sure…uh why are you here at half 5?”
“I think you should sit down Miranda”.
Miranda noted the change of Inés’ voice, “why? What’s happened?”
“Please, sit down”.
Miranda nodded and moved to her sofa, she sat as Inés sat beside her.
“Late last night we were called to a report of gunshots out in the Old Town. An officer was shot in the head at point blank range. It was a nasty and calculated attack and he died. We are treating it as murder”.
“Oh god” Miranda muttered.
Inés looked at Miranda and sighed, “I am so sorry Miranda…the officer killed, was Max”.
“w-What?” Miranda whispered, breath leaving her as her pulse starting to race. Her eyes grew wet with tears as her hands shook, “no n-no no n-no no no it can’t be Max no! y-You must’ve made a mistake, no!”
“Detective” Inés said as Miranda stood and began to pace.
“No cause Max can’t be dead no n-no no no he can’t be. He has no business being out over there a-and there’s a lot of guys who are tall a-and have and have no! It’s not Max there must be some mistake!”
Inés sighed, “Miranda there is no mistake. I had Roberto triple check the DNA evidence”.
“No” Miranda said.
Inés sighed and approached Miranda, “I am sorry Miranda. Truly I am” she squeezed Miranda’s shoulder as she stood there. Her eyes full with tears ready to be shed.
“No” Miranda repeated before sniffing and rubbing her eyes, “I want to see his body. I-I want to see him”.
“Are you quite sure you can handle it? His head was…there was not a lot to go on”.
Miranda felt sick at the thought, “he told me once he had a scar on his arm from an accident. I want to see him Inés. I owe it to him. I need to see him”.
Inés nodded, “okay then, if you are sure”.
“I am… and then I am going to find whoever did this to him and make them pay”.
Miranda wasn’t sure what she had let herself in for when she approached the mortuary a few hours later. Inés had made her have a large sugary tea which she made. Surprisingly it hadn’t tasted as bad as she had thought.
She hadn’t bothered to get ready as she normally would, make up seemed arbitrary when her best friend was lying dead on a cold metal slab.
Everyone in the office had given her looks of sympathy and she hated them for it.
Max wasn’t dead.
This was all some big misunderstanding.
She told herself, convinced herself that Max had lost his phone and had slept in, that was what had really happened. He couldn't be- wouldn't be dead. This was some elaborate ruse, a nasty joke.
Even still, as Roberto appeared at the door to his lab, she felt on edge.
She looked at Inés for guidance.
“You don’t have to do this” she said, “I have confirmed it is Detective Winter already”.
“I want to see him” she replied softly.
Roberto opened the door and led her towards a covered-up body. The feet were sticking out of the end of the sheet and Miranda gulped. She’d seen dead bodies before, been in the mortuary before. But this was Max. Max’s body.
“I am not going to show you his head” Roberto said, “but you said he had a scar on his arm?”
“The left one” Miranda said, “he broke both his arms when he was younger a-and the left arm took longer to heal. Still bugged him”.
On reflex she touched her own arm.
Roberto looked at Inés for confirmation before he lifted the covers over Max’s left arm.
Miranda willed herself to be brave and looked.
A thin white scar decorated his arm. Starting at the elbow and continuing down for two inches.
Miranda moved to trace the scar and paused. Her hand fell down and she sniffed.
Inés patted Miranda’s back.
“I’m sorry Miranda” Inés said softly.
“I think I’m going to be sick” Miranda replied and ran.
Inés found Miranda curled against the door in the toilets. She looked haggard and worn out. Yet there was a fire in her eyes that Inés had never seen before.
“I’m going to find who did this to Max” Miranda said.
“I’m going to find them and make them pay for what they did to him. You said it was calculated? That means they knew him. They must’ve dealt with him before”.
Miranda looked at Inés and stood slowly.
“I am going to find them” she repeated.
Inés nodded, “I understand you are upset Detective. And do not think that I am not upset that Detective Winter has been –“
“Max. His name is- was Max. Don’t call him Detective Winter like he wasn’t a friend to you!”
Inés nodded, “even still, Miranda. You were very close to him. I can’t trust that your relationship with Max will not hinder the investigation”.
“It won’t” Miranda said, “I won’t let it. Max – I- I won’t let my relationship with Max get in the way of solving his murder”.
Inés sighed, “is there any point in me telling you no?”
Miranda shook her head.
“Then fine fine you can assist. But if you start to lose it, I will not hesitate in pulling you off the case. Understood?”
“Good. Now go home, sleep. You will not help him by looking such a mess-“
“I’m staying” Miranda stated, “I’m fine. I just need to be here. Be at work”. Be close to Max’s body, Miranda thought.
Inés sighed, “ugh fine. Whatever. But have some water, freshen up”.
Miranda nodded and moved to the basin. Conscious Inés was watching her she splashed her face with water and looked at her reflection.
Her eyes were red. Face puffy. An outsider would view her as a victim, and she supposed in a way she was.
The man she loved with every fibre of her being had been murdered.
And she never even got to tell him how she felt.
Inés sighed and moved to Miranda as her hands shook.
“Come on” Inés said gently dried Miranda's hands with a paper towel before she took Miranda’s shaking hands into hers.
“Look at me… novio” Inés said, “look at me”.
Miranda looked at Inés.
“That’s it. Breathe. Just breathe with me. In…. and out…. In… and out. That’s it, in…. and out. You are a very strong woman Miranda”.
“I’m not” Miranda muttered, “I should’ve told Max”.
Miranda shook her head and sniffed; “hardly matters now”.
Inés nodded, “okay well, I will leave you to finish freshening up and then I will expect you in my office for your brief”.
Miranda nodded and felt a sudden loss as Inés let her hands go.
Her boss left her alone and Miranda got out her phone. Trying Max’s number once more.
When his voicemail clicked in, she shut her eyes and tried to picture his face as she listened to him speak. She could picture his smiling face. His dopey grin. His bright blue eyes. Miranda hung up and looked at herself again.
Gone was the victim. A woman she barely remembered had replaced her. The fierce and determined Miranda Blake now replaced her.
The one who stopped at nothing to get results.
She would find Max’s killer, even if it killed her.