Kamila sat at the table and watched Chad place their drink orders. The envelope was still in her back pocket burning through the cloth but she resisted the urge to pull it out again. She had already looked through it a dozen times over the last few hours. None of it made sense to her and she hoped Chad had more answers than what he’d divulged so far. He approached her, holding two drinks, and she pulled his chair out for him.
“Still dirty chai, right?”
She nodded and took it. “How did…”
Chad stopped her. “I know you have lots of questions.” He sat his drink down and pulled his chair in. “Most of the beginning answers will probably make you pissed off though so I’d like to control this conversation right now.”
“That’s not fair Chad. I do have a lot of questions and…”
“And I will tell you what I know. So can I begin?” He waited until she nodded. “Your paper shook the FBI department more than you know. You actually put a big ol’ bullseye on you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Kamila crossed her arms and sat back.
Chad smiled and shook his head. “You were always too smart for your own good.”
She didn’t enjoy in the joke. “I’m waiting for answers.”
“Do you think that nobody else in the force thought that David wasn’t the Gemstone Killer?” He didn’t wait for her answer. “You brought unwanted and unneeded attention to the entire FBI when you turned that paper in.”
“It wasn’t like I sent it to the local paper. I turned it in to my teacher.”
“And forced some hands who don’t like being forced to move. When word got out I made a few calls. I had to look into your past because you are directly related to murders. Not murder as in one but multiple.”
“Why did you have to do that?” Chad didn’t answer and that raised immediate red flags for her. “What is it that you aren’t telling me?”
He pulled a single piece of paper out of his wallet. “I went all the way back to the beginning.” He unfolded it four times before it opened up fully. He laid it on the table and smoothed it out. “The hospital where you were born.”
Rachel remained silent. She’d never have reason to look for her hospital records because not until yesterday did she know her mother wasn’t her actual mother.
“I have, conveniently, a copy of your birth certificate in your envelope. Pull it out.” He waited for her to go through the pages until she produced the copy. “Does anything catch your eye?”
Kamila looked over the one from hers and then pulled the hospital copy towards her. “My name is mispelled. That’s not uncommon though.” She sat back and shrugged. So technically my name is Kamlai. So what.”
“Do you remember your sixteenth birthday?” Chad asked.
Kamila blushed. “Are we really going to go there?” That night had been the most humiliating night of her life. She’d attempted having sex with Chad and failed in epic proportions. “I’d rather we not talk about that night.”
Chad snorted and covered his mouth and nose. “I meant that party. Not um, that night.” He wiped his mouth with a napkin. “The surprise party I gave you resulted in some pretty nice gifts that day.”
“I guess.” The orphanage discouraged parties but an anonymous donation had resulted in gifts for everybody by name. Kamila was the only one who had two gifts. They hadn’t allowed her to have both and handed her the bigger of the two. The teddy bear with big red eyes had looked creepy but had been a favorite of hers until it went missing.
“I snuck into the closet behind the stairs, picked the lock all by myself. I was so proud. I knew April would stick the other present in there. She would have given it to you when you turned eighteen.” Chad looked far away. “I knew it was your birthday and I had wanted so badly to give you a present. I’d drawn you a card and made you a heart out of flowers.” He blushed. “Then I got the idea to sneak into the closet and get your other gift.”
Kamila was engrossed in the story. She’d never known the gift hadn’t actually been from him. He’d left the very next day and in the horror of their bad sex scenes the previous night she wasn’t surprised he hadn’t contacted her again. “That’s sweet Chad.”
“When I was at the Academy for the conferences and I saw you, it was what, like a week before your submitted your paper, right?”
“Something like that, yeah.” It had been only slightly embarrassing for her but Chad had an easy way about him and helped her find a comfortable place with him quickly.
“You showed me the bracelet I’d given you.”
“The one you hadn’t bought me. You did give it to me.” Kamila remembered the awkward moment. Chad had looked down at her hand, she assumed he was looking for a ring, but all she’d had on was the bracelet. “It would have been rude to not finally thank you for the bracelet.”
He nodded. “Look at the hospital record again.” He grew serious. “Be the hunter I know you are.”
Kamila looked at it and it didn’t take twenty seconds for her to see it. “It has to be a coincidence” She knew Chad didn’t believe that. Hell, I don’t believe it. Her last name, Garnet, was the name of a jewel. “I still need more than this.”
“You aren’t hunting enough.” He tapped at her name again.
She stared at the letters but kept drawing blanks. Frustration forced her to sit back and sigh. “You know so just tell me.”
Kamlai is a Thai word which means bracelet. He looked at her wrist.
Right there before her eyes, on her arm was a clue she’d missed. She looked down at the bracelet sprinkled with garnet. She looked around, suspicion evading her senses. “Why did you wait so long to tell me this? Why didn’t anybody tell me?”
“It was safer to keep you busy in the Academy; bog you down with work that would ensure you didn’t sway far from the campus. When you did leave you were always safe. When we got this new lead I talked them into letting you come on to the team. You’ll be graduating soon and letting you just walk away wasn’t a possibility.”
“So what now?” She couldn’t stop feeling eyes all over her. Her mothers, maybe both her mother’s killer was out there and he’d known of her for nine years. “Why hasn’t he come after me? Is he going to?”
“Those are the questions I don’t have answers to Kamila.” Chad pulled the hospital paper back towards him but she yanked it back. “I have to hold on to this. I’ll make you a copy.”
“What do I do now?”
“You go undercover.”
Kamila creased her eyebrows. “In hiding? I’m not hiding Chad. I’m a hunter. Did you forget that?” Chad handed her a pamphlet and she opened it up. “I’m definitely not going to hide away inside the walls of a mental institution.”
Chad laughed at her. “Elizabeth has attempted suicide two more times since yesterday’s incident at the hospital. They aren’t equipped to secure her appropriately. She’s been evaluated by a physician and she’s been cleared to leave so we are taking her to Eastview Foundation in Soddy Daisy. We need someone to go in, undercover, and get information from her. She’s not talking to anyone Kamila and you are the only person with enough purpose and desire to get what we need and in a short amount of time.”
“Who will know I’m there?” A better question came up. “Will the staff know who I am?”
“Doug, Analiese, and myself will know you are there. My boss as well. No one else can know where you or Elizabeth is at and no, the staff cannot know you are with the FBI.”
“Will you get someone on the force inside with me?”
“I’ll do my best but it will take some time. It’s easier to get one admitted than it is to get one hired. It’s a prestigous but very confidential place.”
She stared at the paper in her hands. Group therapy, crafts, and art therapy was not what she’d had in mind when coming onto this case.
“You are the best chance we have at finding the Gemstone Killer because right now, Elizabeth holds all the answers.”
Kamila shrugged. “Hell, art therapy. I always wanted to take up painting.” She resigned herself to the idea of being committed. “What’s my story?”
“Your mother was murdered and you grew up in an ill-afforded orphanage that refused to give you your presents.” Chad frowned. “You be yourself and there is little worry about messing up your story. You have to be one hundred percent real about yourself.”
“Except the fact that I work for the FBI.” She replied. She put all jokes aside. “When do I begin?”
“Elizabeth is already there. You arrive tonight. I’ve already packed your bag for you.”
“Geez, thanks.” Kamila swallowed the last of her tea and tossed it in the trash. “You want this bracelet back?”