Destiny's Decisions Chapter Two...

James smiled a bit when Tiana pulled away. She still wasn’t completely comfortable with public romantic displays. She seemed to have some idea that their tribe might think less of her and her abilities to do her spiritual work if they saw her being affectionate with her fiancé in public.
“Good lord, what the hell happened here?” Ken said, coming to stand next to James.
“Looks like someone still has it in for Tiana.”
“Yes, I’d say so from the look of things here. Damn. Well, let’s go inside and take a look.” He turned to Tiana. “We’ll need you to come inside and help us catalog everything, tell us what’s missing and so on. Think you can do that?” Ken asked eyeing her with sympathy.
“Yes.” James heard Tiana sigh and then watched as she made a sweeping motion with one hand. “After you. You guys are the experts after all. I wouldn’t want to mess up any evidence by accident.” She said shooting a sour look at James.
James grinned before following Ken into the gallery. He noted that the inside actually looked worse than the outside if that was possible. When something gritted beneath his feet he looked down and found an off white powder. He pulled the latex gloves out of his back pocket and put them back on. He reached down and fingered some of the powder. He brought it up to his nose, except for a slight earthy odor, it had little smell.
“It’s pottery dust.” Tiana’s voice whispered from in front of him, and he looked where she was pointing to a small piece of broken pottery with rust and black coloring on its pale surface.
“Jesus, the perp left just enough small pieces of broken pottery so we would know what we were looking at.” Ken commented.
Mixed in with the pottery powder and shards on the floor were slivers and shards of broken glass from Tiana’s display cases.
James dusted off his hands and followed Tiana over to one of the destroyed display cases. Inside lay what had been intricate pieces of beadwork, five belts and what looked like some peyote stitched chokers, and earrings as well. Someone had pulled or cut the beadwork from the leather and destroyed most of the patterns on the belts and the chokers leaving small glass seed beads to litter the bottom of the display case. Nothing was left of the earrings but their hooks and loose beads.
“All that beautiful work destroyed.” Tiana murmured her voice tight with grief.
“This has personal vendetta written all over it.” Ken said, coming to stand next to them, holding what was left of a piece of blue and green quillwork. “The perp had a harder time with the quillwork, some of it like this piece still has parts attached to the leather.” He gestured to the piece he was holding.
“Quillwork is harder to destroy because it is sewn on very tightly and the quills are longer than seed beads.” Tiana said dully.
“All right Tiana, I’m assuming you have a listing and pictures of what was here?” Ken asked a minute later.
“Yes, I keep both on me at all times after what happened last year. I didn’t want to take a chance if another incident happened of the proof of what was here also getting destroyed or stolen.” Tiana went to pull it from her purse and realized she didn’t have it with her. “Hang on a sec, I’ve got to go and get my purse out of the truck.” She turned and walked back through the doorway where her front door was hanging.
Glass crunched beneath her boots as she walked back to her truck. The door on the driver’s side was exactly as she had left it, and she pulled it open and relief poured through her when she saw her purse and cell phone sitting on the seat where she had left them. Reaching in she grabbed both and then locked the truck. She might live on the rez and, in a rural area but that didn’t mean that thefts didn’t happen. It was always better to err on the side of caution and keep things locked up. She had friends that thought nothing of leaving their front doors and vehicle doors unlocked at night, but she had never been one to push her luck.
As she walked back into the gallery she pulled the listing for her gallery and the small photo album that she kept there at all times and handed both to Ken. “Here you go.”
“So do you think anything is missing?”
Tiana shook her head taking another look around the room and its destruction. “I honestly don’t know.” She finally answered. “So much is destroyed beyond recognition that there’s no way to know for certain.”
Ken nodded. “That’s what I figured, but I was kind of hoping you had it all in your head and would be able to tell.”
“Nope, whoever did this knew exactly what they were doing. They did such a good job of destroying everything I’ll probably never know for sure if anything was actually taken.”
“Okay. We’ll you’ve reported it and I’m going to take some photographs and if you don’t mind I’ll keep this list and the pictures until I can copy them and we’ll go from there.” Ken said, still shaking his head.
“How long do you think you’ll need them? I’m sure my insurance company is going to want to see them.” Tiana said wearily.
“Just a day or so. As soon as I can get back to the office I’ll have one of our clerical staff copy everything and get it all back to you.”
“That’ll work.” Tiana circled her head a few times trying to dispel the stiffness in her neck.
She watched blindly as Ken went to his car and got a digital camera and began snapping pictures of what was left of her gallery. Strong brown hands landed on her shoulders pulling her back against James’ larger body. “It’ll be okay.” He whispered in her ear.
The old Tiana would have just shrugged him off and walked away, but the new Tiana leaned into his heat and allowed it to support her. “I hope you’re right, because I am really really getting tired of this.”
“I know sweetie. Believe me I’m not exactly enamored of having to deal with this again. I was hoping that with Starla in jail the rest would just go away.” He sighed. “Logically though I knew it couldn’t be over there were too many loose ends. We both knew there were others involved and that there was the chance that at some point something else was going to happen.”
“I know, but I was really hoping. I mean after a year with nothing happening I just kept hoping whoever the others were had left the rez and took their violence elsewhere. Not very healer-like of me was it?” Tiana ended on a whisper.
James rubbed her shoulders giving comfort where he could. “You’re only human Tiana, being a healer doesn’t make you any less so. It doesn’t make those thoughts or feelings go away, it just makes you more aware of the right and wrong of such feelings and thoughts, more so than the rest of us.”
“Yeah, I guess.” She turned and rubbed her cheek against his chest before pulling away and squaring her shoulders.
“Hey Ken, when can I start cleaning this mess up?” She asked turning towards the man who was still snapping pictures.
“As soon as I can get a team in here to see if we can find anything I suppose. Once the techs have gotten what they can then you can come in and clean up. I don’t really think we’re going to find much, but…” Ken shrugged. “we’ll see if we can find something.”
James reached inside his pocket and withdrew the plastic bag with the earring. “Tiana found this outside on the sidewalk. It might be nothing, but who knews it could belong to the perp.”
Ken took the bag and held it up to the light. “Pretty.” He commented before tucking it into his own pocket. “Okay, I think I have enough photographs. Tiana you should just go home and relax, work on the wedding or something. It’s going to be a while before you or your insurance adjuster can do anything. I’ll call you as soon as the coast is clear.”
“Call me too.” James called as Ken waved in acknowledgement before getting into his patrol car.
“I think you should come to the office with me.” James stated. “I don’t like the idea of you being at the house all day brooding about this. At least there you can sit in one of the empty offices and work on our wedding and I’ll be there if you need me.” He smiled and wiggled his eyebrows at her.
“I am not having sex with you in your office.” Tiana said baldly. “Besides what the hell am I supposed to after I make the oh, let’s see two or three phone calls I need to make that are wedding related, chat with Dawn of the little brain?” She smiled vacuously with blank bright eyes, imitating the teenager’s bubbly but airhead personality, and always happy but blank expression. “Besides she’s got a thing for you.” She ended sourly, “And I really do not enjoy listening to a conversation where the universe is run by James Waters who do anything and everything including walking on water.”
James tried not to laugh and was unsuccessful. “Now that’s just mean.” He croaked out. “She’s a great receptionist and very bright and positive which is what we need to help get new clients.”
“I don’t care if she is one of us, I swear there’s a blonde in there somewhere!” Tiana muttered, before she burst out laughing with James. “Sorry, but you should have heard her the last time we had a conversation.” Tiana rolled her eyes. “I swear the way she went on, you’d have thought your mother was the virgin, and you were Christ reincarnated.”
“Well I have to say it’s nice to be a God.” James said with a straight face and twinkling eyes.
Tiana shoved his shoulder hard and then pointed one finger at him. “Don’t you start!”
“So you coming to the office with me?”
“Yeah, I can make my calls from there. I don’t really want to be at the house alone right now anyway I’ll just keep thinking about this mess.” She gestured towards the destroyed gallery.
“Good then we can have sex in my office!” James whispered in her ear.
Tiana smacked his shoulder hard. “Will you stop it? I am not, I repeat I am not having sex in your office with Dawn just outside the door!”
“Well that certainly didn’t stop you two weeks ago.” James reminded her with a wide grin.
“Oh, shut up!”

Copyright (c) 2010 by Regina Paul. All Rights Reserved.