This post picks up at chapter 6 and is a portion of the chapter. I only got 563 words in today due to my hectic week.
Remember, this is a Draft 0, unedited, simply writing as quickly as the story comes to me and making myself accountable by putting the words here.
Tom and Ash pulled up to the scene, an upscale neighborhood with a row of high-end shops. Police tape and cars were blocking a lane, and uniformed police were mulling around. Tom parked the car near the cordon, and they walked up to the barrier gap, pulling their badges and showing them to the officer, blocking any unauthorized entry.
The officer motioned them in and said, "Detectives Mei Xiu and Doyle are already inside; they're waiting for you."
Ash and Tom walked into the shop, which was a bright and airy space with a counter near the entrance and displays of flowers throughout. They looked around and then walked through the door leading to the back rooms. They saw a large class cooler door swung wide open. A body was on the floor in front of a large refrigerator, and two people were standing over it.
"Hey, Ash, Tom," one of them said as they approached. Detective Kayla Mei Xiu was a short woman with dark hair pulled back in a ponytail. She wore a jacket and jeans, and her badge was clipped to her belt. She held herself with the air of someone used to being in charge.
Lee Doyle was a tall man with sandy hair. He was wearing a button-down shirt and slacks and looked like he was trying not to stare at the body.
Tom just nodded and looked at the body.
"What do we have?" Ash asked as they reached the others.
"Female victim, mid-twenties, Sarah Stone," Kayla said. "She was found, as she is, stabbed in the back multiple times."
Tom crouched down next to the body for a closer look.
Detective Mei Xiu continued, "looks like she was surprised as she walked into the cooler. There's no sign of a struggle."
Tom squatted down for a better look. "Any witnesses?"
"A couple of people saw her delivers yesterday, but no one saw or heard anything this morning. There are a few messages on the system," Kayla pointed at a digital phone next to a tablet point-of-sale system. It displayed calls and orders in chronological order. "One of them was recorded yesterday early afternoon. An irate customer asking why they're not open."
"Where's Christina?" Ash asked. Looking around like she could appear out of nowhere.
"She's on her way, stuck in traffic," Lee said.
"The Thaliards are having a wedding this weekend..." Tom said, looking at Ash and then at the other two detectives, "any chance this they hired this florist?"
Kayla shrugged. "That's why we called you." She stepped to the point-of-sale machine and tapped the tablet, pointing to an order.
The tablet displayed an order for dozens of large flower arrangements, listed for delivery to an address on Orcas Island, but the name listed a business that Tom didn't recognize.
"That's one of Thaliard's businesses," Ash said.
Tom looked at her. "Yeah, I was assuming." He turned back to Kayla. "This doesn't make sense."
"We've got uniforms canvassing the area and talking to witnesses," she said. "We're waiting on Christina to check out the body, but indications point to her death sometime before your other victim."
Just then, the front doors opened, and Christina and an assistant walked in. Ash leaned out of the back room and said, "In here."
Christina walked into the back room, saying, "Even with my lights, traffic was horrible."