"And I fell violently on my face." -
Three days had passed, and not one person had heard a single whisper about the whereabouts of Lydia Deetz.
Three days of confusion and worry had plagued the trio on the task force that was in charge of the investigation surrounding Mr. Beetleman and Lydia.
Although Bertha and Prudence had refused to believe in any possibility of BJ Beetleman kidnapping their longtime friend, Allen had known that there had to have been no other likelihood.
Still, he was trying to piece together what had transpired that day he had last seen her at the market. He might have missed something, one tiny detail either in her interaction or in the conversation leading up to it, that could have brought forth more clarity.
When he had last seen her, she was nearly ready to leave after only collecting three items: Bread, eggs, and milk. They were just the basic staples of an average household, and nothing more could be gathered from that.
The manner in which she had smiled his way nearly caused him to cave from the emotion inside him. Never in all of his years could he remember having that for another human being.
After she had walked in his direction, she greeted him with a hug. It was warm and soft, and with it, she had gifted him a gentle squeeze. That sort of familiarity was not one that he had expected from knowing her for so short of a time.
"Bertha was telling me that you were having a rough day." She had commented. "If you ever need anything or anyone to talk to, you can always call me. It's been said that I'm very good at listening."
"Ah, yeah. Thank you. I'm sorry, I'm really not much of one for sharing." He rubbed his neck while absent-mindedly examining her bag.
"So I've been told. Don't worry. You don't have to tell me anything that you don't want to. After all of the secrets that get spread around this town, it's amazing that anyone has a private life. Well, the offer stands just in case you change your mind. Daddy used to tell me that everyone had demons and to never hold them against anyone. A person's past can only shape them so much, and it's their choices and intent that can determine their own destiny." Lydia rocked on her heels and held her bag with both hands.
Allen chuckled at that and accepted her truth as it resonated within him. At that moment, she had no idea how true those words felt.
"Do… do you think, that is, would you want to go out to lunch with me sometime?" He had felt awkward inquiring her about it, as he was completely unsure if that was the protocol for asking a girl on a date. He was hoping that it was possibly welcoming enough so that he could perhaps finally find a real friend in this universe… maybe even a real connection.
As she enthusiastically agreed, it was then that Lydia began to grin wider than he had ever seen her do before.
Later, when they exited the market, his hopes were dashed when her so-called friend snagged her by the arm, glaring at him while yanking Lydia away into a dark and dank alley.
Unfortunately, that was the last that he had seen of her since.
Directly after that, things did not improve when he got back to the station after he had discovered a horrified Bertha clutching onto a folder. Before she glanced his way, tears were sliding down her face, and with a trembling lip, she silently handed it over to him.
Inside the file, it bore a terrible revelation, and had it been his own results and not that of a lonely woman who had lost her entire family; it would have turned his own blood cold.
If Lydia were to ever discover the truth, he didn't know if she would still be as cheerful and caring as she had been. He felt incredibly sympathetic for her and hoped that nobody would break this awful news to her.
Still, it had been three days since and not a peep had been heard from Lydia. In all that time, she had not been at her house, and they had checked there with a regular frequency. On top of it, no one knew where Mr. Beetleman lived, so there was no possibility of tracking him down for questioning.
Shaking his head, Allen knew that they wouldn't find him, and he was right. Now all they had to do was wait to see what would happen next. It was the waiting that was the worst of it, never knowing when the other shoe would drop, and it had left him constantly feeling on edge.
It was then that a file was tossed onto his desk and broke his train of thought.
Glancing up, he observed the annoyed expression of the crime scene investigator who assisted them on the Brewster case.
"Pam?" He questioned, not used to seeing the characteristically laidback Investigator so irked.
"You and your partner shouldn't be getting personal visitors when on the clock. There is a woman at the entrance that is waiting to speak to you both." She rolled her eyes with a long drawn out inhale before she locked eyes with him and then pointed to the folder.
"Also, Mordelle had asked me to give that to you. Now I don't know what's been going on in this crazy insane asylum, but I didn't transfer here to be anyone's messenger." Placing her hands on her hips, she sucked her teeth before tapping her fingers to her body.
Retrieving the folder, Allen stood up and nodded to her with a grateful smile.
"Thank you. I'll take care of it right away."
After she had left, Allen walked over and with the folder, he tapped his partner's shoulder. Startled out of her reading, Bertha jumped and mockingly glared at her partner.
"This better be important." She facetiously spat out.
"Beats me. We apparently have a visitor waiting for us." Allen didn't take her playful bait and plopped the unopened folder on Bertha's desk. She, however, lifted it up and turned her attention to it while grumbling about his lack of intrigue.
"Visitor? That's strange. We don't… oh my god, this isn't happening." Bertha gasped as she read the contents. "Miss Shannon has been reported as a missing person. I don't get it, first Lydia and now…"
"Am I in trouble or something?" A gentle feminine voice laughed at the sound of her name being shouted.
Bertha and Allen whipped around to see Lydia, who was leaning against the front counter with her head craned, trying to get a better look at them.
"Lydia!" Bertha exclaimed. "Where have you been?! We've been looking all over!"
Standing mute, caught between relief and upset, Allen was at a loss on how to process any of this.
"I was on my way back home, and I ran into Monica. By the way, she looks like hell, but she mentioned something about me being classified as a 'missing person'?" Lydia shrugged with a small laugh.
Bertha jumped right into the action with Allen following right alongside.
"Three days, Lydia! You've been gone for three days, and no one knew-"
"Bertha, I think it would be best if we take this somewhere private." Allen interrupted, gesturing to one of the open offices that were often used to interview both witnesses and suspects alike.
"Lead the way Officers." Giggling, Lydia grinned at him before following them away from the prying eyes and ears of the entire force that was present in the room.
The moment that she closed the door behind them, Bertha rounded on her.
"Spill sister. Allen said that Beetleman practically kidnapped you at the market. We have been at your place several times looking for you and with all this insanity going around…"
"Insanity?" Lydia shook her head, confused before raising her hands in defense. "Look, we had an issue, and I needed to go to his place for a few days to help out some of his old friends. It's now all taken care of."
"May I ask what exactly you did when you were with Mr. Beetleman?" Allen inquired while crossing his arms. Although his face was a placid mask, Lydia felt the guilt begin to well within her being.
"It's kind of hard to explain." She began, before wilting under the intense gaze of her friends. "You see when he picked me up at the market…"
"He grabbed you roughly by the arm and pulled you away. It was clear that you were not expecting him or else you would not have looked so startled." Allen pressed on, but his words were succinct and carried no hint of anger, but still, it was intimidating.
"No. You are right that I wasn't expecting him." She shrugged. "It's just, he's never been a patient person, and he really wanted to…" Pausing, she bit her lip. "Well, he needed to share some bad news with me."
"Did he hurt you in any way? Has he ever hurt you at any point in time?" Allen adjusted his footing, and calmly continued his query.
Bertha looked to Allen, uncertain if she wanted to hear any of this but found relief when Lydia gave a light laugh.
"The only thing Beej has ever done to hurt me was when he failed to realize that I used to have a school-girl crush on him. Things are much better now."
Bertha felt her jaw drop.
"You did?! And you never told me?!" Bertha practically leaped forward and grabbed Lydia by the shoulders while yanking her forward.
"Well if I had told you and Prudence, it would have been only a matter of time before someone else like Claire or her sycophantic followers overheard it. Besides, you already knew how upset Mother and Father were when they were just assuming things about us. Now, imagine how they would have reacted if they had actually known how I felt?" Leaning back from Bertha's grip, Lydia calmly shook her head.
"Are you and Mr. Beetleman in a relationship?" Even though Allen narrowed his eyes, his intonation did not belie any hint of anger. In Bertha's opinion, he perhaps seemed a little too keen to ask that particular question, but even she understood that it would be best to know the facts of what they were dealing with.
"Beej is my best friend and has been for years. If you are asking me if he's my 'boyfriend,' then no, we never had that sort of conversation, but if you are asking if he molested me against my will, then that would be a big hell no. As for right now, I will admit to taking a bit of comfort in him, but that really isn't something that I'm currently willing to talk about." As she spoke, Lydia felt her body seize into full defense mode which did not go unnoticed by either officer.
If Lydia wasn't in the mood to talk, Bertha didn't know where to go with this line of questioning. She had never felt comfortable interrogating her friends whenever they shut down like this. Besides, those types of defensive walls had always taken the fun out of any good and juicy gossip.
Letting his arms drop to his side, Allen then ran his hand through his hair before looking up to Lydia.
"So, just to be clear, what you are saying to us is that you had willingly left with Mr. Beetleman to go out of town to help some friends and were in no apparent danger whatsoever?"
"Exactly." Lydia nodded with a small smile.
Releasing an exasperated breath, Bertha moved towards the closed door before looking at her friend with her tired eyes.
"I'm gonna go get us some coffee, and then we gotta get back to work. Lydia, next time do me a favor, please, just give us a call if you're going to be gone for a while. Please. You have no idea what kind of crazy stuff has been happening around town, and I can't handle worrying about you when you disappear like that." Lowering her eyes, she sighed and gripped the handle to the door.
"Are you gonna tell me what's been happening?" Lydia asked, hopeful that they would perhaps reveal a morsel of something to her.
"I can't. Not right now." With that, Bertha left the room.
The instant that the door closed behind her, Allen unexpectedly moved forward. Flinching to protect herself from the sudden movement, Lydia quickly realized that her reaction was overly dramatic for the situation that had just happened.
"Uh… Allen?" She questioned as he pulled her closer to his body while he embraced her.
"You have no idea how worried I was." His muffled words were barely audible while giving her another gentle squeeze, but he was pleasantly surprised when she hugged him in return.
"Bahahahaha! Oh, boy, and what else happened? Did he kiss ya?" Beej was actively popping bits of popcorn and flies into his greedy maw while Lydia regaled her heart-felt tale of reunion to him.
"Nothing else happened. I apologized to him then he immediately let go and stood even further away from me. After that, Bertha returned with our coffee, and I left."
Lydia flopped back onto her bed before languishingly stretching her body. As she did so, her short skirt rode up. Beetlejuice would have been in for a treat had she not been wearing tights.
"No worries. It's not gonna take much to get that schmuck into yer back pocket. Pretty soon he'll be spillin' all of his dirty little secrets to ya." BJ spoke with his mouth full and ogled the view in front of him.
"Is all of this really necessary?" Closing her eyes, she heaved a sigh.
"Burp and Prune won't be opening up to ya more than they already are. So, the only way to get more intel is to get that pillow talk in, and frankly, those two don't exactly dig chicks if you catch my drift." He winked and grabbed for more of his popped snack.
"So what? Are you telling me that you want me to jump into bed with Allen?" Lydia smirked, knowing full well that she could very easily push Beej's buttons with that simple remark. However, she wasn't expecting the answer that he gave her in return.
"What did you think I meant by seduction, Lyds?" He cackled at the horrified expression on Lydia's face.
—- "First, start slow. Let him know you're interested"—-
Allen usually enjoyed being on patrol. Typically, it was with Bertha, but on a rare occasion, he could go it alone when she had other things that had kept her occupied.
On a day like today, he particularly enjoyed it since the seasons were just starting to show signs of change and that filled him with an underlying excitement. The streets were quiet, and luckily, aside from the school's headmistress being MIA, there hadn't been any unnatural or sudden deaths to be reported.
In fact, there hadn't even been a single call for any domestic disputes.
While there was still a significant chill in the air, he didn't really pay much mind to it, after all, it was the natural order of things.
No, he truly loved days like today, and it only appeared to be getting better when he spotted a figure all in black that was exiting the library. Appearing to be slightly off-balance, she spotted him, and even though her arms were chock-full of books, she still gave him a little wave.
Pulling his cruiser to the curb closest to her, he called out to her from his window.
"Lydia! Did you maybe need or want some help?" He couldn't help the smile that formed on his face when she began to beam at him like he was her newfound hero.
"Please! I was supposed to call a cab but…" As she spoke, Lydia attempted to readjust the books, only to nearly lose one.
"Say no more. Here, I can give you a lift." Putting the car in park, he quickly unbuckled and exited the car.
Lydia beamed excitedly and swiftly closed the distance between the last steps of the Library to the cruiser. By the time that she reached it, Allen had unloaded a few of her books and had the passenger side door already opened for her.
Once settled, she tucked the length of her long skirt under her thighs and placed her collection of no less than six thick books upon her lap.
After returning to the driver's side, Allen quickly adjusted the heat for her. "Please, let me know if it's too warm for you."
Gently replying, Lydia touched his hand.
"This is perfect."
As his car pulled away from the curb, Allen began to dwell on what was the protocol of initiating a conversation. While neither of them spoke, a reserved silence filled the car. He certainly didn't mind this; in fact, he enjoyed being around her and had surprisingly found himself wanting to spend even more time with her. Although he truly appreciated this moment, there was still something weighing on him, and he needed to get it off of his chest.
Clearing his throat, he broke the silence and began.
"I need to apologize to you."
"For what? We hardly get to spend any time together. So, what in the world would you need to apologize to me for?" Laughing softly, Lydia turned to look at him with a bemused expression that crossed her face.
While he formulated the right words, he hesitated before continuing.
"I need to apologize to you for my abhorrent behavior. I feel terrible for when I lost control on New Year's Eve and kissed you. It was a spur of the moment whim, and I didn't think it through. I know that it's tradition, but that's no excuse, I never should have kissed you without your permission. On top of it, I also owe you an apology for hugging you when you recently visited the precinct… I should've been more professional. I don't understand why I did it. I swear it's not like me at all and since then I've been beating myself up for my utter lack of control." His knuckles whitened as he gripped the steering wheel and inhaled the underlying anger with himself.
"Oh, that?" Lydia brightly smiled at him. Out of his peripheral, he could see that she was fluttering her eyes and teasing him with her posture. "You know, I could accept the apology... or I could just.. I dunno, give you permission."
After a quick double-take, he shot his gaze back to the road as he processed her words. Swallowing the lump in his throat, he was completely unsure about where she was going with this.
"Oh... ok?" His voice was filled with uncertainty, perhaps even nervousness when they rounded a corner toward the road that led up the familiar hill.
With a steady intensity, Lydia carefully watched him. He could feel the penetrating scrutiny from those lovely brown eyes of hers, even though he was unsure of why she would even be interested in his reaction.
"You know Allen; I'm not going to bite you." She giggled when she spied the subtle flush that he tried to hide. "What kind of friend would I be if I did that?"
"Ah, right…" he trailed off as he pulled up the driveway and stopped in front of her house. "There you go. Safely home."
Taking him completely by surprise, Lydia leaned over and gave Allen a hug.
"I'm not sorry about this." She said, before releasing him and exiting the car.
His astounded expression did not leave him even as he watched her every subtle movement until she was behind her front door. Shaking his head to sober up, he put the cruiser in reverse before turning around to return to his patrol of the streets to make sure that all was as it should be.
"So did you kiss him again?" Beetlejuice curiously asked as he trailed his long tongue against the bloody goose-flesh along her arm. Lydia squirmed before swatting at the ghost to roll over on top of him.
"No." She answered as she gave his hooked nose a kiss. "I don't want to be too forward. Besides, if you are so determined to seduce him, why not have Betty do it?"
This time it was Beetlejuice's turn to look horrified.
—- "Get the guy to ask you out. Be alone with him"—
There was another murder.
This time it was straight forward, but no murder weapon was found, and the knife wounds were similar to the M.O. of the other two cases. Still, there was a strong possibility that this could now be counted as three cases if Mrs. Deetz's death was included in that tally.
Sitting in a cafe, Allen reviewed his notes, but he couldn't help but wonder how on earth the killer had managed to escape without a point of entry. Frustratingly so, on this new case, there were so few leads on the death of Mr. Kane, the theater director of the local private school.
Narrowing his eyes, he focused on a connection: Miss Shannon's school.
The coffee cup that was placed on the table and slid over to him startled him from his state of concentration. Coolly looking up, he gently closed the files to hide any hint of surprise on his placid face.
"Hardworking even off the clock, Officer?" Lydia Deetz beamed down to him.
Leaning over, she greeted him with a peck on the cheek. To her astonishment, he happily accepted it and formally kissed her on either side of her own cheeks.
"Lydia! Hoi, goedemiddag." He greeted her and sat up to attention.
Although he certainly couldn't help but admire her, Allen noted her demeanor and began to wonder about her sudden appearance.
Pausing, he made a mental note: Since they had first started on what he could only feel was a friendship, she had been progressively wearing fewer layers. Granted, the changing of the season did correspond with the outcome. Still, he was hopeful that it was a visual representation of her feelings. He could only wish that she was perhaps finally comfortable enough to open up to him.
Today, the way that her soft sweater and dark-denim jeans hugged her feminine curves stirred up feelings that he had to force down. With a harsh mental reprimanding, he reminded himself that any similar thoughts like that would no longer be within a realm of friendship.
Although, had he been an artist, he would have loved for her to be his model because she was a work of art.
"Did I get it wrong?" She questioned as her hands curled back from the coffee cup and then stepped away from him.
"Oh, you mean the coffee! Nee, mijn schat…" he paused when he realized his words. "I'm sorry, Lydia. It's perfect."
Gifting her a gracious smile, he fluidly returned the folders to the suitcase and then motioned to the empty seat across from him.
"Would you perhaps like to join me?"
"He nicknamed you?" While he held Lydia in his arms, Beetlejuice looked surprised by this. She appeared to be drained and exhausted, to which he heartily blamed on her coffee date with the cop.
"It's sweet. You know, kinda like when you call me Babes." She twisted around to nuzzle her head under his chin.
"Pfft, you are my Babes. Remember that and nuthin' else." he growled in her ear before nipping at her lobe.
—Building self-confidence is key. Yer hot. Don't forget that —-
When Lydia showed up for their date, she was tantalizing, and Allen could not help but notice. That was if it was a date, but he still wasn't sure what was going on between them.
From what he could discern, she seemed interested, but yet on occasion, it would slip into an uncertain limbo. She both initiated and accepted hugs, often pecked his cheek in greeting, and yet she appeared to shy away from anything deeper.
What gave him hope that there might be something more to this was how easily she fell into conversation with him.
"You look dashing tonight." Radiantly smiling to him, Lydia linked her arm on his, before tugging him to the entrance of the movie theater.
Insisting on purchasing their tickets, Lydia stood firm. Still, Allen had only relented when she said that he could purchase the concessions to make it even.
As they entered the building, Lydia sighed with the large smile affixed to her face. Grateful for his company to see the double feature of the classics Bride of Frankenstein and Brides of Dracula, Lydia gave him a peck on the lips.
Startled, he stopped in his tracks before blushing and excused himself to go get the popcorn. As he stood in line, he indifferently examined the people around him until his gaze fell upon her form. His eyes did not want to look away, but he would need to because he was now next in line. Quickly giving his order to the person at the concession stand, his vision was once again magnetically pulled back to her while he waited for their snacks.
Leaning against the wall near a poster, Lydia was patiently waiting for him. Although by all standards, she appeared to be talking to the poster, most people would blow off that fact.
After receiving their popcorn and drinks, he approached her, and she snapped to attention like nothing had happened.
"You ready?" She asked him enthusiastically.
"Lydia, were you just…" He had wanted to ask, but instead, he held his tongue. To be honest, he wasn't sure that he wanted to know the answer.
Gently smiling, she carefully took the popcorn bucket from him so he could be free to hold the soda tray with both hands. As she noticed his analytical gaze, she sheepishly grinned, feeling as if he had caught her doing something embarrassing.
"Weird people do weird things." She awkwardly laughed and began to examine the popcorn.
"I don't think you are weird." Allen shook his head, watching her reaction to his words change as a blush began to dust her cheeks.
"Charming and handsome. Those are some dashing qualities. You really know how to make a girl feel special." Leaning onto his shoulder, Lydia coyly fluttered her eyes at him.
With a laugh, Allen rolled his eyes in reply to her gesture.
"I can see why you and Bertha get along so perfectly. You both seem to have the same sense of humor." Looking forward, he smiled broadly and guided them in the right direction.
Raising her shoulder and tilting her head his way, she smirked.
"Ah, but with me, there is a difference." She taunted.
Nodding, Allen opened the door to the darkened theater so they could go take their seats.
"True, but I am very grateful to you, mijn schat. It's nice to finally have a friend." Holding open the door, he watched as she gracefully entered with that beautiful smile.
She had only taken a couple of steps before his words finally hit her like a ton of bricks.
"He what?!" Beej screamed as Lydia flopped down upon her bed. Just saying it out loud made the embarrassment bad enough, but hearing Beetlejuice's incredulous tone made her want to bury herself under her pillows and never return.
"Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore…"
"Melodrama, Babes. You know I dig it, but sometimes you just gotta jump back on that horse and ride it till the end. The story ain't over yet, Lyds. We have time to -"
"I'll get another kill in, but let's just drop this whole seduction thing. Allen isn't going to see me as more than just a friend, and I know he won't be giving away any secrets."
Beetlejuice floated over to her bed, using his juice to gently roll Lydia over till she was looking up at him.
"Then, perhaps, my little killer, you haven't been sharing the right kinds of secrets."
— "If all else fails, go for broke"—-