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Chapter 1

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Illustration by Samuel Hoffman, The Journal Gazette

Chapter 1

Stevie pinched off pieces of the white Styrofoam cup, letting each one fall into the now-cold coffee.

A Fort Wayne police detective sat across the table from her.

"Could you please state your full name?"

"Stevie Rae Von."

The detective looked up from his notebook. "Seriously?" he said, half smirking.

Stevie concentrated on the picked-apart cup. "Yeah," she said, pushing a piece of brown hair from her eyes, "my dad had a thing for the guitarist."

"How do you spell that?" the detective said, shaking his head.

Stevie began to spell her name as the detective wrote.

She had spent the last two hours at the police station on East Creighton Avenue. The events of the last few days had taken their toll, and she was tired.

As she spoke, she realized how hollow her words sounded. She felt so numb.

"So you're a reporter at The Journal Gazette?"

Stevie nodded.

Some reporter, she thought. It's my job to ask the questions – to tell other people's stories. Now I am the story. All because of him.

"What was your relationship with Jason Mullen?"

Relationship? Stevie's mind began to flash back.

She wasn't sure whether it was the thought of Jason or the question that made her squirm. All she knew was that Jason wasn't the person she'd thought he was.

How could she explain to anyone that she broke one of the cardinal rules of journalism: She got too close to the story. Too close to him.

"Miss Von?" the detective said, once again looking up from his notebook. "How did you know Jason Mullen?"

Stevie folded her arms across her chest. She then began to tell the detective how she fell in love with a killer.

By Terri Richardson, assistant managing editor for features.