After the speeches were over, everyone started milling around.
Some guy passed out glasses of champagne and people would toast Hanna. As I wandered amongst the little groups of people I heard laughter, and saw occasional smiles through tears. That’s when I realized that Tove had been wrong about the memorial. Yes, there was an element of a grief theme party here and there, yes a few were shallow and ridiculous and clearly saw it as a social networking occasion, but there was real warmth present too. These people may or may not have known Hanna well, but they cared about her. Maybe that’s why Tove changed her mind about coming.
I suddenly felt ridiculous and heartless and a terrible, terrible person for having come here with my Columbo hat on, hoping for – what? That someone would conveniently have ‘murderer’, in English, tattooed on their forehead? There was no sign of anyone I recognized as Jenny, but given that I saw a few, old, photos of her a month ago, I guess that isn’t surprising. And even if she was there, what exactly was I going to do? Hey, I’m Anders’ new girlfriend and I was wondering if you could tell me anything about your break up and his relationship with Hanna that would help me clear him of her murder? Sorry about your friend, BTW!
I accepted a glass of champagne from the guy passing it out, and when we chatted briefly, I gathered that he wasn’t thinking of it as a murder. None of them were. “Tragic accident.” None of them knew anything about Anders being arrested.
Tove’s friend only said that the police were considering the death “suspicious.” Of course they’re suspicious, it’s their freaking job to be suspicious. Torsten said they were “investigating further.” Again, their job. They had a sudden death of a healthy young woman, they had footprints indicating one of her close friends could have been outside just before she was discovered missing, they had DNA suggesting he touched her shortly before she died. Sure, I’d investigate that too, if it was my job – but it’s not exactly a smoking gun. If my years of watching cop dramas are to go by, they must have done an autopsy by now, and so if it had anything to say we would know by now.
I resolved to walk away from the Columbo act before I made a fool of myself and disturbed these people from mourning their friend, and go home and support my poor boyfriend through his grief.
“Are you a reporter?”
Fritjof’s voice out of the darkness startled me. “She wasn’t on drugs, she wasn’t pregnant by von Dursen, it wasn’t suicide. Nothing to see here.” His voice was tight, tears shining in his eyes that were hard with anger – my heart thudding with fright and revulsion at myself for intruding, I swore I wasn’t, repeated that I was a friend.
“You’re lying, you don’t know Jenny.” I admitted I didn’t. I said that I knew Hanna through my boyfriend and just wanted to pay my respects. He asked why I had claimed to know Jenny, I honestly replied that I didn’t know, that I had been thinking about her in the second he asked me and for some reason it came out.
He calmed a little, and seemed to accept my explanation. “They’re like fucking vultures. Just because she was beautiful and liked to party, they’re trying to turn this into some –” His voice caught in his throat and he cut himself off, clearly struggling to keep it together. “It was an accident,” I said, “a horrible, tragic accident, and I am so, so sorry for your loss. She was so drunk, she must have tripped on the jetty and –”
“What the fuck do you know about the jetty? That’s not been in the press. I’ve kept all of this out the press.” Shit. There was nothing for it but to come clean. I admitted I had been there that night, at Daniel’s stuga. I admitted I was Anders’ girlfriend.
“Then get the fuck out of here. And tell him from me to go to hell.”