His cell phone buzzed incistently, like a hive of bees high up in a tree on a hot still day, I stared at it, my curiosity getting the better of me. Jared wanted a shower, soon the humming of the water and steam was distant in my head, while I gazed at the "red" message alert button on his phone. Things had quieted down recently, for him and myself, after the case closed, mission completed. We both settled into a nice routine, he did local gigs in town, while I took on some other easier cases, like husband cheating on a wife, a teen age runaway, the usual stuff but it paid the bills nicely. Jared, had a taste for fine wine and good food, we ate well and drank good booze, made love until the wee hours of the morning, watching the sun come up, falling into a sedated sleep.
**** ONE YEAR AGO - Jared Banks, rising musician
Jared walked into my office, after I opened last year, my first solo business venture, a Chicago cop now detective, fully licensed and insurable, I was proud, eager, and ready to take down the bad guy's, bring Justice to those who were not truth teller's, I wanted to have it all. I sat at my desk, the dirty windows overlooking the city below, the cars and traffic bellowing their sounds in distant drones, his file was open in front of me as I flipped through the whole scenario of his case. Murder one was not a light charge to begin with, but he begged me to take him on, find the "truth" to the real killer, his girlfriend who tagged along with him everywhere while he played his music as a drummer in a blues band. Jared worked a lot, he'd been everywhere, and now, he'd moved to Chicago to earn the "real" challenge's of Moetown record deals, the big guy's as he called it.
"I didnt do it, I swear to you, this evidence is so weak even a mouse can prove otherwise. My girlfriend took too many pills, she was a junk bag, I didnt get her anything either like they say I did. All I want to do is play music." His sigh sank deep, as deep as he did in the chair in front of me. His co-operativity was overwhelming, his boyish charm too platant to resist. And that is how it went. I dug deep, I researched the autospsy. None of his DNA was anywhere to be found, no fingerprints, his word against theirs, circumstantial evidence? Yepper's, plenty of that. He had no alibi and no witnesses, just a lot of jeopardy like the ying and the yang of detective bliss scratching like a cat on a claw pole to find some tidbit of something to prove otherwise.
"Where were you the night they found her?" I asked him, again and again and again until he broke down until his body slung back like huge waves that had hit so hard against him h'd felt stuck into the chair. I had to do this so reluctantly I needed to know the truth but my instincts were so boggled I couldn't trust them. I tapped my desk repeatedly the sounds of my fingernails on the wood echoed through the silence around the room. He was tired, really tired. I could see the ordeal was so stressful for him that he was like a child now all broken and non-resilient against the questioning I put him through. This would be nothing compared to the vultures of a real courtroom, I kept reminding him of that, circumstantial evidence was strong enough, and often, strong enough to win a case. Her parents were adamant in finding justice, for their daughter, their "sweet little angel" so they called her in the first report. But Dixie was no sweet angel, that was for certain. She had vices of her own accord and there was enough circumstantial evidence to prove their relationship toxic with layers of love and revenge piling up, but not enough to prove he didnt and the favors were not on his side from the looks of things. I went over it all with a fine tooth comb too, more than once. My. own demons were compelled to let him go and not dive into a relationship I had an abusive ex-husband left buried in the ashes of my life, moved forward into my work.
"Look, why don't we go have supper out somewhere and just chill?" I suggested.
"Supper? Where do u want to go? Not sure I am in the mood to be out in public right now around here exactly. Why don't we order in? I need to take a shower." He barely looked at me as he began to undress, he ran the water.
"Because it is a good idea to get out for a change of pace, seeing other people, enjoying some good food, we can go somewhere quiet outside of town if you want, I will drive", She smiled bravely, 'Don't let your guard down', he doesn't need to know how upset you really are right now.
I was feeling empathatic for him. I knew he was a rising star in a cruel world of battle's and addictions. Moetown - one wrong move and your history, more stars moving in behind you to cast their spells onto the world to hear. I interviewed his band members, not one of them could verify where he was the night she'd died. I called his manager, family, friends, no one could say that they were certain where he'd been. I talked to the police, rude cold and not too happy he'd hired me in the first place, they wanted to close this case, charge him, send him to prison. That was the reality, unless I could come up with a strong closing case for his lawyer, a young, bleary eyed attorney freshly graduated from Yale, with barely enough experience to tie his shoelaces let alone fight for an innocent musician on a murder trial. The media would crawl on this one like flies on a dead animal, it would be there, and then it would be gone, like his life, sitting in a cell rotting away. I really didnt want that for him, I felt so sorry for him.
That was six months ago now, as I finished that case, the trial arguments closed with the fact there was not enough evidence to prove he murdered Dixie Rowlings, a 22 year old "groupie", well, fuck, what else could the Court's do at that point? I left the Courtroom that day in triumphant victory.
"We gotta celebrate now, dinner is on me. Let's go to the Ritz." He took her and they ate and talked, then back to his place, a shabby apartment - and made love, saturating her with his giving of himself, she was in a bliss, blind eyed and full hearted into him. The web was woven perfectly, or so she'd thought......
And now, she picked up the phone with the messages. The first one:
"Darling, I can't wait to see you. got the
hotel all ready for us. Maui here we come."
Then, message number two.
"I can't believe we did it. You really fooled everybody. Good job dude. Will transfer the cash to your account in two days."
Careless, revealing, her hands shook badly as she dropped the phone back down, Jared came out of the shower, a sexy towel draped around his waist and another white fluffy one as he dried his "rock star" long hair down, shiny and smelling like lemon shampoo. She just stared hard down at the phone, suddenly feeling the urge to run out of there, and get as far away from him as possible. She'd trusted him, consoled him, took his case without a shadow of a doubt, and he led her to believe he was innocent, that was a total lie, a web of deceit and he was using her too now for his own sexual desires. Tears began to fall down her soft skin, her heart cracking into a million pieces, a knife stuck so deep it stayed inside breaking her.
"What's up? I'm starving, how about we order takeout Thai or something?" He asked her, looking at her whitened complexion, as she just stood there staring at him, no, glaring would be the more complex of descriptions as to how she looked right now. He knew she was mad. He didn't know what to say or do, but suddently, he felt fear griping at him.
"I..I..AM...NOT....HUNGRY", she answered through gritted teeth, her emotions rolling at a hundred miles per hour. Her hands clenched into balled fists, her long manicured nails digging into her palm, she didnt care if it hurt. Physical pain was shit compared to what her heart was feeling right now.
"OKaaay, can you pleassse tell me what's going on here?" He'd pulled a shirt on and his boxer's, he looked damm sexy standing there, and acting like he was so innocent.
"I know you lied to me, about everything. Get out of my place, now." She ordered him, and held the door open. "Grab your stuff and never come back, before I go to the police and have you arrested and re-tried for murder one." She was adamant, she didnt want to have to look at his face one second more. The perfumed scent of his shampoo lingered around him, a woodsy smell, she usually loved it, she felt sickened by the same smell now as he stood there with droplets of water still on his skin.
"I have no clue what you are talking about, but if you want me to go I will." He finished dressing, picked up his cell phone and saw the messages he'd missed while he was in the shower. What the hell? He suddenly felt nervous now, he turned to face her, she stood glaring at him with contempt, distrust and hurt. He wanted to puke right there, stupid him, leaving his phone out in the open like that. He was so stupid!!! It was too late now, however.
"Is this what your pissed about? These two messages? I can explain that you know, if you'd asked me, but since your wanting me out of here so fast, well, I don't have that option do I?" His boyish face gave that puppy love look to her, he'd hoped she would beg, plead for him to stay. He loved her, enjoyed her company and intelligent outlook on things, she opened his mind to new idea's and ways of feelings things he 'd never experienced before, not like this.
"Go, now before I change my mind one more second and I will pick up the phone and ring the police." She cringed angrily, hurt welling up inside her heart so overwhelming she thought she would feint right there. She did not want to do that. He finally left, the door slamming shut and locked it as he did.
It was over, the truth hurts but it was better now before things got worse. She'd closed her office after that, going back home - she felt a need to escape this town, the thieves and the liars, the bad guy's, but mostly, the needed to run from the thickness of lies that protruded into the air thick and sweet like cotton candy, but bad in the long run damaging the insides to no end. The lies that choked you until you could feel like you no longer breathed life, the kind that you thought was the truth.