Esmeralda was missing! I searched for her far and wide but I couldn’t find her.
I called Ricardo, my personal detective “Esmeralda is missing…how could she go invisible on our wedding?…by this time I should be her husband…” and the other end was dead silent.
Few seconds later, he sighed “Bad luck amigo. You didn’t call me on your wedding…” I felt embarrassed…..
Then he giggled “Okay, jus’ joking. Don’t worry, I’ll be there.”
Ricardo turned up at the florally beautified venue and patted me “Don’t worry, you’ll return home as her husband!”
But I feared something. Something which wasn’t unexpected… ‘What if Florencio did something?’ This thought made me even nervous.
Ricardo gradually read everybody’s face. Lastly he came to read mine. He interrogated people and asked me “What do you think might have happened?” and I told him whatever I thought.
Then we searched her in the wedding hall, and the garden around there. I didn’t do this at first, but curiosity was killing me. I peeped from the enormous bridge like structures into the pool…
She was floating in her floral dress…floating dead…the blue pool was almost red. I blacked out…..
I woke up at Ricardo’s face. He couldn’t smile “I’m sorry!”
I mourned. Four hours passed…still, I was completely plunged in melancholy. It took me sometime to speak up “Hermano, I want you to investigate it as soon as possible! I strongly suspect Florencio!!” Ricardo nodded his head.
Esmeralda’s parents were broken. Her hermano, Alejandra was filled with anger.
I knew Florencio wouldn’t pick up my phone…..
The next day I and Ricardo drove to Florencio’s house. He was sipping coffee in his balcony with our college mate, Julieta. He saw me, then ignored me and went on sipping his coffee.
I knocked on the door; he didn’t open. So I started banging on his door. He opened it after few minutes. He simply looked at Ricardo’s pleasant face ignoring my presence “What do you need?” Ricardo replied “Need to interrogate you…Esmeralda is dead…murdered!”
He was silent.
He slowly moved into the house taking shallow breaths and sat on his sofa. We sat on another sofa opposite him. He glared at the floor. Ricardo cleared his throat “So, when is the last time you s…” Julieta interrupted “Uh…Florence dear, who’re these gu… OH! is that Fabian and detective Ricardo??”
Ricardo chuckled “You’re right girl!!”
She folded her arms “So what’re you guys here for??and Fabian why’re you here??” Ricardo pulled out a photo from my pocket “Do you know this bello lady??” she smiled “Yeah! She’s Esmeralda. We used to be friends in college…”
Ricardo sighed “She’s dead…murdered, so we’re interrogating him.”
She frowned “Florence, what does that have to do with you??” Florence did not reply. She violently shook him by his shoulder. His soft voice spoke out “She’s my ex”
There was a dead silence. Ricardo watched it as if it was a dramatic movie…
She rushed to a room, took her bag and opened the main door. Florencio rushed behind her “What’re you doing?? Where’re you going??” She roared “I don’t have to tell you! Did you tell me that you had past relationships???”
He wept “I’m sorry, I’m sorry dear…”
He started pulling her “Please don’t leave me like this…please…” She pulled herself away “You’re in the middle of a case and you hide a lot of things. How can I trust you??”
He started to pull her violently and she wildly pushed him on the floor.
He got up and started shouting “Go woman…go…don’t ever come back! Ever!” he started screaming and broke all the flower vases in the room. He cried and screamed like a mad guy…he screamed till he almost lost his breath. Before he could do anything else, Ricardo pulled him to the sofa and rubbed his back and his chest “Jus’ calm down…calm down amigo!”
He was weeping. I got irritated. I too had something to mourn for and he was wasting my time. But I stayed stiff or else Ricardo wouldn’t like it. The maid came out of the kitchen. She saw the mess and started cleaning.
I felt bad for him ‘cause it was the third time his relationship was broken and I don’t know, this would be the millionth time somebody would be betraying him…but he was a good actor too you’ll never know when he’ll lie...
Florencio slept in Ricardo’s shoulder.
I wept…I was to be her husband by then…
Ricardo said “Let’s wait till he wakes up and then I’ll ask him. You leave”
I didn’t want that to happen “No I’ll wait…I want to ask him and break his face if it was him who did it…” Ricardo sighed “I can understand what’re you feeling like…but you see, he’s mentally disturbed…”
I left the house silently. My heart ached out of anger. Somebody I loved was dead…how could Ricardo and Florencio not see that??
It was morning, but not for me as I was mourning…
Ricardo came home. I directly asked him “What did Florencio say?” He raised his eyebrows “Well, nothing…before anything else I need to know why did you suspect Florencio??”
This made me nervous. I grabbed myself a glass of water “Uh, ‘cause he’s her ex…”
Ricardo folded his arms “How many years would’ve passed since their breakup??” My voice was low “Six months”
He was astonished “Jus’ six months??!!”
I sighed “They broke up ‘cause I fell in love with her and she betrayed him…” He quietly nodded his head.
Then he said “Uh…he said he hasn’t seen her or spoken a word to her in these six months…but as per Esmeralda’s call records, they’ve spoken to each other yesterday, 7:36 a.m.…almost 13 calls from Esmeralda to him! He probably didn’t attend the first 7 calls. The 8th, 9th and 10th call lasted for about 1 minute. The next two calls lasted for about 5 minutes and the last one lasted for about 7 minutes.”
Alejandra was on the door listening to our talks. He shouted “How dare he speaks to our girl!” Ricardo replied “Your sister was the one who called him!!!” He left the room saying “I don’t care…last week I saw him at the gift shop, I told him Esmeralda is getting married and you know what he said?” Ricardo frowned “What??” Alejandra sighed “He said he was gonna curse this wedding. He said the wedding’ll be ruined!!!”
He left the house…
Ricardo went out of the room and came back with a plate full of croquettes. He looked into my eyes, “Tell me what all you know ‘bout Florencio” and stuffed his mouth with one croquette.
I sighed “We used to be college best friends and it turned into a rivalry when I and Esmeralda fell in love with each other. He’s trustworthy but a good actor and I liar. He knows how to lie if he has to.”
He pushed another croquette inside “Hmm…That's very contrast!”
I continued “He’s a techie and he isn’t with his family since two years, ‘cause his family pressurized him to take up their family business and marry his cousin. He trusted Esmeralda and worked at his company…during that time we all and some other friends including Julieta used to party very frequently…Mostly it was Florencio who used to spend for our parties. If he trusts someone, he spends a lot for them…Today also, if you noticed Julieta, a non-working, non-rich woman, was handling an IPhone...wearing fine clothes…”
I took a deep breath after narrating the flashback…
Jus’ then Maya, Esmeralda’s best friend phone-called me, “I won’t be able to attend her funeral, tomorrow. I wanted to tell you that, a week before I saw Florencio fight with Esmeralda and her hermano in a shop. So, yes that’s it” she hung up the call. I conveyed this to Ricardo.
Ricardo picked up another croquette “So, you were ‘friends’?? Hmm…so you think he might've wanted revenge?”
I sighed “Somewhat…Yeah! Uh…before Esmeralda, he was in love with Isabella, but she committed suicide…so he may be angry for whatever happened in his whole life…”
Ricardo slowly got up and said “Okay don’t worry…we’ll sort things out. You take rest.”
I laid on my bed with tears flowing off my eyes. I didn’t care to wipe it…
I left the house feeling sorry for Fabian. I went to buy some cupcakes and on the road I saw Alejandra rushing to a hospital with his hand dripping blood.
I pulled myself to him “Hey, you’re badly hurt! Shall I accompany you to the hospital??” He turned towards me “Yeah sure.”
I sighed “By the way, how did this happen??” He frowned “All ‘cause of Florencio!! I should probably have him dead! He killed my sister…now he has hurt me…”
After getting him to hospital, I went to Florencio’s house. His maid, Jade opened the door. She beamed at me “Hola!” Florencio was on his sofa with his hair all messed up. He seemed lifeless…
I sat on the sofa opposite him and he behaved as if I never existed.
I smiled picking up a cookie from his table “Uh…Florencio, you seem to have told me that you never spoke to Esmeralda since six months…then would you please explain me that how come you’ve spoken to her on her wedding day at 7:36 a.m. I checked the call records…”
He snatched the cookie I had in my hand, picked up the plate of cookies and gave it to Jade “Keep it in the Kitchen. And, yes…throw this bitten one!” That shocked me…I laughed then “That is rude!”
Before I was gonna ask him again, he said “I never spoke with her again means I never did!!! Why would I speak with that beast again?”
I rubbed my eyebrows “Okay, so why did you hurt Alejandra??” He raised his eyebrows “Who? The beast’s hermano?? He started it! He grabbed me by my abdomen in the middle of the street…so I had to…”
I stared at him “You've hurt him pretty badly…”
He didn’t pay attention.
Fabian barged into the house. He harshly pulled Florencio by his collars and banged him on the floor “What did you do to Alejandra?? Why did you do it to him??? You killed my Esmeralda and you’re hurting him!!!” I tried to pull him away from Florencio and he pushed me away.
Alejandra’s father too entered the scene. Both of them started to punch and thrash him. I yelled “This is not legal…Le’me handle this!!”
He pushed me on the floor.
Florencio was on the floor, Fabian had his knee on his abdomen and was strangling him, while the dead girl’s father held Florencio’s hands to the ground so he can’t move 'em. That old man screeched “Why did you do this to mi familia??”
Jade came out she saw this mess and tried to clean up! She gave me her hand to get up and pushed the old man. I pulled Fabian away. Florencio struggled to breath. He coughed terribly.
It was evening. We all were starring at each other. Florencio bled…not badly…
Then Esmeralda’s father left the house…Florencio couldn’t get up or move his right hand. His voice was low “Jade…bring me my phone…”
5 minutes passed, he yelled “Jade, where have you gone? Where the hell is my phone??” She came with a sheepish expression “Sorry…I don’t know sir…I can’t find it”
He went to his room picked up the phone hastily, stared at her and said something to her… He made a call to someone and came back.
10 minutes passed…I pulled Fabian and said “We’re leaving…we’ll see you later. Refresh yourself…”
I and Fabian were on the bed and he was unable to fall asleep.
It was Esmeralda’s funeral day. I went to Fabian’s room. He wasn’t there but a note was lying on his table. It started as “To Ricardo; From Fabian. Something struck my mind…” and I read the rest of the note and went to the gathering.
At evening, I went to Florencio’s house. Jade opened the door and as usual, she smiled at me. I smiled at her back “Jade, where is he?”
She pointed her finger to his room “He’s on his bed…”
I went to his room “Hola! How’re you?” He started at me lying on his bed “What do think?” I giggled “Okay, sorry, leave that. Uh…is your phone switched of or what?” He got up from his bed “Who knows…why’re you asking that??” I replied “That’s none of your business!” I sat in his bed beside him “Do you use any auto call recording apps? And yes, could get me some cookies?” He sighed “The answer to the first question is yes, but to the second one is no!!” I chuckled “Then give me your phone. See, this isn’t a request, this is an order!”
He got up from his bed and searched for it. He went from room to room for it and he came back “I can’t find it…it’s missing since two – three day’s I guess”
I smirked “Oh…but you used it yesterday…you seem to keep losing your phone…spending too much money on things isn’t worth if you keep on losing it. Even Julieta seemed to be careful ‘bout taking her IPhone while leaving you that day…there’s a reason why she left you…Careless freak!!!”
He frowned at me “What did you say??” I felt embarrassed “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have gone personal ‘bout you…I’m sorry…”
His eyes were filling with tears “No…no…Julie never had an IPhone…she could never afford it… it wasn’t her ‘IPhone’ it was ‘my phone’. That day I was using was Jade’s phone”
I gaped at him “What??”
I sighed recalling Fabian’s note “Uh…I guess she knew ‘bout your past relationships ‘cause she did party along with you guys since college time…and that day when we came to your house…she behaved as if she knew you had a fight with Fabian ‘cause she asked “Fabian why’re you here??”If she didn’t know ‘bout the whole backstory she would have simply assumed it as a friendly get together…probably…And she probably got out of the house out fear of getting caught, not ‘cause she suspected you…”
He wept “She frequently used my phone…I never checked what she did in it…I shared my passcode…” He started to cry even bitterly… I said “Don’t worry, we’ll get you a new IPhone”
He started to scream…
We got answer to the question who, but not to the question why…
We searched for her everywhere but didn’t find her. Every day in my dreams Esmeralda, my Emerald begged me to avenge her death…
Over the weekend I went to Florencio’s house with Ricardo. The house was being emptied. I held his hand “Jus’ help us catch her…” he pulled his hand away “No…” I begged for his help. Ricardo stayed silent for he felt that would mentally disturb Florencio.
I kept on begging. He pulled himself away from me “Six months ago, that day, I was bleeding on the road…badly hurt, both physically and mentally…you took Esmeralda and then le’me die over there…No body was there to save me…except for me…and wherever you went you told everybody that Esmeralda had betrayed me…you never told them ‘bout what you did!!!”
Tears flowed from his eyes and my eyes… “I’m sorry amigo…lo siento…” he wiped his tears “Every time I trusted you guys, you guys thrusted your knife into me…whenever I tried to run from my past, it jus’ leaves a deep scar on me to last…I’m not trying to start a new chapter in my life…I’m trying to write a completely fresh book…jus’ le’me go the path I’ve choose…”
I did nothing…Tears couldn’t stop…he held Jade’s hand tightly and walked into his car…
Ricardo’s eyes were watery…I simply said “We all made our own mistakes…To Err is Human…he trusted me, I betrayed him…”
Ricardo went to search out for Julieta and I sat down asking “Why???”