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Jade jumped out of her car. What could be taking her so long? Kate was normally waiting by the door to leave for their morning coffee run. Jade approached the garden outlined in beautiful stones, a perfectly kept lawn; all green and lush, and a freshly painted house. She has everything, she’s so perfect. She’s a marathon winner, a natural blond, and on her way to making partner come promotion time. She is the definition of perfect, well, except today. “Kate!” Jade called out. “Kate!” Why won’t she answer?. “Kate come on we need to go.” Jade pounded her fist against the door. Jade sighed. “Come on!” she whispered to herself. She walked over to the gardened and picked up one of the perfectly placed stones.
How did I become best friends with such a perfect girl? Jade wondered, thinking about her frizzy not quite brunette hair, imperfect smile, and run-down apartment. Lost in thought, Jade opened up the rock and grabbed a key. Kate had only slept in one other time since she’d known her - because Kate had a man over. That was an awkward ride to work. Jade shook her head to get rid of the thought as she opened the door. “Kate?” Jade stepped into Kate’s family room and looked, at the matching colors and perfectly put together room.
Jade sighed again and wandered into Kate’s living room. “There you are!” Jade said with relief. “Kate come on! We are late already.”
Kate didn’t even look at her. She just sat on her futon, and stared at her crossed legs, with her perfectly folded hands. “Kate, look, I know you’re mad at me, but now you are just being childish.”
Something on Kate’s hand caught Jades eye, Jade got closer, “Oh my god! Kate, Kate!” Jade shook Kate’s shoulder. “Are you ok?” Kate’s limp body fell on the futon, like a marionette after the strings have been dropped. Jade screamed.
“Johnson! Hey, Johnson wait up!” Detective Counsel yelled. “I know you are eager to get back in there, but we should have a game plan first.”
“Look, with all due respect, detective, I know how to work a case. I may have left for a while, but that doesn’t make me incompetent!”
“Alright, look, I know you like this set up as much as I do, but we are just going to have to grin and bear it, ok?” Counsel explained.
Johnson started to storm up the steps to Cypress and Mulberry law firm, ignoring Detective Counsel’s comment. “So, what are we doing here?”
“We need to interview the co-workers of this girl,” Counsel handed Johnson a case file. “This is Kate Grain. She was found dead by her best friend and co-worker, Jade Cappi, at the beginning of the week. Kate had a large gash in the lower right corner of her head, and another to the back of her neck, snapping her spinal cord. The estimated time of death is around 11 pm Tuesday night.”
“Any of the neighbors hear anything?” Johnson asked.
“No, and there was no sign of a struggle. We believe that she knew her killer. The other odd thing about the crime scene was that there was no murder weapon, no blood spatter, no mess at all. The sight was completely…”
“Clean,” Johnson interrupted.
“Not just clean, but spotless like the murderer cleaned up after himself.”
“Looking a bit confused, Johnson shook his head. “Well we better get in there. We have a case to solve.”
As the detectives entered the firm, they were greeted by a secretary at the front desk, who pointed them to Kate’s office. It was full of law books, book shelves and a couch. Kate’s desk, in the middle of the room was full of clutter; open files, random papers, more books, and the newspaper from Tuesday. “Yeah, she was a cool boss,” James, Kate’s secretary answered as Detective Johnson wandered around the room. “I get paid well, or got paid well; I guess I can’t organize a schedule for someone who isn’t going to be having much to do anymore.”
James laughed awkwardly.
“So you’re out of a job now?” Johnson asked.
“Yeah, I think so. I’m talking to Mr. Mulberry about this whole situation later today, but the guy’s a real hard ass, so I think I should just start filling out applications now.”
Johnson, really not caring at all, grabbed a trophy off of a book shelf behind Kate’s desk. It had a woman running figure on top of it and an inscription on the base reading ‘Kate Grain, Parry Hill Marathon, First Place’ Interrupting James mid-sentence, Johnson asked, “What is this for?”
James, a bit taken back, said, “Oh, um, that is Kate’s trophy for winning first place in the annual marathon in Parry Hill. She was big into running, said it was freeing or something.”
Impressed, Johnson put the trophy down. Next to a picture of two women, one with blonde hair, green eyes, and tan skin that he recognized as Kate, the other a brunet with hazel eyes and a freckled completion. Detective Johnson pointed at the brunette. “Who is this?”
“Who? Oh that’s Jade, Kate’s friend. She works here. She’s Sam’s Assistant.” James pointed across the hall. “Her desk is right over there.”
“Thank you for your time.” Johnson said as he rushed out of the room. As he approached Jade’s desk, he saw her intently talking to a tall, young man in a suit and tie. As he came closer, they looked up at him. “Hello, I’m Detective Johnson with the local police department.” He put out his hand and they each shook it.
The man answered, “Hello, I’m Sam and this is my assistant Jade.”
“Nice to meet you both. Do you have a minute to answer some questions?” I asked looking at Sam.
“Yes, I have a few,” Sam answered. “Step into my office.” Johnson looked around and saw a room similar to Kate’s but a lot more organized.
“How did you know Kate?”
“We were just co-workers. She was a sweet girl from what I could tell, smart and a great lawyer I can’t believe she’s gone.”
“Do you know of any enemies that she had?”
“No, she was a small claims attorney, so no big criminals or anything like that, and as for around here, everyone loved her.” There was a knock on the door. Jade peeked her head in.
“ You have court in twenty minutes. Don’t forget,” she said with a smile.
“Ah, yes, my apologies detective, would you like my card? In case you need to reach me to continue this later I really have to get going.” Sam handed Detective Johnson his business card.
“Yes, that would be great, thanks” he grabbed the business card, put it in his pocket and shook Sam’s hand as he rushed out the door for the courthouse.
“Is there anything I can help you with?” Jade asked.
“Do you have a minute to answer a few questions?” They went outside of Sam’s office to Jade’s desk.
“Umm, about Kate, um yeah I do.”
“How long did you and Kate know each other?”
“I’ve known her ever since she started here.So, six, maybe seven years.” Jade answered absent mindedly.
“You two got along well then?”
“Yeah, of course we did. She was my best friend.”
“You two never fought?”
“That’s not really a practical question,” Jade said, getting defensive. “I mean everyone has little fights.” Thinking about himself and his partner, Johnson noticed how perfectly clean Jade’s desk was.
“Do you clean Sam’s office as well?”
“Yeah, I have a bad case of OCD. It’s a gift and a curse. It helps with my job, but it really bugged Kate; she said she needed some clutter to think.” Johnson nodded, not to acknowledge Jade, but because he was pondering a thought.
“Johnson! Johnson!” Counsel was yelling across the room.
Oh come on, Johnson thought. “Thank you,” he told Jade, as he walked over to his partner. “What was that?” Johnson asked with furry in his voice, as the duo left the law firm into the dusty city streets.
“What do you mean?” Council answered.
“You interrupted me in the middle of my questioning!”
“You were not questioning her; you were nodding like an idiot.”
“Look, I am not in the mood for your games, ok? I couldn’t believe that the department put me back with you after what happened! I don’t like this either, but we are partners, so stop acting like you are running this case.” Council’s jaw dropped.
Brushing off the awkward feeling, Johnson asked, “So, what did you find?”
“Nothing, I talked to some of the assistants, attorneys and some janitorial staff, and they all said the same thing; she was a sweet girl, smart and a great lawyer. They can’t believe she’s dead.”
“How did you talk to all those people and not find anything?”
“Maybe because they all are innocent.”
“Innocent? They are lawyers! Come on, Eric.” Johnson said.
“Look, if I did such a bad job, what did you find?” Counsel asked angrily
“I found a prime suspect,” Johnson said with a grin.
“Jade, Kate’s friend? The girl who found Kate’s body? Jade?”
“Yes, when she leaves work we should split up. I’ll tail her and you can go back to the office and see what you can dig up…”
“No, I think we should stay together.”
“What? Why? We will make better time if we split up. This was never a problem before.”
“Yeah, well I don’t want anything bad to happen to one of us,” Council said with an un-easy tone.
“That is such a lie! The department wants you to watch me. They think I am going to break the rules again. They put us together so you could babysit me! Unbelievable!”
“Look, Mike, we are not splitting up because this could be dangerous and I don’t want one of us getting hurt.”
“You’re such a liar.”
Counsel sighed, “all right, look you caught me but I could lose my job over this. So, can we please just drop it and go together?”
Detective Johnson could not believe his ears. Counsel was the one who turned him in, his own partner! Now they sent the same man to spy on and baby sit him. Unbelievable.
Johnson marched to their unmarked police car. Counsel got in the other side and they waited in silence.
Twenty minutes later, Jade walked out of the firm and got into her car. The detectives followed her to the other side of town, through some very un-savory neighborhoods. she parked her car outside of a run down old looking apartment building on the corner of South Lopez and Cadiz Street. A few of the windows on the bottom and top floors had bars, the brick, was what Johnson assumed, was supposed to be red but turned in to a kind of pale orange color. The detectives parked on the other side of the street.
“We should follow her.” Johnson said eagerly, as he hopped out of the car.
“No, wait. This is not a good idea. Just wait a second and let’s think about this.” Counsel reasoned, as he grabbed Johnson’s shoulder.
“Help! Help!” a woman screamed from the other side of the building. “Help, that man stole my purse!” Council acted instinctively and ran to help the woman. This would have been Johnson’s instinct as well just a few months ago, but now he was a bit rusty. Johnson watched Council round the corner of the building and decided that he should follow Jade.
Detective Johnson crept behind Jade at a safe distance, as Jade went in to a room on the third floor. The door number read 366, or it was supposed to. It read 36, and all that was left of the second 6 was a faded out line where the number used to be. Johnson pressed his ear against the door. He couldn’t hear anything. Something bad was happening in there, he just knew it! Just a peek. He would just look to see if anything weird was going on and then leave to find Council.
The door creaked as Johnson opened it, but the sound was drowned out by the crash that came from the other side. It sounded like someone dropped a tray of silverware and it all came crashing to the floor. Johnson burst in to the room, gun in hand. “Stop! Police! Put your hands where I can see them!” Johnson’s eyes flew straight to a body on the floor. “Jade?” He looked next to her. There was a tray that had a plate of food on it, which was now decorating the carpet. He ran up to her and put his fingers on her neck, and whispered in disbelief, “She’s dead.”
“Ok, yes, I know.” Johnson flipped his cell phone closed.
The sound of police sirens filled Cadiz Street. Johnson watched the paramedics carry out Jade’s body and Johnson did not know what he was going to do. How could they not believe anything I told them? “Johnson, you did not stay with Counsel, and with your past record we want you two together for everyone’s safety.” What bull. Johnson thought about that night, the night he got in to this mess. Johnson was working a case with Counsel. They were in pursuit of a serial killer. They had chased her into Casey Park. Johnson could remember it like it was yesterday. It was an extremely foggy night, tension was in the air. The wind didn’t even dare to blow, afraid that it may start a chain reaction. Counsel had disappeared and it was just Johnson and this killer. He heard a gun shot and turned quickly to see a dark moving figure. Knowing it was the killer, Johnson pulled the trigger. He heard the body fall to the floor. It was not the killer at all. It was just an innocent homeless man who got up to see what the commotion was about. I shot him. He died because of me, but I am not a killer and Counsel still turned me in.
Now they think that I did it. Why would they think that? I am not a killer. I know how to do my job. No,w the media got a hold of this story and everything is going to go to hell.
“Mike! Mike!” detective Council shouted looking around. “Hey Mike, I just got a call form chief. He is blaming me for this! Why did you go in there? I could lose my job for this, and now the DA’s office is breathing down our necks.”
“What do you mean?”
“Jade, she was the DA’s niece. He said we have until Friday to figure this out or we are going to be in deep s*** for this.”
“Friday! That is only three days! How are we supposed to do that?” Johnson yelled astonished.
“I don’t know, but we better get a move on.”
“Lets meet at the law firm tomorrow morning. I might be a little late, I have to run to the office, real quick, and pick up the crime scene report.”
The detectives entered the law firm. It was unusually quiet. The secretary at the front desk looked away when the Detectives came into the firm. No one would make eye contact with them. Johnson pulled out the crime scene report. “…the scene was spotless…not a thing out of place….. a DVD was found out of place. That’s not too helpful. The detectives rounded the corner to Kate’s office. James’ desk was cleared off and one of the janitors was putting Jade’s belongings in to a box. He was moving slowly and taking great caution, as if the items he was handling were cursed. A frame fell to the floor with a crash. Johnson picked it up. It was a picture of Sam, holding Kate around the waste, and Jade had her arm around Kate’s shoulder, all smiling. “Damn it!” Johnson yelled, much to the surprise of the janitor, who all but fell over from the loud cry. Council looked at his partner with confusion. Johnson showed him the picture.
“Do you know where Sam is?” Council asked the shaken man.
“Ummm,” he said with a wheeze. “He didn’t show up to work today. No one knows where he is.” The detectives ran out of the firm.
“I have his address punched into the GPS,” Council said as he turned on the sirens.
The detectives pulled into Sam’s driveway. Council headed to the front of the house, as Johnson went around back, to find Sam running out the back of the house. Sam ran up to the fence in the back. Johnson ran to catch him, grabbed him by his foot, and pulled him down. “Got him!” Johnson yelled to Council, as he put the cuffs on Sam and police sirens filled the air. “You have the right to remain silent…”
“Sam we caught you trying to flee the police. We found your finger prints on a DVD at the crime scene and you lied to an officer of the law. You are going to jail, but it could be easier on you if you help fill in a few blanks.” Johnson spoke softly and calmly. Sam just looked around the cold, damp interrogation room, with tears in his eyes he finally broke.
“I had to do it! The way she stared at me everyday. The way her hair fell down on her face when she laughed. I knew she loved me! The way her lips moved when she talked, how I wanted those lips on mine. The way her emerald green eyes pierced my soul, I knew it was meant to be. It was Tuesday night, and like every other Tuesday we got together and watched a movie, but this night it was different, it was special. We finally went out on our first date the week before and hit it off. So, I decided to take the relationship to the next level. I was going to wait until after the movie to ask her, but I couldn’t. I had butterflies in my stomach, my blood was pumping so fast. I had the DVD in my hand, and I set it down. I asked her. I did the whole thing! I got down on one knee, got the perfect ring and I asked her in the most romantic manner. I don’t know what more she wanted. She laughed. Do you know how it feels to have your true love laugh at you when you are being all but funny? I couldn’t contain myself! At first I was sad, I begged and pleaded with her. ‘Why, why are you laughing? This isn’t funny answer me!’ She didn’t and she even got scared. Scared of me! So, I tried to kiss her, to show her how much I love her and she hit me. I grabbed a trophy that was sitting on her table and hit her as hard as I could. I loved her so much. Once I realized what I had done, I cleaned the whole area as I knew Jade would. She was the only one who knew about Kate and I, and Jade loved me. She would never tell if I told her not to. It was perfect. I would blame her, she would take the blame and I’d be off the hook. Then she started getting scared when you guys started snooping around the office. She said she was going to tell you what I had been doing. My plan started to crumble. So, I got a hold of some rat poison. I put it in her green water bottle. I thought it was perfect. I just loved her so much and she laughed in my face. She laughed! I wasn’t even good enough for an answer.” Sam sighed. with tear-filled eyes. Johnson shook his head, as an officer put cuffs on Sam and took him out of the room.
Johnson and Council looked at each other. “Well, we finished. We get to keep our jobs.” Counsel said apologetically.
“Yeah, I’m glad to see that I still got it.”
“Look, about me turning you in, it was just the right thing…”
“I know,” Johnson said, and he did know it wasn’t Counsels’ fault. “Its ok.” They walked out of the interrogation room. Johnson put his hand on Council’s shoulder and asked; “So what’s the next case on our agenda?”