“I’m Detective Madison,” the female officer escorts Mark down the corridor past identical glass front offices.
Detective Madison waves for Mark to enter her office. Inside the 10’x10’ office, Detective Madison politely offers Mark a seat in the lone steel frame and plastic stacking chair. The detective rounds the simple wooden desk to sit across from Mark in her self-purchased ergonomic office chair.
With fingers interlocked and elbows on the desk, Madison begins the interrogation, “I understand you spent some time with Monica De La Croix not too long before she collapsed. Is that correct?”
“I am not sure of the time frame, but that’s a fair statement.”
“Can you tell me about that encounter?”
“There’s not much to tell. It was very brief and rather uneventful,” Mark feels his body heat rise and his palms begin to moisten.
Madison rests one arm on the armrest of her chair as she crosses her legs under the desk, “Relax and try to recall. It may have been more eventful than you realize.”
Detective Madison’s demeanor is very professional and serious. Mark notices though a gentleness in her eyes and that her facial features are small and delicate which makes him feel more at ease.
“We exchanged some cordial small talk and then I went outside to the garden patio.”
Madison’s lips curled up into a half smile and she nodded gently, “What kind of small talk did you exchange?”
Mark frowns trying to recollect that moment, “I remembered that she used to date my older brother, but I don’t recall if either of us mentioned it or not.”
Madison’s eyes lower and her face hardens, “That’s fine. Was anyone else there with you?”
Mark scratches his head, “There was a couple there when I approached her. No, I should say she stopped me as I moved past her.”
“Did you know this couple with her?”
“I’m not sure I paid any attention to the couple. They might not even be a couple. There were people around her as I started past.”
Detective Madison huffs and her jaw tightens. Her gentle features show signs of frustration and intolerance with Mark.
“Why or what made you leave this invigorating conversation?”
“As I recall J. T. Mendoza was pulled into our conversation. Monica took one of his drinks which unsettled him some.”
“What kind of drinks?”
“Champagne, I believe.”
“Why do you think this was unsettling to Mendoza?”
Mark rubbed his hand over his nose and down toward his beard, “I think he said one of them was intended for Celia.”
“Celia De La Croix, Monica’s stepdaughter?”
“What happened next?”
“I left them and went out to the garden,” Mark hopes this will end this questioning.
Detective Madison looks up after jotting down a few notes, “Did you encounter anyone out there?”
“I chatted with Celia. That’s when we heard a commotion in the ballroom that turns out to be Monica’s death.”
“So, Celia was in the garden when Monica died?” Detective Madison scribbles some more notes. “Do you have any idea where Sunni might have been?”
“I had a conversation with Sunni in the library just before Monica stopped me to chat.”
“What were you doing in the library?”
“Chatting with Sunni. I’d gone there to get away from the noise and nonsense of the party.”
“What was Sunni doing there?”
Mark struggles with how many details to disclose. Right now, he trusts Sunni more than Madison and the police. He also thinks there is a connection in the reason Sunni hid in the library and Monica’s death and this might be a good time to help the police make that connection. Yet, they could make the wrong connection. The police could wonder if Sunni had something to do with Monica’s death.
Mark decides to hold back from full disclosure and leave that up to Sunni, “I didn’t ask. Based on our conversation I’d say she just wanted to be alone.”
“What did she say that caused you to believe that?”
Mark’s heart begins to beat a little faster and he becomes fearful that Madison will detect that he is not telling the whole story.
Mark takes a deep breath and mimics a grin, “It wasn’t so much what she said but how she said it.”
“I see,” Detective Madison makes more notations. “I think that will be enough for now. Stay available for the next few days. I may need to ask you a few more questions.”
Mark nods and starts to leave, but then stops and turns to Madison, “Why were guests brought in for questioning today and not last night?”
“That’s a good question but I’m afraid I cannot give you that information until we’ve spoken with the family.”
Mark is not completely satisfied with that answer, but doesn’t want to give Madison another chance to ask more questions. Without further hesitation and not another glance in the detective’s direction, Mark dashes out the door.
As he makes his way back to the waiting room, he glances into the male detective’s office expecting to see either Sunni or Celia. He doesn’t. In that office being interrogated is Sarah Charming, one of the special guests at the party and the foundation’s receptionist. Mark catches the name tag on the door which reads Detective Lt. Steve Sherman.
He notices when he reaches the waiting room that several of those waiting to be questioned were special guests and not donors like the commissioner.
He finds Sunni and Celia. There are no empty seats near them. Sunni sits next to a closed door. Mark decides to speak casually with a few of the others waiting as he makes his way over to Sunni.
After several minutes and some small talk with acquaintances, Mark stands beside Sunni. He leans one shoulder against the doorframe of the closed door so that he faces Sunni.
“How did the interview go?” Sunni asks without looking up at Mark.
“She asked about my time with Monica at the party.”
“Did she talk to you about the robbers?”
“No mention of the robbers, but she asked me where Celia and you were when Monica died.”
“What did you tell her?”
“Celia was with me in the garden. The last time I saw you, we were in the library.”
“Did you tell her anything else?”
Mark squats down and leans into Sunni, “I never mentioned the gun or why you said you were in the library.”
Sunni starts to say something back to Mark, but stops when Detective Sherman appears. The detective walks straight toward Mark never taking his eyes off of Mark. Mark rises as Lt. Sherman approaches. Lt. Sherman stands so close, Mark can smell his cologne.
“You might not want to stand there. That door can get a lot of traffic in and out,” the detective gestures ‘in and out’ with a pointed finger towards the door Mark leans against.
Lt. Sherman signals for Sunni to follow him, “Now, you have a seat if you’d like, but if I were you I’d just leave.”
Sunni rises and starts to follow the officer, then stops and turns back to Mark, “Why don’t you go on and leave. I’ll call you when we’re done here.”
Celia stands and calls out to Sherman, “When will it be my turn?”
“Unless you just feel you need to be here for your sister, there’s no reason to stay,” Lt. Sherman stops at the entrance of the waiting room. “As a matter of fact, I think we’ve got all the information we need. The rest of you can go.”
Almost everyone in the waiting room turns to someone else and shares their bewilderment and frustration. Yet, slowly, one by one they rise and leave after Sherman clears the doorway. Mark and Celia join the group.
Celia quickly separates from Mark as soon as they are outside the precinct. Mark watches as she nearly runs to her car. He knows that she has never favored his involvement this far, but still finds this behavior strange.
Mark walks to his car. He stands next to it and observes Celia climb in hers, pull out and speedily drive away. As she passes his car, he waved but she doesn’t even look in his direction.
He climbs into his car slides under the steering wheel and thinks to himself, “What a strange girl.”
Backing out of his parking spot he analyzes the day. Very little makes sense when he tries to piece the events together. He also realizes the threesome never accomplish what they came there to do. They know nothing more than when they arrived.
I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at Amazon.com or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.