Authors: Kelli Sloan
An Element of Doubt
“I don’t think he did it.”
“Oh, come on Sarah. Really? That guy is guilty,” David replies to me as we sit at our desk after the interview is completed.
“I don’t think so. I’m usually a good judge of character and I don’t think he did it. There was a look in his eyes that said that he was innocent.”
“What is it about these bad boys that does it for you? One flash of their eyes and you are drawn in.”
“It’s not that. I just think he is innocent.”
“How could he be innocent?” David protests, “We have all the evidence we need. How else could his DNA have gotten there?”
“Someone might have planted it. He is a very high-profile person, and I have no doubt that he has his enemies. There would be plenty of people lining up to take him down.”
“They would be lining up because he is so arrogant.”
“Arrogant… but sexy,” I sigh.
“Why go for these bad boys Sarah? Why not go for a nice guy like me? Let me take you out to dinner tomorrow night. Let’s go to some place fancy.”
I smile, “No thanks, David.”
Being a woman in a busy police department means you have to get used to being asked out all the time.
But the good guys don’t do it for me.
I like them with a touch of badness.
“I think we should have a chat to Nathan outside the office.”
“If he makes bail,” David adds.
“He’ll make bail. You don’t pay a lawyer like Derek K. Turner to miss bail. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has already walked out of here.”
“Is it the money?”
“Is what the money?”
“Is it the money that gets you? Because I make enough money, and I’ve been saving for years. I could take you out to dinner at fancy places every week. I don’t drive a great car but I could look after you.”
“It’s not the money, David.”
“Then what is it? What does that guy have that I don’t?”
“Do you really want me to answer that?”
“Well… no. Keep that to yourself.”
“You’re a nice guy, David,” I smile to my partner, “And I’m sure you’ll find a nice woman one day. But I am not a woman that will settle for nice.”
“Women are too hard to understand,” David sighs, “I mean, that guy would treat you like dirt but you still want him? He’s a criminal.”
“It should be criminal to look like he does.”
“Please, come out to dinner with me,” David continues.
“I’ve told you before David, I don’t date cops. It wouldn’t work out.”
“But you’ll date criminals?”
“I don’t want to date him.”
“What do you want to do with him then?”
I smirk in response to David’s question.
“Oh… don’t answer that question. I don’t want to know what you’ll do with him.”
“Or what he’ll do to me…”
“Stop it Sarah.”
I smile back at David, “I’m sure you’ll find a nice woman one day David. She’ll be pretty, and nice, and she’ll want to wait at home and cook you dinner every night.”
“And massage my feet?”
“No woman wants to massage your feet, David.”
“That’s where I’ve been going wrong,” he jokes, “I’ve been looking for a woman that will massage my feet.”
“Maybe you should ask them to massage something else?” my reply is full of sexual innuendo.
He laughs, “But promise me one thing, Sarah.”
“Promise me that you won’t let this guy’s good looks and strong abs get in the way of an investigation.”
“How do you know he has abs?”
“I’ve seen the pictures in the magazines. That guy is ripped and full of muscles.”
I nod and stand from behind my desk.
“Where are you going?” David asks.
“I’m going to find out who actually stole that painting.”
“You can’t tell anyone lives on this street,” David remarks, “All the houses are hidden behind enormous walls. You’d want to live here anyway?”
A large concrete fence and high metal gates protect the address that we drive to.
“May I help you?” the patrol guard leans in the driver’s side window.
“My name is Detective Sarah Morrison and this is Detective David Pageant. We are here to ask Nathan a few more questions,” I flash my badge to the guard.
“I really don’t know what we’re doing here,” David mumbles as the guard calls our presence in over the radio.
“Thank you,” I smile to the guard, as the gates swing open.
The drive up to the mansion is impressive. It is a long, wide driveway, surrounded by beautiful lush green gardens.
“What a waste of money,” David mumbles.
The mansion is grand, large and sprawling. It is a picture of opulence.
“What are you going to ask him?” David persists.
“Look David, I didn’t ask you to come, alright?” I snap back at him.
“Ok, settle down. I’m here to support you.”
Thinking about the questions I am going to ask Nathan, I state to David, “I think it’s best if you wait in the car.”
“No, I’m coming in too.”
“No, David. Nathan won’t talk to you. You’ll put him off. It needs to be him and I alone, that way he’ll answer all my questions.”
David sighs as I climb out of the car, “Just be careful. These rich guys can be very strange.”
Walking up to the entrance of the mansion alone, the butler opens the door for me.
“Mr. Templeton is in the library,” the butler states in a thick English accent, “It is the first room on your left.”
“Thank you,” I nod.
My mouth drops open as I walk into the foyer of the mansion.
It is huge and striking. I have never been anywhere as grand as this.
It is clear this man has too much money to waste.
When I enter the room on my first left, Nathan is seated next to an old oak desk with his legs crossed as he reads a file.
“You made bail quickly,” I remark as I enter the room.
“That’s why I pay for the best lawyers. They have connections,” he states without looking up from the file he is reading, “I’m just reading your file, Sarah.”
“My file? I don’t think I have a file.”
“You do now. I had one of my team put it together. Seems that you have had a hard past.”
I don’t know what to say.
“I like to know who I’m dealing with,” Nathan continues, “But I don’t think I need this file to know you.”
He closes the file and places it on the table next to him.
“Why not?” I ask.
“Because I already know that I like you,” he stares at me with a seductive glare.
“Please sit down,” Nathan indicates for me to have a seat on the opposite side of the table as him.
“Tell me about you,” Nathan asks as I sit down.
“I’m not here to talk about me,” I state defensively.
“Then why are you here?”
“Because I think you’re innocent.”
He smiles, “When you make a lot of money, you make a lot of enemies. I have no doubt that someone set me up. It is now a matter of finding who did it.”
“Then help me find who that is.”
He nods, “I’ve already started that investigation.”
“Tell me what I need to know, Nathan.”
“I would tell you Sarah, but there are some things in my investigation that shouldn’t be known to the cops. Not all of my business is public knowledge.”
“Then don’t treat me as a cop.”
“How should I treat you then?”
I want to say lover.
I want his rock hard body to hold me tightly.
“As a friend,” I finish my sentence.
I want to resist him.
But there is something about Nathan that I can’t explain.
It feels primal.
It’s like this feeling has been built from the deepest part of my body and is ready to explode.
I need his sexy body. There is a primal urge to devour the sexy man in front of me.
Nathan can feel the lust in the room.
“You don’t want to get involved with me, Sarah,” he states.
“I think I do.”
“No, I’m warning you. I have a habit of hurting people that get close to me,” he says firmly, “Don’t get close to me, Sarah.”
“I trust you.”
“Don’t trust me. I hurt people, Sarah. I don’t mean to hurt them, but I do. You can’t trust me.”
“I trust you, Nathan.”
“I can tell in your eyes that you won’t hurt me. A good cop knows when to trust someone, and I am a good cop. I know I can trust you not to hurt me.”
“I’ve hurt every woman that has ever come close to me. Why would you be any different?”
“Because there is a connection,” I whisper.
He knows it too.
When we look into each other’s eyes, there is an understanding.
“Don’t trust me, Sarah,” Nathan warns me again.
“I trust you, Nathan,” I take a long pause and look him straight in the eyes, “Let me in.”
He pulls open the top drawer of his desk and removes a file. Placing it on the table, he slowly pushes it across to me.
He nods towards it but I don’t touch it.
“This is the file with the information that you want,” he indicates to the file, “But it has some information that could be damaging to me. It mustn’t be released out of your sight.”
Reaching my hand out to the file, Nathan pulls it away from me.
“Actually, I think I’ll hold onto this one.”
“You can trust me, Nathan,” I reassure him.
He stares at me again.
“Maybe I can… but not yet,” he places the file back into the top drawer of his desk.
Standing up, he moves around the oak table and comes up behind me.
“I’m warning you not to trust me, Sarah,” he whispers over my shoulder.
I don’t turn around.
“Don’t come close to me, Sarah. You’ll get hurt…”
After he whispers that statement in my ear, he stands at the door, indicating for me to leave.
I exit the room without saying another word.
A nice glass of wine can be a Detective’s savior.
Pouring a glass at the end of another long day, I contemplate why I am so determined to get Nathan off the hook.
He is sexy and seductive but it is more than that.
There is vulnerability behind his eyes that draws me in. His exterior is tough but I can see past that. I can see that he is hurting and alone on the inside.
I’ve done my research on Nathan and found that he lost his parents early in life, and was fought over by greedy aunts and uncles. They clearly did not care about Nathan, rather they were interested in the rich company that he inherited.
When he turned twenty-years old and gained full control of the company, he gave his extended family a small fortune and then cut them off. Rumor is that he never saw them again.
He has never had a stable long-term relationship and is known to be a womanizer. But I think there is more to him than that. I think he is hurting and needs to be loved.
I trust him.
I don’t know what it is, but I trust the man behind those beautiful eyes.
As I finish my glass of wine, there is a heavy knock at my apartment door.
Hesitantly, I open the door.
I am surprised that the tall, strong figure is standing in my doorway.
“You forgot this,” he hands me the file that I left at his house earlier today, “It has some information that may assist you.”
“I don’t need it,” I reply.
“I think you do,” he nods.
We stand awkwardly at the door in silence for a few moments.
“May I come in?” he asks.
I take a few more moments to think about it, and then reluctantly open the door.
Nathan walks into my small apartment and finds the bottle of red wine next to my empty glass.
“I’ve never had this brand of red wine before. Is it any good?”
“It’s cheap,” I reply, “That’s probably why you’ve never heard of it.”
“Pour me a glass,” he states to me.
“Don’t tell me what to do,” I assert strongly.
He looks surprised and a grin slowly creeps across his face before he calmly asks, “Do you mind if I pour a glass?”
“The glasses are in the top drawer.”
As he looks around the kitchen, it is clear he does not spend much time doing things for himself.
“Don’t spend much time in the kitchen?” I ask.
“No,” he pulls open the top drawer, “I don’t think I’ve ever even cooked a meal for myself.”
I laugh at the absurdity of that statement, “That’s ridiculous.”
“Maybe,” he shrugs his shoulders, “But maybe you can teach me how to cook one night.”
I stare at him, looking for any hint that he might be using me, but I struggle to look past his handsome features.
He is the perfect specimen.
Tall, strong, tanned, healthy and seductive.
He sips at the wine and almost spits it out in shock.
“Not what you’re use to?” I laugh.
“That’s terrible,” he shakes his head, “Why would anyone drink that?”
“Because they can’t afford a two thousand dollar bottle of wine,” I reply.
“I’d rather drink nothing than that.”
“For those of us with stressful jobs and a medium wage, that is not an option,” I smile back.
He nods, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be so rude.”
“Why do you think someone set you up?” I redirect the conversation.
“Because I’m not a nice guy,” he sighs, “I didn’t make money by being nice. I made money by destroying people and opposition companies.”
“Does that make you feel good?”
“Feel good? I don’t think that is part of the equation. I run a business. The best outcome for the business is to succeed.”
“By squashing others?”
“If they can’t defend themselves, then they shouldn’t be trying to compete with me. That’s business. It’s the big wide world of success.”
“Do you ever feel bad about squashing the competitors?”
He shakes his head and stares at me with those eyes.
My heart skips a beat.
I could stare at those eyes all day.
“I’ll leave the file on the table,” he nods towards the folder he has left on my kitchen bench, “You should use it.”
“I don’t think I will,” I am defiant.
He obviously likes to be told no.
“Are you married, Detective?”
“If you have a file on me, you already know the answer to that.”
“You’re right, I do. I also know that you haven’t had a long-term boyfriend.”
“I have also read your file Nathan, and I also know that you’ve not had a long-term girlfriend.”
“It seems that we are a perfect match for each other then…”