Authors: Kelli Sloan
He slows, rubbing his hands gently all over my back. I listen to him puff loudly as he caresses my behind with a tender touch.
Gently, he withdraws from me and falls to the couch.
I fall on top of his strong body, resting into his muscles.
The touch of our calm naked bodies keeps my mind high.
The afterglow of our moment is filled with affection.
His hands run up and down my naked skin, and my hands run over his strong chest.
We lie naked on the couch for some time before we move again.
That was more amazing then I ever thought sex could be.
“That was mind-blowing,” I whisper to Nathan.
He does not reply as he tries to catch his breath.
The afterglow of this romp will last many days…
Investigating the Stolen Artwork
Returning to the office the next morning after my romp with a billionaire, I am still dizzy with lust. My mind replays the night over and over in my head. Wow. That is what sex is meant to be like. That was amazing.
It was mind-blowing.
It takes a while, but I am able to refocus on the case after my third coffee.
I search through Nathan’s case file over and over again. There must be something that I’m missing.
“I still don’t understand why you took that file from Nathan. He wouldn’t have any information that we won’t know. The guy isn’t a private investigator,” David moans from the other side of the table.
“Police work is a hard business, David. You have to trust your instincts and you have to be prepared to do the hard work. That means following any lead possible.”
David shakes his head, “We’ve already followed the leads. There was a crime and we investigated it. We’ve got the right guy. The case is over.”
I don’t believe that Nathan is a prefect law-abiding citizen but I don’t think he did this job. It is too sloppy for someone like Nathan. I’d imagine Nathan would not leave a drop of evidence if he committed the crime.
I don’t think he stole that artwork.
All the clues are too obvious. The DNA and the missing security footage make it too easy.
“There must be something,” I whisper as I flick through the pages.
“Just let it go, would you?” David states from the other side of the table, “We’ve got the arrest and he’s going to court. It’s time to let it go, Sarah. You’re only still looking at this because you think he was hot.”
“Something about this case doesn’t add up, David. Why would a man who could afford anything steal a painting?”
“Because the victim wouldn’t sell it. The motive is clear. Your billionaire wants everything but he couldn’t have that. So he stole it. Case closed Sarah.”
“The case isn’t closed because we’ve got the wrong guy.”
“You thought we had the right guy until you met him.”
“But after I met him, I knew he was innocent. My instincts told me loud and clear that he is innocent. And when have my instincts been wrong before?”
David sighs, “Never.”
“I have to trust my instincts.”
“This time, I think you’re wrong. I think that you’re blinded by his handsome looks. We’ve got the right guy, Sarah. Just because the man is attractive, doesn’t mean he is innocent. We’ve pinned it on him and he’s going down. Don’t let your lust get in the way of good police work.”
“You heard what the Captain said. We have to be sure of this one. And I’m not sure he did it. We have to exhaust every possibility before the case makes it to court.”
“We have exhausted every reasonable possibility. Unless you want us to start investigating the possibility that aliens took the painting, and then chose Nathan at random to set him up and cover their tracks. Yep, that could stand up in a courtroom but you may have trouble getting the expenses for a space rocket past the Captain,” David’s tone becomes sarcastic.
“Tell me why you think he’s guilty,” I ignore his tone.
“Tell me why you think he’s guilty,” I repeat slowly.
“Because all the evidence points to him,” David sarcastically responds.
“Sometimes, the most obvious clue is what we are missing. Just take me through the case.”
“Look, I don’t know what this billionaire said to you, but he’s guilty. Plain and simple. We’ve got his DNA at the crime scene, missing security footage from both the place of theft and the home of Nathan, and we’ve got a witness who places him there. It doesn’t come much more cut and dry than that.”
“What about the witness?”
“That’s right - what do we know about the witness?”
I search through the file that Nathan provided and there is a full page on the witness.
This looks like our lead.
“Um…” David reluctantly helps me out, “He works at a bookstore, lives downtown, studied art at MLA University, not married, no kids…”
“He studied art at MLA University?”
“Um…” David checks the file again, “Yep. Majored in Visual Arts. Graduated six years ago.”
“Then he would know the value of the Vin Gang painting.”
“Bring a photo of the witness. We’re going to visit the victim.”
Interviewing the Victim
“Hello again Mrs. Jackson,” I state as she welcomes us into her large apartment.
“Tea? Coffee?” the delicate lady asks.
“No thank you. But we would like to ask you a few more questions about the robbery.”
Mrs. Jackson is elderly and nearing the end of her time, but even though she would weigh less than 130 pounds, I would hate to meet her in a dark alley. She looks like she has gotten where she is today by being harsh.
Her apartment is large and a picture of 1940’s opulence. There are outsized chandeliers, grand old bookcases and many great paintings hanging on the walls.
The Fifth Avenue apartment is a place of splendid grandeur.
“You’re a big fan of art?” I question as we sit at a table in her lounge room.
“Yes I am, and I have been all my life. The Vin Gang painting was my prized possession.”
“I know we’ve asked you a lot of questions already, but I would like to go through it again.”
“Haven’t you arrested someone for the theft?”
“We have,” I nod as David glares at me, “But we would like to be certain of all the information before we take him to court.”
Mrs. Jackson nods knowingly, “Certainly. Ask whatever it is that you wish to know.”
“Can I confirm that there is no security footage for that night?” I ask.
“Yes. I have security cameras in my apartment and there are security cameras for the block as well but it was all erased for that night by someone unknown.”
“At what point did the alarms go off?”
“They didn’t,” she looks upset, “I pay a lot of money for the alarm system and it didn’t even work when I needed it.”
“What did the security company say when you told them that it did not go off?”
“They said I must have switched it off but that is silly. I may be old but I am still diligent. I always put the alarm system on before I leave.”
“And who knows the code for the security system?”
“Only my close family knows the code.”
“And who is that exactly?”
“Myself, my daughter and my grandson.”
I stand and wander around the room as David continues to ask more questions about the theft. On Mrs. Jackson’s long mantle sits pictures of her close family.
“Is this your grandson?” I ask, picking up a picture.
“It is,” Mrs. Jackson replies, “He looks so happy there. He has had a hard time since his father passed away. Robert took it really to heart.”
“When you say he has had a hard time, what are you referring to?”
“He’s…” she sighs deeply, “He has had a hard time with drugs. He was very close to his father, who was my son-in-law. He married my only daughter but lost his life two years ago in a random mugging. It was very sad.”
“Drugs?” David questions.
“He got addicted to them after his father passed away. It has been a horrible two years since then. He has been in and out of rehabilitation clinics and unfortunately my patience has run dry. I haven’t seen Robert in months.”
“But this picture is before his father passed away?” I ask.
“It is. That was the day after Robert graduated from MLA University. His father was very proud.”
“What did he study?”
“He majored in Visual Arts.”
“And where is Robert now?”
“He lives downtown. I have the address over here. But Robert would not have had anything to do with the theft. He’s still my grandson.”
“Do you lend him money?” David enquires.
“Not any more.”
“But you used to?”
“I did. I used to lend him money every week but I stopped because he was only spending it on drugs. I thought if he could not afford to buy the drugs, he might kick the habit.”
David and I exchange a knowing look.
“Have you ever seen this witness before?” David slides a picture in front of Mrs. Jackson.
She squints and studies the picture closely for a long time.
“Oh yes,” she remarks, “He looks familiar. I think he may be a friend of Roberts.”
“Thank you,” David smiles and stands to leave.
“But Robert or his friends wouldn’t have anything to do with this. Robert may be an addict but he is still family. He wouldn’t steal from me.”
“Maybe… but he might know something we don’t.”
I take a deep breath of city air as we walk back out to the car after interviewing Mrs. Jackson. As I go to open my car door, the phone buzzes in my pocket.
“Morrison,” I answer the call.
“Sarah, it’s Nathan. I would like to ask you a question,” Nathan’s voice is calm, but I am shocked.
“How did you get this number?”
“Money buys a lot of things and one of those is access to anything I want. And I wanted access to you, so I paid for it.”
“You did you pay?”
“The right people.”
“This is not a public phone number,” I am firm, “This is a private police line for police business only. I don’t know what world you live in, but I work to save lives and solve crimes. Unless you’re giving me information on either of those things, you should not be on this line.”
David is already in the car and he looks to me, questioning whom I am talking to, but I wave him away. I don’t want David to listen to the call, so I move away from the car to where David can’t hear me.
“What did Mrs. Jackson say?” Nathan continues his questions.
“Just now when you were talking to her.”
My eyes dart around my surroundings to find any hint of being followed, “How did you know we were just there? Are you following me?”
“I’m not following you Sarah. I am at my house, reviewing business documents. I am nowhere near her address on Fifth Avenue.”
“Are you having somebody follow me?”
“Solving this case is of great importance to me, Sarah,” he avoids the question, “If you don’t find out who set me up, then there is a chance that I will spend time in prison. I don’t want to do that.”
“Then what do you want?”
“I would like to know what Mrs. Jackson said.”
“Look,” I raise my voice but then lower it again, “Just because we spent a moment together, does not mean you have access to all my information. That’s not how this works. I am not some police woman that can be bought.”
“I think it was more than ‘just a moment.’ I think it was a whole lot more than that. And I’m not trying to buy you, Sarah. I’m only trying to help you solve a very high profile and important case. Catching the right guy is important to both of us.”
“Maybe,” I reply.
“Did you read the file I left with you?” he continues asking questions.
“And what did you find?”
I think long and hard about my next answer, “We may have found a lead.”
“Good. What is that lead?”
“I can’t tell you that.”
“If we are to solve this case, we need to work together Sarah.”
“Unless you’ve got a badge saying that you work for the New York City Police Department, I am not going to divulge that information to you.”
“You are the sexiest woman I have ever met,” Nathan states off topic.
“I don’t see how that is relevant to this conversation.”
“It’s not,” Nathan replies, “But listening to your voice made me think of last night. And that was the most wonderful night I have ever had. You are beautiful.”
I sigh, “Flattery will not get you the information that you’re after.”
“That wasn’t the point of my statement.”
“Sure,” I reply.
“Is the witness your new lead? He always seemed suspicious to me.”
“You know the witness?”
“I’ve had him followed, and I know enough about him to know that I don’t like him. So, is he your new lead?”
“Not exactly,” I respond.
“There is something not right about the witness, Sarah. I wasn’t there so I don’t know how they can place me at the scene. The witness has to be lying.”
“We’re not going after the witness.”
There is a long pause as Nathan thinks about that declaration.
“Who are you going after?” Nathan’s voice becomes firm.
“You can work that out for yourself. Think about your links to Mrs. Jackson.”
And after that statement, I end the call.