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Part 12

Part 12 The Study

“Nice dinner, nice family, you’re a lucky man Andrew,” John admitted. “Just glad you were dumb enough to let her go, your loss, my gain,” he countered. Always the competition between two brothers, even when it came to the important, even sacred stuff like marriage and family.

“So you got to spend some time with our mystery girl, huh,” Andrew asked.

“Yeah, pretty interesting young lady, who has been through it,” John was still thinking about her, and the smell of her hair, and her hands around his neck the night before.

“Think she killed our guy?” Andrew asked.

“No I don’t,” he answered.

“Did she tell you who did?” Andrew was shifting from his brother role to his cop role.

“No, she did not. And furthermore, I don’t think she knows who did,” John found himself lying to his brother. A first. But his new found feelings for this girl….well he felt the need to protect her. She’d already told John she knew. Letting on that she knew would only give Andrew reason to pull her in for more questioning, more pressure, threats of being his accomplice. You know the drill; ‘You don’t come clean and tell us who killed Maloney, we’ll just have to assume it was you, we’ll charge you instead. You wanta get out ahead of this now, don’t you, why you protecting him, yada, yada, yada.’

From what little Elizabeth had shared with John, Maloney was dead, she knew who did it, and the guy was a lover, or former lover. He killed Maloney to protect her, but maybe he was the jealous type too, killing Maloney to eliminate the competition. So now that he had her all to himself, he might not take kindly to her ratting him out. He could just as easily kill her too. I mean, she had the goods on him, he didn’t need any witnesses, especially a disloyal one. No, John had to follow her lead and keep what he knew, what she shared with him to himself. If Andrew wanted to find out who killed Maloney, he would have to do his own investigative work, he would have to dig up his evidence somewhere else, not from John, and not from Elizabeth.

“Why do you say that?” Andrew seemed perplexed. “ You think she’s somehow innocent of killing this guy? What makes you think that? Because she said so, and has pretty eyes?”

John looked up at his brother, “She made it clear the guy was a bad ass, and not exactly high on her top 40 playlist, and she surely wasn’t sorry to have him come up missing, but for all anyone knows, he might still be out there alive and kicking.

“But no, I believe her. She said he’d been acting strangely , kinda paranoid, and his usual nastiness was turned up even higher. He went out Saturday morning and that was the last she saw him. She comes home Saturday night, finds all this blood and her dog missing. That’s when she headed out to meet up with a friend at the bar and ran into me. Apparently he’s got a sister and brother-in-law in town who expected him for his niece’s birthday. He was her god father, so when he failed to show up Sunday, they got worried, stopped by the house and found the mess. His brother-in-law called it in.”

Andrew was just sitting there leaned back in his leather chair soaking it all in. Could he tell that John was lying? He was a chief investigator, afterall. Still, he was used to putting the squeeze on perps, most of whom were guilty of something. But his brother, his best friend? Why would he lie? Andrew had not said much while John was spinning his tale.

“Look, John. This all sounds too perfect, too complete, but I’ll have to take her at her word. If you think she was telling the truth, who am I to question her credibility. I mean, you were there, I wasn’t. You think she was being straight with you? Andrew asked his brother.

“Yeah, I mean why would she lie to me. I’m just a guy she just met.” John offered. “Does it jive with what she told you when they questioned her?” You were probably listening in on the other side of your magic window I imagine.”

“Pretty much,” Andrew answered quietly. “She really didn’t say shit, just kept saying she didn’t know shit. I think she’s holding out, but then again who knows. She just seemed real nervous and scared. She doesn’t impress me as cold hearted or a murderer, but you never know. Still, you need to stay the fuck away from her. You hear me little brother? No good can come from this. If this guy is still hiding off somewhere and pops back up, finds you diddling his old lady. Well…that might not work out for you. And if he winds up buried in his backyard and her fingerprints are all over it, that will also present some challenging issues for you both. My advice, brother to brother. Go find yourself another less complicated piece of ass.”

“Knock off the bullshit lecture, Andrew, I’m not your little kid brother anymore, I grew up, like you. I can make my own choices good or bad without you breathing down my neck. I appreciate the advice, I really do, but this thing is bigger than me, man. There’s something special about this one. I have to see it through to its conclusion. I promise, if anything turns up, like this Maloney’s dead body in her hall closet, you will be the first call I make. Promise. Thanks for the dinner, the conversation, and the brotherly advice. Gotta go.” John got up, said goodbye to Kate, gave Andrew a hug, and headed into the night air.

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