L'Affaire C. 08bysharkandpen©
"I. Did. Not. Stab. Anyone."
"Stop talking, I told you to stop talking." Liam had packed his briefcase and was now pushing Nicki into her coat.
"Fine, that's fine. You're free to go. It'd be a lot less suspicious if Ms. Moran cooperated with the investigation."
"Don't bullshit me, detective. You have your mind made up about my client."
"Your client was covered in the victim's blood."
"Adam Winters was bleeding out when Ms. Moran found him."
"At her apartment!"
"Outside her apartment."
"There's not a big difference, counselor. We find her ex-boyfriend with multiple stab wounds, practically on her doorstep. The ex-boyfriend she recently battered on a public street. What's the logical conclusion?" Nicki had to admit, the guy—Donovan—had a point. She was in deep shit, and both she and Liam knew it. Even her alibi was suspect. Of course her lover would say they'd been together the entire night, that he'd dropped her off at her apartment moments before she found Adam.
Sensing that Nicki was searching for something to say, something that might convince Donovan and his partner she was innocent, Liam gave her a push toward the door.
Once they were outside the station, Liam smacked the back of her head. Not to hurt, but instead to knock some sense into her. "Next time, when I tell you to shut up you shut up. You don't grab the nearest shovel and start digging your grave."
"I didn't hurt Adam, Liam." She hated the pleading sound in her voice. She wanted him to say he believed her. She wanted someone other than Matt to believe her. Matt had to believe her. Matt had been there. But who could believe with certainty he knew for sure he dropped her off at 10:45 and not 10:35? Who could believe she hadn't had an extra ten minutes to stab her ex-boyfriend? Would it even take that long?
Liam rolled his eyes. "You don't know these guys, Nicki. Every piece of evidence can be twisted. Circumstantial evidence is circumstantial but it still influences juries. There is no reason for the police to know more than they need to know. I promise you they won't be using your hysterical ranting to prove you weren't the doer, so there's nothing to gain by giving them ammo."
Nicki didn't want to agree. Didn't want him to know that she knew she should have stayed quiet, shouldn't have volunteered any information that wasn't absolutely necessary to the police investigation. It was bad enough that she knew she knew he was right. If he knew she knew he'd be insufferable.
"Can I buy you dinner?"
Nicki gave him a dirty look. "Are you sure you want to risk it? I might stab you with a butter knife."
"Rule number two, jokes about stabbing people are not funny while you're under suspicion for stabbing some someone."
"I didn't stab him!" Nicki hissed, embarrassed that she was stopping her foot like a child in order to emphasize her words. Stomp, stomp. See how much I mean it? "It's just a little frustrating when even my lawyer doesn't believe I'm innocent."
Liam finally sighed and turned toward her, capturing her face between two big black hands. It was cold enough outside that she could see his breath, but his hands were warm and she found herself looking up at him, praying he would say the right thing. She never realized how tall he was before. Probably because she'd never stood so close, never looked up at him like this. "Nicki," his voice was low, a lawyer speaking in confidence to his client.
Nicki ached for him to believe her. He was like a brother to her, an extension of Jack, who was a brother to her.
A cloud of crystallized breath appeared again when he said, "No lawyer believes his client is innocent." Nicki's heart sank. He paused, as if for effect. "But I believe you. I think it's because I'm not a criminal attorney, which by the way we may need to find you since it doesn't look like the police are going to lose interest in you."
He didn't want to represent her anymore. It was a weird validation. It made her feel innocent. And it's hard to feel innocent when your name is plastered on the front of the newspaper. "Man Found Stabbed Outside Reporter, Ex-girlfriend's Home". It didn't help that she worked for the damn paper that printed it.
"Thank you," Nicki said, her eyes blurring with sudden moisture. Liam sighed. He'd had enough of women crying for one week. Although he'd be grateful to have the chance to watch Carly cry again. She wasn't returning his phone calls.
The memory of his hands on her body felt like hands on her body. Firm, but gentle touches. Soft caresses and fleeting, breathy kisses down her body. She fell asleep thinking about him, and woke up thinking about him, and couldn't help thinking she shouldn't be thinking about him. She should be thinking about something else. Anything else, really.
School. The divorce. Networking for her next job. The real job, after graduation. Shed could hardly go back to work at her dad's firm now that she'd fucked the next partner.
Carly sat up in bed and stared at her reflection in the full length dressing mirror that stood in the corner of the room. Maybe she should cut her hair. Or dye it brown. Or red. Redheads were happy and free and impulsive. She at least had the impulsive part down. Although, now that she thought about it she didn't actually have any evidence to suggest redheads were happy. Maybe it was a stereotype, although it seemed to be one she'd created on her own. Were red-heads happier? Did other people think that, too? Did she share her stereotype with anyone?
But thinking of stereotypes only brought her thoughts back around to Liam. She'd fallen in love with a black man, she'd be dealing with stereotypes for the rest of her life. Even worse ones than 'dumb blond' and 'rich bitch'. And what—
Carly's thoughts froze. Love? The rest of her life? Was she on fucking drugs? She had to have engaged in the most unsuccessful love-em-and-leave-em one night stand in the history of man. Or woman. Mankind. No, humankind. Was 'human' still PC? Didn't she read somewhere that feminists were pissed because it has the word 'man' in it? That really most words having anything to do with women revolved around men. Menstration. Menopause. But that was a stereotype, too, because really, she was a feminist. She believed in women's rights. Equal pay for equal work. Her brain just wasn't organized enough to keep up with the vocab police.
She bit her lip. What on earth had her thinking of this shit? And then she remembered. Failed one night stand. Stereotype. Liam. The rest of her life. And she smiled, remembering.