The Queen and the SoldierbyEvil Alpaca©
The following story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between actual persons, living or dead (or just confused) is entirely coincidental. Please do not copy/redistribute the story, in part or in total, without the author's permission.
This story takes place in the entirely fictional city of Springfield, California, so don't go looking for it on a map. And in my little fictional world, there are no unwanted pregnancies or STD's, except as plot driving devices. The author encourages the practice of safe-sex.
Also, this is a LONG story, so if you're looking for quick gratification, you might want to skip this one.
The Queen and the Soldier – A Story of Scars
"It was a dark and stormy night," Sandra Lopez muttered as she sat on the back of an ambulance, sipping a cup of coffee as the paramedics made sure that none of the blood on her thousand dollar dress-suit was actually hers. 'That's how these stories always start, don't they?' she thought as some well meaning but oafish EMT shined a flashlight into her eyes for the millionth time that evening. 'Well, it's certainly dark and I can almost smell the rain coming,' she finished.
Sandra was a powerful woman in the music industry, and she had clawed her way to get to where she was. At thirty-two years old, she was the youngest president in the history of Mega-Global Records. Her parents were Mexican nationals who had moved to the United States and started a successful chain of Mexican, sit-down restaurants throughout California. And even before they had found success, they had devoted their whole lives to Sandra and her six siblings, and the kids had worked hard to repay their parent's generosity and devotion. They worked hard in school or athletics, and sometimes both. Sandra had started as regular talent scout and had worked her way up the ladder. She had been mostly raised in Beverly Hills, leaving her with very little trace of an accent. But she was proud of her language and her culture. Her parents had made sure of that. She had bought a nice house in Springfield in a nice neighborhood, and she talked to her parents every day. Unfortunately, she had been so busy recently that her love life had suffered. She had just gotten back from a Battle of the Bands that she had gone to on a whim when she was at a meeting in Texas, and she had signed a local band there that she just knew were going to rock the world some day. The fact that they were five lovely . . . very lovely . . . young women had played a small part in Sandra's decision, but she also realized that if she didn't snag them, someone else would. She knew that half the band members were gay, but were also unfortunately involved with other people.
"Well, just as well," she had muttered to herself. She had stupidly taken potential acquisitions to bed before, and it had almost come back to bite her on her ass a couple of occasions. So she had planned on calling an escort service that she had used before; one that promised high quality ladies and total discretion. Unfortunately, she had walked in her front door and slipped in a pool of blood. She had taken a bit of a bump to the back of the head. But mostly what she had done was scream. She had screamed until she had finally gotten enough sense back together to call the police with her now bloodstained cell phone. All the while, there was a dead neighborhood security guard lying three feet away.
The police had arrived and had already taped off the entire property, from the front gate to the back wall. The EMT's were looking her over, and she had already been questioned about twenty times by different people. They had already managed to confirm that she had been on a plane no more than half an hour earlier, and the guy from the coroner's office was already speculating that the man had died at least three hours earlier. But no one had actually moved the body, and everyone seemed to be waiting for something.
After about ten more minutes, the sea of police parted for a woman in her late twenties. She was wearing baggy clothes, so it was impossible to get a good look at her body, but she appeared to be about five feet, seven inches tall and had a shock of unkempt red hair emanating from beneath a cap that had the letters "C.S.I." emblazoned on it. The detective in charge immediately started consulting with her on a number of issues. Then everyone backed out of her way and she dipped under the tape around the doorway and slowly made her way inside. The woman was walking more slowly than Sandra thought possible. She would move, slowly spin in a three-hundred-and-sixty degree arc, scanning from roof to floor, and then taken another step. She made especially sure not to disturb the pool of blood, much like the man from the coroner's office had done. She took pictures . . . she stared at apparently random objects . . . she retraced her steps.
"Good God!" Sandra muttered. "I'd like to be able to get into my house sometime this year." Just then, the red-haired woman stooped down and began looking at the security guard's shoes. "What is she . . ." Sandra started again.
Another officer wandered over. "We're sorry for the inconvenience, Ms. Lopez. Do you have a place to stay tonight?"
"Yeah, yeah. There's a company condo that no one's using right now. It's usually reserved for top-notch clientele, but I don't think anyone will argue with me if I borrow it for a while." She wondered if she might wind up borrowing if for longer than "a while." Someone had been murdered in her house, and she was still having problems wrapping her brain around that. "As soon as I can get in my house and grab some of my things," she continued impatiently.
"Again, we're sorry about the delay. Our person from the crime lab needs to collect evidence from both entrances to the domicile before you can go in. At that point, we'd like you to take a look around, supervised of course, to see if anything is missing. It could help us establish a motive."
"Yes, yes. Fine. How long is she going to take?" Sandra asked, glancing towards the house.
The officer's face became a little less friendly. "She'll take as long as she needs," he said shortly. Then his countenance and voice softened again. "Sorry ma'am. The more time she takes now, the better our chances of finding out what happened. Trust me, if this case CAN be solved, then she WILL solve it."
After what seemed like forever, the woman reappeared and started consulting with a couple of detectives. They were joined by another man whom Sandra recognized as the owner of the security company that patrolled her neighborhood. After that man had left, the woman and one of the detectives made their way over to Sandra. The distressed homeowner finally got a little bit better look at the redheaded police officer, finding her to actually be very pretty. Except for a few freckles, the woman's skin was as smooth and perfect as a porcelain doll's, and her eyes were wide, clear and deep green in color. Her full lips bore no taint of lipstick. Actually, she appeared to be wearing no makeup of any kind. And she seemed to have problems meeting Sandra's gaze.
It was the other officer who spoke first. "Ms. Lopez, my name is Detective Jones and this is Special Detective Reynolds. We just have a few questions for you before we escort you inside."
"It's about time," Sandra muttered, shooting withering glances at both of them. The detective paid no mind, while the redhead actually flinched.
"Sorry about the delay ma'am. Anyway, did you know the deceased?"
"No. I'd seen him driving around before, but I've never spoken to him."
"To the best of your knowledge, had he ever been on your property before?"
"No. As far as I know, I've never had anyone from the security company actually have to come on the property since I bought the place."
"Okay," the man said as he scribbled something down. Sandra looked at the woman again, noticing that she seemed to be listening very intently (almost disconcertingly so) to everything Sandra said. Then the male detective spoke again. "Okay, you've got grass in the backyard. Do you have an automatic sprinkler system?"
"What? Why the hell . . ."
"Please, just answer the question."
Sandra gave out an exasperated sigh. "Yes, I have an automatic sprinkler system."
"What time is it scheduled to go off at?"
Sandra rolled her eyes and shook her head. What kind of dumb-ass questions were these? "Seven o'clock. It's more efficient to water after the sun goes down. What does that have to do with anything?"
Finally, the redhead spoke. "It helps establish a tuh-... tuh-... timeline," the woman said with a definite stutter. "The guh-... guh-... guard had muh-... mud on his sh-... shoes th-... that we think cuh-... came from your guh-... garden out buh-... back."
'No wonder she let the other cop do almost all the talking,' Sandra thought. 'That's one hell of a stutter.'
Special Detective Reynolds spoke again. "The muh-... mud was fuh-... fuh-... fresh, so for some reason, he wuh-... was in yuh-... your buh-... backyard after suh-... seven."
Sandra turned to Detective Jones. "Listen, I'd like to know when I can go in my house, preferably before I die of old age," she added curtly with a sideways glance at the redhead. "I'm sure Detective Reynolds may be a fine investigator, but quick and concise she isn't." The man she was speaking to suddenly looked annoyed while his female counterpart visibly blanched.
"Shannon," said Jones, "you want to get back to the lab and start processing this stuff?" He glanced contemptuously at Sandra. "I think you've done all you can here."
The girl, whose name apparently was Shannon Reynolds, nodded and she hurried over to a waiting taxi. Sandra suddenly felt very much like an ass. The woman was probably very good at what she did, and there had been no reason to make light of the woman's speech impediment. While Sandra was normally cool, she usually tried not to be cruel. But she was tired, scared and shaken, and she was in no mood to apologize.
"Officer Tyler, could you escort Ms. Lopez here through the premises? Get an inventory of anything that's missing, then escort her wherever it is that she wants to go." Detective Jones looked right at Sandra. "Thank you for your time Ms. Lopez. I don't have any further use for you at this time."
'Ouch,' Sandra thought. 'Well, I took a swipe at the Law, so I shouldn't be surprised if the Law swipes back.' Under constant supervision of a police officer, she made her way through the house. She was missing quite a bit of stuff, but nothing that was going to break her heart. Some artwork, her silverware, some assorted jewelry that she hadn't put away, her electronics, etc.; these were the things that were missing. Most of her real valuables and jewelry were in a safe hidden behind a mirror in her bedroom. And since everything was insured, she wasn't really worried about replacing the stuff. Only one thing had been taken that wouldn't be easy to replace, and that was her sense of security.
When she was done, she was allowed to grab a briefcase with clothes and toiletries as well as any other necessary personal items. She grabbed her cell phone charger, her PDA, and her 'little black book.' When she headed back downstairs, the pool of blood emanating from the dead security guard almost eerily fascinated her. She crept around it, emerging with a bit of a chill into a otherwise balmy evening. She also noticed then that her hands were trembling. 'Get it together Sandra,' she thought. 'Get it together.' The officer who had been accompanying her noticed her shivering.
"Ms., would you like me to give you a ride? You could come back and get your car . . ."
"NO!" she started vehemently. "I'm . . . I mean, no thank you. I'm fine. I'm fine." She didn't even believe herself.
She managed to get to the company condo without crashing into anything, which was something of a blessing. The building that the condo was situated in had its own security, so she told the officer she would be fine from that point on. 'I'm spending a lot of time trying to convince people I'm fine,' she thought as she took the elevator up. As soon as she got into her apartment, she flipped open her black book and called the number from a well-worn page. It was the number for the escort service.
A soothing voice came on the other end. "Hello Ms. Lopez," the voice said. "This is Amanda."
"Hi Amanda," Sandra returned. She was familiar with most of the staff at the agency. "Listen, I know it's late and all . . ."
"It's never too late for our customers," Amanda said. "Though it IS later than your normal calls. Is there someone in particular that you wanted for 'company,' or . . ."
"Is . . . is Jasmine available?"
"Let's see. I believe she is. She had been taking some time off, but she left instructions to call her in case any of her preferred clients called. I could have her at your house by . . ."
"NO! I'm sorry. I'm not at the house. I'm at the company condo." Sandra gave the woman the address. "I'll let the doorman know that I'll be expecting a visitor. Thanks for accommodating me at this hour."
"Not a problem Ms. Lopez."
Sandra turned the phone off and went to sit on the bed. She put her face in her hands. It finally hit her just how scared she was. Someone had been murdered in her house. If she had gotten home earlier, it could have been her lying dead on the floor. She didn't like being scared like that. She didn't like it one bit. And she certainly didn't want to be alone.
A short while later . . .
Sandra had just downed her second rum and coke when Jasmine arrived. Jasmine was one of the most stunning creatures she had ever laid her eyes on. She was five feet, nine inches of pure oriental beauty. She had a slim body, smallish breasts and warm, light-brown skin. Her face was exquisite, with high cheekbones and big beautiful eyes. Sandra liked her women a bit on the exotic side, and Jasmine fit that definition to a T. She was wearing a form fitting green-silk dress, emerald earrings, and her long, silky black hair was done up in a fashionable bun.
"Hello Sandra," Jasmine said warmly. "It's been too long."
"Yes," returned Sandra, who hugged the escort with hands that were trembling again. "Too long."
Jasmine looked concerned. She had spent many a night in this woman's arms and she was quite fond of her. Sandra was a woman who could easily find companionship that wasn't paid for, but the beautiful Latin woman seemed to only have time for her family and for her job, and it was the latter that dominated most of her time. If Jasmine had been looking for a longtime companion, she might have chosen Sandra once upon a time. She was a woman of remarkable beauty with soft, generous curves and an iron will. But that will had apparently been shaken.
"I've just had a long night," Sandra said. It was obvious that Jasmine didn't believe her.
"You know perfectly well that the night won't be nearly as pleasant if you take emotional baggage to bed. All my services are available to you, even just listening." Jasmine put her belongings on the table. "You could start by telling me why we're meeting here rather than at your home."
Some people would call what Jasmine did plain old prostitution with a high-class packaging, but Sandra felt that didn't do the woman justice. Not only were the women at that service clean and classy, they also acted as friends and therapists as was needed. Sandra got around her trepidation of paying for sex by convincing herself that she was really paying for the company, and that the sex was just a bonus. And more often than not, that was the God's honest truth. This was one of those times.
"Why don't you get undressed and lie down on the bed? Then you can tell me everything." Jasmine suggested. Sandra knew that this wasn't an immediate precursor to sex. Jasmine often gave her a wonderful massage ahead of time. It actually sounded like a great idea.
But before they even got to that part, Sandra just sat on the bed. She had unzipped her dress and had let it hang off of one shoulder, exposing a bra strap. She found herself without the strength to continue. Then she looked up at Jasmine.
"Jasmine . . . Someone was murdered in my house tonight," she said, her voice barely audible. "And I'm really scared."
Jasmine was more than a bit taken aback. This was certainly more serious than the types of problems that she was used to dealing with, such as a hard day at work or the like. But this woman was a both a client and, to some degree, a friend.
"My God," Jasmine said. "What happened?"
Sandra broke down and told her everything. Jasmine cradled the woman's head against her chest as a woman used to being in control lost that control. Sandra had been the queen of her world, cast from her throne and sent into exile in the middle of the night by an enemy she couldn't see or name or even understand. The escort kept running her fingers through the thick black curls of Sandra's hair, following them down past the woman's shoulders to the middle of her back. She traced her fingernails over the woman's brown skin, a shade or two darker than Jasmine's.
"Look at me," Sandra sniffled at last, wiping the moisture from her eyes. "You'd think I never saw a dead person before," she finished with a slight chuckle.
"Have you?" Sandra shook her head. Jasmine sighed. "I know what you're thinking, you know. And no, it doesn't make you weak to be frightened. In all my years in this profession, I've never seen someone who had been killed before, much less to know that it happened in my home . . . my sanctuary."
"And then I was really rude to this one cop because of this stutter she had. She was just trying to do her job . . ."
"We've already established that you weren't in your best frame of mind, love. If it bothers you that much, you can go apologize to the nice detective in a couple of days."
"I guess that would be the best thing . . ." Then something hit Sandra. It was something Jasmine had said. "I never said she was a detective. How did you know that?"
Jasmine's eyes widened a bit. She was normally so composed, but Sandra's story had unsettled her a bit. And Sandra was no fool. Jasmine wouldn't be able to pull the wool over this woman's eyes.
"All I said was that she was a cop with a stutter." Sandra narrowed her eyes. "You know who I'm talking about, don't you? But you're not going to tell me anything, are you? Because . . . she's a client, isn't she?"
"I'm not at liberty to discuss who might be or might have been a client. You know that," Jasmine said a bit unsteadily. Sandra was back in a position of power, and Jasmine hoped that the woman respected the position that Jasmine was in. "Please," she said. "If you were to say anything, even if it were speculative in nature, it might cost me my position at the service."
Sandra fell back onto the bed. "No, I won't say anything. I just . . . I mean, she's a cop . . ."
"Not that I'm confirming or denying anything, but did you think that music company executives are the only ones with problems?" Jasmine rolled her client over and, with a bit of assistance, started peeling Sandra's clothes off. Soon, the mocha-skinned beauty was lying naked on the bed before her. Jasmine was amazed that this woman would ever want to pay for company. Her full, well-proportioned butt was rising from the white bedspread while her generous breasts bulged out slightly from beneath her as her upper body lay against the mattress. Jasmine let her own clothes fall to the ground before straddling the woman's back and massaging her shoulders.