Southern Suspects – Chapter Six
Monday morning brought a cold front to Jezebel Island, yet I could feel everything start to heat up in me. I was determined to figure all of this out, but I sat alone in my office- no idea as to where a lead could come from. Our tip line was of no use, and it seemed nothing was proving to be a valuable lead.
I had gone to get a coffee in the break room when I first came in but was met with icy looks and quiet, secretive conversation. I knew they were talking about me behind my back, but I didn’t get what I did. It wasn’t even my fellow detectives, mainly the cops.
Officer Stevens knocked on the doorframe of my office, holding out a mug of coffee to me.
“Didn’t see you in the break room… figured you were too busy to bother with socializing today.”
I got up, walking to take the mug. “You’re right. People were talking about me.”
“They don’t matter. What matters is that you prove them wrong.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I’m sure. You give people like that the time of day, they thrive off of it- you prove them wrong, they go back on everything they said. When I came here, the guys didn’t believe I could do anything- they usually believe that of the rookie, but for me, it was extra bad. After a lot of slime on my windshield and whoopie cushions and “accidental” spilling of coffee, they only took me seriously when I stood up and worked for it.”
“Did you ever wonder if they were right about you? That they were right in saying you could never finish what you started, or accomplish what you set out to do?”
“Yes, but I didn’t let them win. Sam, sometimes cases take time. You have to be patient, sit down, and focus. Then it’ll all just start coming out of the woodwork.”
“I’m supposed to have this done already.”
“No one put that deadline on you but yourself.”
He started to leave back down the hall. “Thanks for the coffee, Stevens.”
“No problem- gotta suck up to the head detective a little, don’t I?”
I turned around and went back toward my desk, but soon after I could hear him call for me.
“Davies, kids are here to see ‘ya.”
Kids? I hadn’t asked to see any more of his friends yet. I left my office and started down the hall to the lobby. Stevens was checking out a group of three teenage boys- all in matching Jezebel Island football sweatshirts. Two were definitely twins, and the other was bigger, probably a linebacker. They looked too nervous to speak.
“Boys, Detective Davies is very busy with a big case-”
“We want to talk about Daniel.”
Of course… no wonder why a group of kids would come to the police station on their own will. But why now? I guess I’d have to find that out myself.
I rushed them all to my office, including Stevens because I wanted someone else to be there. He was more confused than the kids- he never accompanied detectives for this sort of activity. I held him back in the doorway while I let the kids enter the room.
“Why am I here?”
“Because I need another adult in the room.”
“I think I’m freaking them out.”
“I’ll explain everything to them- I don’t think this is gonna be a formal interview.”
I motioned for the kids- I couldn’t help but call them kids- to sit across from me at the desk. Stevens sat in the corner behind me.
“Alright boys, tell me who you are, then we can get into what’s up.”
The bigger one started. “I’m Chris.”
“I’m Nick, and this is my brother Thomas.”
“Hey, you don’t have to speak for me!”
I knew Nick and Thomas must have been Daniel’s best friends, at least according to his parents. Chris was the guy his parents didn’t approve of, and I could kind of see why. Most kids on Jezebel look the same, dress the same, act the same. Everything down to the way he carried himself contrasted with everyone he walked by. But he didn’t seem like a mean guy.
“And why are you here?” I continued.
“We knew you were talking to people. Well, Ally posted about interviewing with you. And when we found out, we knew you probably didn’t get the right stuff.” Nick said.
“What do you mean?”
“Ally isn’t exactly the most reliable person to talk to.”
“How so?” That was news to me- she seemed like she knew what she was talking about, at least somewhat.
“To start, she’s kind of crazy.” Chris was almost a little too blunt.
“She isn’t crazy!” Thomas interjected. “She just lies… all the time.”
“And there’s no way she’d know about what happened that night…” Nick added.
“But she was there, right?”
“She was… but she was wasted.” Chris explained.
“I talked to her, and she seemed like she knew what was going on.”
“She must have made it up… I know we have no proof, but really, there’s no way she knew anything.” Thomas seemed pretty serious about that.
“When she came in, she had two beers for Danny, and one for herself. She was trying to convince me to smuggle more from in the house!” Chris looked like he was going to bust out of his seat.
Well, that was an interesting development. Was everything Ally said a lie?
“Did Daniel usually drink?”
“Never, but she was always tryna’ get him to. She was just a pushy little-”
“Hey, civilized language please.” Stevens stood, and they froze. I didn’t need him to defend me, but I was glad there was someone else to keep them in line. They all seemed mad at each other, mainly a Nick and Thomas vs Chris dynamic. To me, it seemed everyone was against Chris.
“S-sorry…” Chris just seemed angry today. I’d be angry if my friend was dead too.
“So she was pushy?”
“Yes. What did she say about that night?” Nick looked determined to prove me wrong.
“She said you all knew he went home, but he didn’t drive. When she showed up, he tried to keep her away, but she wasn’t having it. She said she wasn’t popular among his friends.”
My phone rang, but I picked up the receiver and hung up. Whatever that was, it wasn’t important now.
“…She didn’t lie,” Nick responded.
“But she didn’t tell the truth either.” Thomas added.
“She told us he left.” Chris seemed to know what he was talking about the most.
“Well that’s funny, she told me you guys told her when he left.”
That was the catch in her story. That’s it. When I questioned her, I knew something was off… she was lying about that piece for a reason.
I got another call, and I hung up again. Whoever was calling must have an important reason, but this was getting serious. I didn’t even know where to take this conversation. Oh, I wished Bradley was here- he’d know what to do. Too bad he was out today.
Stevens got a call on his radio as the room was still silent. I looked at him as it went off.
“Stevens, get Davies out to your car right now.”
“She’s in a meeting.”
“Send the kids off to Josie, and get Davies out right now.”
“What’s going on?”
“We got another case down at the high school.”