Southern Suspects – Chapter Eight
I left Benson’s room hesitantly, feeling wrong that I was leaving without an answer. I knew he did it- he must have- just I had nothing to work with here. I darted off for the bathroom across the hall, figuring I’d stop in before leaving back to the office. I turned to look back at his classroom one more time, and boy am I glad I did.
Ally had him pulled to the side, and they were talking. I couldn’t hear what was said since the hall was loud, but she was crying to him. Then he just sent her away.
They must have been closer than Ally let on- why else would she be crying to him? It also pained me that he seemed so dismissive. I don’t get how any sane person could just tell a crying teenager to leave. Maybe the answer was that he wasn’t sane.
Back at the station, I locked myself up in my office. I knew Blake and Bradley would be interviewing the other sailing club advisors, and until then, I couldn’t do anything. According to Chief Barnstable, they were the leads on this case- not me. While normally I would stand back and let it happen, I knew Blake’s opinions were highly different from mine this time. And this time, that would be damaging.
I decided I needed a break, so I went out my window to the shore behind the station. I walked all the way down to the water, not caring how sandy my shoes got, or how the wind messed with my hair. I was just lost, and I didn’t know where to go from here.
“You alright, Sam?” A voice called after me- Stevens.
“I’ve been worried about you, you know. Are you sure everything’s okay?”
“I’m fine, it’s just all this.”
“Have you been sleeping?”
“Yes, I have…”
It wasn’t a lie to say I had been sleeping- I had been. But not all that much.
“Why do you care?”
“You look exhausted.”
“Nothing coffee can’t fix.”
“Really, how much have you been sleeping?”
“…At most, three hours.”
“Samantha Kate Davies-”
“Hey, stop acting like my dad. I know what I can handle. Sleep isn’t a priority right now- getting Daniel and his poor parents justice is.”
“How are you going to get them justice when you aren’t even taking care of yourself? You’re probably so tired you can’t see who it is.”
“How am I supposed to sleep when someone could be out there trying to kill me?”
“Who says they’re trying to kill you? The guy could be after any of us!”
“You’re right, I’m sorry.”
“That’s not something that needs an apology. But really, think about it. Would a murderer that clearly cares a lot about being careful really risk blowing his cover by trying to kill a detective?”
“I know, it’s stupid.”
“It isn’t stupid. Just you need to rest- you can’t let that keep you up.”
“I just hate being alone in my apartment. Isn’t exactly safe when you have my kinda job.”
“Would it help to stay over at my house? Sarah would love to have a guest- you know, she keeps our guest room so nice and we never even use it…”
He kept going on, talking about how it wouldn’t be a problem for him and his wife. I knew no matter what it would still feel like an intrusion on their privacy, but it was good to know I had an option.
He finished his ramblings. “And y’know, I got my gun. No one’s gettin’ in my house.”
“I… I appreciate your offer, Stevens, just-”
“Sam, it’s fine- I mean it.”
“I’m leaving in ten- I’ll take you to get your stuff, then I’ll take you to my place.”
It was nice to have a night away from work. We made dinner and watched a show they were into. I just went on my laptop, hesitating to look at things from work.
One of the school cops had sent me an email of footage from the nights of the games, but I hadn’t looked at it yet. I decided to sit down and watch it, though it wasn’t from the best angle. I had it sped up to get through it quickly, but it was easy to spot Benson and his cronies going in and out. After getting through three nights of footage, I still felt everything was normal. They didn’t look suspicious.
I watched the homecoming night, however, and that’s when things changed. I could see his buddies exit before him like they were trying to cover something. When Benson came out, he was adjusting something in his pocket. It wasn’t subtle, and it wasn’t just once. As he walked out of frame, you could see something large was where he had been fiddling before… big enough to be 900 dollars in cash.
“Sam, what is it?” Stevens asked, moving over to look over my shoulder.
“I got him.”
“Embezzlement. Look at this.”
He watched as I rewound the footage, pausing right where you can see the bulge in his back pocket.
“What, is it not obvious?”
“It is… what do you think Blake and Sanderson will think of it?”
“They won’t buy it one bit, but Bradley will. It’s my call- it was already obvious, now I have proof.”
“Are you going to make the call right now?”
“Yes. He could be on the run by now- need to start the process as soon as possible.”
“He’s maintaining he’s innocent- would he really run?”
“I guess not…” I yawned. “We can wait ‘til tomorrow then.”
“I’ll be there.”