He sat in the room looking calm and composed. His hands were handcuffed to the table, but he leaned back in his chair as far as possible. James, Corbin and Alex watched him from the observation window. James noticed his hair was a little rough, but his face was shaved. There was a tiny scar above his right eye that looked no more than three weeks old.
“So what do we have on him?” Corbin asked.
“Almost next to nothing.” Alex said. “We have his name on an account that has been moving money around, The testimony of two drug addicts, that identify him as a drug dealer and body thief but their testimony is unreliable. At best we have him at conspiracy to commit fraud.”
“That’s not nothing, that is something.” James said. “How are we going to do this?”
“Well getting the whole story is important.” Alex said. “O’Brian and I should go in. Stay and watch. When we need you come in”
“Sure.” James said.
Alex and Corbin went in. Jeremiah perked up when he saw them. He sat up straight and pushed his chair back.
“Finally.” Jeremiah said. “I have been bored out of my mind sitting here.”
“Keep talking smart ass.” Corbin said.
“I want my lawyer.” Jeremiah said.
“A lawyer isn’t going to help you fool.” Alex said. “You are better off just talking to us.”
“What did I do wrong?” Jeremiah said with a hint of a smile. “I swear I had no idea that girl was a hooker until she demanded I pay her.”
“Nice try.” Corbin said. “Tell us why you killed Carla Heathway.”
“I am not saying anything else without a lawyer.” Jeremiah said crossing his arms.
“We have two witnesses saying they saw you stealing Carla Heathway’s body.” Alex said. “We also have evidence of you dealing drugs. We have your fingerprints on the van, we have your name on accounts involved in fraudulent activities, there is no way you are walking out of this one. So we are giving you a chance to tell us your side of the story.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about.” Jeremiah said. “So please get me my lawyer or leave me alone.”
After a few more minutes Alex and Corbin left the room. “He is not going to say anything.” Corbin said. “And if a lawyer comes in it will be all over.”
“So what is our game plan.” James asked.
“It is your turn.” Alex said.
* * *
Moraine Heathway was packing up her office when there was a knock on her door. She looked up to see Richard Prescott Standing in the doorway.
“I see my name is still on the wall.” Richard said.
“When I name a new partner it will come off.” Moraine Heathway said. “Can you please move?”
Richard still stood in her way. “Why did you do it?” He asked.
“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Moraine said.
“You know damn well what I am talking about.” Richard said. “Did you really think you’d get away with it?”
“Look I don’t have time for this.” Moraine said.
“Fine.” Richard said. “Maybe I’ll just go to the police and explain everything.”
“You?” Moraine exclaimed. “Explain? Well I hope you try harder than you did last time.”
“I helped you build this company. I took out the other partners and put your name-our name on that wall. And this is how you repay me?”
“You helped me build this company?” Moraine laughed. “You mean your daddy and his checkbook.”
“It was a man trying to get my family back.” Richard said. “Which you never cared about doing for your own family. Your daughter dies and what? It is business as usual?”
“That is not your business.” Moraine snapped.
“Isn’t it?” Richard asked. “My son was killed too. Are you sure Carla was even your daughter? Because I met her. She was everything you weren’t. Kind, warmhearted, and not a pathetic weasel.”
“Just move out of my way.” Moraine said trying to get past.
Richard stood still for a moment. Then he stood aside. “Just remember. Karma is a bitch.”
* * *
James walked inside the room holding a cup of coffee. He sat down opposite Jeremiah, Took a long sip from his cup, and set it down. Then he turned his eyes on Jeremiah.
“So, who is she?” James asked.
Jeremiah looked amused. “What are you talking about.”
“The girl you were meeting in that motel room.” James said . “That’s why you were there, right? Meeting a girl, not running from the law.”
Jeremiah laughed. “Okay let’s go with that. Yes I was meeting a girl.”
“So what is her name?” Jeremiah asked.
“I don’t remember.” Jeremiah said with a chuckle. “I mean who needs names this days right?”
James pulled his chair forward. “I don’t believe you are a bad kid. You just made bad decisions. We are here to help you fix them. Just give us the names of the people you are working with, and we’ll see what we can do to help you.”
Jeremiah threw his head back laughing. “You people must think I am an idiot. There is no way I am saying anything.”
“So you don’t even care a girl died? You don’t care you killed someone. No, three people actually, Carla, Thomas Bridges and Gary Stevens. What kind of monster are you?”
“The kind that wants a lawyer. So please get me my phone call so I get my basic rights.”
“What was the problem huh?” James continued. “She said no, so you kill her? She found out your secret? Or what You Moraine Heathway were up to?”
“Whoa, whoa.” Jeremiah said sitting up. “What does Moraine Heathway have to do with this?”
“She was helping you right?” James said. “Helping you move your money around using clients trust accounts?”
“So that’s how he did it.” Jeremiah murmured.
“That is how who did it?” James asked
“Nothing.” Jeremiah said quickly.
James stood up. “Who is your partner Gates?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Jeremiah said raising his voice. “And if you could prove Moraine Heathway was helping me, she would be here in handcuffs already.”
“Who says she isn’t?” James said. “We are holding her in the other room waiting for her to dime on you.”
Jeremiah laughed uncontrollably for a while. Then he finally stopped to start his sentence. “Good luck with that. And by the way please let me know what she tells you. I am very curious myself.” He continued chuckling.
James nodded his head. “You have been most helpful. Thank you.” He turned and walked out of the room. He met Alex and Corbin outside.
“What did you get?” Corbin asked anxiously.
“He isn’t working with Moraine Heathway. But she does know something. Something he wants to know badly. We need to talk to her.”
“I can get an arrest warrant for her based on what I have.” Alex said. “It’ll only hold her for forty-eight hours until we have enough proof to charge her, but it should do.”
“Great.” Corbin said. “Let’s go catch a lawyer.”
* * *
“Toni you have to go home.” Hazel said shutting her blinds. “Your parents have been calling your phone non-stop.”
“That’s because he’s there waiting for me.” Toni groaned. “Alice texted me and told me some guy came by today. Said his name was Richard. Sound Familiar?”
“You cant hide in my house forever.” Hazel said.
“But your bed is so comfy.” Toni said. “Where did Jasmine go by the way?”
“She went home to study. Said she has that exam tomorrow.” Hazel said.
“Now there is a girl who let’s nothing get in her way.” Toni said. “Not even hearing her best friend’s boyfriend is a murderer.”
Hazel threw a pillow at Jasmine. “He is not a murderer, or my boyfriend.” Hazel said. “He is being framed or something.”
“Sure.” Toni said. “If I agree, can I stay here?”
Hazel threw her a murderous look. “Fine.” She relented. “But if your parents come here looking for you I will deny you.”
“Nice to see you have my back.” Toni said.
“You are welcome.” Hazel said. She frowned at something from the floor and picked it up. It was a card. “What exactly does your father do again?”
“He is an investment banker.” Toni said.
“No I mean your birth father..” Hazel said. “What does he do?”
“Oh he is a lawyer I think. He is in litigation or something.” Toni said. “Why do you ask?”
“His last name is Prescott. As in Heathway and Prescott.” Hazel said.
“So?” Toni shrugged. “A lot of people have the same last name. I’m sure Prescott is common.”
“That is what I thought to, but I found this.” Hazel showed it to Toni. Toni read it. It said. Richard Prescott. Senior Partner. On the top left hand corner was the name and logo of Heathway and Prescott firm.
“Your father owns Moraine Heathway’s company?”
* * *
Moraine Heathway’s body was dragged across the ground. Zas took a shovel and started to dig. Everything thing Had gone to hell. First Carla, then everything had just fallen down like a pack of dominoes. There was no one to pin this on. After digging exhaustively, Zas climed out of the hole. Taking a longing look at Moraine Heathway, Zas shoved her body into the hole and started covering her with dirt. No one would find her here.
* * *
“Okay got it.” James got off the phone.
“What is it?” Corbin asked, his mouth full of Mexican takeout
“We went to pick up Moraine Heathway from her house. She wasn’t there.”
“Maybe she is at work.” Corbin said.
“Her assistant confirmed she left there two hours ago. Said she was heading straight home. Her car was parked at her house, but she wasn’t there.” James said.
“You think she ran?” Corbin asked.
“I doubt it.” James said. “That kind of woman doesn’t run.”
“So where is she then?” Corbin asked.
“I don’t want to think of where she might be.” James said.
“What about her son. John. What are we going to do about him?” Corbin asked.
“We’ll bring him in again.” James said.
“On what?” Corbin asked. “There is no substantial evidence against him. And he would never agree to come down for another round of questioning.”
“If we can just get Jeremiah to talk-”
“But he isn’t.” Corbin said. “Time is running out. We have thirty six more hours to charge him or release him.”
“So what are we going to do?” James asked.
“We can start by finding out who the hell has been tipping people off.” Alex said appearing out of nowhere. “First we issue a warrant for Jeremiah, and he runs. Then we decide to pick up Heathway, and then she runs too. Is that a coincidence?”
“Let’s not get crazy.” James said. “Who would be tipping them off?”
“Someone in your department.” Alex said.
“Someone in my department?” James roared. “If there is one wild card here it is you. We don’t know you? Are you even really FBI? Since when is the FBI interested in small town cases?”
“Okay gentlemen let’s calm down.” Corbin said. “If we have a breach we would address it later. Right now we need to figure out a way to find Moraine Heathway.”
“If she is alive.” James said grimly. “Gates could have had one of his partners kill Moraine,”
“His partner is John Heathway.” Alex said. “You think he’d kill his own mother?”
“He killed his sister didn’t he?” James asked.
“Allegedly.” Corbin interjected. “We don’t know the full story.”
“Yes.” James said turning to Alex. “Like how Jeremiah knew Thomas Bridges knew his identity. You were the only one who knew right?”
Alex stopped in his tracks. “That is brilliant.”
“What?” James asked.
“Thomas never explicitly said Jeremiah is the killer He only said he was the owner of the account.” Alex said.
“So?” James said. “We know whoever Carla was investigating killed her.”
“But that is just it.” Alex said. “Jeremiah had a boss. He was just a dealer right? Where was he getting his supplies from?”
“Someone was giving it to him.” James said it dawning on him. “But why would he try to tell me who killed Carla and not you?”
“The software.” Alex said. “When I pulled him out of that shop and told me to go home, he told me he was still downloading the rest of the file. When he got home it must have completed.”
“And he found out the killer’s identity.” Corbin finished. “We have to get that computer.”
“What computer?” James asked. “We tore that place up, we didn’t find any computer.”
“Because the killer took it.” Corbin said.
“So are you saying Jeremiah isn’t the killer?” James asked. “Because he stole Carla’s body. He looks guilty as sin.”
They were all silent for a moment. “We need him to talk.” James finally said. “He is central to this.”
“He has already said he isn’t going to talk.” Corbin said. “I don’t think we can make him do that.”
“Yes we can.” James said. “I’ve got an idea.”
* * *
Toni walked over to the front porch. She raised her hand to knock, but the door swung open. Michael Peters was standing in the doorway, holding the door.
“Where have you been?” Michael asked. “We have been calling.”
“I didn’t want to see him.” Toni said pushing past Michael. “So where is he?”
“Richard? He isn’t here. W sent him away.” Michael said closing the door.
“You sen’t him away?” Toni exclaimed turning around.
“Yes we did.” Michael said. “Isn’t that what you wanted?”
“Yes, but now I want to see him.” Toni said. “Where is he?”
“I don’t know.” Michael said. “Look honey can we talk about this for a moment?”
“There is nothing to talk about.” Toni said. “You lied to me. Simple.”
“Look dad.” Toni said turning around. “I get it okay. I forgive you. But right now I need to find Richard. So where is he?”
Michael sighed. He pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket. “He said to give this to you if you want to see him.”
“Great.” Toni went up to her father and collected the card. “Thanks.” She mumbled. There was an address on the card. She made for the door.
“You shouldn’t go alone.” Michael called out.
“I am good.” Toni said. “Hazel is waiting outside.”
* * *
James entered the room again. Jeremiah looked up when he saw him and groaned. “You have got to be kidding me. I asked for a lawyer over three hours ago. Why haven’t you given me my phone call?”
“We are here to give it to you.” James said. He took out his cell phone and dropped it on the table. “There you go make your call.”
Jeremiah picked it up and stared at them. “Can I at least get some privacy?”
“Oh yes you can.” James said. “But are you sure you want to make that call?”
“What do you mean?” Jeremiah asked.
“Moraine Heathway is gone.” James said.
“So? She isn’t my lawyer” Jeremiah said.
“Oh no, I didn’t say she was. It’s just that it is strange. She just disappeared. She didn’t pack her clothes, her car was still in the driveway, There was no evidence that she had fled other than the fact she was gone.”
Jeremiah’s hand was visibly shaking. “So what?” he said defiantly. “I still want to make this call.”
“You see it seems the person you got in bed with is crossing people off. Now you can call your lawyer, they can get you out on bail, and when you get home this person can cross you name off his list. Or you can tell us who it is and we will protect you.” James said
“You are kidding me right?” Jeremiah said. “You are trying to get me to confess to a murder I didn’t commit?”
“If you didn’t do it, then you know who did.” James said.
“If I knew would I be sitting here?” Jeremiah said.
“But you do know something.” James said. “And the sooner you start talking, the sooner we can help you.”
Jeremiah sighed. He was silent for a moment. Then h spoke. “No deal. I am making that call. Sorry.”
“Sure. No problem.” James said standing up . “Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.”
* * *
“Yes It’s just for tonight.” Richard said on the phone. “She doesn’t want to see me anyway. I’ll be back tomorrow Okay. Love you too.” He hung up the phone. He turned the television on and flipped through channels. He needed something to help him sleep. Soap operas seemed to do the trick. He found one he liked and settled down. He was about thinking of going to get some food, when he heard a knock on the door. Who is it now? He thought as he made his way to the door. Probably the cleaning lady. He opened the door and saw Toni standing outside the doorway. Well isn’t this familiar? He thought grimly.
“You came.” He said. “I didn’t think you would.”
Toni held up his card. “I found your old business card. Have you been in Harbor this whole time?” She asked.
“What are you talking about.” Richard asked.
“Heathway and Prescott. That is your company isn’t it? Has been around since Tom moved here? Have you been here this whole time?”
Richard sighed. “You better come inside.”
Toni hesitated for a moment, and then walked in. Richard closed the door.
* * *
“So how did it go with Gates.” Corbin asked James.
“Give it a couple hours.” James said.
It didn’t take an hour. A few minutes later Jakes came running.
“Jeremiah Gates is requesting for you.” He said.
“Alright.” Corbin said standing up. “Let’s go.”
Jakes held his hand. “He said he would only talk to Detective Ashwood.”
“No way.” Corbin said. “Tell him it’s both of us or no deal.”
“It’s alright.” James said. “You can listen at the window right?”
“Fine. Let’s get this show on the road.”