Tuesday, 1 December 2015
Leo arrived with coffee and a big smile in the morning. I had never seen him so happy. Something was up as he could hardly contain his fidgeting, which was unusual for him. Lawrence had approached one of Leo's associates asking for information on me, what relationship I had with Leo. If I was working for him professionally or was it personal.
"So Lawrence is not going to let me get on with my life." I laughed.
"I find this hilarious that he would be interested in what you were up to after this long away from the force." Leo replied.
"Would it have anything to do with Brazil?" I asked.
"How could it? The names for your alibi were given to the FBI months ago."
"Had they checked those names for verification?" I asked.
"They went down the list, every one confirmed you were on the boat."
Frowning, "Then he is just trying to stir something up on his own."
"I am amused that he thought we had something going on personally, I wonder if he is having us watched?" he chuckled.
After Leo left I phoned Tom asking to meet for a drink tonight around seven. He said five would be better if it was okay with me. My thoughts went to him leaving work earlier lately.
Tom was waiting and got up to give me a hug, ordering me a drink from the bartender. We chatted and got up to date on what was going on at both our jobs. I told him about Lawrence's inquiring about me and Leo. Tom then told me that the detectives had filed a complaint against him, apparently he was getting them to do work outside office hours that had nothing to do with what was going on with the crimes that they were supposed to be working on. When Lawrence was brought to task from his immediate boss, his reason was too many drug lords were getting away with whatever they wanted .And he wanted a special task force to get evidence on them and put them all away.
"Maybe he is looking into who Leo has working for him to try and get something to turn on him," Tom said.
"Meg, let him make the first move, you know he cannot be trusted not to throw you under the bus. He still has not let it go that you left the force not saying he was not the problem."
We sat finishing our beers and Tom walked me to my car, we both noticed at the same time an unmarked police car sitting under a tree in the darkness. "Don't let on we see them as the back-light lit up two figures." I nudged Tom. He grabbed me pulling me towards him and planted a kiss on my cheek. "Be careful Meg." Tom was a good friend he always looked out for me and kept me informed on what was going on at the station.
I waited until I went into the office the next morning to tell Leo what had happened the night before. Was I starting to be an informer for Leo? I asked myself.
"Could our phones be tapped?" was the first thing out of my mouth.
Leo left and was back within minutes, handing me a throw away phone to use when contacting him.
The phone rang, Susan picking up, looking at me to see if I was in, writing down it was a Lawrence calling.
"Yes, Lawrence what can I do for you?" I said pleasantly.
He wanted to meet for lunch, was I available today. Let the bastard wait, telling him my schedule was full for the next two days but Thursday would work. A pause at the other end then an abrupt okay.
Clearing up a few cases I had Susan finish with the billing, I headed out to meet Lawrence at a local restaurant. He was waiting at the table with a drink already half finished, getting up he waited till I sat across from him. He asked what I was drinking calling over the waitress ordering another for himself.
"Just lemon water for me thanks."
"Not drinking Meg?" he asked.
"It is a little early for me, Lawrence." Smiling.
Lawrence ordered a steak sandwich, I a salad. Then he got right down to business as we waited for our order.
I asked you to meet as I have a few questions, I would like to ask you, and thought it would be better done over lunch. How is your detective business going. Meg?"
"Lets get to the real point of what you want to know, Lawrence, and not waste our time. My business is great and I am building clients daily."
"What has Leo got to do with your business, Meg?"
"Why, Lawrence, would you have this interest with my business?"
"He is not the most reputable person to associate with."
"I have not found that a problem, Lawrence and it is really none of your business who I have as friends."
"Oh, so you are friends with drug dealers now."
"You don't seem to be well informed about Leo, he got out of the drug business after his girlfriend Kitty was killed, he is in imports and exports of antiques to my knowledge."
A look on his face showed displeasure, our lunch arrived and we ate without commenting further on the subject. Until he finished his sandwich then he got to why he asked me to lunch.
"I want you to inform on Leo and his business Meg, as I am going after all the drug dealers in my area, even if you think Leo is not still dealing. Unless you are personally involved with him." A smile covered his face.
I wondered what planet he was living on, as if I would betray my now trusted friend.
"No thanks, I have no interest in helping you, I have never liked you, which I am sure you are aware of Lawrence."
Getting up I put money on the table to cover my lunch and left him sitting there.
As I was leaving I noticed the fellow behind the bar, he looked familiar but I could not place him. Reaching my car my phone from Leo rang, he told me he was on his way to Brazil his Mother was gravely ill, he would be away for a few weeks, he told me to be careful and to ditch this phone. He hung up before I had a chance to ask why. I phoned Susan to check if anything was going on. I had a new client, an appointment for tomorrow. I told her I had some personal stuff to do and when she left to transfer any calls to my home phone.
Stopping to buy some groceries and a few bottles of wine, I pulled out Leo's phone from my bag, taking the battery and SIM card out I dropped it into the dumpster beside the store after stepping on it with my heel. When I drove into my driveway it was turning dusk, but I had done everything on my list. My answering machine showed four calls.
I heated up some pasta pouring a glass of wine before listening to my calls. Tom laughing telling me karma was working, Lawrence had been in an accident and was in the hospital with a broken arm and stitches to his head. His alcohol level was above the limit for driving. He had been suspended from the force pending an investigation. Apparently no one is talking about the cocaine in his glove compartment.
The next call was from one of the union reps following up on Lawrence's suspension. Would I call as Lawrence said I could confirm he only had two drinks at lunch, apparently the waitress said he had four. The other two were new clients wanting me to get back to them
Pouring another glass of wine I headed to take a long hot bath all the calls could wait. Soaking my thoughts went to Joe and the tears started to flow, I still missed him and our talks, would I ever feel whole again. My phone brought me out of my melancholy mood as I put on my robe and answered.
John Malec, the union rep was not going to give up, could I answer a few question for him. "Ask away John." I answered. He wanted to know how long I had been with Laurence at lunch and how many drinks he had consumed. Never mentioning the cocaine. "I was at the restaurant for about an hour, he had two drinks while I was with him, I do not know how many he consumed before or after I left." He wanted to know why we were having lunch, I told him to ask Lawrence, and hung up.
I was in the office before Susan, a knock and Ken Block stood in the doorway. Ken was Lawrence's boss. He was one of the nicest men that I had known on the force, fair and always ready to listen if any problems arose. I asked if he wanted coffee, then we sat sipping, talking about old times. Then he asked if I would mind setting a few things about yesterday straight. "Well Ken, as I told John on the phone I saw two drinks being consumed at lunch within an hour."
"Meg, the waitress said she served him four drinks could she have been mistaken?"
"Ken would not the blood alcohol level show how many he had, I only saw two while I was with him, he could have had more before or after I was there."
"You were always a smart detective Meg, we were very sorry to lose you. The bartender confirmed the waitress's statement, Lawrence also had cocaine in his car."
Playing dumb I let on this was news to me. Then a light went on I knew where I had seen the bartender before. He worked for Leo.
"Thanks for your help Meg, can I ask why you were having lunch with Lawrence yesterday, knowing you two were not the friendliest at the station."
"Lawrence called me a few days ago and ask me to meet him he had some question to ask me about a tenant in this building, you remember Leo, he was on a rant that he was going to set up a task force to clear all the drug lords out of his district and wanted my help, I told him I thought Leo had given up the drug trade after his girlfriend Kitty was killed and he was into importing and exporting antiques and I had no interest in helping him, that is when I left."
"Thanks again, Meg, I won't take up anymore of your time, but it was great to see you."
I had four cases to deal with so did not have time to dwell on Lawrence or Leo. Susan informed me Leo had sent a text saying his Mother had passed away two days after his arrival, so had time to see and talk before she passed. The funeral was tomorrow and he would be back next week. I told Susan to wire flowers from both of us.
I had a few questions to ask Leo when he came back, but it was really nothing to do with me. Was I getting soft towards this man that had done so much to help me out.
Susan announced a client. I was taken back by this tall dark handsome man standing at my door His suit, dark grey, shirt a shade darker with a black tie. His black hair had a wave that looked like he had a natural curl. His piercing eyes a mysterious brown. He hovered over me shaking my hand.
"What can I do for you, Mr .Andrew?" I asked with a small swallow.
"Please call me Brad," as he sat. His eyes sparkled moving around my office taking in every inch, then settling down looking straight into my eyes.
He had gotten my name from a friend who I had help a few months back and wondered if I could do the same for him. He had two children under five and was trying to get custody from his wife who he thought was abusing them. They both had several trips to the hospital with broken bones and bruised bodies when checked out by a doctor. His ex had a boyfriend whom he thought may be involved. He had contacted the ministry for children, they thought it was a ploy by him to get custody. He needed proof.
I got all his information where his family lived, what preschool they attended, and both names of the adults involved. The boyfriend lived with his ex wife and had no job. Brad was sure he had a drinking problem. He wrote out a cheque saying he would appreciate a quick solution before the kids got hurt again.
My clients were growing faster than I could handle and I would have to make a decision to hire someone to help me with my case load.
Tom texted late in the day to ask if I was still up for our drink tonight at five. I had completely forgotten, texting back, saying yes, same place. Before leaving the office I headed up to Leo's office and there sat the bartender reading the paper. Asking if he was busy with Leo away he shook his head no, and introduced himself as Bunt. "Can you do me a favor and check out a man for me." I asked.
Giving him the address of Brads family, and the mans rap sheet. I filled him in on what Brad had told me. He looked happy to be getting something to do. I never mentioned I had seen him at the restaurant.
Tom was waiting when I arrived with a hug and a beer. Lawrence was still in hospital and the rumor was he was told to retire early or wait for the investigators to prove their case and be fired. The union told him they would lose if it went to court.
"Meg, it is odd that he said his brakes failed and the cocaine was planted. He swears that he only had two drinks and has never done any drugs. Do you think someone was out to stop him from getting close to the drug trade that he kept going on about?"
"Tom I think he got exactly what he had coming, he ruined many careers over the years it could have been someone from the force or some drug addict out to get him. Who knows for sure."
We talked of Toms retirement, he decided to stay on for another year since Lawrence was out of the picture. I told him I was so busy I was thinking of hiring another detective to help me.
"Meg you made the right move and I am happy it is successful for you." Leaving we said our goodbyes outside, nobody checking on us in the darkness this time.
I drove past Brads family home Bunt was sitting in his car across the street watching the house. Slipping into his car he had the rap sheet sitting on the dash, a few misdemeanors and two assaults, none ever going to court. The lady and her kids arrived home about twenty minutes ago.
"Some guy." Bunt said. Just as I was thanking him the door flew open a small child running screaming out onto the sidewalk, a man appeared to catch her scooping her up, she struggling to get away. A woman appeared yelling at the child to be quiet. Bunt and I looked at each other both jumping out of the car running towards the house just as the door started to close. Bunt put his foot down to stop it from closing. A little boy had blood coming from his mouth the girl who had run outside was still screaming.
"Who the hell are you?" the man yelled. I could smell liquor on his breath.
The woman stood frozen beside him and the child. The little guy was openly crying tears streaming down his little face. The little girl still struggling to get away from this man.
"I am a investigator hired by your ex and I am arresting you for endangering these two children." I yelled.
Bunt grabbed the girl away and picked up the little boy in his big arms. They both snuggled into his body. Blood still flowing from both kids. I phoned for an ambulance, then Brads number telling him to get over here right away.
That was when Brads ex came alive saying we were making a big mistake the children were just misbehaving.
The police arrived just as Brad and the ambulance, Brad climbed into the ambulance with his kids both holding onto him tightly.
Both ex and bully were taken away in separate cars after I made a statement about what had gone on and that the father had hired me to watch for his kids safety.
Bunt faded nicely into the background as I was talking to the police.
Another long day but a good feeling about it. Home for a Scotch and hot bath.
The next week flew quickly I interviewed six people, none were what I was looking for. Phoning Tom I asked if he knew any names he could give me of someone who would fit in. He told me he would put out some feelers. He warned that Lawrence was out of the hospital and was making waves that he was set up and was going to fight the charges.
Leo arrived home bringing Susan and I both a lovely Brazilian bracelet. He asked quietly while Susan was on the phone saying he needed to talk to me privately in his office right away as he left. I waited a bit then telling Susan I had a few errands to run. Bunt opened the door Leo sat behind his desk, not looking happy.
He told me he had been followed to the airport when he left for Brazil, stopped at immigration when he arrived and then again when he landed here. The FBI had interrogated him at length in both instances. They asked him what relationship did he have with me. Apparently Lawrence was at the bottom of this.
He wanted to know what Lawrence had wanted from me and what I had said. I explained word for word what had transpired while he was away, and a friend had just told me Lawrence was out to prove he had been set up. I even mentioned about Ken Block's visit to my office.
Leo was quiet for a time. Was he wondering how much I could be trusted? Then told me. Some of his associates were concerned about the damage Lawrence could do, he had the FBI behind him and most of his business partners had been followed and harassed like him. The pressure was on for them all. A meeting was set and Leo planned to retire for good.
He was going to ask Susan to come to Spain with him. Would I be fine with that. He understood that I was looking for someone to help me in the business as he looked in Bunt's direction. It was the first time I had ever seen Bunt with a smile of his face.
"That way I will feel good about leaving you in good hands he will protect you with his life like he has done for me all these years."
The tears came quickly as I realized this man would be out of my life, and how much I cared for him, I was happy he had found someone like Susan to look after him.
"You will have to take your holidays to Spain to see us, as we both will miss you, dear girl." Leo said with a tear, he swiped away quickly.
Leo left to tell Susan all was fine, as I welcomed Bunt to my employ. We all went out to celebrate for dinner, Susan and Leo looked so happy, hopefully I would find someone in the future to share my life with.
Leaving the restaurant we said our good nights. Leo handed Bunt his Visa to pay the bill. Leo opened the door, and there stood Lawrence swaying on the balls of his feet with a gun aimed at Leo.
"You have ruined my life you bastard, now you will pay," I could smell the liquor.
A gunshot rang through the quiet night, sending people scattering. Leo was on the ground bleeding, looking up, the gun was now aimed at me, before I could make a move Bunt was on top of Lawrence bashing his head onto the pavement. A shot grazed my arm, only a tickle of blood. Even with his arm in a cast he was a good shot. Lawrence lay on the curb blood covered his face.
The paramedics assured us that Leo was going to be fine as Susan jumped into the ambulance holding on to him tightly. Lawrence was quickly cuffed and on his way to jail.
Bunt dropped me off after we checked on Leo at the hospital.
I had a message on my answering machine from Brad Andrews asking me out for dinner on Saturday night if I wasn't busy.
I just might go.
Lawrence was charged with attempted murder and was waiting in jail for sentencing.