For the time being I feel very caught up with my work load but I sense that could change very easily so please watch for my sanity. If you see it on the floor, please don't step on it and return it to the nearest coffee shop (preferably Tim Horton's).
And just so we're clear on the dress I'm imagining for the classy lady in this week's tale...
She looked up as the door opened and a tall woman who looked to be in her thirties - but was most likely much closer to forty - greeted her with a plastered on smile and a spray on plum dress that left nothing to the imagination. “Alice?” She asked and Kate nodded, extending her hand in greeting. The woman peeked over the detective’s shoulder instead. “Where’s your husband? You know the rule about partners.”
Kate retracted her hand slowly. “Ted’s just locking the car. He’s so uptight about his baby.” She laughed and the woman returned it with a loud, almost genuine tone.
“Of course; I understand how men can be sometimes.”
Rick’s arm came around Kate and she leaned into him instinctively. “Sorry about that, honey, I was just making sure the doors were locked.” He kissed her hair and her smile was real.
“You must be Ted.” The woman extended her hand, leaning forward a little too much for Kate’s liking. “I’m Carol; we spoke on the phone.”
“Lovely to put a face to that beautiful voice.” He squeezed Carol’s hand, pinching Kate to keep the frown off her face. He was only pretending, he looked at her reassuringly when she glared at him. Of course Carol blushed but recovered quickly and ushered them inside.
The party was in full swing. Couples lined the walls of the dimly lit living room and deep, soulful music hummed in the background, a hint of sinfulness dancing in the air. Three sets of couples were in different stages of undress, shaking hands and shucking clothes on their way to a backroom which seemed even darker and warmer than the rest of the house. Two couples on the couch in the middle of the room were completely lost to the world around them, sucking, kissing and biting each other while their hands played a symphony below. If you were quiet enough you could hear a woman mutter instructions to one of her partners as he blindly and lustfully obeyed her every command. Kate flushed.
“Is everyone here married?” Rick’s question shouldn’t have startled her but she had to admit, his arm around her waist was the only thing keeping her tied to the investigation.
“Not everyone.” Carol answered, not even turning back as she continued her brief tour of the house, heading towards the kitchen where refreshments in the form of potent liquors and self-proclaimed aphrodisiacs were served. “We encourage married couples to play with us simply because anything of this nature does involve a high level of trust.” She turned back this time, to look at them through her eyelashes, inspecting them for some nefarious deeds playing out in her mind. Kate was suddenly uncomfortable with the shortness of her black dress and the tightness of Rick’s pants. “Are you two…?”
Kate held up her left hand, exposing the diamond ring on her finger. “Three years.” She hugged Rick closer instinctively. “We thought it was time to branch out a little.” She looked at him for confirmation and like the dutiful husband he nodded and smiled lovingly.
“Our friend Max recommended you.”
Carol paused for a brief moment, barely noticeable, before her smile returned if a little sadder. “Yes I know Max. It’s a shame about his wife. He and Amy were so in love.”
“You think?” Kate jumped right back into the conversation. “I always thought so but after the police arrested him…” She paused – mostly for dramatic affect – “do you think he killed her?”
Carol leaned in conspiratorially and whatever is was about her that drew them in, they leaned forward with her. “I told the police that Max was with me that night. We attended a party together since Amy was working and my husband cancelled at the last minute.”
“Well who do you think did it?” Kate tried not to grimace. Subtle Rick was not.
The other woman sensed it as well and took her pause fully. “Where did you say you knew Max from?”
Kate opened her mouth but apparently Rick was on a roll. “Work;” he smirked at her “but as this party is supposed to be about anonymity I trust I don’t need to say anymore?”
Carol seemed to relax at this and her smile returned. “Of course.” Someone called out her name and she quickly excused herself. “Feel free to look around; watch what you’d like and jump in whenever you’re ready.” Then she smiled. “I’ll come and find you in a moment.” The couple smiled in return and made their way back towards the living room, pretending they hadn’t seen the interest in their partner’s eyes.
It didn’t take long to find the few personal photographs that had been left on the mantel in the darkness. Kate’s eyes were drawn to one in particular which she picked up and examined closer. It was of Carol and a man with his arms draped over her shoulders from behind, kissing her cheek while she smiled gleefully. It was a picture of a couple in love.
“Isn’t that the man we couldn’t identify? The one who was having an affair with Amy?” Kate nodded, her eyes never leaving the photo.
“That’s my husband, Bob.” They jumped as Carol appeared behind them, peeking over their shoulders.
Kate stopped before looking up at the woman with a twinge of sympathy. “Your husband?”
Now changed into high-waisted dress pants and a navy silk blouse, Kate stepped out of the interrogation room, closing her folder and nodding to LT who slipped into the room. Rick was at her side in an instant, closing the observation room door behind him. “That’s a shame really.” He hummed. “I could tell you liked her.”
She gaped at him but Captain Gates fell into step with the duo and she kept her mouth shut. “So?”
“Carol confessed.” She announced. “She knew her husband was having an affair with Amy and she knew if they got divorced their swing club would be outed and she couldn’t have the scandal on her hands.”
Rick took over. “So while Max was otherwise occupied with a couple at the party, she snuck out, killed Amy, and slipped back in before anyone noticed.”
“Good work, you two.” Gates conceded “you work well undercover.” And then she was gone, leaving the couple to their thoughts.
Kate’s eyes travelled down to her now empty ring finger. “Case closed.” She muttered, returning to her desk.
“So have you ever thought about it?”
She blinked up at him. “What?”
“Swinging;” he retrieved her coat from the back of her chair and offered it. “Have you ever thought about trying it out? Maybe with one of the guys?”
She looked at him pointedly “would you honestly be able to look Ryan or Esposito in the eye if we did anything like that?”
He cringed, a shudder wracking his entire body. “Okay you’re right; but what about with a stranger?”
She pretended to think for a moment as they walked in synchronization towards the elevator. “I might consider it.” The elevator dinged open and she stepped inside. “Once we were married of course.” The elevators had closed by the time Rick returned to his senses so he made a mad dash for the stairs, hoping to catch her at the bottom. He chased after her all the way.