Crimes Past(2)

By: Lauren Carr

“That guy’s nuts,” Underwood muttered.

“That’s why he’s the best chief that vice ever had,” Rod said. “He’s half crazy.”

Kassandra disembarked the elevator and hurried to the end of the corridor. Figures that selfcentered bitch would forget about her wedding guests. Always thinking about herself. Never thinks about Gina—her own daughter. Abandons her until it becomes convenient for her to take her away from me.

By the time she reached the end of the hall, she had worked her way up to a full fury. She pounded on the door with her fist.

“Brie! Open up! Dad is worried sick, and your wedding guests are hungry.”

The answer was silence.

She pounded on the door again. “Brie! I’m getting mad!” She let out a breath and waited.

A door opened across the hall. “Do you have to pound so loud on the door?” A woman dressed in a negligee peered through the crack of the open door. Judging by the lines on her face and messed hair, Kassandra concluded she had awakened her. “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, huh, Sweetie?”

“As a matter of fact, I have been a bride,” Kassandra said. “My husband was killed at the Pentagon last year.”

The slick grin fell from the woman’s face. “I’m sorry.”

“So am I.” Kassandra felt as bad as the woman. She gestured at the locked door. “My sister is the bride. The guests at the reception are hungry.”

The woman’s eyes grew wide. “And they just got married?”

“The open bar has closed.” With her fist, Kassandra knocked on the door.

“The way the champagne corks were popping a bit ago, I think they’re having their own party.”

“Champagne corks?” Kassandra caught her breath. “Oh, no!” She pounded on the door with both fists.

Seconds later, the woman was at her side. She had shrugged into a silky robe that kept slipping off her thin shoulders. “Excuse me.” She unlocked the door with a keycard.

“Where did you get that? Is it a master key?”

“Don’t ask any questions, Sweetie.” She swung the door open for her to enter. “You never saw me.” She trotted back to her room.

Kassandra rushed into the suite and uttered a blood curdling scream.

The chief of the homicide division, Captain Sheldon Jeffries met Lieutenant Mac Faraday, an investigator from the major crimes unit, at the hotel’s front entrance. Together, the two men crossed the lobby furnished in granite and marble.

 “Bet this was the last place you expected to be tonight.”

“That goes without saying.” Seeing the guests in formal attire, Mac felt underdressed in his suit. “Considering the victims and witnesses, I’ll expect this crime scene to be contained.” He followed Captain Jeffries onto the elevator.

The police captain pressed the button. “The hotel was put on immediate lock down and crime scene tape was in place before the uniforms arrived.”

“This wasn’t necessarily an outside job.” Mac slipped his hands into a pair of evidence gloves. The silence in the elevator prompted him to look over at the man who had been his supervisor only the year before. “Most homicides are committed by someone the victim knew. Detectives Polk and Pratt invited everyone to this wedding.” He leveled his gaze at him. “We can’t ignore the fact that some of them are viable suspects—including members of your team.”

The elevator doors opened to a corridor filled with detectives and police officers clad in tuxedos and cocktail dresses. Each one wore evidence gloves and paper booties.

“Well, if it isn’t Faraday from major crimes,” a short tubby man with a bald head and a goatee said upon seeing Mac step off the elevator. “About time you decided to lower yourself to join the party.” His round rimless eyeglasses were yellowed from cigarette smoke.

“Jealousy doesn’t look good on you, Gannon,” Detective Dani Derringer said over her shoulder before leading Mac to the bridal suite. The evidence gloves she wore were in sharp contrast to her rose silk bridesmaid dress. She had ditched her high heels for paper booties.

The short detective followed Mac so closely that he could smell the stench of cigarettes in his clothes. “It isn’t like there’s any big mystery as to who did it. Brie was a favorite in homicide. By favorite, I mean she slept with every detective in the division—”