“How could we have helped arrest the wrong man?” Lilah said with a grunt. She pushed the front door of their building open before George could even get the key out of the lock. She walked down the hallway with her arms up in the air in disgust heading for George’s office.
“You know,” George said calmly, “we don’t know for sure that we’ve arrested the wrong man.” He pulled the key out, locked the door again, and then closed it listening for the click.
“Right, but we also don’t know for sure that he’s the right guy we arrested.” Lilah commented. She made it to the end of the hall and jiggled the doorknob to George’s office. She sighed turning around to face him. “Why do you always lock your office?”
“In case someone breaks in,” George said already with the key in hand.
Lilah raised an eyebrow watching him come down the hall. “You know, if someone breaks in through the front door, they’ll easily break into your office.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I’m gonna try it.” Lilah replied snarkily.
George chuckled. “I’d like to see that.”
He unlocked the office door and pushed it open. The door creaked as it slowly widened showcasing the dimly lit room. There was only one window in the room and it was right behind George’s desk. It gave him decent light as he worked during the day, but the rest of the room was in darkness unless the overhead light was turned on.
Lilah entered first as George stepped aside allowing her to go right in. She walked straight ahead across the room sitting down on one of the client’s chairs on the other side of his desk. George followed walking around his desk. He turned on his computer and then sat down.
“So, now what?” Lilah asked. She leaned back folding her arms and legs.
“Let’s go over our notes.” George replied without bothering to look up at her. As he waited for the computer to boot up, he maneuvered some papers around the surface of his desk making room for his keyboard and a notepad.
Lilah nodded watching George as he tidied up the surface of his desk. She didn’t have a lot of notes from the case though.
Steven Bell had come to George and Lilah for help. He was having problems with his wife; he had suspected her of stealing money out of their bank account. While he wasn’t sure what she was doing with the money, he didn’t think it could have been anyone else.
Steven had gone to the bank and they wouldn’t give him too much information. No other accounts were touched; it was just his, which lead Steven to believe even more that this wasn’t a random theft.
The longer George and Lilah investigated, the longer they tried to help Steven, nothing was really turning up. They had spoken to the bank with Steven and also to his wife. It wasn’t too much longer after that that Steven’s wife was murdered.
“We walked in on him standing over his dead wife’s body with a bloodied knife in his hands. He himself was covered in blood, his wife’s blood. We didn’t see it happen, but that right there is enough to make anyone believe he’s a murderer.” Lilah said. She gazed at the ground deep in thought as she spoke. “So, why do we both get the feeling that he’s innocent?”
“Because we know Steven,” George replied.
Lilah lifted her head and George was staring at her.
“We’ve gotten to know Steven pretty well over the past few weeks. We even went out to dinner that one time, remember? It started off as business, but they we ended up staying a little longer because we were actually having a good time.”
“Oh, yeah,” Lilah smiled remembering that night. Then she frowned. “His wife wasn’t there that night.”
George shook his head. “Steven said that she was working. That’s why we were able to go over and talk to him about it.”
“Still…” Lilah said tapping her chin. “Wasn’t she a teacher? We went over to their house around six and stayed until ten… Did she have a second job that we didn’t know about?”
George paused and narrowed his eyes. Then he picked up his notepad and started flipping backwards a few pages. “Are you kidding me…? Why didn’t we see this before?”
Lilah bit her lower lip. “Did we overlook something…?”
“I wrote that she worked as a hostess three nights a week at Prevalli’s Restaurant.” George said.
“Oh, that’s right. Didn’t we go there and talk to a few of her co-workers?” Lilah asked.
George put down his notepad shaking his head. “Not after she had died.”
“But Barney went there after she died. We didn’t really have to.” Lilah said.
“We should have.”
“Because now that means Barney knows more than we do.” George stood up from his chair and walked around to the other side of his desk. “We’re on the same side as the police station, but we’re on two different sides of the same coin.”
Lilah crinkled her face in confusion. “Huh…?” Still, she stood up and followed George out of his office. She jogged a little down the hallway to catch up with him as he was already opening the front door.
“Are we going to the restaurant now?” she asked.
“Yes, we should have been there a while. I have a few questions I would like to ask Steven’s wife’s boss.” George replied. He stood on the front porch, waiting for Lilah to pass by him. Once she did, he shut and locked the front door.
Lilah stood in the grass watching George. “What else could we possibly ask them? They already talked to Barney, why do you think they’re going to talk to us about it?”
“I don’t know, but we’ll figure something out.” George replied.
“Can’t we just ask Barney what they said?”
“If he wanted to share what he found out, he would have already told us. If we ask him now, he may share something just to make it seem like he cooperated with us. But he certainly wouldn’t tell us all of it.”
Lilah puffed out her cheeks in frustration. “That’s annoying… Barney is supposed to help us like we help him.”
George stepped onto the curb and walked down the sidewalk towards the main street where the taxis would drive by. “I agree, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. The police station is the police station and we’re a private detective agency for a reason. We have less rules to follow.”
Lilah perked up. “We can break the law?”
“No,” George said sternly. “But remember that we don’t have a certain protocol to follow.” He winked at her.
Lilah smiled up at him, though she wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by that.