I wasn't looking forward to this interrogation. Usually, I didn't handle them as we had an excellent team of highly trained professionals who were great at obtaining confessions.
But this was personal. My boss didn't bar me from it. Since I knew Ethan, he figured I might have enough emotional connection to get him to talk to me.
As I entered, Ethan was spewing out profanities at me like machine gun blasts. "I can't believe you'd show your traitorous pig ass in here, you bastard. What? You think you're going to get shit from me? When hell freezes over."
I groaned inwardly. Calling me the traitorous bastard was so hypocritical. I'd always admired how stoic and settled Ethan seemed in high school. I'd only witnessed him lose it once. And that was when I'd investigated that girl who was murdered at the circus my senior year. I wondered if he had anything to do with it.
"You're right," I said. "You can always plead the fifth if you want. But I can guarantee it won't help you. We have so much evidence against you, all my questioning will do is make your case seem a little less...sinister."
When he didn't protest further, I pulled the metal chair out and sat across from him. "I'm going to ask you a series of questions. I must inform you that you're on video surveillance. Do you understand?"
Taking in a deep breath, I decided to ask about the Brindleton Bay incident first. "Did you kill Daniel Fortner?"
Ethan's eyes narrowed. "What kind of hell question is that? I'm not here for Daniel's murder."
"Don't be so sure," I countered. "That case ran cold eight years ago but your acts this evening have reopened it. Answer the question."
I went on, "Do you know who murdered Daniel Fortner?"
He didn't say anything for a while then shook his head.
I didn't believe him. He knew something. The way he hesitated and wouldn't look me in the eye told me he was lying. "Can you prove you didn't murder Daniel Fortner?"
"I didn't kill Daniel. I've got a tight alibi which I gave to the police back then. I was with Chase Bolton at the time. Go ask him if you don't believe me. Anyway, there were tons of people lining up to murder that bastard, including yourself. Too bad the real murderer got off with a weak jury."
Ignoring his barb, I asked, "Did Wilder Roberts put you up to laundering money for the Bambinos?" I didn't have a clear lead that Ethan laundered anything for the Bambinos--only suspicions, but he didn't have to know that.
"No. Wilder is clean. I kept it that way."
Ah ha...he admitted to it. My boss was going to be pissing himself happy. We had something on the Bambinos now. "So, you protected Wilder? Why?"
"Because he's a prideful little asswipe like you, thinking he's above everyone with his high and mighty morals. The fucking idiot never even asked how his upstart business could jump from being hundreds of thousands in debt to making millions in a few years. Enough to build two huge hotels? He deserves to go down with me."
Hearing him calling Wilder names like that angered me. "So, Wilder is innocent? If this can be proven, he won't be going down with you. You'll sink all by yourself."
"Fine. At least I'm not some holier than thou dickhead pig who turns in his friends."
Glaring, I said, evenly, "You were never my friend. Not really. You were leading a double life, Ethan, running drugs, murdering people and who knows what else. I saw your rap sheet. My friend, Ethan Moon, was nothing like you."
"Are we done here?" he asked.
I shook my head. "One more thing. Did Amber know about any of this?"
Eyes shooting blue venom, he growled, "Don't you dare bring Amber into this. If you do, I can promise bad things will happen."
I stood up, scraping my chair against the concrete floor. "You're in no position to threaten me. I'll take that as a yes. I can guarantee she'll be getting a visit from the Feds, and if she's embroiled in this little scheme of yours, she'll be doing hard time, too. But...if you cooperate, we might be lenient."
Succumbing to the stress, Ethan slapped his hands over his face, breaking down. I never thought I'd ever see someone like Ethan crack. I'd always thought of him as this marble statue peering over at everyone from the clouds. A rock. No...a mountain. Someone everyone relied on. That all shattered into dust by the events of tonight.
Shaking my head, I thought--yes...Amber was his weakness. Always had been. But what was he afraid of?
Voice warbling, Ethan pleaded, "I'll cooperate, just...don't mess with Amber. She's got two little kids...she doesn't need this shit in her life. Please. I operated alone. All of it is on me."
Looking at the pathetic state he was in made me feel sorry for him. Why did he have to make such a mess of his life?
"What a waste," I said.
Then I opened the squeaky interrogation room door and never looked back.
Once the news of the break I'd gotten in the Bambino case hit, my boss ushered me into his office.
"Well done, Agent Day! The building is buzzing at the news. Congratulations."
The following week after I'd arrested Ethan, one of our teams flooded the Bambino's holdings and had a field day at their expense. Funny how when a building looks like it's about to topple, the cockroaches start to flee. We had dozens of people ready to testify against them. Their empire crumbled as if built on a flimsy house of cards.
"Thank you, sir," I said.
"So...about your vacation request..."
My stomach pinged at the mention of it. I'd put in for that a few weeks ago, knowing full well if I couldn't finish my work on the Bambino case, I'd never get it. But now...
"Not sure I can do without a crack agent like yourself for a week. We do have another case that needs your skill. So, I'm sorry, August." He shrugged, tilting his head.
My heart fell at this. I'd been working so hard. "Um...yeah...sure." I didn't know what else to say. Beau was going to be so upset.
Then a broad smile lightened his features. "My God, look at that sorry ass face you're pulling. Well, we can't have that. Oh...all right. You've earned it. But take two weeks instead. Got it?"
I'd called Beau's work, arranging for all of his clients to be re-scheduled for the next two weeks. Then the following morning, when we woke up, Beau tried to get by me to take a shower. I stopped him. "What's the rush, Beau?"
"What do you mean? I've got Ms. Drainer at 9:30. You know how fussy she is, and I haven't even painted my nails yet."
Slipping my hand under his, I said, "But I like your nails just the way they are."
"Baby, come on...it's not the weekend anymore. Time to transform into Caleb Vatore."
Swooping him into my arms, I said, "We're going on a vacation. I have it all arranged. You're going to be my Beau for the next two weeks. No Caleb Vatore. That means..no wig. No painted nails. No flashy clothes. Got it?"
"You're shitting me." His eyes grew huge like two moons.
Chuckling, I squeezed him, my heart already racing in anticipation of our time together. "I'm not."
"Can I shave my beard, too? God, I'm so tired of it...Two weeks, huh? I don't think I've had a break from work for the past seven years. I feel like you've told me I've just died and gone to heaven."
Kissing him, I whispered, "It will be heaven, baby. Just you wait and see."
Next chapter on Wednesday, April 4th
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