It had been three weeks since a 21-year-old year old man Luke Miller had been murdered. He had been found in his flat with a knife through his chest. Detective Jack Danson was going through all the information on the case with his partner on the force Joseph Edwards at police headquarters. They were working long into the night drinking copious amounts of coffee.
There was only three suspects in the mix:
Luke’s wife Bella Miller who lived with him but was away for the weekend when Luke was murdered.
Luke’s father James Miller who was known for violent alcoholic outbursts since the death of his wife and Luke’s mother Catherine Miller from cancer 10 years previously. He was known to have arguments with his son over Luke going to college instead of following in his footsteps into the army.
Luke’s best friend Sam Jones who was on Luke’s engineering course with him. Joseph said from questioning it appeared he was interested in Bella romantically.
“She is a beauty.”, Joseph said of Bella.
“My money’s on the best friend. More coffee?”
“Thanks mate. my insides are going to be filled with caffeine!”
“She’s the type of woman a man would kill for.”
“It’s a good thing I’m skoliosexual so.”, Jack smiled.
“Are you sure even you wouldn’t make an exception for Bella Miller?”
“Um no. Anyways, we have work to do. Don’t be letting Bella Miller’s beauty get in the way. She could have killed the poor fucker.”
“She was away that night.”
“So she says.”
“The father now is another possible option. He was seen arguing with his son only that day.”
“Yeah but fathers and sons don’t get on a lot. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’d murder each other all the time.”
Jack spoke from experience. He and his father hadn’t spoken since he told him he was skoliosexual.
Soon after they called it a night and agreed to re-question their three suspects on Monday.
“So who are you interviewing first?”, Jack’s partner Brian asked as they had breakfast at the house they had lived together in for five years.
“Questioning. It’s not OK! Magazine!”
“Questioning, interviewing, whatever.”
“Sam. Joseph has a gut feeling he’s our killer.”
“Ah no, on the news coverage he seemed such a sweet guy. He doesn’t look the type.”
“I love you but I’m glad you’re not in the police force.”, Jack smiled.
“No plans.”, Brian grinned.
Sam was fidgeting nervously as they questioned him at his flat. Joseph went in for the kill.
“Bella Miller is a very attractive woman. You must have noticed.”
“What exactly are you suggesting?”
“I’m not suggesting anything.”
Good cop/bad cop time.
“Sam, we’re on your side here. We know that Luke was like a brother to you. We just want to find out what happened to him …”
“I don’t know what happened to him. But one thing I’m pretty certain of is that Bella Miller had something to do with it.”
“Oh that’s a big accusation …”, began Joseph.
“What makes you think that?”, Jack interrupted.
Jesus Joseph, be professional!
“She knew about his savings. She knew she’d get it if he died.”
“You knew about it too.”, Joseph said.
“But I didn’t stand to benefit from it.”
“Maybe you thought Bella and you would be together. Did it kill you that she loved her husband?”
“At the beginning she did. At the end she was bored and Luke was convinced she’d met someone else.”
“Was that someone else you Sam?”
Oh just shut-up please Joseph.
“Did you have any idea who it was Sam?”
“No. I’m not even sure there was a someone else. It’s just what Luke thought.”
“Well thank you for your time. Call the station and ask for … ask for me if you think of anything else.”
Bella Miller lay on the sofa smoking a cigarette at her friend Marie’s flat. Jack supposed she was a very attractive woman if he was that way inclined. Joseph was gazing at her in admiration.
The first question is not can I have your phone number Joseph.
“Bella, your friends Beth and Joanne confirmed you were with them on the night of Luke’s death …”
“I still can’t believe he’s gone. And I was three miles away when it happened. I never got to say goodbye.”
“That must have been so difficult.”, Joseph said sympathetically.
Good cop/bad cop time.
“Obviously you couldn’t have been involved … by yourself …”
“How could you even think I could have been involved at all?! I loved him. He was everything to me …”
“And his savings fund?”
“A savings fund? I don’t know about a savings fund.”
“Well we have information to suggest that Luke had a savings fund which amounted to just over £50, 000. Money which his father had put away for him for when he turned 21. Very enticing, isn’t it?”
“Well I wasn’t aware of it. Our marriage wasn’t about money. We loved each other. I’d like you both to leave.”
“This isn’t the last you’ll hear from us.”, Jack said as they left.
“James, we understand that you had created a savings fund for your son that came to £50,000 …”, Jack began.
“He was a good lad. I’ve only realised that since he died. That’s the harsh reality of it. He had so many great things he wanted to do with some of that money. He wanted to help people with cancer, the homeless and give towards the work of LGBTQ+ organisations. He had the kindest heart and I was too drunk, too stubborn to realise. It was a very difficult time after his mother died. I haven’t coped well since.”
“LGBTQ+ organisations? James, was your son gay?”, Joseph asked.
Was he homeless too Joseph?
“No. If he had of been, that wouldn’t have mattered though.”
“So it was just out of the goodness of his heart then?”, Joseph asked, sarcastically.
“He had his reasons.”
“Thank you for your time. We’ll leave you to grieve.”, Jack said.
Jack was looking over the case at the station when Michael, a veteran policeman, said there was a call for him.
“Detective Jack Danson speaking.”
“Yeah hi, it’s Sam Jones. I, um, wanted to talk to you. I, um need to know that this will go no further.”
“Well that depends Sam.”
There was momentary silence. Jack wasn’t sure if he had hung up or not.
“Sam, are you still there?”
“Yeah … look, the theory about me been interested in Bella in that way couldn’t be true. I’m gay. But I come from a very conservative, Catholic background and …”
“Don’t worry. This won’t go any further. Thank you for telling me.”
“Yeah, thanks.”, Sam replied, sounding relieved.
After ending the call, Jack made his way back to his desk. Everything hit him like an ocean smacking against a rock. And his heart sank.
“You knew her better than you made out, didn’t you?”, Jack asked as he sat at the station with Joseph.
“I wish!”, Joseph replied, grinning.
Jack wasn’t amused by this act.
“Information came through that you were seen on several occasions with her kissing her.”
Sometimes bluffs were needed.
“She’s admitted to it. Says it was all you though.”
More bluffs were sometimes needed.
“Well if she says that, she’s a liar! I may have killed him but she came back and helped set the scene for the police after she’d got rid of those friends of hers. In any case none of this can be proved.”
Not until now, Jack thought discreetly ending the recording on his mobile phone.
That night, Jack entered his and Brian’s house. Brian had just got in from work at the supermarket and Jack instantly broke down in their arms.
“He was my friend. He was like a brother to me. How could he have did that to someone?”, he said, through tears.
James and Sam stood by Luke’s grave.
“I loved him. I wish I’d told him that.”, James said with tears in his eyes.
“He knew.”, Sam said softly.
James lay a fresh bunch of flowers on Luke’s grave and he and Sam left to have a coffee and to try to repair their lives the best they could.