Write What You Know, Part 20
By Stephanie Thompson, 1,881 words
Read: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19
The second Riley left the room Christie was out of her seat. She waited a moment and tried the door which was definitely locked then just walked the room - cameras be damned.
Shit, shit, shit. What do we do now?
There was no response, no presence, no sass. Nikki had fled to where ever the fuck she goes when she decides to abandon her.
Fuck you. Just… seriously Nikki, fuck you.
She chewed on her thumb because her tongue had had enough and she wasn’t keeping up appearances any more.
Could she ask for a lawyer now? Could she do that after signing away her rights? The waiver she signed probably actually told her the details and intricacies of her rights but she didn’t read it or pay attention to officer explaining it, again because of Nikki. If she asked would it make her look guilty? Even more guilty rather? Detective Riley obviously thought she was guilty as sin.
But it really shouldn’t matter how it looks because if it was her right then it was her right. It probably isn’t even admissible as evidence of guilt, like the results of lie detector test so her worrying about it is irrelevant. Still she didn’t know what to do so all she had was to worry.
She didn’t know when she found him that he would be quite so boring. She wasn’t even a couple of hours into stalking, one of her favorite parts in most cases but her Bronx was decidedly studious. He didn’t leave the library, he didn’t even leave the reading room. He turned exactly 33 pages and took 5 pages of notes. He didn’t get up to stretch. He didn’t go to the bathroom. He didn’t get a drink or get a snack. He didn’t even change books.
Cass sat in a chair and flipped slowly through a novel but she was so bored she thought she might actually read it instead as using it as a prop. And on top of it she didn’t know what time it was or how long she’d been there (so go change that part earlier at a time when words don’t count). With no cell phone, no clock, and no watch, they could have been there for hours or for five minutes. It made her want to crawl the walls. It was almost enough to make her run in there and do something crazy. (This would go better if you knew what happened in the books, you sort of abandoned them and now it’s come back to bite you).
Once again Det. Riley stamped his stack of paper on the table.
“Ok, again, thanks for your patience. I’m sorry for the interruption. Now, you were just about to tell me that this cell phone found in a blood pool of a murder victim is yours. So, why don’t you have a seat and we can keep talking.”
For a moment she stood there hunched and gnawing herself like their very first interview, before she sat back across from.
“Like I said, I can explain. That is my phone. Well, was mine. I don’t know. I mean, I guess I might still pay for the service but it isn’t actually my phone.”
He waited for more story but was too busy or preoccupied with chewing her left thumb this time to continue he supposed because that what she did and said nothing else.
He tried to draw her out. “I’m not sure I understand what you mean.”
“That cell isn’t my any more, gave it to a friend.”
“You gave it to a friend?”
She nodded her head in the affirmative. She wasn’t looking at him anymore either. Her eyes were fixed on the phone records and photos across the table from her but he had a feeling that she wasn’t actually looking at them either.
“I’m sorry but I don’t believe that. I mean to start with, that’s pretty generic.”
“Nobody . .. “ She mumbled into her hand.
“I’m sorry, nobody what?”
She took her thumb from her mouth longer enough to repeat herself. “Nobody believes me.”
What he did want to believe was that she was working on her not guilty by reason of mental insanity defense right, she did have the history for such and claim, and she seemed clever enough to pull it of, or at least one side to her did, but his instinct told him that was the case. If she wasn’t working on a defense or putting on an act, he had the sneaking feeling that belfry bats were coming loose.
“How long ago did you give it to a friend? Maybe on Wednesday night?”
“Like a year ago. Maybe two. Last tour. Ask Stella.”
Usually it took hours or days for a suspect to act like this broken down, to suddenly change their sentence structure. There would come tears or denials first. Stalls or shifting blame first. She was shutting down with practically no pressure, far too early. If she closed him out now, there would be no confession, there would be no more interviews even, she would get a just pass go, do not collect $200, go strait to the mental facility. And there goes his case too. And on the off chance she was actually innocent, there goes his job and reputation too.
“Christie, is there anything I can get for you? Water? Coffee? Should we take a little break maybe?”
He actually wanted to offer her a friend, like her agent still sitting out in reception area making phone calls while glaring his task force down. Hell, even a lawyer, in the off chance it would relieve enough pressure to keep her from going comatose and medical examination. With a lawyer there was a chance she could or would still talk.
“No, thank you,” she said quietly.
“All right, what’s the name of your friend?”
There were two factors keeping Cass glued to the increasingly uncomfortable libra reading chair. The fact that Bronx was so attractive and he came perfectly on the heels of the piano player, Silvia. ( You know why she is suddenly callling her this so go back and write in so everone else knows too.) and he was a match for match description of Bronx Daggers from the ‘NRaged series. The one set to die next in her series of murders. (OK, BLEW THAT LOAD TOO EARLY AND IT ISN’T BRONX SHE’S MEANT TO KILL NEXT IS IT? WOULDN’T SHE WANT WHOEVER THE MAIN LOVE INTEREST IS? I DONT KNOW, SORT THIS OUT)
If the interview was suddenly switching gears from witty repartee to tooth pulling, he was going to have to get a lot more specific with his questions and quicker at firing them off.
“And where does this Helen Richards live”
“I don’t know.”
“Well how and when snd why did you give her you own phone?”
“Sometimes she goes by Cassandra.”
Wesley didn’t know what to do with that.
“Ok. . .”
“So she has more names than you do?” He muttered to himself, frustrated that once again he’d lost control of the interrogation reigns to chaos again.
“I have one name like everyone else because I’m. . .” She wanted to say she was one person just like everyone else but she had the distinct impression that sounded like a weird thing that someone who may not in fact be only one person would say. “I’m normal just like everyone else.” She wasn’t sure that was actually any better but it did of the benefit of not suggesting that she is sometimes someone else.
That one little slip, an odd insistence if you really unpacked it (and something that will probably give him hell at the trial if he really wanted to give an in-depth analysis), might just be the detail that gave him back control from his increasingly distant and odd suspect. “Now see, how am I suppose to believe you gave this phone to a quote unquote friend if you’re going to tell me fibs like that. Legally, you’ve used two different names but at various times you’ve given the police additional names including Nikki and oh look, you’ve even used Cassandra or Cassie yourself. So did you give the phone to yourself or are you lying?”
“You see,” she said with more enthusiastic blame than she meant to. She tried again, softer this time, “You see, no one believes me.”
“I want to believe you Christie, I really do. But you’ve got to be more cooperative,” he said. And more detail oriented and forthcoming and admit that you did it, he thought.
“Helen Richards was a friend I know from growing up we met at SOME HOSPITAL/FACILITY. After that we’d occasionally end up in the same place. We even lived together a bit after our last release.” She stumbled over the last part and sort of tried to mumble it too. She didn’t want to go in to the real details of that if she didn’t have too. The main part she needed to do is make it clear that she didn’t have the phone any more and maybe even separate herself from Helen and/or Cassandra if it turns out she was responsible.
“And how long were you … living together?” he said, now taking notes. (He’s going to corroborate your story, like on tv).
It didn’t sound like he believed her then, like she said, no one ever did. To be fair, she had a habit of not telling the truth either. She wasn’t sure which actually came first. She tended to believe it was the former. “About a year until. . .”
She didn’t want to tell him (surprise, surprise). He didn’t want to talk about any of this but she also didn’t want to spend a single night in jail. On the other hand, she wasn’t use to sharing these intimate details at all. In fact it was the exact opposite of the reputation and personality she’d crafted thirteen years. So no she wasn’t going to mention that they actually dated for that year but that Cassandra got increasingly possessive and jealous until neither Nikki or Christie could stand it and broke up in a huge fight, verbal and physical, that resulted in yet another police arrest and a few weeks later Helen/Cassandra went back to the very hospital they met. Detective Riley didn’t need to know that because it had nothing to do with the case or anything of recent note in Christie’s life, besides the whole phone issue.
“Until she moved out.” She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t grass on Helen like that and the result was the same. Whether she left voluntarily or being dragged off by orderlies threaten h-drone.
“Okay so you guys broke up about ten years ago but somehow in the last couple of years, at some in-determined point, you gave her your phone.”
“I still don’t believe you. This story is barely above ‘I was holding it for a friend’. You would think a writer could come up with a better fiction.”
“Actually the best way to write a believable, and therefore good fiction, is to make it just as bizarre and disappointing as real life.”
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