Joe was tall and handsome, even with a red nose and puffy eyes. He let us in the front door and my heart started pounding when I saw the entryway, where we’d found Stacy. I looked away.
“I’m Joe…” Joe shook James’ hand, looking back at me with questioning eyes, “A friend of Lindsay’s?”
“You can say that,” James laughed nervously.
Joe led us into the kitchen; it looked exactly how one would expect. A mess. Paperwork, files, dirty dishes, wine glasses. Joe was stressed.
We sat down around a messy table, Joe poured himself a glass of cabernet, “I’m sorry, would either of you like a drink?”
I glanced at the clock – 10am – and shook my head no.
He swirled it around and took a big whiff before he started to talk.
“Stacy was having an affair,” he sighed, “before her phone was taken in for evidence, it had missed calls and text messages. From an unsaved number. Plus her message threads were recently deleted. It didn’t make sense. She wasn’t expecting me.”
“My guess is that this guy found out she was married. Or she just pissed him off while she was drunk one night – I don’t know,” Joe was pacing back and forth, running his fingers through his hair, “But a boyfriend has more motive than her supplier… I think… I don’t know.”
I chewed on my lip and looked at James, who shrugged his shoulders.
“You had no idea?” Joe looked up from his glass of wine, he had tears in his eyes.
“No, I – I didn’t know she was seeing someone,” I stammered.
“It makes sense, you know. I was always gone for work. Leaving her alone in this big house with nothing but money to spend.”
“Joe, this isn’t your fault…” I whispered across the table, grabbing his hand, “she chose to do this.”
“Her phone – Did you have a chance to go through it at all?”
“No. The detectives took it right away, I would’ve written down the number had I realized that was going to happen,” Joe shook his head and sat back down, “I called the detective to mention the phone calls and they said they already had a lead.”
“A lead?” I looked up, my heart was racing.
“I just hope they put the right son of a bitch away.”
“Me too,” I whispered, with tears in my eyes.
James and I helped Joe pick a dress to bury Stacy in. We decided on a dark purple sleeveless dress – one that went all the way up to her neck – to cover the cuts.
“She would’ve hated this. I think she would’ve rather been buried in a tank top and shorts,” Joe laughed.
I heard his stomach growl.
“Do you want to go get something to eat? Or I could make something here?” I offered, hoping he’d say no.
“No thanks, I’ll get something later. You should know Stacy never kept this place stocked with anything but booze.”
“You ready?” James asked me, looking for an escape from this depressing house.
“Sure, let’s go.”
I hugged Joe, and he shook James’ hand.
“The service will be on Wednesday, I’ll send you all the details. Will you be with this guy? I can just text him…”
“Yeah, that’s fine.”
James and I walked to the car and sat in silence until we left the neighborhood. His phone rang.
“Hello? Oh, hi… Yes, she’s right here.”
I looked at James, “It’s that detective.”
“Hi Miss Waltham, so sorry to bother you again… Would you be able to come down to the station for a few more questions?”
James and I sped to the station, anxious about the detective’s “new findings.”
I walked into the station and looked around. There was Agnes, with her nerdy glasses and sweaty, matted hair. I followed her back into the same room I’d been in just a couple of days ago.
Agnes sat across from me, with her arms crossed.
“Miss Waltham, were you aware that Stacy was having an extramarital affair?”
“Actually, yes. I just found out. Joe told me.”
“Joe, her husband? Did he mention how he knew?”
“I think he just made an assumption based on the texts and calls in her phone – before it was taken into evidence, that is.”
“I see, and um, did Joe tell you who the affair was with?”
“No… He wasn’t sure. He didn’t even have an idea, actually. Do you guys know?”
“Because it’s an ongoing investigation, I can’t tell you who our suspect is or isn’t. We have a few people who would have motive. But I have a few questions for you, first.”
“Ok – shoot.”
“Were you aware of your husband’s affair?”
“Yes, I thought I mentioned that. I told you Stacy and I went to follow them once. Her name is Camille.”
“And this ‘Camille’ – what do you know about her?”
“They met at the dealership – I think he sold her a car. She’s young, they’ve been dating for a few months.”
“Mhm, mhm…” Agnes scribbled down a few more notes, “How did you find out about your husband’s affair?”
“Stacy told me one day when we were having a drink at her place,” I explained, “We found her on Facebook and decided that we were going to find out more. Get revenge, I guess.”
Agnes raised her eyebrow as she wrote a few more notes down.
“Did you ever feel like Stacy’s interest in Matt’s affair was odd? Or a bit unusual?”
“Well, yes. But Stacy doesn’t work. I’m probably her closest friend and she lives alone. This was her entertainment. She likes drama. I didn’t find it weird or anything…”
Agnes stayed quiet for a few minutes, scribbling into her yellow legal pad.
“I don’t understand the point of these questions… What exactly are you implying, detective?”
“Miss Waltham…” Agnes chewed on the end of her pencil, trying to decide what to say next, “We have reason to believe…”
“I can’t share this information with you; it could tip off a potential suspect…” Agnes hesitated, she looked worried.
“Miss Waltham, you’ve been staying with James in his home?”
“Well, no. We didn’t want Matt to be able to find us. We’ve been in and out of motel rooms.”
“He’s got that kinda money, huh?” Agnes jotted something down quickly.
“He does handy work; I honestly think he’s mostly paid under the table…” I murmured, careful not to let on about the cash we’d found in Camille’s house.
“I see… Do you plan on going home soon? To make amends with your husband?”
I looked up, confused.
“No?” I half said, half questioned, “Why would I do that? I told you everything, he’s dangerous, ok?” I could feel my face getting hotter and hotter. My skin was turning red.
Agnes grabbed my hands and leaned in. She shushed me and whispered quietly, “We just want to make sure you stay safe, ok?” Her words sounded convincing but her eyes looked terrified.