Author's note:

Hello all. New update. This time we meet our law enforcement officers and the intrigue finally begins… =]

Chapter 7

Duncan Trawler had been a cop for over 10 years. In that time, he had seen many dark and dangerous things, things that would make most normal people run for the therapist. He had gotten through many sleepless nights and nightmares in his time. He always powered his way through. Right now though, he was about out of gas with Joseph Warren.

Hanging up the phone, Duncan leaned back in his desk chair and let out a loud groan.

"What's up?" His partner, Harry, looked up from his computer. "Who was that calling?"

"I'll give you one guess," Duncan said in an exasperated voice. He laid his head down on his desk. God he was tired. And he didn't need annoyances like these. His job was hard enough.

"Warren called again?" Harry raised an amused eyebrow. He was glad that Duncan was lead detective assigned to the one.

"Yeah I guess he had a few things he wanted to check out before he got back to sleep." Duncan's voice was muffled against the wood. A few strands of his dark hair floated down with the motion.

"Man, will he ever quit? Why are you putting up with it?" Harry settled back in his chair, always happy for an excuse to procrastinate doing paperwork.

Duncan raised his head and looked directly at Harry with his intense emerald green eyes. "Harry, the man lost his wife. He just buried her yesterday." Duncan himself had never walked down the aisle, but he could imagine what it was like. "He's annoying, yes, but I guess I understand a little bit." Or at least he was trying to… "That being said, if the man keeps calling here I'm going to have to change my line. I can't work with all these phone calls!" Done with his little pity party, he sat up and grabbed a case file at random to continue dealing with paperwork.

"Is he still claiming his wife would never kill herself?"

"Sure is."

"Just doesn't want to accept the truth, that's what it is," Harry mused.

Duncan nodded his agreement but closed his eyes, thinking. Warren's wife's suicide… It should have been an open and shut case. She had clearly tied the knot herself, fingerprints said so. The chair had been kicked out just as one would expect. Only her fingerprints on it.

Maybe that was what bothered him so much. It seemed too perfect. Even the suicide note. "I can't take it anymore, goodbye." It was all so generic and tidy. From his experience suicides were usually a messy business. Plus the utter lack of any fingerprints except hers… had she decided to clean everything earlier that day?

Duncan looked up when Harry rose. "I'm going to get some coffee, you want any?" Duncan shook his head and watched as Harry left the room. Then he reached across his desk and pulled over the Warren file. Taking out the crime scene pictures, he studied them again. Something was bothering him about the case. Sure it was too neat and tidy, but maybe that was just coincidence. He poured over the pictures, using them to prompt his own memory of the crime scene. She had hung herself from a tree in the backyard, easily reachable. The chair had been brought from the kitchen.

The kitchen… the kitchen. Duncan pulled out the picture of the kitchen. H e studied it. When he saw Harry coming back in, he let out a sigh and started to flip the file closed, but then he saw something in the picture. "Hmm…"

Harry glanced over, "Hmm what?"

"Harry," he began, "now I'm not much of a cook. But what is this here?" He pointed at a dish on the counter in the picture.

"Well that looks like… marinade or something. A 1 maybe. Why? Planning on trying your hand at it?"

"This is a picture from the Warren kitchen. Why does a woman who is planning on killing herself prepare a marinade right before?"

Harry frowned, "Well you got me there."

Duncan's lips curved a little, "Maybe Warren isn't as crazy as we thought."

Harry rounded the desk and pulled over a chair. He studied the picture as well, thoughtfully. After a few moments, he pointed at the table. "This is a little strange too."

"What?" Duncan couldn't see anything wrong with the table. It was clean, uncluttered with items.

"Well obviously the chair she used belonged here," he pointed at an empty spot at the head of the table. "But why bring that one outside? Why not one closer to the door?" He pulled out another picture and pointed out the door. Clearly the two chairs right in front of it were much closer than the one taken.

"Maybe it was sturdier than the others or had some significance to her. But I get what you are going after." Duncan stroked a finger over his chin. "Did they dust for prints in the kitchen?"

"Nope, they didn't have any reason to," Harry continued to look at the picture as well. He was intrigued now as well. Could they have a real mystery on their hands here?

"Well tomorrow I'm going to go pay Mr Warren a visit. What do you think the odds are that he's kept everything in pristine condition ever since?"

"With his level of obsession? I'd say pretty damn good." Harry grinned a little at the thought.

"Oh and Harry?"

"Yes?" Harry looked over from behind his computer screen once more.

"Don't tell anyone I'm looking into this. I don't want the commissioner coming down on me for wasting my time with a nearly closed case."

"No problem. As long as you make a deal with me." Duncan raised an eyebrow and waited for Harry to finish. "If this turns into something, let me have a piece of it too."

"Deal."