Chapter 6

A middle aged man opens the door. His hair and clothes are unkempt and there is screeching of children from behind him. He looks exhausted. "Well? What do you want?"

Gregory clears his throat. "Mr. Laurel, I am Detective Gregory Harris and this is my partner, Ms. Bell. We are investigating your ex-wife's death and would like to ask you a few questions."

The man rolls his eyes and opens the door. "Whatever. Watch your step." He grumbles, turning away and grabbing a little boy as he sprints by. "Bishop! Enough! You and your brother go play in your room." The child only pulls his arm free with a grunt and takes off. Mr. Laurel grumbles to himself as he shows them to the sitting room. "Tea?"

"Not necessary, but thank you. We do not plan to take up much of your time."

"What? The twerps scaring you off?" He smirks, kicking a stack of blocks away from in front of the black pleather couch and sitting down.

"They're—"

Gregory glances sharply at Kendall as she starts to respond and cuts her off. "—No, we just have other leads to follow after you is all. We believe your ex-wife's death is part of a chain of homicides."

"Did you or her have any enemies that you know of?" Kendall asks.

"Ms. Bell, I will question Mr. Laurel. Thank you. Why don't you just take notes?" He glances at her.

Kendall looks at him, pressing her lips into a fine line, but she does take out her notepad and pen and flips to an empty page.

"But please, Mr. Laurel, is there anyone you can think of that would have wished your ex dead?"

Mr. Laurel thinks on this. "Nope...The other way round perhaps, but no. Janice never saw a stranger. She was the sweetest girl I've ever known. Not perfect by any means, but the only people who might not have appreciated her would have judged her from her style." He shrugs.

"What kind of business did she run?"

"Baby boutique stuff. Frilly toddler dresses, tiny tuxedos, strollers, bears, you know that kind of stuff."

"Did she have many employees?"

"A handful or so. They loved her though...And the boys. I know she used to bring them with her."

"May I ask what were the grounds of your divorce?"

"Infidelity on my end. I was high and stupid, Janice walked in and it was over like that. Refused counseling and all. That woman had the trust of a stick. Break it once and it was gone...Worst mistake of my life..." He shakes his head and looks at Greg. "Don't make that mistake with your own woman. It's not worth it."

"No worries there, Ms. Bell is only my assistant." He shrugs.

Kendall's hand jerks and she draws a sharp line up the page with her pen. She bites her lower lip and returns to taking the notes, shaking her head slowly.

"Did your ex have any strange habits?"

"Besides her hair? None that I can recall."

"Did she have a common routine?"

"I would say no. Even her shop hours were different each day. She couldn't stick to a routine to save her life."

"What were you doing the night before last, the night she died?"

Mr. Laurel sits back into the couch and considers this. "I was on a date with my girlfriend. We went out for an Italian dinner and then we went and saw a late movie and I spent the night at her place."

"Do you have any idea where your ex could have been that night before the incident?"

"None..." he shakes his head. "We haven't spoken since we finalized the divorce last month."

Gregory nods and glances at Kendall. "Anything else you can think of that we should ask?"

"I think you covered all of your questions, however I do have one myself." She looks at Mr. Laurel. "How profitable was her business?"

"I think it did pretty well. I never really looked over the books though."

Kendall nods and jots this down. "Thank you for your time, Mr. Laurel. And our condolences to you and your boys."

Mr. Laurel nods and watches as they get up. "Do you need shown to the door or—"

"We can find it ourselves." Gregory nods and taps Kendall's shoulder. "Come on."

Kendall gets up and brushes past him, rolling her eyes as she does so and leads the way to the door.

"Detective Harris—"

Gregory pauses and looks back at the man. "Yes?"

Mr. Laurel looks him in the eye. "You find the jackarse that did this and put him away. I want to know when you have that information."

"Of course." He nods. "We'll also be in contact with you if we have any further questions."

"Please do." He nods, taking a deep breath.

Gregory nods and opens the door. Kendall walks out and straight to the passenger seat of Greg's car. He raises a brow at her and gets in himself. "Problem?"

"You."

He sits there a moment as he cranks the car, then does a sideways nod of his head. "Fair enough."

Kendall crosses her arms and glances at him. "So you know why I'm peeved?"

"Because I just let you ask one question."

Kendall sighs deeply and looks out the window. "Try again."

He backs out from the drive way. "Just tell me, because I was not aware of doing anything else that would have set you off."

"You verbally demoted me."

He stops the car and looks at her. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"Ms. Bell is only my assistant." She looks at him. "I thought I was both your business partner and your friend. But I've been wrong about things before, so of course that's my fault."

"Kendall, I was just trying to clear up that we aren't a couple." He rolls his eyes and starts down the road.

"And what does that matter to him whether or not he thinks that? He could have been referring to one of your actual girlfriends."

"Rumors can start anywhere, Kendall."

"Oh right, right. Can't let any story make way to your father that you might be dating a commoner."

"Kendall."

"What does he think about your current sleeping arrangements? Your one night friends? Because I'm sure a rumor about the Earl's son being a manwhore is much better than a rumor that he might be dating a commoner!"

Gregory grips the wheel and considers his words carefully. "I didn't mean that to come out as it did in there or out here, but you're overreacting."

Kendall just rolls her eyes and watches the window.

"I should have said we were just partners or friends."

"That would have been better, yes." She nods.

"I can't go back and change that now."

Kendall sighs and shakes her head. "Didn't ask you to. But you need to consider how you act in front of others pertaining to me better. This isn't the first time you've done something like this, you know?"

"I'll keep that in mind."

"Thank you." She nods and starts fiddling with the iPod. "That's all I ask is that you make an effort to be a little less of an arse."

Greg grins a little. "I make no promises besides that I'll keep it in mind."

Kendall looks sideways at him, but then smiles a tiny bit, shaking her head. "Where are we going now, anyway?"

"To the common denominator."

"What?"

"We're going to the common denominator of all the murders thus far."

"Which is?"

"Patric Silverstein."

Kendall looks at him. "So the lawyer."

"Yep."

She scrolls on her phone. "Oh! He's that bloke you turn the channel from when his commercial is on."

"Yep."

"Because you went to university with him?"

"I did, yes."

"But what's wrong with that?"

Gregory smirks. "He's an arse."

Kendall raises a brow. "Pot—"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've met the kettle." He snorts. "And I don't like him."

"So I need to interrogate him then?"

"I never said that." He glances at her.

"But I have a lot of experience with dealing with arses." Kendall sticks her tongue out at him.

"We'll see."

"Question hog." She mutters.

Greg turns at a stop light. "What was that?"

"I didn't say anything." She smirks to herself.

"Mhmm."