Camille headed back over to where Derrick, Fiona, and Scott were standing, just outside the statue room. Derrick turned as she approached. "Hey, I'm letting the guys know they can stand down," he said. "I guess we're not finding out who did this one?"
"Leave it with me," replied Camille, avoiding his gaze. "I'll have it wrapped up for you."
"I'm sure you will."
Camille cleared her throat, sensing Derrick's slightly bitter tone. "Before I do, there's just one last thing I need to clarify with Mr Hamilton."
Scott glanced up sharply. "Me?"
"Yes, please. Just come over with me to the security office."
The nightguard followed Camille down to the front door and into the security office: one of the only rooms in the museum without a camera in it. She shut the door behind them and invited Scott to sit down with a simple hand gesture.
Folding her arms, Camille got right to the point: "Did you see anyone enter this building tonight who wasn't supposed to be here?"
Scott's hands, folded neatly in his lap, immediately tensed, all but confirming Camille's theory. "I...um... For example?"
"For example, a charming boy who looks very similar to me, exactly like the one who came to fix the statue earlier," said Camille pointedly.
Scott opened his mouth to say something else but his gaze met Camille's and his shoulders drooped, clearly realising that the game was up. "He didn't even tell me his name but he charmed me like I'd never been charmed before. I helped him sneak in the back door where there weren't any cameras. I knew I shouldn't have done it but he said he wasn't a threat and I couldn't help believing him. He was just so... so... so... ch-charming." He winced. "Am I going to be fired?"
Camille averted her eyes. "No. As long as you don't give a description of the man you let in to anyone. If you do, then you WILL get in trouble. Understood?"
The nightguard stared at her with wide eyes. "Are you trying to protect a criminal who broke into the museum?"
"Well, he didn't exactly break in, did he?" Camille retorted coldly, giving him a hard look.
"I have my reasons for keeping this quiet, as do you. Can I count on your silence?"
When Scott didn't reply, Camille let her posture relax somewhat. "How old are you?"
After a moment's hesitation, Scott murmured, "Nineteen."
"Do you really want a stupid mistake to ruin your life at so young an age? What will your parents think if it comes out that you helped a potential criminal get into the museum, abusing the trust your employer placed in you when she hired you?"
Scott buried his face in his hands. "Oh, God... Okay, I-I won't tell. I don't really want to get him in trouble, anyway. He was..." He swallowed, clearly wrestling with the right words. "...charming."
"So you keep saying," Camille muttered irritably. "Thank you, Mr Hamilton. You've made the right choice."
She gave him an awkward pat on the back and opened the door, letting Scott leave the office before she followed suit, internally breathing a sigh of relief. At least Marcel's secret was safe, for now.
As she headed towards the exit, she found Fiona Widdicombe standing underneath the hall security camera, on the phone. As Camille approached, Fiona caught sight of her, said a quick goodbye to the person on the other end of the line, and put her phone away.
"Detective Deluca's just gone," she said. "Are you heading out too?"
Camille nodded slowly. Now that the situation was wrapping up, the late hour was starting to catch up with her and all she wanted was to dive into her bed. "I am, yes. Is everything in order here?"
"Yes, it is now." Fiona gave a wide smile. "I really can't thank you enough, Miss Washington. You have no idea how embarrassing it would have been to have to try and explain to the board tomorrow how someone managed to break into the museum and somehow transformed a valuable statue into a different pose." She paused, frowning confusedly. "What on Earth would possess someone to do this?"
Camille cocked her head to the side. "Director?"
"What's the motive here? Going through all the risk of breaking into the museum just to transform a statue? Nothing is missing, so it wasn't for monetary gain. Did the perpetrator just want to embarrass the museum?"
"Um... Well, I suppose there's no way to know for certain," said Camille, shifting her feet a little. "And even if the police don't find the culprit, at least there's no harm done and it's very unlikely to happen again."
After a moment, Fiona nodded. "You're right. I just need to focus on getting ready for the board's visit."
Camille bowed her head respectfully. "I'll be heading out, then. Goodnight, Director."
Fiona reached out and caught Camille's wrist just as the latter tried to move past her. "Oh, wait, before you go. You're the daughter of Maurito and Tatiana Washington, aren't you? The descendents of the founder of Cliffordstown?"
"Yes, that's right. Renata Washington. Why do you ask?"
"We're actually opening an exhibition on the founding of Cliffordstown very soon," said Fiona, a glimmer of excitement in her eyes. "I wondered if you'd like to go and have a quick look before we officially open it to the public? Since it contains relics from that era and even personal items that once belonged to Renata Washington herself."
That piqued Camille's interest. "Oh, really? I'd really like that, Director. If it's okay with you."
"Of course!" Fiona pointed back down the hall. "Go to the left at the crossroads and it's the second door on your right. It's marked "Founding Era"."
"Thank you. I'll go right now."
Camille headed back down towards the crossroads and went in the direction Fiona had indicated. She found the entranceway marked "Founding Era" very easily and, now imbued with excitement, headed inside.
The exhibition room was small and lined with display cases. Right in the middle stood a pedestal that held a golden bust of Renata Washington's head and shoulders, outlined by a flag on the wall behind it. A very old flag, one from the era Renata had been born in.
"Whoa," breathed Camille, gazing around the room.
Something caught her eye as she turned: a painting on an easel, which showed Renata Washington and another woman with dark skin and long black hair, both darker than Renata's own. Camille moved closer and inspected the descriptive plaque beside it.
Renata Washington and her lifelong partner, Valora Abernathy. Valora is often hailed as a co-founder of Cliffordstown along with Renata, but she sadly passed away soon after Cliffordstown was established and is not officially considered a founder.
Camille frowned. Renata and Valora. Her parents had told her many stories of Renata's exploits but the name Valora Abernathy had never come up before. Why, since Renata had clearly cared very deeply for Valora? Surely the two names should come hand in hand, if the two were life partners?
Alarm bells rang in her detective brain. Something wasn't right, here.
Camille moved on to the exhibits next to the painting, her eyes scanning for any further mention of Valora Abernathy. But she found absolutely nothing, which both intrigued and worried her. Why had such an important part of her descendent's life been erased from the history books?
Some part of Camille's mind was telling her that she was reading too much into this. But she had dedicated many years to protecting her family's legacy and reputation, and if this was something that could potentially harm that, then she had to investigate further, if just to put her own mind at rest. But something told her that this wasn't just a mistake or an oversight. This had the potential to be big.
But she could never have anticipated just HOW big.