“Hey but then you would have never been my knight in shining armor, and we would have never met.”
“Very true. But don’t do that crazy shit again.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ve got to go.” I bypass him and grab my purse. “Are you coming, or not?” My smirk is teasing.
He storms to me, wrapping his fist into my hair and tilting my head, then whispers, “Smartass,” before kissing me breathlessly. He lets me go and walks out of the apartment. We make it out of the house with a few more stolen kisses after locking the door.
The drive to Kendall County is somber. I try my best to be cheerful, but as we get closer, the more broken I feel. My aunt loved that home. She loved the library most of all. We had so many good memories in there that it’s hard for me to fathom it’s all gone.
We don’t go to the house because it’s almost nine. The station commander meets us, then takes us back to speak with a detective. “Hello, Mr. Carrington.” He looks at me with a hint of suspicion.
“This is my fiancé, Mira Richmond.” I don’t challenge it because we both know that is what we want.
“Oh wow. We’d like to talk to both of you as it happens.”
“If you would wait right here, Ms. Richmond.”
“Actually, no we’ll go together. Anything we have to discuss can be together or not at all.”
“Fine. Please come in.” We take seats in a medium size interrogation room. I don’t have any problems being in here because I know that both of us have solid alibies and no reason to want to ruin the property.
“Do you want something to drink?”
“Yes, please. It’s been a long drive, and Ben has to take his medicine.” Ben gives me a glare. “What? Are you going to be stubborn about it?”
The detective steps out and comes back with two bottles of water. After he takes a seat and adjusting his sleeves he asks, “So where were you two the past two days.”
“I explained to you that I was in the hospital. Someone ran me off the road. The Chicago police actually have the report of the incident and are investigating the matter.”
“And you? I happen to work for the CPD’s forensic department and have been working until last night. I was at my apartment and even received a package this morning. After that I got a call, then off to see Ben at the hospital. What are you implying? Do you believe it was arson?”
“We have no doubt it was arson,” the detective answers with a hardness in his tone.
“I can’t believe this.”
“Is there anyone that you could think of that would want to do this to you, Mr. Carrington?”
“I don’t have a clue at the moment.”
“Actually. My cousin’s the one who informed us of the fire, and that’s why we looked up the information to call you.”
“Does your cousin live in the area?”
“No, he lives in Naperville.”
“Then how did he know about it?” the detective asks.
The room grew quiet as I searched for an answer. Then it hits me. “Oh goodness. That’s where I’ve seen the name,” I say aloud.
“What name? What do you mean?” Ben asks.
I address the detective because I know that Ben is going to be mad when he realizes the danger I put myself in. “About a week ago I…I…confronted my cousin at his office. It was about something that I was supposed to receive in the will. He claimed that neither him or my other cousin David had any idea what happened to it. In my ranting and raving at him, I caught a name on a sticky note attached to a file folder.”
“So what’s the name?”
“Earlier, I received a text message and one of my colleagues ran it. The owner of the cell phone was a Daniel Cooley. The same name on the note.”
“What did the message say?” The detective looks annoyed with me, but I can see Ben is pissed. I took out my phone and Ben grabbed it first. He reads the text angrily clenching his fists, then the detective reads it.
“You’re not to blame for any of this,” Ben says through gritted teeth, trying to console me, but it only makes things worse. It all makes sense. They were trying to cover their tracks at the old house. There must have been something there, or maybe they already knew about Ben and me and decided it would be a perfect way to get Ben out of my life and make me miserable in the process. Either way, it’s all tied back to my cousins.
“I am. If I hadn’t been looking for the books, they wouldn’t have done any of this. I know it’s the reason.”
“No, Mira. It’s all their fault, but I have something to confess. Please don’t be mad at me. But…I tracked down the books and contacted the auction house and informed them that the books in the auction may be stolen.” Mad at him? He went hunting down the books I was so desperate to have.