Friday, March 30, 2012
Chapter 3 page 2
A crew of investigators swoops toward the garage of the Hamilton estate only to stop when confronted by a single thin young man wearing black trousers and a crisp white oxford shirt. His auburn hair is disturbed by the breeze while he remains stoic. “Detective Putnam, Detective Fredericko,” Cecil addresses them politely with a slight bow of his head in acknowledgement. “I am assuming you have a warrant to occupy the premises.”
Elissa hands him the document, “Yes, we have a warrant. Now if you’d be so kind as to move aside so we can get to work?”
Cecil’s eyes rake along the document and nods. He pulls a remote from his pocket and clicks it disabling the alarm and bringing the numerous doors automatically open, revealing a large ten-car garage currently housing eight cars. “Lady Zania is expected back within the hour. The automobile Sir Hamilton was last using is normally housed within the third stall.” He looks up from the paper and eyes them both.
“Can you tell me who has access to this garage?” Hector pulls out his notepad and searches his pockets for his pen.
“I can.” Cecil folds the warrant carefully along its seams.
Hector watches him expectantly for his response. Elissa sighs audibly. “Who has access to the garage?”
Cecil’s lip twitches with a hint of a grin. “All occupants of the manor have access as well as the gardener and pool boy.” The last word of his sentence is said with more emotion than he has shown in the few encounters catching Elissa’s attention immediately.
“I’ll need names of the gardening staff and this pool man.” She changes the description slightly watching Cecil closely mentally patting her self on the back when his eyes harden.
“I’ll get you the business card for the gardening company. The crew that tends these grounds is lead by Kingston Riley. They are here twice a week, Tuesday and Friday. As for the fool boy, his name is Travis Knight.” Cecil practically hisses the name. “You’ll most likely find that one near the pool.”
Elissa nods and points towards the back, “That way I presume?”
Cecil looks at the other investigators as they swarm the garage. Upon returning his attention to the detectives, his eyes meet Elissa’s and holds her gaze for a moment of awkward silence. “I will show you the way.”
“Thanks.” Elissa refuses to lower her gaze, lifting her chin a fraction in stubborn resistance. Cecil’s lip twitches once again and he turns on his heel leading the way around the house.
Hector quietly follows. His head still down flipping through notes and adding others. He stops short when the others stop and he looks up in time to see Travis Knight dive smoothly into the pool. The three of them wait as he swims beneath the surface to the other end of the pool.
Travis comes up for air with his head back, water slicking his thick red hair to his scalp. He looks up at his audience and grins with boyish charm. “Howdy.” He pulls himself from the water, running his fingers through his hair elongating his muscular torso with his trunks riding low on his hips. His sharp green eyes glance over the two strangers, ignoring Cecil. His tone body glimmers wetly in what sunshine is able to squeeze between the gray clouds looming above.
“Travis Knight?” Hector speaks up unsure of his partner’s sudden interest in the butler.
“Ayup, that’s what my Momma named me.” He flashes that grin of his again scooping up a towel from a lounge chair and begins elaborately drying his body careful to flex while doing so.
Hector pulls his badge and flashes it in Travis’ direction. “Detective Fredericko, my partner Detective Putnam, I need to ask you a few questions.”
Elissa watches with growing interest the unspoken tension between Cecil and Travis. Hector is looking at his notepad again. Travis rakes his eyes over Elissa with renewed interest before responding. “Shoot.” He chuckles deeply at his own joke. “Not really, but ask away.”
“Cecil?” Elissa pipes in.
“Detective…” Cecil’s cold gaze meets hers.
“You said you have a business card for the gardener?” Elissa’s features remains as neutral as possible.
“Of course,” Cecil shoots a warning glance at Travis that Travis ignores. His attention is busy undressing Elissa with his eyes while he rubs the towel over his body methodically. Cecil’s lip curls in disgust as he turns on his heel heading back towards the rear entrance to the mansion.
Elissa matches Cecil’s pace following him to the mansion. “How long have you worked for the Hamiltons?”
“Six years.” Cecil responds without hesitation and without elaborating.
“You’ve been their butler the whole time?” Elissa looks at his profile, her brows furrowed.
“I was hired as the cook’s assistant.” Cecil opens the door, holding it for Elissa to enter first. She nods and steps over the threshold. He follows her and closes the door with a soft click. He walks toward the short hallway to his left and enters a small neat office plucking the rolodex off the desk to rifle through its contents.
“Where is the cook?” Elissa leans against the door frame while her eyes do a quick yet thorough glance around the room. Much like the only other room she has been in, this one contains no personal items. No photographs, no cards, nothing to show ownership.
He pulls a card from the files and stares blankly at her. “She retired five years ago.” He crosses the room to her, his hand out holding the card for her.
Elissa takes it and nods, “Thank you.” She doesn’t look at the card, she is watching Cecil. “How many people work in the Hamilton mansion?”
Cecil’s lip twitches. “One.”
“That is a lot of responsibility for you and such a large home.” She instinctively looks towards the ceiling as if she can see the whole place from her vantage point.
“Yes,” Cecil takes a deep breath. “If there is nothing more, as you said, the manor is large and I have work to do.”
She pushes her body away from the door frame and raises a finger, “One last request, I need the name and number of Peter Hamilton’s mechanic.”
“So, you and that partner…” Travis raises his eyebrows suggestively, his lips quirks into a grin. He drops his trunks before wrapping the towel around his waist and tucks it in to place.
Hector frowns at the blatant disrespect and grips his pen more tightly. “How long have you worked for the Hamiltons?”
Travis bends forward and scoops up his trunks. He walks to the side of the pool and squeezes the excess water from them. “Oh I dunno, about a year… two.” He eyes him with a small grin. “So is she seein’ someone?”
“I’ll ask the questions.” Hector makes a note.
“A’right,” Travis chuckles walking to a table with a set of four padded chairs. He drops his trunks on the table and allows his long frame to collapse into one of the chairs, leaning back resting one hand low over his bare midriff. One leg is bent, the other extended and his towel falls open to show the length of his bare muscular leg all the way to his hip. “So what do you wanna know? I’m six-two, a hunerd and ninety, and clean. Zany… Mrs. Hamilton met me at a club. I’ve lived in the pool house ever since.”
Hector’s grip on his pen tightens. “What is the nature of your relationship with Mrs. Hamilton?”
Travis’ hand slides down his bare thigh, fingers arched, digging light red marks across his skin disturbing the dusting of blond hair. “Exactly what you think it is.”
“And what do I think it is?” Hector does his best not to watch his movements too closely as his hand rises caressing the inside of his thigh to disappear under the towel. His mind immediately remembering the man’s gifted anatomy.
“To put things as bluntly as possible so you don’t misinterpret things, Detective.” Travis suddenly sits forward and folds both hands on the table in front of him. His face no longer grinning or relaxed. His emerald eyes hard. “I clean the pool.”