Friday, March 30, 2012
Chapter 3 page 2
A crew of investigators swooped 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 was disturbed by the breeze while he remained stoic. “Detective Putnam, Detective Fredericko,” Cecil addressed them politely with a slight bow of his head in acknowledgement. “I am assuming you have a warrant to occupy the premises.”
Elissa handed 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 raked along the document and nodded. He pulled a remote from his pocket and clicked 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 was normally housed within the third stall.” He looked up from the paper and eyed them both.
“Can you tell me who has access to this garage?” Hector pulled out his notepad and searched his pockets for his pen.
“I can.” Cecil folded the warrant carefully along its seams.
Hector watched him expectantly for his response. Elissa sighed audibly. “Who has access to the garage?”
Cecil’s lip twitched 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 was said with more emotion than he had shown in the few encounters they previously had catching Elissa’s attention immediately.
“I’ll need names of the gardening staff and this pool man.” She changed the given description slightly watching Cecil closely mentally patting her self on the back when his eyes hardened.
“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 hissed the name. “You’ll most likely find that one near the pool.”
Elissa nodded and pointed towards the back, “That way I presume?”
Cecil looked at the other investigators as they swarmed the garage. Upon returning his attention to the detectives, his eyes met Elissa’s and he held her gaze for a moment of awkward silence before he spoke again, “I will show you the way.”
“Thanks.” Elissa refused to lower her gaze, lifting her chin a fraction in stubborn resistance. Cecil’s lip twitched once again and he turned on his heel leading the way around the house.
Hector quietly followed. His head still down while flipping through his notes and adding others. He stopped short when the others stopped and he looked up in time to see Travis Knight dive smoothly into the pool. The three of them waited as he swam 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 looked up at his audience and grinned with boyish charm. “Howdy.” He pulled 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 glanced over the two strangers, ignoring Cecil entirely. His tone body glimmered wetly in what sunshine was able to squeeze between the gray clouds looming above.
“Travis Knight?” Hector spoke up unsure of his partner’s sudden interest in the butler.
“Ayup, that’s what my Momma named me.” He flashed that grin of his again scooping up a towel from a lounge chair and began elaborately drying his body - careful to flex his muscles while doing so.
Hector pulled his badge and flashed it in Travis’ direction. “Detective Fredericko, my partner Detective Putnam, I need to ask you a few questions.”
Elissa watched the unspoken tension between Cecil and Travis with growing interest. Hector was looking at his notepad again. Travis raked his eyes over Elissa with renewed interest before responding. “Shoot.” He chuckled deeply at his own joke. “Not really, but ask away.”
“Cecil?” Elissa piped in.
“Detective…” Cecil’s cold gaze met hers.
“You said you have a business card for the gardener?” Elissa’s features remained as neutral as possible.
“Of course,” Cecil shot a warning glance at Travis that Travis ignored. His mind was too busy mentally undressing Elissa while he methodically rubbed the towel over his body. Cecil’s lip curled in disgust as he turned on his heel and continued on towards the rear entrance to the mansion.
Elissa matched Cecil’s pace following him to the mansion. “How long have you worked for the Hamiltons?”
“Six years.” Cecil responded without hesitation and -not for the first time - without elaborating.
“You’ve been their butler the whole time?” Elissa looked at his profile and her brows furrowed.
“I was hired as the cook’s assistant.” Cecil opened the door and held it allowing for Elissa to enter first. She nodded her thanks and stepped over the threshold. Cecil followed her in and closed the door with a soft click. He walked toward the short hallway to his left and entered a small neat office. Plucking the rolodex off the desk, Cecil rifled through its contents.
“Where is the cook?” Elissa leaned against the door frame while her eyes did a quick - yet thorough - glance around the room. Much like the only other room she had been in, this one contains no personal items: no photographs, no cards, nothing to show ownership.
He pulled a card from the files and stared blankly at her. “She retired five years ago.” Cecil crossed the room to her, his hand out holding the card for her to take.
Elissa took it and nodded her gratitude, “Thank you.” She didn’t look at the card, Elissa was watching Cecil. “How many people work in the Hamilton mansion?”
Cecil’s lip twitched. “One.”
“That is a lot of responsibility for you and such a large home.” Elissa instinctively looked towards the ceiling as if she could see the whole place from her vantage point.
“Yes,” Cecil took a deep breath. “If there is nothing more. As you said, the manor is large and I have work to do.”
Elissa pushed her body away from the door frame and raised a finger, “One last request, I need the name and number of Peter Hamilton’s mechanic.”
“So, you and that partner…” Travis raised his eyebrows suggestively, his lips quirked into a grin. He dropped his trunks before wrapping the towel around his waist and tucked it into place.
Hector frowned at the blatant disrespect and gripped his pen more tightly. “How long have you worked for the Hamiltons?”
Travis bent forward and scooped up his trunks. He walked to the side of the pool and squeezed the excess water from them. “Oh I dunno, about a year… two.” He eyed Hector with a small grin. “So is she seein’ someone?”
“I’ll ask the questions.” Hector made a note.
“A’right,” Travis chuckled walking to a table with a set of four padded chairs. He dropped his trunks on the table and allowed his long frame to collapse into one of the chairs. Travis leaned back and rested one hand low over his bare midriff. One leg was bent, the other extended and his towel fell 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 hun'erd 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 tightened. “What is the nature of your relationship with Mrs. Hamilton?”
Travis’ hand slid 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 did his best not to watch Travis' movements too closely. The man's hand rose up the inside of his thigh to disappear under the towel. Hector's mind immediately remembered the other man’s gifted anatomy.
“To put things as bluntly as possible so you don’t misinterpret things, Detective.” Travis suddenly sat forward with both hands gripping the arms of his chair. Travis' face was no longer grinning or relaxed. His emerald eyes were hard. “I clean the pool.”