Deidre is driving Eoin home, and stops by the police station, to drop something with Vanesa.
“We’ve been looking at him, too, but didn’t find anything.” Vanessa pulled sheets of paper from the envelope.
“I found a lot of weird, inconsistent things. But it wasn’t until just now that I put it all together. I was looking for someone high placed, but it’s not.” Deirdre spread the papers, pointing to a particular photo.
“I don’t follow.” Vanessa glanced at the papers, finally noticing a photo. “Oh. Oh, my.” She looked up at Deirdre, dark brown eyes wide. “Just—now.”
“Yes.” She tilted her head. “I saw a familiar face in the office. And I’ve never met that woman before in my life.”
Vanessa caught her lower lip in her teeth. “Not alone.”
“No.” Deirdre shifted some papers and tapped one with her fingertip. She had no real proof about this, but a strong gut instinct.
The pieces of the puzzle fell into place. “I would never have figured this out. This is—scandalous!”
“I’m lost,” Eoin said, wincing when he leaned forward to see the pages.
“Sue!” Vanessa called. “Will you come in here, please?”
The older woman didn’t answer. They heard the beep of the security door opening. Eoin stood up and rushed out, finding Sue trying to get through the door with a rolling file box behind her. It caught on the doorjamb. She struggled to free it. He did so, snatching it from her, blocking her exit.
“Get out of my way,” she demanded, threatening to hit him.
Vanessa was at her elbow. “Far enough,” she spoke sharply. “You don’t want to hit him, Sue. Let’s not add assault to your charges.”
“You got nothing on me! You can’t prove a thing!”
“I’ve got a family connection between you and Troy Intriago. You’re his mother’s step-sister. And I can also connect you to someone else—Jim Butcher.”
“You can’t prove nothing!” Sue snarled. “You got nothing! Jimmy made it all disappear!”
“You might wanna shut up now,” Eoin said quietly, knowing she wouldn’t.
Sue snapped and growled, wrenching her fat arm out of Vanessa’s hold. Luckily, Jasper heard the commotion, and came to her aid. He cuffed Sue while she still tried to get away.
“Want to tell me why I’ve just arrested our secretary?” he asked over his shoulder, as he walked her to the holding cells.
“I’ll tell you in a minute. Get her booked.”
“On what charge?”
“Multiple charges of obstruction. I’ll come up with more later.”
“You got it, Boss.”
Jasper did his job quickly, listening to Sue rail and screech the entire time. He, wisely, turned on the recording app on his phone. She ranted and raved, revealing details they wouldn’t get in interrogation. When his job was done, he joined the others in Vanessa’s office.
“Speak.” He leaned against the wall, hands in his pockets, ankles casually crossed.
“I got to thinking,” Deirdre said. “Who knows the most in an office? Not the boss….”
“The boss’ secretary,” Jasper concluded. “Yes! And the connection?”
Vanessa handed him a picture from the paper. It was a picture of Sue, Troy, his mother and grandmother, all younger, but identifiable.
“That was right after his grandmother remarried, Sue’s father. Troy joined the Police Athletic League and who did he meet there?” She laid out another picture showing Troy with his arm around Jim Butcher’s shoulders. The two boys smiled wide at the camera.
“Whoa! This guy.” He tapped the photo. “I know this face! f**k!” His head snapped up. “That’s Butch!”
Vanessa frowned, shaking her head.
“Butch. The I.T. guy. He comes in when we have a problem, piddles around. But you know what else he can do?”
Waiting, Vanessa looked impatient. Jasper asked to use her computer. Pulling up the task bar, he found an icon she’d seen every day, but had no clue what it was.
“He can get into our computers by remote. Say you get stuck with a glitch, he can access your computer on a secure link, and take over its functions. He can see it like his own. And he can make things appear….”
“Or disappear,” Eoin finished.
“Exactly. It was easy for Sue to do alone, when Troy was younger, all actual paper work. But once things went electronic, she didn’t have full access, or the knowledge. She’d need outside help,” Jasper said excitedly.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes
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