They found the right shoe first. Which was puzzling, because the grumpy neighbor on the corner hadn’t had a right leg in decades, due to misadventure with some sort of animal trap. (Or so people say; I haven’t verified the story.) Regardless, the whole situation was odd. I’d been taking a rare break from the project I was working on when I noticed the gathering crowd at the end of my street, not to mention the collection of flashing blue and red lights. I’d walked down to get some fresh air and to see what was going on. Apparently, from what the onlookers were twittering, our grumpy neighbor had been found dead this morning. There was a right shoe on the walkway to the porch, a left shoe on the porch, and somewhere out the back was the neighbor.
I leaned over the crime scene tape, trying to catch a snippet of conversation between two police officers. My feet started to slip due to a combination of my extreme leaning and the completely inappropriate shoes I was wearing—strappy, glittery silver sandals with a four inch heel, which I had been wearing inside the house to break them in. A strong hand gripped my upper arm firmly until I was stable again. I glanced over, but wasn’t surprised to see the somewhat annoyed countenance of my favorite police officer, Detective Sterling Spreadbury.
“You know, if you step—or fall—past the crime scene tape, Ms. MacGillivray, I just might arrest you. Nice shoes, by the way. They really make that outfit.” I glanced down. In my distracted state, I’d left the house in a ratty oversized sweatshirt with the neck cut out (Flashdance, circa 1983), black leggings, and the sandals. At least the sparkles on the sweatshirt matched the shoes. I winced. Not my best look, for sure.
“So, why’d you save me, if you’re so anxious to arrest me?” Detective Spreadbury always brought out the worst in me. He was tough, by-the-book, and so sinfully gorgeous he ought to be illegal. It wasn’t fair. As a lifelong klutz with an aptitude for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, well, let’s just say I didn’t need any help embarrassing myself.
“Maybe I don’t feel like arresting anyone today. Unless that someone is a murderer.” He paused. “Murder anyone lately, Persephone?” I stared at him in horror. He didn’t really think I murdered anyone did he? I mean, I was a walking catastrophe sometimes, but certainly wouldn’t murder anyone. The twinkle in his eye and brief flash of dimple interrupted my crazy train of thought. Holy cow! Was Detective Sinful being funny? He used my first name! I glanced up to see if pigs were flying. He looked at me strangely.
“What are you looking at?” he asked. I shrugged, causing my sweatshirt to slip further off my shoulder. Sinful stared at the suddenly exposed skin. Hmm.
“Nothing. Just wondering…” Wondering what? I couldn’t spoil this moment by telling him what I was really thinking. “Um, just wondering what happened to Grumpy.”
“Grumpy? You mean Mr. Fries?” I nodded. “You know I can’t tell you anything.” He stared at me for a moment. “Anything you care to tell me?” My eyes widened.
“Me? How would I know anything?” I spluttered.
“Well, you do always seem to be in the wrong place at the right time, and you live right up the street. See anything you’d like to share?” A dark, raised eyebrow just made Sinful Sterling look even more delicious. I licked my lips nervously as I tried to gather my thoughts. His clear gray eyes focused on the movement, and if I’m not mistaken, those pupils dilated a bit with interest. Fascinating. I realized he was back to meeting my eyes, and I still hadn’t gotten it together.
“Oh, um. No, I don’t think so. I’ve been working against a deadline, so I’ve been holed up in my office. It’s at the back of my place, so I wouldn’t have seen anything lately. Not that I recall, anyway,” I said, shrugging. “I wish I had something to share. But, I do have another question.” He raised an eyebrow and waited. Gesturing with my chin, I asked, “What kind of cop shows up to a crime scene in a Maserati?” We both stared at the shiny red car parked as the edge of the crime scene tape, a portable blue flashing light attached to the roof, still flashing.
“Um, well…” he mumbled, “It’s kind of a long story.”