“You’ll see Boschman,” I told Persephone as I escorted her to the Maserati. “But not romantically. Not tonight, at least.” I opened the passenger-side door and gestured for her to get in. She glowered at me, but then climbed inside the car. We sped off for her place.
She sunk low into the leather interior and crossed her arms over her chest. “I can never read you, Detective. One minute, you seem hot for me. The next, ice cold.”
I couldn’t argue with her there. My feelings for Persephone were complicated on a clear day. She was beautiful and magnetic, but she also attracted trouble. And she had a tendency to evade the truth. I expected criminals to lie, but not my girlfriends.
“What do you need with my sweatshirt anyway?” Persephone said, interrupting my thoughts.
I stopped at the traffic light on a busy intersection. “If I wait for Boschman to follow through on forensics, then I’ll be waiting a long time. I need you to bring your glittery sweatshirt with me to the lab. Let Boschman take a look. Force his hand a bit.”
“You mean, flirt with him so he’ll process your crime scene faster,” she said drily.
“And that.” I parked along the curb in front of her house. Persephone made no motion to get out of the car. Instead, she appeared indignant.
“And what if I don’t want to do that?” she huffed.
I stared ahead and drummed my fingers on the steering wheel. “Well, I can always arrest you for obstructing justice. Or better yet, I can take you in for murder seeing as how the glitter from your clothing was at the crime scene.”
She laughed, low and throaty. “I did not kill Mr. Fries.”
She unbuckled her seatbelt. “Stay right here.” She got out of the car and hurried across her front lawn. She unlocked the door and went inside.
I smiled. I’d been at this job a long time. I might not understand women, but I could suss out a suspect. That I was sure of.
A minute later, Persephone climbed back inside the car and threw the sweatshirt at my head. “There,” she said. “Now, let’s get this over with.”
I turned the key in the ignition, and the sportscar roared to life.
“It’s not like I’m dying to go out with Fred,” she said. “But he, at least, asked me. You just like to screw with my head.”
That mollified me. I didn’t like being the bad cop, but I had trust issues. In my line of work, I saw the worst humanity had to offer. Sometimes, it was hard to find the best even if I went looking for it.
We rode the rest of the way to the forensics lab in silence.
Fred Boschman stood hunched over a stainless steel table, picking up tiny bits of glitter with tweezers, and placing them in a petri dish. “I told you Sterling, I’d get your results when I got to them.”
Persephone’s soft lilt cut through the tension. “Maybe, Fred, you could put a rush on it.”
Boschman bolted upright. He glanced at Persephone and adjusted his glasses. “I didn’t think I’d see you so soon, today. We’re still on for tonight?”
“Not unless you process this glitter,” I said as I handed him a plastic evidence bag with Persephone’s sweatshirt inside. “You want to go on your date? Clear your girl of murder.”
That got Boschman’s attention. “You don’t really think Persephone killed Mr. Fries?”
What I thought didn’t matter. It was what the evidence proved. And right now, Boschman was holding up my investigation. He removed the sweatshirt from the bag, and scraped off the glitter with a sharp knife. He put a few specks on a clear, acrylic slide and slipped it under the microscope.
“Hm,” he said, after picking up his head.
“What?” Persephone and I said together.
“The glitter doesn’t match.”
We both stared at him, waiting for him to elaborate.
“The glitter from the sweatshirt and the glitter from your crime scene are not the same. Persephone is not your killer.”
“Well, I could’ve told you that,” she said.
I couldn’t have.