“Don’t say anything.” I Amy said to Franklin who opened his mouth to answer. “No.” Amy said putting up her index finger for emphasis. “As long as the kind police officers are here you are to keep quiet. Once they are out of earshot we have a little talk. We’ll take it from there. OK?”
Again Franklin was about to say something. Amy cut him short with a pointed look. He nodded instead.
“Good.” said Amy. “Now,” she turned to the police officers whose mood forecast had just taken a turn for overcast weather with spontaneous gales of unwelcome third party interference, “please lead the way.” Amy smiled her best lawyer smile all teeth and sociopath eyes.
The officers led the way back down to the street radiating a field of law enforcement as they moved through the corridors Amy could feel how the building itself caught its breath doing its best to look innocent while the spy holes in the doors looked the other way when they past in front of them only to look after them when it appeared that they could get away with it. The officers led the way with Amy and Franklin trailing after them.
Franklin who usually looked like an olympian God, had shoulders that did their best to slump as best as they could defying their divine birth right. While Franklin’s face was now marked by grief and pain.
They took the strains on their way back down which for Amy meant that the detectives were of the perceptive and competent type, making the situation more complicated that it already was.
“I need to talk to my client in private.” Amy said as they arrived in the street.
“Go ahead,” said McLean not showing even the slightest pretence of moving.
“In private, means alone.” Amy said sliding into the arms of sarcasm her old friend. “Why don’t you go on ahead and sit in your car for a while?”
McLean snorted. “And leave you and the suspect alone so that you can run away?”
“Running away…”, Amy exhaled. “On an open street. On foot. While you are sitting in a police car? And your friends at the precinct can ask the guys monitoring the CCTVs to track us while we make our mad dash to… where? The country?”
McLean took a step towards Amy her hands clenching into hosts. Hartley put a hand on his partners arm stopping her. “Let them. They are going to huddle together anyway. They might as well start here.” McLean turned towards her partner still stony faced. “And if they should try to escape,” he added, “you can shoot them with tranq darts for resisting arrest. Both of them.” he said looking Amy in the eyes when he said the last part. McLean unholstered her weapon deactivating the safety without taking looking away from her prey, saying all she had to say with that gesture before going to the police car.
“Please, don’t do anything stupid.” Hartley said, in the voice of a man who had a lifetime of people choosing to be stupid behind him but had not given up hope just yet. He to turned away joining McLean in the police car.
“Turn around,” Amy said when the car door closed behind Hartley.
“Why?” asked Franklin.
“Because I don’t want to risk discovering that the cops have some hidden lip reading talents.” Amy replied talking to a grey concrete wall that was attempting to maintain its innocence by hiding behind graffiti, only to appear more scandalous because of it.
“Can they do that?” Franklin asked.
“I have no idea. And I don’t want to find out.” Amy said, stealing a glance at Franklin, his gorgeous looks going a long way to restore her patience.
“You are also a lawyer?” Franklin said turning towards her admiration in his eyes.
“Face the wall.” Amy snapped. “And no, I am not a lawyer.”
“But you told the police that I am your client…”
“Because you are my client. They just seem to assume that I am your lawyer.” Amy said.
“You also sounded a lot like a lawyer.” Franklin said doing his best to keep looking at the scandalous wall.
“It is one of my many talents.” Amy said. “And you are lucky that I am because I can keep you out of trouble until your real lawyer appears.”
“I don’t have a lawyer.” Franklin said.
“Of course you have, you just haven’t met him yet. I promise you that Lady Ashton Stone will not leave you without legal protection.”
“Are you sure.” Franklin asked.
“Of curse I’m sure. That woman is madly in love with you.”
Franklin tried turning into several shades of red until he settled on the one that let him look the most smashing in his embarrassment.
“Now that we have that out of the way,” Amy said hoping to finally arrive at her actual point, “Who the fuck is Linda Curtis?”
Something broke in Franklin as Amy asked the question. The pain in him had found a way out and it would not be denied by his looks. The weight of the world dropped on him crushing the light out of his eyes, for a brief moment stopping his entire body. A flash of the numbness of death. When Christopher Franklin started talking again it was clear he wished that moment had taken him with it.
“Lind is… Lind was my ex.” he said tears now flowing down his face. His body shaking as he kept himself as much under control as he could. “We…” he paused for a long time. “… it was complicated.”
“Do you still love her?” Amy asked. She wasn’t sure if she was twisting a knife in a wound with her words, but she needed to know what the situation was and in the worst case scenario she hoped that Franklin’s grief was so great that her words would not add significantly to his pain.
“Love her…” Franklin considered her words. “No. I still care a lot about her, I wished we could have been friends and I had hoped that one day we would be….” he paused again. Tears streaming down the creases of his face broken by sadness. “She was. I don’t know. To aggressive? She kept pushing me. Never let me follow my dreams. Kept putting me down for having a vision and trying to get there. She always told me off. Tried to pressure me to be ‘realist’. You know? Put all the things I rally, deeply care about aside and just lead a productive life.” He turned his face towards Amy who hadn’t the heart to tell him to face the wall again. “Productive for what? I would have produced… what exactly? For who? I would have existed. But I would never have lived!” He turned back to the wall eyes cast down. “So… I left her. She didn’t take it well, she wasn’t the kind of person who takes no for an answer. Strange really. How someone who compromises so much to live a life as expected can be so uncompromising in nature. She became increasingly aggressive. Or at least it felt that way so I cut her out of my life. It was only meant to be temporary. But now she… she’s dead.” at this point Franklin started to cry openly sobs shaking his body as he sank to his knees rocking softly as he put his arms across his chest, trying to give him an embrace that the world right now just didn’t want to provide.
Amy stepped towards Franklin, crouched next to him and put an arm over his shoulders. She tried to think of something to say something comforting. But there wasn’t anything.
She cast glance over to the police car. Hartley was leaning back in his seat haven taking an interest in the ceiling while McLean was still watching them her fierce determination slowly melting away.
“Look.” said Amy. “I know this is hard but please don’t talk to the police. For now you will only talk to me and your lawyer when he arrives. OK?”
“I have ask you a few more questions, but than can wait until we are at the precinct. Remember I am here to help you. Don’t trust the police, right now they are looking for a murderer, that makes them twitchy. Especially when they think they have found a promising suspect. The may be threatening or nice or business like or all of the above, but you will stay silent. They will be trying to get something out of you by any means possible.”
“But I didn’t kill anyone!” Franklin protested.
“I know.” Amy lied although she was inclined to believe Franklin. “But depending how the clearance rate of homicide is this month and how much pressure the department is under, they’d rather take the innocent in their hand than go chasing for the guilty in the wild…”
“They wouldn’t do that.” Franklin said. “They are the police…”
“They shouldn’t. But they will, if it means keeping their department from punitive measures for not being effective enough in their police work.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Which makes you a good man in my book.” Amy said. “Now come. Let’s get this over with.” she extended a hand to Franklin and helped him up.