Chapter XIV: Putting Two and Two Together
Bianca’s mind raced as she sped toward home. She didn’t want to come to any conclusions and she had to think before she acted. After Jennifer told her that Erica had planned to talk with Darren at her place, all kinds of thoughts rans through Bianca’s mind. He couldn’t do that to her, Bianca thought to herself. What am I talking about? Darren’s not that type of guy. He would never hurt my sister. Bianca wanted to talk to Darren but she didn’t want to do so before she discussed her theory with Dean. She pulled into the driveway and sat in her car, taking deep breaths before she walked into the house. When she got in there, Dean was in the family room, watching college football. She stood in the doorway, hesitant to speak to Dean about her thoughts.
“Dean, can I talk to you?” Bianca said. Dean didn’t look up from the TV.
“Can we talk later? Let me finish watching this game Babe,” Dean said.
“Fuck the game Dean! I need to talk to you!” Bianca yelled. Dean looked up with a surprised look on his face. He knew it had to be bad; Bianca rarely cursed so he knew that whatever she wanted to talk to him about was important. Dean hit the Mute button on the remote control.
“What is it baby?” Dean asked, feeling worried. Bianca’s face told him that something had disturbed her.
“Let me ask you something Dean, and I want you to be totally honest with me,” Bianca said. “What did you know about the relationship between your brother and Erica?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Dean said, feeling a strange sensation run through his body. “The only thing I know is that they hung out a couple of times, then they stopped. I had a feeling that Darren was hurt when they stopped hanging out.”
“What did he say?” Bianca said, getting suspicious and madder at the same time.
“What are you trying to say Bianca?” Dean asked.
“I’m not trying to say a damn thing Dean,” Bianca said. “I’m just asking a question and I want you to answer me honestly.”
“Wait a minute,” Dean said. “Don’t come at me with an attitude. If I say that I don’t know what you mean, then I don’t. What have you heard about them?”
“Oh so he didn’t tell you that he was fucking my sister?!” Bianca said. Dean’s eyes grew wide with surprise.
“What are you talking about Bianca? They were what?”
“THEY WERE FUCKING, DEAN,” Bianca yelled.
“What the hell? Who told you this?” Dean’s voice rose.
“Jennifer told me,” Bianca said.
“Who told her?”
“Who do you think? Erica told her,” Bianca said. “She said they’d been sexually intimate since that first night they went out together. They had been having sex for five months or so, then they got into it and Darren had been making Erica’s life hell.”
“How was he making her life hell?” Dean began to get mad. It sounded as if Bianca was accusing his brother of…murder? No, she couldn’t be doing that, Dean thought to himself. “You can stop that shit right there. Are you saying that you think Darren killed Erica? My brother is not a killer. Why the hell would he want to kill her anyway? All the women that are at his disposal and he would flip out over her?”
“Did you know that she was pregnant with his child?” Bianca said. Dean stood in stunned silence.
Sunday Afternoon, October 31st, 2:28 p.m.
After the fight with Dean the night before, Bianca had packed an overnight bag and checked into a hotel. She couldn’t believe how angry Dean had become with her. She was trying to get to the bottom of her sister’s murder and he was too closed-minded to consider that his younger brother may have been responsible. Maybe he didn’t want her to keep the baby, Bianca thought as she looked out the window of her hotel room. A few seconds later, someone knocked on the door. She opened it and Cash stood outside in the hallway, looking somber.
“Come in Cash,” Bianca said. Cash stepped inside and they hugged each other.
“How are you?” Cash asked.
“I’ve been better,” Bianca said. “Have a seat.” Cash took a seat in one of the chairs while Bianca sat across from him. “How are you doing?”
“I’m okay,” Cash said. “I have my days where I can’t believe Erica’s gone and those are the worst. But I’m coming to the realization that she’s not coming back and that I have to move on with my life.”
“Same here,” Bianca said. “I keep expecting her to call or text me but…” Her voice trailed off. She exhaled. “Cash, I asked you to come here because I need some answers. Did you know about Erica’s relationship with Darren?”
“Yes, Erica told me about it the night of the dinner at your house,” Cash said. “I had a feeling that something had happened between them because of the shade he threw at me but I just thought maybe he was intimidated by me.”
“Did she tell you that she was pregnant?”
“She told me. I was accepting of it because it happened before we reconnected,” Cash said.
“So she really did plan to keep the baby then,” Bianca said. She shook her head.
“She did,” Cash said. “She wasn’t happy that Darren was the father though. She had planned to talk to him the next night after she told me.”
“The night she died?” Bianca asked.
“Yeah,” Cash said. “She was going to talk to him before our date that night.”
“Cash…do you think he made it to her house?”
“I’m not sure. I mean, he could have but then again, he may have been too mad at her to show up. Do you think...” Cash suddenly stopped.
“I don’t think…I know,” Bianca said. The theory that Darren was the one who went to Erica’s apartment that night slammed into her chest like a wrecking ball.
“What are you going to do?” Cash asked.
“I’m calling the police,” Bianca said. “If he killed my sister, God help him. They better get to him before I do.”
Sunday Afternoon, 3:33 p.m.
Darren was in the middle of packing some of his belongings, preparing for his move to Canada. He had planned to get in contact with Deuce once he arrived so that he could let his mother Ms. Diane know where he was. Deuce had gotten in touch with a cousin of his in Detroit and Darren would be staying with him for a few days, then he would make his way into Canada. He had gotten a stash of money from Deuce and he planned to pay him back the moment he found work up north. All at once, someone knocked on his front door. He suddenly got an uneasy feeling.
“Darren Sharp! Open the door!” a booming voice said from the hallway. Oh shit, Darren thought to himself. Hold up Darren, you ain’t got shit to worry about. Your man Deuce got rid of all the evidence so you’re straight. He got up from the couch and opened the door slowly.
“Are you Darren Sharp?” the police officer asked.
“Yeah, what’s up?” Darren said, trying to play it cool.
“We have a warrant to search your place,” Detective Shields told him, barging into the apartment.
“For what, man?” Darren asked.
“Evidence in a murder case,” Detective Shields said.
“A murder case?” Darren asked.
“Yes, a murder case,” Detective Shields said. “Did you forget that your brother’s sister-in-law was murdered?”
“So what, you saying I did it?”
“I’m not saying anything; we’re just gonna search your place and take you downtown for questioning,” Detective Shields said.
“Questioning?” Darren asked, suddenly feeling nervous. He was a few days away from leaving for Detroit and he didn’t want anything to ruin his plans.
“Yes,” Detective Shields said. “We got some very surprising information today. We’ll fill you in on it on the way downtown.” While the cops were searching the apartment, Detective Shields walked into Darren’s bedroom and spotted the luggage sitting on his bed.
“Going on a vacation?” Detective Shields asked. Darren said nothing.
“That’s what I thought,” the detective said. He addressed one of the officers: “Take him out and put him in the car. We got some questions for Mr. Sharp.” The officer escorted Darren out of the apartment and into a waiting police cruiser.
Darren was sweating bullets the entire ride to the downtown precinct. He had tried to play it cool but it wasn’t working. He could see the detective smirking at him from the front seat. Smug bastard, Darren thought, narrowing his eyes at him. You ain’t got shit on me. Fuck you. When they arrived, he was escorted inside an interrogation room and left there to wait for a few minutes. After about five minutes, Detective Shields and another detective walked in and sat across from him.
“You want something to drink? Water? Soda? Coffee?” Detective Shields asked.
“Nah, I’m straight,” Darren said, trying to sound unbothered.
“Alright then…let’s get down to it,” Detective Shields said, leaning forward on his elbows. Darren leaned back in his chair.
“Do you want any type of representation before you speak?”
“What for? I ain’t did shit,” Darren said, folding his arms. Detective Shields sucked his teeth and opened a manila folder.
“Okay then, I asked,” Detective Shields said. “Well…let me ask you right out: what was your relationship with Erica Parker?”
“We were cool with each other,” Darren said.
“How ‘cool’ were you with each other?”
“I mean, we were cool,” Darren said, getting irritated. “We hung out a few times.”
“Where did you hang out?” Detective Shields asked.
“We went to clubs and shit…out to dinner…bowling…shit like that.”
“Oh so you and Erica were running buddies?”
“Yeah, you can say that,” Darren said.
“Was there anything else between you?” Detective Shields asked.
“What you mean?” Darren asked.
“You know what…I’m sick of this shit,” Detective Shields said, standing up. “You can stop with the act. We know for a fact that you and the decedent were sexually active with each other. She was pregnant with your child, now wasn’t she?” Darren looked down at the ground. “So you have nothing to say now, you cocky bastard?”
“Yeah, we fucked,” Darren said. “But ain’t no telling who else she fucked. That’s why we stopped hanging out. She got back to the States and turned into a whore. Y’all need to be questioning that pretty muthafucka she was fucking around with. He was probably that baby’s daddy and she pinned it on me to make me look bad.”
“So, you’ll sit here and slander an innocent woman’s name, just to make yourself look good?” Detective Shields said, his face turning red with anger. “We know for a fact that you were the father of that child. We questioned Mr. Turner and even gave him a polygraph. And guess what? He passed with flying colors. He was never sexually involved with her, not even in high school. He has an air tight alibi the night that Erica was murdered. Plus, Erica told several people, including you, that she was carrying your child. So what, you wanted her to get rid of the kid and she refused? Is that it?”
“Like I said, that baby probably wasn’t mine,” Darren lied. “Ain’t no way in hell that I would take care of another nigga’s baby. Fuck that.” Suddenly, Detective Shields hit the table and startled Darren and the other detective.
“You’re a liar, Darren,” Detective Shields said, leaning down and pressing his nose against Darren’s. “And guess what? We have proof that you were at her place the night she was killed. Not only did the old lady who live across the hall identify a tall black man with a beard knocking on Erica’s door but we have still photos of the hallway. Yes, there are cameras in the hallways of the high-rise apartment building…on every floor.” Darren’s heart suddenly dropped into his stomach.
“I told you: it could have been another nigga,” Darren said. “I’m not the only black man in Chicago with dark skin and a beard. Y’all probably need to check out that actor…Aldis Hodge…he may have slid through Chicago for a piece of that sweet potato pie.” Darren chuckled, trying to shake off the fear that racked his body. Detective Shields grabbed Darren and pushed him against the wall.
“You’re going down Darren,” Detective Shields growled. “Not only did you kill an innocent lady but you also killed your own child. I’m gonna see to it that you get exactly what’s coming to you.”
Monday Morning, 9:07 a.m.
Darren couldn’t believe that he spent the night in the Cook County Jail, a place that he’d vow never to return to. He was scared shitless. He knew that it was just a matter of time before he’d be charged in Erica’s death. He called his mother, who was stunned to silence after telling her the story. He tried to convince her that he wasn’t guilty but Dean was another story. He had the feeling that Dean wasn’t believing his story. Dean had told him that Bianca was staying with a friend and hadn’t been home since Saturday night. Darren felt terrible, knowing that all of this was affecting his brother’s marriage. He sat in the cold jail cell, trembling like a leaf on a tree. A jailer approached his cell and banged on it with a stick.
“Somebody’s here to see you,” the jailer said with a smirk. Darren wanted to punch him in the face but he knew that if he’d done that, he’d be in more trouble. He was escorted out of his cell and into an interrogation room. There stood Detective Shields again and Darren’s knees turned to jelly.
“Well, we meet again Mr. Sharp,” Detective Shields said with a smile. “I think you’ll want to hear this. So, as you know, we checked your apartment yesterday. A funny thing happened while my guys were there. Not only did we find the exact same outfit you were wearing on the camera the night of the murder but we also found…get this…Erica’s phone! So I guess after she died, she came to your house and planted the phone to get you in trouble, am I right?” The damn phone! Darren thought. In all the excitement, he had forgotten to destroy of the phone. He dropped his head; he knew he was busted.
“And guess what else we found? We found the text messages that she sent you the night she died, asking you to come up to the apartment after you arrived and to park in the underground parking garage. We also have…get this…video footage of you getting out of your black Escalade in the underground parking garage! Isn’t that something?” Detective Shields was loving his job at that very moment. Darren closed his eyes.
“I need to speak to a lawyer,” Darren finally said. His time was up.