The Seeds of Suspicion
Alec got back at around midnight and found Lesly sitting at the counter and scrolling through her new phone. She smiled when she saw him walk in and he could not resist the urge to go to her and brush a kiss over her lips.
“You finally left your room,” he said to her tenderly after he pulled away.
“It was bound to happen I guess.”
He chuckled and made his way towards the fridge to grab a drink. “I see you found the phone I got you.”
“I did. To tell you the truth, I thought you were going to get my old one fixed.”
“I have it if you want it,” Alec responded as he grabbed a water bottle from the fridge. “I don’t think you can get it fixed, though.”
“I see. How much did the new phone cost you?”
“And why are you asking?” Alec inquired suspiciously.
“To pay you back.”
“It’s a gift,” Alec clarified.
“It looks…expensive,” Lesly retorted as she took a careful look at the device in her hand.
“I can’t accept it.”
Alec took a couple of steps towards her. He had a devious small on his face as he asked, “Whom does this no-gift rule of yours apply to?”
Lesly shrugged, “Everyone.”
He arched an eyebrow in interest, “I’m the same as everyone else?”
“You’re not. You know that.”
“You’ll take it then.”
“Alec, you’ve already done so much for me.”
“Consider it an early birthday present.”
Her response was exactly what he expected. She narrowed her eyes at him and tried to get him to confirm something, “Your birthday is on August third, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” Alec confirmed with a devious grin. He took one sip out of the water bottle before he carried on, “If you’re thinking of returning the gift on my birthday, I’d be greatly disappointed. I already have my heart set on something.”
“And what might that be?” Lesly asked suspiciously.
He leaned forward on the counter. His voice was low as he spoke, “A steak dinner, a black forest cake and…,” his eyes swept over her slowly, “you in a negligée.”
“You’re not serious, are you?” She giggled.
“Dead,” he answered her with a seductive smile.
“I still can’t accept this,” Lesly responded stubbornly.
He sighed loudly at her response as he stared at her. Then he placed the water bottle he was holding on the counter and walked to where she was sitting. She opened her mouth to say something to him, but his mouth covered hers before she got it out. He kissed her passionately. His hand held the side of her face as his mouth slanted over hers time and again. When he pulled back, they were both panting.
“There. We’re even,” he stated matter-of-factly. He could see that she had more to say, but he cut her off again.
“Did you eat anything?” He asked as he made his way to the hanger to hang his coat.
“Yes, I ordered a burger. There’s one for you in the fridge.”
“I assume Michaela paid you a visit?” Alec walked back into the living room with his phone and took a seat on the couch.
“She did, but she did not stay for long.”
He ran his hand through his hair nervously as he thought about how to broach the subject he had in mind. Lesly noticed that he was reluctant to say something, so she tried to encourage him.
“Is there something you wanna say to me?”
“No, it’s nothing.”
“Out with it,” Lesly demanded with a smile.
He could not help but smile back. “Really, it’s nothing…I was just wondering…”
“Yes?” Lesly said encouragingly when he stopped.
“Do you think that maybe you should book an appointment with your therapist and talk to her about what happened?” Alec asked hesitantly.
“You know about the therapist?”
“Michael follows you everywhere, remember?”
Lesly sighed loudly as her hands started fumbling with the phone to avoid his gaze, “She’s not gonna do much aside from prescribing meds. I never wanted to go. Michaela nagged me into doing it. To tell you the truth, I’m kinda relieved that she’s so busy she can’t nag me into going anymore.”
“You don’t think the meds help?”
The dark-haired woman shrugged. “Did they help you?”
“A little, I don’t like to rely on them, though.”
“So you see my point.”
Silence filled the room as the two became lost in their thoughts. Alec noticed the small box that laid on the coffee table and eyed it with interest. He lifted it up and asked Lesly about it. “What’s this?”
Lesly left her seat at the counter in a hurry and walked over to where he was sitting. “That’s the morning after pill.”
“Oh?” He arched an eyebrow.
“We did not use protection earlier, so I asked Michaela to fetch it for me,” she explained.
“I see,” he said almost absentmindedly as he laid it back on the table. He lifted his gaze at her apologetically then and spoke in a low voice, “I’m…sorry about that.”
He stared at her as if he was trying to confirm something. Then he held her hand and drew her so that she stood closer to him.
“I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
Upon hearing her answer, he pulled her so that she sat on his lap. His hand tucked a strand behind her ear as he spoke softly to her, “I was a bit…rough with you.”
“You were, but you did not hurt me.”
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. His fingers began tracing the skin on her arm up and down. “I was angry, but not at you. Whatever anger I held at that moment was directed more at myself than you. I failed you.”
“You didn’t.” Lesly shook her head. “What happened was purely my fault.”
“It still makes me mad every time I think about it.”
“I almost lost you,” his voice shook.
She cupped the sides of his face and kissed him affectionately.
“I’m fine,” she whispered.
Alec kissed her back. His kisses were slow, tender. She wrapped her arms around his neck and allowed him to deepen his kisses. It was not long, however, before things got heated up. He carried her into his room, got her fully undressed and resumed what he started. When they finally found bliss, he held her to him and allowed her to calm his shaking form with her soft caresses.
“You okay?” He asked as he tucked her head under his chin.
Her hand continued to caress his back lightly as he buried his fingers into her soft locks. Neither said a word to the other for a while. Then, Lesly spoke.
“Yes?” He answered groggily.
“Have you ever been a part of an investigation that involved Victor Lang?”
His hand which was gently stroking her hair paused. She waited for an answer, but nothing came. His silence forced her to pull away from him so she could examine his face better and make sure he had not fallen asleep.
The moment she pulled away, he pushed her head back against his chest gently. His low voice vibrated against her fingertips as he spoke, “Why are you asking about him all of a sudden?”
She shrugged against his hold, “It occurred to me recently that you’ve practically run a background check on every high-profile person in Redlyn, and I was wondering if you’ve ever thought of looking into Lang.”
“He’s not involved in the case we’re investigating,” Alec explained briefly.
“Not in the typical sense. His son was abducted by…”
“I know,” he interrupted.
Lesly went quiet. Her fingers continued to trace circles on his chest as her mind began to wander off into random thoughts. It seemed to her that he had fallen asleep, but then he asked her a question she did not anticipate.
“He offered to help you before, didn’t he?”
“Yes, he did.”
“You never thought to ask him for help?”
“I didn’t want to.”
The two fell silent again. It was not long, however, before Alec spoke again.
“Do you regret it?”
“Do I regret what?”
He was hesitant to explain. “Saving that man…Jacob. Do you regret it?”
It was another question she did not expect him to ask. This was the reason why it took her a while to gather her thoughts. She felt him squeeze her shoulder as he struggled to reassure her, “I guess it’s understandable after everything that happened to you.”
“I thought about it…a lot. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t,” Lesly spoke softly.
“No matter how many times I replay the scene in my head, I find myself making the same decision every single time. I wouldn’t have walked away from him, and I don’t think I’d be able to live with myself if I did.”
Alec said nothing. He simply wrapped his other arm around her and pulled her harder to his chest. She snuggled against him and remained in his embrace until exhaustion claimed him.
Lesly watched him drift into deep slumber. The beads of perspiration on his forehead began to dissipate as his body started to lose the feverish desire that consumed him. Content with watching him sleep, she stroked the side of his face lightly before directing her attention to the scars on his chest. Once more, she found herself intrigued by them. He told her he almost died once, but he never told her the full story. Her eyes darted back to his forehead. She pushed his hair away and found a thin line extending from his temple to his ear. Her fingertips traced the scar lightly to the one on his shoulder. It looked painful, but it possibly did not hurt him as much as the one near his abdomen.
Lesly sat up and eyed her scattered clothes at the foot of the bed. She was so deeply involved with this man, and yet he never really told her much about an incident that seemed to have wrecked him to a point where he had to rely on tranquilizers to function. She knew the signs. He had them, all of them. He might have done a better job of hiding them than her, but they were still there. It bothered her that he evaded it the first time she asked about it. It bothered her that he tried to make light of it the other few times she mentioned it. Why was he so incessant on not letting her in?
What do you know about him, really?
Not much. She hated to admit it, but the words the assailant spoke to her held some truth to them. Aside from his job and the few details he revealed about his family, she knew nothing. He never spoke about his mother, his childhood, his college days. Whatever she had gathered, she arrived at by the power of conclusion alone. He knew every little thing about her. Heck he could even tell what she was thinking sometimes. It had always been a habit of hers not to overstep her boundaries and pry, but it was different with him. It seemed as if he was evading answering her questions at times, and since she did not want to seem inquisitive, she did not push it.
Intent on not ruminating on this depressing line of thought, she swung her legs over the bed slowly and began gathering her clothes. She walked into her room first and got herself cleaned up. Then she swallowed the pill that Michaela got for her and tried to resume the task of looking through the work emails she received while she was on bedrest. It was then that she noticed the notification light on her phone flashing. She picked it up and realized that her contact had just responded to her text. This made her smile because she recalled him complaining about how old age had caused him to go to sleep every day at nine and to wake at two in the morning. Her fingers hastily typed a text asking if it would be okay for her to call him this late. Her phone began ringing almost instantly. She picked up, laughing.
“Why aren’t you asleep?” she asked.
“I could ask you the same thing.”
“I haven’t talked to you in a while. How are you? How’s your daughter?”
“We’re fine. How are things on your end?” The old man responded.
“It doesn’t seem like it if you’re up this late.”
Lesly smiled, “It’s not as bad as you think. I overslept this morning, and now I’m paying the price.”
He chuckled, “Have you got something for me?”
“As a matter of fact, I do.”
“Good. I was getting bored.”
“I assume business is slow.”
“On the contrary, business is booming, but I’m tired of chasing husbands based on the request of their suspecting wives. I need something different.”
Lesly bit her lip, “I’m not sure if the assignment I have for you is as fun as you hope.”
“Are you going to ask me to investigate a husband?”
“Then I’m all ears,” the private investigator interrupted.
Lesly sighed and tried to explain, “Listen, a couple of years ago, I asked you to look into a matter that’s been driving me insane.”
“And you found nothing.”
“Unfortunately. It’s tough when the only lead you’ve got is a handful of emails.”
“Will you be able to pick it up again?” She asked with an expectant tone.
“Sure…,” the old man replied hesitantly, “but it might take a while before you get anything substantial.”
“What if I told you where to begin looking?”
“I’d say I’m listening.”
“I was thinking that perhaps the matter has something to do with Victor Lang.”
“You think the informant is connected to him?”
“The way I see it, it’s one of two things. Either he’s working for Lang or Lang is looking for him.”
“What makes you think that?”
“A hunch,” Lesly answered evasively. “Lang is involved somehow. I’ve always suspected it, but something happened recently that confirmed it to me.”
Lesly was reluctant to reveal the details of her encounter with the assailant, so she chose to keep them to herself. “I’d rather not say, but please take my word for it.”
The old man went silent as he thought about what she just told him. She knew her answer was not convincing, and that Al hated it when she kept sensitive details from him, but she had no choice. Until they figured out who the assailant was, it was better to keep anything related to him classified.
When the old man took too long to answer, Lesly tried asking him again. “Al, will you be able to look into it for me? I’d do it myself, but…”
“I’m on it,” he answered immediately. “Don’t worry. I should warn you, though, it’s going to take me a while to get something on Lang.”
“Is that all?”
“Actually, I have one more favor to ask,” she added hesitantly.
“What is it?”
Lesly took a deep breath and delivered the one dreaded task she had delayed for far too long.
“Alec Reid, the prosecutor I asked you to run a background check on two years ago…I need you to see if he’s connected to Lang too.”