“Sergeant Grimes, Ms. Liang.” He is over six-feet tall, rangy with a buzz cut and muddy brown eyes. He is not prepossessing at all, except for the stare which all cops cultivate. “Detective Brady.” He nods at a shapely blond with a curvaceous figure not disguised at all by the black pantsuit she chooses to wear. Her light green eyes are fringed with blond eyelashes—a contrast that should be off-setting, but is seductive instead. Wire-rimmed glasses cover her eyes. She is carrying a pad of paper.
“What can I do for you?” I struggle to keep my voice matter-of-fact so he can’t read the panic on my face. What can I tell them that won’t make me sound phony, or, worst of all, guilty?
“May we come in?” The sergeant barges into the room, ignoring the fact that I haven’t answered his question yet. “We just have a few questions to ask you about the murder of Ashley Stevenson.” He pauses expectantly, waiting for me to fill in the blanks. Resigned, I usher him and Detective Brady into the living room. I gesture for them to sit, but they remain standing. So do I. “This won’t last long. I just have a few questions I have to ask you.” The sergeant’s voice is genial, as if he’s discussing different flavors of tea. “Please have your roommate leave.” Paris exits the room without saying a word. I know he’s huddled in his bedroom, straining to hear what is being said. “Ms. Liang, how did you know Ms. Stevenson?”
“We were in a group together,” I say firmly, hoping that will be the end of it. Of course it isn’t, and they persist in asking me questions. What kind of group? Group therapy; therapy group—take your pick. What was the group specifically for? For some reason, I am reluctant to answer this question. “Trauma healing,” I finally mumble, hoping they’ll let it go. Of course they don’t. How often does the group meet? Who is the leader? Who in the group didn’t like Ashley? I finally protest as the content of the meetings is confidential.
“Nothing is confidential in a homicide investigation, Ms. Liang,” Sergeant Grimes shoots back as he looms over me. Neither of us is sitting—he because he refused a seat; I because I won’t put myself at a further disadvantage by sitting down. The man is over six-feet tall, so he’s already a foot taller than me. The detective is discreetly scribbling away while the sergeant and I exchange glares. I wish the cop from the other case, Inspector Robinson, was in charge of this investigation, but I understand that it’s outside of her jurisdiction.
“Sergeant Grimes, why are you asking me about the group?” I stare at him as haughtily as I can. “I only went one time.”
“You were involved in another homicide investigation quite recently,” the sergeant explains, a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth. “Perhaps you weren’t as innocent in the last case as you make yourself out to be.”