“Hello?” Michael picked up his phone without looking to see who had called him. It was seven-thirty at night, and he was still at the office. He knew he had to get home soon or his wife would bitch at him for deserting her in her time of need. Then, he would get pissed because he worked so hard during the day, didn’t he deserve a little relaxation at home? But, he would feel guilty about it because his wife was having such a difficult pregnancy and because of her miscarriages.
“Michael. It’s Amy. I’ve been thinking about you a lot. I’d like to see you tonight.” Amy’s voice was as seductive as ever, and Michael felt the pull as strongly as ever.
“I’m at the office. I should be going home.” Michael noted that he wasn’t saying no to Amy—he could never say no to Amy.
“That’s too bad, Michael. I’m only wearing a pink teddy and a see-through robe. Does that tempt you at all?” Amy laughed, sending sexual tingles throughout Michael’s body. He went hard immediately, and all he could think about was fucking Amy.
“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.” Michael gathered his things and flew over to Amy’s house. She welcomed him into the house wearing nothing but the teddy and the shortie robe. Michael had them both off her as soon as she closed the front door.
“Hi, Michael. Are you glad you came over?” Amy tilted her head and looked at Michael from beneath her lashes.
“Yes.” Michael scooped Amy up and carried her up the stairs to her bedroom. He set her down gently on the bed and began to disrobe. Suddenly, he remembered that he hadn’t stopped at the drugstore on the way over. “Do you have any condoms?”
“Right here.” Amy pulled out a drawer from her nightstand. “I bought a twenty-four pack after the last time I saw you.”
“We just may use them all tonight,” Michael growled, shedding the last of his clothes. He fell upon Amy as if he were starving, and they had a rousing session of sex. An hour later, Michael finally came, feeling as if he could squirt forever. As they cuddled on the bed, Michael’s cell rang.
“Don’t answer it,” Amy purred, nipping Michael’s shoulder. Michael grabbed his phone and looked at it.
“Damn.” Michael got out of bed and walked into the hall before answering the call.
“Michael! Come home. I need you. I-I-I think I’m losing the baby! Oh, god! Come home!” Click. Michael stared at his phone before coming to his senses. He ran into Amy’s room and hurriedly began to redress.
“Trouble on the homefront?” Amy asked, her eyes watchful.
“Penny. She’s hemorrhaging. She—I need to be there.” Michael was so flustered, he could barely button his shirt.
“I’m sorry about that, Michael. But, listen. I need your help. I think I might be in danger. I did something stupid, and I’m not sure—“
“I can’t help you right now, Amy,” Michael said, finally managing to button his shirt. “I have to get home.”
“I know! But just listen. I, well, I was forced to do something, and I’m not proud about it. Now, I might be able to get my revenge, but he scares me.” Amy’s voice was timid, so unlike her usual voice.
“I have to go, Amy,” Michael said as he zipped up his pants. “We’ll talk about this tomorrow, OK?”
“But he’s coming tonight. I want your advice.” Amy’s eyes filled with tears. “You’re the only person I trust.”
“Cancel. Make another appointment. I’ll talk to you about it later.” Michael kissed Amy on the forehead and then rushed downstairs. Little did he know that would be the last time he would see Amy.
“I should have stayed. I should have listened. If I had, she’d still be alive!” Prosecutor Erickson is weeping, and Leslie’s heart goes out to him.
“You had to be with your wife. Amy could have postponed her meeting, but she didn’t.”
“Penny lost the baby. Her third miscarriage. That’s why we’re being so careful now.” Prosecutor Erickson’s voice is remote, as if he’s talking about the weather.
“I’m sorry. That’s a lot of tragedy for one couple to bear.” Leslie is tearing up, and while it’s not entirely for Prosecutor Erickson, she does feel sympathy with the man.
“I was fucking another woman while my wife was bleeding out our baby. What kind of monster am I?” Without waiting for a response, Prosecutor Erickson hangs up the phone. Leslie wonders if she should call someone to check in on him, but she convinces herself it’s none of her business.
Instead, she thinks about what he’s told her. One, he was with Amy the night she died. Two, Amy was going to blackmail someone, and she was afraid of this person. Justifiably so, Leslie would say. Three, Amy probably actually cared about Michael, as much as she could care about anyone. Four, Prosecutor Erickson had an alibi for the time of the killing. Unless he killed Amy before he left to deal with his wife’s miscarriage. The timing doesn’t really fit for that, though, and Leslie is relieved. Despite his flaws, Michael Erickson seems like a decent man. Truth be told, he is the last person Leslie wants to find guilty of Amy’s murder. She will research him further, of course, but for now, she crosses him off her mental list. That leaves Senator Bronson and Judge Anthony. Oh, five, since Prosecutor Erickson had sex with Amy on the night she died, it’s possible that the man who killed her did not have sex with her.
What about Senator Robertson? He’s not on John’s list, but he can’t be completely disregarded—unless Mrs. Robertson is to be believed about her husband being with his mistress at the time of the murder. Leslie is not sure she believes that especially since the story about Chief Matthews pulling Amy over for driving under the influence is a complete fabrication. Leslie sighs and puts Senator Robertson on the list. She doesn’t really think he killed his daughter, but she can’t rule it out, either. Amy had evidence of her father’s embezzlement. That might be enough to cancel out any kind of fatherly emotion Senator Robertson had for his daughter. The senator does not seem like a family man—family values notwithstanding—and Leslie has a hunch that the senator cares first and foremost about his career.
Leslie pulls up a Word document and starts listing what she knows. One, Chief Matthews was out of town when Amy was murdered, so he’s off the list as far as committing the actual crime. However, it is clear that he has falsified evidence—or at least that he suppressed evidence, so the question remains as to how much he actually knows. Leslie opens up Google and researches the history of Mrs. Erickson’s miscarriages. There it is. Her third miscarriage was, indeed, on the night of Amy’s murder—anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours before Amy’s murder. Leslie highly doubts that Prosecutor Erickson left his wife’s side while she was miscarrying or right after. So, he’s off the list for the murder as well, provisionally. Senator Robertson is knee-deep in an embezzlement investigation, and Amy had proof. Senator Bronson is a pedophile. Of this, Leslie has no doubt. She believes he molested Amy as well. Is that enough for him to kill her? No. The likelihood of Amy having proof of decades-old molestation is slim to none. However, if she has proof that her father had been embezzling and if Senator Bronson had been in on the deal, then perhaps that’s the motive for Senator Bronson killing Amy. Leslie frowns when she realizes that she has done little research on Senator Bronson. She knows it’s because she does not want to delve into the mind of a pedophile, but it has to be done. She can hear John’s mind in her voice saying, “It’s not your fault, baby. He’s the one to blame—not you.” Leslie touches the ring to her mouth and kisses it as she thinks of John. She’s going to need him to get through this case.