The Librarian and the Detective : a love story with criminal overtones
by Savannah Heath
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Alliance.
Author's Notes: First of (hopefully) a series in this alternative universe.
THE LIBRARIAN AND THE DETECTIVE
a love story with criminal overtones
by Savannah Heath
"Dr. Fraser?" Benton Fraser looked up at his secretary.
"Maintenance is trying to get into the carrels up on 4th. You know at least three of them have faulty plugs. Anyway Gus can't get 412 open. The key isn't working. Do you have another copy of the key?"
"Yes. I'll get it from the key box and take it up there."
"I can do that, Dr. Fraser."
"No thank you, Paula. I will. It will give me a chance to get out of the office." He smiled at her.
"What time did you come in this morning?"
"Six-thirty. That annual report is about to kill me," he laughed.
"I'll help any way I can, sir."
Benton smiled. "I know. Have you got the payroll ready for my signature?"
"I'm working on it now."
"Thanks. It needs to be over to the business office by noon."
"Yes sir. It will be finished in plenty of time. I promise," Paula said.
"I'm sure it will."
Paula went out and Benton crossed to his workroom and pulled open the key box. He had two keys in 412. He pocketed both keys and headed toward the stairs. He tried to always use the stairs instead of the elevators. He knew, especially this time of year, when he had to work such long hours, that he didn't' get enough exercise. On the 4th floor he headed toward 412.
"Gus, how are you today," he greeted the maintenance man.
"I'm fine Dr. Fraser. How are you? Where's Dief?"
"Diefenbaker is asleep in my office. I came in very early this morning and he doesn't feel he got his beauty sleep."
Gus laughed. "Does Dr. Pearson know you keep a wolf in you office?'
"Half wolf and yes he knows. I'm eccentric. They expect that. Canadian, a male librarian with two PhD's. They figure it could be something much worse than a very tame half wolf who thinks he's human."
"Oh, well. Let's get this show on the road. You got the key?"
Benton handed Gus both keys. "Try these."
The first key didn't work, but the second key turned the lock but Gus still could not get the door open. "It feels like there is something in front of the door." Benton adds his shoulder to the door and between the two men they manage to get the door open a few inches. Benton looks into the room and then he backs out and turns to Gus.
"Don't go in."
"There's a body behind the door."
Lt. Welsh opened his office door and looked out. "Kowalski!"
Ray Kowalski looked up. Was he in trouble? He hadn't done anything. Will nothing the Leu would be upset about. "Sir?"
Ray entered Welsh's office. "Where's Vecchio?"
"He's still on his honeymoon."
"Sorry, Ray. I forgot." Ray Vecchio had married his partner Ray Kowalski's ex-wife, Stella, just over a week ago. They were honeymooning in Florida.
"No sweat, Leu. I figure they deserve each other," he joked.
Welsh grinned, but hide it quickly. "Look, Crammore Security called. They'd found a body in the Humanities Library. Go see what's what. Tread softly. Academic types aren't used to cops."
"What are you thanking me for?"
"I've not idea. Maybe I need another cup of coffee." But actually as it turned out Ray was right to thank Welsh.
"Dr. Fraser. This is Detective Kowalski from the 27th Precinct." Ray crossed the office and looked at the most drop dead gorgeous man he had ever seen. Benton Fraser looked a little stunned. Ray figured he hadn't seen to many dead bodies.
"Mind if I ask a few questions, Dr. Fraser?"
"No, of course not. Please sit down, Detective. And it's Benton."
"My name," the man smiled and Ray felt weak in the knees. Oh Lord, he was so over his head here. "My name is Benton Fraser. But please call me Benton." He extended his had Ray felt an electrical charge as their hands touched. Ray looked up and noticed that Benton also seemed to have received a jolt. Ray smiled and sat down. Benton sat as well.
Ray pulled out his notebook. "Now what time was it when you and ... Rust found the body?"
"Gus. Short for Gustav Mortensen. It was about nine-fifteen."
"And you and Gus found the body. Did you recognize the deceased?"
"I didn't look at the face I was certain he was dead and I wouldn't let Gus enter and we called security who in turned called you. By you I mean the Chicago Police Department. I'm sorry. I'm rambling."
"It's okay, doc... Benton. Dead bodies do that to some people."
"I've had military training. It's just ... well; libraries are not where one pictures seeing dead bodies."
"No, I guess not. You were in the army?"
"Canadian special forces. I was RCMP and then I was recruited for Special Forces."
"Really. So how'd you end up here?"
"It's a long story."
"Well, I'm not going any where," Ray said and grinned.
"My father was a member of the RCMP. He was stationed in the Northwest Territories when he was murdered."
Ray gasped. "I'm sorry."
"Thank you. Anyway I requested time off to investigate my father's murder. When I found the murderer was another RCMP member, my father's superior officer and he thought his friend... Anyway the RCMP was less than pleased. They found the situation very embarrassing. So it was suggested that I might look for another career."
"My grandparents were both librarians. They had reared me after my mother's death. I guess you could say I grew up in a library. I had been working on a degree even before my father's death. I just went on to graduate school and well here I am."
"Must seem a little tame after the special forces and the RCMP," Ray said.
"You've never attended a faculty meeting when contracts are up for renewal," he laughed. Ray had never seen anything as beautiful as Benton Fraser until Benton Fraser laughed. Oh he was so dead.
"Would you mind looking at the body before it is taken away? See if you recognize him."
"Of course." He stood and followed Ray out of the office. "Paula, I'll be up on 4th with Detective Kowalski."
"Yes, sir. Dr. Pearson called. He'd like you to call him as soon as you're finished with the police."
"Thank you. I will."
"Dr. Pearson?" Ray asked as they started down the hall.
"The Dean of my division. In other words, my boss."
"I see. Well, this shouldn't take long and then you can get back to your normal business."
"Oh I imagine this call has to do with the murder. Murders do no look good to potential students or their parents."
"They can't blame you for this, surely."
"Oh, I'm sure they can. But don't worry. Dr. Mathis is usually on my side."
"Mathis is who?"
"Dr. Mathis is the President of the University."
"He's on your side?"
"She is. Yes."
"She," Ray smiled. "I can understand that."
Benton stopped and looked at Ray. "What do you mean by that," he said little more sharply than he intended.
"Sorry, doc, but you are rather easy on the eyes. I would imagine that most women are putty in your hands."
"Are you suggesting I would trade on my physical attributes to get ahead in my job? I have the qualifications. I know this job and I am very good and it."
"Most people who look like you, and there aren't many, would I suspect."
"Well, I'm sorry to disillusion you. But my looks have never made my life easier. In fact... Just forget it. Just believe me when I tell you I can do my jobs without special considerations."
"I don't doubt it, doc. Look, sorry about that. I didn't mean to imply ... Sorry."
"No, I'm sorry. I'm just a little sensitive on this subject."
"Okay. We're here." The body was on a gurney, having been removed from the carrel. Benton followed Ray over to the body. He looked at the face of the dead man.
"Do you know him?"
"Yes. He's a graduate student. Lamar Dixon. But Lamar has carrel 414. How'd he get into 412?"
"Do the keys for one carrel open all the carrels?" Ray asked.
"No, each key is an individual. The student is given the key to his or her carrel. Maintenance has a copy of the key for cleaning purposes. I have a copy of all of the keys in the library key box. I believe that there is one other copy kept in the 4th floor librarian's office."
"Who has carrel 412 assigned?" Ray asked.
"I'm not sure. It had belonged to Shirley Petronia. But Ms. Petronia finished her dissertation and returned the key at the end of last semester; which would have been in December."
"How do students get assigned these rooms," Ray asked
"Carrels. They are called carrels. There is a lottery among the graduate students for these rooms. There aren't enough for each student to have one. So all who are interested have their names entered in the drawing. Doctoral students only at first. If all doctoral students get a carrel and there are still some left over then there is a drawing among Master's candidates. The winners get the carrel for a semester with the option to renew for up to four more semesters."
"I see. Complicated."
"Yes. Grad studies are like life; fraught with unintended consequences and petty grievances."
"Sounds like academia is a lot like police work. Squeaky wheel gets the grease. Okay Doc, why don't you go and call your boss. Also find out who has that carrel now. I'll be back down to your office in a little while."
"Yes, of course, Detective Kowalski."
"Ray, call me Ray."
"Alright, Ray. Call me Benton," he grins. "Or doc, if you prefer. Here is my business card. It has my phone numbers on it. Oh wait." He turns the card over and writes something on the back. "My home number."
"Thanks." Ray fishes out his on card and writes on it. "Here's my card and I put my home phone number and address on the back."
"I'll be in my office when you're finished up here."
Benton Fraser walked back toward the stairwell. Ray watched him go and found himself missing the attractive man immediately. God, he was pathetic. He'd just met the guy for Pete's sake.
For the next hour Ray watched CSU go over every inch of that room. He walked around and got a feel for the layout of the floor. He talked to Gus, but Mr. Mortensen couldn't tell him any more than Dr. Fraser. Though Gus did say how much everyone liked the Canadian.
Just before noon Ray walked into Benton's office. The door was open and the secretary wasn't around so he just walked in. No Benton, but he noticed a beautiful white dog. The dog was lying down on a dog bed in the corner. The dog got up and came across to Ray.
"Hi," Ray said bending down to the dog's level to see his beautiful face. Benton returned to his office to see the detective bending over Dief. Oh my. He had been attracted to the man from the first second he had seen him but he was quite taken with this view of the detective.
"I see you've meet Dief."
"Dief is your dog's name?"
"Actually, it's Diefenbaker and he's half wolf."
"No shit. Cool, Doc. Diefenbaker. Unusual name."
"He's named after a former Canadian prime minister."
"Well, smart guy like you, I guess that makes sense. He's beautiful. The University doesn't mind your bringing him in?"
"They cast a blind eye. And the students and staff adore him." Dief wags his tail at this and Ray smiles.
"I bet. Beautiful dog slash wolf, beautiful man. What's not to love?" Did that just come out of his mouth?
"Thank you kindly," Benton smiled. Dief came and licked Ray's hand. He couldn't help but wish the thanks had been the other way around.
"Hey guy." Ray squatted to Dief's face level and got a Dief kiss. "Yuck!"
"Your own fault," Benton laughed. "Dief obviously likes you."
"Good. I like him, too."
"Do you have a dog," Benton asked?
"No, just a turtle. Stella didn't like dogs."
"My ex-wife. She's a state's attorney."
"Don't be. She just married my partner, Ray Vecchio. So she's out of my life for good."
"Still that must be weird. Your partner and your ex-wife."
"It's taken some adjusting, but I'm fine. Stella and I had been divorced about two years when she started dating Vecchio. So it was time that she moved on."
"Have you? Moved on, I mean. I'm sorry. That's very personal isn't it? I'm not sure why I ... I'm sorry."
"Naw, don't mind talking about it. I've moved along as in I'm over Stella. But there's not anyone else. Yet. You married?"'
"No," Benton said quickly. "I've never been married. I had a partner years ago but he was ... Well, he decided he wanted a conventional life. He was a hockey player and I guess it made his life easier to be with a woman."
"I bet that hurt."
"Yes, but that was years ago. There's not really been anyone else since."
"That sucks." Then Ray grins. "Back to business. Did you find who had 412 now?"
"That's weird, because our records show that 412 has not been reassigned. I know there is a waiting list so this does not make sense."
"Who would know why it was left vacant?"
"Dr. Renault. She is in charge of the fourth floor. She'll be coming in at one pm and I intend to ask her what happened with 412."
"We'll ask her. Is there some place around here where I can get lunch?"
"I took the liberty of asking Paula to get sandwiches from the cafeteria while she was having her lunch. She should be back in a few minutes. What would you like to drink? I've got bottled water, diet soda, tea or coffee?"
"Coffee. What kind of coffee?"
"Paula makes the coffee. I think she's got some good Colombian right now. I'll get her to make a fresh pot when she gets back. I'm hopeless with the coffee maker. I'm a tea man my self."
"I'd have guessed you were more of an ass..." Ray blushes as he realized what he says. "Sorry."
"Don't be. It's funny and it is also appropriate. I am more of an ass man."
"Dr. Fraser," Paula spoke as she came into the office. "Mrs. Clarkson said she made the chicken salad especially for you." She put a tray down on the desk."
"I'll have to thank her. Paula would you mind making Detective Kowalski some of your wonderful coffee?"
"Of course, I'd be glad to." Paula blushes. "It'll be ready in just a few minutes."
"Thanks, Paula," Ray says and she blushes even more and goes out closing the door behind her.
Benton takes the tray and motions for Ray to follow him. He goes into the workroom next door and places the tray on a round table. Benton turns on a water pot and opens a canister of loose tea and spoons some into a tea ball. As the water begins to steam he pours it over the tea ball which he has placed inside a tea pot. He then sits down.
Ray realizes that he was more entertained watching Benton making tea than he had been on any of the dates he'd been on since his divorce. He grinned at Benton.
"Do you like chicken salad?" Benton asked Ray.
"Some." Ray says cautiously.
"Mrs. Clarkson makes wonderful chicken salad. Give it a try."
"Well, I've always said I'd try anything once," Ray said and blushes. He took a sandwich and nibbles on it. "Um. Not bad. Actually it's pretty good."
Benton smiled. It was a smile which lit up his whole face. Ray wanted to put the sandwich down and swallow Benton Fraser.
"I'll tell Mrs. Clarkson she has a new fan," Benton said.
Ray returned to the sandwich and tried to cool his super heated libido. Paula entered with a carafe of coffee, a china cup and saucer, a container of half and half and a small bowl of sugar. Ray wished he known heaven was just a couple miles away. "Thank you so much," he told Paula.
"You're very welcome," Paula said. "Is there anything else I can get you Dr. Fraser, Detective Kowalski?"
"We're fine, Paula. Thank you," Benton said.
Paula left and Benton picked up a sandwich and begin to eat. Ray watched him eat and then went back to his own sandwich. "What do you do in your spare time?" Ray asked.
"Well, this time of year there really isn't any spare time. But other times I like to hike, ski, white water rafting. I like to do a lot of outdoor stuff. I really got into running at one time and even ran a few marathons but now I'm lucky if I can do six miles.
"Ever box. I use to box. Now I help out with a boxing program at one of the gyms in my neighborhood."
"I did a little boxing when I was in the academy. What else do you do?"
"Dancing. I love ballroom dancing. God that sounds so gay... Not that there is anything thing ...Oh great, Ray, open mouth insert foot."
Benton laughed. "I'm not offended. Just proves how stupid stereotypes are? I can't dance. You're straight and you can dance. Life is like that."
"Not straight. Well, not totally."
"Very few people are totally one thing or the other. I made it sound like the only affair I'd had was with a man that's not true. I almost gave up everything I had and believed in for a woman. The heart wants what the heart wants."
"What happened with the woman?"
"She was ... She had darkness in her and finally it consumed her. I thought I could save her. She didn't want to be saved."
When they finished eating, Benton lead Ray up to Dr. Renault's office on the fourth floor. Benton knocked on the open door. Jenny Renault looked up. "Come in, Benton. What's going on? Why are there police all over my floor?"
"Gus and I found a body in Carrel 412 this morning. When I looked to see who had that carrel I found that it had not been reassigned. Why was that? Oh, I'm sorry, Jenny this is Detective Ray Kowalski from the Chicago Police Department."
Jenny nodded to Ray but turned back to Benton. "That carrel is vacant because you told me to leave it vacant."
"I did what?"
Jenny looks from one man to the other and then she turns around and goes to a file cabinet and opens a drawer. She removes a folder and comes back to the desk. She looks through the folder and takes a letter out and hands it toward Benton.
"Hold that letter just a moment, Dr. Renault. I'll be right back." Ray rushes out of the office and returns with a clear folder which he has her place the page in. He then hands the page to Benton and leans over to look at it with him.
The Alexander Holden Humanities Library Memo
To: Dr. J. Renault
From: Dr. Benton Fraser
Date: December 11, 2003
Re: Carrel 412
Please keep 412 vacant for the near future. Some remodeling is necessary. I will let you know when you may reassign this carrel. Thank you.
There is a signature across the bottom of the page.
"Is this your stationary?" Ray asked Benton.
"It looks like it. But I did not send this memo."
"Is this your signature?" Ray asked Benton.
Benton looks at the signature closely. "It's similar. Jenny do you have the memo I sent out Friday about the ACRL conference?"
"Yes, of course." She takes it out of the in-box and hands it to Ray. He places the two memos side by side on the desk and he and Benton look at them.
"I'll have our experts look at these but I'd say that this," he points to the older memo, "used a stamp for the signature. Do you have a stamp with your signature?"
"Yes, one was made but I never use it. I hate that ... well; it seems pretentious so I always sign every memo."
"Okay, where is this stamp kept?"
"I have no idea. Paula can probably tell us. Jenny do you know Lamar Dixon?"
"Yes, of course. He's not the ..."
"Yes, he was found dead in carrel 412," Benton told her.
"But he has carrel 414. How would he get into 412?"
Ray's phone rings. "Excuse me." He walks out of the office.
"Benton, what's going on?"
"I haven't a clue. Have you seen Lamar recently?"
"He came in last Friday evening and asked if I could get him an appointment with you. He said he needed talk to you about some irregularities. I assumed it was like back in November. Remember when the Sander's biography disappeared and he claimed Lesley Henderson had hidden it."
"She may have hidden it. We know they were working on similar papers. But he didn't say what the problem was this time?"
"He wouldn't tell me. I wrote on my calendar to call Paula when I got in today and see if you could see him this week."
"You better tell Detective Kowalski about this?"
"Tell me about what?" Ray asked as he reentered the room.
Jenny told him what she had just told Benton. "Well. The call was from the ME. Mr. Dixon died sometime between 8 pm and 2am Sunday night. Was the library open last night?"
"We never close," Benton told him.
"Not during the semester. We're opened 24/7. We go to an abbreviated schedule between semesters and we're closed Christmas, Thanksgiving."
"New Years Day." Ray guessed.
`No, we're open on New Years Day."
"You really are a lot like the police force," Ray laughed. "Dr. Renault, did you know any of Mr. Dixon's friends? Who would he have told his problems to?"
"He used to date Elizabeth Cooper, but I believe they split up. He and Gabe Reynolds have lunch in the cafeteria together some days."
"Lamar used to run at the park next to the lake where I run, but I haven't seen him much lately. Actually that may be that I haven't been running as much as I used to. He used to room with Cash Lancaster."
"Cash dropped out of the program. I think he moved back to wherever he was from," Jenny said.
"Cash was from Detroit. His father died and I think he's mother needed some financial support so he's teaching at a Community College not far from his home. He asked me for a letter of reference," Benton explained.
Jenny looked amused. "Dr. Fraser is everyone's favorite shoulder to cry on," she told Ray.
"Everyone needs a shoulder now and then. Anything else you can tell me about Mr. Dixon," he asked Jenny.
"He was a good student. He'd have gotten his degree in May. It's not right that someone so young and talented ..."
"You're right there," Ray agreed. "So now we need to find the killer."
There is a knock at the door. "I'm looking for... Kowalski. Didn't know it was you?"
"Hello, Tommy, you got this case," Ray shook the man's hand. "Oh Doc this is Tommy Monet. He's with CSU. Tommy this is Dr. Benton Fraser and Dr. Jenny Renault."
"Ray, I need to show you something in that room where the body was."
"Sure. I'll be right back."
Ray follows Tommy back to 412. "We were checking everything as usual and look what we found." Tommy points to a loose floor board which then allows a panel in the wall to be lowered. Behind the panel is a safe.
"Can you open it?" He asked Tommy.
"It's locked. Do you want me to get a team in to drill it?"
"Wait," Ray said. "I'll get the doc and let him see if he knows anything about this."
"Doc, Tommy's found a safe in 412? Know anything about that?"
"Yes. All of the carrels have safes. This library used to be the Science and Engineering Library. The grad students had classified papers and sometimes dangerous chemicals or even explosives."
"You are kidding. They let students have explosives?"
"Graduate students working on Ph.D.'s did a great deal of the experiments in conventional and non-conventional weapons research. Anyway when the Sciences got a new library we (the Humanities) got their hand me downs. Actually the building has been renovated."
"Do you have any idea who has the combination for the safe in 412," Ray asks.
"Yes, I do," Jenny says. She finds the file and gives it to Ray.
Ray returns with Benton and list of all of the safe combinations. "Every carrel has a safe?" Ray asked.
`Yes. I assume it would have been very expensive to remove them so they were just covered up during the last renovation."
"Well, let's see if there is anything in this one." Ray squatted down and used the numbers from the sheet to open the safe. He swung the door open. The safe was empty.
"So much for that. Wait a minute. Tommy, come here. Do one of those testy things and see if there's been anything interesting in here."
"Testy things," Tommy laughed. "Ray you better be glad you're so cute."
"Benton laughed but tried to cover it with a cough. Ray glared at him and moved back beside him. Tommy did a swab on the inside of the safe and then a second and finally a third. He opened various bottles and did things and finally turned back to Ray. "I get a trace of explosives. I get a trace of blood and I get a large positive on cocaine."
"Cocaine!" Benton exclaimed.
"Explosives and blood," Ray said.
"The explosives may be from what was kept in there by the science students years ago," Benton said.
"What kind of explosives?"
"Low grade. But they did some work for the Pentagon. Is there anyway to tell the age of those three substances," Benton asked?
Tommy said, "To a certain extent. I can tell you if it was ten years ago or last year, but I can't tell you if it was put in there yesterday or last month."
"Check and see if the blood matches the dead man," Ray said.
Tommy nodded. "Anything else I should know about this room, Dr. Fraser?
"The walls are supposed to be sound proof."
"That's why no one heard a shot," Ray said. "Who should have been here last night, doc?"
"I'll check. Jenny should have the roster. Also I called security and asked them to pull all the surveillance footage from all our cameras"
"Thanks, B...Dr. Fraser," Ray said. "I believe the uniforms will have already started on that."
"Do they know about the new cameras?"
"What new cameras?"
"We have one in each of the stairwells now. And there is one at the staff entrance on the ground floor. Those were added at the end of March. They may not appear of the list from security. It seems to take forever to get the new items added to the old inventory lists."
"End of March and this is the 2nd week in May. Tommy, I'm gonna get outa your hair. If you need me give me a ring. Doc, let's go find out who was here last night."
Ray and Benton went back to Jenny's office. "I pulled the log for last night, Benton," Jenny said. "There's a small problem. Philip was working last night from eleven to seven."
"Why is that a problem," Ray asked?
Benton rubbed his eye brow and then answered, "Philip Kaufmann is a graduate student who works for the library three nights a week. He's a nice young man but it has come to our attention that he is ... well ... courting a young woman who works the grave yard shift at the Law Library next door. So he's been leaving here for long periods of time. There may have been a while last night when there was no one working on this floor."
"I'd like to talk to Mr. Kaufmann. Can you get me an address? When will he be back to work?"
Benton turned to Jenny. "I have a note that he called in sick for his shift tonight. I've gotten Rick to cover for him."
"Okay. I need an address for Mr. Kaufmann. He's starting to smell like day old fish."
"Benton," Jenny said, "Philip is flighty but I can not believe he's a murderer."
"Ray ... Detective Kowalski could I go with you when you talk to Philip," Benton asked?
Ray thought for a moment. Finally he said, "You can ride along, but you don't talk unless I ask you something. Will you do as I say?"
"Yes, I will. I just think Philip will feel freer to talk if I'm there; less like he's being arrested. Maybe it's just that I'd feel better if I were doing something."
"Fine, but if I say go sit in the car, you go and sit in the car. Understood?"
"Understood," Benton said.
Benton went by his office to tell Paula where he would be. He, also, got Dief. They met Ray in the lobby.
"The dog is coming?"
"Unless you mind. He gets tired of being inside all the time."
"Naw, come on fur ball."
Ray led them out to a black GTO. "A 1967 Grand Turismo Omologato," Benton said.
"You know cars," Ray exclaimed.
"No, not really. But I read a book on vintage automobiles once."
"And you remembered it."
"Okay, doc. What do you drive?"
"A Honda CRV. Dief liked it. We used to have a jeep but Dief wanted something more comfortable. He's gotten older and he likes his comfort."
"Don't we all." Ray pets Dief who was obviously very enamored with the blonde Detective.
"I take it he's a people dog/wolf."
"Dief likes blondes so you had him when you walked in the door," Benton said laughing.
"How do you feel about blondes, doc?"
"Well...," he blushed.
"Forget I asked," Ray said.
"No, I was just going to say that hair color is not the first thing I notice."
"Really. What do you notice?"
"It differs. But with you it was your eyes."
"Yes, they are similarly beautiful."
"Oh yes. I'm sorry. Am I making you uncomfortable?"
"No, I'm cool with you liking my pretty eyes," he laughed.
"Not pretty, beautiful."
"Right, beautiful. Doc you still can't interrogate Kaufmann."
"Understood," Benton said smiling.
Ray felt light headed. God, this man could so easily ... Yeah, not going there, he tells himself. Not until this case is over, he amended and turned to smile at Benton.
Benton hadn't flirted with anyone in so long it felt strange. But this man was making him believe in second, no actually third chances.
Ray drove like he moved, fast but gracefully. Benton found himself watching Ray. Ray found a place to park only two blocks from Philip Kaufmann's apartment building. He, Benton and Dief walked back toward the building. It was a lovely spring afternoon.
`What'd your boss say when you called him," Ray asked?
"He told me to do everything I could to see that this matter is cleared up as soon as possible; with as little publicity as possible."
"What's he expect you to do make this all just disappear; sweep it under the carpet?"
"He did not give me any ideas how this should be accomplished, only that it should. I told him that Chicago Police Department had their best man on the job."
"What!" Ray stopped.
"Lt. Welsh said you were his best detective, so I just passed that on to Dr. Pearson."
"Welsh said ... You called my boss?" Ray wasn't sure how he felt about that. He was alarmed, surprised and a little angry.
"I like to know with whom I'm working. Proper preparation prevents poor performance."
Ray grinned. "I bet you couldn't say that fast four times... No don't try. Fine. So my Leu thinks I'm his best detective?"
"That's what he told me. Would you characterize Lt. Welsh as a truthful man?"
"Of course. He's a great boss. The best I've ever had."
They arrived at Philip Kaufmann's apartment. Ray knocked. No one came to the door. He knocked again. Still no answer. "Where's the girlfriend live," Ray asked?
"I don't know," Benton said. "But I'll call Carol Leslie. She's the administrative assistant to the Director of the Law Library." He pulled out a cell phone and dialed a number. "Carol, hi, it's Benton Fraser," he blushes and Ray grins. "Yes... uh ... yes, well thank you, I'm sure ... But really ... I have so much to do right now ... Yes, the annual reports and well ... Yes, I guess that is news all over the campus. ... Yes, there was an incident. ... No, I'm not at liberty to talk about it right now. Actually that is why I'm calling. I'm with the detective in charge of the case. ... Yes, the gorgeous blonde. ..." This time Ray blushes. "We need Megan Hollis's address. ... No, Megan isn't in any trouble. He just needs to ask her about Philip. Thank you. Of course, I'll hold." He covered the phone, "She's pulling her personnel ... 924 E Racine Apt. 217. Thank you kindly, Carol. ... I'll try. Goodbye."
"That's only about four blocks from here. We might as well walk, if you and Dief don't mind."
"We're both just a happy to be out of the library. Over the last couple of weeks I've worked 16 hour days 7 days a week. This feels like heaven."
"Doc, you need to give yourself a break now and then."
"I couldn't agree with you more."
They walked along in companionable silence until then entered Ms. Hollis's building. "Remember, doc, you leave the talking to me."
"Of course, Ray."
Ray knocked at the door. In a moment a voice said, "Yes, who is it?"
"Chicago Police Department." Ray took out his shield and held it up to the peep hole. The door was opened cautiously.
"Ms. Hollis, may we come in and talk to you about your friend Philip Kaufmann?"
"Philip. Why? Philip's here. He's got the flu so I'm taking care of him." She opens the door more and lets Ray and Benton come in.
"Hello, Ms. Hollis."
"What's going on," she asked?
"There was a body found on the 4th floor of the Humanities Library and we need to ask Mr. Kaufmann what he saw and heard last night," Ray said.
"He was already sick last night so he probably wasn't very attentive. When he got here at seven thirty this morning he was running a fever of 102 degrees so I gave him Tylenol and put him to bed."
"We'd like to talk to him."
"Let me check and see how he is. If he's asleep I'd rather not wake him."
"Could you check," Ray said. Megan frowned but then left the room. "Thanks, doc."
"For what. I've not done anything."
"Right. That's why I'm thanking you." Benton smiled.
Megan returned with a tall, lanky young man. He looked flushed and feverish.
"Dr. Fraser, I'm sorry about this. Megan thinks I have the flu."
"It's alright Philip. Jenny has someone already to cover for you; so get to feeling better. Philip, Detective Kowalski needs to ask you about last night."
"Detective? ... Last night. God, I was really loopy. Was something stolen?"
Ray spoke up before Benton can, "Let's just hear about last night. What happened? Were you busy last night?"
"Not really. I wasn't feeing well so I lay down in Jenny's office for a couple of hours." He looks at Benton, "I can take sick leave for that if you'd like me to, Dr. Fraser."
"Let's worry about that later, Philip. Just tell Detective Kowalski about last night."
"Of course. When I arrived at eleven Trudy told me that Lamar was agitated again. But you know Lamar. He's always upset..." Something about the way the two men looked caused him to stop talking. "What?
"Did you see Lamar, yourself, last night," Ray asked?
"No. Well, not to speak to. He was in his carrel. I saw the door open. I think he must have left some time between two and four. That's when I was in Jenny's office. He's door was open and I saw him working just before two. When I walked around again just after four his door was closed. Now, please, what happened?"
Ray looked at Benton and finally nodded for Benton to go ahead. "Lamar was killed sometime last night."
"Killed. No shit. Oh sorry. It's just ... Where was he killed?"
"In carrel 412."
"What? Do you mean 414?"
"No, he was found in 412. Do you know how he could have gotten in?" Ray asked.
"No. No one had 412. Dr. Fraser sent Jenny a memo saying not to reassign 412. So it's been out of the loop far a few months. Though now that I think, it was open one night. It kinda freaked me. But security was up there. They'd just opened to check something."
"Which security guard," Benton asked and then looked guiltily at Ray. "Sorry."
"No problem," Ray said. "Answer Dr. Fraser."
"One of those new guys. The ones hired in September. I can't remember which one. They all kinda look alike."
Ray turned to Benton, "How many new security guards got hired in September?"
"Three. Carl Dempsey, Harry Baker, and Jim Lupino. They all started just after the middle of September."
"What age are they?"
"All in their early thirties, at a guess," Benton said.
"Kid," Ray turns to Philip, "If we get you pictures of these guys do you think you can pick out which one was in 412? Oh when was this? When was the room open?"
"It was a couple of months ago. As to whether I could recognize him from a photograph, I just don't know. I'll try."
"Did you tell Jenny about the incident when it happened," Benton asked?
"No, I figured it being security it had to be alright. Did I do something wrong?"
"No, Philip, you did nothing wrong. This is not your fault."
"Okay, doc, let's get back and see what we can find out about your security guards. Mr. Kaufmann, you don't say anything to anybody about this. Understand."
"Right," Philip said.
Ray and Benton left the apartment. "I'm sorry. I need to apologize to you for speaking to Philip without your permission."
"It was fine, doc. We were like a duet. You did good."
"A duet," Benton repeated. "I like that."
"Yeah, you set em up and I knock em down. We need to talk to Trudy also. Who is she?"
"Trudy Munford is a librarian. She usually works on the 2nd floor but sometimes she swaps out with others. She tends to try and work nights when she and her husband are having problems."
"Does she work today?"
"Usually. I'll call Paula and get her to check Trudy's schedule."
"Wait. Let's go by the 27th and see if any of your guards has a rap sheet. You can call Paula from there."
Ray parked at the 27th and lead Benton in toward his desk. Frannie saw him enter and immediately she perked up. Should have known Frannie would spot a good looking man. She stood and came forward. "Hey, Ray, who's you friend."
"Dr. Benton Fraser, Francesca Vecchio. Frannie is my partner's sister."
"Doctor. It is so nice to meet you Benton."
"Down girl. Dr. Fraser is a librarian at Cranmore. He's here about the murder over there last night."
"It's nice to meet you, Ms. Vecchio." Benton shook her hand which Frannie did not seem interested in relinquishing. Finally Ray reached over and took Frannie's hand off Benton.
"Come on, doc. My desk is over here." Ray lead him over to a desk. "Park yourself," he said indicating a chair beside the desk. "Now give me those names again. The security guys hired in September."
"Carl Dempsey, Harry Baker and Jim Lupino." Ray started typing on the computer. After a moment he called to Francesca, "Hey Frannie why can't I get on line?"
"Let me look," she said. She gives Benton a long look and finally bends to look at Ray's computer. "Here you go." She taps a couple of keys and then looks at Ray. "Did you read the memo I sent the other day about the changes to the computer system?"
"Sorry. No time. But I will look at it tomorrow. Promise."
"Right." She walks away shaking her head.
"Okay, Carl D-e-m-p-s-e-y," Ray spelled to himself as he typed. "No record under that name. Harry Baker. Now we get 17 Harry Baker's with a record. Let's see. Here, doc, look at these and of these guys the one that works at the library?" Benton came and stood behind Ray and looked.
"Yes, Ray, that is our Harry Baker." Benton points to one of the men displayed on the monitor. Ray pulls up the information of Harry Kenneth Baker. "He's done time in Indiana for selling drugs. How'd he get hired as security at Cranmore?"
"You don't do the hiring, doc?"
"Not of security or maintenance. Those departments do their own hiring. I'm sure they run background checks."
"Doc, I do believe there is something rotten in the state of Cranmore."
"I believe you may be right. What are you going to do?"
"Good question. Call Paula and find out if that woman is at work."
"Trudy. All right." Rays hands him the phone and Benton dials. "Hello, Paula. Yes. ... Just reschedule ... Oh thanks. Check and see what Trudy's schedule is today. ... Fine. ... Thanks. ... Yes, I'll be back. Go on home. I'll see you tomorrow." He hangs up the phone. "Trudy's at work now. She'll work until seven p.m."
"Okay, let's go talk to her, doc."
They started out of the 27th when Francesca noticed Dief for the first time. "Oh, what a cute dog. He must be yours," she said to Benton.
"Yes, Dief is half wolf and half dog."
"A wolf. He's beautiful. Are you married?"
"Francesca chill. The doc is helping with a case."
"Nice to meet you Dr. Fraser. I hope we'll see more of you soon."
"Hope all you like, Frannie."
"Frannie is a nice person. It's just that she goes nuts over a pretty face," Ray said and Benton blushed. "I guess you have that happen to you all the time."
"When I was younger; not as much now."
"You were better looking when you were younger. How is that even possible? Sorry, doc, but you are probably the best looking person I have ever seen in flesh, so to speak."
"Thank you, Ray, but I doubt that very much."
"I'm not a liar, doc."
"No. I'm sorry. I did not mean to doubt your veracity."
"So now I'm blind and a liar."
"Ray, I'm so sorry..."
"Don't worry, doc. I'm pulling your chain. Not about the good looking part though. That still stands. And I wear glasses so I can see what's right in front of me. Where's Dief?" The wolf finally came running out of the precinct with a half eaten donut in his mouth.
"Dief what have you being doing?" Benton asked.
"Sponging would be my guess," Ray said grinning.
"Dief! I thought you had more pride than that."
"Oh, fur ball, those are good donuts. Don't let him bug you." Dief came over and rubbed against Ray who opened the back door for Dief to get into the car. Benton just shook his head at both of them.
Ray drove back to the college and parked in the library lot again. He, Benton and Dief entered the library through the front entrance. Benton went toward the stairs as usual. "Doc, do you ever do things the easy way?" Ray asked about halfway up the stairs.
"Sorry. I just never seem to get enough exercise so I always use the stairs. Besides Dief is a little claustrophobic. But I will try using the elevator if," he cocks an eye at Ray and grins, "you're not up to the stairs."
"Doc, I do believe you're flirting with me again."
"Sorry." Benton really did sound sincere. "I can't seem to help myself around you."
"Not a problem, doc. I find you ..." The door opened and a student passed them on the stairway. She grinned at Dr. Fraser and then stopped at Ray and gave him the once over and then said "555-9723. Ask for Grethen. Just say it's the sexy blonde." She grinned and ran on down the steps.
"That happen often around here," Ray asked?
"I don't know. I'm not a sexy blonde." Benton opened the door on the 2nd floor and lead Ray across to another door marked "Staff only".
The area was a large open room divided into work areas. Only one desk was occupied at this time. At that desk set a very beautiful African American woman in her late forties. She was strikingly beautiful and very tall. She stood as Benton and Ray entered. "Dr. Fraser, Paula said you would be dropping by."
"Trudy this is Detective Ray Kowalski. Ray this is Trudy Munford the mainstay of the Technical Services Department."
"Nice to meet you, Ray. I'm sorry the circumstances are so ..." she stops.
"Yes, Trudy, Philip said you talked to Lamar last night."
"Yes and I feel real bad about that. He was very upset about something and I really didn't even listen to him. Lamar was always upset about something. I hate to admit that I got to the point where I didn't take what he said very seriously."
"Trudy you are not to blame. But please tell Ray what you remember about what Lamar was saying last night," Benton said
"Sit down, gentleman." They all sat down. "I first saw Lamar about five. He came in and went to his carrel. He spoke as he went by the office but he didn't come in."
"Was he carrying anything with him when you saw him," Ray asked?
"Just his attach case."
"Hold on." Ray gets up and walks to the door. He dials his cell phone.
Benton turns back to Trudy. "How's Jack?"
"He's fine. He's an asshole, but he's fine," she laughs. "Benton you need to find somebody to make you crazy."
"You're already taken, Trudy."
She laughs, "Benton, we both know that is more your style," she nods her head toward Ray.
Benton blushes but before he can answer her, Ray returns. "CSU did not find an attach case in 412. Doc do you have a key to 414. Let's see if his stuff is still here. Trudy did he say anything about what had upset him?"
"He went on and on about his books. He's always imagining that somebody is going through his stuff. Also he said that Harry, that security guy had been following him around. Remember when he thought Melinda was stalking ... Harry was following him, wasn't he?"
"He said Harry, Harry Baker was following him," Ray asked.
"Yes, but I didn't believe him. Oh why didn't I call someone? Why didn't I tell somebody?"
"Trudy you had no way of knowing. Knowing Lamar like we all did I doubt that anyone would have believed him."
"Did Harry kill him?"
"We don't know," Ray said. "Did you see Harry last night?"
"He did his normal rounds. I saw him at five when I first came in and then about eight he was back up there. Come to think of it I didn't see him at eleven. Philip was running a little late so he didn't get in until about a quarter after, so Harry should have already been."
"Thanks Trudy. We'll check on this. Look don't say anything to anyone else about this alright?"
"Of course. Just find whoever did this so we can go back to our normal lives."
"I'll do my best," Ray said. "Hey, tell me something. Do they only let incredibly beautiful people work here or what?"
Trudy laughed. "Or what."
"Okay I know when I'm out matched."
"Doc, let's go get that key," Ray said.
Benton went toward the door. Trudy motioned to Ray to wait a minute. You know we all like Dr. Fraser a lot and we're kind of afraid he's going to want to go back to Canada."
"That would be a shame," Ray said puzzled.
"Well, I saw the way you looked at him and well, I just figured if he had someone he'd be more likely to stay around. Look, I know that's not my place to say but ..."
Ray looked at her and then blushed. "Look," he lowered his voice," even if I were interested don't you think he's rather out of my league."
"I've seen the way he looks at you as well. I think he likes you the way you are."
"I'll see how things go after this case is finished. And Trudy I don't think your boss would appreciate your match making."
"Probably not," she smiled. "See you around, Detective."
"What'd Trudy want," Benton asked as they started back down the stairs?
"She just wanted to ask a favor. Don't worry, it's not related to the case."
Benton found the key to 414 and gave it to Ray. He then accompanied the detective up to the 4th floor, this time using the elevator. Dief whined but still came along.
In 414 they found Lamar's attach case. It looked unopened. In side was a laptop computer and a date planner and an old fashioned yellow legal pad. Ray turned through the legal pad. "Look at this doc." He handed it to Benton.
Benton scanned through several entries in the legal pad. "He was following Harry."
"Yeah. Looks like he's been doing this for a while. But look, there's a page missing. It would have covered the last week. But this stuff doesn't look disturbed so ..."
"So," Benton said, "it looks like Lamar removed the pages himself."
"Yes," Ray agreed. "I wonder what he did with them."
"Did someone search Lamar's apartment," Benton asked.
"Yes. Good thought." Ray pulled out his cell phone and dialed. "Butch, hi, Ray K. How's it going? ... Yeah, did you search that student's apartment?... Yeah. Did you find any pages torn from a yellow legal pad. ..." He turned to Benton and covered the phone,
"He's looking. ... Okay, thanks. ... Yeah, I will." He hangs up. "He found lots of papers at Lamar's place. Most were put in evidence bags and are CSU. Look, I'll run over and see what I can find. Would you like to come along?"
"I'd love to, but I think I probably need to catch up on a few things in my office."
"Fine," Ray sounded disappointed. "Wanta get dinner later?"
Benton looked at him and smiled. Ray felt like he'd won the lottery. "That would be great. Call when you finish up with CSU and I'll meet you somewhere."
"Fine. See you later doc."
Ray left and Benton walked back down the stairs with Dief. When he entered his office he noticed the clock. 6:30pm. "Paula, you should have left at five."
"I just wanted to make sure you were alright. You've got a ton of messages and I left the mail on your desk. Is there anything else I can do for you?"
"No. Thank you for staying. Go on home. I'll see you in the morning." Paula starts to go. "Oh, why don't you come in at ten tomorrow."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes." He smiled and she smiled back.
"Thanks, Dr. Fraser."
Benton looked through the messages first. The message on the top was from the president. He'd have to return that call. He laid it aside and went through the rest of the stack. Only three required calls and two of those could wait until the next morning. So he called the President's office. "Hi, Gloria. Is Dr. Mathis still in? Yes, I'm returning her call. Thanks."
"Benton, how are you?"
"I'm fine, Dr. Mathis."
"How's the investigation going? I'm told you've been helping out the Chicago Police Department today."
"Well, not really. Detective Kowalski is more than competent. I was just helping him with insider information. And madam, I'm afraid it is looking like there is an inside element to this murder."
"Oh dear, I was very much afraid there might be. Benton as soon as you know what the police are going to do please let me know. I'd like to have a change to get all our ducks in a row before the press get the story."
"Yes, madam, I'll make sure you know as soon as I know."
"Benton do you think Detective Kowalski is doing a good job?"
"Yes madam, I think he's doing an exemplary job."
"Thank you, Benton. I know I can trust your judgement Get some rest."
"Yes, madam, I will." He hung up and began to go through the mail. The second letter he picks up is a manila envelope. It is addressed to him and has the word Personal written across it. Since Benton doesn't usually receive mail at the library he takes his letter opener and carefully opens the envelope. He pulled out three sheets of yellow legal pages from the envelope along with a letter and a key. He read the letter quickly and then reached for the phone. He pulled out Ray Kowalski's business card and dialed his cell phone number. "Ray... Detective Kowalski, this is Benton Fraser."
"Hey, doc what can I do you for?"
"I have those pages from Lamar's notebook."
"What? How'd that happen?"
"Lamar mailed them to me along with a letter and a key. In the letter he points out what he thinks was going on and ... Ray." The phone had gone dead. He hung up the phone and went out to Paula's desk and tried her phone. Her phone has no dial tone. He is considering going to try the circulation desk phone when his cell phone rings.
"Doc, are you alright?" Ray sounded breathless.
"Yes, I`m fine. The phone went dead."
"Just your phone?"
"Paula's is out as well. Look, Ray Lamar saw who Harry's contact was. He knew they were bringing large quantities of cocaine through this library."
"Benton, listen to me, get out of there. Get somewhere with other people. I'm on my way but I'm afraid someone is out to get you because of what you know. Where's Dief?"
"He's here. We could go ... Ray the lights just went out here."
"It's not even completely dark yet."
"It is in this building."
"God, doc, I'm pulling into the parking lot. Hang on. Get somewhere and put a lock between you and ... Doc..." Ray realized that he couldn't hear Benton. Oh God, please let him be alright, he prayed a he ran across the parking lot and into the library. The lights were on in this portion of the building. Ray pulled out his badge and showed it to the security guard at the door. "Empty this building now!"
"Yes, of course."
Ray ran back toward the offices. The door into the office area was locked. He ran back and found the guard. "Let me into the area where Dr. Fraser has his office."
The guard pulled out his keys and found the right one and handed the ring to Ray. "Here, I'll get everyone off this floor. Do I need to empty the 2nd floor as well?"
"Yes," Ray said as he headed back to the locked door. He unlocked the door and eased it open. He went inside and pulled the door closed. He stood still for a moment for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. He then started toward Benton's office keeping one hand along the wall so he could keep his bearings. As he got closer he could hear a voice.
"Dr. Fraser, I know you're in here. I will find you. You can make this easier on both of us. Come out and give me the information Dixon sent you." There was no answer. Ray went on very softly toward the voice. Ray accidentally kicked the water bottle and it gurgled. The sound vibrated in the quiet office. Ray dove just as a shot rang out. He was rolling over and pointing this gun. Then he heard a loud shushing sound from deep inside Benton's office suite.
"Dr. Fraser, I assume you're in one place and your wolf is in the other Would you prefer I shot the wolf or will you give me what I came for?"
"I'd take door number three if I were you, doc," Ray said as he placed his gun against the other man's temple. "Chicago Police Department. You better drop that gun and pray it doesn't go off and shoot you in the foot." The lights came back on and Dief trotted up to Ray.
"Hey, Dief, where's the doc?"
"Ray, I'm here," Benton said coming out the inner office.
"Who is this?" Ray said pointing to the handcuffed man.
"Silas Nathan, head of security for the campus."
"Mr. Nathan you are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand these rights?"
"Yeah, just get it over with," Mr. Nathan said.
The uniforms arrived and Ray turned Mr. Nathan over to them. "Doc, where's the letter from Dixon?"
"I didn't want Mr. Nathan to get it and you know this building is pretty old. It has a pneumatic tube which uses air to move ..."
"That's what that noise was when I was out in the hallway. It sounded like an airbrake. So where's the letter?"
"I think the tube ends up in the basement where the mailroom used to be. I'll show you where it should be."
"Doc are you alright?"
"Yes, I'm fine. Thanks to you," Benton smiled.
"Oh hold on just a moment. I need to call Dr. Mathis."
"Why," Ray asked?
"She asked me to give her a heads up. Is it alright to tell her about Mr. Nathan's arrest?"
"Yeah, that'll be fine. You can tell her we also have Harry, the security guard. And according to Huey he's singing like a bird."
"I'll tell her. Thanks," Benton said.
After Benton's phone call he lead Ray down to the old mailroom which was now being used as a storage room. Benton opened the end of the tube and removed a smaller tube from which he removed the envelope and handed it to Ray.
"Thanks, doc. Why don't you come with me down to the station. I can get your statement."
"That will be fine. Let me get Dief. Is it alright for him to come with us?"
"Of course. Come on, I'll give you a lift to the station and then I'll bring you back to your car later."
"Dief," Benton called. Dief came out from where he was hiding. "You did well, Dief," he says stroking the wolf.
Ray patted Dief as well. He decided the wolf looked very proud of himself.
It was past midnight before Ray brought Benton back to his car. "Doc, thanks for all you help."
"It made for an interesting change from the routine. I enjoyed meeting you very much."
"Me, too, doc. Me too. Wanta get a pizza and watch the hockey game tomorrow night?"
"Yes, I'd like that very much."
"Okay, I'll give you a call and let you know when I can get to leave the station. I can come by and get you at your apartment if you'd like."
"That'll be fine. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
"Me too. And it's been a while since I could say that."
The next evening Benton and Ray were watching the hockey game. Dief was sleeping on the sofa beside Ray. Ray wished Benton was next to him instead of sitting on the other side of Dief.
"Oh, did I tell you what the key went to?"
"No, it looked like a locker of some kind."
"Give the doc a gold star. It was to a locker at the gym across the street from Lamar Dixon's apartment. In the locker was 10 kilos of cocaine."
"Yes, it seems that Lamar figured out what was going on but didn't know who he could trust."
Benton looked shaken by that. "Hey, doc, it's not your fault. Anyway he'd been watching these guys for several weeks. He'd even bugged that room next to his carrel."
"How'd he get into 412?"
"He had a copy of the key. So did Baker and Nathan. That was a very popular room. Lamar got the bug from a gadget store and he'd been recording Harry's phone calls to Nathan. After each shipment was put in the safe Harry would call Nathan to tell him to deposit money into his account. After the deposit was made Baker would take the drugs and place them in Nathan's car. Then Nathan would dole them out to his distributors. Our accountants say Mr. Nathan racked in a couple of million last year."
"And we were all blind except poor Lamar," Benton said.
"Yeah, but that was Lamar's choice. He wouldn't let anyone into his life, so he was alone. He was very bright but clueless on the personal front."
"I think I'm a lot like that myself. Alone. Keeping others at arms length."
"You ... you don't have to," Ray said.
"I've been hurt and I was ... I am afraid to ..."
"Yeah, been there, done that, got the tee-shirt. We've both been through tough times in our love lives. But we can't let it make us walk away from a chance. This is a chance isn't it doc?"
"I'm very attracted to you but I didn't think... I thought you were straight."
"I thought I was, too. But I find I am attracted to you as well. In fact I can't remember ever falling for anyone as fast as I have with you. Think I could sit next to you?"
Dief looks from one man to the other and seen to smirk. He then jumped down and went to lie down in front of the window. Ray slide over and Benton did as well. They met in the middle and Ray turned to meet Benton's lips. The first kiss was soft yet very hot. Each man leaned back and then they smiled. The next kiss wasn't nearly as soft, the same could be said for other parts of each man's anatomy.
Four months later Benton was in the kitchen in his apartment cooking dinner. Dief whined and got up and went to the front door. In a couple of minutes the door opened and Ray came in. "Hey Dief." He patted the wolf and dropped his coat on the sofa. Dief growled and Ray rolled his eyes and then picked up the coat and opened the closet and hung it up. Benton standing in the kitchen door laughed. "Doc, you got Dief doing your nagging now?"
"That way you're pissed at him and not me." Benton comes across and kisses Ray.
"Something smells good. What's for dinner?"
"I'm trying that pirogue recipe that your mother gave me last week."
"Wow, you must really like me."
"I do. I love you."
"Me too doc. Did you find out?"
"Yes. I am now tenured."
"So you are staying here."
"As long as you'll have me."
"Forever it is then." Ray kissed Benton again. "Tomorrow we'll try that new place Huey was telling us about. We'll celebrate your tenure and our engagement."
"Yeah, I take that forever thing as an agreement to marry me."
"Ray, are you sure?"
"I'm positive. I told Lt. Welsh I was going to purpose."
"Really, what'd he say?"
"Good luck. So are you going to marry me?"
"Yes, Ray, I believe I will."
"Good. Now turn off the oven and come with me. We've got some celebrating to do?"
"I thought we were celebrating tomorrow night?"
"This kind of celebrating we can not do at a restaurant. If we did what I got in mind at La Salle's we'd both be arrested."
"Understood. Dief, bark if anything starts burning."
"Don't worry, we got smoke detectors," Ray said as he kisses Benton and pulls him toward their bedroom.
The end (for now). Stayed tuned for the continuing adventures of Super Librarian and his detective partner with the pretty (sorry, beautiful) eyes.
End The Librarian and the Detective : a love story with criminal overtones by Savannah Heath
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