2010-04-13: Lovers Quarrel

Starring:

Maggie_V4icon.pngLaurie_V4icon.png

Guest Starring:

Officer Parker and Conner

Date: April 13th, 2010

Summary:

Officer Parker makes a move; Powers and Miles investigate a homicide that may or may not be part of a love triangle.


"Lovers Quarrel"

Manhattan

Some days are just not good days for a patrolling officer of New York City… and some weeks are just not good weeks. Officer Parker has been having one of those weeks for a month now. It started out as a joke — 'ohhh, the bad guys must think you're a real cutie' — but the seemingly constant array of reports happening specifically on his watch is starting to show on the young officer. Surely, that's why he's been so edgy lately… and who can blame him.

So as the responding officer in another dirty alley, he's getting full attention but a noticeable berth.

Chances are up in a locale like this that any evidence is going to blend in with a crowd of contamination from the homeless persons, but the investigators are already hard at work, circling the mucky green dumpster where a man's arm is slung over the side — connected to the rest of his badly beaten body inside.

The first question will probably be about ID; of course, there was none. Can't make it easy, now can we.

"So what do we have?" Detective Powers asks as she arrives on scene — after a short stroll, which explains her sudden appearance. Parking can be brutal in NYC, even for detectives at a crime scene, apparently. At the mouth of the alley, hands half-tucked in the pockets of a pair of brown pants (the colour of the brick buildings nearby, as it happens, and just as drab), Maggie pauses, taking in the scene before she steps into it.

The detective's hands-in-pocket pose might be casual at first glance, but in typical fashion, she is otherwise all business, a grim frown firmly in place as she makes her way to Officer Parker and the dumpster. She is tall enough to peer into the dumpster, prompting a repressed grimace; she may be seasoned, but the job has, apparently, not desensitized her entirely to things like the sight of beaten bodies in a dirty alley. "Who found him?" she glances at the officer. "You've had a lot of calls like this on your shifts lately, huh?" Unlike the others, Maggie's inquiry is — for the short time she even pays attention to poor Officer Parker and not the dead body — sympathetic. No joking, no teasing.

Officer Parker smiles, tight and distrusting of the expression; he's only trying for her. "Good thing we've got such a skilled detective to take care of it," he tries to compliment, but just sounds too shy. Shifting his hand from the belt of his uniform, he indicates their vicinity. "I did, I found him." And he ain't exactly thrilled about it, either. "On one of those tips." He means the kind nobody takes seriously, which is why he gets sent on them all the time.

"Cafe on his side," thumb over his shoulder to the building butted against the dumpster, "Night club right here," in front of them, "I figure… somebody gets drunk and angry inside, takes it out here. Bam. Dead guy. Suppose he felt bad about it later. Called it in…?"

Since he's the first officer on scene, this kind of talking to the arriving detective is typical. But that doesn't mean the other uniforms around the place don't know that this Officer Parker would rather tail Detective Powers like a puppy than come help them anyway.

The compliment is barely registers it as such by Maggie and, thus, is met with a fleeting and humble smile. Smiles don't last long around dead bodies. "Maybe," she replies almost idly as her attention hones in on the man in the dumpster. For some reason, she doesn't seem one-hundred percent convinced by Officer Parker's perfectly logical hypothesis. With another one of those grimaces, she cranes her neck to get a better look at the man.

"Doesn't look like he's been here very long. Mondays aren't really known to be the rowdiest…" Still, it is the city that never sleeps and all that. The indicated night club gets a considering look as well, even though it looks like nothing like a night club from this side, save for a few tattered flyers; most of them on the ground. The ground gets more of the detective's attention than the nightclub, looking for any signs of how the guy got from wherever into the dumpster. She is aware, however, that she's alone with Officer Parker and not much else to say. "Forensics should be on their way…"

There's got to be blood splatter somewhere, unless he was beaten at another location — that's probably what all those other wandering cops are looking for. But Officer Parker continues to hover awkwardly near the dumpster, once in a while glancing at that odd hand protruding out when it becomes an easier target than Maggie, herself.

"So, uh…" He starts valiantly, "I was just, uh, thinkin'. We been on all these calls together now… might be nice to… I don't know. Meet outside of work and shit like this." To which he gestures uncomfortably to the poor dead fellow who's now being used as a prop to get a date. "I go to this coffee place, see, every Friday to unwind and, boy, have I really needed it lately, and it isn't the greatest, but it isn't terrible, either. The coffee, I mean. The days sucked. Not that — not that that's your problem…"

Detective Powers is very focused on a portion of the wall across from the dumpster when Officer Parker starts his awkward attempt at— at— what is he doing, exactly? It might seem that Maggie didn't even hear him at first. Of course she did; she wouldn't be a very good detective if she didn't pay attention, but she is definitely prioritizing, and at the moment an ambiguous smear on the wall, which may be nothing of consequence but you never know, takes priority over Officer Parker.

That's why, when she clues in to his meaning, it's belated. Maggie does a double-take. "What?" Bright eyes widen for an instant on the young officer. Okay — so she's a good detective, but maybe she isn't the best social butterfly. It seems, if her surprised expression is any indication, that she hadn't even realized Officer Parker had been considering talking to her outside of work before this exact moment. Even for just coffee. "Parker— " Maggie shoots a pointed glance to the hand sticking morbidly out of the dumpster. "This isn't the time or the place!" Planting her hands on her legs, she crouches down to eye the area around the dumpster. "I don't think it's— I just, it's not a good idea."

A detective would also know the range of reactions that could follow her, mostly gentle, shut-down. Embarrassment, anger, an attempt to take it back and pretend the offer meant less than it did. But nothing follows her words but a kind of strange, out of place, silence.

Into which come footsteps. And then shoes, right to the edge of the area she's eying.

"What isn't such a good idea?"

That isn't Officer Parker, though. He's been replaced by the master of it not being the time nor the place. Which would explain that the muffled quality of Laurie's voice is attributed to the thick deli-style sandwich he's enjoying. If not for that the article is fresh, it would neatly match the majority of the dirty, tossed away wrappers from the same cafe in the dumpster. "If you're talking to Sir Bravely Runs Away… well, he ran away." Thoughtful gnawing at some lettuce. "Possibly when he saw me coming."

Just when Maggie is thinking that the rest of the team can't come fast enough, shoes are in her line of vision. Laurie wasn't who she was thinking of, but she almost seems relieved to see him anyway, when her head shoots up from studying the pavement.

It is an expression of relief that lasts about half a second. Maggie pushes out of her crouch on the ground, standing. "Nothing," she answers quietly, shaking her head and looking around the alley. "Officer Parker is awfully light on his feet…" The way he just took off like that. Should she feel bad? A concerned and ever-so-slightly bewildered look follows her thoughts out of the alley. But back to work. She spreads a hand in Laurie's direction. Palm forward. Stop. Step back. "You're going to get mayonnaise on the crime scene."

Laurie just sorts of hums in the way that lets her know her answer is bullshit, but they can go ahead and pretend it isn't if that suits her. "Well, he's got it in for you in a pretty big way." Duh, detective. But, as instructed, the consultant pulls his sandwich to his shoulder and slowly, carefully edges his way backwards one step. Then another. He glances at the food, straight at the dead body, and then takes another completely undeterred bite. "It's really good mayonnaise."

He remains obediently rooted to that exact spot, however, so that as the Forensics team arrives, they do so stepping around him on either side like waves of blue jackets coming to take out the trash.

Meanwhile, Laurie, his sandwich, and his long black jacket remain purely observers. Until, as if out of nowhere — and possibly it really is: "So, are you going to keep the photos?"

The forensics experts know their job — Maggie steps aside, back against one wall of the alley out of the way while they do it. "The photos?" Only one set of photos comes to mind; she edges along the wall o stand nearer Laurie, instead of talking over the hum of forensic conversation, arms crossed stiffly. "What else am I supposed to do with them? Burn them? They might be evidence." Of what? That she has a follower? Or something that hasn't happened yet?

An unrelated thought draws Maggie to look over her shoulder, out of the alleyway. "You think so?" Blue eyes narrow on the street. "Officer Parker?"

"Plus," Laurie adds on lightly, tipping the sandwich at her. "They were rather good photos." His eyes have barely left the movements of the team going about their business with the body, but he glances idly also over his shoulder when she pipes up. There's a couple of people on the street now, glancing curiously at the police-tape as they go about their common day. Some teenagers take a photo. One guy is letting his dog sniff a tree.

"Ahhhh, yes. Big time," Laurie informs Maggie when he turns back around to the official scene. "I wouldn't be very good at my job if I didn't. And then you'd have to fire me." A brief flicker of the gaze to her, almost suspiciously. They haven't really had the 'so, your report didn't say: kick him out, kick him out now' talk yet.

Maggie, instinctively, looks away when the teenagers take a photo — in time to be looking at Laurie when he flicks that suspicious gaze on her. She returns it. "…He asked me out for coffee," she blurts out in lieu of addressing what they're not addressing.

She seems to regret it immediately, taking a brisk stride toward the dumpster and the busy forensics team. Camera flashes of a much more familiar nature are going off there: the team photographing the body from every angle before it's moved. "This man was found here after somebody called in a tip," she says, presumably for Laurie's benefit; sometimes, there's no way of telling what he already knows, and she's not entirely certain she's not talking to herself. This time, however, she's fine with talking for the sake of talking. "Looks like he got into a fight — on the receiving end of the worst of it."

The eyebrows raise at Maggie's blurting, but since she's also charging ahead it's likely she misses all reaction. Loitering a bit slower behind, Laurie finally makes it to the body to the sound of her describing the scene. He spared a previous glance for the sandwich he's still holding, but the decision is clearly that the case trumps all — especially chances for awkward small-talk.

Which may be exactly why Laurie bypasses all that description and comments on, "And, of course, you let him down. Firmly but gently. Coffee is, after all, extremely serious." The forensics techs are sort of eyeing them now, wondering about the double-conversation as one of them begins to extract the body from its dumpster resting place. "It always ends in… lover's spats like this one." Now that it's been lowered onto a cart in front of him, he takes his liberty in examining the body, though observing the usual measures. The intent look-over translates into his answers becoming more absent as the tech glances up.

"Why would you say that?"

"It seemed like a good transition at the time…"

"No, I mean, about it being a lovers thing." The tech shrugs, "Guy's pretty beat-up."

"If you're suggesting women can't do this amount of damage… females are very scary. But also, it's a gay bar."

"And how do you know that?"

Laurie turns the victim's wrist idly. "Oh, I've been." There's a moment as the tech's face registers confusion and then a kind of revelation. On that note, Laurie glances up and then straightens from his examination, watching the other man's expression. "Eh eh," he points, "You believed that, didn't you. Don't worry, Detective Powers here had a second thought, herself. Actually, I saw the name of the place on his hand just now — somebody called in a tip?"

Laurie might be right: Maggie gives him a surprised, and vaguely curious, look over her shoulder when it comes to the knowledge of the nearby bar. She does not come to any revelation before the consultant explains himself, and she quickly rolls her eyes and re-focuses the body — even more intently, now that it's been excavated so from the dumper — the detective's hands gradually migrate to her hips and her head tilts.

"Yeah, I think the tip was anonymous. Officer Parker fielded the call," she comments. Idly. Despite the conversation about the officer in question, she's completely distracted from her own mention. Instead, she looks from the disrespectful dumping ground to the cart the victim has been moved to, back and forth, back and forth, until she makes a note to the tech, an inquiring lilt to her voice. "Hey — turn him over?"

Maggie herself turns to point lightly at Laurie without removing hand from hip. "And coffee isn't serious— "

"My mistake," Laurie responds without sounding the least bit like it — well, maybe a tiny bit. But by then it's just for laughs. "Then I suppose I have no likely excuse for why you refused, and you'll have to explain." And he looks most interested and ready to wait for as long as it takes her.

The tech, meanwhile, gives Powers a nod, reaching with gloved hands to get a good grip on the side of the body before deftly flipping him over. "Detectives…?" He summons them, though sounding momentarily hesitant afterwards, as not being entirely sure when referring to the consultant as such. "Looks like COD may not have been the beating…" It isn't entirely obvious at first glance, but the tech did some prodding and he is now pulling fabric away from a wound in the back. "Almost no blood here on the shirt… maybe he was wearing a jacket that the attacker took with him." A glance goes from Maggie to the surrounding officers who have come back with little to no results. "No splatter to indicate any of it happened out here," one of them informs Maggie, "Though there's one area that looks suspicious picked at. Like it was cleaned up afterwards. These guys'll have to take a better look."

Detective Powers is quick to be drawn back to the tech, officers, and the wound being revealed on the body. While she looks gravely on the discovery, she doesn't seem surprised. "Something looked off," she says of the victim. "It doesn't seem like he's been here long, he looked — I dunno, he looked pale, like someone with blood loss. If he was wearing a jacket— that's probably where his ID is. Okay. Let me know if you guys come up with anything from the scene."

And Maggie — she'll be over there. She takes up a slow stroll out of the alley, though she seems almost reluctant to do so, pausing every so often, her eyes continuing to be drawn to various details (or lack thereof) along the ground. Thus, it might just seem out-of-place when she clumsily points out: "I didn't say I refused. I could have been… talking… about something else when you were eavesdropping. Coffee shops." The detective takes a moment to pause and wonder why she's even talking about this and with a shake of her head, moves on with a lift of her brows to Laurie. "You actually think it was a lover's quarrel?" Pause. "With the victim," she clarifies.

Laurie isn't immediate in following her out to the street; he actually wanders briefly in the other direction, pausing where the techs have begun to search for any left-over evidence where the alley seems to have been cleaned. He glances this way or that, quietly gauging distances with his eyes… standing right where it might have all happened…

He's jogging somewhat to exit the alley as she starts talking, slowing as he steps into sync beside her like nothing's changed. At her words, he glances over his shoulder where he came from — symbolically where they last left the conversation — but he isn't looking so much surprised as he switches to looking at her. "You didn't have to say you refused," he explains to her calmly, peering at the rising nightclub wall beside them. Some guy across the street letting his dog sniff a tree. "Just like you don't have to try and explain yourself now anyway. And I wasn't eavesdropping." He'd sound more insulted if he didn't sound too amused first. Then his face draws more seriously, darkly. He brings a hand from his side, flexing fingers in a seeming absent movement. "I do," he assures, then, "Because if I was just mugging him, I wouldn't go through all the trouble of cleaning up what might identify him." To Maggie, "Because his identity wouldn't lead back to me somehow." Away from Maggie, "But something…"

" — is off," Maggie finishes thoughtfully. Whether she stole Laurie's choice of words or interjected her own doesn't matter; it's true to the detective. She said as much to the tech, and she still believes it now. As she comes to a stop just on the sidewalk in front of the alley, skimming the street. Her gaze lingers on the man and his dog; he's been around for awhile.

"Unless his ID was with his money," she suggests. "But no, I don't think it's a mugging. Maybe. Then again, I'm not sure about the lover's quarrel angle, because if it were me, I wouldn't throw a lover in with garbage. Even after killing him. If I did — if I wasn't thinking clearly, you know, crime of passion, enough to put him somewhere so irreverent and easy to find… I don't know that I'd be in the mindset to clean up the scene. Well, I might, but I spend a lot of time in crime scenes." Detective Powers also spends a lot of time thinking of every angle from every point of view, apparently.

The guy and his dog decide to move on. "It is a cursed evil to any man to become as absorbed in any subject as I am in mine." It's unclear whether Laurie's quoting for her benefit or his own. He makes no distinction but to move on: "A panicked mind can do many things you might not imagine. Or a jealous one. Maybe a man who cheats is no better than garbage," the edge of his mouth quirks up briefly, as noncommittal as the one-shouldered shrug he delivers with it.

"But I'm only saying that to say it. Abusing the person you're with is a completely different mindset than stabbing them in the back." And judging by the miniscule, yet present, change in tone… Laurie feels quite a bit stronger about stabbing than beating as well. Or perhaps it's more personal than that. "It involves the kind of self-righteousness and assurance that goes with covering tracks," he squints, "Better than this."

Folding the edges of the paper it came in over the remnants of the unfinished sandwich, he lifts his head and looks away down the street. "This feels like two people."

Maggie's eyes stay on the tree after the guy and his dog leave, a hand coming up, a few knuckles lingering near her chin in thought, a thumb tapping. Her gaze only shifts to eye Laurie for a second — timed solely around back-stabbing — before it drifts across the street again. "Mm. Too many angles." Times two, if Laurie is right. "What makes you feel two?"

Laurie only treats her with a scrunched-up look of unhappy thought that is, unhelpfully, not even aimed at her. His lingering decision to not answer is also interrupted by the footsteps of one of those officers in blue, most of which have moved on past the immediate area to keep canvassing. This one comes up to Maggie, jerking a thumb back whence he came from around the corner.

"There's a day manager inside the club counting receipts. He recognized our victim." He informs her, hooking fingers around his belt, and pausing for what might seem like dramatic effect if there were an audience present — besides Laurie — "And his boyfriend."

* * *

Conner Murphy's Apartment

The day manager of Bum Bum Bar (it's real, people) willingly delivered the name of the last known person to see the dumpster victim alive — his boyfriend. Whose lush downtown apartment sits right above an equally high-scale gym, both of which he owns. Answering the finely crafted door, Conner's immediate look is on of being unhappy to be disturbed and it isn't an expression that changes much when the obligatory badges are shown. Before much else can be offered to him, he rolls his eyes, teeth clenching around a more angry first reaction before he rails out a only slightly less pissy and definitely more pretend-apologetic, "I'm sorry," not really, "But he's not missing. He's just crying it off at his boytoy's, who we all fake like I don't know about. Sue him for wasting for time." And he steps back and prepares to let the door swing shut.

Slam. Detective Powers hit that fine door harder than she intended with the palm of her hand, to keep it from closing, but she's not about to let this conversation end so fast. "There's no need to … fake here," Maggie says, while biding her time on agreeing with Conner: no, his boyfriend isn't missing. He's dead, a fact which causes her to glance to her side before continuing. "Do you know who it is — the name of the other person David was seeing? Trust me, it's … important that we know. Can we come in?" She nudges that door open a bit more, but doesn't overstep. "You said crying it off — did you two get into an argument last night?"

There's a flash of anger on Conner's face again, that barely-withheld kind that he probably wouldn't do Maggie the honor of holding back if she hadn't, well, flashed him the badge. He catches the door with his own hand, allowing himself to regain control of how open or closed his house is to them. (The second half of which is currently perched on the railing at the top of the stairs leading to the door, his hands folded calmly in his lap like he isn't even bothered to deal with this.) "Why should I know?" Conner snorts, "Or care. It was probably… Fernando. Or Luis. Something foreign. He's the fucking pool-boy, where else do they scrape service people out of these days?" He clearly would not like them to come in, but his irritation at her next question causes him to back away from the door, throwing his hands in the air.

Immediately, Laurie — who is suddenly paying attention — leaps down and starts to cross that unguarded threshold. But a second into it and he stops. He glances at Maggie.

Conner, meanwhile, has found other grievances to air: "Don't even tell me he's filed some sort of bullshit complaint. I can't believe he would go to the police."

Stage-whisper, and just as staged disbelief, Laurie leans near Maggie. "I can't believe it either!"

For an instant, Maggie closes her eyes as if in annoyance — at Conner, at Laurie, at both, take your pick — but the expression calms and turns grim by the time her eyes open, serious on The A Boyfriend. "Because he didn't," she replies, and gives a nod to Laurie. Go on inside. She does. "We went to him. I'm sorry," yes really, "David was found… beaten, stabbed outside… a nightclub. I'm sad to say this is a homicide investigation." She gives Conner a moment for this to sink in, though she knows it might not be enough. She's reluctant to press on, obviously so, her words slow, but that doesn't stop her. "So whatever you do know — we need to know too."

Conner has since marched into the kitchen and beyond, muttering this or that thing he's going to do. Only a brief time after Maggie's news is able to have time to really settle, he charges back out, "What did you just say?!" In fact, he's charging straight at Maggie with what seems obvious intentions. As his arm comes up, Laurie's cuts underneath it, slapping him on the chest and suggesting that he take a step away. Although Conner threatens, "Hey, watch it," he simultaneously allows himself to be thus nudged into a convenient couch behind him. Down off his pacing feet, he regains some of his composure and eyes up at the detective with this due arrogance. "Told that little fag he didn't know how to take care of himself time and again. Should've just come home with me."

Maggie leans back slightly away from Conner, holding one hand up — not to ward him off, as Laurie took care of that (a fact which earns him a fleetingly warning look instead of thanks), but a placating gesture. "What do you mean, did he get into trouble often?" she asks, voice soft compared to the resident's. She hasn't ventured far into the apartment, but does so now, keeping an eye on Connor (and Laurie) in-between taking in the decor, gradually strolling around. "When was the last time you saw him, what happened?"

Laurie's kind of used to that reaction. And that look. Therefore, all he does is stand behind the couch and show Maggie both his palms to suggest he is innocent — but will not get involved again anyway, you know, just to be nice. Conner, meanwhile, crosses his own arms across his chest, watching the detective like a hawk to see if she gets too personal with his apartment. "Of course he got into trouble. David didn't know when to keep his mouth shut. I'd catch him talking to everybody, all over the place. Like he was some kind of fucking hooker. I showed him, you know. Showed him what it would be like if he just let anybody have their way." He snorts, looks away. "Probably liked it."

Now that gets a critical look from the detective. Her pursuit of details around the apartment — without actually touching anything, so Conner can rest well in at least that — is ended in favour of sitting upon the edge of the chair across from the couch. She glances up past the seated man to Laurie, curious, knowing by now that he must have formulated some observations. She leans in over her knees slightly as she questions Conner calmly. "What did you show him?"

Since he's standing behind the couch, Laurie can get away with pretty much anything. He demonstrates this when Maggie goes to catch his eye by, not only returning the look, but making it semi-exaggerated. Raising both hands, he closes the right into a fist and mimes punching the other palm a couple of times. Conner is a little less forthright with information, choosing to take Maggie's lean as a challenge it appears; he similarly sits forward, his elbows resting on his knees in a way that conveniently flexes some impressive arm muscles underneath that uptown polo he's wearing. "What I had every right to. You want a demonstration?" There's a very subtle shift in weight from Laurie — but he said he wouldn't interfere, and he doesn't.

Maggie isn't challenging Conner; not purposefully. In the face of his threatening answer, her reply is wholly the opposite. She smiles. Under the circumstances, it might just be a little patronizing, though coming from Detective Powers it's not exactly cutting, but it is contrary. "… No. Not unless you want to go to jail," she says decisively — but still with that small smile. "You didn't answer, when was the last time you saw David?"

He may be self-righteous to Hell and back, but Conner's clearly intelligent enough to know two things: one, that attacking an officer of the law with another standing right behind him would be dumb. And two, his answer, while perfectly reasonable to him, isn't going to sound good to them. Shifting into a more self-satisfied, devil-may-care position, he even manages to shrug. "Last night. We were at a bar." Happy now, detective?

"Where you beat the shit out of him." — from Laurie, whose hands have fallen to his pockets like when he's being casual, but he's noticeably gripping something in the right, at least. His fist makes a bulge in the jacket pocket.

Conner adjusts a second time, hand laying over his leg. At first he rolls his tongue into his cheek, irritated, but when he responds it's with a measure of pride. "Where I beat the shit out of him."

Well that makes sense. It fills in a blank, but Maggie doesn't like what she hears, regardless. After another glance to Laurie — his stance duly noted — her mouth flattens into a grim, straight line and she eyes Conner rather darkly as she goes on with her questions. "You left him there? That's the last time you saw him, at the club. You went your separate ways?"

"That's right," Conner nods, his chin high; he now seems to be rather enjoying the reaction from her. "I told that skank he should come home with me right then, where he'd be taken care of like I always did, even when he didn't deserve it. But he chose poorly." Sniffing idly, he glances away from Maggie for the first time, "Actually, he pinned the cherry right on that one, didn't he? What'd you say he got? Stabbed?"

"Yes, he was." Maggie is patient. She is. But having had enough of Conner and his attitude toward a man who is now dead, she gets to her feet. She steps toward the couch… "I'm going to have to arrest you for assault now— " An arm reaching behind her back to reveal… voila, handcuffs. Conner may or may not be guilty of murder, but either way, he's not innocent. "So please get to your feet. Try to think of your alibi during the time of David's death on the way to the station. We'll have more questions for you there."

"What?" Conner stares up at her incredulously, barely moving from his casual pose — except, perhaps, to flex hands briefly into fists and then relax them forcibly. "You're joking." He looks between them to see if either betrays a hint of amusement. As it turns out, Laurie does. But it's only a shade of mocking as the mostly silent consultant raises his eyebrows with affected surprise, his left-hand fingers falling away from the edge of the end-table it turns out is behind the couch also. Scowling, Conner turns on Maggie again. "You're — this is a waste of my fucking time. Get out of my house. I didn't do anything I didn't have a right to."

"You had no right to physically attack your boyfriend, Mr. Murphy, a crime which is evidenced all over him and you confessed to. And right now you happen to be a suspect in a murder case unless you have an alibi that checks out." Like Laurie, Maggie holds up both hands (though the cuffs crumple in one), but unlike the consultant, she has no look of amusement. "You can come with me now," she says, perfectly reasonable, "Or I can come back with an arrest warrant and walk you past your lovely gym with a whole group of officers."

"I had exactly that right!" Conner objects, well, righteously. He stays right there on his couch, master of his kingdom. "Go ahead. Go get your fucking warrant. You can march it right up to my lawyer, who I am calling, so you can shove the rest of your questions." He leans back, arm wrapping around the couch to an iPhone that is on the end-table, actually right in front of Laurie, who casts Maggie a sideways look that is either saying 'oh well, too bad' or asking her permission to do something Laurie-esque.

Being new to the concept of Laurie asking for permission, Maggie looks past the self-righteous boyfriend at the consultant with a faintly oblivious raise of her eyebrows. Thankfully, it only lasts a second or two. She gives Laurie a laissez-faire roll of her eyes after that, "permission" enough while frustrated by Conner, though it's her only indication of such. She keeps her cool, stepping back. "Okay," she says, friendly under the circumstances, but not without an edge. "Have it your way, Mr. Murphy. Your lawyer will tell you to stay in town."

The look was also conveniently vague, allowing a loose translation in either direction — which is also how Maggie's reaction is likely going to be taken. Laurie doesn't seem to react much at first, only shifting away from the table and starting to follow the detective door-ways. But then, he pauses — a recollection — and turns casually around his shoulder. "Oh, I'm sorry," the day's been full of those, and his is a toss-up, "I touched your phone."

Midway through dialing, Conner tenses. Pauses. He bites his lip and then tilts his head, making himself grit out first a: "Excuse me? You touched…"

"Your phone." Laurie supplies helpfully, eagerly almost. "I touched your phone and I reorganized some of your calendar dates." A beat. Oh yeah — "On accident." His polite smile is a little too lop-sided not to be cousin to a smirk as he begins to turn away again.

Conner's on his feet in a second, staring first at the violated piece of technology to the man responsible. "Are you being a smartass with me?" As Laurie visibly debates answering that, "I can file a complaint. You guys can be sued for shit like this."

"What, like, at the station?"

"Yeah, 'tard, like at the — " But, mouth still open, Conner realizes where he's going with this. His grimace is one of anger and knowing he's been had, and he eases off, pointing with the hand holding the phone. "Come by my gym sometime. I'll show you another way things can go."

"O-kay," Maggie holds a splayed palm higher in a stop gesture. "Unless you want threats added to the list, I think we're done here. I will be seeing you again though, Mr. Murphy, so just— I'd simmer down, a little bit, maybe, before that happens." She drifts to the door, with a light nudge to Laurie's elbow to make sure he is following, looking over her shoulder at Conner nearly all the while. In a quieter voice, she whispers a cautious hiss of a question: "Did you really tamper with his phone?"

The door shuts over the image of Conner trying to not be too frantic as he begins pressing buttons on the phone calendar. As it clicks closed, Laurie's mouth tugs down in a fleeting expression of regret before he goes neutral. "Nahhh." Eyes flickering over to her, he attempts to look apologetic but, failing that, instead offers further explanation. Maybe. "I already knew he didn't do it. I just wanted to be an ass." Trotting down the front stairs at a faster pace and getting ahead of her, it seems that perhaps it was also a little therapeutic. He shows nothing of the tense stance from inside while giving the what's-up nod to a couple of cute women coming out of the gym as he plucks up one of the brochures hanging outside the door and regards it rather honestly.

Maggie, without so much pep in her step, is left behind until she picks up her pace and jogs down after Laurie. "Oh… well… good," she replies half-heartedly. The group of women get a cursory glance from her, the gym itself drawing more her criticism and thought. "If Conner can be believed, our next suspect is literally the pool boy." She doesn't sound especially thrilled about that cliché.

"You should check to see if he's ever filed a complaint against anyone else," Laurie suggests as he glances up from pictures of smiling people in front of pristine exercise equipment. "If David found someone to champion him instead of just have comfort sex with, this toy boy might have confronted Conner about the abuse… you know, this place looks really nice." He gestures the brochure over his shoulder at the gym doors, squinting past the sun towards Maggie. "And I have an invitation from the owner and everything."

Nodding along in consideration of Laurie's theories, Maggie also happens to study the brochure in his hands. "It is. If it wasn't for it being across town and the owner being…" Evidently reluctant to even insult the arrogant man upstairs when he probably deserves it, she trails off only to pick up with, "…the owner, I might actually consider joining. Come on," she says, moving toward those very gym doors to shoulder in. "That invitation might not get you far, but my badge will. Remember, we're here for work, not workouts."

"You know, if you arrest Murphy, it's not like you'll accidentally bump into each other over the elliptical machine," Laurie reminds her sagely as he moves to fall into what has become familiar step beside the detective. On her reminder, he hums thoughtfully. "Well, if this investigation turns out anything like the others, I might end up doing both. And in the pool." As they come up to the front desk, badges ready to be exercised, he has time for one more curiosity. A glance to Maggie.

"You think I could take him, right?"

(TO BE CONTINUED…)

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