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In hot water [Rabi and the Cops]

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Offline Beejoux

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In hot water [Rabi and the Cops]
« on: September 21, 2019, 12:58:28 PM »
Rabi never came back to Tucker's rooms: instead he finally gave up and went back to his offices, to set things in order, to figure out what to do with himself while his life was on hold. And to take some time in front of a mirror, to adjust his appearance. It meant that when anyone showed up to question him, he'd have a really nasty black eye and a swollen lip, like he'd been knocked around a bit.


It wouldn't take too long for a pair of someone's to come knocking.  Tipped off that Rabi had been seen on campus again, or possibly already been there themselves.

Wertz was tall with short brown hair and  thinner physique.  He had a bit of stubble around his jaw and, though he looked young, had a thoroughly unimpressed expression on his long face.  Jaded, even.


Mid-thirties and fair-haired, Smith was baby faced and sweet-eyed; a little bit heavy through the middle. He followed in Wertz's wake, knocking at the door, and Rabi limped over -- not too exaggerated -- to let them in.


Wertz gave a very polite, but not very warm smile as the door opened.  "Good afternoon Mr. Mahar.  I'm officer Wertz, this my partner Smith, and we were wondering if you might have time to answer a few questions concerning a fire."  And he gave the address, dark eyes flicking over the bruises, the busted lip.


He looked Wertz over, expression going guarded and tight -- and then looked to Smith, who seemed more inclined to just study the pictures on Rabi's wall. "A fire?"


He nodded.  "That's right.  Saturday afternoon."  A look was cast around the office, then back down to Rabi.  "Could we come in and talk?"


He licked his lower lip slowly, which drew perfect focus to the split down one side, his eyes skitting from Smith back to Wertz. "In here?"


"It would be more private," he pointed out reasonably, and as cold as his expression could be, he at least sounded polite and sincere.  "But we can talk here if you're more comfortable with that."


"It's just..." He licked his lip again, tenderly, looking past him toward the door. "Well, I guess we can close the door? I'm supposed to have office hours..."


Wertz smiled a little brighter and it managed to thaw him out a bit.  "We'll try to make it quick."  At the moment Rabi was only a person of interest.  In need of questioning, but not yet a suspect.  There was no reason to be anything but patient and understanding.


He brushed at his jaw but nodded, taking a step back to let them in -- pointing to the chair and then hesitating a little. "There's only one."


"We appreciate you taking time out of your work day to speak with us."  He'd glance at Smith before sitting down.  Of the two of them, Wertz was the more intimidating on his feet.


 Smith wasn't intimidating in any way at all. He didn't smile, but he blinked at Rabi a couple times, and then set to circling the room. As much as he could. Looking things over.


Hands folded in his lap, Wertz sat in the chair leaning just slightly forward.  "We're trying to put together a timeline for Saturday, so to start, could you tell us if you were there that morning?"


He made a sound, faint -- the start of some comment, aborted, swallowed. As he sank down to sit, he looked a little queasy. And it was a bit over the top, like he was woozy and out of sorts. Dramatic. "Well. Yes. For a while."


Dark eyes sharpened, just a bit, but he maintained that polite smile.  "Could you walk us through your day?"


"I don't really..." He faltered, again, somewhat carefully, with fingers at the split lip. His eyes flicked away and then back, somewhat uncertainly. "I don't want to...bring trouble, or anything like that."


Wertz glanced up at Smith before smiling gently back at Rabi.  "There's a suspicion of arson and possible foul play regarding the fire at the house, and in order to rule you out as a possible suspect we really need to you walk us through your day with as much detail as possible."


"We had a little...argument, Saturday morning." John probably hadn't said anything about this. In fact, he'd probably blamed Rabi roughly, sharply, and certainly, when they interviewed him. But John also hadn't looked like someone beat the shit out of him. Rabi cleared his throat and dropped his eyes. "I thought it'd be smart to sleep in my office for a bit."


A little notebook appeared, Wertz's hand poised over a page with a pen.  "Can you tell us the nature of the argument?"  Still polite, but down to business now.


He licked his lip again, started to answer -- and then stopped. He looked just a little bit overwhelmed. "Well. I'm not exactly...I don't always really understand....what he's angry about."


Wertz nodded like he understood, but he'd still persist.  "Anything you remember about it would be great.  If something specific seemed to trigger it, what happened during."  He glanced up at Rabi again, focused on the injuries.


He dropped his eyes like he was embarrassed, but he was too dark to flush, to show much more than that. He shrugged just a little tiny bit. "It blends together. Dinner, I think? It started with dinner, and what we were going to eat?"


"Saturday morning?"  He'd made a little note, but he looked up again.


"The conversation was. But it was dinner plans." he fidgeted a little bit, shifting in the chair. "How bad was the fire?"


Another notation, Wertz nodding.  "Bad, it destroyed most of the house."  There was a bit of compassion behind that, a little sympathy.  Impossible to tell of it was feigned or genuine.

He nodded towards Rabi.  "Did that happen during this argument?"


He started to reach up toward his eye, then stopped himself -- and Smith watched the motion through narrowed eyes, frowniing just faintly. Maybe it was a bit dramatic. Of course, Rabi was a bit dramatic. Maybe it was in character. "Oh. Ah. Yes. I fell."


Wertz's expression hardened, a little of the warm draining from dark eyes.  "You fell?"  It didn't sound like he believed it.  "I would like to remind you that we're trying to put together an accurate time line to determine the events leading up to fire."


He looked down, rubbing his hands together -- and then sliding palms up his arms. He started to answer, and then bit down on the words, like he was restraining himself. Struggling with it. "Well. Yes."


More doubt.  "So what happened after 'you fell?'"  He was writing again, and even glanced up at his partner.


Smith looked back at him, an eyebrow raised, somewhat skeptically. But then, he was looking at some of Rabi's art, which was a bit out of control. Messy. Rabi flicked him a look too, picking around the edges of his fingernails. "I left. A friend called me an Uber."


"And what time was that?"  The pen paused, eyes on Rabi again.  "And what's the name of this friend?"


"I don't know what time it was, and it was one of my students." He blinked at Smith, seriously. "Is John alright?"


Wertz would let Smith handle that question.  "I need the name of the student, and a phone number if you have one.  Were you with this student for the rest of the day?"


He shook his head a little bit, looking around the office -- and then back to Wertz. Carefully, he set to pulling out a pen and a piece of paper. He gave Tucker's name and a number. "I came here."


Brows arched.  "Can anyone confirm that?"


"I don't..." He blinked up at Wertz, then, all surprise, and discomfort. "I don't know. Why?"


"Because we know approximately when the fire started, and unless you can provide a reliable alibi we can't rule you out of the suspect pool."  He looked up then to give Rabi solid eye contact.


Rabi just gave him wide eyes like he couldn't imagine why -- and, really, the bruising around his eye looked very dark in this moment, very intense. Maybe it even looked, a little bit, like he'd tried to makeup over it. "Me?"


Wertz nodded, brows arched.  "You, John, anyone else that might have been at the house that day, or who might have had a problem with you or John."


"Well." He hesitated over his answer, staring at Wertz like he was trying to figure out where to start. But, at least, it didn't seem like he was backtracking. "Well, John was a bit...he was a bit worked up. That's why I came here. There might be security footage..."


"We'll get back with him about security footage, but until then, if there was anyone you happened to talk to when you got here.  Any cameras you might have passed, anyone you might have called from your office that would have a phone log available."  He'd lowered the notepad to his lap, pen tucked between his fingers.


He shrugged just a little bit, slowly, helplessly. "I was a mess, I didn't want anyone to see... but there's definitely a camera in the back parking lot."


"That's good, we'll contact the security office after we leave here."  The notebook was tucked away again along with the pen, and Wertz pulled out a card to offer it across the desk to Rabi.  "If you happen to remember anything else, please call.  Also, please stick around the city for now, until we have a chance to clear you."


"Where else would I go?" But he paused after he took the card, a but dramatic. "Where am I going to stay? Where's John?"


The officer had gotten to his feet, but he paused before turning to the door.  "At a hotel, I think."  But he was frowning.


"You said... what about my studio?" He looked a bit stricken. "My work?"


"I can't speak to what parts of the house were hit the worst, but you can contact the fire department.  If they don't know for sure they'll at least be able to tell you if it's safe to go in to try to salvage anything."  He pulled the notepad out again and flipped it to the back so he could write down a name and a number, then tore it out to hand it over.  "Ask for Andrews."


"And John?" He put a dose of panic in his voice this time, reaching for the sheet. But maybe jt was too little too late. "Please let me know where he ended up."


For a moment it looked like he might not give him the name of the hotel.  Like it was a bad idea.  "The Westen over on Summerset."


"And he's okay?" Rabi shook his head, still looking up at Wertz.


"Some burns, but nothing serious."  He was watching Rabi's face, trying to read his reactions as they flowed across tan features.


He breathed out as he sat back, like relief. Picture perfect relief. It was too perfect, maybe. "I'll call him."


Wertz nodded, glancing at Smith before offering Rabi his hand and a smile.  "I think that's all we need from you right now, thank you for your time, and our condolences on the loss of your home and personal effects.  Again, if there's anything you think of that we might need to know, big or small, please call the number I gave you."


Smith was studying a painting in yellows and oranges, but he looked up and nodded at Wertz, then at Rabi, who was nodding slowly.


With a nod Wertz went for the officer door, holding it open for his partner.  When it had closed behind them and they'd gotten a little bit aways from it, Wertz glanced at Smith.  "What do you think?"


"Weird guy." Smith was brief, succinct, shrugging at Wertz. "Lies in there. Not sure what he was lying about, though."


Wertz gave an agreeable hum.  "You think the boy friend roughed him up?"


"The boyfriend definitely roughed him up, did you see the shiner?" He shook his head, starting back for the car.


"And the lip."   Wertz frowned thoughtfully.  "But he lied about it.  Could have been afraid, but," he shrugged.  "Something seems off."


Smith shrugged, brief. "Security footage'll show."


"Right.  I want to call the kid that supposedly called for the Uber, too."  As they hit the door he held it for Smith.