BlueDiamond

Chapter 2

Detective Kram jogged up to the front of the building that housed the DSI headquarters, his black hair shone with blue and copper highlights. He was early, the sun just peeking over the tall city buildings its warm golden light sparkling off the glass windows. Having spent most of the night awake even the early morning light hurt his eyes. Wiping his brow he then shielded his eyes from the morning light. Despite the early hour, it was already hot in Bangkok, thankfully the entrance of the building was shady, and not yet full of people. The building was enormous but full of light there was shopping, cafes, and banks on the lowest level the ground floor held the immigration department and other offices the DSI took up the top three floors together with the department of commerce and ecology. The officer in the front lobby waved him though, and Kram didn stop to chit chat.

The building wasn even awake at this hour the regular daytime bustle hadn started and the few teams that worked nights were drowsy and ready to head home, it was quiet except for the distant whirr of a vacuum cleaner that echoed around the atrium from somewhere up above. He made his way upstairs to the teams office. A bullpen was set up with six desks arranged to face each other, and a wall of boards for building timelines and tracking evidence framed one side of their office. Unlike other units, theirs also had a giant wire cage filled with gadgets, a workbench, and a sundry of tools. This was Tans area of domain, he had a desk in the bullpen but rarely used it it was usually covered in files that spilled over from the others desks. They also had a state-of-the-art computer system that was designed by Love he watched over it like it was his baby.

He always said he did his best work at night and last night was no exception. His team had been working on this case for a week and Kram was sure the boyfriend was guilty, all the facts pointed to him but he seemed to have an airtight alibi. Arriving upstairs Kram started a fresh pot of coffee and poured himself a cup before setting about taking the evidence off the board, the timeline and evidence just didn match up they needed to start over. He had just finished emptying the board when Love and Noh walked in, followed by Tan and Xavier.

”Morning ” They greeted one another sleepily, happy to see the coffee pot full. All five men had been drinking together last night, but only Kram seemed unaffected. Noh yawned.

”What are you working on? ” he gestured to the board with his cup of coffee.

”After we all went home last night, I was thinking about what you said, ” said Kram.

”The boyfriend has the confidence of someone who knows he won be caught. ” Kram quoted Noh.

”I realized we needed to focus on what gives him that confidence? We know everyone is usually nervous in an interrogation room even if you are innocent. We see it all the time, but not him, why? I realized its because he controls the narrative of the timeline. He found the body and we know he was at work all day. He even ate lunch with his coworkers, so he couldn have gone home to kill her. ” As he spoke Kram approached the board and started to reassemble the timeline and evidence.

”However, what if the timeline is wrong because he made it wrong? The shophouse owned by his family that they lived in had an industrial cooler in the back because they buy and sell restaurant equipment. If he put her in that cooler, it would have lowered her body temperature, slowed decomposition, and affected rigor mortis. If he took her body out of the cooler before he left for work and turned off the AC, her body would heat up again making it seem like her time of death was while he was at work. ”

The others had gathered around the board where Kram had replaced the old timeline with this new version as he spoke.

”What do you think? ” asked Kram.

They all looked at Noh who nodded.

”It fits our theory that it was the boyfriend, but it isn enough. We need to prove that really is what happened. Xavier, go talk to the pathologist again and ask them to check for any signs the body was cooled before they release it to the family, I think they are coming this afternoon. Kram, you and Tan stay here and go over the evidence and witness statements again to see if there is any other conflicting information. Love and I will go back to the crime scene. The techs might not have checked the cooler when they were processing the scene originally. Xavier if the pathologist finds anything call Kram he can pass the message to me ” said Noh.

The team, feeling more awake and motivated, set off to complete their assignments. Like all their cases this one was inherited from another police force many of the smaller areas or villages had fewer resources and sometimes it was a little thing like not checking a cooler that could change the course of an investigation. Kram felt sure they were finally on the right path.

Two hours later, they got the call from Xavier that they had been waiting for. There was evidence the body had been cooled but not frozen; it was enough to send out the forensic team to examine the cooler that had in fact been skipped. What the techs found was evidence of blood and hair. Not wanting to give the boyfriend any more of a head start, a warrant was issued for his arrest. Relief and pride washed over the team, and most importantly with the resolution came the sweet release of sleep for Kram.

It was five oclock in the evening, the second-best time of day to sleep when Kram arrived home. Someone else would take care of the arrest. He didn care about the glory, he cared about the truth. The fun of solving a complex puzzle was reward enough. In the quiet of his condo, he took his medicine, washing it down with the last swallow of a cold cup of coffee, he collapsed into bed. The trick to sleeping was not to think. He checked that his alarm was set. He didn want to sleep past 20:00, three hours from now, tucking his phone under his pillow he fell asleep to the whir of his ceiling fan.

Kram woke abruptly from his blissfully dreamless sleep to the shrill sound of his phone going off, not his alarm but the ringtone he had set for the precinct. Fishing under his pillow, he seized his phone, jabbing the glaring screen blindly in the darkened room.

”What! ” He barked. Sleep was a precious commodity, and dreamless sleep was his unicorn.

”Its Xavier. ” His wince was audible he knew how much Kram hated being woken up.

”Noh told me to call. Our teams on-call tonight, we have a body and you
e closest to the scene, Ill text you the address. ” Xavier hung up abruptly not wanting to be yelled at by Kram.

Kram splashed water on his face and ran his hands through his hair, trying not to stare at his warn expression in the mirror before setting off to the crime scene. It must be bad if the local police asked for their help so soon after finding the body.

An hour later, Kram eased his car into an alley, the murder scene was in a blind alley adjacent to this one that ran behind the shophouses here. Hanging his badge around his neck he got out of the car and walked toward the police tape. The local police pointed out the person in charge who was standing near the body.

”Im Kram from the DSI. I was told you requested we take over this case? Its unusual for local police to request our help, usually, we have to fight our way in. Any particular reason why you
e in such a hurry to pass this case off?

The officer in charge shifted his eyes away from Kram and to the body that was already under a sheet.

”Look, I don want to get anyone in trouble. Ive just been transferred here but this isn the first body to turn up with these same wounds. There are differences of course. The first victim was a boy, but they are about the same age and the wounds have the same strange shape most importantly there is this blue substance on both victims. Come on Ill show you. ” he said.

The officer pulled back the sheet covering the body. they had bagged her hands and head to preserve evidence but through the plastic could be seen the fine sparkle of something blue like glass powder.

”My boss doesn want any part of this when the news finds out so its your problem now. Ill have the files of the other case transferred to your team, ” he said.

Xavier appeared at the police line behind them as he walked up the other officer walked away glad to be rid of this problem and ready to be off shift.

”Wheres the rest of the team? ” Asked Kram stooping to examine the body more closely.

”On their way, they should be here soon, why did we pull this case or do you want to wait for the others before you tell me? ” Xavier said.

”No need, we can fill them in later. I want you to look at the body and give me your opinion about anything that stands out to you? Did you already call in our techs? I want our lab on this. I want to be sure the provincials didn miss anything. ”

Kram walked the perimeter of the crime scene looking for anything that stood out. The markers from the other team were still in place. Taking the stack of numbers Kram marked several other things he wanted the lab to take a look at, bagging several bits of paper, a pen, and a lipstick tube as he followed the trail of debris toward a heap of garbage bags waiting to be picked up, the rest of the team arrived.

”I found her purse. Can I get another bag over here? ” called Kram over his shoulder. Kram changed his gloves before placing the purse in the bag Tan brought him. Together they walked back to the body. Tan was older than Kram but shorter, his specialty was tech; he could make anything work and was always coming up with new gadgets. He had a kind but quirky personality that made people trust him quickly. He was always willing to listen and give advice as long as you didn touch his stuff.

Xavier stood up from the body as the others gathered round.

”This is definitely not this killers first body. I don see any hesitation marks on the body and while this does seem to be a blitz attack the body was deliberately left here and most importantly whatever that sparkling dust is it came from the killer I couldn find it anywhere except on the body. Its either accidentally transferred or deliberately put there, once we know what it is hopefully we can track it to a source.

”Tan, get your drones in the air. I want aerial photos and an assessment of the area, he had to have known about this place, you don come here by accident and then attack someone. ” Noh said.

Tan opened his kit and unfolded the wings of the drones before sending several into the air, the screen and controller in his hand allowing him to view the area in real-time.

Noh walked back to the van with Kram and Love.

”Love, can you take a sample of that blue sparkling dust off the body to the lab? As soon as we have results on what it is I want you to track it down. Meanwhile, rundown all the information you can about our victim. Who she was, where had been over the last 24 hours if she had any enemies. Kram and I will go to the victims house and see what we can find there. Once the scene is processed and the body moved the team can go home. We won get any results tonight anyway. I just want to get to the victims home before anyone has a chance to disturb it. ” Noh said.

It was midnight by the time Kram and Noh arrived, they woke up the landlord to let them into the victims condo. It looked like most condos that belonged to someone in their twenties or thirties. This mornings dishes were in the sink. A basket of laundry waiting to be folded and put away and not much in the fridge. The main space of the Condo was dominated by her work.

A laptop stood open on the coffee table surrounded by books, articles, and pictures of various pieces of art. A combination corkboard and whiteboard held hastily jotted notes and appointments. The room still held the feeling that the owner would hastily return any moment.

”Lets take photos of these documents and the calendar then get the laptop to Tan. Maybe he can find something useful on it. In the morning we can start tracking down her appointments. Maybe her death has something to do with her work. ” said Noh.

They left the condo at about 3 am. Dropping Noh off at his vehicle, Kram headed home with the papers they had collected. It was 5 am when he turned on his coffee pot, spreading the articles out on the table. Kisa Boonnak was the author of many of the articles. A quick google search pulled up her picture staring back at him was the victim from the alleyway. Now we
e getting somewhere, thought Kram. Sipping coffee Kram read through her articles, some of them were academic but most of them were reviews of art galleries and new exhibitions. At 7:30 am his alarm went off. It was time to get some sleep before going into the office.

Kram collapsed on his bed grabbing his phone he sent a text to Love before drifting off:

—Read through our victims papers seems she was an art critic emphasis on the critic may be the murder was revenge or has an art connection? The suns up so Im going to get some sleep. Call me if anything significant develops. If not, Ill see you at 12:30.—

Kram double-checked his alarm and fell asleep. It felt like he had just blinked and his alarm was going off. After a quick shower and a protein shake mixed with coffee, he set off for the office. twenty minutes later Kram pulled up to the Office, the rest of the team was already there. Noh had started the official timeline on the board. Kram read over the notes they had made so far.

”Now that we
e all here in Love, why don you tell us what you learned? ” Said Noh.

”Kisa Boonnak, 30, art critic and restorer, and sometimes guest lecturer at Silpakorn University. No family in the area, shes originally from Chiang Mai. She was active on social media which is good for us. It helps to narrow our timeline considerably and track her whereabouts. She went live from a gallery the night before last that is pretty near to the alley where she was found so there is a good chance she was at that gallery again last night. We should start there. I have been going through her emails, most of them are just general work things, but there have been some threatening letters, people upset about her reviews, etc. Im going to dig into that next. The coroner hasn gotten back to us on the official cause of death but I expect that it will have something to do with all these puncture wounds. Toxicology is not back yet. The good news is we do have results back on that sparkly substance. I have a 1000 baht for anyone here who can guess right. Tan, you want to guess first? ” said Love.

”Uuh some kind of metal dust? ” asked Tan.

”No, Noh? ” said Love.

”Some sort of glass dust? ” said Noh.

”No, Xavier? ” Said, Love.

”Some sort of talc and glitter? ” Said, Xavier.

”Mmm Closer but still no, ok mister genius detective don fail me what is it? ” Said, Love

Everyone turned to look at Kram who stood leaning against a desk sipping his coffee.

”Hmm, my guess is some kind of mineral? Probably blue goldstone, from the look of it. Am I right? ” Asked Kram wiggling his eyebrows.

Love sighed, dropped his head, and groaned. Fishing in his back pocket for his wallet he pulled out a 1000 baht note. Just as Kram reached for it he snatched it away, smirking.

”You know I hate you sometimes. Ill give you the money but first I want to know how you knew the dust was blue goldstone. ”

Everyone turned to look at Kram who took the time to sip his coffee dramatically before continuing.

”I read about it in one of her articles last night. An artist held an exhibition where all their work was based on the night sky and they mixed this powdered blue goldstone with their pigment to give the sky more depth. Our victim Kisa was pretty critical of the artist and their work. ” Said Kram

Love handed the money over to Kram.

”Why do I feel like I got cheated? ” he said, shaking his head.

”Don blame me, this is a details game. ” Said Kram with a wink.

”Will you two stop flirting! We have work to do. Love, I want you to use that article and track down the artist who uses the blue goldstone! Since it was found on the victims body we will start with them. Tan, you work on the victims laptop to see if there is anything about it that we need to know. Was she hiding anything? Xavier, interview the victims colleagues and see what kind of person she was or if she had any enemies. Ill go down to pathology for the autopsy. Once Love finds that artist Kram, take him and go interview them.

********************************************************************************************************

Phet sat in his studio staring at the commission he was almost finished with. Hart would be there tonight; the piece was due to be in Bangkok tomorrow. Phet hated this kind of work. Every piece of art hid a piece of the artists soul. For him most commissions represented stolen pieces of his soul, pieces he didn willingly give and he could never get back. Sighing, he slipped the canvas to the floor and instead picked up his sketchbook. Hed had another dream of a man in shadows intermingled with the night sky. Hastily, he sketched what he could remember of the dream adding it to what he had drawn the day before. He sketched the man but never painted him, choosing instead to focus on the sky. Hes been obsessed with the inky velvety expanse of the universe for years; it holds endless possibilities of life, planets, stars, and constellations. Where others saw cold emptiness he found there was a warmth there he couldn explain.

Finishing his sketch he placed the pad still open to the picture on a stool and picked up a blank canvas, putting it on his easel he set about prepping it. He needed to build it up in some places to get the effect he wanted. Taking a painters knife he spread gesso on the canvas working carefully over the next several hours building, drying, and shaping it to be exactly what he envisioned. The light shifted in the afternoon so that Phet had to adjust his easel so the light spilled across the canvas at the right angle. Mixing his paints meticulously to get the precise colors he wanted, took time. He had just finished the first few strokes of gold that he would overlay with a rich blue when the doorbell rang. Phet froze, wide-eyed, brush in hand, a cold sweat broke out on his brow. It couldn be Hart, he had a key. Had he been found, already? Hands shaking Phet carefully placed his brush on his pallet. Picking up his sharpest painters knife he crept to the studio door and peered out of the gossamer curtains.

”Shiaaa, ” he whispered under his breath. ”Cops! What do they want? ” He thought to himself. He stood there trying to decide if he should risk talking to them or just hope they went away. Even if they left they would probably come back so he might as well confront them now if he needed to move again it was better to find out sooner. Slipping his painters knife into his back pocket he unlocked the door, just as a second car sped up the gravel driveway. Phet groaned now the situation was sure to escalate. Hart had just arrived.

********************************************************************************************************

Hart came screeching up the gravel drive in his red BMW convertible, he hated being out of the city too long, he could feel the color drain from himself in the country, all this peace and tranquility gave him hives. He would never go this far for anyone but Phet. His bright nails clicked on the steering wheel along to the beat of the song on the radio, sunglasses, and a colorful scarf completed his look. If he was forced to drive through the country he was going to look like a romantic era movie star while doing it.

Jamming on his brakes, Hart cursed as he almost plowed into a cop car that was parked just over the crest of the driveway. Throwing the car into park he flung off his seat belt and stormed out of the car.

”What is wrong with you! Who the bloody hell parks in the middle of the drive, and what are you doing at my house! ” He screamed at the stunned cops.

Kram and Love exchanged glances, before pulling out their badges. Kram smiled.

”Hi, Im detective Kram, this detective Love. We… ”

Before he could finish Hart cut him off.

”Let me see those. You don look like the local buffalo with badges we usually see around here, ” said Hart.

Extending his hand he quickly clenched and unclenched his brightly colored nails clicking impatiently. Clearly, he was used to getting what he wanted. Slightly bewildered but mostly amused they passed over their badges for inspection. Hart narrowed his eyes as he carefully examined the badges, suspiciously looking from the pictures to the men before him making sure they matched.

”DSI? Is this about fraudulent art? I filled that report months ago! These people act fast, blitz an area and move on; youll never catch them working this slowly! ” He sighed annoyed at their apparent lack of motivation.

”So what do you want from me? ” asked Hart.

Kram flashed his dazzling smile. ”I just need you to take me through exactly what happened.

Hart rolled his eyes, handing the badges back to the cops. ”Youd better come in, Im not about to melt in the heat to explain things to you. ”

Hart led them into the main part of the house. Despite being made of logs it was light and airy, having huge windows overlooking the forest behind the property. He motioned them to have a seat on the couch but didn offer them anything to drink, clearly not wanting them to linger. Hart waited till the detectives were seated before beginning.

”Honestly there isn much to tell, I was in the gallery preparing for a show. This man came in wearing a cheap suit and said he wanted me to look at some art he had. At first, I wasn sure if he was looking for an appraisal or was himself an artist trying to sell his work so I agreed to look at it. We made an appointment for the following day at three, I never take morning appointments the day after the opening night of a new show, you can rush a hangover you know?

Anyway, he shows up with a portfolio explaining that his friend is the artist and hes just trying to help him out, to get some exposure. So he unzips the case and passes me two charcoal sketches that were quite good and then he brings out this painting, I knew instantly it was a fraud. Fraud is rampant in the art world and it can absolutely kill a gallery overnight. I just lost it on him, how dare he come into my shop and try to pass off a fake of one of my own artists! I mean the audacity! Well once I told him I was going to report him, he grabbed his shitty art and took off. ” Hart said waving his hand as though he could still see the man retreating.

”What did you do after that? ” Asked Love.

”I called the other gallery owners to let them know to look out for him, ” replied Hart

”And did any of them see the man? ” Asked Kram.

”Not that I heard about, ” said Hart

”How long after he left did you file a report? ” Asked Kram.

”Hmm, Im not sure, 30 minutes maybe? Calling the gallery owners was more urgent, ” said Hart.

”What did the man look like? Did you give a description? ” Asked Kram

”Of course, I gave a description, I have eyes don I?! Look, all this was in my report which you clearly haven read so what do you really want? ” snapped Hart.

Kram and Love exchanged glances before Kram pulled the small plastic bag of sparkling powder out of his suit coat pocket.

”We
e here about this, ” Kram said, passing the sealed baggy to Hart.

”But well look into the other case too, I promise. Can you tell us what this is used for? We had it analyzed and we are tracking down anyone whos ordered powdered goldstone in the last year, and yours is the only name that came up. ” said Kram gently.

Hart shrugged.

”I ordered it for one of my artists, but I can tell you if this is mine or not, ” he said.

”We need to collect a sample of yours to compare to this in case it matches, ” said Kram.

Hart narrowed his eyes immediately suspicious.

”Why? Is there something wrong with the goldstone? ”

”No nothing like that, Im sure its perfectly safe, ” said Love.

”Then what? ” asked Hart.

Love looked at Kram who nodded.

”We found this sample on the body of a lady that was murdered, ” said Love.

Hart frowned, handing the bag to Love. he had enough of death in his life, somehow items there at the time of death always took on the cold stillness of the aftermath of all they had witnessed.

”The Goldstone is kept in the studio. Give me a moment and Ill bring you some. ” said Hart.

”Im sorry but we have to go with you and collect it ourselves, its evidence. ” Said Kram.

Hart nodded and led the way through a side door toward a studio in the back. As they entered the studio Kram had the distinct impression someone had just been there, the air felt disturbed. Was it his imagination or was there a hint of perfume in the air? Instinctively he breathed deeply, scent had a profound effect on him, he had broken up with partners in the past if their smell was off and he could identify who had recently been in a place by the scent they left behind. Someone had definitely been here.

”Who else is here? ” asked Kram

”Just us. ” Said Hart. he flicked his hand almost as if he was waving the question away.

Kram frowned but didn push the issue. Hart was hiding something. Letting Love follow Hart to where the powdered goldstone was stored he took the opportunity to look around the studio. The main room was large and full of light, with a loft running along the back wall. In one corner stood an easel. The canvas on it was covered in something that gave it texture whatever it was had not had a chance to dry before they arrived. Someone else was here if not now at least very recently. A large sketch pad that lay open on a stool near the easel drew his attention. Carefully, Kram picked it up examining the drawing within. The page itself was dominated by the night sky but the overwhelming presence of the sketch came from a shadowy figure in the foreground. All the freedom and possibilities of the expanse of the sky around him couldn make up for the feeling of darkness this figure created. Who was he? Most importantly who drew this?

”Please put that down. ” Harts curt voice startled him.

”Artists are notoriously temperamental and I can afford to have one of them thrown off of creating for weeks on end because they are upset that you disturbed their workspace. ” Harts arms were crossed in annoyance.

Kram and Love both towered over Hart but that didn seem to bother him. He was fierce and this was his territory he wasn about to let them overstep their bounds. His full lips that already had a pouty quality to them were made even more pronounced in his annoyance. Love found himself drawn to those lips, wondering if they were naturally that red or if he was wearing makeup.

”Im sorry ” Said Kram in an admonished tone, and truly he was. He hadn really meant to pry into what was obviously someones raw emotion, He was so drawn into the Sketch and the feelings portrayed he completely forgot to finish looking around the studio.

As they were herded toward the door by Hart, Kram gave a quick glance around. Three doors led off the main room, the one they had come through from the main house, the second Love and Hart had entered to get the goldstone powder. The third in the loft stood slightly ajar. He was sure it hadn been that way earlier.

Whats in there? Kram asked.

”Nothing, just more storage, ” Hart said, stepping between Kram and the stairs that led to the loft.

”Ive answered all your questions and I have a lot to do before I head back to Bangkok, so if there is nothing else… ” Hart motioned to the door. Kram and Love both left through the glass front door of the studio Hart, close on their heels, practically pushing them forward he followed them all the way to their car.

”Here, ” he said, handing his business card to Love. ”If you need anything else, call me. Im sure you can manage that. Don show up at my house like barbarians again, you
e lucky you caught me here at all. Usually, Im in Bkk at the gallery. What a waste of taxpayer money this trip could have been. ” he said.

Hart flicked his eyes over both cops as they got into their car. He stood watching their lights retreat down the driveway into the growing darkness before letting out a sigh of relief. Once he was sure they weren coming back he dashed back to the studio, closing and locking the door behind him.

”Phet! Phet! Its ok you can come out now the police are gone! ” Hart called up to the loft. After a few moments, the door in the loft opened quietly and a young man in his 20s with frightened eyes crept slowly out of the room almost as though he was waiting for a bomb to go off. Hart smiled.

”Come on down and lets have some tea, its safe I promise, ” Hart said gently.

Slowly Phet made his way down the stairs from the loft he was clutching a rag stained with paint in one hand, smears of dark blue and purple were on his overalls and his face.

”You
e a mess, ” said Hart. Gently he took the rag from Phets hand and laid it on a table.

”Lets go through to the house and you can get cleaned up while I get dinner out of the car. I brought your favorites. ” Hart said brightly.

Phet nodded and smiled; he didn want Hart to worry. He hated when people worried and treated him like glass all it did was remind him he was broken.

”Hart, you
e the best friend a person could ask for thanks for getting rid of those cops for me. You are so cute when you
e fierce I could hug you! ” Phet said.

His smile grew wider and a bit sinister. Harts eyes went wide and he took a step away from Phet putting his arms out in front of him to ward off the taller boy.

”Phet, you wouldn dare! This pantsuit is designer and I had to have it tailored! Don you even think of touching me while you are covered in paint! ” Hart begged.

Cackling maniacally Phet stretched out his arms for a big hug advancing on Hart.

”But Hart you
e my best friend don you want a hug? ” he asked in mock innocence.

Hart retreated toward the door that connected the studio and the main house, being sure to keep as much distance and furniture between him and Phet as possible.

”Phet! Phet! You know I love you and I mean this with all the love I have for you but if you touch me I will kill you! ” Hart shrieked running from the studio toward the house as fast as his patent leather heels would carry him.

Chasing Hart, Phet was careful to let him stay just out of reach but close enough that one big lunge would spell doom for the designer pantsuit in question. By the time they made it to the kitchen, they were both laughing and panting. Phet gripped the countertop for support while Hart collapsed on a barstool clutching a stitch in his side.

You… Know…I …hate…running…in …heels… ” Gasped Hart fanning himself with an art show announcement.

Recovering Phet opened a cabinet taking out two fluted wine glasses before walking to the wine fridge to retrieve a bottle of Harts favorite white wine. Pouring two glasses he handed one to Hart before hopping up to sit on the countertop. He looked like a big kid sitting there in paint-splattered overalls bare feet dangling over the edge. Taking a long sip of wine he set the glass down and leaned back bracing himself on his hands.

”Hart, what did those cops want? I was too scared to listen at the door…Did he send them? ” Phet said quietly. He held his breath afraid to hear the answer.

Hart shook his head.

”No he didn send them, don worry. Actually, they were just here about a murder, when they told me I almost sighed in relief! I was so afraid we had been found out. I wasn sure what I would do! But don worry I won let them find you or take you, no matter what. ” Hart said affectionately.

Phet nodded, sat up, and took another long sip of wine.

”So just a murder huh? Who died? ” He said. ”God We sound like assholes but honestly Im relieved too. ” Phet shook his head before draining the rest of his glass.

Hart nodded. ”They didn tell me they just asked about the goldstone powder you use, apparently, goldstone was found on the victim so they are looking into who orders goldstone. It was just a coincidence that led them here. Now go get a shower while I reheat dinner and then we will watch a movie. Since I am stuck here for the night. ” Said hart.

Hart hummed while he heated the curry, he cut up fruit and had just finished opening a new bottle of wine when Phet came out of the bathroom drying his hair and wearing oversized silk pajamas.

”Mm It smells good, ” Phet said. He put on his stomach which was suddenly aching with hunger. ”You know I don think I ate today… ” He said sheepishly.

”Phet! You promised you would eat if I let you stay out here! I can check on you every day and I don want to show up and find you dead because you were so busy painting you forgot to eat! ” Hart fumed.

When Phet was still in university Hart had found him sick, sleeping on the bathroom floor and when they arrived at the hospital the doctors said he was severely dehydrated. He had gotten lost in his work, his self-care completely forgotten.

After dinner Phet carried the fruit Hart carried the wine popping on their favorite movie They settled on the couch.

”Did you get a good look at those two cops, from where you were in the studio? ” Asked Hart.

”Yes, Why? ” he said, raising an eyebrow.

”I just wondered if you would recognize them in case they showed up again, thats all. ” Said Hart in the most innocent tone he could muster.

”Oh is that all? I thought it was because you found one of them attractive and wanted my opinion? What is it you always say? All humans are art and art… ” said Phet

”Is meant to be appreciated. ” They both said at the same time laughing.

”Well since you saw them what did you think? Are either of them to your liking? Come on, you
e not dead or a monk. I know you
e in hiding but you have an eye for beauty so I want your professional artistic opinion. ” Hart said using his mock innocent voice once more.

”Well if Im giving my professional artistic opinion then I have to say that the tall one was rather beautiful. ” Said Phet in his best pretentious art historian voice.

Hart kicked him.

”Thats not helpful! They were both tall to me! ” Whined Hart scrunching up his pouty lips.

Phet rolled his eyes.

”You
e enjoying this too much. ” He sighed in resignation. ”I mean the one that was sculpted by the Gods, tall looked like he probably descended from Mount Olympus, great butt that was outlined perfectly in those trousers visible all the way across the driveway! That one! ” Phet said. Giving his friend a sideways glance knowing exactly what the others reaction would be.

”Oooh, you mean Detective Inspector Kram I did notice he seemed to be your type. Well, thats for the best anyway because the other one Detective Love clearly couldn take his eyes off my lips the whole time he was here! I was genuinely afraid hed try to kiss me in the supply room when we were collecting the Goldstone. ” Said Hart in mock alarm.

”Uh, huh, are you sure it wasn the other way around? I wouldn be surprised if you tried to get a ”feel ” for the officer while you were in the storage room. ” Said Phet laughing as Hart kicked him again.

”Are you calling me a slut? ” Ask Hart.

”I would never, ” replied Phet.

”Good, cause it takes one to know one. ” Said Hart smirking. It was his turn to get kicked.

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