Christian nodded. I need to shut up, stop cursing and ranting. It's making me look bad. "I'm sorry I'm a little short. I'm tired and still can't believe she's gone."
After Christian was fingerprinted and a DNA swab taken, he and another officer left the station, drove along Bay Road, and turned onto a side street to a mid-range hotel several blocks from the coast. Inside the lobby, the officer told the clerk that the Bahamian police department would be picking up his tab for the night.
The officer left, and Christian, barefoot and whipped, walked from the lobby into a small adjacent restaurant that still served food at eleven o'clock. He hadn't eaten since early that morning. His stomach groaned with hunger pains, but his thoughts weren't on food. He was thinking about the police interview. Of course, Sergeant Drake suspected him. Plenty of boyfriends and husbands killed their women, and when the cops found only his and Allie's fingerprints on the boat, they would be even more suspicious.
He sat down at a table away from other diners. As the waitress approached, he realized he had no wallet, no cash, or credit cards.
"Can I put this on my room bill?" he asked.
The waitress said it would be fine, and he ordered a burger, fries, and a Coke. When his meal arrived, he stared at the juicy sandwich and thought of Allie. Only the day before, she had said she was ready for a burger. He took a bite but couldn't taste the food, because of his runny nose and watery eyes. Embarrassed, he quickly wiped his moist face with the napkin and looked around, but nobody had noticed. He managed to eat half the meal.
In his room, he slipped out of his cream linen shirt and Dockers shorts and took a quick shower. Wrapping a towel around his waist, he collapsed on the bed and stared at the ceiling fan. Throughout the day, he had tried to be strong and focused. "Just get through it," he had kept telling himself. At midnight, the day was finished. His resolve toppled like a sandcastle with the incoming tide. He turned on his side and curled up into a fetal position. Burying his face into a pillow, he sobbed. "Jesus, Allie, how did we end up like this?"
Sergeant Drake returned to the sloop 'Hank's Dream' and the crime scene after his interview with the temperamental Christian Roberts. Drake supervised as his small forensic team lifted fingerprints from Roberts's sloop, collected evidence, and took photos of the dead woman, a petite strawberry blond in her late twenties. Standing on the dock, Drake reflected on the handsome husband, his pretty wife, and the luxurious sailboat. Youth, looks, and money; they had had it all.
One of his officers approached. "Sergeant Drake, they are done with the forensics and the coroner is ready to remove the body."
"Go ahead, but tell him to hold off on the full autopsy."
Drake's supervisor came alongside him. "What do you think?" he asked, watching the men load the woman's body into the van. Drake released a loud sigh. "On this one, I called the pathologist in the States. He's flying in tomorrow morning for the autopsy. And since the husband and victim are US citizens, I plan to have the Miami FBI assist us. When I questioned the husband, he was scared, used anger to hide it, and was defensive. Asked if he needed a lawyer. Plus there are flaws in his story. He says he didn't see or hear anything while he was diving. Sound travels a good distance underwater. He also said he carried his wife from the deck into the berth, yet he didn't have a drop of blood on him. Only a person wishing to conceal something washes up and changes clothing after a spouse is murdered. And we haven't found any bloody clothing except hers." He turned to his supervisor. "So what do I think? I think he did it."
In Miami, Agent Dave Wheeler sat at his desk in the FBI field office and played with his ballpoint pen, clicking the end in and out while he studied the papers. The case was a dead end unless more evidence was found, but more evidence could mean another body. He pulled out the three photos of women, all young, lovely brunettes, and dead. Each had been raped and stabbed in a different part of Florida. Disgusted, he started to close the folder, when he glimpsed his eighteen-year-old daughter in a nearby picture frame. She resembled the murdered girls. Some cases hit closer to home and gave him more incentive.
"Hey, Dave," Ralph, his partner of four years, called from his neighboring desk. "Line two; it's your buddy in Nassau."
"Drake?" Wheeler tossed the pen on the folder and ran a hand over his short, salt-and-pepper hair. On his last trip to Nassau, he had told Drake he needed to hire a good homicide detective for the Royal Bahamian Police Force. The sergeant laughed, said they didn't have the money or enough murders to make it worthwhile.
Wheeler leaned back in the chair and pushed the flashing red light on the phone. "Wheeler."