CHAPTER 1

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JENNIE

"In a count of three, 1-2—!"

Before I could finish counting, Rosé already kicked the door and throw herself in.

The house was partially dim even though it was just mid-afternoon. The rays of the burnt-orange sun managed to force itself in through the slightly opened window. A stinky smell with a hint of dust and something rotting welcomed us.

I've been through this a lot of times because of this job but at some point, I still can't get used to it. You know that feeling like something is turning your stomach upside down and it makes you wanna vomit? Urghhhh. Rancid.

"She's here," Rosé spoke as she stopped at the middle of the living room, her eyes fixed on the body of an old woman near an electronic wheelchair. She was already pale, her lips were now black, and flies were already feasting on her cold body.

"Did she commit suicide just like what the intel told us?" Eun Woo, the tall, chick-magnet, and the youngest detective in our team asked.

"She was strangled to death. Look at the mark on her neck stupid," Rosé replied as she made her way out while dialing the NBI's number on her phone.

Eun Woo looked at her, amazed by her keen eyes to spy details even in a semi-lighted room. Sometimes I wonder if he is really a detective because he is sometimes dumb and sometimes smart. He is either of the two.

I scanned the surroundings. It wasn't messy. Aside from the dusts that filled the air, it still feels like home—a lonely and gloomy one.

There's no sign of a struggle since everything is still organized. The victim has no defense wounds too.

"We have a witness," Rosé said in a haste while catching her breath. She probably chased someone.

"Who?" I asked.

"The maid."

At the Interrogation Room

"How many years has it been since you worked for Mrs. Vega?" I directly asked while maintaining eye contact.

Sitting in front of me is a middle-aged woman with a crooked collar and a sloven hair. She was not neatly organized. Even the way she behaves right now, she's uneasy and bothered. There's more that I can see in her eyes. Is it sadness? Fear? Guilt? Longing? Anger?

I can't tell yet. But there's probably something.

"F-five," she replied as she slightly squeezed the disposable cup on her side of the table.

"It's been long. Where were you on August 3?" I tried to meet her gaze but she refused to make contact with me.

"I was home. She told me that I can take my days off on weekends since her adoptive son will be home to take care of her," she mustered to gain her courage now and managed to face me.

"Adoptive son?"

"Yes. Justin comes home on weekends,"  she paused and heaved a deep sigh.

Rosé told me that the maid called us because Justin went to her and threatened her to keep her mouth shut.

Her lips trembled before she continued to speak, "before I went home on Friday night, I heard them argue about the inheritance. Justin was enraged because Mrs. Vega changed her statement without his consent. She decided to give half of her wealth to charity."

So Justin was with Mrs. Vega since August 2. Now we're getting more details.

"Why did Mrs. Vega change her statement?" I asked while softly tapping the table with my fingers as if I was playing a piano.

"Because...because Justin was greatly addicted to gambling. Mrs. Vega came to know that he lost his savings because of that. He was desperate and...he wanted all the money for himself." 

After a few more questions, I stood up and offered her a handshake.

"Thank you for your cooperation, Ms. Sharon. We'll do our best to catch the suspect. Don't worry, we will dispatch agents who can do stakeouts outside your house. Call us if something happens."

When I get out of the room, Rosé appeared before me with a cup of hot coffee in her hand which she then gave to me.

I admit, I am a bit unfriendly to most people specially to those lazy buns in my team but Rosé is an exception. She is the person whom I entrusted my whole life with. She's been with me since the day I lost my dad. Since I don't have other relatives, her family embraced me as their own. I won't be where I am now if it wasn't because of her.

I owe her my life.

"When will the result of the autopsy comes out?" I asked as I took a sip at what she gave to me. That was the taste of heavens—coffee.

"Tomorrow, at three o'clock," she said while gently massaging her forehead with the tip of her thumb and her ring finger.

"That is fast. Who is the medical examiner?"

"Kim Jisoo,"

"Jisoo? The one who always give the result after a month?! You got to be kidding me," I almost said in a high tone but Rosé hushed me down.

"Yeah. I pulled up some strings—"

"Don't tell me you—"

"I did," Rosé admitted in defeat.

"You will catch a movie with her? That was a good barter!" I teased. Jisoo had a huge crush on Roseanne that's why everytime we request for an autopsy, the result comes out after a century. Kidding. It always comes out after a month. It's her strategy to keep seeing Rosé from time to time since it was her who went to check the progress.

"Stop teasing me. This is not funny."

"Okay okay. I'll stop. Anyway, is there anything about the adoptive son? His whereabouts? Have you tracked it?" I asked as we were nearing the lobby.

"Not yet. But we have his permanent address just outside this town. Our team is on their way there."

We were about to turn and head to our office when I spotted Ms. Sharon near the door with some woman blocking the way. People were starting to compress as the two were making a commotion.

The woman was tall, she has a short permed hair, and she look foreign.

"I'm sorry miss, but you can't go home yet. You're under arrest for murdering Mrs. Vega. 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 speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning," upon saying those words, she handcuffed Ms. Sharon.

"Let me go! I didn't kill her! I am a witness. You'll regret this!" Ms. Sharon tried to free herself from the woman but she is too strong and the former is no match to her.

"She's arresting her? Who is she? Who gave her the right to—" Rosé was still saying something but before she could finish, I already marched toward them.

"Excuse me, but who are you to arrest our witness?" I asked as I gave her my coldest stare but it didn't seem to have effect on her. She was still laxed and confident.

"Witness?" she scoffed.

"Are you making fun of me? I said, WHO.ARE.YOU.?" I reiterated.

"Oh, my bad. Sorry if I have to introduce myself late. I'm Lisa. Lisa Manoban. A new addition to the Alpha Team."

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