“David Robinson?” A woman poked her head in the door. She flashed a badge. “I’m Detective Collins, NYPD. I need to speak with you.”
David hung up his phone without another word.
The woman walked in. She paused, her eyes narrowing as she studied the row of drawings on the wall. Then her attention went to the image on his desktop. She glanced at Lorraine.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“I’m his sister, Lorraine. What is this about?”
The detective studied the drawings on the wall again, moving from one to another. “You’re quite the artist, Mr. Robinson. Is this Angel Broderick who plays Sam Channing from Chances
“Ah, yes,” he said.
“Good likeness. Is there a reason you’ve drawn so many pictures of him?”
“I’m a fan. Why? Is that a crime?”
“No.” She walked over to the laptop. “What’s that?”
“A book cover I’m working on.”
“What’s the story about?”
“A stalker, serial killer. It’s an Owen Well murder mystery.”
“Oh, I like him,” she said, pursing her lips. “He’s good. I’ve read The Scarred
. I didn’t guess the murderer until the last chapter.” She looked at him again. “Ever met Angel Broderick?”
“Ah, yes, I have. It was brief.”
Lorraine gasped. “Oh my.”
David avoided her gaze.
“You spent three days with him,” the detective said. “Couldn’t have been that brief.”
“Okay. What is this about? What’s happened? Has something happened to Angel?” His gut twisted.
She tilted her head. “Would that bother you if something happened to him, Mr. Robinson?”
“Yes, of course it would.”
“Would you be willing to come down to the station with me and answer a few questions?”
“Am I being charged with a crime?” Angel had mentioned something to him about a stalker, but he’d been very vague. At one point, he said that he would just like to forget about it for a while, and the subject had been dropped.
“Not yet,” the detective replied. “But if you’d like to have a lawyer present during questioning, you may.”
His mother came into the room. “What does he need a lawyer for?”
“Mom,” David said, “I have to go down to the station and answer a few questions. I’m sure it’s just a misunderstanding. I’ll go and clear it all up and be back soon.”
Detective Collins indicated that David should come with her. She followed behind him. They walked downstairs together, Lorraine constantly telling their mother not to worry.
The detective waited at the door while David put on his jacket.
David told his mother it would be all right, then left the house. The detective opened the back door of the patrol car for him, then got into the front seat.
“I wish you’d tell me what’s going on,” David said. “This is pretty stressful for everyone.”
“If you’ve done nothing wrong, Mr. Robinson,” she said, starting the engine, “there is no reason to be stressed. This shouldn’t take long.”
When she pulled out of the driveway, David noticed a squad car on the corner. As they drove by, the cruiser pulled out and followed behind.
“What was that cop car for?”
“One can never be too careful,” she said, eyeing him in the mirror.
“Then you suspect me of something.”
“I’ll explain everything downtown.”
Once inside the police station, David was led to an interrogation room. He jumped when Detective Collins walked in and closed the door. He’d sat there for about twenty minutes before she came in. He was imagining all kinds of things, searching his brain for anything that might have landed him here.
“Relax, David,” Collins said. “Do you mind if I call you David?” She held out a cup of coffee, sipping on hers at the same time.
“No. Go ahead.”
“Have some coffee.”
“Sorry it took so long. We had to clarify a few things.” She took the file from under her arm and set it on the table, then pulled out a chair.
“What am I doing here?”
“We’re investigating a crime. So, just answer my questions, and this can all be over.” She brought out a portable recorder and turned it on. “Would you like to have a lawyer present?”
“No, I haven’t done anything. I don’t need a lawyer. Is this being taped?”
“Only for the record. So, how long have you been living at home with your mother, David?”
“About a year.”
“And you lived in LA before that?”
He nodded. “Yes.”
“Tell me what happened a few days before you left LA.” She opened the file. “Ah…it was May twelfth, early evening.”
David’s blinked. “I…my boyfriend and I broke up. We had a fight, and he called the police. I was never charged with anything. I didn’t do anything. I just wanted him to tell me why he dumped me without any warning. That’s all.”
“According to the LAPD, your former workmates at Rose seem to think you were fired because you were obsessed with Mark Rose. And after the breakup, you wouldn’t leave him alone.”
David’s eyes widened. “That’s a lie.” He took a breath. He’d only begun to be able to talk about what happened. It was still painful. “Mark just broke up with me without any warning. He moved another guy into the house. He fired me because he’s a coward and couldn’t face me after what he did. I lost everything. I was angry. I went home and blasted him. He called the cops.”
“What did you do after?”
“What would you do?” David demanded. “I locked myself in a hotel room and drank myself silly. When I sobered up, I left all my keys, the car, picked up my pay, and came home to New York.”
Detective Collins nodded. She sat back in the chair. “Where were you last night?”
“Last night? I was home for dinner with my mother.”
“When was the last time you went to the Boom Boom Room?”
“I stopped by the Boom Boom Room a few nights ago. Tuesday night. I had a drink with my friend Brian. He was called in to replace someone. He usually only works there Friday and Saturday night.”
“Did you see Angel Broderick at the Boom Boom, David?”
“Ah, yes, but only from a distance. He was there with some friends.”
“Your friend Brian described you as being nervous when Angel Broderick arrived.”
“I was. I…ah…was thinking about that cover for the new Owen Well’s book, and I kind of wondered if I was doing it right. That’s all. It’s a big step for me.” That wasn’t the only reason.
“Did you talk to Angel Broderick that night?”
“Why not? You’d slept with him, hadn’t you?”
“Did you stare at him? Fantasize about him?” She leaned forward.
“No…I…didn’t.” He looked down at his hands. God, yes.
“Why do you have all those drawings of Angel on your bedroom wall?”
“I like to draw him.”
“Why him?” She met his gaze.
How in the hell was he going to explain that? “I…well.”
“When I came back from LA, I was depressed. I started watching Chances
with my mom, and I got inspired to draw again. I really liked Sam.” He shrugged, feeling foolish. “He’s handsome and easy to draw.”
“Like him enough to want to get rid of Angel?”
David narrowed his eyes. “What are you talking about? Oh my God. You think I’m this guy who’s been stalking Angel, don’t you?”
“How did you know about that?”
“Angel mentioned it to me.”
“During those three days you spent with him.”
“Tell me about that. Why did you leave without saying good-bye?”
“I…I’m not sure.”
“Okay.” She waited.
He looked up at her. “I don’t want to get involved again. I was really hurt in my last relationship. I felt it was better if I just left before we got more involved.”
“Still a little strange. You didn’t think to wake him or say good-bye.”
“I thought it was better like that.”
“How long have you been seeing a therapist?”
“How do you know about that?” Jesus. Did the police know everything?
Collins gave him a faint smile. “We know a lot of things. Just answer the question.”
“I’ve been seeing her off and on for two months.”
“My sister and mother thought it was a good idea. I was very depressed about my breakup. They thought it would help to talk about it to a stranger.”
“And do you take any medication?”
“I took Zoloft for a while but not anymore. She had me on half a pill a day, and then she gradually took it away.”
“And how do you feel?”
“Right now, not very damned good. I think you want to pin this stalker thing on me. Should I get a lawyer?”
“It hasn’t come to that yet, Mr. Robinson.”
“So what am I doing here?”
“A few weeks after you came back from LA, Angel Broderick began getting gifts, receiving anonymous phone calls, and text messages. His house has been broken into three times.”
“And you…you…think it’s me?” David could hardly speak.
“I don’t speculate, Mr. Robinson. I go on evidence and facts. Right now, I’m just trying to establish your whereabouts Tuesday night. What time did you leave the club?”
“That’s what your friend said. And then where did you go?”
“I went for a ride. I had my mother’s car, and I took a drive to clear my head and think about the cover I was working on.”
“You were alone?”
“Did anyone see you? Did you stop anywhere?”
“You just drove around?”
“After you stopped driving, what time was it, and where did you go?”
“I went home. It was about eleven.”
“You drove for an hour.”
“Did you stop for gas?”
“My mother had the car that afternoon. She filled up before she came back from the hairdresser’s.”
Detective Collins was scribbling. “When you came in the house, did anyone see you?”
“No. I let myself in. My mother goes to bed around ten.”
“Then what did you do?”
“I reworked the cover. I was working until around three in the morning, and then I went to sleep.” David rubbed his eyes. “I should be working now.”
“Why did you tell Brian that you and Angel Broderick were a couple?”
“I…didn’t tell him. I mean…I told him it wasn’t true. It was a misunderstanding.”
“How so?” She met his gaze.
“It was kind of a joke that Angel and I were dating. He assumed I was dating Angel, and I just let him go on thinking that for a bit. Then I corrected it. Didn’t he tell you I corrected it?”
“No. Were you angry that your relationship with Angel didn’t go anywhere? Do you want to be a couple?”
“What in hell kind of question is that? Did Angel Broderick tell you I was bothering him? I haven’t contacted him since we were together. I’ve been trying to avoid him, actually.”
The detective glanced at him. “Um. And why was that again?”
“I told you. I don’t want to be in… I’ve been burned. I can’t do that again.”
“You gave blood a last week.”
David put his face in his hands. “Yes. So? Is that a crime now too? My mother is a retired nurse. She’s always encouraged Lorraine and me to give blood. The three of us went together. Why?” he asked.
Detective Collins didn’t answer. She just scribbled something in her notebook. “We will need to check the hard drive of your computer and your cell phone.”
“What? No. I need my computer and my phone.”
“We can get a search warrant, but it will be easier if you cooperate,” Collins told him.
“I earn my living with my computer. I just bought it.”
“What do you mean?”
“I bought my new computer two weeks ago.”
“Where is the old one?”
“I sold it for parts.”
“We’re going to need to know where. Did you keep the hard drive?”
“Do you have the same e-mail address?”
“Your cell phone?”
“Ah, I got it about three months ago. The one I had in LA was a company cell phone.”
“We need the contract information for your phone.”
David was shaking. “Do I need a lawyer?”
Collins stood up. “It might not be a bad idea. Mr. Robinson, if you’re stalking Mr. Broderick, we’re going to find out.”
“I’m not stalking anyone.”
She walked to the door.
“So, I’m not under arrest?” David asked. He was in shock.
She opened the door. “Am I going to need a warrant to search your room?”
“No. Search away. You’ll find nothing. But please don’t take my computer.”
“You’ll have to sign some papers giving us permission. And we’ll loan you a laptop while we have yours. If everything checks out, you’ll get everything back within a week or two. Meanwhile I need the name of that place you sold the parts to.”
“I have the papers at home,” David replied.
“Wait here. We’ll take you back as soon as we can. Someone will bring you a phone. Call your mother, and let her know what’s going on.”
When the door closed, David wanted to scream. This couldn’t be happening. He was just beginning to climb out of one nightmare. Now, it appeared he was walking right into another one.
When he called his mother, she answered right away. “David? What is happening? What’s going on? Lorraine and I are frantic. Can we come down there?”
“No. Listen, they’re coming back with me. They want to search my room.”
“Search for what? You haven’t done anything.”
“I know.” Tears ran down his face. “I’m not quite sure what’s happening, Mom.”
“They’ll realize they have the wrong man. What are they accusing you of?”
“Stalking? Who? Who would you be stalking?”
There was silence.
“The soap actor? Sam?”
“Mom, you don’t believe that, do you?”
“No. But you should rip down all those drawings.”
“Too late. The police have seen them. I’m not guilty.”
“I know that. Did someone kill him?”
“No. He’s not dead, but he’s being harassed by someone. Must be serious.” Angel had made light of it when they’d been together.
“Do you think you need a lawyer?”
“Probably,” David sighed. “Anyway, I’m not being charged with anything yet.”
“Find me a lawyer. Lorraine must know one.”
“We’re on it. Don’t worry, honey. We know you. I love you.” She hung up.
David thought about calling Brian. Why hadn’t he told them that David had confessed he’d fibbed about his relationship with Angel?
It was almost morning when a squad car drove him home. He was told to stay downstairs while Collins and two officers searched his room.
Lorraine had stayed all night, and David sat with her and their mother on the sofa and waited.
Police officers began carting stuff out of his room around thirty minutes into it, including his computer, a box of receipts and letters, and all the drawings and magazines.
David stood up. He felt violated.
Collins stopped and glanced at him. “We tried not to leave too much of a mess. What’s your blood type?”
“Okay.” She jotted it down. “We’ll be in touch.” She nodded at the three of them and left.
David almost fell onto the sofa.
“How in hell is this happening?” his sister demanded. “And when did you sleep with Angel Broderick?”
David put his face in his hands.