The DateMature

Marco proceeded to lead us across the room to a table for two in a small alcove at the back of the restaurant.  He gave us two menus, lit the candle on the table and said he would be back in a bit to take our orders.

'Sorry about that,' Andrew said, clearly embarrassed by the whole exchange.  'I've known Marco for a very long time and he's usually very... extrovert.'

'I don't mind,' I replied.  'I like him, he seems like a very cheerful person.'

'Well he's been through a lot, he deserves some happiness.'

'I hope it wasn't too serious.'

'It depends on what you mean by serious.  No one was ill or anything like that, but he had a bit of a hard time after he introduced his boyfriend to his parents.'

'Marco's gay?'  I exclaimed, doing a double take at Marco who was serving the other couple across the room.  'I'm sorry, I didn't mean for it to come out like that, he just doesn't come across as gay.'

'He wasn't sure for years who he preferred so he's dated both men and women, but he seems happiest with his current boyfriend.  They've been together for eighteen months now.'

'So what happened when he introduced his boyfriend to his parents?  Or am I not allowed to ask?'

'It's not a big secret.  His mother couldn't quite come to terms with it and wouldn't speak to him for months.  Marco's very close to his mum so it was a massive blow to him when she wouldn't accept the truth.'

'So what happened?  Are they talking?'

'Marco's dad finally convinced her to see him and he managed to make her come round and understand where he was coming from.  He's a lot happier now.'

'I'm glad,' I said, smiling.  'He clearly thinks a lot of you.'

'Really?'  Andrew said skeptically.  'How can you tell?'

'Body language.  His face lit up when you entered the room.'

'You can tell if people like you from that?'

'That and women's intuition,' I joked, opening the menu that was sitting on the table in front of me.  'I have no idea what to order.  It all looks so good.'

'I am having the lasagna,' Andrew said, not even picking up the menu.  'I have it almost every time I come here, it's heavenly!  The carbonara is to die for too.'

Ten minutes later, Marco returned to our table and took our orders.  Andrew did what he said and ordered the lasagna and a bottle of the house red for us and I ordered the carbonara.

'So did you get a chance to look at the case I gave you?'  Andrew asked when we were alone again.

'I had a look earlier,' I responded.  'It's complicated and not very easy to read.  You would think it was the brother, wanting the inheritance, or the wife wanting to get rid of the controlling husband but they were together on the night of the murder so have an alibi.'

'That's exactly what we've found, and there's no one else with the motive to kill him.'

'I think it was the brother and the wife,' I said, smiling up at Marco as he poured me a glass of red wine.

'A team up?'

'Yes.  Let's say Mrs Davids married Mr Davids for his money, nothing strange there it happens all the time.  But what if she met Mr Davids' fun, handsome, charming younger brother and fell in love?  It would be benefits all round if Mr Davids' were to conveniently die on them.  His brother would inherit the family fortune and the wife would get to be with the man of her dreams and keep the wealth.'

'You're talking business on a date?'  Marco asked, unimpressed.  'You really need to brush up on your skills my friend,' he said, shaking his head at Andrew.

'The problem is,' Andrew said to me, ignoring Marco's comments, 'we have no evidence to support anything you've said.  There was no DNA found at the crime scene from either the brother or the wife so we can't even prove that they were there.  It's a dead end every way we turn.'

'I'm sorry I can't be of more help, but I don't solve crimes for a living like you do.'

'You are far better at it than me.  I didn't even want to be a copper, not really.  It was my dad that got me a place on the squad and I don't have the heart to tell him I want to leave.'

'Wait,' I said, taken aback, 'your dad got you your place on your team?'

'I'm ashamed to say that he did.  In our line of work it's not what you know it's who you know and my father has a lot of influence over the people who give the jobs out.  He wanted to put me in charge of my own squad, but thankfully he didn't manage that, so now I only have to take orders from someone who knows what they're doing.'

'That's interesting,' I murmured, smiling at Andrew over the top on my wineglass.  'Very interesting.'

The End

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