"Persons of Interest"
"I will," Kori answered, grabbing a hold of the chair and pulling it back so she could sit. She was thirsty, and the bottle of water looked quite refreshing. She grabbed it, frowning when struggling to unscrew the cap. "Kori, just call me Kori." A sigh was heard, and the cap finally came undone. "Nobodycalls me by theslave name."
Kori's eyes met Tomoko's, watching her as she took her seat across from her, and she raised the bottle, giving her a toast. Tomoko nodded back at her, watching her throat pulse as she guzzled. "Okay, Kori, earlier I think we all got off to a bad start-"
A loud exhale came from Kori, and the bottle hit the table; it was half empty.
"I'm Lieutenant Tomoko O'Riley, and like you, I also prefer not to use myslave name."
"Join the club."
Tomoko's smiled in spite of Kori's response. "I'd like that," she studied her attire. "Does the uniform come with it?"
"Wait a minute," Kori followed Tomoko's eyes, looking down at her uniform. Kori's eyes narrowed in confusion, and focused back on Tomoko. She grabbed at the cloth covering her bosom. "Are you makin' fun of my uniform?"
Tomoko raised a hand.
"No, no, not at all."
"Imean, it wasn't like I had time to change, before thoseassholescame and abducted me." She crossed her arms, remembering all to well how she had arrived in this predicament. "I don't even know why the hell I'm here -I may be a little past due on my cell phone bill, but other than that, I haven't the slightest clue of what money I could possibly owe anybody!"
Tomoko's smile faded. "I assure you the N.Y.P.D is willing to overlook that." The manila folder in her hand was opened, and Tomoko removed a page, sliding it toward Kori. "Do you know this man?" she asked, tapping the photo.
Kori leaned in, inspecting what she now saw was a mugshot. She froze at the sight of a man with freckles and red hair resembling her own. If anything, you could almost say they looked like twins. Even their personalities, mimicked one another, considering the man took the time to smile as he gave the photographer the finger.
Kori looked away from the photo, "No." she whispered.
"I don't know him."
"Maybe you should look again-"
"I-I said I don't know him!"
Tomoko stood, placing the folder down and snatching the mugshot off the table. With it now in her hand, she came to Kori's side. She placed her other hand on her shoulder. "I know what your trying to do, Kori, you're trying to protect him."
Kori brushed her hand away. "Are we done here? Because I am."
Tomoko didn't have the patience, nor the caffeine for this shit.
She slammed the photo on the table. "Look at the photo, Miss Kramer."
Kori turned her head away from the photo once again. Her doodles on the two-sided mirror were more interesting than Tomoko's questions. She figured, if she could survive N.Y.P.D's lapdogs, the bitch who trained them couldn't be much worse.
Tomoko leaned in, "I don't know,Kori, looking at this photo," she looked between the photo and Kori, "The hair, the freckles…wouldn't you say this guy looks a lot like-"
"Okay, okay! I know him!" Kori shouted, turning to face Tomoko once again. "Is it a crime?" She jumped to her feet. "Why the hell am I here?" She pointed toward the photo on the table. "Is it because of him?"
"I could give a rat's ass about him!"
She lunged at the table, knocking away the mugshot, Tomoko's coffee, her bottled water -practically everything, including the manila folder that the mugshot had originated from. The folder's contents scattered throughout the room, leaving the Interrogation Room in disarray once again.
Tomoko's shut her eyes, sighing. "You weren't, you weren't supposed to see those…" Her eyes reopened, taking in Kori's reaction; she couldn't hide the remorse displayed within them. She felt terrible, and somewhat responsible. No one should have a loved one's demise revealed in such a way.
Kori was in shock, her eyes wide, and knees trembling as the gruesome photos fluttered down around her. She caught one with a shaky hand. The photo displayed the same man from the mugshot, burnt almost beyond recognition. She could still see the resemblance and recognized his familiar short locks of red unruly hair. It was him alright - there was no mistaking it.
She dropped the grotesque photograph, almost as if it had burned her. This photo was then replaced with another. This photo she now held was of Miles in casual attire, posing for yet another mugshot.
She didn't realize she was crying until she felt a hand on her shoulder once again. Tomoko gave her a firm squeeze, and her shoulders shook involuntarily, allowing her tears to fall freely. And as she cried, she realized she couldn't remain standing; her legs had lost all feeling.
"K-Kori, I'm so sorry." Tomoko whispered, kneeling down at her side and embracing her. Kori was sobbing uncontrollably, and for once in her life, Tomoko was unsure of what to do. Grieving victims were not her area of expertise and she could still count on one hand the amount of weeks since her promotion to Lieutenant.
Tomoko ran a hand through her hair, soothing her. "He was your brother," she stated, continuing her comforting strokes. "You did care about him - I'm sure it must be devastating for you to lose him."
"And that alone is why you should agree to work with us."
Tomoko looked up, seeing that they were now joined by none other than Detective Neville. She hadn't seen or heard him enter, and from where he stood he looked all business. He had a very serious expression on his face as he walked toward them, carrying a folder of his own. "With your help, we can find the bastard behind this." His eyes fell on Tomoko and she gave him a nod of approval, silently thanking him for knowing how to make one hell of an entrance.
"Are you willing to work with us?" she asked, completely convinced that Neville may have turned the tides of the interrogation.
Kori dried her eyes with the back of her hand, leaving light smudges of black mascara on her freckled cheeks. Her gaze fell on both detectives, eyes red and full of sorrow, and she nodded back at them. "I want..I want to help." She admitted, sniffling a little.
"Allow me to introduce myself. I am Detective Eugene Neville." He gestured with his hand toward Tomoko. "Lieutenant Tomoko and myself will be working extensively on this case from this point forward." He focused his attention back on Kori. "Interestingly enough, Tomoko and your brother happen to have a history."
"Neville, that's -"
"Classified?" Neville finished, raising his brow. "I think Ms. Kramer deserves to know the truth behind the photo she now holds."
"This," Kori pointed at the mugshot in her hand. "This is nothing out of the ordinary. Miles was never agoodie-two-shoes, if anything…trouble always seemed to find him. If he wasn't inJuvie,he was always out and about, and always gambling. Helovedto gamble. And when Dad found out he was never allowed back in the house."
Neville whistled loudly. "Underage gambling wasn't all your brother loved to do."
Tomoko frowned, helping Kori up to her feet. She dreaded the thought of shattering whatever shred of an innocent opinion Kori still had left of her sibling. "Kori, your brother had a habit of taking things, things that didn't belong to him."
It was her turn to arch a brow. "Who doesn't?" she asked, taking a seat at the table.
Neville paced back and forth. "Steal a piece of candy and one gets a slap on the wrist. Up the ante and then were looking at some very serious repercussions."
Kori bit her lip, finally seeing where this was going. "How much?" She looked up at Tomoko and over at Neville. "How much money did my brother take?"
"Over a quarter million," came Tomoko's blunt response.
Neville asked,"Have ya seen it?"
"H-HOLY HELL!"Kori shook her head, immediately, almost as if it were in disbelief. "N-no, hell no! I wouldn't even know where to begin to spend that kind of money!" She shook her head once again, focusing on Tomoko. "Miles never had that kind of money, he would've said something - anything!"
Neville stopped pacing. "You mentioned before that your father and brother don't see eye to eye, and you specifically said your father forbid your brother from coming home, so when did you two find the time to chat?"
Kori frowned, "He's my brother, it wasn't as if he fell off the face of the Earth after him and Dad bumped heads. He always found time to visit me before and after school. He'd walk me half way to school, and half way home." She stated, looking down at her lap. "I should've known something was wrong, considering he never showed today."
Tomoko smiled, "What kind of relationship did you and your brother have?"
"What are you sick?"
Tomoko's smile faded and she rubbed her temples, "Did your brother ever noticeably appear as if he were behaving out of the norm, or ever come off as if he were hiding something from you?"
"Miles was never one to complain," Kori stated, running a hand through her long, red hair. "Hearing him complaining about anything would be out of the norm."
"You mean to tell me your brother was practically homeless and he never once showed any signs of discomfort, and you never once asked how he was getting by?" Neville looked over at Tomoko. "I find that very hard to believe."
"Would you stop questioning me as if I'm some sort of criminal!" Kori screamed back at him. "Of course I asked him, but all he'd ever talk about was some girl he had thehotsfor." She smiled sadly, remembering his lovesick demeanor. "Nikki this, Nikki that!I want Nikki - Nikki wants that! Nikki, Nikki, Nikki,NIKKI!"
"Alright, Alright, we get it, we get it!" Neville stated, obviously annoyed. "Have you ever been introduced to this girl?"
"But he did want you to meet her, right?"
"What's there to meet? I feel like I already know her! I could probably tell you the girl's blood type; the boy was obsessed."
Tomoko and Neville locked eyes for a moment, almost as if thinking the same thing -a lead!
"Wait a minute, is she the one responsible for my brother's death?" she asked, staring at both of the Detectives.
"That we don't know yet, but shedefinitelyis a person of interest." Neville answered.
"What do you need to know?"
Lieutenant Tomoko was the first to speak, "A name, a full name would be nice."
Kori took a moment to think. Finally it hit her, "Nicole, Her name was Nicole. Nicole Niito."
"What happened to Nikki?" Neville asked, looking somewhat baffled.
Tomoko smirked, "No one uses theslave nameanymore, Detective Neville."
Neville looked confused, and as he looked lost in thought, Kori focused her attention on Tomoko. "D-does Mom and Dad know?" She asked.
Tomoko nodded, "Your parents have been notified, and are booking a flight back to New York as we speak."
Neville regained his composure and finally opened the folder he had been holding for quite some time. "In the meantime, we can't risk your safety." He pulled out two photos and placed them on the table. The photos were of two men wearing dark black shades, one with short bleach blonde hair, and the other with a buzz cut and a 5 o'clock shadow.
"Do you know these two men?"
"These men have been following you."
Kori quickly grabbed the photos, eyeing them both closely. "Why would they be following me?" She inquired. "I've never seen these men before in my life!"
"We suspect they're linked to your brother's murder." Tomoko explained. "And it's the money that they're most likely after."
Neville nodded in agreement. "It's possible that they might think you have it."
"Like hell I do!"
Tomoko ignored the girl's outburst. "In order to ensure your safety, we've decided to place you in our Witness Protection Program, and from now on you'll be under strict surveillance."
"Like hell I am!" Kori shouted. "I can take care of myself!"
"Kori, this isn't up for discussion."
Neville looked at one of the photos, it was on the floor beside his shoe. He shook his head. "Unless you've got plans to attend a barbeque in the near future, you'll listen to reason."
Kori frowned at Neville. She didn't like the way he worded that and made light of her predicament. However, she wasn't stupid. Neither did she want to end up like Miles. If anything, she wanted to stick around long enough to see the bastard responsible rot in a cell or fry in an electric chair!
She sighed and fell back into her seat. "Whatever." She responded, announcing her defeat.
Tomoko was shocked, expecting more of a fight out of the girl. She turned to Neville, motioning for him to retrieve something. Neville got the hint and headed for the door. He opened it and two eavesdroppers almost stumbled into the interrogation room.
"Kinsley, Elijah," He smiled, nodding to each of them. "Can I help you?"
They pointed accusingly at one another only to realize they had sold themselves out. Elijah frowned at Kinsley, expecting more loyalty than what she was displaying, and Kinsley frowned back at him. She on the other hand wasNOTabout to lie down and be his scapegoat.
Tomoko turned to look at them. Her eyes focused on Elijah and her expression switched to that of annoyance. "What is it now?" She demanded.
"Detective Rebecca Kinsley has just informed me," Neville paused, winking at Kinsley and grinning from ear to ear. "Officer Elijah Wyatt has volunteered to chaperone Miss Kramer."
Elijah immediately shook his head, obviously not a fan of Neville's, sick and twisted sense of humor. "I-I never-"
"YEAH!"Detective Kinsley agreed, slapping Elijah hard on his back. "I was shocked at first," She frowned, almost as if in thought. "I never knew he was so dedicated until just now!"
Elijah did his best to refrain from hitting them, comparing their antics to theThree Stooges,but minus one.
"Elijah, is this true?" Tomoko asked, disbelief evident in her voice.
Elijah scratched his head. "Uh," He didn't want to let her down. "Kinda?"
Tomoko smiled, and Elijah blushed.
"Well then, it's settled." Tomoko stated, and turned back toward Kori. "From now on, Officer Elijah Wyatt will be your personal escort, Kori."
Kori rolled her eyes, "Whippety-fuckin'-do…"