Under Detective Lin-Xi Kang’s orders, the company executives did their best to get the frightened employees and guests back to their seats. Lin-Xi had ordered the doors to the party be sealed to prevent anyone from leaving, and had building security standing guard until the police arrived.
She also had two of them watching over Melody, who was now sobbing on a nearby chair.
I shook my head sadly. I couldn’t believe Melody had done this- what was wrong with her? This just seemed so senseless, and there was no reason for it. Why kill a man who was about to make you rich? Now, with the President’s death the Public Stock Offering would have to be put off, and maybe never happen.
But, she had been standing there with the bloody knife in her hand, there wasn’t much doubt who’d done it. The only real question was why?
Leaving Lin-Xi to her work, I wandered back over to our table, where the rest of the guests where consuming the wine and snacks that remained.
They asked me if there’d been any news, and I replied that we were still waiting for the police to arrive. Then I commented that I couldn’t believe that Melody had done such a thing.
To my surprise, that didn’t get quite the reaction I expected.
“He probably got smart and dumped her,” Franci commented, and a few of the others around the table nodded.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Melody and the President, they were…you know…” Mr. Lai commented. “Spending a lot of extra hours together.”
“Has anyone actually seen them?”
Franci and another receptionist nodded. “They both go to a bar a few blocks from work, Mr. Lo in accounting saw them go in, so did a few other people. They’ve been doing it for almost a year now.”
That was pretty damning, and not entirely surprising. Melody was flirty, but she was also ambitious, and President Lin was definitely an active and aggressive man. It didn’t take much imagination to see them together, or to imagine the hows and whys.
But that still didn’t explain why she’d kill him.
“Was he going to fire her?”
Not that any of them knew of.
“Did he cut her out of the stock options?”
No, as Vice President, she had huge amounts of company stock.
“Then maybe he really did call it off.”
On this, they agreed. It seemed the most likely answer.
With this information, I grabbed our jackets and headed back to where Lin-Xi waited. As I passed the head table, I saw that the wives of the other executives were consoling Mrs. Lin, who had her head in her hands sobbing. It was getting cooler in the room now that the excitement was gone, and I was surprised nobody had gotten her a jacket to cover her bare shoulders. I would have said something, but my Mandarin is terrible, so I decided to just leave them be.
While I’d been at the table talking, police from the local station had arrived to take over from the building security, and ambulance attendants were working on President Lin. He still seemed to be hanging in there, so maybe his family wouldn’t lose a father tonight after all. But, gut wounds were tricky, so all we could do was wait and pray.
“Did you try talking to her yet?” I said to Lin-Xi when she had a free moment. This made her brow wrinkle, as it usually did when she was annoyed by something. “She says she didn’t do it. Stupid lie.”
“What did she say happened?”
“She said she found him standing with the knife in him, but didn’t know it in the dark. Then he fell over, and since she was holding the knife it came out in her hand.”
I glanced over at the weapon laying next to the body- one of the silver steak knives that were found at every table. No doubt it was covered in her bloody fingerprints.
“Y’no,” I said, thinking aloud. “I wonder if she might be telling the truth.”
Lin-Xi gave me a long look, then cursed in Mandarin. “Foreigners, you think every little white face that plays with you is innocent.”
So, she was still jealous.
“That’s not fair,” I protested. “Why would she do this, and then claim she didn’t do it? Everyone can see she did it, so why not own up to it? There’s something wrong here.”
“When my team gets here, they’ll sort things out.” Lin-Xi turned away. “Go take a seat. I need to work.” Then she went over to where the ambulance attendants were getting ready to load President Lin onto a stretcher.
I watched her go, thinking about the events of the evening. What had happened during those three minutes the lights were out? I couldn’t help thinking it had something to do with that flying butterfly I’d seen earlier during the contest, but what?
I needed more information.
I set out in search of Harold Wu.
When I was done talking to Harold, I knew I had to find Lin-Xi.
I didn’t have all the pieces yet, but I had enough.
The problem was, I also needed to convince Lin-Xi, and that clearly wasn’t going to be easy. She’d already set her sights on Melody, and if I didn’t act it was very possible the culprit might walk right out of the party tonight completely free.
“Lin-Xi,” I said, slipping up to her. “I need you to do me a favor…”
“Sit down, Mark.” She didn’t even look at me, not a good sign. “The officers will come to take your statement soon.”
“I’ve been asking around, and I know why he was stabbed.”
That got her attention, and she turned to look at me. “Why?”
I shook my head, “I need you to do two things for me first.”
Dark eyes narrowed on me. “I can have you arrested for withholding information.”
“You could,” I admitted. “But then you’d have to explain to the rest of your co-workers and your boss why you arrested your boyfriend. That’s going to be fun gossip.”
She let out an exasperated sigh and shook her head. “What do you want?”
So I told her.
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