Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language, violence, and mature content.
The widow remained rigid in her bridge building position, touching Winslow’s hand as she carefully stated, “I did not know they were listening to our conversations but I wouldn’t be surprised if the government was taking a closer look.”
She pulled away as she finished talking, leaning back into the love seat, and gathering herself with Ms. Scrabok. Winslow watched their sweet, most likely deceiving scene for a few moments while he chose his next words. He had only taken a guess about the wire tap. When Reggie was involved in things, the authorities tended to go all in on their efforts.
“Why weren’t you surprised about the mention of government surveillance, Mrs. Johnson?”
“Because I know that my husband was likely working for whoever he thought the good guys were. And he was probably charging them the same amount as what he was invoicing to the bad guys.”
“What was the exact service that your husband was supplying to his customers?” Winslow asked before blowing a cloud of smoke into the room as he remembered the cigarette in his hand. He quickly added the little information that he knew about the Johnson company as he said, “Your in-law’s family is rather famous around here for how little of their operations are known to the outside. Based on the other people I’ve talked to in the course of this rather short investigation, I assume that your husband’s current project had something to do with the experimental submarines being tested on the naval base over in Pensacola.”
“My husband never told me much about his work-”
“Her husband never told her about much of anything in his life, Detective,” Ms. Scrabok interrupted, leaning slightly out of the shared couch. “As you can guess, in this household we lived in two separate worlds with two separate and happy lifestyles. Wouldn’t you want to have that kind of happiness, sir?”
Winslow took another draw off of his cigarette as he thought about the kind of happiness that he would have liked to have had in his life. He did have a chance for happiness this time around, but quickly pushed the thoughts of the man in his bed out of his mind. There was a murder and another suspicious death to deal with. The detective didn’t have the time to think about the way water droplets rolled down James’ hips as Winslow had knelt down in the tub to suck him off. And he certainly didn’t have time to think about how soft those blond locks were when his lovely soldier decided to return the favor as the water in their shower turned ice cold.
“Sir?” One of the ladies asked in the distance as Winslow was pulled from his trance. He quickly spotted the speaker as Ms. Scrabok as she continued her questioning. “Detective, did you have any further questions for us?”
“Yes, yes I think I do have a few more questions for the both of you and then you can return to your mourning.”
The detective stood up as he spoke, unbuttoning his coat as he walked around the room with a cigarette hanging from his lips. He made his way around to the back of the love seat that held the two sapphics and asked, “Are you sure there’s nothing you want to tell me about the death of Mr. Johnson or Mr. O’Keefe?”
Ms. Scrabok gave a little gasp as Winslow leaned further over the back of the couch. Mrs. Johnson still remained stoic in her position, drawing her own cigarette case out of her robe. Her maid took a cigarette from the case, but the widow did not partake in the action. Winslow grabbed at the ornate lighter that sat on the table beside the ladies and offered it to the lady who sat with the cigarette between her lips. He stepped around to the front of the couch, taking a quick knee to give it a light. While he was kneeling down he looked the young maid in the eye to ask her, “How about you, Ms. Scrabok? Is there anything about the death of that couple that you want to tell the police that you haven’t told us already?”
“She doesn’t know anything, Mr. Smith,” Mrs. Johnson snapped before the maid even had a chance to speak. “Now would you please let us talk alone without the presence of my partner?”
The detective simply nodded. He stood up to get out of Ms. Scrabok’s way, standing silently with the fancy lighter still in his hand. Winslow waited silently for the door to close and the sound of conversation to pick back up outside of the study. He carefully sat the lighter back down on the table and managed to sit down beside Mrs. Johnson.
“I’ve only let her leave the room, Queenie, because I thought you might have some valuable information for me. If it turns out that you are unwilling to tell me anything at this time, I will have the both of you marched down to the station.”
The widow beside him sighed as she said, “I understand. What’s the first thing that you want to know, Winslow?”
“I want to know what really happened between you and your husband on the night he died. And I want to know what you were really doing, and with whom, on the night that he died.”
For the first time, Winslow saw Queenie show a hint of real emotion. Tears dripped down her face as she leaned over her knees, little gasps of air escaping from her lips as her forehead scrunched up in pain.
“If you must know the truth…”
“I must know the truth about this, Queenie.”
“If you must know the truth,” she started again but immediately paused with another gasp. “On the night that my husband died, we had a terrible fight about the conditions of our household and the possibility of a scandal arising.”
“Who did you really spend the evening with?”
“I spent a bit of it in bed with my Lily. Sometimes I call her my lily flower.”