Warning: This work has been rated 18+.
The phrase was enough for Cab to shut his lips tight around the cigarette that Jim didn't remember being lit up. Some amount of smoke was starting to fill their little corner and Harding tried to ignore the burning feeling in his lungs. The effect couldn't be entirely blamed on Cabrini's tobacco usage, with the overwhelming amount of scents in the cafe.
"Do you have to smoke?"
"Do you have to stress me the fuck out with telling me a random mob hit was not a random mob hit?"
Another puff of smoke fled into the air, surrounding their heads and getting sucked up into a ceiling fan. If Jim had been asked if it was there five minutes ago, he could have sworn that it wasn't. Every time he looked around the room of the little restaurant a new detail seemed to appear from the careful stucco walls.
"Cab, who the fuck do you honestly think would kill Vinconni? You think that the Fiacres finally snapped and tossed the guy into the river?"
Cab's eyes went down to the table, pulling the cigarette out and replacing it with the still scalding cup of coffee. Harding was barely able to touch the edge of the cup and here Cab was taking it like cheap shots of whiskey. Jim put his hand across the table, pulling Cabrini's arm down and looking him straight in the eye to ask, "Did you think the Fiacres ordered the hit?"
"If you must know, yes. My working theory is that the 'hit' came from within the family and even if Harry did kill him, she might have done it on favor for Ita."
Cabrini leaned back in the booth once more with some of his most common nervous tics. If someone else had been here with Cab, someone like Harry, they would have been able to comfort the detective. But instead Harding was left here to keep a slight hold on the detective's hand, turned just enough to keep the cigarette from burning a hole in the table.
"Cab, I know she's your best friend, but you saw that body. Don't tell me that it was just the damage from the river, we both know it wasn't in there long enough for that much to happen."
The cigarette smoke stopped as the butt was ground out in the coffee saucer and the rest was soon cleared away from the table. Holding onto the strings of the friendship they barely had, Jim kept his fingers partially laced to Cab's and watched as the color slowly returned to the detective's face. When the silence continued, making it clear that Cabrini was not going to be talking anytime soon, Harding continued with his logic.
"And yes, a lot of people can probably carve up a body like that. But how many people do we know on the plane of Zinnia, in and around this city, who can control water. I saw the damage that was done to Vinconni's lungs when they started slicing him open and it was more than a little water boarding."
There was still no answer from the other side of the table beyond another cigarette being lit and a sip more of the coffee being taken.
"The coroner gave me details, Robe," Jim added in the more personal name to try and make the connection to the waiting detective. "The kind of pain inflicted on that man is probably what he deserved, and there's no way to prove that she did it. But there's also no way to prove that she didn't do it."
"We could ask her."
Cab's voice was light, barely above a whisper as he completed the statement.
"Cab, how do you honestly think that will go down? If she doesn't kill us, we will be very lucky."
"I know that there's really no good way to deal with it but we can't just assume that she did it without interviewing her. Suspects have to be interviewed."
"And if you want to do that casually, you're going to have to wait until the case is released to the press."
They both knew what the timeline of the case release would be. Today was Christmas in the fourth biggest city in Delta and there was no way the press would be willing to 'ruin' anyone's holiday. This would go on until the New Year when the police deemed that they got enough information to go to the papers, even if they had the evidence on the first day. It was whatever they tended to say with a skewed timeline and answered further with "no comment".
"I know what you're think, Bart, but it's not like that. They just don't want to worry anyone about the presence of a psycho or gang war."
"Yes but if it does happen to be a gang war, and the police department chose not to warn the public..."
Jim let the statement trail off, carefully watching Cab's movements once again, still keeping the presence of his hand on the detective's. Harding was trying not to choke on the smoke that was filling their cove once again, telling his brain to ignore all of the danger signals. They were both left to the silence of these thoughts and thinking about what could happen from Vinconni's death.
There was a lot of possible fear in this situation. Once someone noticed that Vinconni was gone from the picture, someone important or someone on the bottom, it meant an automatic disconnect in the communication chain. With a big man gone from the deals, the Fiacres might start dropping in the scene and public eye, leaving the police with an even bigger problem. Cab might have been clean, but he was among the many dirty cops, and simply the ones that turned away. The ones who silently spoke the words, "For the greater good."
"We will stop it before it goes too far."
Cab's voice was still shaky.
He called the server over, placing a few bills and coins on the tray and lightly apologizing for the cigarette ashes on the saucer. From the look in the server's eyes, Harding could guess that this was regular behavior for Cab.
"Should we go to the morgue first?"
"Yeah, sounds good, Jim."
They each gathered up their coats, hats and gloves, braving the dangerous route to get back out onto the street. As they started to get into Cab's car, he turned to Harding with an uneasy look and asked, "Do you think she would?"
There wasn’t a good answer to that question.
Harding took a long look at the man, sliding his hat on while saying, "I don't want to find out."