An all-white Rolls Royce Phantom
came to a halt in front of the Knight mansion. A chauffeur formally dressed in
a black suit and tie stepped out from the driver's seat and opened the backseat
door. The tall figure of Richard Knight acknowledged him as he stepped out.
Dressed in his golfing gear he lifted his head to see Benjamin waiting for
"Benjamin I see patience is not one of your strongest points" Richard said to him.
Benjamin shrugged his shoulders "How was the golf?"
"The golf was amazing but the golf that you’re interested in was tricky and costly. Meet me in the study in an hour and I'll tell you all about it. I need to freshen up first" Richard said as he brushed past him.
Benjamin gritted his teeth in frustration. Why couldn't Richard just tell him if he managed to convince Sebe or not? All he had to say was whether or not he agreed. He turned around and headed into the house. He felt less like a prisoner and more like a resident ever since he had a talk with Richard about where he stands. There were obstacles along the way but he finally felt like all the work he had put in on the night that he bought that dog from Katherine was paying off. If he played his cards right he might even inherit a piece of the Knight's estate. That was the long game to get a piece of the cake that was the Knight’s wealth. He wanted to be seen as one of them recognised as one of them. He wanted the wealth respect and reputation that came with the Knight name. That was the new goal not revenge on his enemies but rebuilding himself into a force to be reckoned with then when he felt as untouchable as he used to feel he would pay Patrick Diale Bin Laden Douglas Petersen and Ntombi McCarthy a visit. It was a long shot but he was willing to wait and put in the work.
"Don’t get too comfortable with this life. It won’t last very long.”
Benjamin turned around to see Miracle standing behind him. She was dressed in a pair of black skinny jeans knee-high black suede boots and a stylish blue designer top. She looked almost as good as beautiful as Katherine. "Miracle? Can I help you with something?" He hadn't seen her since the day she accused him. Partly because she was under the watchful eye of her doctors but mainly because he was doing everything in his power to avoid having a conversation with her. She looked in better shape than the last time he saw her. She had regained her natural colour she appeared and spoke with confidence. Benjamin knew he was no doctor but even he could tell that the traumatized Miracle was gone. He was now standing face to face with a healthy and focused Miracle. The same Miracle he'd kidnapped.
Miracle nodded her head slowly. She could see what Katherine saw in him he wasn't the most handsome man she'd ever seen but he had a well-built structure an arrogant look in his eyes a sense of style and a charming personality. He was every bit Katherine’s type. His arrogance reminded her of Patrick when they first met. "Katherine told me you proposed to her."
"And she said yes."
Benjamin leaned against the wall sensing that Miracle had adopted her father’s way of beating about the bush before getting to the point. "She did."
"Why?" asked Miracle.
"She told me that you told her you'd never been married before. So why her? Of all the women you've come across in your life why did you choose my sister to be the one you married? Is it because of who she is? How much money she has? You want to be associated with the Knight family name?"
"I have my own money and my own company. Didn't she tell you that?"
"You mean the mysterious company that nobody knows about with mysterious clients that nobody has met? That company?" Miracle pressed without breaking eye contact with Benjamin.
"What's this about Miracle?"
"You're getting married to my sister. You've only known each other for a few months nobody knows anything about you. Nobody seems to care about the fact that you're shady as fuck but I do because I know all about marrying shady men. It seems you've managed to convince everyone that I'm a mad woman. Now not even my father is willing to listen to me when I’m warning him about you. What's this about you ask? This is me telling you that I don't like you I don't trust you and I sure as hell know for a fact that you were at the warehouse where I was held hostage. I'm not crazy it's not the meds talking and I'm going to prove it. When I do your world is going to come trembling down. You might think you have everything figured out and you might think you have everybody fooled but I see right through you and I'm going to prove that you're a fraud. That's what this is about" Miracle said.
Benjamin remained silent and he sized her from head to toe. It was clear that it wasn't the meds talking. She was in a fit state of mind. But what was also clear was that she didn't have any evidence against him. It was her word against his. The more she accused him the crazier she sounded and the more innocent he appeared. He held all the cards and if Richard managed to get Patrick and McCarthy out of the way that meant he could get back on top of his game without any disruptions. She wasn’t even close to being a threat to him.
"Cat got your tongue Mr Leno? You didn't really think that I'd let you get away with kidnapping me and worming your way into my family did you?"
"I don't know what you're talking about" Benjamin replied casually. "Now if you don't mind I have a meeting with your father and a wedding to prepare for. I hope you can work through your issues before then."
Miracle laughed in disbelief "A wedding? Are you mental Benjamin? First you kidnap me now you’re in meetings with my father and marrying my sister all in a space of a few months. You don't waste time do you? How did you pull this off?"
"Well the family patriarch has given me his blessing. Richard himself said that the sooner Katherine and I get married the better and both Katherine and I agree with him because we are head over heels in love. I don't see why we should wait for anything. I really hope you'll get better soon Miracle. I know Katherine would love to have you there. It’d be such a shame if something happened to you before the wedding." Benjamin turned to walk away.
"Just drop the act Benjamin it’s just me and you now. You think I'm going to stand by and let Katherine make the biggest mistake of her life? If you think I'm going to stand by and let you marry my sister then you have another thing coming. I'll be dead before I watch you marry Katherine and worm your way into this family" Miracle said.
"Oh Miracle be careful what you wish for you just might get it" Benjamin warned her with the friendliest of smiles on his face.
"Are you threatening me Benjamin?"
"Not at all Miracle. You're the one who said you'll be dead before I marry your sister and I on the other hand am telling you I'm going to marry your sister" Benjamin moved closer to her. "Listen to me and listen to me very carefully rich girl. No one is going to stand between me and Katherine getting married. Not even you."
"I wouldn't be so sure if I were you. You listen to me and you listen to me very carefully you don’t scare me. You're nothing but a coward a criminal and a low-life Benjamin" Miracle stood her ground.
Benjamin felt a sting to his ego. Miracle was getting out of hand and she needed to know who she was dealing with. "How ironic that's the same thing Lamar said to me where is he now? Stay out of my way Miracle and I'll stay of yours." Benjamin could see Miracle was shaken. Good he thought it was about time he started separating the wolf from the sheep. He turned around and started whistling as he walked down the passage. He was about to get married to a billionaire his enemies were taken care of life was good.
McCarthy sat impatiently in her office with Patrick and Lukhasi. They had been waiting for the results from the lab for almost an hour. If she had to wait a full hour while listening to Patrick and Lukhasi arguing like cat and dog she would burst a vein. She reached for the phone and called the lab for the third time.
"Don't 'hello Lieutenant' me. Where the hell are those results? I asked for them an hour ago. I told you this is top priority we need those results to get a search warrant. Get them to me in the next ten minutes or I swear I'll come down there and you won't like what I have to say to you..."
Patrick and Lukhasi exchanged glances they both knew McCarthy's wrath when someone got on her wrong side.
"What? Tell me you're joking" McCarthy clenched her fists in frustration. She couldn't believe what she was hearing "And you didn't think to pick up the damn phone and tell me this? We've been waiting for those results for almost an hour dammit!" She slammed the phone before getting up to put on her blazer. "Unbelievable."
"What happened?" A curious Lukhasi asked.
"Come on Lekese isn't it obvious?" Patrick pointed out lazily.
"I wouldn't be asking if it was obvious now would I?"
"But you did ask even though it's quite –"
"Can you two just stop please. Just for one day. If you want to carry on arguing I suggest you stay behind. I have a murder investigation to take care of" McCarthy brushed past them. The two men followed behind her like disciples.
"McCarthy close the door behind you" said Colonel Sebe with a sullen face.
"Lukhasi and Patrick are still on their way. What did the results reveal? Please tell me that we have our guy" McCarthy enquired her curiousity dancing up and down. She knew the lab results would be the break they needed. They would blow the case wide open.
"Please take a sit" Sebe said.
Please take a sit? She knew the colonel better than that. Whatever it was it wasn't good. "What is it Colonel?"
Patrick and Lukhasi entered the office and closed the door behind them.. "Did we miss anything?" Patrick asked.
"No Colonel was just about to tell me about the results."
The colonel shifted uneasily in his chair "I'm afraid I don't have good news for you."
McCarthy couldn't take the suspense "What do you mean it's not good news Colonel? If we have a match for the DNA on the crime scene then add on to that what Patrick found on the surveillance footage
"We do have a match for the DNA but I'm afraid we can't use it" Sebe said as he shrugged his shoulders in defeat.
"Even I'm confused right now and if I'm confused I’m pretty sure that everyone's confused especially Lekese" Patrick pointed out. "I thought the correct procedure was followed in the collection of the evidence."
"It was I made sure of that" McCarthy said defensively "Colonel can you please tell us what's going on? You know that those DNA results are what we need to push this case in the right direction. You said so yourself that we needed a win desperately. This case is what we need to –"
"There is no case damn it!" Sebe snapped unintentionally slamming his table in the process. "Forget about it. The case is closed you will not continue with the investigation. Investigate another case. Forget about the lab results forget about the damn case just forget it."
McCarthy turned to Patrick almost as if to check if they were as discombobulated as she was. This didn't make sense. This wasn't the same colonel that they were speaking to earlier in the week. What happened between then and now? She thought. "Why? Why should we forget such a huge case when we're so close to finding the culprit?"
"McCarthy I have given you an order and I don't have to explain myself to you. I said drop the case. Just do as I say and stop asking questions."
"Patrick Lukhasi please give the colonel and I some privacy" said McCarthy. Lukhasi turned around and exited the office without question while Patrick remained exactly where he was. She was fuming and whatever she was going to say she didn't want to say it in front of them. She had heard other cops complain about this behaviour from their station superiors. She had even seen it firsthand but she never thought that one day she would be at the receiving end of it especially from Colonel Sebe of all people. The man was like a father to him. He had taught her most of what she knew about investigating big cases. He had been her mentor her pillar of strength and role model that's why it hit her so hard to even think that she was hearing what she was hearing from him. Cases were not just shelved without explanation. Cases where shelved for one reason and one reason only corruption. Highly sophisticated corruption of very powerful people. The fact that this case had to be shelved meant that they were on the verge of uncovered something monumental. "Patrick can you please excuse us."
"I'm not going anywhere. I deserve an explanation as much as you do" Patrick protested.
"I will explain to you what the colonel tells me. Right now I need to speak to him alone."
"I'm not going…"
"Patrick Diale please not now. I'll talk to you later right now I need to have a word with the colonel alone" McCarthy ordered.
"Fine but I want you to tell me everything don't leave anything out." He exited the office.
McCarthy turned her attention to Sebe "It's just me and you now Colonel. Cards on the table."
"I've just shown you the cards. Drop the case."
"Because I say so."
"Since when are we that type of police station? Since when are you some tyrant slash dictator?"
"You watch your mouth young lady."
"Like you're watching yours right now? I came here to fight Colonel. I didn't come here to be pushed around and be told who to chase after. A criminal is a criminal regardless of his skin colour or how much money he has. You taught me that!"
"And now I'm teaching you when to back down. There are many more cases out there and there'll be bigger cases in future."
"I don't want future cases I want... You know what Colonel? I'm going to make this very easy for you because clearly you’re not taking me seriously." McCarthy took her gun out of her holster and placed it on the table. She removed her badge from her neck and placed it on the table.
"Ntombi don’t be dramatic what are you doing?"
"I'm not a puppet Colonel. I'm Lieutenant Ntombi McCarthy I spent months of my life sharing a bed with Thomas Reeves who at the time was the most feared criminal in this town. I went undercover for you. I slept with him for you. I brought him down when all of your station was under his payroll. I did that for you because I knew it was also what I wanted. I knew it was what I signed up for. I knew we were bringing a bad guy to justice. But what are we doing now? Here's the deal Colonel either you tell me what the hell is going on or I turn around and walk out of that door. I'll go straight to my office I'll pack my stuff and you'll never see me again. So I'm asking you one last time what's going on?"
Sebe his face with his big hands and exhaled "I remember the first time you walked in here you had a fire in your eyes. I wasn't impressed because all of you have that fire when you're starting out. But I noticed early on that you were different because unlike your counterparts when the going got tough that fire never left your eyes. It's the fire that I see now after all these years" Sebe paused "I'm nearing the end of my career McCarthy and that means I need to watch my steps of I want to bow out neatly. This weekend I was invited to a round of golf at an exclusive gentlemen's club by none other than Richard Knight. I was introduced to him by the minister of police last year at a fundraiser. So when he invited me I couldn't say no because it's Richard Knight and like I said I'm nearing the end of my career. I thought a round of golf wouldn't hurt but boy was I wrong. Our friend Richard offered to make a donation to my retirement fund if I made sure that a certain case was pushed under the carpet. That case is the murder case of his son-in-law."
"Colonel please don't tell me..." McCarthy couldn't even finish the sentence.
"No no I declined. I can't stand men like that. Rich and powerful men who think everything and everyone can be bought. I didn’t take the bribe."
"Then why are we shelving the case if you declined?" McCarthy asked this reeked of corruption and she hated every minute of it.
"The case is getting shelved because minutes after I rejected Richard and left the country club I received a call from the minister of police himself telling me to shelve the case. He didn't put it in so many words but he made it clear that he would make life for me very difficult if I didn't make sure that the case was shelved. Two hours after that phone call here we are. Just let it go kid. Some battles are not worth fighting."
“What?” McCarthy couldn’t believe what her ears were hearing “We can fight this Colonel we can take it all the way to the highest courts on the land if needs be.”
Sebe shook his head “Richard Knight is not powerful because he has money he is powerful because he has connections in every department of government. He trades favours with politicians judges and other men as powerful as him. This is not David versus Goliath. This is a suicide mission. If I go ahead and challenge them they will pull out every case I have ever handled and they will crush me. You have your whole life and career ahead of you but I don’t. I won’t recover from a war with Richard Knight.”
“This is bullshit! Complete utter bullshit!” McCarthy felt a sting of guilt at questioning Sebe's integrity "I'm sorry for taking you on Colonel. I thought... I'm sorry."
"It’s okay kiddo that’s what I admire about you. Are you going to pick up that badge and gun now?"
“I guess I’ll turn my focus to other cases after all” McCarthy picked them up. She felt deflated and defeated. They were being pushed around by the bad guys and she couldn’t do anything about it. She said "I'm proud of you Colonel. We all are" then turned around to walk away. But as she reached for the doorknob something struck her again a spark of curiosity. She turned around. "Tell me something did we get a match for those results?"
"Yes we did."
"Who was it?"
Sebe shook his head slowly "Just let it go McCarthy. If I tell you who it is you'll be more determined to pursue this case."
"No I promise I won't. I just need some closure. It’ll make me sleep better if I know our theories were right."
"You promise?" Sebe asked. “If I tell you who it is you’ll still drop all of this and let it go?”
"I promise I know it’s your career on the line and I won’t do anything to betray your confidence in me. I'll drop the case and focus on something else."
"The results revealed the DNA of the other person the blood that was on Lamar’s jacket belonged to someone you know very well..."
McCarthy heart started pounding with excitement "Who is it?"
"We found a 999% match on the criminal database. If those results are anyhtig to go by then we have very strong reason to believe that Lamar was killed by Thomas Reeves McCarthy.”
“What? No what? What was Thomas Reeves doing at Miracle’s homecoming? Why would kill Lamar? What connection does he have to the Knights and why is Richard calling in favours to protect him?”
“McCarthy I need you to let this go like you promised" Sebe said.
Her heart sank immediately. She knew there and then she'd made the biggest mistake of her life by promising Sebe that she'd drop the case.