Susan started making plans for the bridal shower a couple of weeks before the wedding. She always had a thing for planning such events, and Jannice knew that. Susan had previously overseen the planning of five other showers, as she easily became the go-to girl for planning wedding showers for her friends due to the kinky nature of her events; and Jannice wasn’t expecting any less.
Susan was quick to send invites to the chosen few who were wanted at the shower. She had carefully screened all of Jannice’s friends, and only sent invites to those with the ‘right kind of vibe’. She however reluctantly included two of Jannice’s more reserved friends after the bride-to-be insisted on their attendance.
Susan didn’t work alone, Josephine agreed to help out, following her return from Canada. However, Susan’s death meant that Josephine had to carry on with the planning; and she didn’t disappoint.
The venue of the shower was originally meant to be Jannice’s apartment, but it was moved over to Samson’s place, since he would be traveling to South Africa for a conference, coupled with the fact that his apartment was bigger.
On the day of the shower, friends arrived with gaiety, gifts and booze. The ladies had rounds of merriment, games and photoshoot. Everything was going as planned until Jannice got a call from home that her dad just had a heart attack, and was being transported to a hospital. Immediately, the party ended as they all moved over to the hospital. Both Jannice and Josephine ended up spending the night at the hospital, tending to their father.
* * *
Mrs. Johnson was invited to the police station for questioning following the discovery of the note in the bag. She did little to conceal her displeasure in being called to the station for questioning, as she ignored Inspector David’s greetings while he ushered her into his office.
“Can you please tell me why I am here?” she asked coldly.
“Of course. You’re here for questioning in relation to the investigated murder of your son-in-law, Samson. Nothing serious. You’re just a few questions away from leaving here.” David explained.
“Alright, shoot”, Stella said, crossing her arms while staring callously at the inspector.
“How would you describe your relationship with Samson?”, David asked.
“He was my son-in-law. Next?”, Stella responded.
Inspector David smiled briefly, then said; “According to report, you had a relatively hostile relationship with Samson. What would you say about that?”
“Nothing. And it’s a pity Samson’s not here to tell you his own side.” Stella said snidely.
“Pardon me for my lack of perception here, but I can’t seem to find any linkage between your questions and finding out about the cause of Samson’s death. So please, quit wasting my time. I’ve got somewhere to be.” Stella fired.
David realized that he wasn’t going to get anything from Stella with the subtler approach he had employed, so he decided to hit her hard with the serious questions.
David folded his sleeves, leaned over the table and said; “Tell me Mrs. Johnson, where were you on 3rd of November, the day your daughter had her bridal shower?”
“I was in Dubai to procure some goods”, Stella replied confidently.
“Do you know that telling a lie to an officer of the law in the course of investigation constitutes an act of perjury; a serious offence which is punishable by imprisonment for fourteen years?”, David asked.
“What I know is that I have told you the truth, one which I can prove.” Stella said, with her usual charisma.
“By proof, are you referring to the flight ticket to Dubai your daughter booked for you? Already seen that.” David rose from his seat and went over to the dispenser to get a cup of water before adding; “You see, I took the liberty of checking out with airline where you booked the flight to know for certain whether or not you boarded the plane, and we both know that you didn’t. So, I’ll advise you to think deeply and think well before answering my next questions, lest your indictment includes perjury.”
For the first time in David’s office, Stella was truly worried, and it was evident. She quickly lost her previous arrogant demeanour and now appeared vulnerable. Her hands were no longer folded, but were now entwined on her laps, as she looked up at the inspector rather nervously.
“Were you ever at Samson’s apartment?”, David asked.
Stella hesitated. She knew the answer to the question but was conflicted on whether to answer truthfully or not. She looked at David suspiciously, wondering what exactly he knew.
“Ma’am, please answer the question. Time is of essence. You’ve got someplace to be, remember?”, David reminded.
“Yes. I’ve been at his apartment.” Stella responded.
David brought out the note from the bag, presented it to her, and asked; “Did you write this and place it in a gift meant for Jannice?”
Eagerly, Stella collected the note and took a glance. She stopped for a moment, then responded; “Yes, I did. I got her a gift for the shower.”
“Ma’am, do I need to impress on you again the importance of being truthful during this session?”, David asked rhetorically.
“I know that you didn’t get Jannice the gift, and she confirmed that. Susan got her the gift. Now, I want you to tell me when and how you were able to put the card in the bag.”
A line of sweat trickled down Stella’s temple, as she began to feel uneasy. For a while, she processed the question, thinking about how to respond.
Stella was hesitant to talk, so David decided to give her some motivation.
“Let me explain your situation here, maybe it’ll help loosen your tongue. So far in Samson’s murder case, the most tangible evidence I’ve got points at a failed attempt at killing him. You see, the lingerie that came with your card was coated with specks of pollen grain, which the deceased was allergic to. He had an asthma attack in the aftermath of inhaling the specks, but that wasn’t what killed him. However, attempted murder is a serious crime which is punishable by life imprisonment.
“Right now, things aren’t looking too good for you, as the evidence points directly at you. It’s possible that you didn’t coat the dress with the specks, however, the onus is on you to prove your innocence. And if I were you, I wouldn’t complicate things by telling more lies.“ David concluded.
Stella was becoming more worried than before. She knew nothing about the pollen grain. In order to clear her name, she would have to let out a dark secret about herself.
“I was there. I was in Samson’s apartment on the day of the shower.”, “Stella confessed, dreading the question that would follow.
“When and why were you at the apartment, and how come Jannice and the group weren’t aware of your presence?”, David asked.
Stella’s eyes wandered briefly around the office, before settling on her trembling hands that rested delicately on her thighs.
“I got there after they all left for the hospital where my husband was admitted.” Stella confessed.
“Why were you there?”, David asked, as he gazed intently at her like a predator that was just a leap away from pouncing on its prey.
“I…I…I was in the apartment with Samson. We were having an affair”
To be continued…
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Click to read Chapter 3