Chapter 2 : The Study
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"The victim, a Mr Hoyt Shafiq, was stabbed five times to the chest with an unidentified sharp object. Mr Shafiq's fiance, Miss Orla Yaxley was found unconscious on the stairs not far from the library where Mr Shafiq was killed," Chief Inspector Ogden stated plainly.
"Are we supposed to believe that the fiance did him in, then?"
"It's a typical story, we've all seen it before- a jealous fiance who is sick of her future husband's wandering eye and so she does him in," The men in the room all muttered in agreement. "Cooper, you're on the job."
"Me, sir?" Inspector Cooper- a young man of only twenty-six, asked. "Who will be going along with me?"
"Well, I think you've been here long enough to take this case on your own, don't you?" Ogden replied, challenging Cooper with a daring look in his eyes.
"Yes, of course, sir," Cooper replied, stumbling over his words. "I'll be right on it then," He continued, standing up from his seat quickly, sending his quill and parchment to the floor. He picked them up and bustled quickly out of the room.
"Are you sure that Cooper is ready?" One of the older members of the Law Enforcement Squad asked.
"I'll repeat to you what I told him then, he's been here a few years now, if he's not ready now then he won't ever be," Ogden replied, shuffling a few official papers together.
"I don't know that he is," Another voice piped in, and others agreed with him, "What if he ruins the whole case? Are you sure he's the right one for this case?"
"Yes," Ogden answered, "and in case I'm wrong, I'm sending Josephine in too." The room seemed to relax at this addition, they all began to pack up their own papers and file out of the room one by one.
Eddie Cooper had grown up modestly. His family had never been rich, but they'd never been poor either- they'd been comfortable, and Eddie had always been happy with that. The Shafiq Manor changed things. It was so grand and haunting that it made Eddie feel small and insignifcant, and it made his childhood home look like a dingy, old shack. He couldn't imagine growing up in a house like that. A house elf greeted him at the door and lead him into the 'parlour' where Arcturus Black waited for him.
"Inspector," Arcturus allowed himself the smallest smile, a polite gesture rather than true emotion, and offered his hand.
"Yes, hello- I'm Inspector Cooper," Eddie repeated the gesture, taking Arcturus' hand, "You must be Arcturus Black."
"I am, sir. I assume you'd like to see Mr Shafiq," Eddie nodded in response and Arcturus lead the way into the library. "I'll leave you here. I'll be in the sitting room with the rest of the guests- my wife is ever so distraught about this."
"Of course, I'll be in a moment to speak to everyone- the fiance of the victim, first." Eddie replied, turning his attention to the body which lay in corner of the room.
"Orla," Arcturus half-whispered, Eddie turned to face him with a confused look on his face, "Miss Yaxley, that is." He turned on his heel to leave the room, but just as he reached the door, he turned back to Eddie, "I don't think she did it, she couldn't. Orla isn't capable of something like this."
"Excuse me, Mr Black, but I believe it's my job to find that out," Eddie responded, Arcturus nodded curtly in reply and left the room.
Eddie turned back to the body of Hoyt Shafiq. He knew he was supposed to be objective about the whole ordeal, but even Ogden had admitted that it was probably the fiance. It wasn't a rare occurence- the first case Eddie had ever tagged along for had been the murder of a unfaithful husband by his wife's hands. Something about the way Arcturus had spoken had further solidified Eddie's opinion- he'd spoken so informally about Miss Yaxley that Eddie had to assume something was going on there. That option created far more suspects than Eddie would have liked. With this thought, Eddie turned back to the body again- he took in the exact entry points for each stab wound, accounted for the amount of blood that pooled around the victim. He was about to comb the room for the possible murder weapon when the door swung open. A beautiful young woman stood in the door. She had short dark brown hair, bright hazel eyes and was wearing trousers- something Eddie wasn't particularly used to seeing on a woman of her standing.
"Miss Yaxley, I assume?" Eddie asked, raising his eyebrows at the woman who barely blinked an eye at the gruesome sight in front of her.
"You assume wrong, I'm Josephine Ogden, my father sent me along to help with the case," Josephine responded, moving closer to the body. "I don't work for the Magical Law Enforcement Department, so you don't need to worry about me stealing your case, I'm just here to provide a different set of eyes."
"I'm Eddie Cooper, Inspector Eddie Cooper," Eddie replied, stumbling over his words again- he really needed to work on that. "I'm just inspecting the body."
"Yes, have you found anything interesting?" Josephine asked coolly, bending down to look at something on the victim.
"Not particularly, a usual stabbing so far," Josephine nodded her head, looking rather disappointed. "I was just about going to interview the suspect."
"Oh, you've already decided who did it?" She asked, her eyes widening slightly.
Eddie got the distinct impression that she was mocking him, "In cases like this, the wife, or fiance in this case, becomes the main suspect."
"Especially when said fiance can't remember the murder," Josephine added, a wicked grin crossing over her face. She turned on her heel and headed out of the library, Eddie following closely behind her. She seemed to know her way around the house quite easily already, and Eddie was thankful for her presence because he certainly would have gotten lost without her.
Like Arcturus had promised, they were all in the sitting room when Eddie and Josephine slipped through the doors. It was a strange sight for Eddie- they all sat blank faced and silent in their chairs as if they were watching a particularly boring Opera performance rather than having just lost someone. Orla Yaxley was easy to pick out- she was slightly paler than the rest and her eyes were red, like she'd been crying. Her face softened slightly at the sight of Eddie, and in that moment he could see how truly striking she was.
"Inspector Cooper," She smiled softly, standing up and making her way over to him, "I assume you'll want to speak to me first."
"Yes, if you would, Miss Yaxley," Eddie lead her back out of the room, Josephine following closely behind, and into the study. She took the seat on the opposit side of the desk- Eddie noticed how ill she looked. "Firstly, Miss Yaxley, can you tell me what you remember?"
"Of course, Inspector," Orla answered, taking a deep breath, "I got up early yesterday morning and took my breakfast in the dining room, I was the only one awake at the time. Melania, Mrs Black, and I were supposed to go into Diagon Alley to look for dresses for the upcoming Malfoy Ball- we were taking Esther, Hoyt's-" She choked slightly at this, but regained her composure, "Hoyt's sister. I was just waiting for them to wake up, so I went back to my rooms to wait- I read a book, about an hour later I decided to go check on Melania and Esther," She paused again, "Next thing I remember was Lycoris waking me up and telling me what happened."
"How were things between you and Mr Shafiq?" Eddie asked, quickly noting down everything Orla said.
"What do you mean?" She asked, her eyebrows furrowing, "Oh, the engagement. We were happy, we were just starting to make some solid plans for the wedding- it took us so long to find the right place," Orla sighed softly, "I can't believe he's gone- poor Esther."
"So, you didn't speak to anyone yesterday morning? You didn't see anyone?" Eddie asked, and Orla shook her head in response.
"Where were you going to get married?" Josephine asked softly.
"We were going to have a garden wedding, here, next summer," Orla asked, a sad smile appearing on her lips.
"It would have been beautiful," Joesphine replied, reaching over the table to take Orla's hand.
"That's it, Miss Yaxley," Eddie cut in, "You look like you need to go and rest,"
"Yes, thank you, Inspector," Orla nodded, slowly standing up and making her way out of the study.
"She didn't do it," Josephine stated the moment Orla was out of listening distance.
"Just because of the wedding talk?" Eddie asked, rolling his eyes in disbelief.
"No, because of the way she choked up - her compassion," Josephine answered, "Maybe not everything was as perfect between her and Shafiq as she'd like to have us believe, but she definitely cares for her fiance's little sister."
"Then, of course, there's the issue of the poison," Eddie added.
"She wouldn't have poisoned herself, if that's what you're thinking," Josephine replied sternly, "She looks like death."
"You'd be surprised by the things some people will do to just to get away with murder."
Authors Note: Hellooooo! I know it's been a couple of months since the first chapter, but I got the sudden urge to write this today and so here we are. The challenge for this is long over, but I really love this story so I'm going to continue it. I really hope you enjoy it too! Thanks for reading.
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