TMA - Chapter 4 Part 1



PARLEY


part 1

PEOPLE'S eyes were directed at Ben when he stepped into the office today. It was a rare occurrence for him to go to the office, and now he came to the office for several days in a row. It's no brainer that people would be curious and whispering questions and assumptions.

Ben shrugged those curious stares off and marched confidently toward officer Bradley's room. He entered the room and sat down, waiting for officer Bradley to end his phone call.


“What brought you here? I thought we're good now.”

Ben couldn't believe what he just heard. “What do you mean we're good?” he asked, eyebrows taut.

“I've been thinking about this a lot. Can we really trust him?”

Officer Bradley's neutral expression turned a bit sourㅡit was clear that he was uncomfortable with Ben's sincere question.

“In what aspect?”

“Don't you feel that there's something off about him?"

“Everybody is a little off in their own way. That also includes humans."

“No, it's different. It's not something average human carries with them.”

Ben felt a sudden frustrated feeling since he couldn't explain it well to officer Bradley. He chewed on his lips while staring at officer Bradleyㅡit was a habit of his whenever he felt annoyed or disturbed. Ben wondered whether the officer actually noticed his habit or chose not to care.

He stayed quiet for a while, but the silence stretched for a quite long time. He decided to break it off, saying, “I did some research and I found that his parents live in Romania. You know what I mean right? Romania is the last generation of vampires' hometown!"

“That's not enough evidence.”

It felt like officer Bradley didn't want to take this matter seriously as he expected. This is sorely disappointing because he didn't sleep at all last night, thinking about Miller's existence. The more he thought about him, the more he's convinced that Miller O'Donoughue is hiding something.

“Not enough?” He nervously raised his voice. “I believe that I'm a hypersensitive person. I can feel things or people before I have contact with them, but him? He's like a ghost! Never in my life, I met someone like that.”

“You mean, like right now?”

“Exactly, like rightㅡ” Ben stopped talking and moved his head following the source of the voice. Ben found Miller standing close enough to him so close that even Ben could reach him without moving an inch. He stood there with a blank expression.

Miller dressed formally in a suit with an umbrella in his hand. It reminded Ben of the day he met Miller for the first time.

Ben's eyes were scanning Miller from head to toe. He frowned. It happened again, damn it! Ben only met Miller for less than five times but he always caught him off guard.

But since he's already aware of the man's existence, Ben once again smelled that particular scent of Miller, struggling to decide whether it's a perfume or not. He told himself to remember this scent and be aware of his presence earlier next time.

Ben unconsciously lift out his arm and touched Miller's neck. With his index and middle finger, he started to touch Miller's exposed neck. His neck was smooth, with no wrinkles at all.

He could felt the iciness of Miller's skin on the tip of his fingers. Just like the other night of their first encounter, the pulse was beating weakly underneath his skin. Miller's pulse was weaker than Ben anticipated. Although it was indeed weakㅡweaker than the average humanㅡit's still a clear sign that he's a human and alive.

Miller slowly removing Ben's hand off his neck. Getting the signal, Ben withdrew his hand off Miller's neck. Ben knew that what he did was rude, but he did not apologize. Miller was hurt and offended with what he did, but decided to not say anything.

Their relationship was on the edge, and one of them was bound to fall sooner or later. Sensing the silent awkwardness between the two men, he decided to break the ice and said, “You too, what brings you here?”

“I couldn't get ahold of inspector Ben. What happened to your phone?” Miller said, pissed. Ben felt like he got struck by thunder. The memory of the Miller forcing him to take the phone replayed inside his head.


Miller's head snapped toward his direction. "I told you to carry that around wherever you go. Now, where is it? Did you just left it inside your drawer?" he asked, then continued, "We found the 4th victim."

This wasn't the right time for Ben to be in dilemma. Upon knowing that there was another victim he felt guilty. Maybe this wouldn't happen if he didn't toss Miller's phone in the drawer out of pettiness. Maybe he should have brought that phone home, receive the call, and follow the investigation, instead of researching the connection between O'Donoughue and Romania last night.

He wasted his time going to the Yard to meet officer Bradley who didn't know anything, meeting the dreaded Miller who seemed to appear out of thin air, then receiving the devastating news of the 4th victim.

The reason why people stared at him this morning was probably not because he went to the office but because of what happened the last night.

Ben rubbed his temple. Nothing went well after he met Miller that night and Ben still hadn't apologized to Miller. Not that he wanted to.

“I'll take this chance to clear everything out. Thank you for helping me that night, I mean it, but I just can't work with someone I don't trust.”

“I understand that you don't like me but that's on you. This is our job and it should have nothing to do with your private matter. Show some professionalism, will you?” Miller said firmly as if chiding a small kid to behave.

He almost said something to defend himself but thought better of it. If he apologized it would only hurt his pride. Ben hated how incompetent he became now.

Just like other non-murder crimes, the first stage of investigation is really important. There's a huge difference between knowing the crime scene from reading the report and coming to the crime scene and seeing it with your own eyes. If he'd have brought the phone Miller gave him, he could have run to the crime scene the moment Miller called him.

He lost this case to his ego.

“I'm looking forward to your cooperation in the future,” Miller said, asking for Ben's participation. After saying that, he briefly made his way out.

Ben took a quick glance at officer Bradley, then followed Miller out. He went to his desk and took a small machine with him, leaving the Yard afterward.


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