The Billionaire Professor 2 (2015)
The intercom buzzer at the door went off, startling all of us out of our thoughtfulness. I quickly went over to respond to it and was told by the attendant at the hotel’s check in that Prof. Louis Howard was here to see me.
A colleague in the art history department, he was probably the most capable of the professors on staff. I actually admired his intellectual ability and would have made a superb teacher except for one thing: he was boring as anything.
Listening to him give a lecture was torture. Because of this, he was not the students’ first choice as an instructor. His classrooms were never full. In fact, he had a difficult time even getting enough students for some of his classes. And that was a shame, because he did know his art history backwards and forwards.
I told the desk to send him up. “What a pleasant surprise, Louis,” I said when he came in.
Louis said he just dropped by to extend his concern about the charges and to wish me the best of luck. He commented on the level of positive energy in the room. I explained the latest news to him. While I can’t say he had always been a close friend, we were close allies in the art history department, pushing for higher standards, more interesting classes – anything that would make the department a more respected center for learning.
So when he did just pop in like that, I really didn’t think much about it. I thought, in fact, it was quite a gentlemanly gesture.
“I didn’t think it would be so cheerful in here,” he said. “I’ve heard that you were still a prime suspect.”
“He was,” Paul said, “until moments ago when the police called.” He explained that O’Malley’s ties to Daphne’s murder and a similar one in France not too long ago were too close to be merely coincidental.”
Was it only me or was Louis’s reaction one of feigned happiness?
Was it my imagination or did this dude’s reaction really not display the degree of happiness that one would give a colleague at such a life-altering moment in their lives.
I slipped from Max’s hold and sat on the arm of the couch. After studying him a moment, I sensed there was something wrong, very wrong with this scenario. I held my breath waiting for something to happen.
I didn’t have too wait long.
Professor Howard stammered. “But how can that be?” The murder in France was far different.” I saw his hands shake. “It was a totally different type of gun.”
Paul’s radar went off. “How do you know the guns were different? The local police never revealed the make of the gun that shot Daphne, purposely.”
“Oh, sure they did,” Howard insisted. He rambled on about the make and model of Max’s gun.
Now, Max’s curiosity was aroused. “How did you know what type of gun I have?”
“You showed it to me the night of the mixer you hosted here.”
When Louis uttered those words, I thought back to that night. Then I said out loud, “Come to think of it, that was the last time I saw that gun.”
The energy in the room changed instantly.
Before I could ask another question, Louis volunteered yet more information.
“And the murder in France only took one shot to kill the victim. In the murder you’re accused of, it took three separate shots to kill Daphne.”
Paul bolted up, his senses on full alert.
“Now you went over the edge, man,” he told Louis. “I know for a fact that the local police didn’t release that information. You couldn’t possibly know that unless . . . “
Carly jumped in to finish the sentence, “. . . you were there.”
I was probably the last person in the room to comprehend what was happening.
“No, the number of bullets shot at the scene was on the internet somewhere . . . some blogger must have printed it,” Louis insisted. “I remember reading it somewhere.”
Paul was losing patience now. “Look around this room, man. We’ve researched every nook and cranny of the case, possible connections to other cases and individuals who may have been carrying grudges against either Daphne or Max. I spent several days now without sleep. If the number of bullets shot had been released publicly either Carly or myself would have found it. Trust me, we didn’t find it anywhere.”
Carly was tacitly giving her approval to Paul’s words.
Louis’s eyes looked like those of animal caught in a lion’s stare. He was frightened, but knew that running was the worst of all options.
“Louis, what’s going on here?” I finally asked. “I really thought someone needed to cut to the chase. He looked from person to person to person.
“Holy shit.” He let out a big sigh. ‘I knew I would screw up. I just didn’t think I would screw up this soon and this badly.”
“Wait,” Paul interjected, not allowing him to say another word, “would it save you embarrassment and be easier to talk about it if we asked the police detectives to come here?”
I felt Jazmin’s arms tightening around my waist and her entire body sinking into mine. It was an indescribable feeling having her stand right next to me.