Note – My Spanish is rusty; forgive me ;-)
This story is set around the end of season 3 and the start of season 4.
No BA-ness. If you're after a ship fic; this ain't it ;-)
In New York City's war on crime, the worst criminal offenders are pursued by the Detectives of the Major Case Squad. These are their stories.
Chapter 1: Staircase
Madia Alvarez shifted baby Matthew onto her other hip as she headed for the kitchen. He was only eighteen months old but he was already punctual. For the past six months he'd been waking up at seven o'clock on the dot each morning. It certainly made Madia's job easier. She lived in Walker Manor as Matthew's Night Nanny. Despite what it sounded like; it wasn't that difficult a job. She cared for Matthew in the evenings and at night should he wake up. All other times he was with the Day Nanny, Abby. And since Matthew had been sleeping through the night, Madia had been enjoying her work more than ever.
Madia entered the kitchen humming a Spanish lullaby she used to sing her daughters when they were younger. That was many years ago now, all three were in college. Her job here in America with the Walkers was paying for it along with Rico's, her husband's, job as a taxi driver. Madia set Matthew in his high chair and fixed him breakfast. She knew Mrs Walker would be home from her vacation today but her presence wasn't really felt around the house when she was there. Madia referred to her as palo de golf to Rico. It meant 'brat' in Spanish. She spent all Mr. Walker's money on herself and only rarely saw her son. Madia and Abby were pretty much his only family. As well as William Montague, the butler, but he was very a very proper, professional from England so he wasn't as relaxed as Abby and Madia were with the baby.
As she thought of him, Madia wondered where Montague was. He was usually first awake and was especially prompt when Mrs. Walker was returning. He always made sure the coffee pot was full of her favourite, imported Italian coffee for when she came in the door. Madia furrowed her brow when she noticed the empty coffee pot by the sink. She finished feeding Matthew and set him in his playpen in the living room.
"Montague?" Madia called as she stuck her head into the room next door. When the Sir and Lady of the manor weren't home, William could commonly be found reading in the vast library. His usual chair was empty and no books were off the shelves. Madia pressed her lips together, glanced back at Matthew to make sure he was alright, then headed down the hall towards the second floor staircase. "Montague?" she called again as she rounded the corner for the stairs. What she saw made her gag and rear backwards in horror. Montague was lying awkwardly on the staircase with a puddle of blood around his head. "Mi dios! Mi dios! Oh mi Dios!" Madia cried as she hurried for the phone and dialed 9-1-1.
Goren snapped a pair of latex gloves on as he stood over the body of William Montague. He knelt beside the deceased and pressed his fingers into the blood pool beside his head.
His partner came up behind him and sighed. "Why am I so sure he didn't just fall?" Eames asked as she saw Goren sniff his fingers. "And that that's not just blood?"
"Its, uh...rum. There's rum in his blood." Goren told her as he glanced over the stairs.
"He was hit with a liquor bottle?" Eames guessed.
"Well...no glass shards on the stairs." Goren got to his feet, took a few steps up and looked down at the body. "Look at the way he's positioned."
Eames stepped backwards and noticed the awkwardness of Montague's pose. "He was moved into this position." she nodded.
"To make us think he'd fallen." Goren agreed. "But whoever did this isn't smart. The wound on his head is facing up, not down as if he collided with the stairs." Goren sighed and stepped down beside Eames. "This isn't where he died."
"I talked to the Nanny, Madia Alvarez. She lives here, too." Eames read from her notepad. "She's Spanish; her English is a little rusty but she told me she's worked here for almost two years; said Montague was already living here. He's usually up before her and when she didn't see him she went looking and found him on the stairs."
Goren glanced down the hallway to where a beautiful woman was rocking a baby back and forth as he sucked on her thumb. "She doesn't look Spanish..."
"No; that's not her. Mrs. Alvarez is outside being treated for shock. That is Abby Mackenzie, the Day Nanny." Eames told him with a smirk.
"They have two Nannies?" Goren asked. "They have more kids?"
Eames shook her head. "Seems to me like Mr and Mrs Walker don't spend a lot of quality time with little Matthew."
"Where are Mr and Mrs Walker?" Goren asked her.
"Day Nanny claims Mrs. Walker's due home today from a two week long stay at a spa while her husband," Eames checked her notes. "Is working in Singapore. He's a Stockbroker; always on the road."
"Walker, Banks & Henderson," Goren nodded, recognizing the name. "Named in the top three Most Successful businesses in New York this year."
Eames nodded. "Mr. Jonathon Walker and his two buddies started it up about twenty years ago." She told him. "Both Nannies say Mr. Walker is away for almost ten months of the year."
"Good looking family," Goren noted as he eyed a portrait against the wall behind his partner. It depicted Jonathon Walker standing behind his wife with a smug smile. Mrs. Walker was sitting with her son in her lap with a stunning smile plastered on her face. "Is that his wife or his daughter?"
"Leila Walker, twenty-five." Eames told him. "They married three years ago, methinks around the time little Matthew was conceived."
"You're thinking shotgun wedding." Goren inferred. Eames nodded. "First marriage for both?"
"Her; yes. Him; no. Ms. Mackenzie said he was married about a decade ago to a Laurel Walker but she died a couple of years before his second wedding." Eames said with a loose shrug. "Abby doesn't know what from."
There was a loud crash from the front door as a very flustered looking young woman came bustling into the house. "What the hell is going on here?" She yelped as she saw the police officers.
"The lovely Mrs. Walker, I presume." Eames muttered at her partner as she made her way towards her.
Goren stayed back and watched Mrs. Walker's body language. First she tossed her coat and bag to the people trailing behind her, then she stood before Eames pouting as she was told what was going on, then she checked herself in the mirror and snapped something to one of her entourage about calling her husband. Not once did she look at Abby or her son. Nor did she asked about the welfare of Mrs. Alvarez. She strutted into the living room talking in a loud, shrill voice to make sure she was heard. "My husband will have all of your jobs; you know that?" She snapped. Goren saw Abby roll her eyes to herself as she continued to jiggle the baby gently in her arms.
"Well, that was a treat-and-a-half." Eames said sarcastically as she came back to Goren. "Mrs. Walker says she's been at the Sunset Springs Spa for two weeks 'recuperating'."
"From what?" Goren asked; his eyes still on Abby as Mrs. Alvarez came back inside. Abby immediately put a comforting arm around her.
"Who knows? Hard to believe someone who lives like this needs vacation..." She saw Goren's attention was diverted. "What?"
"Look at the way Ms. Mackenzie is with Matthew." He told her. "She's comforting him like...well, like a mother."
"Trophy wife like her," Eames nodded at Mrs. Walker as she reappeared with an iced drink in her hand. "Probably doesn't spend a lot of time with her son."
Mrs. Walker came up to the Detectives. "How long are your people gonna be in my house?" She asked resting a hand on her hip. "My masseuse will be here at ten and I'd rather not have police and bodies and blood around."
"Masseuse? I thought you just came back from vacation..." Eames reminded her.
"Edward always comes at ten." Leila said matter-of-factly.
"Your son," Goren spoke up. "How old is he?"
"One." Leila replied.
Goren smiled. "Your Nanny said eighteen months..."
"Same thing." Leila shrugged. "Just get your people out of my house." She pushed between Eames and Goren and headed towards the kitchen.
"Couple more things, if I may." Goren turned around towards her. "Ah, Mr Montague...how long's he been working for you?"
"I dunno," Leila shrugged. "He was here when I moved in."
"And your husband, John? Where is he?" Goren asked.
"Some Asian city," Leila shrugged as she took another sip of her drink. "He'll be back at the end of the week."
"He'll need to be back before then." Eames told her. "You see, there's been a murder here." She couldn't pass up the chance to patronize her just a little bit. This was the kind of wife and mother Eames despised.
Leila rolled her eyes. "If you can get John back early; good for you. But John never comes home early. For anything."
Goren smelled something in the air. "Ah, are you...drinking rum?"
"So what?" Leila snapped.
"This early in the morning?" Goren continued noticing her bleary eyes. "You already look like you've had a few drinks..."
"God; you sound like Montague. Just get your people out of here." She turned and stalked down the hallway.
Goren turned to his partner. She simply raised her eyebrows in response.
That afternoon when they got back to the Major Case building, Eames immediately looked into Leila Walker's alibi via her bank charges. Goren was sitting at his desk across from her going over the ME report of William Montague. "Oh, the woes of a corporate wife," Eames mumbled as she glanced over the bill. "Leila racked up over a hundred and fifty grand's worth of bills at the Sunset Springs Spa. Facials, body wraps, Botox, mud baths...and the list goes on...and on."
"ME says COD was blunt force trauma to the head, caused a hemorrhage." Goren informed her. "He bled out."
Eames furrowed her brow. "If that's the case, there wasn't nearly enough blood at the scene."
"Killer cleaned it up first, maybe laid plastic down?" Goren suggested. "Time of death was about two hours before we were called."
Eames nodded. "I talked to the owner of the Spa, Natalie Crow, she said Mrs. Walker is a monthly visitor. She can't vouch for exact times, though. Why would Leila kill the butler? Someone who makes her easy life that much easier?"
"She made a comment when I asked about the rum..." Goren reminded himself. "Montague didn't approve of her drinking; maybe she got drunk and clobbered him in rage?"
"But where? CSU combed top and bottom of that place and didn't find any blood." Eames told him. "And drunk or not; she couldn't lug a body very far."
"Might be why he was on the stairs?" Goren suggested. "Too heavy for her to carry..." He handed Eames the ME report. "Post mortem marks on the body consistent with, ah, carpet burn. He was dragged to those stairs."
Eames raised her eyebrows. "Mrs. Walker's gonna get the perfect hangover cure."