~The Sweet Sound of Music, 1


"We seriously can't ID this guy?" I groaned, standing at the other end of claims office. The man in question was a serious creep; a woman had called the cops on him for peeking in her windows. He was just sitting there, hands handcuffed to the arm rests, staring intently at everyone in the office.

"Nope. Not yet, that's your job." Flack smirked, flipping through the minimal file. "Nobody seems to know the guy. Good luck." He handed me the file and walked back toward the lab. Lucky shit. I had been moved to Claims by Mac, while he got to work in the lab all day…

Slowly, I walked across the room. I really didn't want to do this. As I passed a desk, a rather large woman was saying something about a Pekinese and a fire extinguisher. The next was a tall balding man, speaking hoarsely about the upstairs chain-smokers in his apartment.

One desk away from the creep was a woman with a hawk like gaze and thin long hair, who was staring at Mike, one of the claims reps I knew. Next to her was a young woman, who was describing something, some sort of case. Her hair was short and spiky, and bangs almost hid thick black framed glasses. I caught the eye of a cop, and he met me at the desk.

Swiftly, he cuffed his hands behind his back and stood him up. As we started to walk away, I heard someone gasp. Turning around, it was the girl with the spiky hair. She was half raised, staring at the creeper.

"Mr. Croup?" She half-breathed, staring at the now identified Mr. Croup. Mr. Croup froze and the heat started to rise in his face. The girls pretty face look so surprised.

"Do you know this man?" I asked her, but the woman answered.

"Of course we do, he's our neighbor." She said briskly, sweeping her long hair back with very long French manicured nails.

"Ok, give him a court date, and let him go." I told the cop, who moved Mr. Croup away. He stared back at his neighbors the whole time. "I'll take it from here, Mike." I said, and he gladly got up and almost ran away.

"Alright, call me Danny." I said grinning at the both of them. The girl grinned back, but the woman frowned.

"Melinda Brown, and my daughter, Amelia. I suppose you want to know about our claim?" Mrs. Brown said briskly.

"That would be helpful, yes ma'am." I said, cringing on the inside. She was definitely not a nice person.

"My daughter's violin has been stolen, although I have a different idea about the matter now," The mother said almost shrilly. "Mr. Croup is her violin teacher, and he owns an instrument company. I doubt it was stolen from him, but I think he stole it from her." She said this all very fast.

Amelia leaned forward, grinning, and intertwined her fingers on the table. A bracelet clinked on her wrist, with all sorts of charms, fish, shoes, and the biggest one, a violin. "Mom, don't exaggerate. I'm sure Mr. Croup wouldn't do something like that. Why was he here, anyway?" She asked me.

"I can't discuss an ongoing investigation, I'm sorry. But can you tell me more about him? Mr. Croup isn't a criminal," I assured the girl, "but he is a person of interest now." Amelia frowned as her mom butted in.

"Well, Amelia knows him best out of the two of us, she's been with him for three years, and has studied violin since she was 4. Amelia will be playing at Carnegie—"

"Mom, enough!" Amelia said quickly, flushing a surprisingly deep red. "He doesn't need a biography or anything…" She dwindled under her moms stare. "Anyway, yeah, I knew him a little. What do you want to know?" She asked, the color starting to fade from her face.

"Did you like Mr. Croup?" I asked. She frowned.

"He was kind of a creep. No, he was a major creep, like super freaky. He was kind of a mouth-breather. But he was great at teaching." She finished matter-of-factly.

"How old are you?" I asked after a minute. She made the cutest face at that one. Her nose scrunched up.

"I'm 19. Mr. Croup is like, 65. Yuck." I laughed, but her mom's glare made my chuckles die instantly.

"Did he ever act in a way that made you uncomfortable?" I asked and it was her turn to laugh.

"Danny, he was always creeping on me, his violin, my violin, himself, his half deaf cat, you name it. Of course I was uncomfortable. Even when I was playing. He was real…hands-on. Oh wait, no, that came out wrong," she said quickly, seeing her moms face and my own, "he never like, touched me in a wrong way, but he was always moving my bow hand with his, improving my posture, that sort of thing."

"You don't have to cover for him, darling." Mrs. Brown said furiously. "If he did something—"

"He didn't though, so whatever, doesn't matter. Next question!" Amelia grinned. She was very bubbly. For the next hour or so, I questioned her, and her mom further. I filed their claim, did my required work on Mr. Croup, who was released and had a court date, and checked in with Mac.

I had more work to do, and since this case was the last on the pile, they bounced from Stella, to Flack, to Mac for questioning. I spent the rest of the night doing lab work until my shift was over.