His Last Wish
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Raymond Cooper—a former police detective at Morozov, decided to resign from his job and move to Cirillo to reinvestigate the murder case of his late friend, Arnold Walter, after the police decided it was a failed robbery attempt that led to the murder. With a piece of paper that he found in his friend's hand, he searched for clues leading him to a girl named Amanda Chloe. All the investigations he carried out in Cirillo led him to the trauma and old wounds he had received from his past. Will he be able to deal with his trauma and find the answer to his friend's murder?
Raymond Cooper inhaled deeply, then exhaled slowly, enjoying the sensation of the scent produced by the cigarette. His eyes were hidden behind his sunglasses, observing the atmosphere outside the airport. Sitting in the designated smoking area made it a little difficult to do that, but this was much better than having to refrain from smoking until he got to the hotel.
The espresso he ordered to keep him awake after the six-hour flight from Morozov city to Cirillo city on Andreas Island was getting cold. Reluctantly, he drank the coffee in one gulp, then stubbed out the remaining cigarette into the cigarette ashtray on the table with a deep sigh. His sturdy, slender hands pulled out a shabby scrap of paper from the brown coat he was wearing. His sensitive nose could still smell the lingering scent of blood on the shabby paper.
26 October 20xx
"Amanda, eh?" he said, propping his head on the table. Even at his last moment, Arnold struggled to grasp the paper as hard as he could, as if he wanted to protect what was inside that piece of paper. His breath caught a little. The thought of his friend's death...
His hands clenched into fists. He bit his lower lip until it almost bled and then tapped his slender fingers on the table to keep his panic attacks from arising. After his panic subsided, his eyes fell back on the paper, which he slipped back into his coat pocket.
Morozov Police had already decided the murder case was a failed robbery attempt that led to the murder and quickly closed the case, making it impossible for him to re-investigate the case if he continued to search for the clue as a detective.
Because of this reason, he decided to resign from the police and stop his counseling sessions with his psychiatrist. He was tired of continuing to hide without searching for the truth. How could he, a police detective, decide to stop investigating a case that was not a failed robbery but a murder case?
His pride would have vanished if he had stopped investigating the case. The clue was only this piece of paper—the paper he took out secretly after calling the police and ambulance. Raymond would not have noticed it if it were not for his nose smelling the paper scent in Arnold's hand. The paper was so small that it almost escaped his sight.
He took it as soon as he opened his friend's hand with the gloves he always carried with him in case he got a call from work and scribbled it in the small notebook.
His intuition told him not to give what he found to the police, and it seemed his decision to follow his intuition was right.
If somebody knows about this—especially the group that killed Arnold—it will be over. He would search for them—the person whose name was written on this paper. If necessary, he would protect them with his own life. That was what he vowed in front of Arnold's grave.
It looked like this would be a difficult task. He could even smell danger from this paper.
Raymond grabbed his suitcase and then called the waiter to pay the bill, then walked from the coffee shop to the hotel.
It has been two days since he arrived in Cirillo City. The warm air soothed him, in contrast to Morozov City, which was relatively cold because his hometown was close to Russia. The people in this town were relatively friendly and relaxed, so the adaptation process in this city was much faster than he thought. He even considered this city his new home. But he could not possibly stay in the hotel for a long time.
Sooner or later, he would run out of his savings, so he had to quickly find a new place to live. Therefore, right now he was in a property agency office recommended by the hotel staff this morning, sitting while reading a brochure offered by a property sales agent, who immediately greeted him as soon as he entered the office. Rudolf—the man's name—just asked permission to serve a young, clumsy woman who just came into the office.
While waiting, he turned the page of the brochure until his eyes fixed on the one that suited his taste. A spacious living room and a kitchen, fully furnished so that he did not need to allocate his budget to buy new furniture, and a balcony that he could use later for smoking, with views of Cirillo City.
He was happy to imagine what his life would be like in the future if he chose this apartment. However, as soon as he saw the price plastered under the description, he gave up his mind. The price per month of this apartment was enough to take all of his savings within six months.
Should he find another apartment? There were several apartments in the brochure that he held, offering affordable prices, but as compensation, he could not smoke and had to buy new furniture, which would be a hassle. He did not have many options, and it seemed, that was his only choice.
Reluctantly, Raymond placed the brochure on the table, looking for Rudolf, who turned out to be still with the young woman who had caught his eye from the start. Bored, he leaned forward a little, trying to overhear their conversation while still trying to be inconspicuous.
"Is there an apartment that catches your eye, Miss?" The man deliberately sweetened his tone of voice while speaking to that young woman, making him smile wryly. The attitude of the egg-headed man was much different from when he greeted him earlier. Slightly curt, and looking him up and down as if he were a dirty man with less promising prospects.
He looked at the clothes he was wearing. He arrived in town wearing a brown coat, a gray long-sleeved t-shirt, dark blue jeans, and black and red sneakers. He took out the smartphone that was in the pocket of his jeans, then let out a long sigh after seeing his reflection on the screen, understanding why that egg-headed man seemed reluctant to serve him. His messy hair was the reason.
To add to his problems, he did not have time to shave this morning because he was in a hurry to find an apartment. He returned to focus on the young woman. From her movements, he could tell that she looked uncomfortable when Rudolf was standing near her.
"Simple, like this apartment," the young woman said, pointing to one of the apartments in the same brochure he was holding. Unfortunately, their distance made it difficult for him to figure out which apartment she wanted.
"But, Miss, the price per month is quite expensive. Are you sure?"
Driven by his curiosity, he rose from his sofa chair and approached them, trying his best to keep it natural as he peeked at which apartment the young woman meant.
Oh. The same apartment, just like him. Interesting.
"Excuse me," he said, clearing his throat, deliberately taking the moment when Rudolf began to speak again. "It looks like we are looking for the same apartment."
The woman frowned, accompanied by Rudolf's sour face, when he found his presence disturbing. "Sorry, but you ..."
"Forgive my rudeness." Raymond laughed softly, trying to keep looking cool. At the very least, he should make a good first impression in front of the woman in the red sweater and dark brown pleated skirt with the three-centimeter high heels. "My name is Raymond Cooper. I just arrived in this city two days ago. From my observations, it looks like you are also new to this town."
The woman gasped, then laughed softly. "Yes, you are right. How do you know about that?"
"From observation. But it doesn't matter. If you don't mind, would you be willing to be my roommate? Well, if you don't have a problem getting a man as your—"
The woman's quick reply startled him. He returned the brochure that Rudolf had offered her, then smiled with satisfaction. "Very nice. The rent will be much cheaper for both of us, eh? Then, we will choose this apartment."
He could see Rudolf's sour face for a few seconds, then returned to his business smile, leading them to his office desk to arrange their contract for their apartment.
"If you don't mind, I can invite you to see the apartment. For site surveys, of course. Well, if the gentleman sitting next to you couldn’t do it today, that will be fine," Rudolf rolled his eyes as he looked at Raymond, annoyingly. Raymond was impressed by the friendly people in this city, but Rudolf was beyond his consideration. It seemed that this egg-headed man was targeting this woman.
Indeed, this woman was attractive for her age. She was shy but had a strong-willed personality. That was the impression he got when he saw this woman. And seeing Rudolf's suspicious gesture when he looked at this woman awakened his intuition to protect her.
"Absolutely not." Raymond smiled, holding back irritation. If he got the opportunity to punch this man, of course, he would do it gladly, right now. "I’m not in a hurry, thank you very much for your concern. If we can do it as quickly as possible, why are we not visiting the place right now?"
It has been two months since he set foot in the town of Cirillo and lived together with a woman named Hazel Skylar. That was after going through a rigorous screening selection from that damn property agent who kept preventing the woman from staying with him. He could not understand why the property agent was so desperately trying to prevent the woman from living with him as if that man was the woman's father.
The decision should be in the woman's hands, although he hoped that many of them will accept his offer because it would save the cost of renting the apartment. The man kept giving him a bad image, describing him as a wild beast that could attack her at any time. He had to admit that he had been attracted to her from their first meeting, but that did not mean he was going to attack her like the damn agent's description. He still had his pride. Silently he continued to curse that man's insolence.
“I don't think it's good for you to de
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