Suspect Next Door….Chapter – 2 (Manmarziyan)

Hie people exams are over what a relive so 2 chapters today hope you like it. Please do ignore my errors.
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Chapter 2

RADHIKA WATCHED as the owner of Vanities marched to the phone and dialed what she knew was the number for the police. Trisha slipped her clipboard behind the cash register busied herself with a waiting customer.

Aashi, the salesgirl-cashier, gave Radhika and her friends a helpless shrug. “Sorry about all this,” she began awkwardly. “We’ve been having a few problems around here lately.”

When the store owner hung up the phone, Radhika approached her. “Excuse me,” she began. “My name’s Radhika Mishra. These are my friends, Ridhima Joshi and Krithika Do—”

“Radhika Mishra!” the owner interrupted, her eyes widening. “The detective? Yes, now that I look at you, I do recognize you from the newspapers. I’m Kajal Magesh,” she added, offering her hand to Radhika. “I’m the owner of this store.”

“If there’s any way I can help, Ms. Magesh, I’d be happy to.”

Ms.Magesh seemed surprised. “You really mean that?” she asked. When Radhika nodded, she went on. “Because I’ve called the police in every time this has happened, and they keep telling me there’s not much they can do. There’s never any sign of a forced entry; nothing shows up on the film from the security cameras. They say it’s obviously an inside job and tell me to keep an eye on my staff!”

Ms.Magesh gestured around her. The store was busy, with about a dozen customers being waited on. Looking back at Radhika, Ms. Magesh said, “I’m a businesswoman. I can’t stand around here spying on my own employees. It’s impossible. I have two other stores to look after. I can’t just fire everybody, either. That would mean hurting a lot of innocent people. I just don’t know where to turn! This theft is the fourth in just six weeks, and—”

“Ms. Magesh,” Radhika broke in.

“Please, call me Kajal.”

“All right, then, Kajal. I think we should continue this conversation in private—considering the circumstances.” Radhika held up a hand and exchanged a knowing look with Ridhima and Krithika .

Kajal looked around again, more warily this time. “Mmmm, I suppose you’re right. Trisha!”

Trisha immediately excused herself from her customer and hurried over to Ms. Magesh’s side.

“Trisha Rapp, this is Radhika Mishra . Trisha’s our store manager, Radhika, and a very good one, too. She’s the one who first brought the thefts to my attention. Trisha will be able to give you any facts and figures you need.”

Trisha glanced at Radhika, then at her employer. “I don’t understand,” she said. “Is she a police officer?”

“Trisha, Radhika is a well-known detective here in River Heights. I’ve asked her to help us investigate our theft problem and put an end to this nonsense before it puts an end to Vanities.”

“I see.” Trisha chewed her lip thoughtfully.

“We need all the help we can get around here,” Ms.Magesh added with a shake of her head. “Oh!” she continued, “these are Radhika’s friends, er—”

“Ridhima Joshi.”

“Krithika Doshi.” The two girls gave identical nods.

“Krithika and Ridhima,” Ms.Magesh finished. Then she turned to Radhika. “Trisha’s new to River Heights, Radhika. What’s it been, Trisha, six months?” Trisha nodded. “So you’ll forgive her if she’s never heard of you.”

Radhika laughed, holding out her hand to Trisha. “I’m looking forward to working with you. Maybe together we’ll get to the bottom of all this.”

“Yes. That would be nice.” Trisha shook Radhika’s hand but seemed distracted. “Are the police coming?” Trisha asked her employer.

“Oh, I almost forgot,” Ms. Magesh moaned, “they’ll be here any minute. We’d better close early tonight, Trisha. We can’t have customers here with the police.”

Kajal Magesh seemed distinctly frustrated. “I’d better get on the phone to report this to my insurance company, too. I may have a hard time trying to convince them not to cancel our policy,” she said. “Can you girls handle the police if they show up while I’m still on the phone?”

“Sure thing, Ms.Magesh .” Trisha nodded.

Radhika checked her watch. It was five o’clock, and she was supposed to meet Arjun at a quarter to six. Oh, well. She’d been late before. Thank goodness Arjun was so understanding.

• • •

“You’re so bubbly tonight, Rads,” Arjun said, gazing into her eyes as they stood on the sidewalk, pulling on their jackets. “There’s a special gleam in your eyes. Was it the movie, or is it just being with me?”

“Actually, it’s neither,” Radhika said, laughing. “I’m on a new case.”

Arjun’s eyes widened, and he drew in a deep breath. “Oh, so that’s it!” he said brightly. “Well, I suppose that’s better than your being in love with someone else.”

“One guy is enough for me,” Radhika said sweetly. She knew Arjun was joking to cover his concern for her safety. Lots of times, her cases were dangerous. She knew Arjun worried about her when he was away at collage, unable to help. And here he was, leaving next week just as a new case was beginning.

“It’s just some store thefts, Arjun. Nothing heavy. I’m going to try to wind it up this week. In fact, so we could have more time together, I could use some help—”

“Did I hear you say ‘help’? Sergeant Mehra at your service, ma’am!” He paused to salute. “When do I start?”

“I’ll let you know,” Radhika answered. “But it’s nice to know.”

“Which store is it?” Arjun asked as they headed for his car.

“A store in the mall called Vanities,” she answered. “They’ve been robbed several times in the past month and a half. The police seem reluctant to get involved.”

“Oh? Why’s that?”

“Well, it looks like an inside job. No sign of a break-in—somebody knows all about the store’s security. Maybe the police figure it’s a scam of some kind. At any rate, so far they’ve left it up to the insurance company.”

Arjun reached around Radhika’s waist as they continued down the street making her blush.

“Sounds pretty tame, actually,” Arjun said, trying to look hopeful. “How are you going to proceed?”

“Tomorrow morning I’ll go over all the store’s records and interview the employees. Nothing earth-shattering.” Radhika smiled up at him. “I can handle that by myself, but if I need you—”

“I’m all yours.” Arjun hugged her close to him.

The street was dark now, and many of the shops were closed for the night. Arjun’s car was parked at the near corner. Arjun turned to Radhika and asked, “Want to go for pizza? Old movies make me hungry.”

“You bet,” Radhika smiled. “Stalk’s is open. Why don’t we walk? It’s only two blocks.”

Turning the corner, they strolled down to the popular teen hangout. The sound of a current top-ten hit filtered out of the restaurant and into the street. Even though it was past ten-thirty, the place was still hopping. In fact, every seat was taken.

“What do you say we just get a couple of slices to go and eat them on my porch?” Radhika suggested softly.

“Fine with me,” he replied, kissing the side of her head. “Sounds kind of romantic, actually. Pizza on the Porch for Two.” With a wink at Radhika, he turned and placed their order.

• • •

Radhika and Arjun set up their late-night picnic on a wicker table on Radhika’s front porch.

“Pizza, a full moon, and you,” Arjun said, and sighed. “I love it. Come here and sit down,” he said, patting the spot next to him on the love seat.

“Last time we spent an evening on the porch, we were up talking till two in the morning,” she recalled.

“Not just talking,” Arjun reminded her, kissing her tenderly on her lips.

“Mmmm,” Radhika breathed. “You are all so romantic. And you also know how to make a girl hungry. Where’s the pizza? I’m starving.”

“Hey, I was just getting started over here!” Arjun said, holding out her slice and a napkin. “Do you mean to say pizza is more important to you than me?”

“A girl’s got to eat,” Radhika said with a shrug and a laugh. “Besides, there’s nothing like food to make a person feel romantic.”

“Is that so?” said Arjun, arching his eyebrows. “Well, then.” Brushing his hands together, he reached for his slice. “Let me at it.” Arjun folded his pizza wedge, winked at Radhika, and took a big bite.

As they ate Radhika watched a beat-up old car stop in front of the house next door. Radhika recognized Samira Khanna and her boyfriend as they got out of the car. “Remember those two from the park?” Radhika whispered to Arjun, throwing him a knowing look.

Arjun nodded. He and Radhika munched quietly, watching the young couple as they strolled up to the Khannas’ house and said their good-nights. The boy had his arm around Samira, and he leaned his head very close to hers.

“Love springs eternal,” Arjun said in a soft whisper.

Radhika was about to answer when, suddenly, Samira wrenched free from her boyfriend’s grasp and ran up on the porch.

“I told you, no!” Samira said forcefully.

“Sammy! Wait!” the boy shouted, following her. He caught up to her and grabbed her wrist. Radhika and Arjun couldn’t help hearing what they were saying.

“Please!” the boy said. “Please take it!”

“I told you I can’t!” Radhika could tell that Samira was really upset.

“But you’ve got to take it!” the boy insisted. “Please.”

Radhika and Ajun were embarrassed to be in on such a private moment. But there was really nowhere they could go without making the couple aware of their presence, and they didn’t want to interrupt.

“Let me go! Please!” Samira cried suddenly, pulling her hand out of the boy’s grasp. Arjun had moved as if he were going to Samira’s rescue, but Radhika put a hand on his knee to restrain him. Radhika didn’t feel right about nosing in on her neighbor’s business—unless Samira needed help.

The boy had let his arms drop to his sides. “Don’t you care if I live or die?” he demanded. “I’m telling you, Sammy, I can’t make it without you! Please.”

“Oh, stop it! Stop it!” Samira pleaded, “Neil, please! Leave me alone! I can’t stand it anymore! I wish you the best, I really do. But I just don’t want all this trouble.” Samira ran for the door.

This time Neil didn’t try to stop her. Instead, he shook his head and stared at the ground. “You don’t understand, Sam.”

“I guess I don’t, Neil. I’m sorry, I r-really am,” Samira stammered, turning to face him. “But I just can’t handle all your problems.”

Neil’s eyes opened wide. In the light of the Khannas’ porch, he looked more afraid than angry, but when he spoke, the anger was definitely there. “Why don’t you just admit it? You don’t care! You wouldn’t even care if I died!”

Radhika knew Samira’s face must be reddening. “Stop trying to make me feel guilty, Neil Maholtra! Leave me alone!” she said firmly and coldly. “If you don’t I just might kill you myself!”
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Hope you like it. The next chapter is on its way.

Niku

7 comments

  1. Sreee

    |Registered Member

    so a lovely update niku….rad’s ans to arjun, gosh he would have been like fused😝😝😝….love u sweety..muahhh😘

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