The arrest finally came the following week. But it wasn’t what Vic had expected. And the worst part of it all was it had nothing to do with his team, his department, or their local area authorities either. In fact, they were very much on the out on this one. Vic was actually standing outside watching the scene with Seth and Brianna while his boss was talking to the authorities from somewhere. He had tuned them out but only watched as several teams ascended the mansion steps and separated to search the place. The main group in charge of the arrest had already gone ahead. It was just a matter of time before they would see Old Tseng walking out. Yet Vic wasn’t interested in all of that. Seth’s sour expression had reflected the bitterness trapped inside Vic. A bitterness that refused to just explode and demand an explanation right there and then. Or was he too numb to even utter a word or two?
On the inside, Mr. Tseng was yelling injustice with two officers reading him the usual list of charges and then the rights. Jacky was trying to keep Joanne calm while she fought with the officers.
“You guys got the wrong person!” Joanne yelled out, pushing Jacky’s hands off her and advancing toward the stairs.
“If he has anything to say, he could wait until we’re at the station,” The officer in charge said calmly.
“We haven’t used that old mansion for years,” Joanne continued, not caring if anyone was listening.
“Look at how dusty it is. Someone could have just snuck in and store stuff there without us knowing.”
That officer had moved onto another part of the mansion already, issuing orders to his teams.
“What kind of cop is he?”
“If they can’t find anything else, they’ll release your father,” Jacky said. “Stay calm.”
Joanne turned toward Jacky then. “Calm? My father’s getting arrested here.”
Jacky took a quick glimpse of the mansion before returning his eyes to her. “There’s nothing here except records from our usual business transactions, right? They won’t find anything.”
“There isn’t anything incriminating to find here!”
Jacky sent her an apologetic look. She was too out of control to argue with at that point. They were actually downstairs while Mr. Tseng was forced to accompany one of the teams to search his study.
“My crystal!” Joanne yelled out suddenly and ran upstairs.
Jacky ran after her, dodging some officers trying to grab them both. Joanne was too fast for them.
“What are you doing?” One of the officers yelled after them, trying to catch up.
Jacky and Joanne didn’t care to answer them. They reached Joanne’s room and saw some officers were already searching.
“Don’t you dare destroy my crystal!” Joanne warned, rushing toward her drawers.
“You can’t be in here right now,” One of the officers said.
“Do I look like I care?” Joanne retorted, still searching her drawers.
Jacky finally jumped in at that point and grabbed a hold of the officer’s hand, trying to rescue Joanne.
“Everything in this house is evidence, as you know,” The officer said, giving Jacky a stern stare. “And you’re interfering with police business.”
“That crystal is not evidence,” Jacky argued, increasing pressure on the officer’s hand, not caring if he could be facing charges later. “Her mother left it to her. If you ruin it, you couldn’t pay with your life.”
It was then that the officer let go of Joanne. And even Joanne was staring at Jacky, wondering why he had lost his cool when he was the one who told her to restore hers. However, the officer didn’t seem so powerful anymore after that stare down. He actually backed off and Jacky finally let go. And as if nothing had happened, Jacky turned toward the drawers to search for Joanne’s crystal. It was also then that Joanne witnessed the officer taking his search to another part of the room. She couldn’t believe it. Not even when she witnessed it with her own eyes. Yet she didn’t linger. She turned to help Jacky as well. They soon found her crystal still in a pouch—unharmed. Jacky handed it to her and made sure she stored it safely before making their way out of her room.
“I know I shouldn’t have trusted you, you traitor!” Mr. Tseng’s voice bellowed toward their direction at that time.
Yes, the officers had escorted Mr. Tseng back to the main hallway and were getting ready to descend the stairs.
“Stop fidgeting already,” One of the escorting officers warned Mr. Tseng.
“Ba!” Joanne yelled out, walking up to them.
“Miss, please maintain your distance,” That same escorting officer told Joanne.
“Don’t you trust him!” Mr. Tseng yelled toward his daughter at that time.
Joanne had stopped in her tracks already and gave her father a confused look. “What are you talking about?”
“Jacky is the traitor!” Mr. Tseng clarified, his voice and expression full of fury.
The shock wasn’t just on Joanne’s face at that point. She scanned her father’s face to make sure he wasn’t kidding before turning toward Jacky.
“It’s not what you think,” Jacky spoke up at that time.
Joanne returned her questioning look to her father again. “Who told you it was him?”
“I had him followed, of course I know it’s him,” Mr. Tseng answered, his voice still in that frustrated tone.
“Come on now, Old Tseng,” The other escorting officer urged, giving Mr. Tseng’s shoulder a shove. “Stop stalling for time.”
“Don’t you trust him!” Mr. Tseng yelled out again before he was hauled away from them.
It didn’t take long for Joanne to follow though she had been delayed with thinking about what her father said. Jacky ran after her as they descended the steps.
“It must be a misunderstanding,” Jacky rushed to explain.
“I have to go find Nelson,” Joanne rattled off as she hurried into the garden entrance, not caring if she had crowded some officers searching there.
“Miss, you can’t be here,” One of the officers reminded her—like many times before.
“You guys arrested anyone else here?” Joanne questioned, slowing her pace already.
“No,” The officer answered anyway, looking past toward Jacky instead of staring directly at Joanne.
Joanne turned on her heels and headed back inside—with Jacky chasing after her once more. Her cell phone in her hand, she searched for Nelson’s number in her directory while following the same group escorting her father outside.
“He’s not picking up!” Joanne yelled out in frustration.
“Don’t you trust him!” Mr. Tseng managed again as the others escorted Mr. Tseng to the car.
“I’ll come to the station later to pick you up,” Joanne reassured her father as she continued to search for other names to call in her directory.
“You sure you don’t want to follow him now?” Jacky asked, looking after the car that had pulled out already.
“I have to find the others.”
“Why is he here?”
It was then that Joanne noticed Vic, Seth, and Brianna standing at a spot across the street staring at them. She was too busy scorching her phone list that she hadn’t paid attention since they stepped out. Now, she lowered her cell phone and walked briskly toward Vic and his group across the street.
“You can’t…” The officer nearby rattled out and got cut off because Jacky and Joanne had already walked past their little guard line and were making their way toward Vic.
“Is this your doing?” Joanne demanded, getting right to the point.
“If my team’s involved, do you think I would stand out here?” Vic retorted, finally letting out some steam—and not caring if she was Cyndi’s friend.
“You know Old Tseng’s daughter?” Vic’s boss jumped in at that time.
“Of course he knows me,” Joanne answered for Vic, turning her threatening glare toward the man. “You’ve been pining all of your officers on me, so of course he’s quite familiar with my existence.”
“Qiao Qiao, it’s not good to argue with the authorities, especially in your current position,” Seth interfered at that time, surprising others of his calm state.
“Do I look like I care if I get into even more trouble at this point?” Joanne asked—though her voice had tone down on purpose. But it wasn’t because of Seth’s authoritative rank either. It was more like they had gotten along somehow these past days—mostly because of Cyndi’s doing. “My father just got arrested here. And I can’t even find anyone to tell me what in the world’s going on with these charges about weapons or…”
“That’s because Nelson and the others have already been arrested at your old mansion,” Vic explained. “The dealing happened there, that was how the other group moved in to arrest them already and linking to your father as well because he was on the line issuing the orders to Nelson.”
Joanne turned to Vic again. “What?”
Vic nodded, sighing out. “I can’t believe that it’s not our break.”
“We lost to the other district,” Brianna filled in as Joanne turned to her.
“You three shouldn’t be providing her with all this information,” Their boss warned them at that time.
“Does it matter anymore?” Seth returned, his frustration surging up once more.
“Oh, thanks a lot,” Joanne snapped. “My father just got arrested and you’re standing around fighting over jurisdiction?”
“The reason why you two aren’t arrested is because you’re not linked to it in any way as far as things are,” Vic answered. “That means your bar is safe.”
“That’s supposed to make me happy?” Joanne scoffed. She knew it wasn’t Vic’s fault. Yet she was on her last nerves.
“It’s probably just some misunderstanding,” Jacky said, still sticking with his original answer.
Joanne turned on him then. “Misunderstanding? They’ve been scorching the mansion since an hour ago. The only thing they haven’t done yet is burning down the place as they go.”
“Because it’s illegal,” Seth added helpfully.
“Exactly,” Joanne agreed, snapping her fingers for emphasis.
“Seth,” His boss spoke up again to warn him.
Seth sighed out heavily—and made it noticeable. He dropped his hands to his sides again with much frustration and stared at the mansion ahead once more.
“They need our station for inquiries for the time being so we should get back and prepare,” Their boss continued.
“I’ll drop you guys off somewhere if you want,” Vic spoke up, looking at Joanne—and ignoring his boss’ order on purpose.
Joanne shook her head. “Jacky’s car didn’t get hauled yet.”
Vic nodded. “Then I have to go.”
Joanne nodded as well before she and Jacky made their way back to the mansion. They did not have to stay since the mansion—new or old—had been sealed off for further investigation. Only Jacky’s car was spared of after a brief inspection.
“Should we call the lawyers now?” Joanne asked as she buckled up.
“Go down to the station first and see what’s going on,” Jacky answered. “I don’t trust their words with not using other means to move this investigation forward. Then we can contact the lawyers.”
Joanne nodded in agreement. And for some unknown reason, she stayed silent the whole time while Jacky was driving.
As for Vic and the others, they also got into their cars and headed back to the station, preparing for the next scene to take place. But of course Vic, Seth, and Brianna had gone in one car while their boss in another.
“Is this what you call preparing the meal for the others to eat?” Seth asked bitterly.
“Come on now, we’re all working on the same side, right?” Brianna returned, her composure still attached.
Like usual, Vic was driving. He had calmed down a bit already.
“The way I see it, I rather be on Old Tseng’s side at the moment,” Seth continued with his rant.
“What I don’t get is…” Vic began. “How could our boss turn over the evidence to the other district just like that?”
“Something about them investigating it since forever,” Seth answered, knowing Vic must have tuned out on them during the actual explanation.
Vic risked a look toward Seth then. “Wait…”
“If we, the cops, get to the weapons already, then does that mean Jacky and Sara lost? What are they going to do now?”
“Better check on Qiao Qiao later,” Seth said. “We don’t know what that Jacky guy’s up to.”
“Better keep an eye on Sara too,” Brianna added.
It was also then that they turned into their station’s parking lot. Vic dropped Seth and Brianna off first before heading to his parking spot toward the back. When he made his way along the maze of hallways, he could see commotions everywhere with his fellow colleagues trying to help the other district’s teams with whatever it was necessary. He continued on his way to find Seth and Brianna after some brief glances here and there. But several steps later, he stopped dead because he just saw a silhouette slipped by around the corner. Pushing past some people–and enduring their yells behind him, he chased after that silhouette and found a dead end. Not exactly a dead end because it led to the higher-ranked officers’ offices. Yet he couldn’t believe what he was seeing either. He quickly dismissed it as a figment of his imagination because he had been seeing a certain someone too much of recent. Returning to his initial path, he found Seth and Brianna near the interrogation rooms. They were clearing out a certain room and Vic spotted Mr. Tseng already inside. Jacky and Joanne arrived around the same time that he reached the spot Seth and Brianna were standing at.
“What took you so long?” Seth asked upon seeing Vic.
Vic didn’t respond. He scanned the perimeter first.
“What’s wrong?” Brianna poked, taking on the role of the interrogator.
Vic looked toward Jacky and Joanne’s direction once before signaling for Seth and Brianna to follow him. The other two exchanged a look before actually making a move to go.
“What’s the big deal?” Seth asked when they returned to Vic’s office already.
“I just saw Sara,” Vic replied at last, settling down in his chair.
“You what?” Seth exclaimed, standing up abruptly—since he had sat down at a chair nearby.
Vic wiped the sweat from his face before looking at Seth again. “I’m not sure. But it’s impossible, right?”
“She got arrested?” Seth guessed.
Vic shook his head. “She seemed to be roaming around quite freely.”
“Then it must not be her.”
“She couldn’t be here looking for you or Cyndi, could she?” Brianna pried.
Vic shook his head. “She knows where we live. And besides, she hasn’t been over since she found out Cyndi’s hanging out with Qiao Qiao.”
“It’s probably not her,” Seth repeated his answer.
Brianna turned toward Seth at that time. “Vic’s eyesight couldn’t be that bad, could it?”
“I’m not saying it’s his eyesight,” Seth clarified. “I’m saying he’s been too into the whole getting revenge on Sara that he might have conjured her up. And we all know how our supposed break turned out to be. Come on now, even I’m talking back to the man.”
Seth, of course, meant his subtle or not so subtle hostility toward their boss previously.
“I don’t know,” Vic said, shaking his head again. He closed his eyes and tried to imagine that scene again. How could he be wrong? Yet could Seth be right?
© Sunday, April 22nd, 2012
Posted: Wednesday, May 9th, 2012