Month: December 2015

The girl in the shower (6)

It was late in the evening the day after Margaret Moore’s daughter was found dead in Jared Leto’s private and personal bathroom and he was sitting in a hotel room watching a 24 hour news station on mute.

A rerun of a press conference just ended and Jared didn’t feel any better watching it the third time than he did the first two.  While in front of a dais pinned with microphones bearing the logo of 20 different news outlets, Margaret Moore pleaded with the public to come forward with information. Her daughter, Camille Moore, was only seventeen years old, she’d said. A senior in high school with a very bright future. Accepted to Brown for the fall.  Beloved sister, best friend and daughter.  Gifted flutist. And now all that is lost, dead a week before her 18th birthday.  How would they survive this?  Then a plead for people to come forward with information.  She looked directly in to the camera and said Somebody knows someone who saw something and thinks it isn’t that important but it is…I’m begging you to come forward…say something to someone …and then she lost it and the detective, the same one Jared was talking with the day before, stepped up to the dais and gave out a tip line number and a reassurance that they believe the death to be an isolated event and that the people of Laurel Canyon are safe.

There is no coming back from this.  Although they were very careful not to blast him in the press conference, he was very much the elephant in the room.  TMZ had no problem broadcasting every rumor and posting countless pictures people took from their phones that night.  None of which contained Camille Moore but all of which suggested Jared’s party was a shit show.

Jared’s phone buzzed and he checked the caller id.  It was a number he didn’t recognize so he let it go to voicemail just like the other 100 calls that came in today from numbers he didn’t recognize.  He was surprised at first that his private line had been compromised but then he laughed at himself.  That’s the least of his problems.

The detectives leaned hard on Jared last night.  Interviewing him for about 4 1/2 hours but there wasn’t much meat for the detectives to bite in to within this scenario.  No connection to Jared and the victim what-so-ever.  No clear idea exactly how she died just the undeniable fact that she died prematurely.  When it was obvious Jared had nothing more to say that would help move the investigation along, they finished up but told Jared to stay local. He left his contact information and the name of the hotel he would be staying at until they let him go back home.  He hoped for good news following the autopsy.  Well, better news than what they were all thinking at least.  But that wasn’t to be the case, sadly.

The coroner worked all night and when Jared woke this morning, he was informed via that very press conference that’s on repeat loop, that Camille Moore’s death had been declared a homicide over night.  All hope that it was just some tragic accident or natural cause evaporated. Someone had done something terrible to a young girl in his home as he slept a few doors away.  It gave him chills and made him weep.  It also made him question the company that he keeps.

It had been a long day but Jared’s need to fix what he could was keeping him going.  He wanted to run away from it all but he knew if he had any hope of salvaging his reputation, he’d have to basically solve the fucking murder himself.  And he wasn’t wasting any time writing out what he knew.

Jared pulled a yellow pad that he had been scribbling on closer to him and flipped through the list of names Greta had given him and the plus ones.  Some of the names on the list were household names.  Celebrities with long histories in the limelight.  Others were the people behind the curtain.  Normal everyday Joe’s with really cool jobs.  Jared crossed off the people he could account for.  The ones he was mingling with during the party, his alibis.  It was an uncomfortable task that had him side eye’ing too many people.

After two hours at the list, he had narrowed it down to about 8 names. Mostly people he simply didn’t know.  But one name remained that was painfully familiar.  Shannon Leto. Shannon was not only on the list but Jared could find no one that would be his de facto alibi. Jared saw Shannon arrive and he guesstimated that to be around 11 o’clock but he didn’t see him again the entire night.  No idea who he was hanging out with, whether he’d stayed all night or bolted shortly thereafter.  Jared couldn’t account for his brother. At all.

Jared tossed the yellow note pad across the room.

The girl in the shower (5)

“You don’t recognize her, do you?”

“No.  Should I?”

“Pending an official identification, it looks like she’s Margaret Moore’s kid.”

“Margaret Moore!” Jared practically screamed.  “Margaret Moore?”

“Yes.”

Margaret Moore is a public icon and an American treasure to say the very least. She has been a fixture in Hollywood since the early 60s when she won her first Oscar in a breakthrough performance as the young Adiya in an epic war pic called The Soldier’s Choice. She has starred in over 27 indisputably classic films and won an award for just about every role. But that’s just her day job.  Better known now, as a philanthropist with a reputation for not just giving but doing.  She has built schools, homes for the disabled, funded research, put children that weren’t her own through college, fostered entire families through-out her entire life.  You name it, she has done it, right here at home in the states.  She’s every presidential candidates favorite friend.  A photographers dream. A role model.  A mentor.  A godamn saint.

Her first born son is a senator, her other two lawyers. The child in the shower was her twilight baby.  She’s famous.  Her children are successful. Jared Leto is fucking toast.

“Do you know her?” the homicide detective asked again.

“No.  I mean I know who she is but I don’t know her at all.  I …we…we don’t run in the same circle. She’s so young.” Jared said.

“Any idea why she’s in your house then?”

“She must have came here with someone…to my party…last night.”

“You had a party last night?” he scribbled in his note pad.

Jared looked around at the party decorations still hanging from trees and wrapped around poles and towards the enormous and set-quality haunted house directly behind the detective and said “Yes.  I hosted a Halloween party here last night.  It ended around 3am with a visit by the LAPD for a noise violation and egress issues.”

“And the girl…you think she came with somebody?”

“I guess so?”

“I’m going to need your guest list.”

“I’m going to need to talk to my lawyer about that.” Jared said.

The detective gave Jared a nasty look.  “Go ahead and call him.  We’re gonna clear this place out … have him meet you downtown….Alright?”

“Alright.”

The Girl in the shower (4)

Jared could feel the hairs on his arms rise up to mingle with chaos as he entered the kitchen at his compound.  Everyone quickly quieted their mouths and waited expectantly for Jared to explain everything. But Jared said nothing, he just stared at everyone as they stared back at him and then came the buzz of an alarm for the front gates and everyone was released from the most awkward moment in their collective history.

Jared’s unspoken words took root in the walls of the kitchen and became permanent fixtures.  What he hadn’t said, said way more than anyone standing in his kitchen that morning could handle.  No one wanted think the worst but they couldn’t help but speculate and pass rumors around and give one another a few sideways glances. The unspoken said a whole hell of a lot and everyone took it to heart.

Artur pressed the remote for the entry and Jared walked outside with him to wait for the police in the parking area in front of his home.

“This is already a clusterfuck.” Artur said.

Jared nodded and they watched in silence as a fleet of police vehicles entered through the gates and parked staggered around the pavement in front of the compound.

Two uniformed officers approached Jared and Artur.

“Which one of you is the home owner?”

The officers were quickly followed by two other men wearing business suits. Jared took inventory of them while they did the same to him.

“I’m the owner.” Jared offered his hand out to whoever was in charge.  A suit stepped up and introduced himself as he shook Jared’s hand.

“I’m Detective Hurley.” The man in the gray suit said.

Jared nodded.  “This is Artur Manda…my security guy.  He’s the person who found her.”

“Ok.” The detective flipped a little notebook open and scribbled something.

“I think she’s been dead a few hours.” Artur said. “She’s around back…I’ll show you.” He motioned to everyone to follow him.  He would guide them through the compound back to Jared’s private wing.

“Wait!” One of the uniformed police men shouted.  “No one inside.”

Jared and Artur stopped walking.

“It’s a crime scene.” he said.

“We’ve been inside already.” Artur reminded the officer.

“Should I clear everyone out of the house?” Jared asked.

“Who’s inside?”

“Some of my guests left over from the party and my staff.  Eight people total.”

“Do you have a room out front where everyone can sit tight for a few minutes?”

Jared walked through his front door and called for his assistant Greta.  The police followed behind him then scattered in different directions inside the house.

“You need to get everyone together and come sit out front for a little bit.” Jared said to Greta.

“Ok.” Greta turned back towards the kitchen and rounded up the rest of the people.  A few moments later an ambulance, a paramedic and what Jared only assumed was the coroner’s van pulled in through the gate.

“We need to shut that gate.” Artur suggested as he counted heads in the small crowd that was gathering at the end of the driveway. “We have a crowd forming over there.”

“Yes – go ahead.” one of the policemen said.

“It’s motion sensitive – if anyone needs to leave it will open automatically.”  Jared offered.

“Duly noted.” Detective Hurley said.

The EMTs and Paramedics wheeled a gurney past Jared and the rest of the people who were now gathered in an informal living room by the front of the building.  Everyone watched quietly as the gurney rolled out of sight.

Artur led the police and emergency personnel back to the bathroom.

“I found her when I was doing rounds …” Jared heard Artur explain.

Jared sat down on a couch in the front room and Greta sat beside him.

“What happened?” Greta asked Jared quietly.

“I have no idea.” he whispered.

“I asked everyone about the girl and they seem to be pretty sure she wasn’t a guest.”

“Then who the hell is she?”

“She might have been working for us.”

“In what capacity?”

“I’m not sure.  All of the scare actors came from Pacific Halloween so we can easily figure out if she belonged to them. Chris brought his own guys for waitstaff…I don’t think we hired anybody else…”

“She is wearing a costume.  I don’t think she’s staff.”

Greta shook her head in disbelief.

“Didn’t we have anyone checking people in and out?  How the hell did we end up in this position?” Jared asked.

“I’m not sure Jared.  From what Artur was saying, the guest list fell apart early. Once the VIP lot was full, the guys at the gate were dealing with parking drama and lost track of who was coming in and out.  There was no body else counting heads.”

Jared sat forward on the couch and dropped his head in to his hands.

“It wont happen again.” Greta promised.

Jared nodded.  He had gone cheap on security and he was regretting it, big time.  He thought the location of his compound had a built in level of security that no $15 an hour rent a cop could provide.  So he didn’t hire any.  At all.   Artur had a few of the guys from AIW there to help but no one else.  What a colossal mistake this entire party was turning out to be.

“I think I should go help Artur.” Jared said and he disappeared from the living room.

 

The girl in the shower (3)

Artur left the hallway to use a business phone elsewhere on the property. He didn’t want to use his personal phone to call the police and Jared hadn’t offered up his own.

Jared stayed behind staring from the doorway at the helpless girl in his shower.  He imagined her animated and full of life.  He agreed with Artur that she was young, very pretty too.  But she wasn’t familiar.  Not in the least bit.  She was soaking wet, from the shower, of course, but other than that, he couldn’t see anything visibly wrong with her.  The tub wasn’t bloody.  Didn’t look like she had been shot or stabbed.  Maybe it was an accident after all.  Maybe she slipped, fell, hit her head…but she wouldn’t be sitting up like that if that were the case.  Not sitting like a doll on a shelf.  Like someone had posed her in that position.

Maybe someone tried to help her and got scared?  Maybe someone helped her sit up and when they ran off to get help, she passed away?  Then whoever was trying to help panicked?  Jared kept grasping at the air for an innocent explanation.  Truth is, there’s really no good reason to find a dead girl in the shower.

Jared shook his head and examined, from the doorway, the rest of the scene.  His toiletries were still lined up on the sink.  His toothbrush and a bar of soap on the soap dish inside the shower.  The toilet seat was down.  The paper still on the roll.  The bathmat in front of the tub was perfectly straight.  No struggle, he thought.  How creepy.

What was taking Artur so long?

Jared felt like he was abandoning the girl in the shower as he walked away from the door but he had to get out of there.  He told himself he was honoring her by preserving the crime scene. And he was getting too curious just standing by the doorframe.  If he went in, who knows what he might mess up.

He slunk to his bedroom and got dressed in the clothes he wore last night.  There was nothing to hide, no reason to be embarrassed but once in the clothes, he immediately took them right off. He needed to preserve a timeline for his own good, he wasn’t wearing these clothes when Artur woke him up.  He had to stay in what he was already wearing.  The timeline will be very important.  He knew this instantly.

Jared began filling in blanks in his head.  He went to bed with the sunrise, what time exactly would that have been?  He googled sunrise on his iPhone and immediately wished he hadn’t.  What if the cops look at his phone? They’ll see that he googled sunrise and think he’s making the whole thing up.  He has no alibi – now he’s googling shit?  He looked around his bedroom.  What else would they see that would make him look guilty?  The skull on the bookshelf stared back at him ominously.

Why am I freaking out? Jared thought.  Calm the fuck down! he told himself.

There is nothing wrong with wearing last night’s clothes. Any innocent man would grab the first clothes they see when getting dressed at a time like this.  Right?  And Jared is, of course, innocent.  He didn’t hurt the girl.  He didn’t even know her.  He certainly hadn’t invited her. He knew that much.

Besides, there’s nothing wrong with him googling what time it would have been when he went to bed.  He knew it was getting light out but he didn’t know what time that was exactly. He’s just connecting dots with the help of good old google.  The police would understand that.  He could explain his actions and his clothes. And everything else.  Probably.  If the police asked him the right questions.

Jared climbed back into the pajama pants he was wearing when Artur woke him up. Not brave enough to explain himself to the police that were likely making their way to his home this very minute.  Anything out of the ordinary would just be a distraction from what really happened in the bathroom.

Jared paused…Why did he feel so fucking guilty?  It’s normal to try and piece the puzzle together.  That doesn’t mean he’s responsible for her death.  But he felt responsible.  It was his party and somehow, even if he didn’t recognize her, she was his guest. Or a guest of his guest.  Someone he knows, knows her.  And she’s dead now.  In his personal shower.

Jared draped the clothes we wore last night over his dresser in almost precisely the same position he placed them in right before bed.  His pants fell to the floor and Jared whisked them up. He was nervous and it was making him clumsy.  He didn’t like all the different conflicting emotions inside his head.   His natural instinct was to go to save the girl, but he had slept right through whatever took her from this world.  It’s too late to do anything now, so his instincts are in panic mode.  It also occurred to him that he’s not safe back here either.

Jared grabbed his keys from last night’s pants, unlocked his closet out in the hall, went inside and shut the door behind him.  He needed a barrier between himself, the girl in the shower and anyone else who might be hiding inside his house.  He grabbed fresh clothes from his closet and peeked out in to the hallway.  When he was sure all was clear, he locked the door behind him and quietly scooted off to find Artur.