【佐三】【原文】means, motive, opportunity

Chapter 2: sophistication

Sakuma was nocturnal because of his chosen career.

The working hours of a detective in homicide were not for the faint-hearted. There were days when he got home at two in the morning only to set his alarm at six am sharp. And that was the best case scenario. The worst case scenario was passing out on top of case files at his desk and wearing the same suit for three days straight.

But Miyoshi was different. He was nocturnal entirely by choice and he seemed to thrive on it.

So theirs was a friendship built on midnight meetups at bars filled with smoke and eating stale popcorn at empty cinemas during the last screening.

Which was why Sakuma found it a little disconcerting to stand by Miyoshi’s side in front of a fashionable restaurant during the lunch rush.

Sunlight seemed to agree with Miyoshi. His hair shone reddish brown under it and his skin seemed to glow. (Clearly, the small fortune he was spending on skin care was yielding great returns.) Sakuma, on the other hand, knew that it only made his pallor more pronounced.

He shifted from one foot to another.

Miyoshi, on the other hand, seemed content to watch the passing traffic in utter stillness. He was the picture of understated elegance in his dark fitted pants and crisp white shirt. The tortoise shell glasses perched on his nose were nothing but an affectation but it suited him nonetheless.

The effect was rather ruined when he pulled out a lollipop from his pocket.

“Are you serious?”

Miyoshi carefully unwrapped the candy. “I told you I’m quitting smoking, didn’t I? It’s bad for the skin.” He popped the candy into his mouth before eyeing Sakuma speculatively.

He glared back defiantly as Miyoshi raked his gazed over him.

Miyoshi slowly pulled the lollipop from his mouth. “You should also consider quitting Sakuma-san. Your skin’s looking a bit rough. And please do something about the bags under your eyes.”

He took a step closer towards Sakuma, and in one smooth movement raised his hand to his face and swiped a thumb lightly under one of the aforementioned shadows under his eyes.

“Your concern is noted,” Sakuma said with a huff.

“Still making no headway in the case? You seem to be sleeping badly these days. Well, much worse than you usually do anyway.”

“It just doesn’t make sense. The ex-wife has a solid alibi but I don’t know…” Sakuma worried his bottom lip. He knew Miyoshi was going to tease him about this but he couldn’t think of a better way to explain it.  “Some guys at the department think she didn’t do it but I feel like something doesn’t add up.”

“You feel? But you don’t have any evidence against her, right?” Miyoshi asked archly.

Sakuma sighed. “Yes, that’s right.”

“You can’t accuse someone base on intuition alone. Try to be a little more logical here, Sakuma-san. Surely you’ve developed some theories about this case. This time tell me what you think.”

“Sure. But can we do it somewhere else?”

Miyoshi gasped, lips forming an O. “Sakuma-san, are you trying to proposition me in broad daylight?” 

“Now that’s a leap of logic.” Sakuma said dryly as he grabbed Miyoshi by his upper arm and lead him towards the entrance of the restaurant. “I just want to be sitting down when you prove all my ideas wrong.”

“Or we could save some time and I could just tell you right now: you’re wrong.”

Sakuma frowned heavily as Miyoshi asked the waitress for a table for two.

“You never know, I could be right,” he grumbled.

“You just admitted yourself that you’re wrong.”

They were still arguing when the waitress led them to a booth.

“But it’s different when I’m hearing it from someone else. Especially when it’s coming from you.”

A menu was placed in front of them but they paid it no heed. Miyoshi rested his elbows on the edge of the table and steepled his fingers.  “Fine then. If I don’t find any holes in your theory, I’ll pay for lunch. But if you’re wrong then you’re paying.”

Sakuma raised his chin.

“You’re on.”

Miyoshi smirked. “I’m ordering the most expensive thing on the menu then.”