Tag Archives: chapter thirteen part two

Plaster of Paris; chapter thirteen, part two

Lyle starts to say something, then stops.  I look at him inquiringly.  He reminds me that he talked to Ursula and Lois Wednesday morning.  That leaves them out of the running as Paris’s twin was attacked on Wednesday.  His news dismays me for a minute until I ask what time he saw them Wednesday morning.  When I find out it was eight or so in the morning and that Lyle had stayed there just over half an hour, that put them back in the running.  The assault happened around seven at night, so there would have been time for one of them to talk to Lyle in the morning, hop on a plane, do the dirty deed and be back in San Francisco before anyone was the wiser.  The boys might not even have known she was gone.  We are so engrossed in our discussion, I forget I was about to call Ursula’s sons.

Lyle wants to know to which she I am referring, and I shrug my shoulders.  It could have been either, though the timing is tight.  Even if they were in town, that doesn’t prove anything.  Either one of them could have hired someone to try to kill Robin.  In fact, that would probably be safer.  Lyle doesn’t agree.  He thinks paying someone else to kill Robin means there’s one more person who knows the secret and has the potential to blackmail the contractor.  Besides, he can’t see Ursula hiring a hit man, especially as she’s so high-profile.  Blackmailing her would be a cinch if she were stupid enough to hire a hit man.  Lyle does agree that either Ursula or Lois could have flown to Minneapolis and attacked Robin, but just barely.  Besides, if the assailant was a female, wouldn’t that have been mentioned?

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Rainbow Connection; chapter thirteen, part two

“The last day is especially interesting, don’t you think?”  Leticia asks, her eyes watering.

“Yes.”  I hesitate, then ask the question.  “Do you think they’re related?”

“Yes,” Leticia says firmly.  “That means the killer is in your group.”  Her eyes widen as she looks at me.  From the speculative gleam in her eyes, I can tell what she’s thinking.

“I didn’t kill your sister, Leticia,” I say wearily.  It’s never pleasant to be thought of as a murder suspect, but I’m used to it.

“I didn’t think you did,” Leticia says immediately, the flash of fear gone.  I pick up the accounts notebook and thumb through it again.  A.T., C.R., C.T., L.P., M.S.  I stop reading in disgust.  It’s no use.  If she had added some identifying markers to each name, such as what she’s blackmailing them for, then perhaps I could use the information.  Something niggles at me.  I open the diary and read the last entry again.

“Leticia, look at this!”  I show the entry to Leticia.

“I’ve read it already,” she says impatiently, not glancing at the page.  I don’t have time for attitude, so I read it out loud.

“This one, is very special.  I play right, I no have to work rest of my life.  Ten thousand dollars for first increased payment.  Is fair for a life.”  I pause dramatically, but Leticia’s eyes don’t flicker.  “Don’t you get it?  First increased payment.  That means she was already blackmailing the killer!”  I grab the accounts notebook and open it again.  “One of these fifteen initials is the killer!”  Ok, not the greatest grammar, but I got the point across.

“Madre de Dios!”  Leticia gasps, scanning the initials.  “Do you recognize any?”

“It’s hard,” I say slowly, my mind churning.  “I only know the first name of the women in the group.”

“I could probably find the last names at the clinic,” Leticia says eagerly.

“A.T., M.S., T.R,” I recite.  “Those are the possibilities.  I am relieved not to see a R.L., as irrational as that is.

“I’ll ask Carol tomorrow,” Leticia says briskly.

“Can you find out some other way?”  I ask slowly.  There is no C.S., so she’s not a suspect.  Still, I would feel better if Leticia didn’t talk about this with Carol.

“I’ll see what I can do,” Leticia says, energized to have something to do.

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Don’t Rayne On My Parade; chapter thirteen, part two

“Wake up,” I hear in my sleep.  It must be part of my dream as no one is home but me.  “Wake up, bitch.”  Not a very polite person; I wish her out of my dream.  “Now!”  Someone is shaking me.  I feel something cold and metallic pressed to my temple.  This is the most unpleasant dream I’ve had in ages.  I try to move my arms, but I can’t.  “Goddamn it!  Wake the fuck up!”  There is an explosion across my cheek, jolting me awake.  I open my eyes slowly, not wanting to give in to my dream.  There, a gaunt face is inches away from my own face, the black-rimmed eyes staring at me intently.  “’Bout damn time!”  She backhands me once for good measure.  I stare at her, not knowing what the hell is going on.  She looks vaguely familiar, but I’d have to be much more awake to place her.  She slaps me again.

“Stop that!”  I try to move away, but I can’t.  I’m puzzled until I realize that she’s sitting on top of me.  Even though she’s smaller than me, she has leverage.  She also has tied my hands together in front of me and has a gun pressed to my temple.  I tell myself it’s just a dream, but my perspiring body knows better.  My heart starts racing, and I can barely restrain my bladder from voiding itself.  “How did you get in here?”

“You sure sleep hard,” the vision says critically, pressing the gun more firmly against my temple.  My mouth goes dry.  I don’t know if she has the safety off, and I don’t want to find out.  “The front door was propped open, then I picked your lock.  You really need better security.”  I stare at her incredulously.  She’s giving me safety tips as she presses a gun to my head.  Unbelievable!  I keep my mouth shut, however, not wanting to aggravate her any more than I have to.  She’s already agitated, and I have a feeling it would take little to push her over the edge.  Now that I’m awake, I can place her face.

“You were at Moira’s party,” I blurt out before I can think it over and understand that it may not be the best idea to let this psycho know that I recognize her.  She was the one sobbing to her male friend about being dumped by Moira.  What was her name again?  I can’t remember, but it was an unusual name.

“Yes, I was.  The bitch.”  The woman’s face is taut as she moves the gun away from my temple, then places it against my left breast.  “She seduced me, did you know that?  I was just a kid, but she didn’t care.”  The woman is talking more to herself than to me, but I know better than to interrupt.

“It must have been horrible,” I say cautiously.  I want to keep her talking, but I’m not sure what to say.  I don’t want to say the wrong thing and hasten my demise.

“It was wonderful!”  Her eyes light up at the memory.  “I went to sit for her, and she made me feel so special.”  It’s clear that she’s rehashed the seduction over and over again in her mind.  “Until she got tired of me.  After she got me hooked on crack, of course.”  She laughs, and I flinch.  It’s a harsh, ugly sound devoid of hope or humanity.

“You must be Emil’s daughter, Annie!”  I gasp, my mouth once again ahead of my brain.  “That’s not your name, though.”  I frown.  I’m sure she’s Emil’s daughter, but what had her male friend called her?

“You are too damn smart for your own good.”  Annie lightly taps me on the breastbone with the gun, making me shudder.  “It’s Anya, by the way.  Annie is a baby’s name.”  Anya.  That’s it.  I can’t believe I didn’t make the connection earlier.

“Did your father know you were at the party?”

“Of course he did,” Anya says scornfully.  “Daddy tracked me down at the party right after I—and he demanded to know what I was doing there.  I didn’t tell him anything.”  So Emil had lied to me.  I can understand his need to protect his daughter, but it would have been nice to have had this information earlier.

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Parental Deception; chapter thirteen, part two

“Mrrrreow!” Onyx launches herself at me, and I drop my purse so I can catch her.

“Onyx, stop doing that!” I scold her. “One day, I won’t be able to catch you, and then what will you do?” Onyx purrs up at me, her face full of trust and love. I nuzzle her face with mine, inhaling her catlike goodness. I feel something bumping against my shin, and it’s Jet, of course. I reach down to scratch him behind the ears while setting Onyx down on the ground. I go into the kitchen to put away the chocolate roll and to give my cats some treats. I grab a Diet Coke while I’m at it before going into the living room. I check my blog because I feel as if I’ve given it short shrift over the past few days, understandably so. It’s time for a new post, so I start one.

The Hippocratic Oath states that first you must do no harm. I think that’s a good motto for life in general. Too many times, we do something we think is for the good of others, and, yet, the result is catastrophic. I think it would be better if before acting, we asked ourselves, “Is this going to harm anyone?” If the answer is yes, then we should proceed with caution, if at all. The problem is, most of us aren’t savvy enough to recognize our shadow sides and we’re convinced that what we’re doing is out of altruism.

Take the man who impersonated my father, for example. He convinced himself that he was carrying out this deceit for the benefit of me and my sisters. He thought he could give us some comfort by bringing our father back into our lives. Putting aside the fact that he wasn’t actually our father, even if he were, would we have been better off with him in our lives? I can’t speak for my sisters, of course, but for me, the answer is a resounding no. I have friends and other family members whom I love and who enrich my lives. I have a job that allows me to pay the rent. I have my cats who are a constant source of joy, love, and amusement, and I have my writing, which is my outlet for my frustrations as well as my creativity. I have taiji which is beneficial to my mental and physical health as well. I have a lover who is just the frosting on my own personal cupcake. To put it bluntly, I don’t need a father figure in my life right now—especially not one who comes with so much baggage.

If that man actually cared about my sisters and me, he would have done some serious soul searching before perpetuating this fraud. He didn’t, though—and how could he? He didn’t know us—so it’s clear he did this for purely selfish reasons. I don’t care how he rationalized it to himself—he never should have done it. I think most of you will agree with me. I didn’t want to know him while he was alive, and now that he’s dead, I resent having to spend so much time learning about him. What I’ve learned so far has made me fervently glad that he’s not my father.

I finish the post in record time and publish it. I think about how someone two weeks ago I didn’t even know existed has come to dominate my life, even in his death. To be fair, I could be done with him right now if I wanted, but one of my fatal flaws is my curiosity. I’m compelled to figure out why he did what he did, even if it’s not possible to completely understand it. I’m looking into his death at Jasmine’s behest, but I would be doing it, anyway, even if she hadn’t asked me to. I call Mrs. Tsai, and she answers on the fourth ring.

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Marital Duplicity; chapter thirteen, part two

After lunch, I do the dishes while Rembrandt goes up to take a shower. I don’t mind him still being in the house, much to my surprise. I would have thought I’d be itching to have him leave by this time, but I’m not. It’s only having him in my bed that I’m not keen on, but the rest of it? I’m not unpleased to have him around. Ginger, Onyx, and Jet are chirping at me as I go to the living room. I chirp back at them. I throw a catnip mouse to each of them, and I watch in amusement as they go nuts over their prey. Onyx starts zooming after ingesting her nip, whereas Jet lies on his back and waves his massive paws in the air. Ginger’s eyes are dilated as she chases after Onyx. I laugh as Ginger pounces on Onyx, and Onyx whaps Ginger across the nose. They scrap with their claws retracted, so I let them have at it. Jet is rotating his paws in the air, and I start giggling helplessly at how ridiculous he looks. He has a goofy grin on his face as he waves ‘em like he just don’t care. Five minutes later, Rembrandt comes down the stairs, shirtless. I eye his chest with appreciation as he towels his hair.

“Look at the crazy cats!” I say, pointing at Onyx and Ginger, who are still scrapping. Jet is still waving his paws in the air, and Rembrandt laughs with me as he sits next to me on the couch. We both check out phones as we cuddle, but there’s not much going on. I’m still ignoring politics, and I don’t really care about football because I’m a Vikings fan, albeit a casual one. No matter how good they are in the beginning, they find a way to fuck it up in the end. Onyx and Ginger race around us in circles while Jet gives up his ‘dancing’ and falls asleep. He always crashes hard after a nip high, and he sleeps for a very long time. Onyx and Ginger tire themselves out after a half hour, and they collapse in a heap next to Jet and promptly fall asleep.

“This is nice,” Rembrandt says, nuzzling my cheek and placing his hand on my thigh. He squeezes it affectionately, but there’s no lust in it. I rub his knee as I nuzzle him back.

“It is,” I say, a hint of surprise in my voice. I’m not much of a domesticated person, but there’s something to be said about having someone to cuddle with.

“We could do this more often if we moved in together,” Rembrandt says casually. I stiffen at the suggestion, but I don’t want to argue.

“I’m not ready for that,” I say with a gentle smile. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for it, but I don’t tell him that.

“OK. I just want to put it out there that I wouldn’t mind.” Rembrandt squeezes my knee, but doesn’t press the issue.

“Duly noted,” I say, kissing him on the cheek. I’m relieved that he’s not being a dick about it, and he has the right to state his needs. I have the right to say that I don’t want to live together, too. It’s not a huge problem right now, but I know it will be soon. He’ll start pressing for us to spend more time together, and he won’t be satisfied with stayovers every few days. I can maybe put up with having him spend the night two to three times a week, but not much more than that. I sigh a small sigh, but Rembrandt hears me.

“I’m not pushing—honestly,” Rembrandt says, kissing me on the forehead.

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Dogged Ma; chapter thirteen, part two

Chapter Thirteen; Part Two

“Ned, what am I going to do?”  I asked softly.  I didn’t mind being vulnerable with Ned because I knew he’d never take advantage of what I perceived as my weakness.  “I have to keep Morningstar away from me.  I can’t resist him forever.”  There.  It was out.  My dastardly attraction to the Prince of Darkness—what the fuck did that say about my soul?  I knew I’d always been drawn towards the dark side, but this was beyond the pale.  How the hell could I justify wanting to fuck the devil?  There was no rhyme nor reason to it, but I couldn’t stop the attraction.  That was the problem more than the open portal—I desired the devil.

“What about a crucifix?”  Ned asked.  I began to laugh, but he was serious.  “Maybe it only works for Catholics, though.”

“That’s for vampires,” I said in exasperation.  “Morningstar is not a vampire.”  I didn’t mention that he had vampiric qualities because I wanted to avoid that particular discussion.  “I doubt something as fragile as a cross would do much to ward him off.”

“What about this charm around your neck?”  Ned asked, fingering the thread.  “Isn’t that supposed to call up a protector?”

“Yes, but I never remember to use it,” I admitted, shameful of another flaw.  “When I see Morningstar, the lust is overpowering.  It’s almost as if some dark force is pulling us together.”

“There’s no way for you to block him out,” Ned mumbled.  “Shit, Margaret.  I don’t know what to tell you.  They don’t cover this sort of thing on Doctor Phil.”  Ned’s idea of a lame joke as he didn’t watch that asshole any more than did I.  Doctor Phil, my ass!  The only thing his doctorate was good for was fooling the audience into believing he actually knew something.

“Damn,” I said, closing my eyes.  “I need to take a bath.”  Even though I’d taken a shower earlier, I felt the need to cleanse once again.  “Do me a favor?”  I knew it was going to sound odd, but I didn’t care.  “Sit on the toilet while I bathe?  I’m afraid God or the Morningstar will show up otherwise.”  Ned being there didn’t guarantee they wouldn’t drop by, but at least I would have a witness to whatever they said or did.

“Hey, if you want me to see you naked, all you have to do is ask,” Ned said playfully, patting me on the thigh.  I swatted his hand away as I got up.

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Trip on This: Chapter Thirteen (Part Two)

Chapter Thirteen (Part Two)

“You got it?”  I ask the minute we reach the hotel and are safely in our room.

“I got it,” Vandalia grins, pulling a packet out of her bag.  “The manager was more than delighted to help me and completely understood how a touch of arthritis made signing my name so difficult.  He did so admire my ID, though.”  She and Mowgli laugh in triumph, but I’m too focused on the manila envelope sitting on the bed in front of me.  I pick it up and heft it in my hand.  It seems too slim to have caused so much trouble.

“This is all there was?”  I ask, toying with the clasp.  Now that I have it, I’m suddenly nervous.  What if it doesn’t have what we need?  What if it’s all been nothing?  All the scheming, the planning, the conniving.  I dismiss these unworthy nervous thoughts and pull the envelope to me.

“That’s it, buckeroo.”  Vandalia drawls.  “Sean, the manager, assures me that nobody has been in the box except for moi.”  The self-satisfied smirk on her face grows as she leans back on the bed.

“Open it, Del,” Mowgli says impatiently, itching to rip it from my hands and open it himself.  “Let’s see what we got here.”

I slowly open the packet, my fingers suddenly cold.  I pull back the flap and plunge my hand inside, pulling out first a sheaf of papers, then another key.  The three of us stare in bewilderment at the key for a minute, not sure that we are seeing what we see.  I turn the envelope upside down and shake it—empty.  The silence is unnerving as none of us can think of what to say.  I pick up the sheaf of papers and leaf through them, handing each page to Mowgli when I’m through.  He, in turn, hands it to Vandalia.  The three of us read, frowning as we do so.  There is a bunch of legalese which makes no sense, but what it boils down to is that O’Reilly, Peters and a ‘silent partner’ own a nascent company called BLots which in a year or so will be ‘challenging the stranglehold that Nike has on the sneaker world’.  The company is based in Juarez, Mexico, and a Senor Ramon Lopez-Garcia is the nominal president.

“This is it?”  Vandalia asks, setting down the last page of the document.  “This is the reason those girls were killed?”

“Not the whole reason, I don’t think,” I say, shooting a glance at Mowgli.

“I agree,” Mowgli nods his head.  “I mean, it’s sleazy, but it’s not exactly illegal.”  He leans back on the bed and closes his eyes to think.  The three of us are huddled on my bed, all frowning.

“I think it’s a blind,” I finally say.  “This stuff is crap, and I think Blanche understood that in her dim way.  That’s why she put the second key in the box; it opens the box that holds the real stuff.”

“Question is, where is the second box?”  Vandalia asks, her face serious for once.  No one ask the question they are all thinking—how many boxes are there?

“Another bank?”  Mowgli asks, his voice unsure.

“No,” I say, examining the key.  “This isn’t a bank key.”  I show it to them, displaying the number on it—A341.  “Some kind of locker or perhaps storage room,” I muse, turning the key over in my hand.  On the other side of the key is a tiny inscription that says, “R. Bros.” on it.

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