I go to the kitchen to make myself a rum and coke before returning to the living room. I slump in the couch, ready to think some more. I can’t get Harry out of my mind, despite any solid evidence pointing at him. However, any theory involving Harry doesn’t take into account the note, the rose, the S&M motif, nor the sex play. In other words, it sucks. I lean back on the couch and close my eyes. The characters are dancing behind my eyelids, taunting me to find the guilty one. Everything is a mess and a jumble. There are so many possibilities, it’s depressing. For such a beautiful, charming woman, Moira certainly squandered her birthright. With her talent and her personal life, she should have been the happiest woman on earth. Instead, she cut a swath through the female population of the Bay Area, leaving carnage and destruction wherever she went. There’s something infinitely sad about someone who’s greatest success in life is messing up other people’s lives. She would be proud of her accomplishments, of course, but it would be a hollow victory. None of her affairs satisfied her. None of her shenanigans masked the fact that she was empty inside. Sex can be an addiction like anything else—I think she was addicted to the drama of star-crossed lovers and obsessive stalkers.
Once again, I find myself wondering what kind of childhood she must have had to turn out the way she did. She was a sociopath—or a psychopath, I always get those mixed up—with little remorse or regret. A part of me envies that about her. She moved decisively once she made a decision—so unlike me. I tend to stew and worry when I have to make a decision and the anxiety doesn’t let up once the decision is made. That’s actually when the fun begins because I get to second-guess myself until I am no longer sure what I should have done. So to me, the appeal of someone like Moira is enormous. The other part of me, however, wouldn’t want to lose my humanity to gain confidence, and I feel that Moira had made that trade-off.
“Hi, honey! I’m home!” There is a slam of the door, and Paris bounces into the living room. He has that disgusting smirk of someone who has just gotten laid. Fortunately, I have the matching look on my own face. We eye each other silently for a second before we both simultaneously burst out talking. After we tell each other to go first and several false starts, I tell him about my evening with Vashti. I glide over a few of the details, but remain true to the spirit of the events. His face loses some of its animation as I talk. There is no love lost between the two, and I sometimes feel as if I’m in the middle of a very personal cold war. Since I want to be fair, I tell him the rest.
“She’s hiding something from me,” I say bluntly. “I have a feeling it has something to do with the killer, but I’m not exactly sure what.”
“Let me get this straight,” Paris says carefully, spacing his words evenly. “You just spent the evening with someone who knows who the killer is, but won’t tell you? What are you, crazy?”
“I guess so,” I say, narrowing my eyes. “But then again, I never dated a woman who systematically stole my money, or someone who threatened to kill herself after I left her. You certainly can’t say the same.”
“That’s not the point,” Paris huffs. “You could be killed if you’re not careful. I think as long as Vashti doesn’t come clean, you shouldn’t talk to her.” He sits on the couch and folds his arms. I can tell he’s angry, but I think he’s out of line.
“Paris, whatever you have against Vashti is between you and her. I’m not getting in the middle of that one. That said, Vashti is my girl. That means treat her with some respect. If you do that, I’m sure she’ll do the same for you.” Paris’s face is closed as if he’s never heard such a thing. I rush on, uncomfortable with the friction between us. “It’s not that I think she’s lying to me; she’s just not telling all she knows. But she said she will in a day or two.” Paris is still not receptive. “Let’s talk about something else. Tell me more about Lyle. I like him.”
“I know you think I’m being unreasonable.” Paris finally sits down next to me on the couch. “I just worry about you, Rayne. We’re not talking about hiding a past lover or other trivial information. She knows something about a killer, and she’s not telling you. She’s putting you in danger. Doesn’t that worry you in the least?” I bite down a defensive retort and really think about his question.