Tag Archives: chapter twelve part three

Duck, Duck, Dead Duck; chapter twelve, part three

“The first time I met Brian, something zinged through me.  I could tell by the look in his eyes that he felt the same way.”  A faraway look came into her eyes and despite the serious circumstances, a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth.  “After that, we made excuses not to spend time together, but Linda insisted.  She wanted me and Brian to get to know each other, so we gave in for her sake.  Every time I saw him, I felt the same pull.”  Mrs. Rodriguez stopped.

“This is starting to sound like a romance novel,” I muttered under my breath.  Even though I wasn’t as pissed at her, I had to keep up my role.  “Can you fast-forward to the sex part?”

“One time, he came over because Linda knew that my furnace wasn’t working right.  He’s a whiz at those kind of things, and Linda insisted that he see to it.  I have no sons, you see, to do that kind of thing for me.  She thought she was doing me a favor.”  This time, the smile Mrs. Rodriguez produced was mirthless.

“When was this?”  I interrupted, wanting a timeline.

“Four months ago,” Mrs. Rodriguez said, clearly irritated that I kept interrupting.

“Can I take it that your furnace remained broken?”  I asked archly, baring my teeth.  It was amazing how easy it was to rile this woman, and I watched in amusement as she flushed.

“It got fixed,” Mrs. Rodriguez said through gritted teeth.

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Plaster of Paris; chapter twelve, part three

He wasn’t able to find Billy Matthews, either, as the latter wasn’t at the gym today.  Lyle tried to get an address or a number, but couldn’t charm it out of anyone.  It’s a good thing, really, as it’s for the client’s protection; it just makes our task of hunting down Matthews a bit more difficult.  I think about how I’m going to find him, but I can’t come up with a better plan than to go to the gym again in the morning—or have Lyle do it—and repeat until we get our man.  Too bad I’m not V.I. Warshawski with her plethora of cunning ideas.  I put it firmly out of my mind because it’s just giving me a headache to think about the case.  I deserve a break after all the hard work I’ve been doing.  I reach for my sandwich again, suddenly famished.  We all gobble sandwiches as fast as we can.

After polishing off two sandwiches, I finally ask how Paris is.  I thought they would have brought it up by now, but they haven’t.  To be fair, they’ve been eating just as heartily as I have.  My mother tells me he’s great, that he actually spoke in sentences today.  Short ones, to be sure, but sentences, nonetheless.  I ask if he remembers anything, my pulse racing.  This could be the break we’re looking for.  Please, let him have seen who hit him.  To my disappointment, he didn’t.  He doesn’t remember anything about his accident and has to be told repeatedly that he’s in a hospital.  The cops haven’t been able to question him, either, which I’m sure is driving them crazy.  I don’t care, however, as nothing is as important as Paris’s recovery.

I’m eager to see Paris, so I stand up and stretch.  It seems like my life has been work, detecting, and the hospital.  My mother and Lyle want to go, too, of course, so we clean up and leave.  I ride with my mom to the hospital.  Neither of us speaks until we are halfway there, then my mother warns me that the Jensons are seriously considering bringing Paris back to Memphis, at least until he recovers.  I didn’t know they could do that without his consent.  My mother says they’ve been working on him.  She keeps reassuring the Jensons that Paris will be better off here with his friends, but they refuse to listen.  They’ve gotten it into their heads that this would never have happened if only Paris didn’t live in Sin City, which is ludicrous.  Even if they don’t know the background of the case, it’s silly to think that crime doesn’t happen outside the Bay Area.  They’ll take him over my dead body—there is no way I’m letting Paris go without a fight.

We are silent for a minute as I watch the scenery whiz by.  I remember the email Libby sent me and relay it to my mother.  My mother is pleased, but surprised that Libby emailed me about something so serious.  I tell her it surprised the hell out of me, too, that Little Miss Perfect is having second thoughts about being a trophy wife.  My mother sends me a withering look which immediately makes me contrite for my flippant statement.  I quickly amend my statement, saying I’m impressed that Libby has the guts to think about stopping the wedding, let alone write about it to me.  It must be killing her to admit she has doubts, especially at this late date.

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Plaster of Paris; chapter eleven, part three

I compliment her before making an all-points attack on the food.  The way I inhale the food makes me realize that I’ve been neglecting my general health since Paris got hurt.  Well, since before that as well, but especially after.  I gobble down enchiladas smothered with cheese, sour cream and home-made salsa, tortilla chips, and other delights, happy to have real food for once.  It sits nicely in my stomach, causing me to breathe a sigh of relief.  As I eat, Vashti asks if I’ve found out anything about Paris.  She is focusing on her plate and misses the expression on my face.  I quickly assemble my face into a bland visage by the time she looks up at me.  I am evasive, not sure that I want to talk about the case with her.  I flashback to the first case and how she completely misled me, and I never knew she was doing it.  She’s a good liar or evader of truth when she needs to be.  Regretfully, I decide to be cautious and tell her that I’ve eliminated a suspect or two and that I think the accident has something to do with Paris’s birthmother.  That’s all I’m willing to divulge.

Vashti looks as if she wants to say something.  She even goes so far as to open her mouth, but stops.  For a minute, we look at each other with the knowledge that this is one of those awkward moments.  Vashti still blames herself for not telling me about her friend who Vashti was sure had nothing to do with a murder; the friend actually turned out to be the murderer, and what’s worse, found me through Vashti.  I still can’t get over how easily Vashti lied to me and how good she was at it.  I drop my eyes to my food because I don’t want to reopen painful wounds or to remember the aftermath.  I wish I could forget, though I’ve already forgiven.  I don’t want to get caught in that kind of situation again, and I’m not confident that I won’t if I continue to date Vashti.  The thought rises to my mind unbidden that Inspector Robinson would never lie to me like that.  I chase that thought from my mind for two reasons.  One, I have no business thinking of the good inspector in that way, and two, I don’t know if it’s true.

Vashti sets down her fork carefully before turning to me.  She asks if she needs to apologize again, then reminds me that she’s said she’s sorry so many times.  I reassure her that I’m just thinking about something, but I don’t elaborate.  The smile on my face is patently false, but there’s nothing I can do about it.  I would love to be able to unwind with her, spilling my guts about the case.  I am frustrated with the lack of progress and could use an outside perspective.  Unfortunately, I’m just not ready to open up to her, not after what happened last time.  I know that it’s partly my fault for dangling her on the line, but I have no way of knowing when I’ll soften up enough to let her know what’s on my mind.  We finish our meal in silence, then take our tea into the living room.  We sit on her couch, not saying anything.

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