Chapter Sixteen (Part One)
“The cop on the case is clean,” Mowgli informs Trip late Monday morning. “I managed to finagle a meeting with him, and he’s not one of the assholes.”
“You sure about that?” Trip asks, rubbing her eyes. She hasn’t slept well all week, and it’s beginning to catch up to her.
“As sure as I can be,” Mowgli says with a sigh. He’s not as certain as he’d like to be, but he doesn’t let Trip know that. “He wanted the evidence right away, but grudgingly agreed to wait until this afternoon. He said if he doesn’t hear from me by four o’clock, though, he’s tracking me down.”
“Did he suspect who you were?” Trip asks, standing up to stretch her back. Suddenly, she feels ten years older than her actual age, and she’s itching to do something to change that.
“I’m sure he did,” Mowgli says dryly. “I’m not easy to disguise. When I first walked into the station, he had his hand on his gun but as we continued talking, he eased up. The photos I showed him of his chief helped. He hates the prick.” Showing the detective pictures of the chief raping little girls was a calculated risk, but one that both Mowgli and Trip had felt would reveal pretty quickly where Detective Beauregard stood. After all, if the cop had been bent, he still would need Mowgli free to get his hands on all the evidence. That was what they had been banking on, anyway.
“So he’ll play it our way?” Trip asks, looking out the window. The sun is shining, but she still feels cold. She rubs her arms to perk up her circulation.
“Reluctantly. He wanted me to go in with a wire, but I told him I had it covered. He really doesn’t like not knowing where the meeting will be going down, but I made like a clam.” Here, Mowgli presses his lips together to show his crustacean imitation.
“Does he know I’m involved?”
“Not explicitly, but he’s a smart boy. I’m sure he figured it out.” Mowgli pauses and breaks out into a smile. “He’s cute, too.”
“Mowgli, this is not the time to be thinking about your love life,” Trip scolds, picking up the ‘room service’ menu and scanning it.
“I’m not,” Mowgli retorts, sliding an arm around Trip’s shoulders. “I’m thinking about yours. The detective bats for your team, not mine.”
“Even less relevant,” Trip blazes, sliding out from under Mowgli’s arm. “We don’t have time for that nonsense. Besides, I’m a fugitive from justice, remember? And in my day job, I’m a repo man. Cops and robbers do not mix. What do you want to eat?” They drop the topic of cops as they wait for their food to be delivered. Neither particularly feels like venturing into the cafeteria or, God forbid, out of the hotel for something to eat. They are focused on the job at hand and if everything goes right, it should all be over this afternoon.