Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet / Четвъртия гроб под краката ми: Втора глава

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Doing nothing is hard.



You never know when you’re done.






It took every ounce of strength I had to tear myself away from the window, wondering if Reyes Farrow had just dematerialized his human body. Then another thought hit: What the hell was he doing out there? And then another: Why was he so angry?



It was my turn to be angry. He had no reason to be. And I would have told him that very thing if I’d felt any incentive to leave my apartment and hunt him down. But my apartment was cozy. The thought of leaving it just to get in a fight with the son of evil incarnate made about as much sense as flying ants.



Where was the logic in that? Ants were scary enough without giving them the ability to fly.



I walked into my living room, shaken and disoriented. “Reyes Farrow was outside. Just leaning against the bar. Watching the apartment.”



Cookie jumped up. She gaped at me for about ten seconds before hurdling the couch and stumbling into my bedroom, nearly crashing through the window. She was almost agile where men were concerned.



I didn’t have the heart to tell her she’d have had a better view from the living room, from pretty much right where she’d been sitting. Nor did I have the heart to tell her that he was already gone.



“He’s not there,” she said, her voice agitated and panicked.



“What?” I asked, pretending to be surprised. I hurried over and peeked out the curtains. Sure enough, he was gone. “He was there a minute ago.” I scanned the entire area.



She frowned at me. “You knew he was gone.”



I cringed, ashamed. “Sorry. You were just so into your gymnastics routine, I didn’t want to break your concentration.



Do you know how hard it would be to explain to the cops if you’d crashed through the window and plummeted to your death?” I refocused on the spot where Reyes had been standing. “But I swear, if that man is tailing me—”



“Hon, you have to go somewhere to be tailed. This would be more like stalking.”



She had a point. One that I could throw in his face if I were ever going to speak to him again.



I bowed my head as Cookie continued to search the parking lot in the hopes that he would show up again. I could hardly blame her.



“While we’re on the subject, I think he dematerialized his human body.”



She jumped in surprise. “I thought that was impossible. Are you sure?”



“No.” I walked back into my cluttered living room, because another thought hit. Freaking ADD. “So, be honest. How broke am I?”



Cookie drew in a deep breath and followed me. She regarded me with a sad expression before answering. “On a scale of one to ten, you’re not on it. You’re more like a negative twelve.”



“Crap.” I studied my Jackie Kennedy commemorative bracelet with a great and terrible weight on my chest, then opened the clasp. “Here, send this back, too.”



She took it. “Are you sure?”



“Yeah. I was only pretending it went well with Margaret, anyway. Now, if it were black with skulls on it…”



“Sadly, I don’t think Jackie wore skulls all that often. You know, we still have a couple of clients who owe us.”



“Really?” This was promising. I wound around boxes to Mr. Coffee. He was the only action I’d been getting lately.




When she hesitated, I knew something was up. I refreshed my cup and questioned her with a quirk of my brows. “Like who?”


“Like Mrs. Allen.”


“Mrs. Allen?” I stirred in creamer and fake sweet stuff. “She pays me in cookies. I’m not sure how that will help with the bills.”


“True, but she didn’t pay us the last time you found PP.”


PP, otherwise known as Prince Phillip, was Mrs. Allen’s rabid poodle. She should have called him Houdini. That dog could escape a locked bank vault. But actually, Cookie was wrong. Guilt had me biting my lip as I stirred, averting my gaze.


She gasped. “Mrs. Allen paid you?”


“Kind of.”


“And you didn’t share?”




“An entire plate of cookies, and you didn’t share? After I did all the legwork?”


My jaw fell open. “The legwork? You walked over to the window and spotted him by the Dumpster.”


“Yes, and I walked—” She crisscrossed her fingers to demonstrate a walking motion, which I found humorous. “—to the window with my legs.”


“Yes, but I was the one who chased that vicious little shit seventeen blocks.”




“And then he bit me.”


“He has no teeth.”


“Gums hurt, too.” I rubbed my arm absently, remembering the horror of it all.


“He’s a poodle. How hard can he gum?”


“Fine, next time you can chase him down.”


After exhaling loudly, she said, “What about that Billy Bob guy? He still owes us money.”


“You mean Bobby Joe? That guy who thought his girlfriend was trying to kill him with peanuts? He traded that out.”


“Charley,” she said, her tone admonishing, “you have got to learn to keep it in your pants.”


“Not like that,” I replied, appalled. “He painted the offices for us.”


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