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Undercover secrets untol.., p.14

Undercover Secrets, Untold Lies, page 14

 

Undercover Secrets, Untold Lies
 


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  “You be damn careful out there,” he grumbled in return.

  Gwen’s phone rang before she had a chance to fire up her engine. “Your place or mine?” CC giggled. “I’m dying to talk to you.”

  “Mine?”

  “Okay. Race you there?” CC teased.

  “No,” Gwen laughed. “Take it easy and get there in one piece. I missed you too much to have to wait for an accident report to be written for an unnecessary fender-bender.”

  As soon as they were inside the door, Gwen grabbed CC by the waist and pulled her close. “Umm, you smell good,” she said and kissed her fervently.

  “I missed you too, but…” CC said, pushing away. “I’m going to burst if I don’t tell you about my meeting with Kyle…I mean Kinky. God, do you believe that’s what he wants to be called? Can we sit and have a cup of coffee for a few minutes?”

  “Sure,” Gwen agreed. “Come into the kitchen and tell me everything.”

  “Well,” CC said, plopping onto one of the kitchen chairs, slipping out of her shoes, and folding her legs under her buttocks. “He’s bisexual, or at least was when he dated Meg. He has a boyfriend now, so I guess you’d say he’s living the gay lifestyle, although he’s monogamous and his boyfriend isn’t. He was Meg’s friend up until the time she disappeared. You know how everyone said Meg was a good friend and listener? He credits Meg for bringing his feelings for other men out in the open, and even introduced him to the partner he’s sharing his life with now. He’s not sure it will work out, but at least he’s been able to explore his feelings and be honest about who he is.”

  She leaned forward and propped her head in her hands. “About two weeks before Meg disappeared, she invited him for dinner. When she got up to clear the dishes, she looked out the window above the sink and let out a shriek that he said would have woke the dead. Kinky thought she’d cut herself on a knife or something. She was staring at a black Mercury Cougar…he’s sure that’s what it was. The man was staring back and…oh, God, Gwen…I think we have sort of a description.”

  “Sort of a description?” Gwen repeated, as she placed one of the steaming cups in front of CC.

  “Well, it was dark, but Kinky said it was an older man with very short hair, almost military style. Of course, sitting down, he couldn’t judge the man’s height, but was sure he weighed about two hundred or so.” CC sighed and her voice dropped to a whisper as she distractedly combed through her hair with her fingers. “I sure hope he can remember something more about the man.”

  “Well, at least it’s something to go on. Would he be able to work with a sketch artist?”

  “He doesn’t think he saw the facial features that clearly. Another car came down the street and the man sped off. What he was one hundred percent sure of was that the man was there only to stare at Meg through the window.”

  “What about hypnotism?” Gwen suggested. “Maybe he’d remember more that way?”

  “Could be. I’ll call him tomorrow and suggest it.”

  “Anything else?” Gwen asked.

  “Yep.” CC slid off her chair and snuggled onto Gwen’s lap. She kissed her lips gently and leisurely, making Gwen dizzy with desire.

  “Good thing I’m sitting down, woman,” Gwen said softly. “You make my knees go weak.”

  “And I’ve only just begun.”

  * * *

  Gwen awoke with her nose nestled in CC’s long blond hair and one arm draped across her shoulders. She lay very still so as not to wake CC, remembering the fireworks of their lovemaking. Every time with CC was better than the last. They were now completely comfortable in each other’s arms and were learning the other’s likes, fine-tuning their dance and bringing each other to heights Gwen had only dreamed of.

  Gwen knew without asking that CC was still tentative about making a commitment. Understandably, after being in a relationship where she had felt boxed in and trapped, she enjoyed the freedom of having her own place, and coming and going as she pleased. Gwen would jump at the chance to claim CC as her partner, and be proud to marry her if that were a legal option, but she already loved her too much to force her into making a decision. Not being a patient person by nature, Gwen forced her feelings to the side and just let things be. She enjoyed being with CC whenever possible, and loved watching her bloom and knew she would grow with their relationship in her own time.

  CC snuggled closer in her slumber and Gwen pulled her tightly against her body. She stifled a yawn and soon was sound asleep again.

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  “I’m anxious to get to the office and make some calls,” CC said over breakfast. After they’d gotten up and showered, Gwen had made French toast and bacon, two of the few things she actually liked to cook.

  “Sure. We can go in early. I should have the autopsy reports on my desk to review,” Gwen answered. “Hopefully the lab has finished analyzing their clothing too.”

  “I’ve got a nagging fear about Linda. I’m sure she’s okay, but I just want to follow up to let her know I’m still here if she needs me. Then I’ll give Kinky a call and see if he’s willing to be hypnotized to try to come up with a composite of the man watching Meg.”

  “Good idea,” Gwen said, clearing the table.

  “Let me help you,” CC said, getting up. “I slept like a baby last night. I’m energized and feel wonderful today,” she said, stretching her arms over her head.

  “If you have that much energy, maybe you’d like to go with me to take Max for a walk,” Gwen suggested.

  “I’d love to. He’s such a gentle dog…just what I’d pick out if I was looking for one. I’m not though, so don’t get any ideas,” CC said, and laughed after seeing Gwen’s hopeful face.

  “I guess Max is around enough that I don’t need my own, but I’ve thought about getting a smaller breed. I’d love to have a lap dog…one I can pick up and carry with me. You know, the side of the bed you sleep on gets awfully cold and lonely when you’re not here. I could snuggle up to the dog and pretend it was you. The problem is, we work so many long hours and are gone so much of the time.”

  “Hmm…I’m sure Max would enjoy the company of another dog when you’re not here. I’d share it with you, like you share Max with Pierre,” CC said, getting excited about the prospect. “Let’s just go see what’s available at the shelter this weekend. We don’t have to actually bring one home; just do some window- shopping.”

  “My problem with window-shopping,” Gwen remarked, “is that I’d end up bringing three or four home with me. I feel so sorry for those caged pups. Dogs need room to roam, toys to chew on, socks to tear apart. I’m warning you, I’m a sucker for those sad, lonely faces. But sure, we can go Saturday if you’d like.”

  “Oh, let’s do it!” CC said decisively.

  * * *

  When they got to the office, CC took off to make her telephone calls while Gwen plowed through a mound of mail and several envelopes from the lab.

  Her spirits lifted when she read that the green carpet fibers found on the clothes of Carole were identifiable; they’d been sent for further forensic testing. It wasn’t much, but at least they had something traceable to work with.

  Making a side-by-side comparison of the photographs he’d taken at the autopsies, Doc Maynard had written that he was ninety-eight percent certain that the same weapon inflicted the knife wounds on both victims. He wrote at length about the superficial cuts depicting the cross on the torsos being microscopically identical.

  Gwen imagined Doc getting up during the middle of the night to test or measure something on his cadavers. He’d once told her his best ideas came during sleep, and the security guards attested to the fact that Doc crept into the morgue at all times of the day and night. New guards were often startled to see the old man walking the hallways with his tape recorder in hand at odd hours.

  There were a few messages Gwen needed to return, and it was nearly one p.m. by the time CC came back to the office.

  “Kinky agreed to do it,” CC t
old her. “It’s all set up for tomorrow. I haven’t been able to reach Linda though. I’m kind of worried, so I thought I’d take a drive over to her place.”

  “Sure. You have plenty of time. Our task force meeting isn’t until four. You want to grab some lunch before you go?” Gwen asked.

  “No. Let me just get this behind me so I can alleviate this annoying uneasiness,” CC replied.

  “Okay. Can you give me a call when you find her?”

  “Will do,” CC answered, hurrying out.

  Gwen got back to her paperwork and forgot that she was going to run down to the cafeteria for a sandwich. The autopsy and lab reports didn’t contain any other helpful information, but Gwen read each one over again to make sure they were committed to her memory and that she hadn’t missed anything important.

  About an hour later Gwen’s phone rang. CC sounded relieved. “Linda’s having problems with her phone and can’t get it to recharge. She’s fine and we’re going out to have lunch. You’re welcome to join us, if you’d like.”

  “Nah. I really need to get through the rest of this paperwork. I’ll just grab something from downstairs, but thanks for asking. I’m glad Linda’s okay and nothing’s wrong. Enjoy your lunch.”

  “Thanks. I’m so relieved. I just want to find this creep before someone else gets hurt,” CC whispered, walking out of Linda’s earshot.

  “I’m with you. See you later,” Gwen said.

  Scott knocked on her office door. “Got a minute?” He was beaming.

  “Yeah, sure. What’s up?”

  “I know we don’t have a chance very often to talk about personal stuff, but I just wanted to tell you that we just found out Katie is pregnant.”

  “Wow, that’s great! Congratulations!” Gwen knew they’d been trying to conceive for at least a couple years. Scott had been dragged from one fertility clinic to another by his wife. Although he didn’t seem to mind. He was as anxious to have a child as she was.

  “Guess we can cancel the adoption process.” Scott was still grinning broadly.

  “When’s she due?” Gwen asked.

  “In early January. It’s perfect…our New Year’s baby. We’re going to call her Gracie if it’s a girl.”

  “Cool. I like that. Come on, I’ll buy you lunch to celebrate,” Gwen offered.

  “Uh, I just ate with Katie, but tell you what…you can buy me a Coke.”

  “Deal.”

  * * *

  By four everyone was assembled in Gwen’s office. She gave them the details of the autopsy and laboratory results she’d reviewed that morning.

  When it was CC’s turn, she brought the men up to date on her interview with Kinky and the plan to have him hypnotized. “Linda is still freaking out, but I think she’ll be okay. I think her imagination is working overtime. She has the feeling someone is following her, but has never seen anyone anywhere close to her when she gets her goose bumps.”

  “We’ve alerted the patrol unit in her area. They’ll swing by a couple extra times each shift,” Brad advised them.

  Gwen’s phone rang and she listened briefly and then advised the caller she was on her way.

  “We’ve got another body. They think it’s Meg. A couple of high school kids found her in a drainage ditch on the outskirts of town. She’s been there a couple days and it won’t be pretty.”

  “I want to get any evidence we can find to the lab ASAP,” CC said, on her way to the door.

  “I can drive,” Scott said, grabbing his jacket.

  “I’ll get in touch with Doc Maynard and the chief. Call me as soon as you have more information. I’ll try to hold the press at bay,” Brad offered.

  “Will do,” Gwen said, following CC and Scott out the door.

  Chapter Thirty

  It turned out Doc Maynard was in the neighborhood, and after receiving Brad’s call, beat them to the crime scene. He was crouched over the body as Gwen approached. Meg looked like a small, sleeping child, curled up with her knees nearly touching her chin.

  “I don’t think this is the murder site,” Doc remarked as he looked up at Gwen. “Not enough blood, and with her throat slashed, there’d have been plenty.”

  “Any other wounds?” she asked.

  “Yep. Carbon copy of Carole Planton with the stab to the abdomen and superficial cuts forming the cross.”

  “How long has she been out here?” CC asked, crouching next to him.

  “Less than a week. No more than four, possibly five, days is my guess,” he answered.

  Maynard quickly got back to his work. “Look here, Gwen,” he said. “Looks like the same green fibers on her shirt we’ve found at the other crime scenes.” He carefully plucked them from the body and bagged them.

  Gwen said, “And there’s soil stuck to her jeans which doesn’t look like the surrounding landscape. It looks like potting soil.”

  “When will you have time to do the autopsy, Doc?” Scott asked.

  “I believe I’ll go back to my office now. I’ll complete the autopsy tonight when the crime scene unit finishes and my people deliver the corpse. Tomorrow’s Saturday, and I have a birthday party for my granddaughter to attend,” he said.

  “Gwen, I’ll attend this one, if you don’t mind,” Scott said. “I know you and CC need to get to The Dive. Maybe I can even get Doc’s expertise to fill me in on what I can expect with Katie’s pregnancy. I’ll call Brad and have him cover the parking lot at The Dive.”

  “Sure. That works out great,” Gwen replied. “I appreciate you going.”

  “I’ll drop you women off at the precinct, and Doc, I’ll meet you at the morgue.”

  “Fine, sonny. I can give you a few pointers…so you say your wife’s pregnant, huh? My, my! I remember when my Bessie had her first one…”

  CC giggled and Gwen whispered in her ear, “Scott has no idea what a long night he has ahead of him.”

  * * *

  The Dive was packed when Gwen arrived. CC was already playing pool. It had taken Gwen longer than she had expected, since the parking lot at the precinct had been packed with reporters. She had had to weed her way through the throng yelling, “No comment” all the way to her car. So much for Brad keeping the press at bay. She knew it wasn’t his fault, but she hated the mob scene with journalists more than any other aspect of her police work.

  Gwen hadn’t seen any reporters at the site where Meg had been found, but there had been a few onlookers pressed against the crime scene tape. Someone must have tipped off the newspapers and television stations. The story was already being passed around at the bar, and Gwen ordered a beer and listened. Most of the patrons had known Meg fairly well, at least in comparison to the other missing girls. With the exception of Reyna, the others were only acquaintances. There was a subdued atmosphere as they mourned the loss of their friend. They were befuddled by the knowledge that this was happening, and horrified that the women were being found dead. Someone had finally burst their balloon of hope, and replaced it with deep sadness.

  The TV over the bar flashed to the now empty drainage ditch where Meg had been found. Yellow crime scene tape floated eerily in the darkness. A reporter had somehow connected the murders of Carole, Reyna and now Meg, to The Dive.

  Ben looked on in horror, no doubt thinking that his business would be ruined. “Damn it all,” he said to Gwen. “I loved those women like my own sisters. We looked after them when they needed looking after. Ain’t the fault of The Dive what happened to ’em.”

  “I know, Ben. I’m sure when the police catch the murderer, no one will blame you just because they were your customers. Just wait til this blows over,” Gwen said soothingly.

  “Promise?” he said hopefully.

  “Promise.”

  “Okay. You get out there and play your game. They waitin’ on you.”

  “You got it. And Ben? This one’s for you!”

  She joined the dart players and won three straight games. When she was finished, she felt as if she’d worked off some of the s
tress. She had renewed resolve and determination. She would not only avenge the murders for the families, she would keep the promise she’d made to Ben.

  Chapter Thirty-One

  Gwen and CC had stayed at The Dive until after midnight. Afterward CC decided to follow Gwen home so they could spend Saturday together. Gwen found that Scott had faxed the autopsy report on Meg to her well after eleven p.m., so it had indeed been a long night for him. When you got Doc talking he could go on for hours.

  They perused the report, but there was nothing new to send them in a different direction or help find the killer. They hoped the lab could give them more information to work with.

  They were still discussing the case as they got into bed, bouncing back and forth different strategies. CC started snoring softly in her arms. Gwen smiled, reached over and turned off the light, and snuggled in beside her.

  * * *

  CC woke first the following morning and slid quietly out of bed without waking Gwen. She padded to the kitchen in her bare feet and a robe she had found hanging behind the bathroom door, and got to work. She whipped up pancake batter and then made a pot of coffee. She found a container of frozen strawberries in the freezer, which she defrosted in the microwave to spoon over the pancakes. When the pancakes were golden brown, she put everything on a tray and walked back to the bedroom. Gwen was yawning and stretching her arms over her head, her short hair sticking out in all directions. She was just barely awake.

  “Wake up, hon. We’ve got lots to do today!” CC said cheerfully.

  “Huh?”

  “Sit up. I’m serving breakfast in bed,” CC ordered.

  “No shit? Cool!” Gwen said, blinking the sleep out of her eyes and fluffing up the pillows behind her.

  CC put the tray between them and they dug in hungrily.

  “You’re a good cook. These pancakes are wonderful,” Gwen said with her mouth full.

 
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