Millie turned enough to touch Darcy’s face with the back of her hand. “I know, dear. I don’t think you’re in any real danger or I wouldn’t ask you to do this.”
Darcy nodded. “I’ll be okay. I just had to wind up for it.” She smiled a big fake smile at me in the mirror, mussed up the back of my hair, and got out.
Millie and I went off to do battle with the rest of the family.
It wouldn’t stop, though. There was yelling. And a scraping noise.
When my eyes had the strength to open, some of the noises started to make sense.
“Hang on.” I didn’t know if they could hear me over their own yelling. I got my thick fluffy robe, which is far more luxurious than most single guys would have but since I sleep in the same clothes I shower in I keep something posh handy in case of emergency.
The hammering and shoving at the door sounded like an emergency.
“Well, now. I’m not here about what Gil wanted. You’ve clearly already taken care of that, according to the papers. I’m here on my own. He seemed confident you could help him, so I thought, if Gil trusts you, maybe you can help me with a little something.”
It was thin as the decaf in an office coffee pot, but I figured I might as well let her run with it.
“Well, that’s different. Tell me all about it.”
She sure was good at that smile. I kept almost believing it.
“Since Gil is dead he can’t finish the job.”
That settled that.
“I need you to kill someone for me.”
And that, my dears, unsettled that.
I’d given up saving the situation. Yes, I knew, and I hadn’t told her. Yes, this Gertrude and Sam thing was my idea, and we’d blown it sky high. Yes, Darcy, I love you, and you hate me, and once again I’ve managed to destroy the best hope I had for any kind of salvation through a relationship.
She didn’t spit on me. She didn’t slap me. She didn’t even look at me. Or anyone else.
She just walked out, leaving the door swinging open as she went.
Sam started to follow her, but Millie held her hand and stopped her.
I don’t know how long I stood there, but after a few years of it, I left, alone, and took a cab home.
Made a stop on the way there and bought a bottle of Old Overholt.
No point buying something expensive when you can’t be sure any of it is going to stay down.
“Could she have put Gil up to hiring me?”
“Why would she do that?”
I hadn’t thought about it. I was still slapping pieces into the puzzle to see what fit where. Would have been nice if I could see the picture on the cover so I knew what we were trying to piece together.
“No idea. But if she’d wanted him to do it, would he?”
She nodded. “Oh, yes. Absolutely. He believed every word she said, even if she’d said the exact opposite the day before.”
“And does she have reason to wish your father harm?”
That got a shrug. “Who knows? Like I said, we’re not close. She’s not close to father by any means. And it might have cost her a job.”
“Revenge doesn’t always calculate the risks first.”
But then, I hadn’t either, or I wouldn’t be knee-deep in these folks and their shenanigans.