Driven to Ink

Driven to Ink by Karen E. Olson

Book: Driven to Ink by Karen E. Olson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen E. Olson
said, “What’s up, Bitsy?”
    “It’s almost noon, and you’ve got a client coming in. Where are you?”
    Who needed a mother with Bitsy around? The guilt started to seep in. Sister Mary Eucharista would make me write fifty times, I will not exploit my employees while I go messing around in other people’s business . Although admittedly, I’d been asked to help, so I could be perceived as being a good friend. Somehow I’m not sure the sister would’ve seen it that way, though.
    “I’ll be there in a few,” I said. “I’m up here at Murder Ink. Bernie’s daughter just showed. She and Jeff are really worried.”
    That was the way to turn it around on the guilt, because Bitsy immediately said, “So there’s still no word from them? Where do you think they might be?”
    I quickly told her about our morning’s activities—going to the chapel and then to Dan Franklin’s house and finding it all closed up—and ended with my suspicion that Sylvia and Bernie had seen something they shouldn’t have.
    I didn’t tell her what Tim had said about Ray Lucci being Sylvia’s son. Unlike Bitsy, I can keep a secret, and, anyway, I hadn’t really thought that one through yet. How that could’ve played a role in all this.
    Because I had started wondering whether it didn’t play a role after all. It seemed as though it had to, but how, I wasn’t sure.
    Bitsy didn’t notice I was holding back and latched on to the one thing I knew she probably would. “Are you going to call this Dean Martin guy? Are you going to see if he knows something?”
    Before I got a chance to respond, she added, “You know, Brett, you’ve got the worst luck with men. Maybe this one will be different.”
    She was referring to the two men who’d been in my life in the last six months: a casino manager, who was too much of a ladies’ man for my taste, and an emergency room doctor, whom I’d completely misread and, thus, had sabotaged something that might have been good.
    “I met him for five seconds,” I said, getting defensive. “I have no idea if we’d get along or anything.”
    “But you said he liked you.” Bitsy is the ultimate romantic. She’s been married a couple of times but never gotten bitter about it. She’s dated her fair share of men and recently signed up for because, as she put it, “What else am I supposed to do with my time?”
    Bitsy was a serial dater.
    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    The fact that she’s a little person was absolutely no deterrent for the men she dated, which I found fascinating. She dated little people and tall people.
    She was still talking. “I think you should call him. Have lunch. Lunch is always good.”
    “Yeah, sure,” I said, watching Jeff and Rosalie through the front window. Rosalie had sunk down into one of Jeff’s chairs, and he was sitting across from her, his elbows on his knees, leaning over and talking. Her face was sagging with sadness.
    “I’ll be in shortly,” I said again, hanging up on Bitsy.
    I didn’t know whether I should go back in or just leave quietly. After a few seconds, I decided that leaving was the best thing. I didn’t want to intrude on their conversation. So I made my way over to the Bright Lights Motel and climbed into the Jeep. The gearshift stuck as I tried to put it into first, and I could hear the clutch grind.
    I wanted my car back.
    I couldn’t think about Jeff or Rosalie or Will Parker or any of it for the next couple hours. My client was already at the shop when I arrived, and I didn’t have time to say anything but a quick hello to Bitsy and Ace when I walked through the door. Joel was already with a client, and I gave him a little finger waggle as I passed his room.
    Carmella, my client, was older than me, maybe in her forties. She was here for her ninth tattoo: tribal ink on her left thigh, running from her hip to her knee. Carmella had found some designs, and I’d put together something that she was thrilled

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