Eleven Hours

Eleven Hours by Paullina Simons

Book: Eleven Hours by Paullina Simons Read Free Book Online
Authors: Paullina Simons
Lyle smiled at her and said. “You’re not too pretty, Didi.”
    She said nothing.
    â€œIs your husband pleased you’re not too pretty?”
    â€œMy husband?” she repeated vacantly. “I’m not sure how to answer that. Are you not pleased that your wife is pretty?”
    â€œNot too pleased,” he admitted. “I wish she was less—you know—” He fell quiet and then said, “She dresses up too nice when we go out.”
    â€œOh, yeah? Where do you guys go?”
    â€œNowhere special,” Lyle replied evasively. “We just go for a little drink at night. Sometimes we dance and stuff. Have some buffalo wings.”
    â€œThat sounds like fun,” Didi said. “Didn’t you say she just had a baby?”
    â€œWhen did I say that?” he said brusquely.
    Didi tried to recall. “I think at the yogurt place when I first saw you.”
    â€œI don’t remember saying that,” he said, frowning.
    The pit in Didi’s stomach widened. “Never mind then,” she said. “I’m probably mixing you up with someone else.”
    On the radio, the announcer gave a short news wrap-up and said, “Headline news in fifteen minutes.”

4:45 P.M.
    Rich was sunk into a wooden bench outside Chief Murphy’s office when he saw Lopez and Murphy walking quickly toward him accompanied by a black man in a crisp white shirt, khaki dress slacks, and a wide purple-and-orange tie—a funky dresser, Rich immediately thought. Can this guy be serious?
    â€œRich, I want you to meet Scott Somerville, from the FBI,” said Murphy, adding with a sideways glance, “Scott says he will be in charge of this case.”
    Rich listlessly shook Scott’s hand. Scott had an unusually firm handshake. He pumped Rich’s hand, and when he let go, Rich’s hand buzzed.
    Rich noticed that Scott was shorter and much broader than he, but he especially noticed Scott’s brown eyes, because they beamed with enthusiasm. “That’s right,” Scott said, his electric gaze boring into Rich. “I will be in charge of this case.” He slapped Rich’s shoulder. “I know you’re hurting, man. I’m here to get your wife back, okay?”
    Rich felt a little better. “You got here all the way from D.C.?”
    â€œNah,” Scott said, furiously chewing on a piece of gum. “The Bureau has field offices all over the U.S. I’m a field officer in Dallas.”
    â€œOh yeah?” Rich said weakly. “Have any experience in kidnapping?”
    Scott put a steady hand on Rich’s shoulder. “It’s my job. Trust me.”
    Rich said nothing. Scott watched him carefully for a few moments.
    He felt all their stares on him. Rich saw Scott staring at him with an inquisitive, serious, slightly suspicious expression. It was the same expression that the chief had earlier leveled on him. Only Juan’s gaze was sympathetic. What the hell was going on?
    â€œWhat?” Rich said. “Why are you guys staring at me as if I’m the sixth guy at a lineup?”
    Scott said nothing for a moment, and then asked, “So, tell us again how you knew this guy took your wife.”
    â€œWhat are you talking about? What do you mean?” Rich was so exasperated and raw with emotion that it took him a little while to understand. “Hey—” he stammered in disbelief. “Hey—wait a second, what the hell are you asking me?”
    â€œJust a question,” Scott said politely. “I’m just a little vague on the whole thing. Something about a pretzel bag?”
    â€œOh my God.” Rich wanted to pull his hair out. “Don’t you—haven’t we got better things to do than to question me? What’s the matter? Out of leads so soon? Am I not acting enough like the bereaved husband?”
    Chief Murphy and Scott continued to stare at Rich. Only Juan lowered his gaze.

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