Swan Dive
hermosa, Señorita Elliott.”
    “Mamacita, what a surprise to see you here,” I said.
    “You know each other?” Matty said. “Oh right, The Nutcracker . I didn’t even think about it. Her son is in it.”
    “Si, si, Vigo,” Mamacita said. “He was your favorite student, right, Señor Gannon?”
    “Your son is Vigo Ortiz?” I asked.
    “Si,” she said. “I assumed you knew.”
    “I did not know.” I didn’t know if I was surprised or shocked. “I didn’t realize Vigo was your son or Lexie was your son’s girlfriend or you worked at the school.”
    “Very tragic. Such a lovely girl.” She patted my arm and went to man the punch bowl.
    I discreetly tossed my nearly full punch cup in the gray rubber bin next to the table, then dry swallowed the cupcake.
    The dj started playing a ballad and Matty pulled me to the dance floor. I swayed out of habit, my mind still twenty feet behind us at the punch table.
    I could not believe Mamacita did not mention Vigo to me yesterday. Not one time. Not even a hint that her son had been dating Lexie. Of course Lexie went over to Mamacita’s. Probably visited her house a hundred times. Including that garden of crazy.
    Matty gently lifted my chin so our eyes met. “Hello? Elliott? Where did you go?”
    “I’m right here.”
    “I’ve been talking for five minutes and not a single response. Thought maybe you fell asleep on me.”
    “I’m sorry. I’m not napping, just thinking about Lexie Allen and Vigo Ortiz. It’s odd Mamacita never told me her son was Lexie’s boyfriend. And even odder…more odd? Odder still? Lexie’s boyfriend’s mother grows the very berries that killed her.”
    He nodded slowly. “Definitely a coincidence, but it’s a small island and gossip travels quickly. Maybe Mamacita was only protecting her son?”
    I swayed to the left, then the right, trying to keep time with the music. “Protecting him from what?”
    “Let’s not start down that path,” he said in a low voice.
    I’d questioned one of his students in a murder case a few months earlier and it fractured our friendship. More of a hairline than a full break, but neither one of us wanted to risk another one.
    “What did Mamacita say about Lexie?” Matty asked.
    “Niceties. Very polite. Nothing to indicate she’d known her personally, practically as family, for an extended time. She called Lexie a nice girl. Really enjoyed going to the garden. That she liked to experiment with ingredients.”
    “Is it such a stretch to believe Lexie baked the wrong berries into her cake? Or that maybe she committed suicide?”
    “Suicide?” I said and stopped swaying. “She was happy and well-liked and had her entire life in front of her.”
    “Teenagers hide a lot of emotion.”
    “So she bakes a cupcake to kill herself?”
    Matty leaned in and lowered his voice. “She gets dressed up and takes her cupcakes to the theatre. Very dramatic. Something a teenager would do.”
    “That’s ludicrous. You sound like—” I was about to say Ransom, but I stopped myself. “Like you’re crazy. Lexie Allen did not kill herself. How is that more plausible than her boyfriend killing her?”
    “What possible reason did he have?” Matty asked and dropped his hands from my waist. “I know Vigo. He’s a good kid. He’s a gentle soul. Not a violent bone in his body.”
    “You’re wrong about that.” I’d seen the shot-up range poster to prove it.
    Matty ran a hand through his hair. “Elli, this isn’t for us to debate. Especially not here.”
    I grabbed his wrist and pulled him through the crowd of couples and into the hall. “You’re right, this isn’t a debate. I don’t want to fight.”
    “Me, neither,” he said. “Let the police handle this. It’s their job.”
    “It’s mine, too.”
    “Only because you want it to be.”
    “Why do you not want it to be? Why does it bother you so much?”
    “Because you put yourself in danger. You were attacked, Elliott.” His normally soft

Similar Books

A Memory Of Light: Wheel of Time Book 14

Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson

In Bed With the Badge

Marie Ferrarella

FEAST OF THE FEAR

Mark Edward Hall

The Glimmer Palace

Beatrice Colin

Private Lies

Warren Adler

The Corpse Bridge

Stephen Booth