The Answer Man

The Answer Man by Roy Johansen

Book: The Answer Man by Roy Johansen Read Free Book Online
Authors: Roy Johansen
passersby on the street.
    “Not here,” she weakly protested.
    Ken’s breath moistened her neck, and a long shudder went through her. She pulled him close. “What the hell,” she whispered.
    He ran wet kisses over her face, behind her ears, and down her neck. Her body relaxed beneath his as he unzipped her dress.
    —
    Myth reached for another hors d’oeuvre from the half-dozen platters surrounding her and Ken on her living room floor. They were both naked, wrapped in blankets. “You’re supposed to do it in
elevators,
not stairways.”
    “You don’t have an elevator. I had to improvise.” He surveyed the feast laid out before them. “Aren’t you supposed to celebrate with champagne?”
    “I don’t like champagne. Have another stuffed meatball. Or a turkey roll.”
    “I’m still working on the boiled shrimp. Your mother tell you the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?”
    “No. Through
here.

    Under the covers, she grabbed his sensitive lower extremity.
    “Okay, okay! Take it easy, it’s gonna break off!”
    She laughed and let go.
    He pulled the blankets tightly around her and dragged her close. “If that’s what your mother told you, she’s a wise woman.”
    “Wait till you hear what my father told me.”
    “I don’t even want to know.” He tenderly brushed the hair from her face.
    “Sabini will pay you tomorrow, in cash,” she said. “What are you going to do with it all?”
    “What do people say when they win the lottery? That it’s not going to change them? Screw that. It’s gonna change me.”
    She laughed.
    He leaned against a coffee table. “I can relax a little. My brother’s sick, and I’ve been giving him all the cash I can. It’s like a black hole. There’s never enough. I can’t even think about looking for a new line of work while he’s in such bad shape. But with this money, I can take care of him. He can stop worrying. I think that’s one of the reasons he can’t get better. The stress is just tearing him apart.”
    “It’s been hard on you too.”
    “Nothing like it’s been for him. But this money will help me make a new start for myself. How many people get that chance?”
    She smiled warmly at him. “Not many.”
    “Things are going to be different. Better.” He shook his head. “You know, when I said Bill stole Margot away from me, it didn’t really happen that way.”
    He paused to put his thoughts into words. “I think…I think I pushed her away. It’s not that I didn’t think I deserved her. It wasn’t that. I guess I just wasn’t being very good to myself, and I wasn’t going to let anybody else be good to me either. Bill just happened to be there when she needed someone.
I
sure wasn’t there for her.”
    He was surprised at the words tumbling from his mouth. Surprised because he was sharing them with someone, and because they were notions he was forming only at that very moment.
    Myth moved closer. “Have you ever wanted her back?”
    “I used to. Not anymore. That’s all in the past. I’m more interested in the future. I have a birthday coming. It’ll be the first one in a while that I’ll be able to enjoy. A long while.”
    She smiled. “I’ll enjoy it with you.”
    He was about to kiss her, when the phone rang.
    Myth answered it. “Hello? Yes? Christ, Rogers, what makes you think you can—”
    She fell silent, and a tense, anxious look crossed her face. She glanced at Ken.
    “I’ll be right there,” she said.
    —
    Less than half an hour later, Myth walked down a grimy side street in the downtown area, five blocks from the Underground shopping and entertainment complex. As safe and well patrolled as the Underground center was, the surrounding area deteriorated rapidly, with each outlying block more seedy than the previous one. This was not a place for anyone—man or woman—to be walking alone in the middle of the night. She knew she shouldn’t have parked so far away, but Ken had insisted on riding with her, and

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