“Laz, baby, we’ve got trouble!”
Geordie stands in the doorway and pants. He looks terrified.
“Oh Gods, Geordie, you didn’t freak out on the cops?”
He puts his hands on his hips and looks indignant.
“Of course not! They’ve been absolute pets! I freaked out on a weird bloke claiming to be Mike’s ‘mate’ and helping him out with a ‘little problem’! He’s sent a hired killer after us, Laz! Now do you still think I’m over-reacting??”
“Geordie, I never said you were over-reacting.”
“You did too! All over your face!”
I sigh. Again. I don’t want to have this argument. I’m sick of it. Then the rest of his words sink in.
“Just wait – he’s sent someone after us? You sure?”
Geordie nods, bottom lip all a-quiver in a way that’s distractingly sexy.
“Sit down. Tell me exactly what he said.”
Geordie sits down in the spare office chair and starts swinging it round and round, side to side.
“He said, ‘I’m a mate of Mike’s – I’m here to help him with a little problem?’ And then he smiled, like he wasn’t about to shoot the crap out me!”
Fuck. Sounds as though the bastard’s changed his mind about the split-up.
I sit at home and think, or try to. That reaction from Mike’s neighbour was truly odd. Screaming and running away??
Unless, of course, they did know something. Had they seen Mike burying Linda? That would be enough to panic almost anyone. Especially with my dumb reference to being a mate of Mike’s. Huh. Well, there’s only one way I can think of to find out, except for creeping round their yard setting bugs.
I drive over to their house and knock on the door again.
Geordie comes running in again, shaking.
“He’s back!” he whispers.
“Let him knock!” I say, “Just don’t let the bastard in, whatever you do. OK? I really need to get some work done, honey.”
My hand hurts.
“MIKE. NEEDS. HELP!” I yell at the blank door. “I. WON’T. HURT. YOU! LOOK!” I hold up empty hands, “UN. ARMED!”
The door re-opens a crack.
“Promise!” I say, exasperated.
“Well… OK. But the first sign of misbehaviour, I smack you over the head with a frypan, comprende?”
Sure enough, he’s wielding a mean-looking iron skillet.
I traipse down the hall to refill my coffee cup. Voices? Geordie’s talking to someone, and I hear ‘Mike’ clear as day. That’s not good. I hurry down to the kitchen, and lo and behold! Geordie’s chatting away to the person who scared the crap out of him and who I specifically told him not to let in.
“Geordie! Darling! Who’s your little friend?” I ask, oozing charm.
“Lazarus, meet Trent! He’s not a hired gun after all! Poor little Mikey! He’s an exorcist, Mikey hired him to get rid of Linda’s ghost! He’s trying to find out where she’s buried, so he can do a proper exorcism, but of course he can’t ask Mikey, because Mikey’s in prison now, but I was about to tell him that that’s not going to help, because -”
“GEORDIE!” I interupt the flow of chatter, “Can I talk to you in the study for a second?”
I grab his arm and frog-march him to the study.
“Darling,” I say, “did it ever occur to you that he might be a cop?”
Geordie turns white.
I leave him standing in the study and head back to the kitchen.
“I’m so sorry to be rude,” I say, oozing charm again, “but Geordie’s a fervent Mormon, and he was about to launch into a lecture about souls and being earthbound and – well, you don’t want to hear all that rubbish, do you? So I thought I’d do the hospitable thing and ask him to shut the hell up. He’s in the study praying for us right now, I suspect! So – can I get you another coffee?”
Another excellent cup of coffee, and a whole new basket full of questions. These guys didn’t blink an eye at the news that Linda’s dead, although it isn’t common knowledge. And while they panicked when they thought I was a hit man, they calmed straight down when they’d decided I wasn’t. So it’s not Mike himself that scares them…
These guys are in it up to their necks.