All About the Money (A Jesse Watson Mystery Series Book 7) (22 page)

BOOK: All About the Money (A Jesse Watson Mystery Series Book 7)
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Sarah and Helene hugged him. Billy and Chief Sam shook his
hand.

“I told her the truth, and she couldn’t resist my charm.”

“Right,” I muttered.

“How about a drink?” Billy asked him.

“No, thanks,” Jonathan answered. “I’m going home and go to
bed. It’s been a mighty long day.” He looked at the television, and then back
to us. “So… y’all been watching the news?”

“Every last, dirty bit,” I said.

“If it hadn’t been for you, that gun might’ve never been
found. If Bruno had gotten his hands on it again, it surely would’ve
disappeared forever... never to be found.”

“And he would never know that his sister killed his wife,” I
added.

“See… that’s what I’m talking about,” Jonathan went on. “At
least the truth came out. Sorry about the fallout.”

“Actually, as far as I know,” Billy said, “they haven’t
proved  Wynona was the shooter. It was her gun, but can they prove she fired
the shots?”

“What does it matter?” Jonathan asked. “The gun’s off the
streets.”

“And Wynona’s dead,” Sarah added. “If she didn’t kill those
people, then who did?”

“That’s for the cops to determine,” Billy said. “We’re out of
it.”

“But don’t you want to know?” she asked.

“No, Mom,” Billy replied. “I don’t. I’ve had enough of Wynona
and her little soap opera. I have a jobless future to plan.”

“We’re not jobless,” I said, looking at Billy. “Now that we
have Mom and Eddie on our team.” I looked at Jonathan. “We just hired my mother
and Eddie to be us.”

“This ought to be a treat,” Jonathan said with a surprised
look on his face. “You never know. It might just work out.”

“And we’ll probably need your help now more than ever,” Billy
added.

“As long as you can keep your hands off Deanna,” I said. “I
can’t deal with all that drama again. Too much stress.”

“You don’t have to worry about me ever again,” Jonathan
replied. “I’ve learned my lesson.”

“We’ll see,” Helene said under her breath. “I’ll be watching
you, pretty boy, so you’d better behave yourself.”

The conversation ended and Jonathan, Chief Sam, and Sarah
said their goodbyes, leaving for the evening. We would talk again tomorrow.

“It’s time to put the little ones to bed,” Billy said as he
walked over and picked them both up in his big, strong arms. “Give everyone a
kiss.” He looked down at Athena and Thor as they jumped to attention and said,
“Come on, rug rats. You must stand guard over our children.”

After many hugs and kisses, the kids were tucked safely in
bed, and then Helene retired for the night. Billy and I sat in the den having
one last drink and talking about our plans before turning in.

“This might not be so bad,” he said. “It sure will give us
more time with the kids.”

“I wouldn’t bet on it. We’ll probably spend most of our time
at the office trying to keep the business going. We can’t do much else.”

“Sure we can. There’s plenty we can do.”

“Like what?”

“Oversee your mother and Eddie. They’ll need our guidance.
There’ll probably be a lot of on the job training… if you know what I mean.”

“No, I don’t. What do you mean?”

“We can’t send them out on a stakeout, or any job for that
matter, without proper training. To train, we must supervise. It could take six
months to get them in shape.”

“What you’re saying is that we’re still going to work.”

“As much as we can without getting caught. We’ll have to be
wise in our decision making. I know I’ve slipped in that department here
recently. I trusted the cops in that drug bust awhile back, and look where it
got me. I listened to Jonathan’s heart and not my head, and look where that got
me. I must make better choices. We’re going to change our strategy.”

“I don’t know what you have in mind, but I’m with you, Tonto.
This squaw will follow you anywhere… do anything. Tell me what you want.”

“I want to go to bed and make love to my beautiful wife.” He
leaned over and kissed me lightly on the lips. “What do you think?”

“We could be adventurous and make love under the stars. It’s
a lovely night outside.”

“I’ve had enough adventure for awhile. Let’s just do what
most people do, and use the bed.”

“Party pooper.”

The evening ended on a very pleasant note.

Billy fell asleep almost immediately, but I couldn’t. I lay
in bed wide-awake, until I finally decided to do something about my insomnia.
My anxiety was on the edge, so I figured a tranquilizer would calm me down and
help me fall asleep. I crawled out of bed and tiptoed to the dresser to get the
pills from my purse. After digging around and not being able to find the
bottle, it dawned on me that I shouldn’t take a tranquilizer after drinking
alcohol anyway—but where was my bottle of pills? I always kept that bottle in a
zipped compartment so it wouldn’t fall out of my purse, and end up in the wrong
hands. Pills like that would kill a child if ingested all at once.

The very first thing that flashed in mind was the time I
walked into the living room and saw
Savannah
handling my purse. She said the cat had jumped up on the table and knocked it
off. She was just putting the contents that had spilled out back in. I didn’t
think anything about it at the time, but I sure did now. Had she taken my
bottle of pills? And if so, why? She had her own prescription for Clonazepam.
She said so today.

The next thing I thought about was if the pills could’ve
fallen out and were lying under a chair just waiting to be found by tiny
fingers. But that thought went as fast as it came. Hawkeye Helene would’ve
discovered them the second the bottle hit the floor. She doesn’t miss anything,
and she keeps this house spotless.

I left the purse, walked to the kitchen, and then took out
the bottle of bourbon from under the sink. I twisted off the cap, took a big
swig, and then put the cap back on. I left the bottle sitting on the counter,
and walked back to the bedroom. As soon as my head hit the pillow, I dozed off
and the nightmares started.

Savannah
was standing at the counter in her kitchen, pouring pills and booze into a food
processor. She had a sadistic, evil look on her face as she blended, folded,
and grated her concoction of poison. She poured the potion into a huge glass,
and then walked over to McCoy, who was tied to a chair. Cole held McCoy’s head
back as
Savannah
emptied the glass down his throat.
Then the two of them started stuffing pills into his mouth. They stuffed and
stuffed until the pills started falling out of the sides. Cole and
Savannah
picked up every fallen one, and
shoved them back in. Suddenly, McCoy’s head exploded, and all that was left was
a big pile of pills.

The head exploding thing woke me. I lay there, looking around
in the dark and wondering if there was anything to my nightmare. My dreams
always have had something to do with what was going on in my life at the time.
Did this one have any meaning to it? Was my subconscious trying to tell me
something? And if so, maybe next time it won’t be so graphic. Seeing a person
being violently force-fed a massive dose of drugs is an ugly sight. One that
isn’t easily forgotten. That image will be in my mind long after the dream has
worn off.

Pills had turned McCoy into a raving lunatic, but had he
taken them willingly, or had he been given them on the sly by someone he
trusted?

Jumping to conclusions was something I had a habit of doing,
but this time I was positive of one thing—
Savannah
had taken my pills and used them on her husband. Unfortunately, I couldn’t
prove my suspicions, so I went back to sleep.

Another bad dream came. This time, Wynona was standing in my
living room with a handgun pointed at us. She started shooting, and I watched
my whole family fall right in front of my eyes. Blood was everywhere. She aimed
the gun at me, and when it went off, I woke up.

The sun was out and another day was beginning, but all I
could think about was the horrible dreams I had during the night. The visions
seemed so real. I could almost smell
Savannah
’s
perfume, and I’ll never forget the look of fear McCoy had on his face while he
was being fed the pills. He was so helpless.

As far as the dream about Wynona was concerned—I was going to
put that one out of my head. She couldn’t hurt my family. She was dead. I got
out of bed and headed to the bathroom. I freshened up and then walked out to
the kitchen, following the pleasant smell of coffee.

“Good morning, everyone,” I said as I walked over, kissed
everyone including Helene, and then made my way over to the counter. “I need
coffee right now.”

“You’re just in time for breakfast,” Billy said, sitting at
the table. “I made pancakes and sausages. Help yourself.”

“Why am I always the last one to get out of bed? What time
did y’all get up?”

“Very early,” Billy replied. “I’ve already talked with your
mom. They’re coming over for lunch, and we’re going to get things rolling.
They’re both very excited and anxious to get to work.”

“I bet they’re ready to start their new job as soon as possible.
I know Mom sounds excited about working with us.”

“I think this could work, `ge ya.”

“I think it will. I need to call her before she leaves the
house.”

“Why?”

“I had a dream last night.”

“Let’s hear it,” Helene said. “You have the wildest dreams.
What did you dream about this time? Who died? Who did you kill? Who killed you?
I hope I survived this one.”

“I’d rather not talk about it just yet. I need some answers
to confirm my suspicions, before I say anything. I don’t want y’all to think
I’m jumping to conclusions again.”

“Not you!” Helene joked.

I had a question that was bugging me, and I wasn’t going to
stop until I got an answer. Mom had that answer.

Chapter 22

Unlike most people, I’m not a big fan of sausage, so I
grabbed a pancake, poured syrup on it, and then rolled it up. I stood by the
sink, drinking my coffee and eating my version of breakfast. After my delicious
meal, I grabbed my cell phone out of the back pocket of my cargo shorts, and
walked out of the room. I had a burning question that I had to ask my mother.

“Hello,” Mom said after two rings. “What’s going on, Jesse?”

“Why do you think something’s going on? Can’t I call my
mother just to say hello?”

“Not when you know we’ll be over there soon and can talk
then. Something must be important, or you’d wait until I got there. What is
it?”

“I want to ask you something, and I don’t want you to take
offense, and I don’t want you to ask me a bunch of questions. I have my
reasons. Is that okay with you?”

“Okay, honey. Ask me.”

“Remember those pills Dr. Bryant gave you a couple of years
ago called Clonazepam? He gave them to you for stress.”

“How could I forget? He prescribed them for me so I wouldn’t
go crazy after I killed Kansas Moon. I didn’t take any of them. You know how I
am about taking pills. If I don’t have to, I won’t. Pills can be so bad for
you. I avoid them whenever I can get away with it.”

“Okay. Whatever. We’ve talked about this before. It’s not as
if you murdered that crazy man. You were defending yourself. Stop saying you
killed him as if you went out and shot him in the head for no reason. Please,
Mama.”

“I’m sorry. I think about it often, and now talking about it
to you brings it all back.”

“I’m sorry, Mama.”

“What’s your question, Jesse?”

“Do you still have those pills?”

“Yes, why? Do you need some?”

“No, Mama. Where are they?”

“They’re in my top dresser drawer. I put them there to keep
them out of the reach of the kids. I even keep my aspirin there. They say not
to put them in the bathroom cabinet…”

“Would you go and see if they’re still there?”

“Sure, honey. Hold on. I’m going right now.” A few seconds
later, she said, “The bottle’s still here, Jesse.”

“How many pills were in the prescription, and how many do you
still have in the bottle?”

“You want me to count them right now?”

“Yes, I do, Mama.”

“The prescription is for thirty pills, so there should be
thirty pills in the bottle.”

“Open the bottle and count how many are in there. Would you
do that for me, please?”

“Sure, honey. I’ll have to lay the phone down. I can’t count
and…”

“That’s fine, Mama. Just do it, okay?”

A minute or two later Mom said, “Jesse, there’s only nine in
the bottle. There should be thirty. What’s this all about?”

“It’s about secrets, Mom. Big secrets. I’ll tell you all
about it when you get here.”

“If you won’t tell me now, it must have something bad to do
with
Savannah
. I’m no fool. I’ve gotten over my
unbridled faith in her. I’m not as naive as you might think, my dear. You can
tell me.”

“I think she fed those pills to McCoy… somehow… someway… and
I don’t think he ever suspected a thing. McCoy wasn’t the kind of man who’d
kill himself, and he surely wouldn’t take a bunch of pills after having
suffered through a stroke—knowing he could be left paralyzed. It doesn’t jive.
Something is wrong here. I think she stole pills from her friends, and
stockpiled them until just the right time.”

“Can you prove it?”

“Not a word.”

“Then what does it matter?”

“I want to know, and McCoy deserves better.”

“If what you’re saying is true, the only way we’ll get the
truth out of her is if she confesses, and if she’s guilty, she’s not going to
admit it. As the old saying goes—only two people know the truth, and one of
them is dead. What does Billy have to say about this?”

“I haven’t told him yet.”

“Tell him. Maybe she took pills from somebody else. He can
check it out. See if there’s a pattern here.”

“You sound like Lu Ann, our profiler. Speaking of
which—Jonathan told her about his fling with Deanna, and she says she can deal
with it. Is she not the coolest person?”

“So, he says.”

“Who cares? They’re not going to let this minor indiscretion
destroy their relationship. Jonathan belongs with Lu Ann. He messed up by
cavorting around with Deanna, but it meant nothing. And… it straightened his
butt out. He’ll never do that again.”

“Let’s hope not.”

“He won’t. Trust me. He’s learned his lesson.”

“Let’s put our thinking caps on, Jesse, and talk more about
this when I get there.”

“Sounds like a plan to me.”

“The plans are yet to come.”

“You can say that again!”

I closed up my cell phone and walked back into the kitchen.
“I’m ready to talk about my dreams now,” I said, sitting down at the table. “I
think I’ve come up with some new developments.”

“We’re listening.”

“Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I got up to take one of my
pills, and the whole bottle was missing. Helene, I did what you told me to do
awhile back, and I put them in the zipped pouch on the inside of my purse.
There’s no way they could’ve fallen out.”

“What do your missing pills have to do with anything? Maybe
you put them in a drawer somewhere.”

“No, they were in my purse. Then I remembered the time I
caught
Savannah
going through my bag. She said the
cat knocked it on the floor, and she was just picking it up. It didn’t alarm me
them, but it does now. So, I figured if she took my pills, she might’ve taken
someone else’s pills. I called Mom to see if she still had the ones Dr. Bryant
gave her awhile back. She still had them, so I got her to go check, and sure
enough, there were only nine pills left in the bottle. There should’ve been
thirty.”

“I don’t get where you’re going with this,” Helene said,
confused.

“I do,” Billy said, with a knowing look on his face. “You
must be talking about your Clonazepam. They’re the only pills I know you have.
Right? You don’t take any I don’t know about, do you?”

“No, I don’t. My point is, Mom has a prescription for the
same kind of medicine. Mine’s gone, and most of hers is missing, and she said
she didn’t take any of them... well... maybe one. What does that tell you?”

“And you think
Savannah
stole them?” Helene deduced. “Why would she do that? She takes the same stuff.
I’m sure she has her own prescription, and if she ran out, I’m more than sure a
doctor would gladly refill it for her.”

“That’s my point, and any doctor wouldn’t hesitate to give
her a refill. She could get all she wanted, pretty much.”

“Don’t they keep a close eye on controlled substances like
that?”

“Yes, they do,” Billy added. “If someone wanted more than a
doctor would prescribe, they’d have to get it somewhere else. If that’s the case,
they usually resort to stealing.”


Savannah
told us she takes Clonazepam. It was
one of the drugs she claims McCoy stole from her. But… I just don’t buy into
the whole bit about his deliberately taking the overdose of pills, and after
that dream last night, I’m convinced he didn’t. I’m positive
Savannah
’s the one who did it. She crushed
the pills into a fine powder, put them in a drink, and then gave him the drink.
The drugs didn’t kill him, but they sent him into a psychotic state, which in
turn, was the precipitating factor that led to his death. If I could prove it,
she’d be charged with his murder.”

“You’d have to prove she was the one who drugged him, but you
can’t,” Helene offered. “You didn’t see her do it, and neither did anyone else.
If somebody had seen her do, they would’ve come forward by now.”

“It’s like Mom said, she’d have to confess. I’m good at
getting people to tell me their juice. Sometimes they even like to brag. I know
I can get
Savannah
to confess, but I need evidence to
hold over her head. I need that empty bottle.”

“What bottle?” Helene asked.

“The bottle of pills she stole from me.”

“If she did steal your pills, and I’m not saying she did, you
don’t really think she’d keep the empty bottle, do you? She’d have to be nuts.
It’s incriminating evidence. It’s hard to lie your way out if the proof is
staring you right in the face.”

“I don’t know if she kept the bottle, but I know someone who
does. I could ask Lu Ann. She’s a criminal profiler.”

“You’ve been watching that television show too much,” Helene
joked. “You don’t really think you can catch a criminal by profiling their
behavior, do you? If that was the case, all the bad people in the world would
be in jail.”

“Yes, I do,” I said, and then looked over at Billy. “You
haven’t had much to say. Do you think I’m crazy? I know it was just a dream,
but I think there’s something to it. I can’t grasp the concept that McCoy took
those pills voluntarily. I’m sorry, but I just can’t.”

“McCoy was murdered,” Billy said, insistently. “That has been
my thought all along. He would not do what they say.”

“But... you said...”

“What I think or might say is not what I can prove. Your
theory sounds plausible. I’m sure you have a plan. What is it?”

“We break in and search her house. We confront her with the
pill bottle, and make her talk.”

“I don’t want to hear this,” Helene said. “And perhaps the
kids shouldn’t either.” She looked at Ethan and Maisy. “Would y’all like to
take the dogs outside and play?”

The kids were thrilled. They loved to roll around in the
grass with the beasts. I think they liked that better than playing with their
toys.

Billy and I gathered up the kids and took them outside.
Helene followed, with the dogs trailing behind her.

“It’s a beautiful day,” Billy said, looking up at the sky. “The
fresh air is good for them.”

“We’ll be fine,” Helene said as she motioned for us to leave.
“Go plan your illegal activities.”

Billy and I went back inside to do just that.

“Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to call Lu Ann,” I said
as I grabbed my coffee cup and walked over to the pot. “She knows the
situation. If we ask her to give us a quickie profile on
Savannah
, she might just tell us I’m right...
or that I’m wrong. What would it hurt? We have an awful lot on the line.
Breaking into someone’s house might just void our contract. Don’t you think?”

Billy pulled out his cell phone and said, “I like your
suggestion. Let’s give her a call. She might tell us something we’d never
thought of. I’m sure she has an insight into situations like this—a situation
like
Savannah
’s in. Do you want to talk to her, or
do you want me to?”

“It doesn’t matter. Make the call.”

Lu Ann confirmed my suspicion. “They almost always keep a
memento from their victim,” she said, her voice coming through the speakerphone
on Billy’s cell. “Whether it’s to remind them of how bad they’ve been, or to
validate their accomplishments, they’ll keep something. The item doesn’t have
to be anything special. Just something... anything. An empty pill bottle
wouldn’t be unheard of. If she stole the pills and did what you said, she most
likely still has the bottle. It would give her comfort to know she got over on
everyone. She’d take pride in her memento, and most likely, she’d put it
someplace special… like in a drawer… on a shelf in the closet... or in a
jewelry box.”

“That does it for me,” I said. “I’m ready to shake her down!
Let’s take out the trash, baby.”

“Keep in mind she’s unstable. When you confront her, she
might not go along with your offer to let her turn herself in. She’ll fight
back, and if she does, she’s going to be very dangerous.”

“And what’s she going to do?”

“Kill you in your sleep.”

“Oh, come on, Lu Ann! She’s not a killer.”

“That’s not what you’ve been telling me for the last ten
minutes. Look, Jesse. It doesn’t matter how or why she kills. The point is, she
does. A killer is a killer.”

“Okay. I’ll keep that in mind, but I don’t think there’s
going to be a problem. We’re not going to jump in until we’ve devised a good
plan. A way in and a way out, so to speak. We have too much to lose.”

“I’d say you do. If Sheriff Hudson even smells an odor coming
from your direction, he’ll crucify you. This time, you will go to jail.”

“I know. We both do.”

“Be careful, and if you need reinforcements, I’ll send
Jonathan over.”

“You’re a good woman, Lu Ann.”

“Keep me informed in case I need to bail you out of jail.”

“Thanks, girl.”

BOOK: All About the Money (A Jesse Watson Mystery Series Book 7)
8.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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