All About the Money (A Jesse Watson Mystery Series Book 7) (25 page)

BOOK: All About the Money (A Jesse Watson Mystery Series Book 7)
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“Saved from what? Myself… or a man everyone adored? Nobody
knew what he was really like. They all loved him.”

“I’m sorry,
Savannah
. We didn’t know.”

“No, I guess you didn’t.” She climbed out of bed. “You’ve
seen those horrible pictures and you found the pills he stole, so if you don’t
mind, I’d like you to leave. You got what you came for.”

Billy motioned to me, but I wasn’t finished. “I just have one
last question for you,
Savannah
. Did you feed those pills to McCoy…
spike his drink, or his food? I mean, he deserved it, right? After all the bad
things he’s done to you, who would blame you?”

She could’ve said she didn’t do it, but she didn’t. She
looked me in the eyes and replied, “No matter what I say, you’re not going to
believe me, so I guess you’ll never know the truth. I hope you can live with
that.”

“All you have to say is you didn’t do it. Is that so hard?”

“I don’t have to tell you anything, so get out of my house
before I call the police. I can’t believe I ever trusted you and thought you
were my friend. You’re nobody’s friend.”

Billy grabbed my arm and said, “Come on, Jesse. We’re
finished here.” He looked at
Savannah
and said, “I’m sorry we bothered
you.”

“I’m not a bad person,”
Savannah
said. “I just married one.”

Billy and I turned and walked out.

Chapter 24

The news of our discovery had shocked Mom. She didn’t say
much, except that she was glad
Savannah
wasn’t the bad person she thought
she had become. She had been the victim. Mom was a little displeased that she
wasn’t going to get to play detective, but I assured her there’d be more jobs
to come, and that maybe she should wait until after the wedding to get started
on her new adventure. She agreed to put her desires on hold for the time being.
There would be plenty of time later.

It rained the day of McCoy’s funeral service, making
everything seem drearier than it already was. Black umbrellas lined the walkway
to the church. I was dressed in my fine hat, along with many other ladies,
while
Savannah
looked the part of the grieving
widow. She was wearing black from head to toe, the mesh veil of her hat
covering her face. The cut to her head and hands were only a memory now. Her
physical wounds had healed, but it would be a long time before the emotional
scars disappeared. She glanced at me in passing, but said nothing. Cole was by
her side.

After the service, McCoy’s body was flown to his hometown of
Fancy Gap for burial, accompanied by
Savannah
as planned. The following day she returned with her new son, Kaleb, who had
just turned a year old. A week later, she threw a party to welcome him into her
life, and invited everyone she knew, including all of us. So... we all
attended.

The whole situation between
Savannah
and McCoy had weighed heavily on my mind for the last
several days, but I was determined to get past it. Why spend the rest of my
life trying to figure it out? The autopsy report had not only confirmed that
massive amounts of prescription drugs were in McCoy’s system, but there were
also signs of long time drug abuse.
Savannah
hadn’t lied about that. And, yes, she had lied about a lot of penny ante stuff,
but what it all boiled down to was that she had suffered horrendously because
of that man. Whether or not she had put an end to it, or he had, it was
inevitable. Relationships like that seldom end well. It’s not my job to judge,
so I sucked it in, and attended her party. What else could I do, except move
on? I had proof of nothing.

Before the party ended, I saw a strange exchange between
Savannah
and her ex-assistant, Vera. They
appeared to be arguing about something, and when I walked up to them, they
stopped talking. Their abrupt silence was a sure sign there was something going
on.

“Is everything all right?” I asked them.

Savannah
was at a loss for words. Her face was flushed and she was terribly upset about
something, but she didn’t want to discuss it. She walked away without saying
anything.

I looked at Vera and asked, “Are you okay? She seemed so
angry about something. Is she mad at you?”

Vera shook her head and made the comment, “The things we do
for the ones we love.” She turned and walked off without another word.

I didn’t know what she meant, so I followed her to find out,
my need to snoop taking over. I stopped her before she made it to her car. “Is
there anything I can do to help? You and
Savannah
have been friends for so long, I hate to see it end like this. Do you want
someone to talk to? I’m a pretty good listener.”

“There’s nothing to say,” Vera replied. “
Savannah
doesn’t want me in her life
anymore.”

“Why? What happened?”

“You’ll have to ask her.” Vera got in her car and left.

I went inside the house looking for
Savannah
, and when I found her, she was in
the bathroom with the door locked. “Are you all right?” I asked, standing by
the door. “Is there anything I can do?”

Savannah
opened the bathroom door, her eyes filled with tears, and said, “She did it.”

“She did what?”

“She was the one who spiked his drink.” She looked at me.
“I’m sorry, Jesse. I should have just told you that I didn’t do it when you
asked me that day, but I knew you wouldn’t believe me. And I was angry that you
and Billy were searching through my stuff. I felt betrayed.”

I walked into the bathroom, closed the door, and then sat
down on the edge of the bathtub, while
Savannah
closed the lid on the toilet and sat down on it.

“Vera was in love with me,”
Savannah
continued. “I had no idea. It almost makes me sick to think
about it. I trusted her. She said she couldn’t stand the way McCoy treated me,
so she did something about it. I asked her what she had done, and that’s when
she told me she had spiked his drink. He had stopped by her place that day to
get her to help smooth things over with me, but, boy had he picked the wrong
person to ask for help. She hated him, and he didn’t even know it. They had a
drink, and that’s when she did it. She said she thought he would just overdose
and die later, but it didn’t turn out that way. When she heard about his death
on the news, she thought she was in the clear. She actually asked me if she
could come back to work for me. She said I would need her more than ever now
that I had a child to raise. Can you believe it? She told me she poisoned my
husband with drugs, and then she asks for her job back. She’s crazy if she
thinks I’m going to let her get anywhere near me and my child.

I reached over and put my hand on hers and said, “She cared
about you and she hated what he was doing to you, but what she did was wrong.
You were right to end your relationship with her. She’s dangerous and obviously
unstable. She belongs behind bars.”

“I have to call the sheriff and turn her in,”
Savannah
said. “She can’t get away with it.
As much as I loathed McCoy for being so bad to me, he didn’t deserve to die. He
needed professional help.”

“Don’t blame yourself,
Savannah
.
It’s not your fault.”

“I need to call Sheriff Hudson. He needs to be notified.”

“But you don’t have any proof,” I said. “It’ll be your word
against hers.” I let my mind wander for a minute, and then said, “I have an
idea. Wash your face and pull yourself together. I’ll go talk to Billy.”

I left
Savannah
in the bathroom while I went to get
Billy. The party had thinned out and the only ones left were Billy, Mom, Eddie,
and me. I gathered them together and filled them in on what
Savannah
had told me. “I have a plan,” I
said. “I’m going to take
Savannah
to Vera’s house, and get a
confession on tape.” I looked at Billy. “Show me how to record her using this
new cell phone.”

“How are you going to get a confession?” Mom asked.

Savannah
walked into the room carrying Kaleb. The two of them looked like they belonged
together. She adored him. I could tell from the look in her eyes.

“I guess Jesse told you about Vera.”

“I can’t believe it,” Mom said. “She seemed like such a
caring person. Her only concern was that
Savannah
was well cared for.”

“She was,”
Savannah
responded. “She really, really cared
about me.”

“Eddie and I can stay here and take care of Kaleb while
you’re gone. That is, if you want us to. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t
trust me anymore. I…”

“It’s all right, Minnie,”
Savannah
replied. “You just did what you thought was right. I told a lot of lies. I’m
not surprised you lost faith in me. But those days are over now. No more lies.
Take care of my boy while I’m gone.” She handed Kaleb over to Mom.

“He’s so cute,” Mom said. “He looks just like McCoy.”

“Yes, he does,”
Savannah
agreed, sadly. “His father was a mighty handsome man. Too bad he didn’t act as
pretty as he was. He would’ve made a fine husband, and he could’ve made me very
happy.”

We took
Savannah
’s green Mustang, while Billy
followed in the truck. He was going to be our backup in case the visit took a
turn for the worse. Surprisingly, Vera welcomed us when she answered the door.
She waved us in and said, “I hope you don’t mind the mess. I haven’t finished
unpacking. I’ve been a little slow settling in. The apartment’s small, but
it’ll do for the time being. Believe me, I’ve lived in worse places.”

She lived in a tiny apartment in a complex right off
Ford Avenue
in Stanardsville. It looked as if
she hadn’t been there long at all, because she had only unpacked a few boxes.

“It might not have to just do,” I said. “
Savannah
told me everything. She wants you to
come back. She needs you.”

Vera looked at
Savannah
and asked, “Is that true? You’re not mad at me anymore?”

“Of course, not,”
Savannah
replied. “If I were, I wouldn’t be here. I was just so shocked at first, but
now I’m okay with it. I’m glad you did it.”

I had my hand in my pocket, my finger poised on the button of
the cell phone. I pressed it without making a sound.

“McCoy was a bad man,”
Savannah
went on. “He hurt me in so many ways, but thanks to you, I don’t have to worry
about him anymore. I owe you a debt of gratitude.”

Vera hugged her and said, “I did it all for you. I hated him
for the way he treated you. He deserved to die.”

Here it comes… the confession.

Vera hugged
Savannah
again and said, “I’m so glad we’re
going to be together. We’ll be so much better off now that he’s gone.”

I thought Vera was going to kiss her, which would’ve grossed
me out, but she didn’t. She stepped back and then looked at me. “Why are you
here?”


Savannah
needed moral support,” I answered
quickly, sensing her suspicion. “She was afraid you would say no, and she
thought I might be able to convince you to come back. I hope you don’t mind. I hated
McCoy, too. If you hadn’t laced his drink, I probably would have. He was a
sorry excuse for a man.”

“You’re so right,” Vera agreed with zest. “Somebody should’ve
killed him a long time ago. He might not have been so bad if he’d stayed away
from the drugs, but he wouldn’t. I knew he was going to really hurt
Savannah
before it was over with. I was
afraid he’d kill her.”

“You stopped him dead in his tracks!” I laughed. “That rat! I
hope those pills ate up his insides!”

“I’m sure they did,” Vera chuckled. “I used enough to stop a
cow. I can’t tell you how good I felt watching him drink that junk.”

She had confessed, but I wanted more details on tape.

“Where did you get the drugs?”

“You don’t think he was the only one who could steal, do
you?” she boasted. “And the funny thing is—I stole most of them from him! I
knew where he kept the key, so one day when he was gone, I went in and stole a
handful. Just think, the drugs he loved so much turned out to be the cause of
his his demise.”

“And you helped it along.”

“I did more than help. I contributed to the delinquency of a
jerk.”

We all laughed.

“So you laced his drink, and then what happened? Did he start
foaming at the mouth?” I laughed again. “I would’ve loved to have seen that.”

“I don’t know,” Vera replied. “He left right afterwards. And
I’m glad he did, because I started thinking about what would happen if he died
right here. That wasn’t what I had planned.”

“So… you planned this in advance. How smart of you!”

“Yeah, it was just luck that he stopped by here. I didn’t
know when I’d get a chance to pull this off, but then the opportunity just fell
into my lap.”

“I’ve heard enough,”
Savannah
said. “I think I’m going to be sick. Where’s your bathroom?”

Vera pointed down the hall, and
Savannah
ran.

“Did I say something wrong?” Vera asked. “She seems so upset.
I thought she’d changed her mind and was happy that I got rid of McCoy.”

“Vera…” I said, hesitating. “Can’t you tell when you’re being
used? God, you’re so easy.”

“Yes, I can,” she replied, humbly. “I knew it the minute you
walked in that door and said she wanted me back. Don’t think I didn’t see the
hate in her eyes when I told her what I did. I knew she’d never forgive me… but
I was hoping. When you showed up, I knew everything was out in the open. I
guess I’ll have to turn myself in to the police.”

“I think you should,” I replied as I pulled the cell phone
from my pocket and pressed a key. “Did you get all that?” I asked Billy.

“Sure did,” he replied. “Got every last word.”

I looked back at Vera. “Now three people have heard your
confession. Normally, I’d just stick a gun in your face and haul you off to the
cops, but I can’t do that. So… I suggest you turn yourself in. As soon as we
leave, we’ll be calling Sheriff Hudson, so he can hear your confession.”

BOOK: All About the Money (A Jesse Watson Mystery Series Book 7)
13.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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