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

BOOK: All About the Money (A Jesse Watson Mystery Series Book 7)
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Tears filled McCoy’s eyes.

As much as I wanted to punch him out for what he had done to
Savannah
, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for
him. He’d made a mistake—a big one. It’s not as if McCoy sent Andrea to get rid
of his wife, so he could take up residence with her and their love child. He adored
Savannah
. He just made an egregious error in
judgment—one he would have to live with for the rest of his life.

Or… did he choose his mistress and his son over his wife. Did
he plan this out? Was he behind the whole thing? That thought just suddenly popped
into my head, but I brushed it aside. My imagination was playing tricks on me
again. What could I have been thinking? Yet, that thought just kept hanging
around.

A nurse rushed in and asked, “Is everything all right in
here? We can hear you all the way down the hallway.”

“Everything’s fine,” Billy stepped up and said. “Mrs. Kelley
is distraught, but she’s going to be okay.” He ushered the nurse out of the
room, returned to
Savannah
’s bedside and said, “You need to
talk with your husband. If not to straighten out your marriage, at least to
figure out how you’re going to handle the police and the press. You’re going to
need to stick by each other. This isn’t over yet.”

McCoy walked over to
Savannah
and said, “Billy’s right,
Savannah
. Now is not the time to turn our
backs on each other. I love you. I’ll do anything to fix this. Just give me a
chance.”

“I’ve given you too many chances, McCoy. This is it for me.
There’s nothing you can say or do to change my mind. What little trust I had
left in you is long gone.”

McCoy stepped back like a beat dog. He walked over to the
door, stopped, and then leaned against the wall in silence.

“You might want these,” I said as I pulled the packet of
photos out of my pants and handed them to her. “I thought I was helping you,
but I’m beginning to wonder it you didn’t send me after your keys because you
knew I’d snoop around.”

“I did,”
Savannah
replied. “I knew you’d see the
photographs, and I hoped you’d hide them for me. Taking them was probably the
best thing you could have done. If they had fallen into Sheriff Hudson’s hand,
I’d hate to think what would’ve come of it.”

“You used me.”

“Yes, I did. I didn’t know what else to do. I’m sorry.”

Savannah
had a surprised look on her face when I said, “I guess I can forgive you. I don’t
know. I’m going to have to think this one over.” I stepped back.

Surprised, indeed! Savannah Kelley was used to getting her
way. This wasn’t the norm for her. Perhaps this would give her something to
think about. Later, I would tell her that I wasn’t mad anymore.

Billy looked at Russell Shank, and then at
Savannah
. “It’s time for the truth if you
want our help. We’re not going to put our necks on the line unless you tell us
everything.”

Savannah
closed her eyes and said, “My head’s killing me. I can’t tell this story again.
It hasn’t changed since the last time I told it.”

“Humor me,” Billy said, determined to get his way. “Just
answer a few questions.”

“Hasn’t he already told you everything there is to tell?” she
asked as she pointed to McCoy. “Surely, by now he’s told you all the sordid
details of how he slept with his secretary, got her pregnant, sired a son with
his harlot, and then sent her to kill me.”

“What?” McCoy said as he rushed back over to her bed. “Did
she tell you that? I would never do that. I love you.”

“Yes, my dear. She said you planned the whole thing, and that
you sent her to kill me. At first, I didn’t believe her, but the more she
ranted, the more I wondered how much truth there was to her accusations. I
mean, you did have an affair with this woman.”

“One night! That’s all it was. One lousy night. I can’t help
it if she didn’t use birth control.”

“And you were too stupid to use a condom? God only knows what
kind of diseases I might wind up with because you couldn’t keep your pants zipped.”

“I was drunk. How many times do I have to say it? I was
drunk!”

“That’s enough,” Russell said, stepping closer. “There’s no
need for shouting. You’re upsetting my client.
Savannah
isn’t well.”

“You can say that again,” McCoy said in a loud tone. “She’s
lost her mind. I had nothing to do with Andrea’s sick plan. She went nuts when
I told her I was leaving the company and moving away, but I had no idea she
would do something like this. I didn’t think losing her job would be so
devastating. I told her I would do my best to find her another one. I paid her
rent, bought her a car so she’d have something decent for my son, and I gave
her plenty of money. She seemed content with the arrangement. She let me see
Kaleb anytime I wanted to. The minute I told her I was leaving, she went off on
me, but I thought she got over it. I guess she didn’t.”

“Stop!”
Savannah
demanded. “I don’t want to hear his
name ever again. He’s not my child.”

“Why? Because you’re jealous? You can’t have your own kids…”

Oops…

Savannah
gasped. “Get out of here!” she screamed at him. The look on her face clearly
showed that she was embarrassed by his announcement that she was infertile. No
woman wants that broadcast.

McCoy turned to walk out of the room when
Savannah
dropped another bomb on him. “She
was stealing money from you. I bet you didn’t know that, did you? She wanted
you, but until she could have you, she spent her free time stealing money from
your accounts. Not just one account, mind you, but all of them! I’m surprised
she didn’t steal any of my money. I guess I keep an eye on mine closer than you
do. Why am I not the least bit surprised?”

“That’s a lie! Why would she steal from me when I gave her
plenty? I provided her with everything she needed.”

“Because she could! You idiot!”

The nurse returned and demanded that we keep the noise down,
or we’d have to leave. It was our last warning. The next time she had to return
would be the last.

“That’s all right by me,” McCoy remarked. “I was just
leaving.” He turned and stormed out of the room.

Before leaving the room, the nurse apologized for the long
wait, and said that the doctor would be back very soon. Then
Savannah
could go home.

“I’m curious,
Savannah
,”
I said as I walked back over to her bed. “How did Andrea get past your security
gate?”

“I asked her and she said she got the code from McCoy.”

“Did she steal that as well, or did he give it to her?”

“She said that he gave it to her.”

“Why don’t we go on the assumption that pretty much
everything she told you was a lie,” Billy said. “The woman surely wanted your
man, but I don’t think he wanted her. Maybe that’s why she tried to get rid of
you. She thought he’d come running back to her once you were out of the
picture. They do share a son together. That’s a mighty strong hold on someone.”

“How many times has he cheated on you?” I broached the
subject. “Is this the second, third, or fourth time? Were there other women who
wanted your husband?”

“No, it was just this one time as far as I know. He could’ve
had more affairs. They say men who cheat once, usually cheat again.”

“Cheating… lies… they’re all the same,” Billy said. “One
small lie is nothing but a big lie in the making. If this is the only lie he
ever told you, then you’re pretty lucky.”

“I sure don’t feel lucky. Why didn’t the two… three… of them
just run off together and leave me alone? I could live with that, but I can’t
live with her being a part of our lives. I don’t want her or her son in my
life.”

“Because he didn’t want her,” I said. “He wants you. You know
your husband. Do you think he would choose her over you?”

“No, but he might choose his son over me. He always wanted a
child.”
Savannah
started crying. “Having a child has
always been important to McCoy. He’s told me that over and over.”

Russell reached over, picked up a box of Kleenex, and then
handed it to her. “Here you go,” he said. “You might want to think about what
Billy and Jesse are trying to tell you. McCoy would be a fool to pick anyone
over you. If you were my wife, I’d never leave your side.”

Hmmm.

Billy asked Russell if he could speak in private with him out
in the hallway. There was no doubt in my mind that he was going to tell him to
back off—
Savannah
was his client not a perspective
love interest.

After they left, I walked over closer to
Savannah
, leaned down and said, “We’re here
to help you because we care about you, but if you lie to us again, or try to
use us in any way, I ‘ll personally see to it that you burn for it.”

“What?”

“I’ll write you off as a friend, and I’ll tell my mother
why.”

“You don’t have to threaten me. I already said I was sorry. I
won’t hide anything from you ever again. I promise.”

“Sometimes sorry just doesn’t cut it. You of all people
should know that.” I turned and walked out of the room. Let her chew on that
for awhile. Much to my surprise, when I stepped into the hallway, Russell and
McCoy were on the floor, throwing punches. I looked up at Billy, who was
standing up against the wall with his arms crossed.

“Aren’t you going to stop it” I asked him. “They’re going to
kill each other.”

“I’m not even going to try. I know better than to get into
the middle of two men fighting over a woman. I’m the one who’d wind up getting
hurt. They’re on their own.”

“I don’t blame you,” I said as I backed up against the wall
next to him. “Let the hospital security team handle it.”

A few seconds later, two armed security guards arrived. They
broke up the fight, and then ushered both men out of the hospital.

“They won’t go to jail, will they?” I asked Billy.

“I doubt it, but they will be temporally banned from the
hospital.”

“I guess we should go back in and talk with
Savannah
. I had some pretty harsh words for
her before I walked out. She probably needs someone to talk to. If I play my
cards right, I might even get the truth out of her.”

That was a joke, but trouble was on the horizon. I could see
it coming.

Chapter 7

The minute the words were out of my mouth, Sheriff Wake
Hudson appeared from around the corner with two of his deputies following
behind him. One of those deputies was Cole James.

Cole was my first love interest when I moved to
Stanardsville. Somehow, he still has the power to make my heart flutter
whenever I see him… even if it’s only a little flutter. I guess that will go
away in time. I have my man.

“Nice little triangle we have going on here,” Sheriff Hudson
said. “I saw them haul out McCoy Kelley and Russell Shank. I knew they were
going to come to blows over
Savannah
. She’s a mighty attractive woman.”

“Don’t go getting yourself involved with her,” I said. “She
has enough men fawning over her. She doesn’t need any more.” I looked directly
at Cole and said, “Hello, Cole. How are you doing?”

“Just fine, thank you,” he replied, emotionless. “And
yourself?”

“Fine,” I replied, telling myself to let it go. He can be as
cold to me as he wants to be. I no longer cared. Those days have come and gone.

“What are you doing here?” Billy asked the sheriff.

“I have some questions for
Savannah
.”

“You can’t question her without her attorney present,” I
said, sternly. “And the hospital just kicked him out, so you’re out of luck.
Stay away from her. I know the law.”

“And which one just got kicked out?” Cole asked, almost
coldly. “Her husband or her new boyfriend?”

Now where did that come from? Why was Cole being so nasty
when it came to
Savannah
and the men in her life? Unless…

The sheriff shot Cole a dirty look, and then turned back to
me. “Jesse, you know me,” he said. “I’ll advise her of her rights before I
question her. I’ve been at this job too long to make a mistake like that.”

“If you’re going to advise her of her rights then that means
you’re going to arrest her. It was self-defense. You said so yourself. You
can’t be serious about taking her in.”

“We have new information that might dispute Mrs. Kelley’s
story.”

“What new information?”

“You know I can’t comment on an ongoing investigation.”

Billy and I stared at each other in disbelief, both of us
sharing the same thought. It was quickly becoming apparent that
Savannah
had many secrets according to
Sheriff Hudson’s statement. But what were those secrets?

“And you’re going to arrest her right here in the hospital?
It can’t wait until she gets home? Do you have any idea how much the press is
going to love this? I saw a Channel 29 News van outside. They’ll have a field
day with this.”

“She’s a flight risk.”

“Says who? You can’t think for a minute that
Savannah
’s going to run, do you? That’s
nuts!”

“She’s rich, and murder is a serious offense.”

I gasped at the thought. I was shocked and upset. Sheriff
Hudson was here to arrest
Savannah
! I wanted to scream at him and tell
him he was out of his mind, but I didn’t. The look on his face was too scary,
and I didn’t want to get arrested.

The sheriff hesitated, turned to Billy, and then said, “Oh,
by the way. We just arrested two teenagers and charged them with arson in the
Flo Garner case. A neighbor came forward and gave us a description of the two
guys she saw hanging around just before the place went up.”

“Are you sure they’re the ones who did it?” I asked, trying
to seem like I had calmed down somewhat.

“Oh, yeah,” he replied, and then smiled. “This isn’t the
first time these boys have had a run-in with the law. I knew who they were the
minute the witness gave me their description. Plus, it didn’t hurt that the
daughter of the neighbor knew the boys—names, addresses, the whole bit. She
went to school with them before they dropped out. She said that the kids at
school were afraid of them. They’re nothing but trouble. That’s for sure.”

“Did you get a confession out of them?”

“No, they lawyered-up. Got themselves a big-time
Charlottesville
attorney—Roger Damon.”

“Never heard of him,” I said.

“He’s good. Unfortunately, he gets a lot of bad guys off.”

“Do you think he’ll get them off? You have enough evidence on
the boys, don’t you? You know they did it.”

“No, he won’t get them off. He’ll plea bargain. They’ll do
some time. How much just depends. We have two eyewitnesses who can place them
at the scene, so we got ‘em. We just have to put them away.” The sheriff turned
and walked into
Savannah
’s room. His deputies followed.
Someone closed the door.

I looked at Billy and said, “I guess that lets Downer Rhodes
off the hook. They caught the guys.”

“Not necessarily. Punk kids like that don’t have the kind of
money it takes to hire an attorney like Roger Damon.”

“Do you know… never mind. I’m sure you do. You know
everybody. Was Roger Damon an old friend of yours or Jonathan… or …”

“He represented a friend of mine. The guy was guilty, and
Roger got him off. I lost all respect for Mr. Damon after that. You have to
have some integrity. A lawyer chooses his clients, not the other way around.”

“Then who’s picking up the tab?”

“I’d like to know the answer to that myself.”

Billy went to grab the doorknob, but stopped when Cole
appeared from inside the room. He took a step back and waited.

“You know the drill,” Cole said. “You can’t go in there. I’m
here to see to it that you don’t.”

“Just a minute, Cole,” Billy said. “How do we know that
Savannah
’s being treated fairly… by the book?
She doesn’t have her lawyer present. I’d have to testify in court that she
didn’t have counsel to advise her. How would that look for your case?”

“You know the drill,” I added, sarcastically.

Cole rolled his eyes and then stepped back into the room.
Before he could come back out, the doctor arrived. He went into the room, and
then a few seconds later, Sheriff Hudson and his deputies emerged. The sheriff
didn’t look too happy.

“What’s he trying to pull?” I whispered to Billy.

“Intimidation,” Billy responded, quietly. “I’m sure he
advised her of her rights, and then said something to the effect that if she
wasn’t guilty, she shouldn’t need a lawyer.”

“Can he do that?”

“I most certainly can,” the sheriff said. “You know I can
hear everything you say.”

Cole laughed at us. I wanted to slap him.

The doctor walked out of the room, closing the door behind
him. “Mrs. Kelley’s being released,” he said, and then looked at me. “She asked
for you.”

The sheriff stepped forward, but the doctor held up his hand
and said, “She’s getting dressed. You can see her when she’s finished. She’s
not going anywhere.”

“That’s what I tried to tell him,” I said before slipping
into
Savannah
’s room. I closed the door and turned
to see
Savannah
fully clothed, sitting on the
hospital bed. “Things have taken a turn for the worst, haven’t they?” I sat
down next to her on the bed. “The sheriff’s going to arrest you as soon as you
walk out that door. I guess you know that by now, don’t you? What did you tell
him?”

“I didn’t tell him anything,”
Savannah
replied. “My husband’s a lawyer, remember? I knew better
than to say a word.” She looked at me as a tear slid down her face. “But I’m
going to jail.”

“Don’t worry about that. You know McCoy will bail you out.
He’s your husband, and even after all this, he still loves you. He’ll be there
for you all the way.”

“I can’t believe it!”
Savannah
exclaimed. “I’m going to prison because of a stupid email! I sent that email
awhile back. I wasn’t serious. I was just responding to one she’d sent me. I
never meant…”

“What email?”

“Sheriff Hudson had a copy of an email I sent to Andrea,
telling her that if she wanted to talk with me, she knows where I live—maybe
not in such a pleasant way. The email was pretty rude.”

“You invited her to your house?”

“I didn’t think she’d come. Besides, she didn’t even call or
email me to set up a time.”

“Murder isn’t something you make an appointment for,
Savannah
. If that’s what she really had in
mind.”

“It was, Jesse, I swear!”

“All the sheriff has is an email? That’s not enough
evidence.” I looked at her, took her by the shoulders and asked, “Is that all,
or is there more?”

“He has a picture of the three of them at the hospital. He
found it in her car along with the crumpled up printout of the email. I tried
to tell him that McCoy had a drunken one night stand with Andrea… nothing more.
It didn’t mean anything. We worked through it. It was over.”

A lie.

“Let’s get this over with,” I said. “There’s not much more we
can do for you, but we’ll find McCoy for you as soon as we leave the hospital.”

“No,”
Savannah
said. “Find Russell. He’s my
lawyer.”

As soon as we stepped out of the room, Deputy James walked up
and said, “Savannah Kelley, you’re under arrest for the murder of Andrea Holt.”
He handcuffed her wrists and continued, “You have the right to remain silent.
Anything…”

Savannah
jerked her hand as if by doing so she was going to release herself from the
restraint. Then she started yelling at the police officers. Her wild outburst
shocked us all. Even Billy was stunned—and there’s not much that shocks him.

“Where’s my husband?” she screamed. “It’s his fault I’m in
this mess! I didn’t do anything wrong. Go get him. Make him tell you the truth.
He sent that woman to kill me. They planned the whole thing together. Too bad
their plan fell through. I didn’t die! How do you like that now, McCoy Kelley
and Andrea Holt?”

“You need to calm down,” Sheriff Hudson said. “You don’t want
to add resisting arrest to the list of charges.”

“What list?” I demanded. Neither the sheriff nor his deputies
would answer my question.

Savannah
became silent. She was finally beginning to realize the dire situation she was
in. She looked up at Billy and asked, “Would you go get Russell? I guess I’m
going to need his help after all.”

“I don’t know where he is. Security kicked him and McCoy out
of the hospital for fighting. I’ll see if I can find him. I’ll call Russell’s
cell phone as soon as I get outside.”

“McCoy and Russell were fighting over me?”
Savannah
seemed to take some pleasure in
knowing that two men were going at it because of her. I found it appalling.
Here she was, being arrested for murder, and all she could think about was…

“I guess you think I’m a pretty bad person, but I swear to
you, Billy, I didn’t murder Andrea Holt. It was self-defense. I swear.”

“I believe you, but that’s not for me to decide,” Billy
replied as the police were leading her away. “We’ll do what we can to help
you.”

All eyes were on
Savannah
as the police escorted her out of the hospital. She hung her head and cried the
whole way. Once outside, the press swarmed her. It must have been a terrible
ordeal for her to go through, but at least Sheriff Hudson and his deputies did
their best to shield her from their relentless questions.

I felt so sorry for
Savannah
.
Her life was about to take a drastic turn, and not for the best. Her name would
be dragged through the mud, and her readers would desert her in droves. She was
about to fall from grace—something from which she would never recover.

“This looks really bad for
Savannah
,” I said to Billy as we walked to the parking garage. “I
don’t think she realizes how much.”

Thunder rumbled overhead. A streak of lightning flashed
against the darkened skies as a summer storm headed our way. I looked up and
made a comment about how I hated to be out in bad weather.

“It’s going to get a lot worse, and I’m not just talking
about the storm that’s brewing.”

We reached the truck just before the bottom fell out. The
rain came down hard, and the thunder intensified along with the lightning
flashes. I cringed every time I heard a boom or saw a flash.

“Why don’t you slide over next to me and close your eyes
until we get home. I’ll keep you safe, `ge ya.”

“And not wear my seatbelt? Are you crazy? What if something
happened? Mom would have a fit. I’d never live it down.”

“There’s a middle seatbelt next to me,” Billy offered. “Dig
around for it. I know it’s there somewhere.”

I did as Billy suggested. I scooted over next to him, dug out
the seatbelt, and then lay my head on his shoulders as I closed my eyes for the
drive home. It was nice just to be close to him.

BOOK: All About the Money (A Jesse Watson Mystery Series Book 7)
7.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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