Friday, November 23, 2007

Chapter Sixty-Two

Bonnie Jaffe walked through the front door followed by a uniformed officer. “I don’t remember leaving that light on.”

They came inside and went straight to the Senator’s office. “I left them right here on the desk. Someone has taken them.”

The officer looked at her suspiciously. “You’re quite sure that this is where you left the letters?” He opened and closed the drawers and looked under and around the desk. “They’re not here. Have you checked your purse? Maybe you took them with you without remembering.”

“No. They were right there.”

Carl Stone listened from the guestroom upstairs. He knew that in a few minutes the policeman would leave. Bonnie Jaffe would come upstairs alone after stopping briefly at the bar to pour herself a liberal ration of the Senator’s whiskey. He only had to wait. She’d been to the police. He could imagine what she’d told him. If she’d read the letters – and he was sure that she had – she knew about the Senator’s affair with Victoria Sherwood. Somehow she had managed to connect Sherwood to the murdered girl and she had gone to the police to tell them her husband was a killer. When she came upstairs he’d give her time to finish her drink then he’d kill her. If anyone deserved to die, she did.

“Officer, before your leave, would you walk through the house and make sure he’s not here.” Bonnie Jaffe was worried. The person who took the letters could still be in the house.

The officer wasn’t anxious to get back. Detective Jacoby wasn’t going to be pleased when he showed up without the letters. Not to mention the fact that Mrs. Jaffe seemed genuinely concerned. “Sure. You wait here, Mrs. Jaffe. I’ll take a look around.

As the officer reached the top of the stairs there was a noise from the room on his right. He drew his revolver. “Come out with your hands above your head.”

On the other side of the door Stone cursed silently and looked anxiously around the room for somewhere to hide. He slipped into the closet just as the bedroom door opened. He cursed the Senator’s wife and the cursed himself for being so careless. From his hiding place, he listened as the officer moved about the room.

“Mrs. Jaffe. I told you to stay downstairs.” The bitch must have followed the officer upstairs.

“I was nervous down there by myself. Why do you have your gun drawn?”

“I thought I heard something in here, but it must have been those blinds.” The wind was blowing through the open window causing the wooden blinds to clatter against the sill. He closed the window. “You’ve got me jumpy now.” He left her alone in the guest room and went across the hall to the Senator’s room. He continued until he had checked the whole house.

When he returned, Mrs. Jaffe was sitting on the bed holding the letters. “I feel like an idiot. I must have brought them upstairs with me. They were lying right here on the bed.” She handed the letters to the officer. On the other side of the closet door, Stone bit his lip to keep from cursing out loud. He had been sitting on the bed holding the letters when he’d heard the car doors slam. He must have left them behind when he went to the window to look out.

“I’ve been through the whole house, Mrs. Jaffe. There’s no one here. You’ve had a long day. Why don’t you try to get some sleep? I can see myself out. Good night.”

“Good night, officer. Thank you.”

Bonnie Jaffe heard the front door close. She considered going downstairs for a drink but suddenly she was too tired to move. Too tired even to change into her gown. She slipped off her shoes and turned off the light on the bedside table. The officer was right. It had been a long day.



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