But she didn’t turn. She continued facing him. “Why, Windy? Surely you can’t seriously think you can get away with another murder? What’s the reason for my being up there at night? How will you explain this one?” God, please, she prayed, tell me the right time. “Now,” God said to her, but before she could move again, she was struck on the side of her head by her briefcase and fell to the ground. Winston stood over her and waved the gun at her, his eyes as cold and hard as his voice.
“Shut the fuck up, bitch. Just give me a minute to think.”
“No, Windy. They’ll know ...” she said slowly sitting up in the dirt and looking up at him. “They’ll know.”
“How will they know?” he said. “We’re all alone out here and it’s too far away for anyone to see or hear anything.”
“Let me stand up and I’ll show you.”
“Here, Windy, let me reach in my pocket so I can show you.” She moved her hand slowly toward her jacket pocket.
Winston had rolled off her in a flash, scrambling to quickly regain his feet. Once again, Maggie was astonished at his agility, telling herself she really shouldn’t be surprised by now. His old and feeble act was just that — an act.
She winced in agony, but said, “Just grand, Murphy. Just grand.”
“Get up, both of you,” Winston commanded harshly, breathing heavily. Colin put up a hand indicating his intention. Crawling over to Maggie, he noticed she was holding her arm. “You lied,” he whispered as he gently helped her up, positioning himself between her and the gun. Then he looked squarely at the other man and said in a strong voice, “Now what, Whitaker? She’s wired, I heard and recorded everything, and Chief Callahan is on his way.”
“No, Love, I was bluffing ... just like you. Nice job, by the way.”
What’s that smell, Maggie thought? Then her brain pushed past the pain, adrenaline pumping as she abruptly stood, backing fearfully into the wall saying, “Smoke ... he’s burning the trailer ... Colin, we’ve got to get out!”
“I’m going to let you down, but it will still be a drop for you, Maggie. Try to land on your left side, away from the glass. Understand?”
Looking up into his eyes, those amazing emerald eyes that had first attracted her to him, she knew she would be fine ... knew they both would be fine. She smiled and nodded and he smiled and gently let her go. Hitting the ground hard and rolling left just as she’d been told, she missed the glass, then everything went black.
“Getting there?” Maggie whispered.
Maggie looked down and said quietly, “No, probably not.”
“We did, on every key. About a week after the funeral I had a thought and went to Callahan. He checked it out. The letters used in the suicide note? Only those letters on the keyboard had microscopic pricks in their keys, like the one my pen knife put in the mousepad when I lit the screen that night. The killer used the tip of a knife to type the note, leaving only Jamie’s prints. If I remember right, the note had, let’s see, two c’s and something like eleven t’s and there were two corresponding pricks on the ‘c’ key and a matching number on the ‘t’. In any case, the pricks exactly matched the letters in the note.”
“Two? I only left one message,” Maggie said, interrupting him.
Colin continued, “Once I heard your message, I was afraid you’d found something we hadn’t—which obviously it seems you did— and I ran here from my studio to try to stop you from talking to Whitaker and raising his suspicions. I thought it might ruin our investigation. Sorry I didn’t call you, Callahan.” Looking back at Maggie, he said, “I did call you back, Maggie, but you didn’t pick up. Sorry I was a little late.”
“You will. My briefcase, out there in the dark someplace? I recorded it all.”
“No. I lived in D.C. when she was here in college, and Mom and Dad were never ones to pry. And when Mars died, we were so devastated we didn’t really want details. Then her roommate, Anna, she’d disappeared right after the funeral so there wasn’t anyone to ask. Funny, Marsha had told Mom that when she came home that summer she would have a surprise for us. Mom said she was so happy. I guess Mars thought she’d be engaged. And now to find out she didn’t ...” He sighed heavily, and wiped away his tears. “Thanks, Boss. It means everything to me. To my parents. I’ll need to go see them.”
“Oh, Maggie,” Sharon interrupted. “I just remembered ... I love the new couch you moved in the other day. I forgot to ask where you found it?”
“I didn’t find it,” Maggie said. “Colin did. Isn’t it perfect!”
Maggie’s heart swelled with love for this man who had transformed for her and with her. What a gift from God to have this life, she thought, especially after being blessed with another whole life before. It was as though she’d gotten her second wind. Thank you, God, she murmured for the ten thousandth time.
“Say!” Sharon cried, looking at Doug who quickly put his hands up and said, “I don’t, I won’t, I’m innocent!”
Surprise registered on Maggie’s face. “You’ve been to Rome?”