One Night Stands And Lost Weekends Page 59


’’This afternoon I thought about that part of it. The door was locked when I got upstairs. I had to shoot it off. Why would you lock the door when you were ducking into the apartment for a minute? When would you get a chance to close the door with Traynor waiting to kill you?

’’You did it to stall. It gave you a few extra seconds to tear your dress and build the scene. By the time I shot my way through the door you were into your act, and from then on everything was set up. It couldn\ miss, could it?’’

She didn\ answer.

’’The gun checked out, the same weapon used for both killings. I backed your story every step of the way. You ran one hell of a lot of risks but things broke right for you each time. And by the time you left Headquarters you were clear. There would be a coroner\s inquest, maybe a few more questions that you could answer with your eyes closed. Then Jill\s body would be buried with your name on the headstone. You\d be Jill, with no debts and whatever money she had had, plus fifty thousand dollars worth of insurance money.’’

She didn\ answer. Her hands moved down over her own naked flesh in a calculated movement that was supposed to look unconscious and automatic. I remembered making love to her, the flavor of her embrace, the touch of her body.

’’You almost made it,’’ I said.

’’What tipped you off, Ed? The birthmark?’’

’’Partly. That clinched it, of course. As soon as I got the idea that it was you in the photographs, I knew you had lied to me. And that was the trouble with the whole gambit, Jackie. It was all built on a pyramid of lies. As soon as one of them broke down, the whole thing collapsed. All the little inconsistencies that I had glossed over came back in spades. Every loophole showed up bright and clear.’’

’’Then I should have gotten those pictures back. I could have said I wanted to burn them ’’

’’I would have figured it anyway.’’

’’How?’’

I thought for a second. ’’It was too pat,’’ I said. ’’You timed everything so perfectly, Jackie. So damned perfectly. Traynor was always at the right place just at the right time. Somebody had to be calling his signals.

’’And another thing the powder burns on Jill\s forehead. That was too neat and cute. If she knew Traynor was after her, she wouldn\ have let him get that close. She would have run or tried to fight or something. The death scene looked as though it had been the handiwork of someone she knew, someone she wasn\ afraid of.’’ I frowned. ’’Someone like her sister.’’

’’I...I wanted to make it fast.’’

’’Uh-huh. You should have walked away and fired three or four shots into her. It would have looked better that way.’’

’’I wanted Jill to die quickly. I didn\ want it to hurt her.’’

’’Sure. You\ e an angel of mercy and an angel of death all rolled into one. There was a little whore and she had a little bore right in the middle of her forehead. You should have stuck to the other nursery rhyme.’’

’’What rhyme?’’

’’The one about Jackie and Jill going over the hill,’’ I said. ’’Get dressed.’’

’’You\ e turning me in?’’

’’What do you think?’’

But she wasn\ through yet. Her lush body flexed and her lips curled in a sensual smile. ’’Look at me,’’ she said.

I looked.

’’I\m well off now financially, Ed. I\m not good at arithmetic but I\m sure you can figure it out. I\ll bet it\s a lot of money, right?’’

’’It\s a lot of money.’’

’’And there would be more than money, Ed.’’ Her hands touched her breasts. ’’I have a good clientele.’’

I stood up. She swung her legs over the side of the bed, got to her feet, and came toward me. ’’Get dressed,’’ I sneered. ’’I can\ stand the sight of you.’’

She blinked. Maybe no one had ever told her that before. She stood still. I pushed her aside, walked past her, and picked up the phone. I started dialing. I was making more work for Jerry Gunther, but I had a hunch he wouldn\ mind.


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