“I can’t see them taking the chance of going home though,” Maitland said.
“They’re kids,” Sherlock said, “and it’s home. At least Lissy’s a kid.”
Savich said, “I have a feeling Lissy wants to take me down herself, and she’s got to be one hundred percent to do that, and she knows it. She’s got to lie low for a while.”
Sherlock said, “I keep wondering why Victor left the Smileys three years ago. What do you think happened for him to make that abrupt break? And why did he get back together with them?”
Maitland said, “Sex, drugs, or rock and roll; gotta be one of those.”
NEAR PAMPLIN, VIRGINIA
Sunday evening, dusk
“I feel like crap.”
“I know, Lissy, I know,” Victor Nesser said, and pulled over on the shoulder. “It’s time. Here, take your pain pill.” He unscrewed the water bottle and handed it to her. “Fifteen minutes and you’ll be snoozing.” He came around to the passenger side and tried to get the front seat of the old Chevy Impala to recline more, but it wouldn’t. They should have lifted themselves a newer car where the seats went down flat like a bed. “But you’re better today than you were yesterday. That run through the airport didn’t help things.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll live.” She smacked her fist against the warped glove compartment and cursed, sucked in a couple of deep breaths, and tried not to move.
He slid his palm over her breasts, patted her cheek. “Rest now.” And he got them on their way again.
Lissy’s eyes were closed, her hands were on her belly, lightly massaging her fresh scar because it hurt. Another ten minutes, she just had to hang on another—it had to be only nine minutes now—and that sweet numbing haze would float over her brain. She said, “We should have taken him out at the mechanic’s place, a nice, big, stupid target—”
“Not possible. Remember? The taxi pulled right up. Instant witness.”
“I could have popped him too.”
“We didn’t have any time. And there were probably more witnesses than we can count.”
She said, “Who cares who saw us? They’re never going to catch us, never.”
He laughed. “No, I’m careful. I’m the brains, Lissy, since your ma died, remember? And you’re an invalid with a big mouth. Be quiet and go to sleep. Let me do the worrying. Get yourself well; you’re not fun like this.”
She smacked her fist against her palm and winced. “I couldn’t stand seeing that old dude wearing his ridiculous Bermuda shorts, whistling, happy as a clam on his way to the Caribbean. If we’d only caught him at the curb at the airport, I could have snuck right up behind him, popped him fast and clean.”
No way would that have happened, Victor thought, she was still too weak. But they’d both been caught up in it, both so revved up that all they wanted to do was find that plane and—well, the guy had seen them, and wasn’t that a kick in the butt? He’d looked more startled than scared, but Victor knew he wouldn’t forget. It was a start. Let them think they’d won. It was just a matter of time. “We’ll get him when he comes back from his hideaway. Do what I told you, Lissy, close your eyes and get some sleep.”
She closed her eyes and said, “I want to fly down to the Caribbean and find him, shoot his ass down there. My mom knew people who could make really good fake papers, driver’s license, passports, the works. We have the money at home to get the best.”
“No,” Victor said, shaking his head for emphasis. “That’s way too risky. Stop thinking about it. We’ll get the old man when he gets back, when you’re well again.”
She continued to rub her stomach, eyes still closed, but her voice was vicious. “He killed my mother, Victor. You didn’t see it. The bastard shot her in the neck and all her blood just burst out of her.” She smacked her fist on the glove compartment, moaned at the shock to her belly.
Victor leaned over, lightly slapped her face, then caressed her cheek. “Shut yourself down, you hear me? Take some slow, deep breaths.”
She settled into the seat, breathed deeply like he said. She felt the throbbing pain ease back. She knew it was still there, but it felt duller now. “We’ve got to get some more pain meds though. I’ve only got one more.”
“That’s ’cause you took so many you nearly croaked yourself. Don’t worry, we’ll get you some more.”
“It was sure nice of that nurse to leave her pill cart in the hall,” she said. “Dammit, Victor, we should have blown that old dude to hell and gone.” She turned her face to look at him. “But you insisted you could make his car break down. Talk about crappy information, and look what happened. Big fat zero.”