Her Last Word

Her Last Word

Page 24

A check of his watch showed it was almost showtime.

Killing Jennifer had been exhilarating, and his body still buzzed with adrenaline. He readily accepted it was his job to dish out her punishment, but he’d not expected to enjoy it so much.

It was smarter to wait before he dealt with Erika and Kaitlin, but the morning rain was too perfect to pass up. Rain washed away so many sins. Better to deal with them now. He’d punish Erika accordingly, and for Kaitlin he had a special windowless room.

The front door snapped open. Black yoga pants and a fitted blue top covered by a snug gray jacket silhouetted a body kept ruthlessly in shape. Socks and clogs warmed her feet. Blond hair was tied into a sleek ponytail reminiscent of her times as part of the Glittering Trio at Saint Mathew’s. Gina, Jennifer, and Erika had been at the peak of the school’s social pecking order, and they knew it.

As he inched lower, the torn vinyl on the seat rubbed against his T-shirt. The magnetic sign on the side of the truck read TURNER PLUMBING. The letters were in red, a color easily remembered if anyone were watching. He’d stolen the truck and would soon ditch it.

Erika’s Mercedes pulled out of the driveway, and he followed. He watched her race through a yellow light and then turn abruptly at the corner ahead.

He stayed several car lengths behind, careful to keep her in his sights. He knew where she was going, but today it was important he be there when she arrived.

He watched her pull into a parking spot near the back entrance of the yoga studio. Repeated observation revealed she preferred this spot because she could slip inside through the back door. That was Erika. She didn’t like to interact with people much anymore.

He slid into the space beside Erika, parking within inches of the passenger side of her car. He opened his door and smacked it hard into the sleek, polished navy-blue finish, leaving an angry white scratch.

She glanced up, alarmed. For a second, she just sat there staring at him. And then she ducked her head against the rain and hurried around the car. Keys clutched in her hand, she studied the jagged white mark in the side door of her car as the rain dripped on her hair and shoulders.

“What have you done?” Her voice was high pitched and rippling with stress. “My husband is going to have a fit when he sees this.”

Tugging a ball cap forward, he slid out of the car and made a show of studying the scratch. “Wow, did I make that?”

“Yes, you did. What the hell, why weren’t you thinking?” She folded her arms over her chest, her teeth already chattering a little. As she looked toward the studio door, her shoulders tensed. The clock was ticking, and she was going to be late for class.

“I’ve a rag and some rubbing compound. I bet once I’m done with it, you’ll never know there was a scratch.” He moved to the back of the truck and opened the camper top.

Her jaw clenched as she shook her head and ran her finger over the jagged surface before following him. “You can’t buff a deep mark out. It’ll have to go to a body shop.”

“Naw, I can fix it right up.” He grinned as he rummaged for a tool in a dented red toolbox.

“You can’t just rub it out!”

A car pulled into the parking lot, but the female driver barely tossed them a glance as she rushed through the rain into the building, a green yoga mat tucked under her arm.

She was inches away now. Mad. Spouting frustration. Closer. Closer. And then she ducked her head under the raised camper top. They were nose to nose.

Erika’s demeanor changed. “Is this some kind of a joke? I told you we’d meet later.”

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