“A skill I’ve never mastered. Playing chess is a solid pastime. It teaches a great deal about strategy, but especially patience.”
“You play the game?”
“I did when I was Alyssa’s age. Not anymore.” She stared up at the night sky. “There’s too much light pollution in Washington to see the stars like I can out here.”
“Why’d you give up the game?” He was more interested in her than the stars.
“I suppose I never had enough time once I left for college.”
He shook his head. “There’s always time for what you really want.”
She smiled. “Nice, pivot. Should I start calling you doctor?”
“I’m a detective. I can smell an evasion a mile away.”
When she didn’t respond, he didn’t make an attempt to fill the silence or backtrack. If he’d thought a heartfelt confession was on its way, then he was wrong.
“I believe Santos is the one who urinated in your cup,” she said.
He shot her a sharp glance. “Why do you say that?”
“It’s the brash move of a young man. He gestures with his right hand, the one holding his coffee cup. I suspect personal property—his territory—is important to him. Did he have a friend passed over for the team when you arrived?”
“He’d strike back at something he’d deem important—your personal territory.”
“How sure are you?”
“Good to know.”
The lights of San Antonio grew brighter as he steered the car toward the city, and the stars dimmed. He parked at police headquarters, and they made their way past the guard to the second floor. As she passed a vending machine, she dug her credit card from her pocket and bought two packets of Nabs.
“You should buy stock in that vending company.”
She unwrapped the package and offered him a cracker. He took one.
“Keep the pack,” she said. “One is enough for me.”
He held one up. “The next two packs are on me.”
They made their way into a large garage-style room with cabinets and polished gray counters outfitted with an array of equipment.
A tall, trim woman dressed in a lab coat, blond hair pulled back, looked up from a microscope. “Detective. I wasn’t sure if you could make it.”
“Visiting Mr. Sanchez. Jenny Calhoun, meet Agent Kate Hayden with the FBI.”
Calhoun rose and extended her hand. “The profiler.”
Kate shook her hand. “Correct. Tell us what you’ve found.”
“Cut to the chase, I like it.” Calhoun led them through the lab to the forensic bay where Gloria Sanchez’s car was now parked. “I dusted the car for prints in key areas: trunk, driver’s side door handle, the radio buttons, gearshift, and the turn signal. I found prints in each spot, and 90 percent belonged to the victim.”
“What about inside the trunk?” Kate asked. “I know we saw gloves on his hands in the tape, but we might get lucky.”
“I did find two partial prints on the underside of the trunk.”
“Have you taken Mr. Sanchez’s prints?” Kate asked.