Something About You Page 25

“How about a spatula?”

Cameron saw Jack watching her with amusement.

“It’s that flat metal thing with the handle by your left hand,” he said.

“I know what a spatula is,” she assured him. And she actually knew how to use one, too—for flipping grilled cheese sandwiches. One of the few things she could make without burning. Fifty percent of the time. Maybe forty.

She served herself a hearty slice of the frittata and took a position against the counter on the opposite side from Jack. It felt odd standing close to him in the confines of her kitchen. Too intimate.

“Do you have a lead in the investigation?” Cameron asked between bites.

“Not yet,” Jack said. “We’re waiting on the lab reports, and we’re going to interview Senator Hodges’s staff over the next few days. The purpose of this visit is to discuss some security issues related to you.”

Cameron stopped eating and set her plate down on the counter, not liking the sound of that. “What kind of security issues?”

“We’d like to place you under protective surveillance.”

She felt her stomach tighten into a hard knot. “You think that’s necessary?”

“Consider it a precautionary measure.”

“Why? Do you have a reason to believe that I’m in danger?”

“I would put anyone who witnessed this high-profile of a murder under surveillance,” Jack said vaguely.

“That’s not an answer.” Cameron turned to his partner. “Come on, Wilkins—you’re the good cop. Level with me.”

Wilkins smiled. “Surprisingly, I don’t think Jack’s trying to be the bad cop this time. He’s the one who suggested that you be protected.”

“If that’s the case, then I must really be toast.”

Shockingly, Cameron could’ve sworn she saw Jack’s lips twitch at the corners.

“You’re not toast,” he said. “If it makes you feel better, there are politics in play here. Davis isn’t going to let anything happen to a federal prosecutor who’s assisting an FBI investigation.”

“You’re still skirting around the issue. Why is it even theoretically possible that I’d be in danger? The killer never saw me.”

“We have a couple of theories about what went on in that hotel room,” Jack said. “My instinct is that someone was trying to frame Senator Hodges for murder. If that’s the case, when that someone realizes that the FBI hasn’t arrested Hodges, he’s going to start wondering why. And although your involvement in this case is being kept confidential, we’d be foolish to ignore the risk of a leak. I’d like to be prepared for that possibility.”

“But I barely got a look at the guy,” Cameron said. “He could walk right up to me on the street and I wouldn’t recognize him.”

“That’s exactly why you’re under protective custody.”

Cameron fell silent. Sure, she’d always known the situation was serious—a woman had been smothered to death, after all—but in the hours that had passed since Friday night, she’d been hoping, perhaps naively, that her involvement in the mystery surrounding Mandy Robards’s death and the blackmailing of Senator Hodges was primarily over.

She reached up and pinched between her eyes, feeling a headache coming on. “I could’ve stayed at any other hotel that night, but no—it had to be the Peninsula.”

“We’ll keep you safe, Cameron.”

She peered up at the unexpected words of reassurance. Jack seemed about to say something else, then his expression turn impassive once again. “You’re our key witness, after all,” he added.

“So will it be just you two watching me, or will there be other federal agents involved?” Cameron asked.

“Actually, since the Bureau has primary investigative responsibility, CPD will handle the protective custody,” Wilkins said.

So it wouldn’t be Jack guarding her. “Oh. Good.” The idea of being in continual contact with him unnerved her. Not because she couldn’t handle him, but because she didn’t need him glaring at her all day long. Those dark, watchful eyes were enough to put anyone on edge.

“How will this protective surveillance work?” As a prosecutor she’d had cases where she’d placed a witness in protective custody—usually, as Jack had said, merely as a precautionary gesture—but she’d never been on this end of things.

“There’ll be a car posted in front of your house whenever you’re here, and the officers will follow you to and from work. When you get to your office, you’ll be protected there by building security,” Jack said.

Cameron nodded. The U.S. attorney’s offices were located in the Dirksen Federal Building, along with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Everyone entering the building had to pass through metal detectors, and anyone wanting to access her floor needed proper identification. “What about when I go places other than work or home?”

“Such as?”

“I don’t know, all the places people usually go. To the grocery store. To the gym. Or to meet my friends for lunch.” She deliberately didn’t mention that she also had a date on Wednesday evening, thinking that particular information was nobody’s business but her own. Well, Collin and Amy knew, but they didn’t count. They knew everything.

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