Thirty-One and a Half Regrets Page 52

“What did Jeff want earlier? Or are you not supposed to tell me?”

“Sure, I can tell you. They thought they had a good lead that Crocker was holed up ten miles south of Henryetta, but he wasn’t there, and they couldn’t find any sign that he had been. I knew about the lead, so Jeff just wanted to keep me updated.”

“He seems like a good friend to you.”

“Yeah, I think we started our meetings at a time when he needed someone to talk to. One of his kids got sick a couple of years ago and he’s focused a lot of energy on his care. But his son’s doing better and I think he needs someone who hasn’t been part of all the drama. He needs to get away from his troubles even if it’s just over a beer watching a game. And I’m grateful to have a friend closer than Little Rock.”

He moved over to the baby bed and picked up the comforter, sending dust everywhere. “While I was looking for the hot water heater I stumbled across a couple of boxes of old photos.”

I sucked in a sharp breath then exhaled. “Oh.”

“I know you originally wanted to come out here just to see the place, but there are obviously more connections to your past than you expected.” He turned to look at me. “This is putting you through a lot emotionally, particularly on top of the whole Crocker mess.” He set the blanket down and picked up my hand. “If exploring the pieces of your past that your mother left behind is too much, don’t beat yourself up about it. Investigate at your own pace. You can always come back another time.”

I smiled up at him. “Thanks.”

“I’ve decided to set up my work in the office if that’s still okay with you.” He sounded anxious.

“Of course. Is everything okay?”

“I’ve been working on a project during my off hours. I figure I should take advantage of this free time to work on it now.” He kissed me then smiled. “If you need me to help with anything, let me know.” After he left, I rearranged the baby blanket on the crib and went back into the bedroom. Muffy was still lying on the bed, watching me.

“I take it you want this room?”

She wagged her tail so hard I thought it was going to fly off.

“Okay, this room it is.” Moving to the dresser, I opened the top drawer, wondering if there’d be anything inside. I gasped when I found a stash of underwear and socks. Uncle Earl had maintained the property, but it was obvious he hadn’t removed anything. Had he left it all for me to investigate?

I opened another drawer—this one filled with nightgowns—and noticed a leather-bound book. Pulling it out, I opened the cover, shocked to discover it was a journal. I flipped through the pages, stopping at a random passage written in a large, scrolling script.

He’s telling her tonight, even as I write this. He’s so torn between me and our baby and his sweet Violet, but he says he can’t stay with her another day. He’s going to ask for a divorce.

I snapped the book shut. I couldn’t handle this right now.

If Muffy and I were going to sleep in here, I’d need to change the sheets. It took a few rounds of tug of war, but I finally convinced her to hop off the bed. After I carted the bedding to the basement and got the load started after putting Mason’s in the dryer, I found my suitcase next to a sofa in the living room. I picked it up and stopped to take a peek into the office. Mason had multiple papers spread out across the desk and was flipping through a legal pad, an intense look on his face.

Whatever Mason was working on looked serious. For a moment, I wondered if it was related to Daniel Crocker, but I reminded myself that he was working on multiple cases that had nothing to do with my stalker.

I carried the bag up to my temporary bedroom and set it on the bed. Since I had no idea what Mason had packed, everything inside was a surprise. My purse and wool coat were on top. Under that was a toiletries bag I set to the side. I pulled out two pairs of jeans, a few long-sleeved T-shirts, and a couple of sweaters. To the side were several pairs of socks, underwear, a couple of bras, a nightgown, and two pairs of pajamas.

I sat on the unmade bed, holding up the grannie nightgown I had last worn months ago when Joe stayed over in my spare bedroom before we started dating. I had purposefully picked it that night because it was the most unflattering nightgown I owned. The panties and bras Mason had packed were my most utilitarian pieces of lingerie too. I had a half a drawer full of sexy stuff, yet Mason had chosen against packing it.

What did it mean?

I set it all on the bed, while I dug through my purse and pulled out my cell phone. It was still half charged.

I had about ten missed calls—Jonah, Violet, Neely Kate, and one that made me suck in my breath.

Bruce Wayne.

I listened to my voice mails, clicking through them until I got to the one I was hoping for.

“Miss Rose, you’re in danger.” Bruce Wayne’s voice was shaky, like he was nervous and scared. “You have to hide and stay hidden until I tell you it’s safe to come home. I wish I could tell you more, but I’ve already said too much. Be careful and I’ll call you back when I can.”

I held the phone in my hand, scrolling through the records to see when he’d called. Yesterday around five-thirty.

Less than a half an hour before Crocker’s men showed up at the motel in Pickle Junction.

My phone began to ring, startling me. I jumped and dropped it on the hardwood floor. It bounced and slid under the bed.

I dove for it, praying it was Bruce Wayne. I found it halfway under the bed and grabbed it, only slightly disappointed to see it was Jonah.

Prev Next