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List Chapter Read free. Storyline: White Night (The Dresden Files #9) This time, when Harry Dresden gets a call from Murphy, it's off the record, because she has been demoted, things in SI are politically shaky, and the police have already declared a suicide. Once Harry gets a good look, though, the suicide is clearly a murder with magical intent. Read White Night by Jim Butcher eBook online for free. The novel is wrote by Jim Butcher. Cohen tannoudji pdf quantum mechanics solucionario HD Online Player (Dangal 2 Movie Free Download In Engl) havij v1.16 pro portable cracked by service manual aore team prominy sr5 rock bass crack studio devil amp modeler pro 1.5 keygen software. White Night 2009 Dvdrip Download.

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Chapter 25~27
Chapter Twenty-Five
'We've got to call the cops on this one,' I said quietly to Elaine.
'No,' she replied. 'They'll want to question us. It will take hours. '
'They'll want to question us a lot longer if someone else finds the body and they have to come looking for us. '
'And while we're cooperating with the authorities, what happens to Abby, Helen, and Priscilla?' She stared at me. 'For that matter, what happens to Mouse?'
That was a thought I'd been trying to avoid. If Mouse was alive and capable, there was no way he'd let any of the women be harmed. If someone had killed Anna when Mouse was near, it could have happened only over his dead body.
But there was no sign of him.
That could mean a lot of things. At worst it meant that he had been utterly disintegrated by whatever had come for the women. Not only was that assumption depressing as hell, it also didn't get me anywhere. A bad guy who could simply disintegrate anything that got in the way sure wouldn't be pussyfooting around the way these White Court yahoos had been.
Mouse wasn't here. There was no mess, no sign of a struggle, and believe you me, that dog can put up a struggle, as the vets found out when they misfiled his paperwork. They tried to neuter him instead of vaccinating him and getting his shoulder X-rayed where he'd bounced off of a moving minivan. I was lucky they were willing to let me pay the property damage and leave it at that.
It had to mean something else. Maybe my dog had left with the others, and Anna had remained behind, or gone back for something she forgot.
Or maybe Mouse had played on everyone's expectation that he was just a dog. He'd shown me that he was capable of that kind of subterfuge before, and it had been one of the first things that tipped me off to his distinctly superior-to-canine intellect. What if Mouse had played along and stayed close to the others?
Why would he do that, though?
Because Mouse knew I could find him. Unless the bad guys carried him off to the Nevernever itself, or put him behind a set of wards specifically designed to block such magic, my tracking spell could find him anywhere.
That was the path to take, even if Mouse didn't know anything was wrong. He would have stayed with any members of the Ordo that he could, and I had taken to planning ahead a little more than I used to do. I could use my shield bracelet to target the single small shield charm I'd hung from his collar for just such an emergency. Me and Foghorn Leghorn.
'Can you find the dog?' Elaine asked.
'Yeah. But we should try calling their homes before we go. '
Elaine frowned. 'You told them to stay here, or somewhere public. '
'Odds are pretty good that they're scared. And when you're scared. . . '
'. . . you want to go home,' Elaine finished.
'If they're there, it'll be the quickest way to get in touch. If not, it hasn't cost us more than a minute or two. '
Elaine nodded. 'Anna had all the numbers in a notebook in her purse. ' We turned up the purse after a brief search, but the notebook wasn't in it.
There wasn't anything for it but to make sure that Anna hadn't slipped it into a pocket before she died. I checked, and tried not to leave any prints almost as hard as I tried not to look at her dead, purpling face or glazed eyes. It hadn't been a clean death, and even though Anna hadn't been gone long enough to start decomposition, the smell was formidable. I tried to ignore it.
It was harder to ignore her face. The skin had the stiff, waxy look that dead bodies get. Worse, there was a distinct and unquantifiable quality of. . . absence. Anna Ash had been very much alive - fierce of will, protective, determined. I know plenty of wizards without the force of personality she had. She'd been the one thinking and acting when all of those around her were frightened. That takes a rare kind of courage.
None of which meant anything, since, despite my efforts, the killer had taken her anyway.
I shook my head and stepped away from the corpse, having turned up no notebook. Her willingness to face danger on behalf of her friends couldn't be allowed to vanish silently into the past. If some of those she sought to protect were still alive, then her own sacrifice and death could still mean something. I could be bitter about her death later. I would be doing a grave disservice to the woman if I let it do anything but make me more motivated to stop the killers before they had finished their work.
I came face-to-face with Elaine, who stood in the doorway, staring at Anna's body. There was no expression on her face, absolutely none. Tears, though, had reddened her eyes and streaked over her cheeks and down her nose. Some women are pretty when they cry. Elaine gets all blotchy and runny-nosed, and it brought out the dark, tired circles beneath her eyes.
It didn't look pretty. It just looked like pain.
She spoke, and her voice came out rough and quavering. 'I told her I would protect her. '
'Sometimes you try,' I said quietly. 'Sometimes that's all you do, Try. That's how the game works. '
'Game,' she said. The single word was caustic enough to melt holes in the floor. 'Has it ever happened to you? Someone who came to you for help was killed?'
I nodded. 'Couple of times. First time was Kim Delaney. A girl I had trained to keep her talent under control. Maybe a little stronger than the women in the Ordo, but not much. She got involved in bad business. Over her head. I thought I could warn her off, that she would listen to me. I should have known better. '
'What happened?'
I tilted my head back at the body behind me, without actually looking. 'Something ate her. I go to her grave sometimes. '
'To bring her some flowers and sweep off the leaves. To remind me of the stakes I play for. To remind me that nobody wins them all. '
'And after?' Elaine asked me quietly. She hadn't looked away from the corpse. Not for a second. 'What did you do to the thing that killed her?'
It was a complicated answer, but it wasn't what Elaine needed to hear right then. 'I killed it. '
She nodded again. 'When we catch up to the Skavis, I want it. '
I put a hand on her shoulder and said, very gently, 'It won't make you feel any better. '
She shook her head. 'That's not why I want to do it. It was my job. I've got to finish my job. I owe her that much. '
I didn't think Elaine herself thought the statement was untrue, but I'd gone through this kind of thing before, and it can unbalance your tires pretty damned quick. There was no point, though, in trying to discuss it with her rationally. Reason had left the building.
'You'll get him,' I said quietly. 'I'll help. '
She let out one little broken, cawing sob and pressed against my chest. I held her, warm and slender, and felt the terrible remorse and frustration and grief that coursed through her. I pressed my presence against her and tightened my arms around her and felt her body shaking with silent sobs. More than anything, at that moment, I wished I could make her torment go away.
I couldn't. Being a wizard gives you more power than most, but it doesn't change your heart. We're all human.
We're all of us equally naked before the jaws of pain.
Chapter Twenty-Six
Not a full minute later, I could feel Elaine beginning the struggle to get her breathing under control. DuMorne's methods of teaching us to discipline our emotions had not been gentle, but they worked. Before another minute went by Elaine's breathing had steadied, and she leaned her head against my collarbone for a moment, a silent gesture of gratitude. Then she straightened, and I lowered my arms. She bowed her head toward Anna's corpse, an almost formal gesture of respect or farewell.
When she turned around, I was waiting for her with a damp, cool washcloth. I said quietly, 'Hold still,' and gently wiped her face clean. 'You have to uphold the gumshoe image. Can't go out blotchy. People will think we're not hard-boiled. Very important to be hard-boiled. '
She watched me as I cleaned her face a
nd talked, and her eyes looked huge. A very small smile touched them through the sadness. 'I'm glad you're here to tell me these things,' she said, her voice steady again before it slipped into a bourbon-tainted, lockjawed Humphrey Bogart impersonation. 'Now stop flapping your gums and start walking. '
My tracking spell led us to an apartment building.
'This is Abby's building,' Elaine said as I pulled over. The only close place to park was in front of a hydrant. I doubted any industrious civil servants would be handing out tickets this late, but even if they were, it would be cheap compared to what a long walk in the dark could cost me.
'Which apartment?' I asked.
'Ninth floor,' Elaine replied. She shut the door of the Beetle a little harder than she had to.
'It occurs to me,' I said, 'that if I was a bad guy and wanted to off a couple of intrepid hard-boiled wizards, I might be hanging around watching someplace like this. '
'It occurs to me,' Elaine said, her voice crisp, 'that he would be exceptionally foolish to make the attempt. '
We walked together, quickly. Elaine was tall enough to keep up with me without taking the occasional skipping step. She'd slipped half a dozen coppery bracelets over each wrist, all of them slender, all of them hanging more heavily than they should have. Faint glints of golden energy played among them, and looked like little more than the glitter of light on metal - except that you could see them better when the bracelets were in deep shadows.
By silent agreement, we skipped the elevators. I had my shield bracelet ready to go, and my staff was quivering with leashed energy that made it wave and wobble incongruously to its weight and motion as I moved. That much readied magic could have unfortunate consequences on electrical equipment, like elevator control panels.
The doors to the stairs opened only from the other side, but I conjured a quick spell to shove against the pressure bar on the far side using my staff, and it swung open. We slipped into the stairway. Anyone waiting for us above would be watching the elevator first. Anyone chasing after us would have a hard time with the locked doors, and would make noise on the open concrete stairs.
I checked my gun with my left hand, safe in the pocket of my duster. Magic is groovy, but when it comes to dealing out death, regular mortal know-how can be just as impressive.
Nine floors up was enough to make me breathe hard, though not as hard as I once would have. A faint ghost of a headache came along with the elevated heart rate. Hell's bells, I must have been hurt a lot worse than I thought, back at the harbor. Elaine looked a little strained, herself. If she'd really smoothed away that much of an injury, she had more skill than she'd told me she did. That kind of healing isn't a matter of trivial effort, either. She might be more fragile than she appeared.
I opened the fire door on Abby's floor, and let Elaine take the lead. She went down the center of the hallway in total silence, her hands slightly outstretched, and I got the sense that she was somehow perfectly aware of everything around her - more so than human senses would account for. The bracelets on her wrists glittered more brightly. Superior awareness as a defense, then, instead of my own, more direct approach of meeting power with power and stopping things cold. Just her style.
But neither hyperawareness nor irresistible force was called for. Elaine reached a door and raised a hand to knock. Just before it fell, the door opened, and a strained-looking Abby gave us a quick nod. 'Good, a little early, that's good; come in, yes, come in. '
I started forward, but Elaine held up one hand to halt me, her eyes distracted. 'Let me check. Another woman inside. Two dogs. ' She glanced at me, and lowered her hand. 'One of them is your dog. '
'Mouse?' I called.
The floor shook a little, and the big, dark grey dog nudged rather delicately past Abby and came to greet me, shoving his head into my stomach until I went down on one knee and got a sloppy kiss or two on the face.
I slapped his shoulders roughly a few times, because I'm supremely manly and did not tear up a little to see that he was all right and still attached to his collar. 'Good to see you, too, furface. '
Toto trotted out behind Mouse, like a tiny tugboat escorting an enormous barge, and gave a suspicious growl. Then he pattered over to me and sniffed me, sneezed several times, and evidently found me acceptable, underneath the smell of lake water. He hurried back over to Abby, gave me one more growl to make sure I'd learned my lesson, and bounced around her feet until she picked him up.
The plump little blonde settled the dog in her arms and faced me with concern. 'What happened? I mean, the two of you left and what happened, where did you go, is Olivia - '
'Let's go inside,' I said, rising. I traded a look with Elaine, and we all went into Abby's apartment. Mouse never left actual, physical contact with me, his shoulders pressing steadily, lightly, against my leg. I was the last through the door and closed it behind me.
Abby's place was a modest, hectic little apartment, segregated into neatly compartmentalized areas. She had a desk with a typewriter, a table with an old sewing machine, a chair beside a music stand with a violin (unless maybe it was a viola) resting on it, a reading niche with an armchair and overloaded shelves of romance novels, and what looked something like a shrine dedicated to ancestor worship, only in reverse, where the saints were all children with round cheeks and blond ringlets.
Priscilla was there, seated in the comfortable chair in the reading niche, looking haggard and much subdued. There was a cup of tea sitting on the little table beside the reading chair, but it had apparently gone cold without ever having been touched. She looked up at me, her eyes heavy and dull.
'Olivia's all right,' I said quietly.
Abby brightened a second before I started speaking, drawing in a sharp little breath. The little dog in her arms caught her mood at once, and began wagging his tail at me. 'Yes?'
'A. . . sometime associate of mine, the man in the pictures, has been taking women who were in danger of being a target of the killers out of the city. He learned Olivia was in danger and urged her to leave with him when he took several women to a safe house. '
Priscilla stared at me hard for a long moment. Then she said, 'What else?'
Elaine spoke, her voice quiet and unflinching. 'Anna's dead. Back at the hotel room. An apparent suicide. '
Abby let out a little gagging sound. She sat down very quickly in the chair by the violin. Toto let out small, distressed sounds. 'Wh-what?' Abby asked.
Priscilla shuddered and bowed her head. 'Oh. Oh, no. Oh, Anna. '
'I need to know, ladies,' I said quietly. 'Why didn't you do as we instructed? Why did you leave the hotel?'
'It. . . ' Abby began. Tears overflowed her cheeks. 'It was. . . was. . . '
'She said,' Priscilla said in a quiet, dull voice. 'Said that she had to leave. That she had to go to work. '
Son of a bitch. I knew it.
Elaine was half a beat behind me. 'Who?'
'H-Helen,' Abby sobbed. 'It was Helen. '
Chapter Twenty-Seven
I stood there fuming while Elaine coaxed the rest of the story out of Abby and Priscilla.
'It was only an hour or so after you left,' Abby told Elaine. 'Helen got a call on her cell phone. '
'Cell phone?' I perked up. 'She had one that worked?'
'She doesn't have a lot of talent that way,' Abby said. 'None of us do, really. Even my cell phone works most of the time. '
I grunted. 'Means she wasn't hiding a bigger talent, then. That's worth something. '
'Harry,' Elaine said quietly. It was a rebuke. 'Please go on, Abby. '
I zipped my mouth shut.
'She got a call, and she went into the bathroom to talk. I couldn't hear what she said, but when she came out, she said she had to go to work. That she was leaving. '
I lifted my eyebrows. 'That's quite a job, if she's risking exposure to a killer to show up for the shift. '
'That's what I said,' Priscilla
said, her voice even more bitter, if such a thing was possible. 'It was stupid. I never even thought to be suspicious of it. '
'Anna argued with her,' Abby went on, 'but Helen refused to stay. So Anna wanted us all to take her there together. '
'Helen wouldn't have any of it, of course,' Priscilla said. 'At the time, I thought she might just be ashamed of us seeing her working some nothing little job at a fast-food restaurant or something. '
'We never really knew what she did,' Abby said, her tone numb and apologetic. 'She never wanted to talk about it. We always assumed it was an issue of pride. ' She petted the little dog in her arms idly. 'She said something about keeping us separate from the rest of her life. . . in any case, Anna put her into a cab and made her promise to keep in touch with us. Calling in on the phone until she was safely around other people. '
'You just let her walk?' I broke in.
'She's a sister of the Ordo,' Priscilla said. 'Not a criminal to be distrusted and watched. '
'In point of fact,' I said, 'she is a criminal to be distrusted and watched. Ask her freaking parole officer. '
Elaine frowned at me. 'Dammit, Harry. This isn't helping. '
I muttered under my breath, folded my arms again, and crouched down to give Mouse's ears and neck a good scratching. Maybe it would help me keep my mouth shut. There's a first time for everything.
'Helen called me about twenty minutes later,' Priscilla said. 'She said that she had been followed from the hotel. That our location had become known. That we had to leave. We did, just as you told us. Helen said that she would meet us here. '
'I told you to head for somewhere public - ' I began, snarling.
'Harry,' Elaine said, her voice sharp.
I subsided again.
There was a moment of awkward silence. 'Um. So we went,' Abby said. 'But when we got there, Helen wasn't around. '
'No,' Priscilla said, hugging her arms under her breasts, looking cold and miserable, even in the turtleneck. 'She called again. Begged us to come to her apartment. '
'I stayed here with the dogs,' Abby said. Toto looked up at her as she said it, tilting his head and wagging his little tail.
'Once Anna and I picked her up,' Priscilla continued, 'we headed back here - but Helen looked awful. She'd run out of insulin and hadn't been able to go get it with all the trouble. Anna dropped me off and took her to the pharmacy. That was the last we saw of her. '
Abby fretted her lip and said to Priscilla, 'It wasn't your fault. '
Priscilla shrugged. 'She'd never said anything about diabetes before. I should have known better. I should have seen. . . '
'Not your fault,' Abby insisted, compassion in her voice. 'We believed in her. We all did. But she was pulling our strings the whole time. The killer was right here among us. ' She shook her head. 'We should have listened to you, Warden Dresden. '
'We should have,' Priscilla said quietly. 'If we had, Anna would be alive right now. '
I couldn't think of any response to that. Well. I had plenty of them, but they all were some variation on a theme of 'I told you so. ' I felt no need to pour salt into fresh wounds, so I kept my mouth shut.
Besides, I was processing what Abby and Priscilla had told us.
Elaine traded a look with me. 'Do you think Helen is the Skavis we've heard about?'
I shrugged. 'I doubt it, but technically it's possible. White Court vamps can pass for human easily, if they want. '
'Then why doubt it?'
'Because that little creep Madrigal called the Skavis 'he,' ' I said. 'Helen isn't a he. '
'A shill?' Elaine asked.
'Looks like. '
Abby looked back and forth between us. 'E-excuse me. But what is a shill?'
'Someone who works with a criminal while pretending to have nothing to do with him,' I said. 'He helps the bad guy while pretending to be your buddy and making suggestions. Suggesting that you leave a safe hiding place and split up the group, for example. '
Silence. Toto let out a quiet, distressed whine.
'I can't believe this,' Priscilla said, pressing her fingertips against her cheekbones and closing her eyes.
'But we've known her for years,' Abby said, her expression as unhappy and confused as a lost child's. 'How could she lie to us like that, for so long?'
I winced. I don't like seeing anyone in pain, but it's worse when a woman is suffering. That's probably chauvinistic of me, and I don't give a damn if it is.
'All right,' I said. 'We've still got a lot more questions than answers, but at least we know where to start the barbecue. '
Elaine nodded. 'Get these two to safety, then track down Helen. '
'Safety,' I said. 'Thomas. '
'Yes. '
I glanced at Abby and Priscilla. 'Ladies, we're leaving. '
'Where?' Priscilla asked. I had expected a protest, or sneering sarcasm, or at least pure, contrary bitchiness. Her voice, though, was quietly frightened. 'Where are we going?'
'To Olivia,' I told her. 'And five or six of the other women my associate is protecting. '
'Do they need anything?' Abby asked.
'They have several kids with them,' I said. 'Mostly toddlers. '
'I'll pack some food and cereal,' Abby said, before I'd even finished talking. Priscilla just sat, sunken in her chair and hunched in on herself. Abby dumped half of her cupboard into a great big suitcase with those skate-wheel rollers on the bottom, zipped it shut, and clipped what looked like a little plastic birdcage onto the suitcase. She gestured at Toto and the little dog jumped up into the birdcage, turned around three times, and lay down with a happy little doggy smile. 'Very well,' Abby said.
Mouse looked at Toto. Then he looked at me.
'You've got to be kidding,' I told him. 'I'd have to clip a railroad, car to the suitcase and hire the Hulk to move it around. You're young and healthy. You walk. '
Mouse looked at Toto's regal doggy palanquin and sighed. Then he took point as we went back down to the car, which had been ticketed despite the lateness of the hour. I stuck the ticket in my pocket. Think positive, Harry. At least they didn't tow it.
Getting everyone into the Beetle was an adventure, but we managed it, and returned to the shabby little south-side motel.
Maybe twenty seconds after we parked, Murphy's Harley-Davidson motorcycle rumbled out of an alley across the street, where she must have been keeping an eye on the front of the motel from a spot where she could see the windows and doors to both rooms Thomas had rented. She was wearing jeans, a black tank top, and a loose black man's shirt that had the sleeves rolled up about twenty times and draped over her like a trench coat while it hid the shoulder rig that held a Glock in one holster, a SIG in the other. Her hair was pulled back in a loose ponytail, and the badge she usually wore on a chain around her neck in these sorts of situations was conspicuous by its absence.
She waited with a slightly bemused air while everyone scrambled out of the Beetle. Elaine got them moving toward the rooms, hurrying to get them out of sight.
'No clown car jokes,' I told Murphy. 'Not one. '
'I wasn't going to say anything,' Murphy said. 'Jesus, Harry, what happened to you?'
'You heard anything about the harbor today?'
'Oh,' Murphy said. Mouse came over to greet her and she shook hands with him gravely. 'Thomas wasn't really forthcoming with explanations. He lit out of here in a hurry. '
'He was hungry,' I said.
Murphy frowned. 'Yeah, so he said. Is he going to hurt anyone?'
I considered and then shook my head. 'Ordinarily, I'd say he wouldn't. Now. . . I'm not sure. It would really go against his character to do something like that. But he's been acting out of character through this whole mess. '
Murphy folded her arms. 'Mess is right. You want to tell me what's going on?'
I gave Murphy the short version of what we'd learned since I'd seen her last.
'Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,' Murphy said. 'Then it was Beckitt. '
'Looks like she was shilling for the Skavis, whoever he is. And Grey Cloak and that wussy cousin of Thomas's added in a few killings of their own to get my attention. '
'That isn't exactly in the best interests of the Skavis, if he was trying to avoid it. '
'I know. So?'
'So they're all vampires, right?' Murphy shrugged. 'I figured they'd be working together. '
'They're White Court. They live for backstabbing. They like doing it through cat's-paws. They probably figured I would find out about the killings, move in, and wipe out the Skavis for them. Then they'd congratulate themselves on how clever they were. '
Murphy nodded. 'So now that you've got your clients safely tucked away, what comes next?'
'More wiping out than they counted on,' I said. 'I'm going to find Beckitt and ask her nicely not to kill anyone else and to point me to the Skavis. Then I'll have a polite conversation with him. Then I'll settle up with Grey Cloak and Passenger Madrigal. '
'How do you find Beckitt?'
'Um,' I said, 'I'm sure I'll figure out something. This entire mess is still way too nebulous for me. '
'Yeah,' Murphy said. 'All these killings. It still doesn't make any sense. '
'It makes sense,' I said. 'We just don't know how, yet. ' I grimaced. 'We're missing something. '
'Maybe not,' Murphy said.
I arched an eyebrow at her.
'Remember our odd corpse out?'
'Jessica Blanche,' I said. 'The one Molly saw. '
'Right,' Murphy said. 'I found out more about her. '
'She some kind of cultist or something?'
'Or something,' Murphy said. 'According to a friend in 'Vice, she was an employee of the Velvet Room. '
'The Velvet Room? I thought I burned that plac - uh, that is, I thought some as-yet-unidentified perpetrator burned that place to the ground. '
'It's reopened,' Murphy said. 'Under new management. '
Click. Now some pieces were falling into place. 'Marcone?' I asked.
'Marcone. '
Gentleman Johnnie Marcone was the biggest, scariest gangster in a city famous for its gangsters. Once the old famiglias had fallen to internal bickering, Marcone had done an impression of Alexander the Great and carved out one of the largest criminal empires in the world - assuming you didn't count governments. Chicago's violent crime rate had dropped as much because of Marcone's draco-nian rule of the city's rackets as because of the dedication of the city's police force. The criminal economy had more than doubled, and Marcone's power continued to steadily grow.
He was a smart, tough, dangerous man - and he was absolutely fearless. That is a deadly combination, and I avoided crossing paths with him whenever I could.
The way things were shaping up, though, this time I couldn't.
'You happen to know where the new Velvet Room is?' I asked Murphy.
She gave me a look.
'Right, right. Sorry. ' I blew out a breath. 'Seems like it might be a good idea to speak to some of the girl's coworkers. I'll bet they'll be willing to do a little talking to avoid trouble with the law. '
She showed me her teeth in a fierce grin. 'They just might. And if not, Marcone might be willing to talk to you. '
'Marcone doesn't like me,' I said. 'And it's mutual. '
'Marcone doesn't like anybody,' Murphy replied. 'But he respects you. '
'Like that says much for me. '
Murphy shrugged. 'Maybe, maybe not. Marcone's scum, but he's no fool, and he does what he says he'll do. '
'I'll talk to Elaine once she's got everyone settled,' I said. 'Get her to stay here with Mouse and keep an eye on things. '
Murphy nodded. 'Elaine, huh? The ex. '
'Yeah. '
'The one working against you last time she was in town. '
'Yeah. '
'You trust her?'
I looked down at Murphy for a minute, then up at the hotel room. 'I want to. '
She exhaled slowly. 'I have a feeling things are going to get hairy. You need someone who's got your back. '
'Got that,' I said, holding up my fist. 'You. '
Murphy rapped her knuckles gently against mine and snorted. 'You're going syrupy on me, Dredsen. '
'If it rains, I'll melt,' I agreed.
'It's to be expected,' she said. 'What with how you're gay and all now. '
'I'm wh. . . ' I blinked. 'Oh. Thomas's apartment. Hell's bells, you cops got a fast grapevine. '
'Yeah. Rawlins heard it at the coffee machine and he just had to call me up and tell me all about you and your boyfriend being in a fight. He asked me if he should get you the sound track to Les Mis-erables or Phantom of the Opera for Christmas this year. Varetti and Farrel got a deal on track lighting from Malone's brother-in-law. '
'Don't you people have lives?' I said. At her continued smile, I asked warily, 'What are you getting me?'
She grinned, blue eyes sparkling. 'Stallings and I found an autographed picture of Julie Newmar on eBay. '
'You guys are never going to let go of this one, are you?' I sighed.
'We're cops,' Murphy said. 'Of course not. '
We shared a smile that faded a moment later. Both of us turned to watch the street, alert for any unwanted company. We were silent for a while. Cars went by. City sounds of engine and horn. A car alarm a block over. Dark shadows where the streetlights didn't touch. Distant sirens. Rotating, attention-getting spotlights lancing up to the dark summer night from the front of a theater.
'Hell's bells,' I said, after a time. 'Marcone. '
'Yeah,' Murphy said. 'It changes things. '
Marcone was involved.
Matters had just become a great deal more dangerous.