Fade Away Page 79

She leaned forward and nodded. The windshield wipers whipped shadows across her face. The rain picked up its tempo, glistening the road in front of them. Myron took the next exit. A sign reading Overpeck Park greeted them a quarter mile later.

“Get down,” he said.

She disappeared from view. He made the right turn. Another sign told him the park was closed. He ignored it and proceeded ahead. It was too dark to see anything, but he knew there were woods on his left and a horse stables straight ahead. He made the first right. The car’s headlights danced across a picnic area, illuminating tables, benches, garbage cans, a swing set, a sliding board. He reached the cul-de-sac and stopped the car. He killed the lights, turned off the engine, and dialed the car’s number on his cellular. He answered with the car’s speakerphone so Audrey could listen in. Then he waited.

For several minutes nothing happened. The rain pelted down on the roof like tiny pebbles. Audrey remained still in the back. Myron put his hands back on the wheel and felt his grip tighten. He could hear his heart thumping in his chest.

Without warning, a beacon of light sliced through the night like a reaper’s scythe. Myron shaded his eyes with his hand and squinted. He slowly opened the car door. The wind had picked up now, spraying the rain into his face. He hefted himself out of the car.

A male voice, distorted by the elements, shouted, “Put your hands up.”

Myron raised them above his head.

“Open your coat. I know you’re carrying a gun in a shoulder holster. Take it out with two fingers and toss it onto the seat of the car.”

Keeping one hand in the air, Myron unbuttoned his coat. He was already drenched from the rain, his hair matted against his forehead. He took out the gun and put it on his car seat.

“Close the door.”

Again Myron obeyed the voice.

“Do you have the money?”

“First I want to see what you brought,” Myron said.


“Hey, be reasonable here. I don’t even know what I’m buying.”

A brief hesitation. “Come closer.”

Myron stepped toward the light, ignoring the symbolism. “Whatever you’re selling,” he said, “how do I know you haven’t made copies?”

“You don’t,” the voice said. “You’ll have to trust me.”

“Who else knows about this?”

“I’m the only one,” the voice said, “who is still alive.”

Myron picked up the pace. His hands were still in the air. The wind whipped into his face. His clothes were sopping. “How do I know you won’t talk?”

“Again, you don’t. Your money buys my silence.”

“Until someone ups the bid.”

“No. I’m leaving after this. You won’t hear from me again.” The flashlight flickered. “Please stop.”

Ten feet in front of him stood a man wearing a ski mask. He had a flashlight in one hand and a box in the other. He nodded at Myron and lifted the box. “Here.”

“What is it?”

“First, the money.”

“For all I know, the box is empty.”

“Fine. Go back to your car and leave then.” The man in the ski mask turned around.

“No, wait,” Myron said. “I’ll get the money.”

The ski mask faced Myron again. “No games.”

Myron headed back to the car. He had moved about twenty paces when he heard the gunshots. Three of them. The noises did not startle him. He slowly turned around. The man with the ski mask was down. Audrey was running toward the still body. She was carrying Myron’s gun.

“He was going to kill you,” Audrey cried. “I had to shoot.”

Audrey kept running. When she reached the still body, she ignored it and scooped up the box. Myron slowly walked toward her.

“Open it,” he said.

“Let’s get out of this rain first. The police—”

“Open it.”

She hesitated. No thunder bellowed. No lightning struck.

“You were right before,” Myron said.

Audrey looked puzzled. “About what?”

“I was looking at this the wrong way.”

“What are you talking about?”

Myron took another step toward her. “When I asked myself who knew about the blood in the basement,” he began, “I only remembered Clip and Calvin. I forgot I told you. When I wondered why Greg’s lover would have to keep her identity a secret, I thought about Fiona White and Liz Gorman. Again I forgot about you. It’s hard enough for a woman to get respect as a female sports reporter. Your career would be ruined if anybody found out you were dating one of the players you covered. You had to keep it quiet.”

She looked at him, her face a wet, white blank.

“You’re the only one who fits, Audrey. You knew about the blood in the basement. You had to keep a relationship with Greg a secret. You had a key to his house so access would be no problem. And you were the one who had a motive to clean up the blood in order to protect him. After all, you killed to protect him. What’s cleaning up some blood?”

She brushed her hair away from her eyes and blinked into the rain. “You can’t seriously believe that I—”

“That night after TC’s party,” Myron interrupted, “when you told me how you had put it all together. I should have wondered then. Sure, my joining the team was unusual. But only somebody with a personal connection—somebody who truly knew that Greg had vanished and why—would have been able to come up with it so fast. You were the mystery lover, Audrey. And you don’t know where Greg is either. You cooperated with me not because you wanted the story, but because you wanted to find Greg. You’re in love with him.”

“That’s ridiculous,” she said.

“The police will comb the house, Audrey. They’ll find hairs.”

“That doesn’t mean anything,” she said. “I interviewed him a couple of times—”

“In his bedroom? In his bathroom? In his shower?” Myron shook his head. “They’ll also comb the murder scene now that they know about you. There’ll be evidence there too. A hair or something.” He took another step toward her. Audrey raised the gun with a quivering hand.

“Beware the Ides of March,” Myron said.


“You were the one who pointed it out to me. The ides are the fifteenth of March. Your birthday was the seventeenth. March seventeenth. Three-one-seven. The code Greg set on his answering machine.”

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