A is for Alibi Page 20

"I have to be somewhere at six," I said.

"Beer's fine then.”

I uncapped it and handed it to him, sitting down at the other end of the couch with my feet tucked up under me. "You must have left the office early. I'm flattered.”

"I'll go back tonight. I have to go out of town for a couple of days and I'll have to get my briefcase packed, tidy up some loose ends for Ruth.”

"Why take time out for me?”

Scorsoni gave me a quizzical smile with the barest hint of irritation. "God, so defensive. Why not take time out for you? If Nikki didn't kill Laurence, I'm as interested as anyone in finding out who did it, that's all.”

"You don't believe she's innocent for a minute," I said.

"I believe you believe it," he said.

I looked at him carefully. "I can't give you information. I hope you understand that. I could use any help you've got and if you have a brainstorm, I'd love to hear it, but it can't be a two-way street.”

"You want to lecture an attorney about client privilege, is that it? Jesus Christ, Millhone. Give me a break.”

"Okay, okay. I'm sorry," I said. I looked down at his big hands and then up at his face again. "I just didn't want my brain picked, that's all.”

His expression relaxed and his smile was lazy. "You said you didn't know anything anyway," he pointed out, "so what's to pick? You're such a goddamn grouch.”

I smiled then. "Listen, I don't know what my chances are on this thing. I don't have a feel for it yet and it's making me nervous.”

"Yeah and you've been working on it—what—two days?”

"About that.”

"Then give yourself a break while you're at it." He took a sip of beer and then with a small tap set the bottle on the coffee table. "I wasn't very honest with you yesterday," he said.

"About what?”

"Libby Glass. I did know who she was and I suspected that he was into some kind of relationship with her. I just didn't think it was any of your business.”

"I don't see how it could make any difference at this point," I said.

"That's what I decided. And maybe it's important to your case—who knows? I think since he died, I've tended to invest him with a purity he never really had. He played around a lot. But his taste usually ran to the moneyed class. Older women. Those slim elegant ones who marry aristocracy.”

"What was Libby like?”

"I don't really know. I ran into her a couple of times when she was setting up our tax account. She seemed nice enough. Young. She couldn't have been more than twenty-five or twenty-six.”

"Did he tell you he was having an affair with her?”

"Oh no, not him. I never knew him to kiss and tell.”

"A real gentleman," I said.

Scorsoni shot me a warning look.

"I'm not being facetious," I said hastily. "I've heard he kept his mouth shut about the women in his life. That's all I meant.”

"Yeah, he did. He played everything close to his chest.

That's what made him a good attorney too. He never tipped his hand, never telegraphed. The last six months before he died, he was odd though, protective. There were times when I almost thought he wasn't well, but it wasn't physical. It was some kind of psychic pain, if you'll excuse the phrase.”

"You had drinks with him that night, didn't you?”

"We had dinner. Down at the Bistro. Nikki was off someplace and we played racquetball and then had a bite to eat. He was fine as far as I could tell.”

"Did he have the allergy medication with him then?”

Scorsoni shook his head. "He wasn't much for pills anyway. Tylenol if he had a headache, but that was rare. Even Nikki admitted that he took the allergy cap after he got home. It had to be someone who had access to that.

"Had Libby Glass been up here?”

"Not for business as far as I know. She might have come up to see him but he never said anything to me. Why?”

"I don't know. I was just thinking that somebody might have dosed them both somehow at the same time. She didn't die until four days later but that's not hard to explain if the caps were self-administered.”

"I never heard much about her death. I don't even think it hit the papers here. He was down in Los Angeles though, I do know that. About a week and a half before he died.”

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