Gone for Good Page 49

I filled out some paperwork and Katy was released into my custody. She had sobered up in the hour it took me to get out there. There was no laugh in her now. Her head hung low. Her face had taken on a classic teenage-sullen posture.

I thanked Tim again. Katy did not even attempt a smile or wave. We started for the car, but when we were out in the night air, she grabbed my arm.

“Let’s take a walk,” Katy said.

“It’s four in the morning. I’m tired.”

“I’ll throw up if I sit in a car.”

I stopped. “Why were you yelling about Idaho on the phone?”

But Katy was already crossing Livingston Avenue. I started after her. She picked up speed as she reached the town circle. I caught up.

“Your parents are going to be worried,” I said.

“I told them I was staying with a friend. It’s okay.”

“You want to tell me why you were drinking alone.”

Katy kept walking. Her breathing grew deeper. “I was thirsty.”

“Uh-huh. And why were you yelling about Idaho?”

She looked at me but didn’t break stride. “I think you know.”

I grabbed her arm. “What kind of game are you playing here?”

“I’m not the one playing games here, Will.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Idaho, Will. Your Sheila Rogers was from Idaho, right?”

Again her words hit me like a body blow. “How did you know that?”

“I read it.”

“In the paper?”

She chuckled. “You really don’t know?”

I took hold of her shoulders. “What are you talking about?”

“Where did your Sheila go to college?” she asked.

“I don’t know.”

“I thought you two were madly in love.”

“It’s complicated.”

“I bet it is.”

“I still don’t understand, Katy.”

“Sheila Rogers went to Haverton, Will. With Julie. They were in the same sorority.”

I stood, stunned. “That’s not possible.”

“I can’t believe you don’t know. Sheila never told you?”

I shook my head. “Are you sure?”

“Sheila Rogers of Mason, Idaho. Majored in communications. It’s all in the sorority booklet. I found it in an old trunk in the basement.”

“I don’t get it. You remembered her name after all these years?”


“How come? I mean, do you remember the name of everyone in Julie’s sorority?”


“So why would you remember Sheila Rogers?”

“Because,” Katy said, “Sheila and Julie were roommates.”


Squares arrived at my apartment with bagels and spreads from a place cleverly christened La Bagel on 15th and First. It was ten A.M., and Katy was sleeping on the couch. Squares lit up a cigarette. I noticed that he was still wearing the same clothes from last night. This was not easy to discern—it was not as though Squares was a leading figure in the haut monde community—but this morning he looked extra disheveled. We sat at the stools by the kitchen counter.

“Hey,” I said, “I know you want to blend in with the street people but . . .”

He took a plate out of a cabinet. “You going to keep wowing me with the funny lines, or are you going to tell me what happened?”

“Is there a reason I can’t do both?”

He lowered his head and again looked at me over the sunglasses. “That bad?”

“Worse,” I said.

Katy stirred on the couch. I heard her say “Ouch.” I had the extra-strength Tylenol at the ready. I handed her two with a glass of water. She downed them and stumbled toward the shower. I returned to the stool.

“How does your nose feel?” Squares asked.

“Like my heart moved up there and is trying to thump its way out.”

He nodded and took a bite out of a bagel with lox spread. He chewed slowly. His shoulders drooped. I knew that he had not stayed home that night. I knew that something had happened between him and Wanda. And mostly, I knew that he did not want me to ask about it.

“You were saying about worse?” he prompted.

“Sheila lied to me,” I said.

“We knew that already.”

“Not like this.”

He kept chewing.

“She knew Julie Miller. They were sorority sisters in college. Roommates even.”

He stopped chewing. “Come again?”

I told him what I’d learned. The shower stayed on the whole time. I imagined that Katy would ache from the alcohol aftereffects for some time yet. Then again, the young recuperate faster than the rest of us.

When I finished filling him in, Squares leaned back, crossed his arms, and grinned. “Styling,” he said.

“Yeah. Yeah, that’s the word that came to my mind too.”

“I don’t get it, man.” He started spreading another bagel. “Your old girlfriend, who was murdered eleven years ago, was college roommates with your most recent girlfriend, who was also murdered.”


“And your brother was blamed for the first murder.”

“Yes again.”

“Okay, yeah.” Squares nodded confidently. Then: “I still don’t get it.”

“It had to be a setup somehow,” I said.

“What was a setup?”

“Sheila and me.” I tried to shrug. “It must have all been a setup. A lie.”

He made a yes-and-no gesture with his head. His long hair fell onto his face. He pushed it back. “To what end?”

“I don’t know.”

“Think about it.”

“I have,” I said. “All night.”

“Okay, suppose you’re right. Suppose Sheila did lie to you or, I don’t know, set you up somehow. You with me?”

“With you.”

He raised both palms. “To what end?”

“Again I don’t know.”

“Then let’s go through the possibilities,” Squares said. He raised his finger. “One, it could be a giant coincidence.”

I just looked at him.

“Hold up, you dated Julie Miller, what, more than twelve years ago?”


“So maybe Sheila didn’t remember. I mean, do you remember the name of every friend’s ex? Maybe Julie never talked about you. Or maybe Sheila just forgot your name. And then years later you two meet . . .”

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