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Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 21

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Savich said, "Yeah, it sure would. So please take your blinders off, Dolores. We need to know how to play this. I've got to say from what I've heard this morning, and what I've read on MAX, this doesn't look good to me."

Dolores Cliff didn't say a word. She popped her gum and began chewing viciously.


Tuesday afternoon

Erin looked down at her orange Day-Glo watch, a gift from her nephew. She had another hour before she picked Georgie up from school. Then it was back here to straighten the apartment and make sure both she and Georgie looked decent, since Bowie was coming over with take-out Chinese for dinner and bringing along two visiting Washington, D.C., FBI agents. Three FBI agents in her apartment. Three. And here she was, a freshly minted criminal. What had she done in life to bring three FBI agents to her dining table?

You took in Georgie, that's what, idiot. When life gives you lemons, add vodka. No, no, make lemonade.

She'd deal, no choice. If she was smart, they could be three major-league sources for her.

She also had to decide what she was going to say to Dr. Kender at lunch tomorrow. He had to be in agreement with whatever she planned to do with the files from Caskie Royal's computer. He was, after all, the client, and she couldn't be certain she could keep his name buried deep if the files went public. The feds would be all over her about Helmut Blauvelt's murder.

Erin could almost see the doomsday tsunami rolling toward her.

The doorbell rang. She slipped her cell into her shirt pocket and glanced through the peephole to see a woman she'd never seen before, a woman who'd make any breathing man grab his heart. Long streaked blond hair, wide brown eyes-ah, maybe a new client?

"Yes?" she said as she opened the door.

"May I speak to you, Ms. Pulaski?"

Lovely low voice, honey smooth.

"Yes, of course. Did you call my office?"

"Office? No."

So not a client. "What can I do for you?"

"I'm a friend of Bowie's and I would like to see Georgie."

Erin looked at the female treat with her buttercup yellow sundress, high-heeled sandals, pretty French pedicure, and lovely thin nose. Her very nice social smile disappeared as she stepped into the apartment and looked around.

"I'm Erin. And you are . . . ?"

The woman turned back to face her. "I'm Krissy Canter. As I said, I'm a friend of Bowie's."

"I see," and Erin did indeed see. She was facing one half of a couple. So why hadn't Bowie asked her to take care of Georgie?

"Actually, I'm here to take Georgie back to my apartment."

"Have you spoken to Bowie about this?"

"Yes, of course. Well, not precisely about that, but she'd want to be with me, Bowie would want that as well."

"Georgie's still in school."

Krissy looked down at her watch, frowned. "I forgot the school hours. I'll go pick her up, take her back to my place."

"I can't allow that, Ms. Canter, not unless Bowie tells me this is what he wants. It's his decision."

And everything went downhill from there.

When Bowie showed up with his married FBI agents in tow, delicious Chinese food smells wafting from two big brown bags with Feng Nian emblazoned on the side, Erin was wearing nice black slacks and her favorite pale blue cashmere sweater, Georgie standing beside her, in a clean pair of jeans and a pink polo shirt.

Krissy Canter had, mercifully, left after speaking tersely to Bowie on her cell phone. When she rang off, she'd said to Erin, "Once Bowie and I have a chance to talk this over, I'll be back for Georgie." She strode out of Erin's apartment without another word, looking as mean as a mud wrestler in beautiful sandals.

Bowie gave Erin a quick once-over. "You look really nice, Erin. Thanks for having us over. Savich and Sherlock here-" He didn't get out another word because his daughter launched herself into his arms. He laughed, hugged her close, kissed her ear, and set her back down. "Okay, kiddo, put on your company manners. I want you to meet Agent Sherlock and Agent Savich."

Sherlock came down on her knees, took the little girl's hand between hers. "You can call me Sherlock. And this big guy is Dillon. I'm married to him. He and I have a little boy, younger than you. His name is Sean. Unlike you, Sean can't dance."

If there was any ice that needed breaking, that broke it. Erin stood back, watching the four of them. Bowie looked over, met her eyes.

"Sorry I didn't give you any warning about Krissy, but I wasn't expecting her back for another couple of days. We've been dating when she's in town, but she's never taken care of Georgie before, and when she asked me where Georgie was, I didn't think, I just told her. I've told her Georgie needs to stay with you this time."

"Krissy was really steamed at Erin," Georgie said, sounding very pleased, which made Bowie frown. "She was at school when Erin came to pick me up. She gave me a big hug and told me I would stay with her soon. I could tell she really wasn't happy when we left. She gave Erin the evil eye."

Erin said, "Everyone come to the table. I'll get the wine and warm up the Chinese."

"Krissy said she was going to talk with you again, Daddy. She said she was going to be in town for three days before she has to fly back to London."

Bowie said carefully, "Did you tell Krissy you wanted to stay with her?"

Georgie shook her head. "I told Krissy Erin was my ballet teacher and I want to get on her good side." She turned and gave Erin a huge smile. "I told her Erin even ironed my clothes for me."

"I did not iron your clothes, just a light press. You're a brat, and a player-and you're only seven years and six months old."

"Okay," Bowie said. "I'll call Krissy, tell her again it's best if you stay where you are, to sweet-talk your teacher."

Married FBI agents, Erin thought, looking across the table at the dark tough-looking man and the sweet-as-a-daisy woman with her vivid red hair and beautiful blue eyes. She imagined their little boy Sean, if he looked at all like them, would be a heartbreaker some-day. She knew she'd have to be on her toes, really careful how she wormed information out of them. It was going to be difficult to even get a word in edgewise since they were already telling Georgie stories about Sean and his best friend Marty, a little girl who could shoot more free throws than Sean could. Then Georgie told them a story about that jerky boy Aaron at school who tried to steal her lunch. Georgie said, "Today I had to eat the peanut butter and banana sandwich Erin made me really fast, because Aaron sniffed it out from six feet away." She followed that with ballet class stories where Erin was featured prominently-stuff she'd said, stuff she'd done. The kid remembered everything. It was scary.

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