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Книга Whiplash. Содержание - 54

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"You puking little freak!" Jane Ann Royal roared at him and slammed her fist into his jaw. Mick fell back onto the sofa. He sat there, holding his jaw, staring up at her, pinned.

"All you can do is play tennis. You, an actor? That's a joke. I saw you in Taming of the Shrew-you were ridiculous, you hear me? All you did was prance around, and everybody could tell you're a no-talent little creep! You don't even have any talent in bed. You're a huge conceited bore!"

Sherlock jumped up and hauled Jane Ann back as she pulled and heaved toward Mick again. "Don't hit him again, all right? Or I'll have to arrest you. Listen to me, this is going to stop, all the lies, and especially this little drama you're enacting for me." Drama. Is that what all this was? Sherlock saw a flash of movement from the corner of her eye, but she wasn't fast enough.

A man's fist struck her temple hard and she fell to the beautiful Persian rug. She hit the edge of the coffee table as she went down. Pain exploded in her head, and then she didn't feel anything at all.


Sherlock heard Jane Ann Royal's panicked voice through a blinding fog of pain. "You idiot, she doesn't know anything! Dammit, she was just guessing, throwing stuff out there to see if we'd bite, that's all. Now look what you've done. She's a freaking FBI agent! What are we going to do now?"

As she listened to them fight, Sherlock knew she'd wondered deep down whether Caskie's murder really was part of a big conspiracy. When Mick wanted to show off his acting talent, it was all there, right in front of her nose, two greedy people who saw their opportunity to get rid of their big obstacle, and cash in.

She saw Dillon's face, sharp and clear.

She forced herself to focus on Mick's voice now, scared, defensive, thin as soup. "I'm not an idiot! She knew, I know she did. I saw it in her eyes when she looked at me. I didn't have a choice, I didn't. I'm not going to jail! It's not going to happen. The next Mel Gibson can't go to jail!"

"You're too tall to be the next Mel Gibson! You look like a pretty boy, he doesn't. Why am I even talking to you? I've got to figure out what to do."

Mick's voice faded in and out. Sherlock realized he was pacing the length of his lovely living room. He was saying, "We've got to be calm here. We can't lose it, not now. We've got to find out what she knows, then we can decide what to do with her. You've got to get me out of this, Jane Ann. You owe me."

"All right, all right." Jane Ann was taking slow deep breaths, smoothing herself out. Yoga breathing. "She isn't dead, is she?"

Sherlock heard Mick's footsteps crossing to her, felt his warm hitching breath on her cheek as he came down on his knees beside her. She felt his fingers on the pulse in her neck, smelled the sweat on him as he leaned over her. "I hit her pretty hard, but she seems okay. I've done that in my martial arts classes, but this is my first time I ever hit a real person." He sounded more pleased with himself now than scared.

Keep breathing, keep listening, stay unconscious. Do not puke. Sherlock felt nausea roiling in her stomach, and knew the not puking part could be a tall order. She tried to breathe slowly, lightly, like Jane Ann.

Sherlock knew Jane Ann was standing over her now; she smelled her too, a fresh jasmine scent. "I liked her, you know? I thought she liked me too, but it was all an act. She suspected something was off, but Mick, she really didn't know a thing. Oh, I wish you hadn't lost it-where's my cell?"

He rolled right over her, anger and aggression spilling out of his mouth, "Yeah? Well, she was going to haul you away, and me too, and I don't deserve that, I don't! You are nearly old enough to be my mother! Look what you've got me into. She's a federal agent. Why do you need your freaking cell? Who do you want to call?"

Sherlock heard the sound of Jane Ann's hard slap against his face. Not smart, Jane Ann, not smart, he's nearly boiling over. "I'm thirty-six, you fool. Don't you ever call me your bloody mother again!"

"You hit me! Don't you ever slap me again, Jane Ann."

Sherlock felt the air shimmer with violence, heard Jane Ann's harsh breathing. She heard a smack that sounded like Mick catching Jane Ann's hand when she would have hit him again, knew he'd twisted her wrist because Jane Ann moaned. They were face-to-face, their rage beating the air between them. But when Mick spoke, it was in nearly a whisper, but there was rage in his voice, deep and thick. "You hit me again, Jane Ann, and I'll knock your perfect teeth down your throat, you hear me? Poor old Caskie paid for those pretty teeth, didn't he, just like he paid for all your tennis lessons? Did you ever pay for anything in your life?"

Jane Ann jerked away from him, and, smart woman, she moved to the other side of the living room, cursing under her breath. Sherlock slitted her eyes open to see Jane Ann vigorously rubbing her wrist, trying to regain control of herself and the situation. "Listen, Mick, we're losing it. We have to focus here. None of this is important now. We've got to tie her up."

"Yeah, well, that's the first smart thing you've said."

Sherlock was dead weight when Mick hauled her up and laid her on her back on the sofa. "I know just the thing. I'll be right back. How long is she going to be out?"

"We'll throw some water in her face, that'll bring her back." Jane Ann was moving away. "I'll get some. Then we can find out what she knows."

Sherlock heard Mick coming back into the living room. She moaned and slowly opened her eyes to stare up at the young man who was sitting next to her, a roll of duct tape in his hand, studying her face.

She blinked and gave him a smile. "Mick? Is that you? What happened? Did I faint? Oh good, you stretched me out on the sofa. Thank you."

He froze. "You think you fainted?"

She frowned at him in confusion. "Didn't I? All I remember is you were telling me how you were an actor and then, well, I woke up here on the sofa. My head hurts a bit. Hey, I think it's low blood sugar. It's happened before, my blood sugar just bottoms out and down I go. Mick, thank you for making me comfortable."

"Isn't your blood sugar still low?"

"Well, yes, it is. There's usually a brief spike then it falls again. Do you think I could have a glass of juice? Or maybe a regular soda? It's got sugar in it, and that'll get me back to normal."

Mick called out, "Jane Ann, bring some orange juice in here. Agent Sherlock says it was low blood sugar that made her faint."

"What? Faint?"

"Yeah, she fainted. It's okay, really, just bring in the orange juice."

Sherlock's temple pounded where his fist had struck her. Her palms itched to flatten the jerk. She whispered, "Could you help me sit up, Mick?"

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