I found Lilly fuming in the parking garage. She glared at me from across the lot, I sighed. It had not been my intention to upset my partner. I headed toward her. She climbed into the passenger seat and slammed the door so hard, I thought she tore it off. At a minimum, I figured she had cracked the windshield.
“Good gravy,” I thought as I climbed in. “I hope we can get this mess straightened out.”
“Shut up, Konan. Drive, and don’t open your mouth.”
“Fine,” I said as I started the vehicle. We rode in silence until we reached the main gated of to the country club. The old black man was at the gate today as well.
“Hey. How’s it going today?”
“Pretty good. Ms. Yvonne said to let you in. Someone’s waiting for y’all at the house.”
“Thank you, sir. Have a good day.”
I guided the car around to an empty parking spot near the front of the aisle. Lilly got out and slammed the car door. She stormed off toward the house. I grinned and fell in step behind her.
Yvonne watched the scene from the top floor of her country club. I looked up at the large window, she smiled and gave me a wave. I’ll admit, my heart raced a bit. I was not delusional, I knew I stood no chance whatsoever with a woman like Yvonne Strauss, but the thought of it was sweet enough to sample.
Lilly waited at the door. I walked up and stood beside her. The maid from our first visit waited for us.
“Is this everybody?”
“Yep, just the two of us detectives.”
“Follow me, please.”
We followed the maid upstairs to an expansive office. Soft light drifted in the large windows. The blinds were pulled back, and rays of sunshine from the late afternoon sun gave the room a gloaming effect.
Yvonne Strauss sat behind another expensive looking desk, was there anything in this club that did not scream affluence, I wondered. Her eyes searched me up and down, she smiled at me and motioned for us to sit down.
“Hello, Detective Konan, and…”
“Detective Lilly Thompson,” Lilly said curtly. Yvonne gave her a fake smile and a ‘mmhmm.’
“How can I help?”
“We’ve apprehended a third suspect, well, we’ve arrested him. He confessed to killing Figueroa. Where’s your attorney?”
“Wally? He is on the main floor getting a drink. Should I page him?”
Yvonne picked up her bell and gave it a shake. The maid appeared in seconds.
“Tell Wally I need to see him.”
As quickly as the maid had appeared, she vanished. Moments later she and Wally reappeared. Yvonne motioned for him to sit on the couch, Wally nodded and had a seat.
“Wally, the police have apprehended a third killer of Wilson. They have some questions.”
“Such a tragedy. Please, ask your questions.”
Wally pulled out his pipe and filled it with tobacco. Yvonne wrinkled up her nose and leaned back in her seat.
“Do either of you know of Chuck Lambrusco?”
“Know of him?” Wally laughed and coughed. “He’s my son. Such a disappointment to me and his mother.”
“Um, he’s our third man. He implied you came to him in prison and made it seem that you, and Ms. Strauss here, wanted Figueroa gone. Is there any truth to that?”
Yvonne stood to her feet and arched her eyebrows. Wally removed the pipe from his mouth and stared at Konan.
“Absolutely not,” Yvonne Strauss shouted. “I don’t kill my enemies. I let them live so they know who ruined their lives. Wilson Figueroa came here and tried to scam me, and for a while he did, but I did not hire anyone to kill him.”
“Yvonne, please let me handle this, okay?”
Yvonne heeded the advice of her attorney and sat back down. Wally put the pipe back in his mouth and sucked the smoke in deep.
“I went to see my son in prison, detective. Two days before he was released. He’s been in and out of jail, in and out of rehab, that kid has done every drug under the sun. As much trouble as he has been in his short time on this planet, I still wanted good things for him.”
“So, you went there because…”
“He called me and said he had found religion. That things would be different because he had a job with Wilson Figueroa. I had heard the rumors about the man, but Chuckie seemed really enthusiastic about having a job and a place to stay.”
Tears built up in Wally’s eyes, and a small smile crossed his face. He shook his head in disbelief.
“As my client pointed out, Figueroa scammed her. Thanks in large part because of Chuck. He introduced us to the conman. Then, Figueroa threatened to go to the press with our susceptibility if he wasn’t allowed to continue to use the club. We were trying to formulate a plan to escape his web when he was killed. We had nothing to do with the murder.”
“I need statements from both of you.”
“What’s going to happen to Chuckie, detective?”
“I don’t know, sir. I’m not the judge.”
Lilly took their statements and left the room. Wally excused himself. I stood to my feet and prepared to leave, when Yvonne walked over to me.
“There’s something about you, detective.”
“Mmhmm. You’re a predator. I can tell. I like it.”
She smiled, and I smiled back. Yvonne scooted closer to me and bit my ear.
“Are you seeing anyone?”
“No, ma’am. Not in a long time.”
“Come back tonight. Wear formal clothing. Be here at 730.”
I stared at into her eyes. Her presence was overwhelming, I wanted nothing more than to please her.
“I’ll be here.”
“Good. I’ll see you then.”