Jacob frowned at his interrogator as he recalled an image of the cold nurses’ face. Cool blue eyes had matched her icy demeanor, if he remembered right. “Brown,” he said, his gaze never wavering from hers. Somehow he sensed that a good memory for eye color was not an asset in this situation. Her eyes narrowed, holding his stare, and he was careful to stay relaxed. After a long moment, she finally seemed to accept his answer, and looked down to tap several spots on her electronic display.
“Megan was found a earlier tonight in her bathroom. Only part of her was missing.” She turned the device around, holding it up so he could see. “Is this your handywork, Dr. Werner?”
It took a few seconds for his brain to process the image on the screen. He looked away as his stomach turned, threatening to empty itself all over the floor. He swallowed and took deep breaths, willing the nausea away. “Is she dead?” he asked, opting not to turn around. The motion of the chair could still be his undoing.
“No.” Her chair creaked loudly and hard soles clacked across the floor as she came around the table, tablet in hand. “Are you okay?” The brusqe tone was anything but caring, and he nodded, tapping down embarrassment. She held out a cell phone. “Call the woman you were with last night. Have her meet us at the Federal Building downtown. Once your alibi checks out, then we’ll talk.”
Jacob shook his head, looking up at her. “You don’t listen, do you Agent…what was your name again?”
“Well, whatever. I told you, I don’t remember her name. I wasn’t planning on calling her again, so I have no idea how to get a hold of her. So–”
Agent No-Name tapped one foot impatiently. “Do you have a nice house, Dr. Werner?”
“Was she still at your house when you left?”
“Then call your house. I bet she’s still there.” She dropped the phone in his lap and took two steps back.
He dialed, holding the phone to his ear. It rang three times before his answering machine picked up. “Uh…are you still there? Pick up the phone if you are – it’s important.” He let out the breath he hadn’t realized he was holding as the line clicked.
His date’s voice was like music to his ear. “Yes, thank god you’re still there. I have a little problem – remember that work thing?” Her wary response was less than reassuring. “Well, I was wondering if you could meet me downtown as soon as you can. At the Federal building.”
A loud thud made him jerk the phone away from his ear. He disconnected and handed it back to the agent. “I think that was a no,” he said, rubbing his neck with one hand.
The woman shook her head, one side of her mouth curving up just a bit. She dialed a number and held the phone to her ear. “How close are you to the Werner house? Good. There’s a woman there, probably leaving as soon as she can. Pick her up and bring her in.” She pushed one more button and slid the phone into the pocket of her jacket.
Jacob stood. “Why didn’t you just do that in the first place?” he asked, checking his watch. Two-fifteen in the morning, and it didn’t look like he was going home anytime soon.
“Let’s just call it research, and leave it at that.” She went to the door and held it open. “After you.”
He chuckled in disbelief. “Lady, I’ve played along this far, but you have to be crazy if you think I’m going anywhere with you without seeing some sort of identification.”
She leaned against the door to keep it open and reached into her pocket, pulling out a black leather wallet. “Fair enough,” she said, holding it open and up so he could read her credentials. Kate Paige, Special Agent to the FBI, as he’d suspected.
“Okay then, Agent Paige,” he said, walking into the hallway. “I don’t suppose I could see Megan for a minute before we leave?”
She fell into step beside him, one of the best don’t-touch-me vibes coming off her he’d ever felt. “If your alibi checks out, someone will bring you back.”
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