(To read from the beginning go Here.)
Rick held his hand out toward Anne and motioned for her to fork over the documents. “C’mon.”
Anne shook her head. “I don’t have them anymore.”
His features, especially his eyes, hardened like cement that had set in a fraction of a second. His glance flicked over to Tom, and she could nearly hear the scrape of stone on stone in the minute movement. Anne licked her lips.
“You didn’t make sure she had the documents before you brought her here?”
Tom shrugged. “She said she didn’t have them.”
“And you believed her.” Scathing contempt crushed all inflection from the words.
Sweat stood out on Tom’s forehead and upper lip. He made an effort to appear casual with another shrug, but he couldn’t seem to muster any words to fit the gesture.
His lip curled up in disgust, Rick turned his granite gaze back to Anne. “Where are they?”
“I’m… um.” She couldn’t get her voice to work properly.
Rick stepped forward, his movements silent and deliberate. His fingers closed around her wrist, not hard but tightly enough that she could not have broken free. He led her into the sitting room. His hand on her shoulder pushed her into a chair. Once more he avoided hurting her, using just enough force that there was no choice but to comply.
“Now what did you do with those papers?” He took the chair across from her, even putting one ankle up on his knee as if he were settling in to read the newspaper.
Anne swallowed against the dry rot that had settled in her throat. “I gave them to the police.” She sounded nearly as hoarse as Donald Duck.
Rick’s sneer made him look like Vincent Price. “Try again.” He pulled a small, blunt nosed little gun from his pocket and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “Remember this time, that you’ll regret it if you don’t tell me the truth.”
Anne’s thoughts swirled like water rushing to escape down the drain. She’d told him what was essentially the truth. The authorities had the documents. What was she to do? God shall send strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. The snippet of scripture pinged off one side of her brain and she snatched at it before it could get away. If he refused to believe the truth…
“I hid them somewhere safe.” The words spilled from her lips before she had consciously formulated the sentence.
Good question. She wracked her brain. Somewhere he couldn’t get at without her. No use giving him the idea that it would be easier to shoot her now and be done with her. “I left them behind a loose mirror in one of the ladies bathroom at Grand Central.”
He gave her a do-you-think-I’m-stupid look and tightened his casual grip on the gun.
Whatever had possessed her to say that? Anne held her hands up. “We can go get it now. I’ll take you to it I swear.”
His eyes narrowed. “How did you come across this handy dandy hiding spot of yours?”
She couldn’t stop shaking, but she tried to act casual. “They say necessity is the mother of invention. I didn’t want it anywhere near me after your goons trashed my apartment. So last night on the way here, I put them in the first concealed spot I came across.”
He seemed to be buying it, sort of. His grip on the gun had relaxed… marginally.
“I was going to get them on my way home last night, but then I thought it might be better to keep them at a distance.”
Rick stood. “We’re going to go get those documents.”
“But why?” Anne asked. Erik would be giddy if she could get Rick to admit to the counterfeiting. “They’re gibberish. I never could tell what Carol meant to say with any of them.”
“Never mind. All that matters is that I want them and you’re going to get them for me.”
“But why?” Tom asked. “Why risk walking into a trap?”
Rick rounded on him. “We need that paper. It’s the real deal.”
Tom’s eyebrows rocketed upwards. “You mean it’s the same kind they make real money out of?”
Rick shot out a hand and administered a vicious backhanded slap to Tom’s face. “Shut up!”
Anne jumped, her nerves zinging as if she had been the one smacked.
Tom’s hands balled into fists. “Don’t you ever hit me again.”
“You’ll regret it, that’s what.”
They were nose to nose now. Shoulders squared, sneers fixed and braced for combat.