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The Rookie Club: Dead Center Part 34

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"I've got time," He said, turning back. "Come on in." He led the way into his office, set the case down by his desk and shrugged out of his jacket.

She heard the click of his bag opening as she moved into the office, shutting the door behind her. "I'm here because of another Scanlan incident."

Holding a notepad, he looked up, frowning. "What now?"

Jamie told him about David Priestley's confession.

Washington shook his head. "That kid is a menace."



"He wouldn't be here if it weren't for his father."

"His father's a menace, too." He lifted the yellow legal pad and began to make notes. "Let me get the specifics."

Jamie repeated the date and time of the attack, gave him her vet's name and number. As she spoke she glanced over at his shelf, scanning the pictures of his wife and daughter she'd seen dozens of times before. She started to ask about the girl when her eye caught an award at the end of the shelf. A trophy from the banquet. She felt fear. Adrenaline flooded her chest and belly in a rush of heat. Washington won an award.

Jamie pictured Washington in the meeting with Daniels and Scanlan. He'd been uncomfortable. Just like Daniels and Marshall. She stepped toward the award, heart drumming.

Daniels and Marshall had known about Deputy Chief Scanlan's affair with Devlin. That's why they had been uncomfortable. But Washington? She couldn't see the deputy chief telling a district attorney.

Jamie swallowed a breath. Washington was Devlin's killer. Calm. She had to stay calm. She moved down the book shelf, took the time to stare at a picture of Washington with the police chief. Tried to slow her breathing. She took hold of her right shoulder, turned back around, rolling her neck slowly. "d.a.m.n. I hurt."

Washington was watching her.

"I need to take some meds and sleep," she told him, taking a step for the door. "Let's just do this in the morning."

She started across the room, but Washington moved faster. Blocked the door. In his hand was a revolver, the barrel leveled at her.

Air seeped from her lungs like from a punctured inner tube.

"I'm sorry you figured it out," he said, wiping the beads of sweat off his upper lip. The gun trembled slightly in his hand.

"I didn't want to kill anyone."

Jamie eyed the door. Buy time. Find a way out. "That morning in the meeting about Devlin's murder-you knew about her and Deputy Chief Scanlan."

He didn't respond.

"But not because anyone had told you," she went on. "You knew because you caught them together that night."

His thumb drew back the hammer.

"Right before you killed her."

Chapter 37.

It was almost eight and Hailey had been in the office for eleven hours without a break. For lunch, she'd eaten a stale m.u.f.fin from a vending machine and since then, all she'd had were two Diet c.o.kes.

When her cell phone rang, she thought it was going to be Mackenzie or Jamie.

"Yeah."

"It's Stephanie Rusch at the lab."

"You're there late."

"Yeah, I guess. Listen, Sydney asked me to call. She said you should get over here as soon as you can. Are you home?"

"No. I'm at the Hall. Is everything all right?"

"Uh, yeah. There's just someone here you need to see," she add, sounding nervous.

"Can it wait until tomorrow?"

"Uh, I don't think so. It's a guy from the sheriff's department up by Lake Tahoe."

"Tahoe?" she repeated.

"Uh, yeah."

Hailey sighed. "Okay. I can be there in fifteen minutes, but do you know-"

"I've got to get back," Stephanie said, cutting her off. The call ended.

Hailey grabbed her coat and headed out of the station. John called on her way out. "Another late night?"

"I'm sorry, babe."

"Be careful, okay?"

She told him she would and started to promise it would be better one day. She couldn't promise that. It would be a lie and she told enough of those already.

The streets were quiet. She made it into Hunters Point in less than fifteen minutes. She showed her badge to the guard, wound down the road to the lab. As she pulled into a parking spot, she thought about all that had happened since the day she'd been a.s.signed Natasha's murder. What to do about Buck entered her mind. She pressed it out. Now was not the time to figure it out. Soon, though, she thought.

When she entered the lab, both Sydney and Stephanie were at work behind microscopes. A man Hailey didn't recognize was cutting apart a big piece of carpet with a box cutter.

Another man sat at the table where she and Sydney had been just days before, working on Abby and Hank Dennig.

Sydney turned and stepped toward her, speaking to the man as she pointed to Hailey. "This is Inspector Wyatt."

The man rose from his chair. He was short and stout. A pair of black elastic suspenders clipped from his jeans and ran over his shoulders. He laughed as he put out his hand. "Sorry. I was expecting a man."

She smiled. "No apology necessary. I think my mother was, too."

He laughed.

Hailey shook his hand and waited for someone to explain why she was there.

Sydney didn't speak.

Stephanie and the other tech continued to work.

"My name's Carl Watson," he said. "I'm a deputy with the Placerville Sheriffs Department."

"What can I do for you, Deputy Watson?"

"Please. Call me Carl."

She nodded.

"We had a suicide up there that we thought may interest you."

Hailey frowned. "A suicide?" She scanned her memory for any questionable death that had recently been deemed suicide. Came up empty.

"Deceased is named Colby Wesson."

"Wesson?"

"As in the gun maker. This guy's the grandson or great-grandson. Still in the business-or was."

Something with the weight of a tank sank in her gut. Leaning against the table, she crossed her arms and dropped her shoulders. He was there about the Dennigs. They hadn't killed each other. If there was another victim, it meant the Dennigs had been murdered. "Wesson," she whispered.

The man nodded. "Right. He's somewhere down the line from the original gun maker."

She glanced at Sydney, who gave a tiny nod. "When did this happen?"

The man fingered his mustache, frowned. "Three weeks ago-three and a half now, I guess."

"How'd he commit suicide?"

"Car in the garage."

She waited.

"We didn't think anything of it until we found some traces of a drug in his system. Took us nearly three weeks to get the tox reports back. Once we had 'em, we reopened the case and looked into the possibility of homicide. That's when we got the state lab involved. They linked it to a double homicide you worked recently."

"Abby and Hank Dennig," she supplied.

"That's the one." He motioned to Sydney, who crossed the room to where Stephanie worked. "I brought down some evidence from that case-the thing that links them."

Sydney lifted a small plastic bag off the counter beside Stephanie. Even as she made her way across the room, Hailey knew what it was. She'd been the one to enter the b.u.t.ton's description into NCIC, to be certain she wasn't overlooking something that linked their deaths to other crimes.

Through the plastic bag, Hailey read the words, "Wage peace, not war." It was identical to the one they'd found in Abby Dennig's minivan.

Hailey closed her eyes, held them closed. "Christ."

"It's got a clean print," Sydney said.

Hailey jerked her eyes open. "You get a match?"

Sydney nodded but didn't look happy.

"Who?"

"Nick Fredricks."

Hailey shook her head. "I don't know-" But then she stopped. She did know the name. "Fredricks, the lobbyist?"

Sydney nodded. "Right. Anti-gun, anti-NRA."

Hailey frowned, dragging the depths of her memory for something. "But I thought he was-"

Sydney nodded again. "He is. Dead."

"Could it be an old print?" Hailey asked. "Some sort of joke thing they gave out a long time ago?"

"We don't think so," Carl cut in. "It was a brand-new car. Wesson only had it a couple weeks before he died."

"And Fredricks' is the only print on the b.u.t.ton," Sydney added.

Hailey realized she'd screwed up big-time. She'd missed something on the Dennigs. There was a third person, had to have been. "What about the b.u.t.ton from the last scene? Was there a print on it?"

"We're running it again. It was only a partial. We didn't have enough to get a match the first time."

Stephanie crossed the rooms, rolling the gloves off her hands. "Under the scope, it looks like the same print. You can see the tented arch in both."

Hailey shook her head, stared at Sydney. "You were right."

Sydney didn't acknowledge that. She merely said, "We'll send the b.u.t.tons out to be sure."

Hailey nodded as her phone rang.

"Hailey." It was Mackenzie's voice, breathless.

"What? What's wrong?"

"I just got the full list of awards."

"Who's on it?"

"Chip Washington."

"It can't be Washington-he's-" She stopped herself. What? He's an attorney? Was that a defense?

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The Rookie Club: Dead Center Part 34 summary

You're reading The Rookie Club: Dead Center. This manga has been translated by Updating. Author(s): Danielle Girard. Already has 52 views.

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