Home > In Death #28 - Promises in Death(7)

In Death #28 - Promises in Death(7)
Author: J.D. Robb

She found the goodie drawer in the bedside table—body oils, a few toys—and had to block the image that kept trying to lodge in her head of Morris and Coltraine rolling around naked on the bed.

“She liked pretty underwear,” Peabody commented as she went through other drawers. “All her stuff’s in the lingerie level. Sexy, girlie. She liked pretty things. The little bottles, the lamps, the pillows. Her drawers are neat and organized, nothing like mine. She doesn’t have a lot of stuff, you know. No clutter. And what’s here doesn’t match-match, but it all works together. It’s just a really pretty place, to keep dogging the same word.”

Eve stepped to a clever little corner table that held a compact data-and-communication system. In the single slim drawer she found a memo book. But when she tried to bring up data, it denied her access.

“She’s a cop. She’d’ve passcoded it,” Eve said. “We’ll want this tagged for EDD. I want in.”

She learned more about the victim on the search. Peabody was right, she’d liked pretty things. Not overly fussy and frilly, just female. But no clutter, not crowded, and everything in its place. The roses in the living area were real, and fresh.

She found a trinket box that held florist cards, all from Morris. He’d said they’d been exclusive for months. At least as far as flowers went, Eve thought, he was right.

That didn’t mean she hadn’t had something on the side. When a woman went out that time of night, it could be a booty call.

Yet, it just didn’t strike right. She’d seen Coltraine with Morris. She’d felt the zing between them.

“Secure building,” Eve said out loud. “A nice, compact apartment, droid pet. Nice furniture, nice clothes. Not a lot of either. She’s selective. Not much jewelry, but again, what she has is good quality.”

“Same with the hair products, the enhancers,” Peabody put in. “She knew what she liked, what worked for her, and stuck with it. Me, I’ve got a drawer full of cast-off lip dyes, eye gunk, hair crap. Perfume. One scent. There’s leftover Chinese in the fridge, vac-sealed, some health food, bottled water and juices. Two bottles of wine.”

“She’s got a lover, but lives alone. The men’s toiletry kit is probably Morris’s. We’ll check with him rather than sending it straight to the lab. The man’s shirt, boxers, socks, pants, they look like him. Not a lot of him in here, though. They probably spent more time at his place. It’s about four times as big as this, and the location’s prime for cafés, clubs, restaurants, galleries. How’d the killer know she was in last night? Stalking her? I should’ve asked Morris how often they were together, if they had a routine.”

“Dallas, you gave him a break. Gave him a little time. We’ll follow up.”

“The killer didn’t come in here. Too risky. Why chance being seen? No, no, he tagged her on her pocket ’link.”

“They could’ve set up a meet prior.”

“Why risk that? She might tell somebody—Morris, her partner, her boss. I’m meeting X tonight, and then we’d be talking to X instead of wondering who the hell he is. Morris was working, she’d have known that. So she’s not going to tag him at that hour and tell him she’s headed out for something. She just gets her stuff, turns off her cat, and goes. She knew her killer, or whoever set it up.

“Let’s get the sweepers in here, and have EDD pick up her electronics.” She checked her wrist unit. “We’ll go by the morgue before notifying next of kin.”

“I’ll do that. You told Morris,” Peabody added. “I’ll tell her family.”

“Okay. Then we’ll both talk to her partner, her squad, her boss.”

In the car, Peabody sat slumped in the seat, staring out the side window. “Dallas? I got this thing eating at me, and I just want to get it out.”

“You felt bitchy and resentful because she hooked up with Morris.”

“Yeah.” Peabody let out the word, like relief. “I didn’t even know her, hardly at all, and I let myself think, like, who the hell is she, sashaying—I even thought the word sashay, because she was from the South—in here and getting all smoochy with our Morris? Stupid, because I’m with McNab and never had a thing with Morris anyway, except the occasional perfectly permissible and healthy fantasy. But I decided I didn’t like her, just for that. And now she’s dead and I feel like crap about it.”

“I know. I’ve got the same thing going. Except for the fantasy part.”

“I guess that makes me feel a little better.” She scooted up again, studied Eve’s profile. “You really never had the teeniest fantasy about Morris?”

“No. Jeez.”

“Just a little one. Like you’d go to the morgue one night, and it’s strangely empty, so you go into the main cutting room and Morris is there. Naked.”

“No! Stop filling my head with that crap.” But oddly, some of the sick weight in Eve’s belly eased. “Don’t you and McNab bang often enough to keep you from having prurient fantasies about a colleague? In the freaking dead house?”

“I don’t know why. The morgue’s creepy, but Morris is severely sexy. McNab and I bang plenty. Just last night we—”

“I don’t want to hear about you and McNab banging.”

“You brought it up.”

“Which illustrates how your sick Morris fantasies screwed up my mental health.”

Peabody shrugged that off. “Did Morris put anybody on Coltraine, specifically?”


“Die-For-Ty? Talk about the sex. How come so many death doctors are wholly iced?”

“A mystery I’ve pondered throughout my career.”

“No, seriously. Clipper’s like ummm. He’s g*y and has a partner, but a yummy treat for the eyes. His partner’s an artist. He paints people, literally I mean. Body painting. They’ve been together about six years.”

“How do you know all this stuff?”

“Unlike you, I enjoy hearing about people’s personal lives, especially when it involves sex.”

“At least since Clipper’s not into women, you won’t be troubled by sexual fantasies.”

Peabody pursed her lips in thought. “I can work with it. Two naked guys, body paints, me. Oh yeah, endless possibilities.”

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