Chapter 7

  • Chapter 7

    Angus was enroot to Tulsa when his phone rang.  He put it on speaker.  It was Jason.  “Couldn’t find your friend on paper,” He said.  “Says his last name is Johnson.”

    “There’s plenty of those,” Angus said.  “What’s his story?”

    “Seems he’s supposed to work for the government and lives overseas.  Said his stuff was stolen,”

    “Yeah, he told me that too,” Angus said.

    “Well if you talked to the guy, why didn’t you get his last name?”  Jason sounded irritated.

    “He’s pretty squirrely with his answers.  He has to answer you guys.”  Angus said.

    “Well, anyway, says his I.D. was stolen, he used the girl’s address and paid cash for two tickets.”

    “Tickets?”  Angus asked.

    “No license and driving too fast, nothing exciting.  The girl threw up on the officer.”  Jason said.

    Angus started laughing.  “I hope she’s not sick.”

    “No,” Jason said, “just drunk.”

    “How far ahead of me are they?”  Angus asked.

    “Amarillo.  He had to take the keys till she could drive.  Unorthodox, but effective.”  Jason said.

    “Thanks, Jason.  I owe you one.”

    “Don’t you always.”

    Angus pulled up his app and confirmed that they were in Amarillo just as Jason said.  Maybe he could catch up to them soon.  He’d already told Ed that they gave him the slip but he was close behind.  “Shep, they got held up a little bit.  We need to make tracks and catch up with them.  Let’s hope they spend the night in Texas.”


    “Well,” Alec said, “what do you want to do?”

    Olivia thought about it and said, “I think we should find somewhere to sleep for the night, I’m not in the mood for a long drive right now.”

    They got into the car and made a u-turn and headed back toward Amarillo.  Alec searched the GPS for a place to sleep.  “Don’t bother,” Olivia said amused, “There’s the Rama motel, I think it’s perfect.”

    Alec went in to secure a room and Olivia waited in the car.  He came back with key in hand and she moved the car to the appropriate spot.  “I hope this place don’t have bed bugs,” she commented.

    “Why did you say this place is perfect?” Alec asked.

    “Rama, llama, da-ding-y-dong……” she raised her eyebrows.

    “I don’t follow you,” he said.

    “Grease,” she waited for him to catch on, “you ever watch Grease?”

    “I’m afraid I missed that one.”

    “It’s about a girl changing her ways to catch a boy,” she waited and he was still lost, “Ed’s religion,” she said, “If I would change to his religion they would have accepted me.”

    “They, meaning?” Alec asked.

    “The people who asked me to leave town in the nicest possible way THEY could muster.”  She said, “You know what, never mind, it’s all going to be ancient history soon anyway.”

    Alec unpacked some shorts and briefs and headed toward the bathroom.  Olivia stopped him, “Hey, why couldn’t Johnny law figure out who you are and where you live?”

    “Can we talk about that later?” He asked.

    “Sure, later, whatever,” she replied.  He went to take his shower.

    Olivia dialed what used to be home, Ed answered and said, “You finally called me for a change.”

    “I don’t know why I called,” she said, “I guess I just wondered if you missed me.”

    “Of course I do, but I will see you again,” he hesitated, “won’t I?”

    “Ed, if you really wanted me, you wouldn’t still be on the market for other women.”

    “Who says I am?” he asked.

    “Your behavior says you are, when she made an excuse to see you at our door and you giggled like a school-girl, I knew.”

    “I don’t know what you are talking about.” He said.

    “Let me anoint your head with oil,” she mimicked.

    “You should have let them,” he said without missing a beat.

    “No thank you,” she replied, “I didn’t know what was in their oil.”

    “So you think I’m cheating.”

    “You cheated when we worked at the airport before we ever went to Utah.” She replied.  “Look, this isn’t on you, I knew what you were when I married you, the fact is, we’ve been wasting each other’s time, both of us.  You can’t give me children and I want them someday, you made it clear you didn’t want my children, you already had yours.”

    There was silence on the line as Ed processed what he was hearing, “Kids are a lot of work Olivia, I like not having to find a babysitter.”

    “We should have had this discussion four years ago, Ed, instead of you tossing it out there that you wanted me to have your baby.  It would have saved ME a lot of trouble.”

    There was silence on the line again, “I don’t know what to say,” he said.

    “Say you’ll release the restrictions on the bank account, since you already took your half out.”  She heard him sigh.

    “Should I take my name off the account?”  He asked.

    She thought about it, “If you want to do the decent thing, yeah.”

    “You aren’t coming back, are you?”  He asked and there it was, the moment of truth.

    “Ed, I love you, with every fiber of my being, but no, I don’t think I CAN come back.  I’d explain it but I think you know why.”

    Another long pause.  “I’ll take my name off the account and I’ll send some of your stuff to your mom’s house.  If you don’t mind, I’d like this to be our last conversation.”  There it was, if she wasn’t his go-to girl, she wasn’t anything.  Suddenly Olivia knew she’d made the right decision to leave.

    “It’s a deal,” she said.  “Now call off the hounds.”

    “I’m afraid I can’t do that,” he told her, “and I can’t tell you why either.”

    “Is this a church thing?”  She asked.

    “Have a nice trip home,” he said, “Goodbye Olivia.”  The line went dead.

    Olivia thought for a moment.  “I need some time alone,” she decided as she grabbed the keys and walked out the door to the car.  Minutes later she was down the road.

    Alec came out of the bathroom and was surprised to see Olivia gone, the box was in the car.  “Plan B,” he thought, then he was gone too as he literally stepped through the wall.


    Olivia typed in her request after she got gas.  She considered Butler’s bar but her Rhett had never shown up and she wasn’t going looking now.  Rumors looked good so she selected that and drove in silence.  It was a pretty nice place, she started at the bar with something mild, “Baileys over ice?”  She had a lot of thinking to do.  It was one thing to let something tickle your brain, it was another to decide on it and she needed a clear head.  Alec wasn’t here to drive, “As if!”  She thought.  Hopefully someone would eventually ask her to dance, she liked the music at least.  She toyed with the idea of taking a table and tossed it off.  “Women at tables don’t get dance partners,” she thought.  “I need to have fun.”

    She was well into her second drink and the patrons were beginning to fill the place up, most of them seemed familiar with the bartender so she knew they were regulars.  No one paid her any particular attention.  She wanted a smoke so she stepped outside and sat at one of the tables and watched the sky as the sun was setting.

    A man approached her, “Didn’t you have enough earlier today?” he asked.

    “Well if it isn’t Officer……..?”

    “Glenn,” he said, “Maxwell Glenn,” he tipped his hat, “at your service……..again.” he said.

    Olivia started laughing, “You look very nice out of uniform,” she said.  “Do you dance?”

    “Only the slow ones,” he said.  Then he went inside.

    “Glenn Maxwell would have sounded better,” she muttered.  She started to check her phone and then realized she’d left it back at the hotel.  She felt mildly guilty about leaving Alec behind and then dismissed it.

    “Can I sit?”  A willowy blonde stood before her, pitcher and glass in hand.

    “Sure, why not?” 

    “You’re alone?” She asked as she poured herself a beer.  “Me too.”  She lit a cigarette and coughed.

    “Are you uh……..”

    “Gay.  You want to know if I’m gay,” she interrupted.

    “It doesn’t matter if you are or not, I’m not looking for a pick up, just some dancing.”

    “Honey, with an expression like that, no one is going to ask you to dance.”  She said.  “My name is Georgia,” she stuck out her hand.

    Olivia shook her hand, noted the perfect manicure and sighed.  “So tonight I get leftovers,” she thought, “Lovely.”  Still, two women together usually did attract dancing partners without nefarious motives best.

    Georgia tilted her head, “What are you thinking?”

    “That I don’t have to spend tonight alone after all, but I’m not gay.”

    “I’m not either,” she said, “I just hate to drink alone and I like meeting new people.”

    “Do you live around here?” Olivia made conversation.

    “Oh yeah,” she smiled, “Couldn’t you tell by my accent?”

    It was Olivia’s turn to smile, “Any of your male friends dance?”

    “The ones who do aren’t here yet,” Georgia said.  “Say, what’s a girl like you doing here alone in the first place?”

    Olivia took a drag off her cigarette deciding what to say and decided it didn’t matter what she said, “I’m about to be divorced.”

    “Oh,” Georgia said, “Must not be too big a problem, you’re drinking light.”

    “I can drink, or I can think, but I can’t effectively do both,” Olivia said, “besides, I threw up on one cop already today.”  Then they both started laughing.

    “That would be me!”  Officer Glenn said as he sat down without asking.  He had his own pitcher and glass.  “My turn!” he said playfully and Olivia noted he had a really nice smile.  “Where’s your friend?”

    “I left him in the shower,” she said and then noted his expression, “HE was in the shower, I left abruptly,” she corrected herself.

    “Won’t he be worried about you?” he asked.

    “They’re getting a divorce,” Georgia offered.

    “No……..” Olivia said.

    “But you said………”

    “I am getting a divorce, but the guy I’m traveling with isn’t my husband.”

    “Oh,” Georgia said as she averted her eyes.

    “I’m not the villain here,” Olivia said, “It’s a slow one Officer Glenn, will you please rescue me?”

    They went to dance.

    Georgia pulled out her phone and dialed.  “Pigeon’s in the hole,” she said and hung up.


    Angus hung up the phone and kept driving, “We just got ourselves a raise Shep.”  He grinned.  In thirty minutes he’d be in Amarillo.

    On the edge of town he pulled over and dialed.  Ed sounded miserable, “Why did you give me a raise?”

    “I’m not paying the bill now but it’s going through my account.”

    “Is this a church thing?  She left Salt Lake you know, you guys should be good with that.”

    “They want to know what she’s going to say, can you do that right?!  Just find out what she’s going to say.”  He said.

    “So I find out what she’s going to say and then that’s it?”  Angus asked.

    “Do me a personal favor,” Ed said, “Don’t give your report till she’s at home with her mom.”

    “Who would know the difference?” Angus asked.

    “I would,” Ed said, but he sounded evasive.  It didn’t matter to Angus, he’d seen this before.  That church had tentacles everywhere.

    “They must have done a number on her.”  Angus said.

    The phone went dead.  Angus called Georgia, “Hello,” she answered after awhile.

    “Took you long enough,” Angus said.

    “You want her to know I’m talking to you?”  Georgia sounded irritated.

    “Can you get her to talk about the church?”

    “What church?” Georgia laughed, then said, “Never mind.  She’s not talking about anything other than the husband, mostly she’s dancing with Max.”

    “Who’s Max?”  He asked.

    “The cop she threw up on today.”  Angus started laughing and hung up the phone.


    “I take it you aren’t a Mormon,” Max said as they swayed to the music.

    “Why do you ask?” Olivia said.

    “Salt Lake address in the afternoon, alcohol at night, and in the afternoon.”  He said.

    “I don’t have the kind of dedication to being good it takes to be a Mormon.”  She replied.

    “I’ve always wanted to visit there,” he said.

    “You’d love the scenery and they have skiing in the winter.  As long as you don’t challenge their faith, it’s fine.”

    “I don’t generally challenge anyone’s faith.”  He said, “In my line of work you encounter all kinds, you have to learn to be flexible.”

    “And waterproof?” She grinned.

    Max laughed.

    Olivia dared to put her head on his shoulder as they danced and she wondered if he had a lady somewhere waiting on him.  She lifted her head and glanced at his hand, something she would normally have done much sooner under different circumstances.  No ring.  “That doesn’t mean a lot these days,” she thought but then chased the thought away, it didn’t matter, it was just drinks and dancing, she’d never see him again.  “I’m glad you have a sense of humor,” she told him, “someone else might have, how do they say it, hauled me in?”

    “You two were too far out from where you originated for me to want to hassle you like that.  I really thought about getting him fingerprinted so I could check for a warrant, but he seemed like he was doing a good deed so……..”

    “He needed a ride and I needed some company.”  She told him.  “Okay, that isn’t entirely true.  He paid for my meal when my husband modified my debit card.”

    “I didn’t see a ring,” Max mentioned.

    “My husband didn’t see one either,” she said dryly.

    The finished the dance and went back outside.  Much to her surprise she was greeted halfway to the table by none other than Shep and Angus wasn’t far behind.  “What’d you do with Alec?” He asked.

    “Well this is awkward,” Max pocketed his hands.

    “He’s NOT my husband,” Olivia said.

    “No, he’s our head investigator for Arizona.”  Max told her.  “Sometimes he finds our bond jumpers.”

    “Yeah, they think they can hide among the natives,” Angus added, “Look, I need to talk to you.”  He took her by the elbow and over his shoulder said, “Georgia, order me a pitcher of beer and I’ll pay for both of us before I leave.”

    Angus led her to a remote table.  They sat down and he said, “Olivia, regarding your departure from Utah, what can you tell me about it?”

    “I’m not sure I have that all sorted out myself,” she said.

    “If you had to do a police report, what would you say?”  He asked.

    “If I had to do a police report, I’d tell Max.”  She replied.

    “What?!” He looked hurt, “You don’t trust me now?”

    “You were working for my husband,” she reminded him.

    “I still am,” he said.

    “No you’re not.”

    “Technically I am, he still wants me to make sure you get home safe.”  Angus said.

    “They want to know what I will say,” she spoke her intuition out loud.

    Angus ran his fingers through his shoulder length hair, front to back, “A tell,” Olivia thought.

    “The church is very clever Angus, they make sure there is nothing to tell and if you do tell anything you sound crazy, so what’s the point?”

    “Is there anyone you want to sue?”  He asked, “That’s one of my specialties.”

    Her shoulders sagged.  “No Angus, I’m not crazy enough to think I could sue an entity as big as they are and win.  If I won a suit against them, they would be certain I’d have trouble trying to spend it all anyway.”  She gazed into what appeared to be innocent eyes and wondered how long it had taken him to perfect that look.  “They win, Ed wins, I lose and if I walk away, maybe someday they will blink and I will win at life.  That okay with you?”

    “Do you really mean that?”  He asked.

    “You’ll have to take me at my word, what?  You don’t trust me?”  She tilted her head and tried to muster the best innocent look she could knowing that innocence had nothing to do with it, it was more about common sense.

    “I wish I could read your mind.”  Angus said.

    “Did you send Georgia here to watch me?”  She asked.

    “Sorta,” he said.

    Olivia nodded and got up and went back to her table, with Angus following close behind.  She sat down and sipped her drink while Angus and Georgia got re-acquainted.  Maxwell whispered to Olivia, “How is it you know so many people here when you’re just passing through?”

    She whispered back, “I don’t know them, my husband hired the big fella to make sure I make it back to Mississippi in one piece, somehow he knows Georgia.”

    “Let’s go dance,” Max said.

    Olivia obliged him.  Once on the floor Max said, “You think you’ll ever be back around these parts without your entourage?”  She blushed.

    “Are you asking me out on a date?”  She said.

    “So long as you’re stirred and not shaken,” he smiled.  She loved his smile.

    “Sorry about that, I mixed too many things to drink and I knew better, I just didn’t care.” 

    “Come on, Olivia, you know that’s no way to handle stress, it just makes it worse.”  Max sounded concerned, “You need to think things through.”

    “Do you think I’m being impulsive?”  She asked.

    “Deliberately,” He replied.

    “Have you ever been betrayed?”  She asked.

    His brow furrowed and he frowned, “A time or two,” he said, “It was the most honesty there was in the mix, how much time did you waste?”

    Olivia smiled, “Then you know, you know how it feels.  It wasn’t wasted time though, it was an adventure and I’m glad to have had it, but like the song says, you got to know when to fold ‘em and walk away, so I did.”

    The song was over and the evening was wearing thin.  With Angus there, it had gotten real again.  “I think I need to go.”  She said.

    Max held her closer, “The night is still young, I’d like to show you something if you’re game.”

    She looked into his eyes and recorded the moment in her mind, “I’m game,” she said.

    They went back to the table and she finished her drink and told Angus, “I’m leaving with the officer for a while, do you mind watching the car?”

    Angus looked at Georgia and she shrugged and laughed, “I’m not busy either.”

    Angus said, “Good, cause Shep makes for a horrible drinking buddy.  Sure, I’ll watch the car.”

    They got into Max’s personal car, a sedan not much different from what Angus drove, she noted that it was spotless.  “You don’t smoke, do you?”

    “Have you seen me light up once tonight?”

    “Come to think of it, I haven’t.”

    He reached into the console and produced an ashtray, also spotless.  “Be my guest, I don’t mind.”

    She cracked the window and he pulled out of the parking lot.

    He took her to the edge of town to a place called the Cadillac Ranch.  They got out and walked through the buried cars and he shined his flashlight on them.  “Somehow it seems like a cemetery,” She said.

    “It’s a monument,” he told her.  Then he kissed her, long, deep and strong.  He pulled her closer and she could smell his cologne, it was a comforting scent.  She snuggled into his embrace and wove her fingers into his hair.  It had been ages since she’d necked with someone and she savored every second.  She wanted more and she could tell he did too.  There was a difference between having sex and being made love to.

    “You brought me to the wrong place,” she whispered.

    “If I’m anything,” he told her, “It’s a gentleman, you’re just passing through, I wish you weren’t.”

    “Can we pretend I’m not?” she asked.

    He looked frustrated and drew back, “Olivia darlin’, you have a lot of men in your life.”

    She wrapped her arm around his neck and kissed him again, they necked some more.  She’d missed this in marriage:  Where two people explore each other for the first time building up the intensity.  Olivia felt like a teenager again.  He was fit and strong and controlled, and adept.

    “I better get you back to your car,” he muttered.  “You won’t be easy to forget if we go any further.”

    “You’re going to leave me in this condition?”  She asked.

    “Girls do it all the time,” he grinned.

    “That’s not funny,” She said.

    “When you get your life straightened out, when you know what you want Olivia………” His voice trailed off.

    “What’s your number?” She asked.

    “I’ll write it down for you when I get you back to your car.”

    Olivia straightened her clothes as they walked back to the car and he buttoned his shirt.  They gathered their composure and got in and headed back to the bar.  When they got there, Angus was alone with Shep and they were calling for last call.  “About time you two got back here.” Angus said.

    Olivia kissed Maxwell as he jotted down his number and handed it to her.  She glanced at Angus, knowing he would be there in the morning, then she went to her car and left.

    Angus poured a beer into what had been Georgia’s glass and pushed it over to Maxwell who said, “Don’t ever tell her I was asked to stop them okay?”

    Angus put both hands in the air, “Far be it,” he said.  Max nodded and accepted the beer.


    Alec decided he liked Maxwell and hoped Olivia would return to him someday. His companions had cleared along with the people.  He had no idea where Olivia and Max had gone or what they did but he sensed frustration in both of them.  The box had remained undisturbed, that had been his main concern.  Alec presumed Angus had them stopped to find out who he was.  “Oh well,” he thought, “No harm, no fowl.”  He walked through the wall to the hotel room and turned on the TV to await Olivia’s return.  It didn’t take her long to make it back.  Olivia walked through the door and deposited her purse on the nightstand.  She gathered her nightgown and shampoo and disappeared into the bathroom.

    Alec yelled through the door, “Where did you go?”

    “I needed some time alone,” she said, “Well, I needed to dance actually.”

    “What made you decide that, you left without saying a word,” he said.

    “I’m sorry if I worried you Alec.”

    Alec stretched out on his bed and lowered the sound on the TV.  Eventually she emerged thoroughly bathed and steamed, as was evidenced by the humidity emitting from the bathroom.

    “So you had to pamper yourself?”  He asked.

    “I told Ed I wouldn’t be back,” she said.  “Maybe I needed time to think, or maybe thinking was the last thing I wanted to do.  Angus is in town.”

    “Somehow I’m not surprised,” He said.

    “Tulsa tomorrow?” She asked.

    “Tulsa tomorrow.” He said.

    Olivia turned off the lamp and tried to concentrate on the TV, but thoughts of Maxwell kept invading her mind.  She smiled and wiggled deeper under the covers.