Something About You
Page 26

 Julie James

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“I guess you’ll just have to get used to having a police car outside the grocery store, the gym, and wherever it is you go for lunch with your friends,” Jack lectured. “And this goes without saying: you need to be careful. The police surveillance is a precautionary measure, but they can’t be everywhere. You should stick to familiar surroundings, and be vigilant and alert at all times.”
“I got it. No walking through dark alleys while talking on my cell phone, no running at night with my iPod, no checking out suspicious noises in the basement.”
“I seriously hope you’re not doing any of those things anyway.”
“Of course not.”
Jack pinned her with his gaze.
She shifted against the counter. “Okay, maybe, sometimes, I’ve been known to listen to a Black Eyed Peas song or two while running at night. They get me moving after a long day at work.”
Jack seemed wholly unimpressed with this excuse. “Well, you and the Peas better get used to running indoors on a treadmill.”
Conscious of Wilkins’s presence, and the fact that he was watching her and Jack with what appeared to be amusement, Cameron bit back her retort.
Thirty thousand hotel rooms in the city of Chicago and she picked the one that would lead her back to him.
“AREN’T YOU THE least bit curious to know what the hell the FBI’s doing?”
Despite the fact that the light was dim—they had deliberately chosen a table in a dark corner of the bar—Grant Lombard could tell that Alex Driscoll, Senator Hodges’s chief of staff, was one very nervous man. From both the edge in Driscoll’s voice and the way his eyes kept darting around the bar, Grant knew he was looking at a man who was struggling to keep his shit together.
“Of course I’m curious,” Grant told him. “But pushing the FBI isn’t going to get us any answers. And it might land Hodges in jail.”
Driscoll leaned in, lowering his voice to a hiss. “I don’t like it—they’re hiding something. I want to know why he hasn’t been arrested.”
“What do the lawyers say? For the money you guys are paying them, somebody should be able to tell you something.”
“The little pricks are telling us to lay low.”
“Then maybe that’s what you should do.” Grant took a sip of his beer—not normally his drink of choice, but anything stronger could impair his perception and ability to read Driscoll.
“I would think, as the senator’s personal security guard, that you might want to muster up some interest in this,” Driscoll spat out. He grabbed one of the cocktail napkins the waitress had brought with their drinks and dabbed his forehead with it.
The gesture did not go unnoticed by Grant. Frankly, he was surprised Driscoll had survived without having some sort of fit or breakdown when the FBI questioned all of them.
“All I’m saying is that we need to be very cautious in how we handle this. Did Hodges ask you to come talk to me?” Grant asked, even though he already knew the answer to that. Hodges didn’t do anything he didn’t know about.
“Of course not. He’s so grateful the FBI hasn’t arrested him, he doesn’t take a piss nowadays without first clearing it with Jack Pallas.” Driscoll took a heavy swig of his whiskey rocks, which seemed to help calm him. Either that, or he was changing tactics and a better actor than Grant thought.
“Look, Grant, we’ve worked together for a while now. So you’ve been around long enough to know that a scandal like this can’t be contained forever. Eventually somebody’s going to leak something to the press. As the senator’s top advisor, I need to flush out those leaks. Maybe even catch them before they’re sprung.”
Grant feigned hesitation. Just as he hoped, Driscoll took it up another notch.
“For chrissakes, Grant, it’s not like you’re a f**king boy scout. You’ve been covering up Hodges’s affair with that whore for over a year now.”
Grant stared Driscoll in the eyes. “What is it you want me to do?”
“Find out what the FBI knows.”
“If your twenty-five lawyers can’t accomplish that, what makes you think I can?”
“You have other ways,” Driscoll said. “You’ve always come through for us in the past.”
“My ways require incentives.”
“Use whatever incentives you want—as long as I get my answers. I want to know what the FBI’s hiding, and I want to know fast.” Driscoll stood up and pulled out his wallet. He threw a few bills on the table. “And remember, you report directly to me. Hodges doesn’t know and will never know anything about this.”
“The senator is lucky he has you to clean up his messes,” Grant said.
Driscoll picked up his glass and stared at the amber liquid. “If he only knew the half of it.” He finished his drink in one swallow, set the glass down, and walked off.
Grant took another swig of his beer, thinking about how convenient it was that Driscoll was such a paranoid ass**le.
With the chief of staff’s orders as a cover, he was now free and clear to go about using his ways to find out what the FBI knew, and more important, how concerned he needed to be about their investigation. They were holding something back, even an idiot like Driscoll could tell that. And given what Grant personally knew about the crime scene—which of course, was pretty much everything—the only explanation for the fact that the FBI had not yet arrested Senator Hodges for Mandy’s murder was that they found something that Grant had overlooked. And as calm as he might’ve seemed on the outside, that possibility was starting to make him pretty f**king nervous. Probably because the possibility that he had overlooked something was not entirely far-fetched.