Home > The Good Lie(7)

The Good Lie(7)
Author: A. R. Torre

“I’ll drink them all.” He reached in his pocket and pulled out two pills. Putting one in his mouth, he put the other on the bar napkin in front of me. “Take this. It’ll help with your hangover tomorrow.”

I looked at the round white tablet without touching it. “What is it?”

“B6. You’re supposed to take it prior to, during, and after drinking, but any of it helps.” He nodded to the pill. “Go ahead. It doesn’t bite.”

I slid the napkin toward him. “Not gonna happen. It’s all you.”

He chuckled. “You’re either anti-remedy, drinking to punish yourself for something, or you don’t trust me.”

“The last two.” I took a small sip of beer. “No offense.”

“None taken.” He picked up the pill and put it on his tongue, a flash of white teeth showing before it disappeared in his mouth. “What are you punishing yourself for?”

“I made a mistake at work.” I moved my beer in a small circle on the table, watching as it left a path of condensation.

“Must have been a big one.”

“It was.”

“Let me guess.” He tilted his head to one side and did an obvious up and down of my pantsuit. “Accountant.”

I curled my upper lip in distaste. “No.”

“Studio exec.”

I laughed, because in this town, everyone wanted to be in the movies. “No. Psychiatrist.”

“Ah. Definitely not anti-remedy, then.” He studied me. “Expensive watch and bag, and the freedom to be entering bars in questionable areas of town just in time for happy hour. You must have a private practice. Let me guess, housewives with inferiority complexes?”

“Private practice, yes. Housewives, no.” I narrowed my eyes at him. “If you’re a cop, you aren’t a great one.”

“Definitely not a cop. I sit on the other side of that courtroom.” He gave an unapologetic smirk. “Defense attorney.”

I sat up straighter, my interest piqued at the specialty. “White-collar crimes?”

“Mostly criminal.”

“Here in Los Angeles County?”

“And Orange.”

“Personal or property crime?”

He regarded me over the top of his beer. “You’re suddenly full of questions.”

“I’m called in for expert testimony a lot. I’m surprised our paths haven’t crossed.”

“There are thousands of cases a year,” he said slowly. “I’d be surprised if they did. What’s your specialty?”

I was too drunk for this interview. I cleared my throat and attempted a mask of composure. “Personality disorders and violent compulsions.”

“You get more interesting with each moment, Dr. Gwen.”

“Wings?” A man in a cowboy hat stopped by our table, a basket in hand; they were really pushing the western-bar concept too far.

I raised my hand. “Those are mine.”

 

My house was closest, and I was laughing when I stumbled out of the taxi, my fingers latched through his as we made it across the dark stepping-stones and up the stacked-stone steps of my house. From the swing at the end of the porch, Clementine mewed. Robert stared into the darkness. “Nice kitty.”

I ignored him and got the door open. He followed me closely, his hands roaming as he peeled off my jacket and kissed the back of my neck. I dropped my head back, enjoying the soft press of his lips against the neglected spot, one that sent a tremor of need down my spine. My last sexual encounter had been the result of a blind date and had involved a half-hearted erection and lots of stifled yawns on my end as I’d eyed the clock and yearned for bed.

The foyer lamp was on, the light picking up the turquoise colors in the oil painting of Alcatraz Island. Robert pushed me against the navy wall, palming my breast through my shirt as his mouth settled on mine. He was a talented kisser, confident yet gentle, and I sank against the molding and let him take control. I kicked off one heel, then the other, dropping in height as he undid the top button of my blouse.

“Come on.” I pulled to one side, tugging on his hand as I led the way up the dark wooden stairs to my bedroom. Pushing open the door, I felt a wave of calm and reassurance at the perfectly made bed and orderly room. While I had chosen dramatic and dark colors for the living room and foyer, my bedroom was all crisp white, from the walls to the bedding to the soft, plush rug that stretched over the walnut floor. The only color came from the neat stack of novels and the fresh lilies on my bedside table and the large fireplace, which shimmered with inlaid mirror shards, set into brick. I’d paid a fortune for that fireplace, and it’d been worth every penny.

If he was impressed by the room, he said nothing, staying silent as I crawled onto the taut expanse of the white monogrammed duvet and turned to face him.

He pulled off his jacket slowly, then unbuttoned his shirt, giving me time to think, to analyze, to back out. Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t been with a man in over a year, but there was no hesitation in me. I unbuttoned my pants and shimmied out of them.

The bed sank as he joined me on it, and I reached for him, greedy for the warmth of his skin and the reconnection of our kiss. The heat of our bodies joined, and it was exactly what I needed—a living connection in a day filled with death.

 

 

CHAPTER 6

I woke up to the smell of toast and coffee. It was comforting and familiar, reminiscent of my childhood, and I closed my eyes for an extra moment before jerking fully awake.

My bedroom was in perfect order, as it always was. Dresser clean and uncluttered. Curtains pulled closed. Clock at a forty-five-degree angle to the vase of lilies, which were beginning to wilt. My watch on the bedside table, next to the novels.

The smell of food was out of place. So were the footsteps coming from downstairs. The lawyer. I pinched my eyes closed and tried to place his name. Robert. Robert without a last name. We’d debated the death penalty during the cab ride here. Oh my God, my car. It was still in the parking garage three blocks down from the funeral home.

I slowly sat up, appreciating the sore ache of my muscles. Robert had been . . . A grin pulled at my lips. Fantastic. Was that what sex was supposed to be like? God, to think of all the years I had wasted on mediocre lovemaking. I pulled back the covers and swung my legs over the side of the high bed, surprised that I was naked except for an oversize Star Wars T-shirt that I’d purchased online. Robert had liked the shirt, chuckling as he had returned from my closet with it in hand. I looked around for my underwear but didn’t see it. Pushing to my feet, I winced at the pain in my head. I should have taken that B12 . . . or B6, or whatever it had been. Just the fact he was up and cooking breakfast was proof it worked.

I brushed my teeth and pulled on a fresh pair of underwear and a pair of faded jeans. Buttoning up the fly, I quietly made my way down the stairs and toward the kitchen.

The grin that stretched across my cheeks fell as soon as I passed the open double doors to my office and saw Robert standing at my desk, looking down at an open client file. John Abbott’s file. I’d left it out, my review abandoned yesterday afternoon when I’d stopped to dress for the funeral. As I watched, he lifted up the edge of a page.

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