“Hello, Tim,” DeBurra said, although I noted he didn’t offer to shake Tim’s hand. He spotted me at the table. “Just the person I was looking for.”
I was acutely aware that I was still wearing my pink and red plaid pajama bottoms and the T-shirt that hung low, showing more of the dragon than usual. My short hair was spiked up in cowlicks from sleep. I hadn’t bothered taking off my mascara before I went to bed, and it was smudged around my eyes in a sort of raccoon look.
But my mother always taught me to go with the flow, so I stood and stuck my hand out. He did shake mine as he walked past Tim, obviously dismissing him.
“I’ll get in the shower,” Tim said to me, then turned to DeBurra. “Nice to see you, Frank.”
The detective grunted, wouldn’t even look at him. Made me dislike him even more than I did last night. He could at least be polite in our home.
Tim disappeared into the back of the house, and I motioned that the detective should sit.
“Coffee?” I asked. I hadn’t had my first cup yet, but Tim had left it brewing on the counter.
“No, thanks,” he said, and his eyes moved over the sketch that sat on the table. “What’s this?”
I busied myself with pouring a cup of coffee, then getting the milk out of the fridge. “What?” I feigned ignorance.
When I turned with my coffee, he was holding it, studying it. “What is this?” he asked again, looking at me this time.
I took my cup to the table and sat. “It’s a guy who was poking around Chez Tango yesterday afternoon, asking questions about Trevor. I didn’t know if you would want it.” I’d conveniently insinuated that perhaps I had actually seen Shanda Leer and did the drawing from memory.
“You drew this?” His incredulity was worse than Tim’s.
“I studied as an artist,” I said flatly, taking a sip of my coffee. “And I do portraits now.”
DeBurra didn’t say anything for a few seconds, then, “Do you know who this is?”
“Someone at the club told me it looked like a former drag queen named Shanda Leer.”
“So you’ve never seen him before?”
I shrugged. “No. Should I have?”
“You don’t recognize him as the person with the champagne?”
“I really didn’t see that guy, like I told you last night.”
“But you saw this man backstage?”
He was firing questions at me so fast, I didn’t have time to think. So because Sister Mary Eucharista had ingrained it in me not to lie, I said, “Someone else saw him and described him. I drew it for him.”
Now I was in a pickle.
“One of the dancing boys. I don’t know which one,” I said, hoping I didn’t blush to reveal my lie.
“It’ll be easier if you just tell me,” DeBurra said impatiently.
So much for hoping I didn’t blush. Now I felt my face grow hot.
“Isn’t this enough?” I asked. “This guy was asking about something Trevor had pawned, said there was some mistake, and then just hours later, Trevor gets shot with a champagne cork. Seems a little suspicious to me.”
“He told the dancing boy that he’d give Trevor a message he couldn’t ignore.”
His eyes narrowed and he studied my face for a second, like his next question was going to be about whether I wanted world peace or something.
Finally, he asked, “But if Trevor pawned something, then why would this guy ask him about it? Trevor wouldn’t still have it, would he?”
“He bought it back, apparently.” This guy should know how it worked. Run out of money at the tables, find the most valuable belonging you have, take it to a pawnshop, sell it for a few hundred or more, and buy yourself a little more time at the tables. If you won, you could buy your valuable back.
“I don’t know.”
“There’s a lot you don’t know,” he said accusingly.
“Detective, you’re in my house. You insult my brother by not shaking his hand, and you’re calling me a liar. Why don’t you just take the picture and see what you can find out and leave us alone?” I stood, gripping my cup so my hands wouldn’t shake. I had planned to tell him about the drugs, but his attitude got my back up and I just wanted him to leave now. If he was as smart as he obviously thought he was, then he could find out for himself. I didn’t want to help.
He was trying for a smile, I think, but it came off more as a sneer, and he got up. “Thank you for your time, Miss Kavanaugh.”
As I walked him to the front door, I saw him glancing around the house.
I couldn’t help myself.
“Say hi to Shawna.”
For a second, I saw his surprise; then he caught himself and masked it. “I will,” he said as he went out the door.
I shut it behind him and leaned against it, relieved he was gone. Tim came out wearing a pair of Dockers, his hair wet. He clapped his hands together. “That was pretty good, little sis,” he said. “Thanks.”
“You won’t get into trouble, will you?”
“He got to see the house, see if anything’s changed since Shawna moved out, and he can report back to her. He got what he came for.”
“You think he just came here for that? Not to talk to me?”
Tim laughed. “He could’ve just called and asked you to come to the department.” But his expression grew serious again. “You should’ve told him about the drag queen’s friends.”
“I don’t know if that has anything to do with this.”
“True, but you didn’t tell him everything you found out, and it could come back and bite you on the ass.”
I slugged him on the shoulder. “You mean it might come back and bite you on the ass.”
“Yeah, okay, maybe I meant that,” he said sheepishly.
I walked back into the kitchen and put my cup on the table, noticing now that DeBurra hadn’t taken the sketch with him. I picked it up and raised my eyebrows. “Do you think he just forgot this?”
Tim looked genuinely puzzled. “That’s a clue. He wouldn’t want to leave that behind.”
I grabbed it and went toward the door. DeBurra’s car was backing out. I ran down the driveway, waving the sketch. He rolled the window down as I approached.
“What is it?” he asked, irritation lacing his words.
I shoved the drawing at him. “You forgot this.”
“Why would I need that?”
“It’s a clue.”
He snorted. “I know what Wesley Lambert looks like. I certainly don’t need any amateur drawing of yours.”
He gunned the accelerator, the car skidded into the street, and he took off with a cloud of exhaust following him.