Now he stood like a nervous teenager, sweat dripping down his neck as he tried to steady his shaking hands before seeing Keeva. He moved toward the room she used as an office.
This time she was sitting at her desk when he walked in. Her hands rubbed her thighs, as though she was trying to get rid of something distasteful off her hands. She stared at a crumpled piece of paper.
He opened his mouth, and then shut it. Like a mindless jellyfish, he couldn’t find a word to say. “Keeva?”
She focused her eyes on him. Her face was paler than two nights ago and the dark purple smudges under her eyes had deepened. Someone else had caused Todd’s injuries and he loathed seeing her tormented. Tormented but still captivating.
She smiled up at him. “Hello, Tony, thanks for coming so early.” She sounded apprehensive. He knew cops made people nervous, but he had thought they had shared something different and had moved beyond the typical nervousness related to his occupation. It disappointed him that they hadn’t. She took a quick glance at the paper, and her smile disappeared.
“It’s not a problem.” He stepped into the room.
Keeva held her hand out toward an open chair, “Please, sit.”
In one motion, he pulled the chair closer to her and dropped into it. She took another glance at the paper. What in the hell could it be? He tried to make out what was on the paper but all he could see were bent stick figures.
“I’m not sure where to begin.”
“Start with why you called me this morning,” he suggested. Something in Keeva’s demeanor had changed since the night of the attack. When he’d first met her, she’d appeared almost stoic. Now she looked as though someone or something had sucked the life from her. He suspected that the small piece of yellow paper was the culprit.
She told him about talking to Henry, an old friend of the family. She said Henry was a little off, but she believed he’d seen the attacker hanging around near the alley. It sounded like Henry had confirmed much of what Mac had said. But something in the way she spoke, the softness of her voice, the hesitation and constant side glances at the paper told Tony much more than she revealed by her words alone. Someone or something had upset her and it made him angry.
“I’ll need an address or phone number to take a statement from him.” He reached into his shirt pocket, taking out his cell phone. Looking at her he waited for her to recite the number.
“Henry doesn’t work that way.” Closing her eyes and inhaling, she hesitated before letting out a long, slow breath and looking at him. “I know it’s bizarre. If Henry even has a phone number, I don’t know it. He just shows up.” She held his gaze.
“I can’t just take your word. I need to speak to him.”
She sighed. “I know. But Henry will clam up if you take him down to the police station. He’s paranoid and schizophrenic. If you approach him he’ll freak.”
He wanted to dig more into Henry, but she picked up the paper and began fiddling with it, bending it back and forth. Afraid she might rip it before he could see it he slid the phone back into his pocket and placed one hand over her fingers then with the other, gently removed the paper. As he unfolded the paper and read the threatening words, anger welled up in him. Pressure built in his chest. Flipping it over, he saw the drawing. “Ay, Dios mío,” he whispered.
“Where did you get this?” This changed things. Up until now, they had considered the attack an isolated incident but now it was clear, someone was threatening Keeva. He wanted to beat the shit out of the asshole who had written this.
“I found it on the floor downstairs. I think it might have been stuck in the door jam. I was busy talking to Henry and didn’t notice it.” Tony could see the vein in her neck pulse.
Henry sounded a few dominoes short of a game, and he had been at the café earlier. “Do you think Henry could have put it there?”
She furrowed her brow. “No, Henry would never do anything like that. He looks out for Mac and me by stopping by here or walking near Mac’s apartment. We’ve known him forever. Yeah, he’s a bit different, but he’d never threaten anyone.”
Different? Tony thought unhinged would be a better description, but he kept the thought to himself.
“No, never.” Keeva shook her head.
Tony pulled an evidence bag from inside his jacket pocket and placed the paper inside. He had an early meeting with the Chief of Police but detested the idea of leaving Keeva alone.
“How do we resolve this? I need to interview him?”
She pinched her lips, and then looked at her phone, opening the calendar. “I can see if I can find him today, and I’ll call Betty. Betty was my grandmother’s closest friend. She and my grandmother always watched out for Henry. He’ll cooperate if Betty is there.” She tapped the phone, and he could see the calendar open to a date, filled with appointments. “I have time tomorrow or the next day. I’ll work at tracking him down. If not, he’ll stop by in the next day or two. He never misses more than one day. He wants to see Betty and I know he will be comfortable around her.”
Tony preferred to conduct interviews at the police station, it kept him in control, but he didn’t argue the arrangement. Right now he didn’t have many options. “Okay, call me when you set a time.”
He looked at her soft lips, suddenly wondering what they’d taste like, what they’d look like swollen with passion. He sucked in a deep breath. He needed air.