"I know. Me too." He took a beat. "Is Wyatt still there? You think he'll talk to me if I told you it might be important?"
"He'll talk to you, Mick. You got something important?"
"I don't know. Maybe. You tell me."
He told her.
Hunt listened on the telephone as Mickey gave him the play- by-play on his interview with Lorraine Hess, such as it was. Down to the cute Battalion-member who delivered the custard-filled doughnuts, through her essentially rock-solid alibis and her son Gary's homework load. By the time Mickey relayed Hess's degree of her upset about being considered any kind of a suspect, her question about where Neshek had lived, and her joking comment about how fast she had to drive from there to Telegraph Hill after the Monday-night meeting, Hunt knew that Mickey was stalling and interrupted. "Not that all this isn't fascinating, Mick, but Tam said you had something important."
Mickey had already practiced the casual tone he wanted to use when he'd told Tamara, and now he said, "Well, I don't really know how important it is, but I ran into Al Carter down here and asked him if he'd seen Jim at the memorial yesterday, and he told me he had. When he took Alicia outside after Mrs. Como-"
"I know all about this," Hunt said.
"Well, maybe not." He hesitated. "Carter told me that Alicia offered to drive Jim back home to our place."
After some seconds of silence, Mickey said, "Wyatt? You still there?"
"You're saying that your Alicia drove Jim home?"
"She offered to anyway. I don't know if she actually did."
"Have you asked her about this?"
"Then I'd know, wouldn't I?"
"Don't be a wisea.s.s. Have you talked to her or not?"
Hunt let out a breath. "You're sure?"
Mickey didn't respond.
"I'm thinking. You haven't talked to her about anything since we left her this morning, including this?"
"I just said I didn't."
"I know you did. I didn't want there to be a misunderstanding between us again."
"You know. Like the last time I told you I didn't think you should be hanging out too much with her, just to be on the safe side since she was a potential murder suspect, and the next thing you'd moved with her into my place. That kind of misunderstanding."
"I haven't talked to her. I called you."
"Yes, you did. Good move. Do you think you'll be able to keep yourself from talking to her until I get a chance to?"
"If that's what you want."
"That's what I want."
"So when are you going to do that?"
"Pretty d.a.m.n soon."
"Tell me the truth. I know you want to believe her. And loyalty's a wonderful thing as far as it goes. But is this doing anything to your worldview?"
It took Mickey some moments to answer. "It's trying to."
Hunt paused, too, and let out a sigh. "If it does, just let it happen. Don't fight it the way your
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