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vekalat-talagh > Treasure Hunt > Part 29
"It's okay," she said. "You should have heard me last night."

"What were you swearing at?"

"The idiots at the hospital. You don't want to know. Oh, and then Jim. He never came home."

Hunt took a long beat. "Jim didn't come home? Till when?"

"So far, till the last time I tried to reach him, which is like ten minutes ago." She gave Hunt the excuses she'd fed herself last night. He had been planning on going to the Como memorial. After that, he might . . . or he might . . . finally, she ran out of steam. "He just could have picked a better night," she concluded. "That's all."

"Let's hope that's all."

As soon as he'd said them, he regretted the words. And Tamara called him on it. "What do you mean, 'Let's hope that's all'?"

Hunt hesitated, wanting to avoid coming out with it directly. But there didn't seem to be any other way. "I mean, if he went to the memorial, Tam, maybe he met somebody there among our group of possible suspects. Which I wouldn't want to think. But you know, I was there, and I never saw him."

"Maybe he never got there."

"Or couldn't get in. The place was packed."

"Okay." She a.s.sayed a low-wattage smile. "Now we can say 'Let's hope that's all.' I just wish he'd turn up."

Hunt slid off the edge of her desk. "Me, too, hon. Me too."

Back in his office again, Hunt couldn't seem to get himself focused. As long as there was a question about whether Alicia had actually been fired that Tuesday morning, he could live with the presumption of her innocence. Knowing that Dominic had in fact fired her, and that she'd lied about it, washed a great portion of his personal doubt away.

And now this woman was staying at his home.

Also, he had to call Juhle, but how was he going to talk to him, knowing what he now knew? The subject would come up, and then Hunt would be withholding evidence in a murder investigation. Talk about losing his license. But beyond that, how did he justify it? How could he live with himself?

His brain kept running back to Alicia having free run of his place. Try as he might, he couldn't remember if he'd turned the combination lock on his gun safe when he'd closed it up after taking out the gun he was carrying. What if she did a thorough search? Had he folded the throw rug back down over the loosened board? Had he even made sure that the board was flush and secure? No matter what, he told himself, he'd have to go home and check that.

He had Tamara call and verify that she was still there. Yep.

And now the phone on his desk chimed. Gingerly, he picked up the receiver. "What's up?" he asked Tamara.

"There's two gentlemen out here to see you, sir. Mr. Len Turner and an a.s.sociate. He doesn't have an appointment, but says you'll want to talk to him."

"He's right," Hunt said. Quickly, without conscious thought, he reached around and checked the weight of his gun, tucked into a holster attached to the center of his belt at his back. "Send him in."

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