The 405 didn’t have much traffic at 1:00 a.m. early Tuesday morning, and that was a blessing. Maryanne was pretty much cried out and was staring straight ahead while Rosemaria was searching for answers. Whoever was in that hotel room was connected to the murder of the girl at the Island Hotel. That was obvious. And they were worried that Maryanne could identify the guy on the phone giving orders and the men who chased her. She would have to call Osborne in the morning and tell him everything. Vanessa and Larry had agreed to allow Maryanne to stay at their condo at the Marina. With Vanessa ready to pop, she and Larry didn’t go out sailing on his beloved boat anymore or stay at the Marina. They preferred their house in Beverly Hills.
They arrived at the underground lot of the condo building, and Rosemaria punched in the code that opened the gate. Maryanne was looking around furtively as if any minute someone was going to grab her. “Relax,” Rosemaria said as they headed for the elevator.
“I never had anybody actually want to kill me before.”
Rosemaria pressed the Up button and smiled. “Lots of people have wanted to kill me, and I’m still here.”
“Yeah, but you’re a cop, or you were one. You’re used to it, and you have a gun.”
They arrived at their floor. “Come on, let’s get you settled.”
She rang the buzzer, and Larry opened the door with a smile. “Welcome, ladies!” He hugged Rosemaria like a long-lost sister and ushered them inside. “Hi, Maryanne. I’m Detective Coleman.”
Maryanne stared at him like she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. “You’re a cop?”
Maryanne took in the open concept living room, kitchen, and family room. She realized she was in the presence of megabucks.
“I can’t thank you enough for coming here at this ungodly hour,” Rosemaria said.
“I better get used to it, don’t you think?”
Rosemaria said to Maryanne, “He and Vanessa are having a baby.” She looked around at the new furnishings. “I see you’ve updated the whole place. Lots of new furniture as well.”
Larry shrugged. “Got to keep the wife happy.”
“Vanessa would be satisfied living anywhere with you, and you know it.”
“Okay, so I like to spoil her. She deserves it. But let’s show Maryanne to her room. She’s probably exhausted.”
Rosemaria and Maryanne followed Larry down a long hallway to where Maryanne would be staying. “This is your hideaway for now. You’ll be safe here.”
The bedroom looked like a decorator’s dream. Rosemaria had to admit that Vanessa had a flair for making a home elegant but welcoming. If she ever quit acting, she would have no trouble finding a new vocation decorating houses. Not that she would ever need one, being married to a millionaire.
Maryanne looked at them both, and tears threatened to reappear. “Thank you. I don’t deserve this.”
Larry looked at her, astonished. “Of course you do. Feel free to take a bath or shower. There’s food in the cupboard, and I assume you can cook for yourself. I think you’re about the same size as my wife, so feel free to wear whatever you need.”
Maryanne was so overcome she could hardly speak.
Rosemaria assured her, saying, “Take your time. We’ll chat for a few minutes before I leave. But remember, no phone calls on the landline. I have your phone, so there’s no way to trace you. What happens in the movies when somebody being chased by bad guys is told not to call anybody?”
“And then what happens?”
“The bad guys find them.”
“We don’t want that to happen to you. Go take your bath.”
Maryanne made her way into the bathroom and quietly closed the door. Larry was almost jumping out of his skin wanting to know what the hell was going on. Rosemaria shook her head and went back into the living room. “You won’t believe this.”
A few minutes later, Rosemaria and Larry were seated on stools at the large kitchen island drinking coffee. Larry was flabbergasted. “What a mess she walked into. And who the hell was that guy? If he was at the Island on Sunday and at that fundraiser, he’s somebody important and obviously connected to the murder.”
Rosemaria said, “Yes, but politicians don’t have goons who try to kill people in front of God and everybody. They have executive assistants who know people who know people who take care of problems on the QT.”
“Won’t be easy to track down.”
“This takes dirty politics to a new level. Okay, I’m going to call Osborne in the morning and explain it all. What am I saying? It is morning. I’ll call him from my office.”
“How’s the job so far?”
“I have my first suspect/lawyer meeting in a few hours. I hope this caffeine will keep me from falling asleep.”
Larry stood up and gave Rosemaria a squeeze on the shoulder. “I’ll be getting back to the wife. If I know her, she’ll still be wide awake and ready to grill me.”
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