The nightmares became unbearable. Flashes of the past seemed to catch her on a nightly basis. But was it the past? And, if so, whose past? Hers?
They had started with the one that had come the night her last lover disappeared. Then, once she was settled into her new home, they began again. But not before many of the women in the building began getting jealous of her. They knew she was beautiful. They knew she belonged to Morgan. But, in their minds-maybe because most of them were mistresses, doxies-their men were going to cheat on them with her.
Of course. It wasn’t as if their men weren’t already cheating on someone already, it wouldn’t be that big of a stretch for them to come to her as well. But she wasn’t interested. At least, not while they were still attached. Maybe once the women were gone.
She learned quick to watch what one wishes for. One by one, the mistresses abandoned their love nests leaving the men to pick up after them. Even the wives in the building began leaving their husbands, taking the children with them as they went. Soon, only men remained, and the nightmares began.
They watched for Morgan to leave, then asked her to come spend time-a day, a night, three or four days, a week or two-with them. However long Morgan was gone. And being lonely, she accepted. she hated being alone, and they filled the void.
The first was Argyle Wilson, a seemingly ancient man who had untold millions. He lavished upon her much of that in cash and gifts, having no family to leave it to. He had never had any children with his wives-he had been married numerous times- and had outlived all of his exes by decades. He had become the first to vanish after the first of the new nightmares.
she had been told by Morgan that many of the men owned the condos their lovers lived in. this meant that he collected no rent and would only miss each one if he did not see them come in. But he would assume, as well, that they had terminated their trysts with each lover and were out seeking a new one. Preferably younger.
Strangely enough, Argyle would be the only one to leave the bedroom neat and tidy. Though he would vanish, there would be no blood on the walls or the bed. It would be as if he had simply vanished. She would report him missing after the week was up, then simply forget all about him.
Mr. Noreida called upon her next. He, too, went missing after three days of frolicking. Again, she found him gone after a nightmare. Then Mr. Joachim. And George Kinson. Adam Lord. Rick Hardy.
One by one, the men disappeared from the building. Even the super, the man Morgan had paid to keep an eye on things while he was gone, vanished. And the maintenance man.
But their mail, and the mail for their doxies, continued to come. Didn’t any of these people know how to leave forwarding addresses at the post office? She shook her head. So careless. So thoughtless. Had she frightened them away?
Michael looked at the disappearances that had begun piling up on his desk. All had been from the same building. All had been called in by his Jane Doe, whose name he still had not found. All were millionaires who’d stashed their mistresses in that building.
But the ladies were all fine. He had seen them all out at the clubs as he asked around, looking for some clue as to who she was. No one seemed to know. But she had definitely had a presence in all those clubs. Still, being in a club was not precedent for a crime. It just meant that she loved to have a good time.
Each lead brought him right back to a dead end. He wanted to call it so bad he could taste it. But Marcel kept spurring him on. Arlene had given him the go ahead. she was one-of-a-kind. She understood his job. A real trooper.
Marcel’s wife had not taken the news so well. She had packed up the kids and walked out, heading back to the bayou and her parents. Michael felt for his friend. He had been there before. Obsessed with something so deeply that he could not see that he was ignoring what was most important. And he had almost lost Arlene over it.
He had promised her that he would not do it again, ever. This time, he was not engulfed by the case. She knew that. She knew he didn’t want to keep on investigating it, but Marcel was obsessed beyond hope. And Michael, she knew, wanted to keep involved until he could pull his friend back from the abyss.
He had instructed Reilly and Danforth to back off from the case for a while and work on something else. And they listened. But they kept an eye on their friends. And they would be there when needed.
Michael looked at the list. Argyle Wilson. Older than New Orleans, wiser than Solomon, and greedier than any of his contemporaries–Argyle generally had one foot in the grave anyway. He probably had a fatal heart attack during sex at one of his secret sex nests. Nothing would surprise him.
Noreida. The little oriental was a hypochondriac. He was also prone to moving on a moment’s notice. Maybe she had spurned him and he went somewhere to sulk. Wouldn’t be the first time.
Mr. Joachim was another. He was such a ladies’ man. Always thinking he could impress some new lady. Mistresses were a dime a dozen with him. He had a new one every night, as well as a new love nest.
George Kinson, Adam Lord, and Rick Hardy were a lot like Joachim. They tried new women out every night. They lived the playboy lifestyle to the max. All three were trust fund babies, never having to work a day in their lives. Life was just a big party to them. Perhaps they had just forgotten their way home after a party.
But the superintendent of the building, and the maintenance man were a different story. Both had been reported missing, twenty-four hours after their disappearances, by their wives. And both lived outside the complex. This was strange, since Jane Doe was the first to call and report them missing.
The other men were also a problem, since most were family men. Their wives, though separated from them, still cared enough to give a little insight into what had been going on in the complex. Though most was conjecture, it would prove closer to the truth than any would really want to admit.