Remember Me(99)

By: Ashlee Mallory

The bright familiar florescent lights in the hall greeted him, and he rubbed his eyes as he strode to the coffee machine. There were only a couple of people in the waiting area. A woman in her twenties was leafing through a magazine. A guy close to Sam’s age seated by himself across the room. He looked pensive, his hands in his pockets, his legs jangling nervously.

There was something familiar about him, but the guy averted his gaze, so Sam figured he was mistaken. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out some loose change and went over to the machine. Damn. He was just short. He dug his wallet out and fished out a crinkled dollar, then punched the button for black, no cream or sugar. Unlike Allie who always liked it sweet enough to make him shudder.

The shudder continued, bringing unbidden thoughts of how close he’d come to losing her—

No, he had to stop.

Señora Sanchez was in custody, although, naturally, denying any wrongdoing. Sticking to her story that she was just waiting for her son when Sam had arrived. She claimed she didn’t know that Allie had attempted suicide.

Suicide. As if Allie was capable of that. Not remotely possible, for a multitude of reasons.

But apparently, Señora Sanchez was pretty convincing. She’d pointed out that she, a woman of nearly sixty, could never have won in a struggle with the young, fit Allie, nor could she have carried her to the bathroom and somehow manage to slit her wrists. But the only person who could disprove the lying woman’s claims was Allie. And for that, she’d have to wake up.

Which all brought Sam back to his and Allie’s theory that the killer hadn’t worked alone. Fifteen years ago, Señora Sanchez could not have driven Mr. William’s car to the mountains and walked all the way back—not without attracting attention. She would have needed someone to help her. And also to help dispose of Jackson Williams’s body. Someone strong. But she hadn’t been married. So, who—

Hell. The son.

The one she’d claimed to be waiting for at Allie’s.

Sam had a vague memory of the man from meeting him at the planning meeting a couple weeks ago. What did he look like? Dark coloring, unlike his moth—

Shit. He dropped the coffee, the scalding liquid spraying up and splashing his pants. But he didn’t feel the sting.

The son. That man in the waiting room who—

Was no longer there.

Sam ran like hell.

Damn it! How could he forget such a key person in this whole mess? The brute strength in the crime?

Sam rounded the corner and could see Allie’s door. Shut. He knew he’d left it open for the nurses. His heart nearly drummed out of his chest as he grabbed the handle and pulled.

The bastard was holding a pillow over Allie’s face. The machine next to her was going crazy, hopefully alerting the staff.

Sam slammed through the door, but even when it crashed against the wall, other than a quick glance, the man didn’t let up.

Sam threw himself against the jerk in a full-body tackle, gratified at the unmistakable sound of bone cracking as the bastard hit the hard floor with a grunt. A fist bashed into the side of Sam’s head. He swung back with a deep rage he hadn’t known he could feel.

Another grunt sounded, and he wasn’t sure if it came from him or the other man. He managed to pin the bastard down, throwing his whole weight onto him to keep him immobilized.

“There’s no way you’re gonna get away this time. Give yourself up,” Sam said after dodging a punch. And then another.

Strong hands were suddenly grabbing Sam’s arms, pulling him up off the man still struggling beneath him. Before Sam could protest, two more men were securing Sanchez’s son. Sam glanced at Allie, still on the bed with a bevy of nurses surrounding her. The regular sound of the monitor beeping assured him again.