Wake Up Maggie(5)By: Beth Yarnall
“You don’t deserve this. Any of this.”
In the history of right answers this had to be the rightest answer ever delivered. Somehow my arms had twined themselves around his neck and now he was bringing me closer or I was pulling him down. Either way, in the darkness, we kissed, and this time the jolt was not caused by static electricity.
“Why do you call him Chuck Puckett instead of Chuck or Charles?”
Super Agent and I were sitting in a diner having a cup of coffee, looking like any couple on a date. Except this wasn’t a date. And I couldn’t help but feel as though I’d be struck by lightning at any moment for locking lips inside the church where Chuck Puckett was being mourned. Plus, I’d missed the funeral and was feeling sorry about it. For all his faults and failings, he hadn’t deserved to be murdered.
“It was kind of a joke between us.” I could feel my cheeks pinking. Talking about an ex-boyfriend with the guy I’d just swapped spit with wasn’t my normal MO. If Chuck Puckett was ever going to haunt me, this would be the perfect time for him to make an appearance.
Super Agent nodded, the fluorescent lighting creating a halo around his cleanly shaven head. I didn’t usually go for bald guys, but this one had macho to spare and there was a Zen-ness to him, a calm that seemed to quiet the rush inside of me. Who needed hair? Lord knew I had enough hair for the both of us, cascades of thick, black curly stuff that took forever to comb out.
“What should I call you?” I asked to change the subject.
His gaze drifted to the cup in front of him. “I think it’s probably best if you called me Agent Poole.”
Wow. Where was Guinness when you needed them? This had to be a new land speed record for getting dumped. “Fine.”
“Miss Castro. We may as well be consistent.”
He finally had the balls to look at me. “I didn’t mean for that to happen back there.”
“You’re not married, are you? Because that would just be the cherry on top of my giant, craptastic sundae.”
He held up his bare left hand.
“Well, that’s something, I guess.”
“Don’t. Okay?” I grabbed my purse. “Thanks for the protection, the fantastic make-out session, and the coffee. See you around.”
As I walked past, Super Agent grabbed my wrist. “Sit down. Please.”
“I don’t need this. I’ve got enough going on with an angry mob of reporters, my sudden national notoriety, oh, and that other little thing…the murder rap hanging over my head.”
“I need your help.”
“Sit down and let me explain.”
I wanted to say no. I really did. But the look in his eyes stopped me. I sighed and slid in across from him, pinning him with the beady eye. “This better be good.”
“What do you know about Trinh Pham?”
“You can get it with chicken or shrimp?”
“So am I. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
He sat back and studied me. “She’s the woman the senator was having ah…how can I put this delicately…relations with besides you.”
“I have a paper cut you could pour lemon juice on. Why don’t we do that instead?”
“So you don’t know anything about her.”
“I know she was getting what I wasn’t, riding my boyfriend like she was winning the Kentucky Derby. And that she’s a screamer and her boobs are as big as your head. Also, she has a stupid tramp-stamp tattoo and wears too much makeup. That enough for you?”
“Wait a minute. What do you mean she was getting what you weren’t?”
“I mean I saw more of Chuck Puckett bucking underneath her than I saw of him the whole year we were together. Including that time we went to the lake for some fun-in-the-photo-op sun. Look, I need to get home and feed my cat.” I started to scoot out of the booth.
“You don’t have a cat. Stop avoiding my questions.”
I halted midslide and slowly turned back to him. “How do you know I don’t have a cat?”
The reddening of his mocha-latte complexion might have charmed me had I not had the sudden feeling that an anvil was about to be dropped on my head.