In the Running (Dee Lloyd) – Chapter Fifteen

So, Walt Ames has Maura/Reenie and Matt at gun point. He gets Matt’s gun, not knowing about the gun in Maura/Reenie’s bag. Maura/Reenie quickly thinks her options through, concluding that Walt wouldn’t kill her here but would wait until he could make it look like suicide. As for Matt, though, he wouldn’t have that problem.

She moved a couple of steps to her left in the general direction of the sofa. Matt feinted a move to join her but, with a lightning shift, [with a what???] lashed out with his left foot and knocked Walt’s gun to the floor. He leapt on top of him and twisted his arm up between his shoulder blades. [Holy shit, that sounds like Chuck Norris in action…]

Maura/Reenie gets the gun and some tape and they bind Walt’s hands, all while he complains that Matt might have broken his wrist (oh, how manly, from Matt’s side, I mean. And it turns out that the wrist’s not broken) and that they got it all wrong. Finally Walt tells them that he’s with the IRS.

“If you’re IRS,” he [Matt] said, curtly, “why the gun?”
“I read your file. And after a night perched on the dormers up there, I wasn’t in the mood to tangle with you before we talked. Sorry if I frightened you, Maura.” [Yeah, because only girls get frightened when some men points a gun at their face. And wouldn’t it have been easier if Walt just came during the day, knocked on Matt’s door and told him who he was?]

Whatever I might think of the whole thing [which is nothing too good], Maura/Reenie is reluctant to believe Walt, but Matt decides that they should talk for a while. Walt explains that he has been undercover for quite a while.

“Here’s the situation. The minute they identified Danny’s body, it all hit the fan. Sal Gerardo called Jon on the carpet this morning. He’s put a lot of time and money into Jon’s campaign and doesn’t want it to go down the tubes. But he didn’t buy the story that Jon had no idea how his partner ended up in Lake Michigan. Sal’s decided that you have the answers. Your disappearance at the same time as his nephew was killed is too much of a coincidence for him. So he’s put a bounty of twenty thousand dollars on your head if you’re brought in alive. Jon’s desperate. And he’s hired extra men to join the search and see that that you’re not.
“To top it all off, some woman called the hot line late this afternoon saying if we wanted to find Maura Fitzpatrick all we had to do was ask Matt Hanson. I happened to know she was right on the money so I made sure I got here before anyone else gets the word.”

Fortunately, Walt is the only one who knows about this call and deleted it from the records. Maura/Reenie insists that he calls her Reenie.

“Reenie.” She still didn’t trust him, but being called Maura bothered her. Maura had no future. Reenie had a faint hope. [That sounds a bit like a melodramatic split personality.]

Walt tells Reenie [I guess, we can drop the Maura as well, seeing as she has no future…] that they need her to testify against Jon Casen and Sal Gerardo. After Matt asks a few questions as well, they decide that they could trust Walt. Matt cuts the tape and Reenie gets some ice from the kitchen for Walt’s wrist.
Walt elaborates further that the money laundering at the Lodge was only part of the story, they also suspected it going on at the GEL. Unfortunately, he’s in a position, where he doesn’t really have anything to do with the money at GEL, so he doesn’t have any evidence yet.
They continue talking about Walt’s lack of evidence. Reenie mentions the papers she got from the Lodge. Finally she tells him the whole story of her flight.

Then they decide that it’s time for bed. Walt can sleep in the guest room, but first he and Matt go to park his car somewhere Jeff won’t find it.

The long day and night had taken its toll. When Matt came to their bed not half an hour later, Reenie was sound asleep. She snuggled into the curve of his body but didn’t surface from her deep slumber until the clock radio exploded in a blast of twanging banjo chords at nine- thirty. [Oh my God, what a way to wake up!]

Before they start their day, Matt proves that he’s no Sand Wasp and able to learn the basic rules of human interaction.

“You do agree that we should trust Walt with those papers? Because once we’ve done that, there’s no turning back. The IRS will be calling the shots.”
“I don’t see what else we can do.”
“Just wanted to make sure you agreed,” he said and kissed her on the tip of the nose. He was learning. [Yay! Go, Matt! See, it’s not that hard to include the people affected by the decisions into the decision making process… uhm… well, at least to hear what they have to say about the decisions you made.]

They show Walt the stuff Reenie took with her from the Lodge. He can tell them that one of the women Reenie didn’t know was Norma Renton, who runs the GEL office. Finally Matt and Reenie tell Walt about what they found the last night.

“You found it! This could be the break we needed!” Walt stood aside, giving Matt room to set up the equipment. He was almost dancing with excitement.
Matt switched the computer on and looked at the two expectant faces. “The answers aren’t going to be obvious, you know,” he said with a laugh. “It’s going to take a while to see what’s on this hard disk. Once I know what I’m dealing with, I’ll need clearance to access some special data bases and their current passwords.”
“I’ll get right on that,” Walt said, heading for the phone.

So, Reenie leaves the men to work and goes to take care of Pete. [Always the same division of work.]

The next couple of days were blessedly uneventful. Walt hurried back to Lansing so he could field any Maura Fitzpatrick sightings that were too close. Before noon on Wednesday, he’d arranged for the clearances that Matt wanted.
Matt disappeared into his computer and did not surface except to eat the occasional meal and to sleep a few hours. The only exceptions were the hour he spent touring the facility with the security expert he’d called in to set up the alarm system and the two trips he made with Reenie out to a nearby abandoned gravel pit to teach her how to use the revolver they’d taken from the man at the lodge. She hated the idea but admitted that a situation could arise when she’d have to know how to fire the repulsive thing. She didn’t become an expert shot, but by the end of the second lesson, she was only a few inches off the center of the target. [And I bet she will have to shoot Jon before the book’s finished. Then she’ll probably hold a glorious speech, saying something like “Although I feel like shit because I shot someone, it’s every American’s duty and right to own a gun to be able to shoot the bad guys. Like money laundering, cheating killer-fiancés.” (Ok, sorry about that, I don’t think that she will really hold the speech… I’m just a little fed up with the in crime novels ever-present “solution” of killing the bad guy.)]

Reenie spends a lot of time with Pete, who she likes a lot. But actually, she’s just waiting for him to talk about Matt, which he finally does (didn’t he talk already about him and it wasn’t a problem for him? What’s so special about it now?).

His name came up on Thursday afternoon when the strident shriek of the new motion sensor at the front gate announced Gus’ patrol car heading for the apartment.
“I suppose that early warning signal is a good thing, but, Lord, I’ll be glad when we don’t need it any more. Gus is probably here to work on the boat. He took over from Bronwyn’s husband as sheriff, you know. Phil Cooper was a good husband to Bronwyn. But the man thought he was immortal. Never believed the ice could collapse under the weight of his snowmobile. Somebody else’s maybe – not his. I think Gus would take over Phil’s family too, if Bronwyn gave him any encouragement. He’s real good with Tommy.” [I think that’s much more interesting info than some story about Matt, just confirming what we know of him anyway.]
Reenie’s attention was on the sheriff’s car parked in front of the marina shop. Gus had disappeared into the apartment. She wondered what he and Matt were talking about.
“Matt was overseas when Phil died,” Pete went on, finally getting to the one person she was hoping he’d talk about. [Look, usually, you can’t have someone without their family. You should be interested in them as well. Trust me. I know.] “Made it home for the funeral but had to head right back. Hasn’t spent much time here since he joined up when he turned eighteen. I made a big mistake with Mattias. I didn’t want him to take the scholarship he won. I was selfish. Told him I needed him here. So, he joined the army to spite me.”
Reenie wondered if there were any families where people didn’t try to bend their children to their wills. [Yes, there are. And it’s such a cliché that there wouldn’t be. Her own parents seemed to be like that. At least from the little things she told us about them. That her grandmother isn’t like that, is another story.]

Reenie’s thoughts turn to her relationship with Matt.

Then she realized that, no matter where he was, she would always love Matt Hanson. She didn’t know when that had happened, but she knew it was true. [Always is such a big word…]

They see Gus’ car leave the marina, and we leave the chapter.

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