The Body in the Pool
Book One of the Dismember Killer Series
Tess arrived at the restaurant early. She was actually dying for a Reuben, had been since she suggested it to Magda in text last night. She also wanted to be sure they dined in a window booth. Spence’s seriousness the night before had left her with lingering unease. Deuces surrounded the bar, all next to large plate glass windows. She selected the table she wanted and ordered a Mango Mana-tea while she waited. Magda, true to form, was 20 minutes late.
“Tess, my darling, you are the size of a house.”
Tess laughed. “Thank you, I think.”
“A completely adorable house, of course.” Magda kissed both of Tess’s cheeks and then sat down signaling the waiter as she did. “I’m dying for a Martini. How about you?”
Tess shook her head. “Alcohol is bad for the baby.”
“Oh, right. The baby. One Martini then, s’il vous plait.” Magda beamed at Tess. “Tell me everything.”
For a moment Tess wondered if Magda knew, then she shook herself and tried to remember all the reasons she and Magda had been friends in culinary school. Which she could sum up in one word: fun. Magda was fun. “You’ve always been way more entertaining. Tell me what you’ve been up to.”
“Oh darling. Things have been simply dreadful. Matt actually had the nerve to put me on a shopping budget. Can you imagine? Me? On a budget?”
Tess laughed. “No. Absolutely not.”
“That’s absolutely what I told him.” Magda bubbled over with laughter. “Let’s order, I’m famished.”
They were into dessert, well Tess was, Magda was sipping coffee, when the subject of Matt’s work came up.
“He’s been ridic busy lately. Apparently one of his clients is in a mess of hot water. A bunch of money disappeared.” Magda leaned in towards Tess, “And the client canceled their deliberate malfeasance insurance last year.”
“And now money is missing?”
Magda nodded. “It’s about to be such a scandal. Of course Matt’s terribly stressed and working long hours. He had the nerve to suggest we might have to cancel our trip to Barbados next month.”
“I can’t imagine.” And she couldn’t. Spence took Tess on a cruise to Alaska for their last vacation. It happened to be their honeymoon, three years ago.
“I didn’t tell you the best part. Last night when Matt got home, he told me the guy they think stole the money was murdered yesterday.”
Tess stopped hard, her spoon half-way to her mouth. “Murdered?”
“Like murdered, murdered.” Magda flopped back in her chair, wrung out by the rehashing of such vibrant gossip.
“Matt’s not a suspect, is he?” Tess asked with a concerned note in her voice.
“Don’t be silly. It’s Matt’s clients that might be in hot water, in more ways than one.”
“With Matt as their lawyer…” Tess let her sentence trail off.
“He is rather good, isn’t he?” Magda smiled. “Complete pit-bull. Ridic sexy. Except when it’s about my credit card bill.”
“We should do this again.”
“I’d like that. I’ve been super bored since the whole bed rest thing.”
“It sounds positively ghastly. I don’t know how you stand it.”
Tess’s hand moved to her belly in an automatic response. “You do what you have to.”
“No, my darling, you do what you have to. There’s a reason my stomach is still perfectly flat and it’s not just Pilates. Speaking of which I’ve got to run. I’ll grab the bill this time.”
“You don’t need to do that.”
“Nonsense. I’ve done nothing but natter at you today. The least I can do is pay for the privilege.”
Tess stood up from the table. “Thank you.” She gave Magda as firm a hug as she could manage with the bowling ball in her belly.
Magda laid a gentle hand on Tess’s belly. “Next week?”
“Sure.” Surprisingly, Tess found she meant it.
While she waited for Magda to pay the check and leave, Tess texted Spence. I’m dropping by the office and boy do I have a scoop for you.