Did you miss Chapter One?
Did you miss part one of Chapter Two?
From A Deathly Rattle
Chapter Two Continued …
“Galigani thinks you should work this case,” Barramendi said.
I blinked several times before turning my head toward the sleeping Vicente. “Um . . .” was all I managed to say. I was sensing some hostility from Barramendi, something I wasn’t used to getting from him. He and I had a great track record. I swallowed. “And you don’t think I should?”
“It’s not that, Kate,” Barramendi muttered. “You’re just still so new at this.”
“Barramendi,” Galigani said, puffing out his chest. “Kate’s batting a thousand. There hasn’t been a case yet she couldn’t solve, and you know it. She worked for you when she first got in this biz, so you know she’s got what it takes. I know with Domingo being your cousin, this is personal for you—”
“Which is why I want someone with a bit more experience,” Barramendi said to Galigani. “Like yourself.”
I frowned. “You know I can do this, right? I’ve handled a lot of cases since I worked for you last.”
“And she’s handled them flawlessly,” Galigani said.
“Didn’t a suspect poison her recently?” Barramendi crossed his arms.
“Almost flawlessly.” A grin threatened to make its way across Galigani’s face. “She can do it.”
Barramendi relented. “I know,” he said, looking at me somewhat apologetically. “He’s family, Kate. I hope you understand—”
“I understand,” I said.
“And I know you do good work,” he added.
“And she won’t be alone,” Galigani said. “I will definitely be helping out. I just can’t take the lead anymore.”
I frowned, giving Galigani a sideways look. When I worked my first case, Galigani had needed open-heart surgery, and even though the operation had been a good six months ago, Mom and I still worried about his blood pressure.
Galigani waved a hand at me, almost intuiting my concern. “Kate knows I’m always there if she gets stuck. Though I hardly think it will be necessary. Kate has this.”
Barramendi nodded. “I do feel a little better knowing she has you. And me, too. Okay, then. Kate, I would like to formally hire you to work this case and help the police find out who shot my cousin.”
Nervous energy zinged through my body. I hated seeing Vicente hurt, but the fact that I might be able to help find justice exhilarated me. “You can count on me,” I said, with more confidence than I felt.
We shook hands, then Barramendi stepped out of the room, mumbling under his breath about needing to speak with the surgeon.
Galigani and I shared a moment of silence, hovering over Vicente and willing him to open his eyes.
“How long was he in surgery?” I asked.
“Twelve hours,” Galigani said. “You helped save his life, so I’ve been told. Deb was raving about you when I arrived this morning. She was on watch duty half the night after she got herself cleaned up. I don’t know if you noticed the officer down the hall, but they’re worried whoever did this might come back to finish the job. All the more reason to dive headfirst into this thing before any sort of trail runs cold.”
“Will do,” I said. “You can count on me to get going on this ASAP.”
“I wouldn’t expect anything less,” Galigani said, walking me out of Vicente’s room and back through ICU.
We said goodbye at the elevator, and I made my way out of the hospital.
I shivered. It hadn’t really hit me until I saw him in that bed. Vicente Domingo—shot three times. Whoever shot him had really meant it. I went over a checklist in my head of what steps I needed to take first. Call Deb, see if the police thought this was a random shooting or robbery or if they felt there was some ulterior motive. Talk to Barramendi, find out what sort of cases Vicente had been working lately . . .
I nearly bumped right into Barramendi on my way out. He was taking a cigarette break just outside the ICU entrance. “Sorry,” he mumbled, immediately putting out the cigarette. “Terrible habit. Hard to break.”
“I wouldn’t know,” I said. “As soon as possible, I want to talk to you about some of Vicente’s most recent cases.”
Barramendi nodded. “That’s fine, Kate.” He sighed heavily and stared up toward the sky like his head was residing on a completely separate planet.
“This case, it seems really personal. Someone tried to kill Vicente right outside the theater where his play . . .” I paused. “The play. Do you know how much truth there was to that play of Vicente’s? I mean, the main character was named Vinnie, after all.”
Barramendi smirked. “Just focus on facts, Kate. Not fiction. I’m sure a few snippets came from his experience as a detective, but Vicente is not the hound dog that the character Vinnie was written to be.”
“I suppose you’re right,” I said. “I’ll call you tomorrow. Hopefully Vicente will be out of ICU by then.”
He nodded, his face grim. “Let’s hope so. Or improving, at least. Otherwise . . .”
His words hung in the air, and we looked at each other quietly, neither of us wanting to voice the end of the sentence . . . otherwise instead of a shooting, I’d be investigating a homicide.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
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