Eve looked down at the GPS app that was running on her tablet. Jack was right. It wouldn’t be that long now, and the thought cheered her. This was all going to work out. She looked out the window at the scrubby bushes, bare hills and dust. The Mojave Desert might be majestic, but it certainly wasn’t welcoming. Eve didn’t see how anyone could live there. After a minute, she said, ‘I’m going to need to stop, next place we see.’
‘I just asked you back in Barstow. How come you didn’t say anything then?’
‘I’m sorry. That was forty minutes ago. I didn’t need to go then. I do now.’
‘All right, how about we stop in Baker? Twenty minutes and we’re there.’
Eve could feel the waves of irritation. Jack always liked to make the best time possible when they drove to Vegas, as though twenty minutes one way or the other made that much of a difference. It was as though he was afraid to miss even one session at the ten dollar poker tables. She looked out the window again, rolling her eyes once her face was turned away from him. That was one thing about him that she definitely wouldn’t miss.
True to his word, Jack pulled over at a Taco Bell when they got to Baker. Eve picked up the khaki tote that had been lying on the floor near her feet and got out of the car. Jack got out, too, squared his shoulders, and then stretched his arms up.
‘Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea to stop,’ he admitted. ‘I’m going to get some coffee while you’re in the bathroom. You want anything?’
‘No, thanks,’ Eve said.
After they got into the restaurant, Eve turned right to go to the restroom. Jack went left to order his coffee. When he’d gotten it, he strolled back out the door. It always took Eve forever. He glanced at his watch. It ought to be any time now.
After ten more minutes, Jack went back inside. No sign of Eve at all. He looked around and then went to the counter.
‘Excuse me,’ he said to the boy behind the counter. ‘Did you happen to notice this woman leaving?’ He held up his telephone to show a picture of Eve.
‘Sorry,’ the boy – his name badge read ‘Alex’ – said. ‘I don’t pay attention to who leaves. And anyway, there’s a side door, so I wouldn’t see if anyone went out that way.’
‘Right. Thanks,’ Jack said. He hadn’t expected anything else.
Jack walked around the restaurant for a minute or two, but still no Eve. Then he went over to the table nearest the restrooms. There was a middle-aged couple there, just finishing their food.
‘Excuse me,’ he said to them. ‘I’m wondering if you happened to notice this woman leaving the restroom.’ Again he produced the picture on his telephone.
‘Sorry,’ the woman said. ‘We’ve been here half an hour, and I didn’t see anyone like that leaving. Wait! I did see her going in, though.’
‘You mean she went in the restroom?’
‘Yes, she was behind me. When I came out, she was just going in.’ The woman dropped her voice a bit. ‘Would you like me to go in and see if she’s still there?’
‘Oh, that’d be great! Thank you.’
The woman nodded, got up and went into the restroom. A minute later she came out. Shaking her head, she said, ‘She’s not in there. The only thing I saw was this shoe.’ Jack saw right away that it was one of the pair of shoes Eve had been wearing. He sat down heavily in a seat near the couple. ‘Maybe she’s just stretching her legs or something,’ the woman said, trying to be helpful.
‘Of course,’ Jack said. He thanked them, got up, and went outside.
Twenty miles away, Eve was sitting next to Dean in his new Lexus as they headed east. She took off the blonde wig, put it back into her tote, and shook out her own dark brown curls.
‘You looked good as a blonde,’ Dean said, chuckling.
‘Hey, it worked, right? Change of clothes, change of hair, and nobody noticed me leaving.’
‘Looks like it.’
‘And you took care of – of Jack?’
‘Not to worry. They won’t find him any time soon,’ Dean reassured her. She smiled and relaxed a little as she leaned back into the seat. This was going exactly as she and Dean had planned. Get rid of Jack and they could have a real future together with the insurance money.
Dean squeezed her knee and then concentrated on driving. This was all going perfectly. He and Jack had been planning this for weeks, and it looked as though everything was going to come together. Jack would be the bereaved husband with the perfect alibi, they’d split the insurance money, and both would win. His left hand dropped into the map pocket. Yes, the knife was still there. He looked over at Eve again.
‘Hon, you mind if we stop next place we see?’
Eve’s face paled as she sat up.