I dialed the police, then listened to the ringing on the other end, harmonizing with the squealing tires of Mr. Drake’s car as he rocketed out of the parking lot toward Morton’s Pier. I pulled on the edge of my skirt, my hands restless as I waited for someone to pick up the phone. Mr. Drake’s jaw was set, his eyes glued to the road. Finally, there was a click on the other end of the line. I spoke before the operator could finish his greeting.
“Yes, hello? Please, we need to report a crime. It’s an emergency.”
I tried to keep my voice calm even while adrenaline coursed through me at the thought that all those people–people I’d had lunch with, sat with during meetings, chatted with in the break room–could lose everything if we didn’t stop Lex in time.
Mr. Drake’s knuckles were white against the steering wheel as he cut through traffic. I gave as many details as I could to the operator, telling them to send squad cars to look for Alexander Smith at the airport, but that we suspected he was trying to flee the country by sea.
“Please, stay on the line, Ms. Willcox,” the operator said. “We’re sending squad cars to meet you at the pier. Don’t make a move until we get there.”
I held the phone to my ear, my hand now slippery with sweat. The car jumped as Mr. Drake crashed over a speed bump, roaring into the outer parking lot of the marina. The gate was down, the striped barrier arm down over entrance to the Yacht Club, blocking access. Mr. Drake swore beside me, before slamming the car to a halt. Without another word, he jerked the keys out of the ignition and barreled out of the car, slamming the door behind him.
“They said to wait!” I called, but he was already gone, running down the pier. “Shit.”
“What’s that, Ma’am?” The operator’s voice in my ear startled me.
“Please hurry,” I said, and ended the call.
I jumped out of the car and went after Mr. Drake, ducking low under the barrier, grateful once again for the hidden slits in my skirt that allowed such movement, although I doubt they were ever intended for crime fighting.
I crossed the parking lot, my heels clicking loudly on the pavement as I broke into a jog. Mr. Drake disappeared around the north side of the huge building sprawling before me, blocking the view of the dock. I hurried after, hoping to catch up to him, when I caught something moving in the corner of my vision.
A pink blur registered, and I turned just in time to see a petite blonde with a rolling suitcase disappear around the south side. She hadn’t seen me, but the brief glimpse I’d gotten of her was hauntingly familiar. I changed direction, edging closer to the edge of the building, moving more slowly now so the sound of my heels wouldn’t give me away. I peered around the corner and stifled a gasp.
Veronica, or as Lex had dubbed her, The Future Mrs. Drake, was sashaying ahead of me, her Chanel purse full to bursting, a curling iron cord dangling from the open zipper, dragging her suitcase behind her. Where was she going in such a hurry?
This was too much of a coincidence. If she was here, now, packed for a journey, she might lead me straight to Lex. I trotted along behind her, hiding in the shadows of the doorways as we made our way past the main club building and toward the smaller outbuildings behind it.
When we moved toward a large boathouse at the edge of the dock, I glanced around us. Where was Mr. Drake? I thought I’d find him around back, but he was nowhere to be seen. As I edged around the boathouse, I saw them–row after row of large, white yachts floating quietly in the harbor, moored side by side like sleeping giants.
Veronica was disappearing down the wood planking, taking a turn and disappearing behind the bulk of the first row of vessels. I followed, hoping my hunch was correct, and I’d be able to lead the police straight to Lex when they arrived.
I slowed down when I reached the corner Veronica’s swaying pink purse had just disappeared around. The sound of male voices reached my ears, and I peered around the hull of The Ex-Wife, hoping to remain unseen in the shadow of the yacht.
“You don’t have to do this, Lex. This is between you and me. Let’s talk this through before you do something you’ll regret.”
“Don’t flatter yourself, Chase! This is about me getting what I deserve. Living in your shadow should guarantee me a f**king bonus, after all the shit I’ve put up with over the years.”
“The employees are the ones who will suffer, and you know it. If you want to get back at me, take anything else. Just not the pensions. Even you aren’t that selfish, Lex.”
“Did you ever think maybe it’s not just about the cash? Maybe I want to relish the thought of all those people knowing that you let them down. Of you tossing and turning at night as you wondered how you didn’t see it coming. The guilt of your failure eating you alive. Maybe that’s the only thing I want as I sail away to a brand new life.”
I saw Mr. Drake now. His back was to me on the dock in front of Lex, who was standing on the ladder on the side of his yacht, ready to board. They hadn’t seen Veronica yet. She was lurking in the shadows by a pile of rope, digging in her purse, her suitcase forgotten at her feet.
Where the hell are the cops already? My ears strained for the sound of sirens, but the seconds ticked by, and we were still all alone.
“Please, Lex… I’ll go away if you’d like. Leave the city. We can pretend this never happened, and I’ll leave the company quietly. Just come down from there and talk to me.”
Mr. Drake moved toward the yacht, his hand outstretched, urging Lex to come with him.
Both men’s eyes shot wide as Veronica’s shrill voice rang out over the water. She held a revolver in her perfectly manicured hands, the barrel pointed straight at Mr. Drake’s chest.
“One more move, and I’ll shoot, Mister! Back away nice and slow.”
“Nice work, Ronnie,” Lex said, grinning in a way that made my blood boil. “You’ve got great timing.”
He hopped down off the ladder and stood in front of Mr. Drake, his hands on his hips. Veronica advanced on him, gun held steady, the light of the setting sun glinting off the weapon.
“You were right, Lexy. I’m glad I took daddy’s gun like you said.”
“Search him,” Lex said. “Make sure he doesn’t have his cell phone. We don’t want him to try anything funny when we leave him tied up. We want to be well on our way by the time anyone knows we’re gone..”