Chapter 42 : A Private Matter

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"A hundred thousand dollars," Gigi says. Then she grins. "I like it."

"You think it's enough?" Marcus says.

"Anything more — say, half a million — will make us look like we're trying too hard to make us look like we had nothing to do with it."

"We had nothing to do with Saldana's death," I mutter before taking a sip of whisky.

After the meeting with the PR department, we repaired to the terrace of the Marin Elizondo building for fresh air and a drink, both things that usually improved our mood. I stand, leaning against one of the columns holding up the roof over us. The day is bright and sunny, a prelude to the coming summer season. I did feel a little better out in the sun and air, especially after the fraught environments of the police station and the conference room, but not by much.

It didn't help that Kate dropped most of her wifely demeanor as soon as the lawyers and the PR people left. Not completely, as Gigi was still with us, but enough that only I had noticed.

For a moment I wondered if it would be better if we didn't have to pretend to be in a real relationship, if only because it was too painful when we both went back to being polite roommates as soon as no one else was around.

"The public agrees," Gigi says. "For now. That's what matters, so we'd like to keep it that way. Offering a reward to whoever can give us information about Saldana's death that leads to an arrest will help with that."

"What if..." Kate says, but she stops, letting her words trail off.

"Kate?" I say, frowning. "What is it?"

Her jaw is set grimly and she has a serious look in her eyes. "What if it was one of..." She stops, catching herself. "... one of you?" she says. "Someone at Marin Elizondo, I mean."

I sigh. It's a bitter truth but someone had to say it. With me, my aunts, and other relatives — not to mention so many of the company VPs and other executives — at the benefit dinner and Saldana, the victim, having just recently sold his interests in the company, it's impossible to discount the possibility that there was a connection between the murder and someone at ME.

"Who do you think it was?" I ask.

She shakes her head. "I have no idea. He rubbed so many of your people the wrong way, but whatever the problems they had with him, it was nothing that could explain murder."

"It was no secret he tried to influence the board to get you fired," Marcus says.

"Thanks, bro." I gave him an annoyed look.

The corner of his lips quirked in a brief grin. "Not saying you murdered him, of course. Besides, you were with Kate, weren't you?"

"The fact that she's your wife doesn't make her a very credible witness," Gigi says. She smiled at Kate. "I believe you, of course. But the cops don't know you. They don't know any of us."

"Señor Saldana already sold you his shares," Kate says, frowning as she turns to me. "That means he's technically no longer a pain— uh, a thorn in your side."

"Maybe Raul just wanted revenge," Marcus says, deadpan.

"You are so helpful today," I say, glaring at him.

"No, no, he's right," Gigi says, then raises a hand. "Not that you murdered Saldana for revenge, but that's a motive the cops might latch on to."

I grunt noncommittally, taking another drink of my scotch. I suppose if I'm the only one with a credible motive for murder and knowing I didn't do it, the police would be hard-pressed to suspect anyone from the company.

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