Chapter 18: Last chance chat

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A camera swiveled hard right, followed by another one, only a mere three steps away. Both men had Big Brother surrounding them and watching every one of their moves with a vested interest. Max and Grant continued forward, causing another camera to squeak into action and focus in on them. They had ten watching them by the time that they reached the front door.

Max did not even need to knock, instead he raised his hand and noticed Magnifique's face smiling at him through the glass. He stepped backwards, allowing her to open the door wider in front of them.

"Mr Crawford," she acknowledged him with a restrained smirk, "I should feel privileged. Another visit so soon?"

"I'm sorry to interrupt you," he apologized, while softening his face, trying to hide the stress, "but we need to talk."

"Well, come in then. We'll adjourn to the living room."

They acknowledged her wishes and walked through the door, following her pounding footsteps with timed precision. Magnifique stopped suddenly and paused, before her large frame sunk into a chair. Both men followed her lead, finding the comfort of a nearby couch.

Max motioned to speak, but was immediately cut off by her commanding voice.

"I wanted to speak to you anyway. This arrangement isn't really working for me."

Max's mind fought hard for recognition, because her words confused him. He was already on edge, wondering whether he had misheard her. This would not be the first time her mystical garble had jumbled his brain. The DA had so much at stake for him that he needed clarification.

"What do you mean?" he asked perplexed, "I don't understand."

A sigh terrorized the air, expressing frustration.

"I've provided you with information on three murders so far," Magnifique revealed, "I've also given up my valuable time to assist you. I think it's time to talk about some kind of remuneration."

This was the last thing Max needed, another reluctant witness. Her involvement had so far been free and unrestricted, but Magnifique was suddenly cagey and evasive. She had never brought up money before, but it was now front and center. Max knew deep down she had wanted more all along. She had dodgy deals and fraudulent behavior in her past, so money was definitely an inherent goal for a woman like her. The DA knew her cooperation would eventually come with a price tag. She was not doing this out of some civic duty or righteous burden.

"I'll see what I can do," Max stated assuredly, while biting his lip angrily.

Magnifique could obviously smell the fear in him. His desperation was being emitted from his pores, like a body odor. She was a clever woman, obviously waiting for the right time to press him for money.

Max had to unfortunately play along, because he needed her insight now more than ever. His faith in her had gone full circle from initially considering her a fraud to needing her intuition, like a crack addict needed a fix. The situation had become so dire that she was now his only option. This woman was hopefully his savior, because he was out of luck and facing a firing squad of accusations in mere hours.

"I need more than your word," Magnifique hinted, "I need something in writing."

Max's breath stalled, causing his head to grow hazy. The oxygen was stuck down deep in his stomach, nowhere near where it needed to be. He found it hard to hide his frustration while shifting anxiously around in his seat and shaking his head mildly in disbelief. A tug of war began between his head and his heart, with his brain proving stronger.

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