Whitey showed the brochure to Sean and whistled. "What we in the biz call a clue. Let's go talk to the friends."
Eve Pigeon and Diane Cestra, maybe the last two decent people to see Katie Marcus alive according to her father, looked like they'd taken whacks to the back of their heads from the same shovel. Whitey and Sean worked them softly between the almost constant buckets of tears that streamed down their faces. The girls provided them with a timeline of Katie Marcus's actions on her last night alive and gave them the names of the bars they'd gone to along with approximate times of arrival and departure, but when it came to the personal stuff, both Sean and Whitey felt they were holding back, exchanging looks before they'd answer, getting vague where before they'd been definite:
"She dating anybody?"
"Nobody, like, regular."
"How about casually?"
"She didn't keep us real current on that kinda thing."
"Diane, Eve, come on. Your best friend since kindergarten, and she don't tell you who she's dating?"
"She was private like that."
"Yeah, private. That was Katie, sir."
Whitey tried another way in: "So there was nothing special about last night? Nothing out of the ordinary?"
"How about her planning to leave town?"
"No? Diane, she had a knapsack in the back of her car. It had brochures for Vegas in it. She was, what, carrying them around for someone else?"
"Maybe. I dunno."
Eve's father had piped in then: "Honey, you know something could help, you start talking. This is Katie getting, Jesus, murdered here."
Which had just brought on a fresh bucket of sobs, both girls going to hell then, beginning to wail and hug each other and shake, mouths wide and oval and slightly skewered in the pantomime of grief Sean had seen time and time again, the moment when, as Martin Friel called it, the levee broke and the permanence of the victim's absence truly hit home. Times like that, there was nothing you could do but watch or leave.
They watched and waited.
Eve Pigeon did look a bit like a bird, Sean thought. Her face was very sharp, her nose very thin. It nearly worked for her, though. She had a grace about her that gave her thinness an air of the almost-aristocratic. Sean guessed she was the kind of woman who looked better in formal clothing than casual, and she emanated a decency and intelligence that Sean figured would attract only serious men, weed out the scammers and Romeos.
Diane, on the other hand, oozed a defeated sensuality. Sean spotted a faded bruise just behind her right eye, and she struck him as denser than Eve, more given to emotion and possibly laughter, too. A fading hope hung in both her eyes like matching flaws, a neediness that Sean knew rarely attracted any other kind of man but the predatory kind. Sean figured she'd be at the center of a few 911 domestic disturbance calls over the coming years, and that by the time the cops reached her door, that dying hope would be long gone from her eyes.
"Eve," Whitey said gently when they'd finally stopped crying, "I need to know about Roman Fallow."
Eve nodded as if she'd been expecting the question, but she didn't say anything right away. She chewed the skin around her thumbnail and stared at some crumbs on the tabletop.
"That jerkoff hangs around Bobby O'Donnell?" her father said.
Whitey held up a hand to him, glanced over at Sean.
"Eve," Sean said, knowing Eve was the one they had to get to. She'd be harder to crack than Diane, but she'd yield more in the way of pertinent detail.
She looked at him.
"There won't be any reprisals, if that's what's worrying you. You tell us something about Roman Fallow or Bobby, and it stays with us. They'll never know it came from you."
Diane said, "What about when it goes to court? Huh? What about then?"
Whitey gave Sean a look that said: You're on your own.
Sean concentrated on Eve. "Unless you saw Roman or Bobby pull Katie from her car? "
"Then the DA wouldn't force either of you to testify in open court, Eve, no. He'd ask a lot probably, but he wouldn't force you."
Eve said, "You don't know them."
"Bobby and Roman? Sure I do. I put Bobby away for nine months when I was working narcotics cases." Sean reached out and laid his hand on the table about an inch from hers. "And he threatened me. But that's all he and Roman are? talk."
Eve gave Sean's hand a bitter half-smile with pursed lips. "Bull?shit," she said, dragging it out.
Her father said, "You don't talk like that in this house."
"Mr. Pigeon," Whitey said.
"No," Drew said. "My house, my rules. I won't have my daughter talking like she? "
"It was Bobby," Eve said, and Diane let out a small gasp, stared at her friend as if she'd lost her mind.
Sean saw Whitey's eyebrows arch.
"What was Bobby?" Sean said.
"Who Katie was dating. Bobby, not Roman."
"Jimmy know about this?" Drew asked his daughter.
Eve let go one of those sullen shrugs Sean had found endemic to kids her age, a slow twitch of the body that said it barely cared enough to make the effort.
"Eve," Drew said. "Did he?"
"He knew and he didn't," Eve said. She sighed and leaned her head back, stared up at the ceiling with those dark eyes. "Her parents thought it was over because for a while she thought it was over. The only one who didn't think it was over was Bobby. He wouldn't accept it. He kept coming back. One night he held her off a third-floor landing."
"You saw this?" Whitey said.
She shook her head. "Katie told me. He ran into her at a party six weeks, a month ago. He convinced her to come out in the hall to talk to him. 'Cept it was a third-floor apartment, you know?" Eve wiped her face with the back of her hand, even though by the looks of her, she was all cried out at the moment. "Katie told me she kept trying to explain to him that they were broken up, but Bobby wouldn't hear it, and finally he got so mad he grabbed her by the shoulders and lifted her over the railing. He held her over the stairway. Three stories down, the psycho. And he said if she broke up with him he'd break her up. She was his girl until he said otherwise and if she didn't like it, he'd drop her right fucking then."
"Jesus," Drew Pigeon said after a few moments' silence. "You know these people?"
Whitey said, "So, Eve, what did Roman say to her in the bar Saturday night?"