They ate at a diner a few miles from the barracks but in the opposite direction from Denton. It was a relief to be somewhere else for a while. Josie ordered a half-pound cheeseburger with fries and a side of mozzarella sticks. Sex always made her ravenous, made her buzz with energy. She felt like she could do anything. Ray always said that’s what cocaine was like. They’d taken a break from one another in college—she had tried other men and he had tried drugs. Sex with Luke had always been good but never near what it had been like with Ray. Until today. She felt high, like she was on top of the world with no chance of falling off.
Across from her, Luke picked at his own burger and used the longest French fry on his plate to marshal the smaller fries into formation.
“Something on your mind?” she asked.
He didn’t look up. “Ray sign those papers?”
“Not yet. You know he’s busy with the Coleman case, and now with this Spencer thing…”
At the mention of June Spencer, he looked up at her. “I heard about that. Crazy shit. Did you hear her uncle is still holding on?”
She hadn’t. “Has he said anything?”
Luke shook his head. “No. Still in a coma. They didn’t find anything useful on his phone either. A few texts between him and the driver arranging the pick-up, but that doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know. Word from your department is that they can’t even locate his next of kin.”
“He has a sister in Philadelphia.”
“Yeah, she’s AWOL. No one can find her.”
“So, June Spencer has no one.” It was a
statement, not a question. June would be released from the hospital eventually
and Josie wondered
where she would go. Dirk’s house was her home, but if she was as out of it as Ray had said, she would need someone to care for her. She wondered if Solange would take the girl in, and then decided no. Solange didn’t have that kind of grit.
Luke shrugged. “Unless her uncle recovers or her mom turns up, I guess. Don’t know.”
“Anything new on the shootout?”
He took a bite of his cheeseburger and then placed it back on the plate and wiped his hands on a napkin. “Not much. We had some of our guys in Philly notify next of kin and do some interviews but no one is talking. Big surprise there. We have no idea who was shooting at them, but we do know that they were traveling west. They’d gotten on at the Bowersville exit.”
Josie frowned. “That’s the closest exit to Dirk Spencer’s house,” she said. “So they picked him up and got onto the interstate there. But where were they headed? The next exit is Denton—where they got off at the Stop and Go. They were traveling away from Philadelphia and the next decent-sized town is almost two hundred miles away.”
“Don’t know,” Luke said. “We may never know. Unless Dirk wakes up and can tell us. I’m sure they only got off the interstate at the Denton exit because they were getting shot at.”
“Makes sense,” Josie said. “Not many places to hide on the interstate.
Any idea where the shooting started?”
“Looks like about halfway between the exits. We found rounds about three miles from the Bowersville entrance ramp.”
So they got on Route 80 and drove for three miles before the shooting started. It was two more miles to the exit where they’d gotten off, already badly wounded and in trouble. “I wonder if they were being pursued before they even got on the interstate. Maybe that’s why they got on the interstate, so they could get away fast without drawing much attention.”
“We thought of that. Someone’s pulling surveillance of various businesses in Bowersville to see if we can see the Escalade passing through at any point, see if anyone was tailing them.”
“No connection between Spencer and the guys in the car?” Josie asked.
“None that we can turn up. Just that they came from Philadelphia, and he used to live there. Everyone who was interviewed in Philadelphia said they never heard of him.”
“It’s just strange, don’t you think?”
“Lots of strange things going on
lately,” Luke muttered, his eyes back
on his plate.
Josie paused in her eating, a mozzarella stick poised halfway to her mouth. “What does that mean?”
He met her eyes. “What was that about today? Out in the woods?” She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Most men would be grateful.
Being with Luke was a double-edged sword: she could count on him utterly to never put her in the position that Ray had put her in, but at the same time his level of care and concern grated on her. “Why do you ask?”
“I’m worried about you. With everything going on… the suspension, what happened at the Stop and Go. Plus, I know you want to work. I know this is killing you. Isabelle Coleman is still missing and you have to sit it out. I just want to make sure you’re, you know, okay.”
Josie forced a smile. She wasn’t okay. For every reason he had just listed, and then some, but the last thing she wanted to do was talk about it. Luke had already done everything he could do for her back in the woods. She reached across the table and patted his hand. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’m fine.”