He locked the front door, walked up the stairs, and found the door to the room unlocked. He opened it and flicked on the light.

Davis was not in the first room, so he passed through into the bedroom. And there she was, sprawled on the bed and without a stitch of clothing on.

He drew closer, looked around, found a blanket draped over a chair, snatched it up, and threw it over her.

Then he sat down in the chair and waited.

He heard a ding from somewhere and instantly sat rigid in his seat.

Then he noticed her phone on the nightstand. It had lighted up when the text came in.

He looked at the screen.

Had to leave, babe. Early meeting tomorrow. Paul the bouncer taking you home to NC when you wake. See you soon. J

Rogers sat back down and watched her. She tossed and turned in her sleep and several times pulled the blanket off herself. Each time Rogers put it back on.

Finally, at about four in the morning she sat straight up, pulled the blanket off her, and looked straight at him.

“Who the fuck are you?”

She didn’t seem to be embarrassed that she had no clothes on.

“Your phone will explain.”

“What?”

“A message from Mr. Quentin.”

She looked around, seized her phone, and accessed the message.

“You’re Paul?” she said groggily.

“I was at the front door when you came in. I’m the bouncer.”

She looked down at her bare chest. “Where the hell are my clothes?”

“I don’t know. I covered you with the blanket.”

He got up and looked around. Then he got on his knees and pulled her skirt, top, and a bra and underwear out from under the bed. He dropped the articles of clothing on the bed and said, “I’ll wait for you in the other room while you get dressed.”

He closed the door behind him.

He heard her get up. He also heard her stumble, apparently hit her knee, and loudly curse. A minute later the door opened. She was still zipping up her skirt.

“Any idea where my shoes are?” she said crossly.

He reached behind a sofa pillow and pulled out a pair of stilettos.

“Thanks.” She sat and put them on.

As they walked down the stairs he said, “I’m afraid I’ve only got a crappy van.”

“If they had Uber in this shithole I’d use them. I’m in North Carolina. It’s two hours.”

“Mr. Quentin told me.”

“Mr. Quentin just fucking left me?”

“Looks like it.”

“Asshole!”

“Do you want me to drive you to a hotel here instead? You can make arrangements to go home tomorrow. Well, it’s already tomorrow, but I mean later in the day.”

“No. I’m wide awake now. Let’s just get on the road.”

He locked up the bar after setting the alarm system and they walked to his van. They climbed in and, to her credit, she didn’t complain about the condition of the interior. She curled up in her seat and closed her eyes.

“I’ll need directions,” lied Rogers.

“Get on Sixty-Four going towards Norfolk. I’ll tell you from there.”

“Okay.”

He drove onto the interstate and settled back in his seat.

She gave him directions as needed, though he knew the way and they were soon nearing the Outer Banks. Traffic was nonexistent at this time of morning.

“Have you known Mr. Quentin a long time?” Rogers asked.

She looked at him with puffy eyes. “Why?”

“No reason. Just making conversation.”

“Well, stop. I don’t know you.”

“Sorry.”

He gazed out the windshield at the coming dawn, thinking that she was right around the same age as the dead women.

“About five years,” she said abruptly.

He glanced at her. She was staring at him.

“I’ve known him about five years.”

“Ms. Myers says he’s very successful. A real up-and-comer.”

“I guess you could say that.”

“Guy obviously has money.”

“Oh, he’s got money all right.”

“How’d you two meet? Must have been after college. I know he’s thirty.”

“Why do you think I went to college?”

He shrugged. “Don’t most young people these days go to college?”

“Did you go to college?”

“If I did I probably wouldn’t be a bar bouncer at my age.”

“How old are you?”

He told her. “How old are you?” he asked.

“You’re not supposed to ask a woman her age.”

“Didn’t know that.”

“I’m thirty-one.” She reached out and felt his shoulder. “You look old in the face. But you’re jacked like an athlete. You ever think of having a face-lift?”

“May be hard for you to believe, but it’s never crossed my mind.”

Her interest obviously growing, she felt his bicep. “I’m serious, I bet you don’t have any body fat at all.” She tugged at his shirt. “You got a six-pack under there? Guys your age always have potbellies. But not you.” He felt her fingers flit over his crotch.

He gently nudged her hand away and said, “How’s your head?”

She straightened and stared out the windshield. “I don’t get hangovers. I just pass out when I drink too much. I’m fine. And I’m hungry.” She looked out the window. “There’s an IHOP a half mile up ahead. Let’s get some breakfast.”

He pulled into the parking lot and she led him into the place, which was about half full at this hour. They ordered coffee and food. She played with her paper napkin and stared over at him.

“Why are you a bouncer?”

“Only job I could find.”

“I don’t have a job, not really.”

“What do you do with your time, then?”

“Pretty much whatever I want.”

“Must be nice.”

“You think?”

“I don’t know. I’ve always had to work. But I guess it’s good to have some purpose.”

“Josh is a dick.”

“I thought you were friends.”

And lovers, he thought.

“We are, but he’s still a dick. Don’t you have any dick friends?”

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