Corey

By: Dale Mayer

Prologue





Corey Handleman woke up, surprised to find it as late as it was. Being in the navy, he rarely slept in. But it was already six-thirty. He rolled over and checked his cell phone for a text from Macklin. Corey was not at all sure what had gone on last night. But he had a suspicion his friend was taking a step that might not be in his best interests. He sent a quick text. Where are you?

There was no response. He frowned, got up, had a quick shower and put on some coffee. His phone rang.

It was Mason. “Did you hear the news?”

“What news?”

“They caught Marsha’s killer.”

Corey let out his breath with a heavy gust. “Thank God for that.” He frowned. “Who was it?”

“Her girlfriend.”

“But nobody said she had one.”

“Marsha kept her a secret. Even though the girlfriend lived there, she wasn’t allowed to let anybody know. She went in and out of the balcony door. The police only found out at the station after picking her up.”

“Ouch. Makes it hard to have a relationship if you’re always going out the back door. How long were they together?”

“Off and on for over a year, but they’ve known each other for quite a few years. It wasn’t somebody Marsha ever talked about.”

“And I suppose they didn’t go to parties together—do girl stuff?”

“Never.”

“And how did you get all this information?”

“I contacted the station and talked to them this morning. Alex was just leaving. Anyway, she gave me the heads-up on some of the details. She and Macklin were heading to bed.”

“So that’s why Macklin didn’t answer his phone.” Corey chuckled. “Well, I could see that one coming.”

“It’s good for Macklin. He’s waited a long while to find somebody.”

“Yeah, he has.”

“Your turn, Corey,” Mason said. “Isn’t it time for you now?”

“There’s nobody special in my life,” Corey explained. He walked to the window and stared out. “Maybe it’ll happen one day.”

Mason smiled, his voice laughing as he said, “Pretty darn sure it will happen sooner than later. You seem to have a lot of women in your life.”

“Not really. Although I did meet one for coffee a few days ago. But that wasn’t a girlfriend. She was my sister’s best friend. And it was hardly a social visit.”

“If it wasn’t a social visit, what was it? What did she want?” Mason asked with curiosity in his voice.

Corey hesitated.

“If you don’t want to tell me, that’s all right,” Mason said. “I’m just curious.”

“The thing is, I don’t know what she wanted. She called me and asked to meet. We sat and had coffee. Then she suddenly seemed to get nervous. Changed her mind. I tried to talk her into staying, but she wouldn’t. She just said she had to go.”

“Is she okay?”

“I don’t know. I called my sister, left several messages, but I haven’t heard from her either.”

“How long ago was this?”

“Two days. But with all this going on with Macklin and Marsha, I put it out of my mind.”

“How do you suggest we make sure both of them are okay?”

“I should have heard from my sister, but she’s been really busy. I don’t know what’s going on with Angela.”

“Was she looking for help?”

“I don’t know. She told me that she was fine, apologized for having bothered me. Then she stood and left. I walked out to the car with her. But she wouldn’t have anything to do with me. Honestly, she pissed me off, so I just put it out of my mind.”

“So it’s not like she was being followed or anything?” Mason asked in a sharp tone.

“Not that I could see.”

“So tell me. Who was she?”

Corey sighed. He turned to face the small room, walked over to the coffeepot, poured himself a cup and said, “Somebody from my past.”

“This sounds interesting. You sure it isn’t more than that?”

“No, it’s not more than that. I haven’t seen her since high school graduation.”