Eva didn’t love Peter, but she did love the money and that big old house his auntie was supposed to have left him.
Only, what if Peter’s auntie hadn’t left him everything? Only one person knew for sure, and that was Meyer. So after the doc had removed the slug from under my ribs and I’d been patched up, I went home and changed my clothes before heading to Meyer’s office. There was no need to wait, no sooner had I sat down in the foyer than his assistant showed up right away and took me up to his office. Meyer was stood in front of the big glass window overlooking the city, for all the world like a bird of prey. He turned and smiled at me as I took off my hat and the assistant closed the doors behind me.
“Ah, Mr Devine. said Meyer, pulling his high back leather chair out from under his desk and lowering himself into it gingerly. “Here to ask about the will no doubt? No need to look surprised, I heard all about your little skirmish down at Clancy’s. So you plan to find out if Peter’s going to inherit everything, and then you’ll use this information against that showgirl who has managed to captivate him so completely.”
“Yeah, you got me.”
“I suppose you know that I’m bound by client confidentiality.”
I grimaced. Yeah, I knew alright. “I was kind of hoping you would cut me a break in this particular instance Mr Meyer.”
He rested his elbows on the desk, his fingers forming a temple as he raised his eyebrows. “Oh I’m afraid I couldn’t possibly do that Mr Devine.” He smiled, then rose slowly from his chair. “Now, I’m going to go and meet a client but you’re welcome to visit again next week. We can continue our discussion then. Your payment is in this envelope” he said, his fingers tapping on the one solitary envelope that was sitting on his desk.
After he left the office, I walked over and picked up the envelope. It was unmarked, and wasn’t sealed. I lifted the flap and pulled out a sheaf of paper, and sure enough it was the will. Maybe Meyer was alright after all. I went back to my car, drove for a few blocks then parked and had a look at the will.
After a few moments of reading, I couldn’t help but grin like schoolboy. Now all I had to do was find Eva and Peter. No doubt they’d be at his auntie’s house, waiting for Meyer to bring them the will, only I knew Meyer wouldn’t turn up. He was far too smart for that.
Just as dusk was falling my car dragged itself along the gravel driveway of Mrs Fredrickson’s estate, headlights off. I parked a few hundred yards away from the gardens at the front of the house, looked around for goons. There weren’t any, so far so good. They clearly weren’t expecting any trouble. I made my way over to the house, took hold of the door knocker and slammed it loudly a few times to get their attention.
The door opened to reveal Eva in a red evening dress, and her smile turned to a mask of rage. “Frank. I told you what would happen if…”
“Shut up Eva” I replied, whipping my revolver out of my coat pocket and flicking off the safety. “I’m not here for small talk. Where’s Peter?”
She pouted, then pushed the door fully open and started walking slowly down the corridor into the main hallway. I followed, equally slowly, my eyes flicking around looking for mooks, then back to her.
I heard the snick of a gun being cocked behind me, glanced to my left to see Peter walking towards me, pistol in hand. He removed my revolver from my hand, then backed away. Eva smiled, walked over to his side.
“You look disappointed Frank. What were you thinking was going to happen? little game of duck-duck-moose? Well sorry to have to say this, but you’re nothing but a beached clown. Peter and I are together now and he’s going to get what he deserves, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“Yeah, sure” I replied. “You’re a regular genius, a shining star. Sure all your plans are gonna work, and all your dreams will come true; except it’s all bullshit.”
“Oh yeah? What are you, the fucking dream police?”
“No, I’m just a burnt out private dick who drinks too much. Here’s the thing though, you’re insecure. You need validation. You need schmucks like me and Peter to chase after you and tell you how beautiful you are, how talented you are, how worthwhile you are. You can’t go a week, hell, even a day without wanting somebody to lather you with praise. You’re fake. You know what I’m talking about don’t you Peter? You’re nothing but her lapdog, just like I was.”
Peter’s eyes went wide and he pursed his lips as Eva glared at him. “That true Peter?” asked Eva through clenched teeth. He gripped the handle of his pistol tighter, trying to still his trembling hand.
“No, honey, I…I never doubted you…not once I promise!”
Eva smiled at him, then turned her attention back to me. “You’re clutching at straws Frank. Don’t you have anything better?”
“Sure I do. I’ve got Mrs Fredrickson’s will.”
“What? No you don’t.”
“It’s right here” I said, opening my coat slowly to reveal the envelope sticking out of an inside pocket.
Eva marched over to me, snatched the envelope from my coat and marched back over to Peter. She removed the will and started reading. After a few moments, her eyes went wide as she grimaced. “What, but, this isn’t right. It can’t be!”
I grinned. “Oh it’s real sister, you can see the signatures for yourself. Peter doesn’t get anything until he’s been to rehab and the docs say he’s cured his gambling addiction. Not one fucking dime.”
Eva screamed as she threw the will to the floor, glared at me then at Peter. “You fucking bastard!” She snarled. “You just had to have a fucking gambling addiction didn’t you? You just had to fuck everything up for us. Now what the fuck are we supposed to do?”
Peter, baffled, began backing away from Eva’s onslaught. “Eva, honey, it’ll be ok…”
“It won’t be ok you fucking weasel, we were supposed to have a happy romantic life together but you fucked it up. You make my fucking skin crawl.”
Eva drew nearer to him, her eyes flashing like lightning, her face dark as thunder. “Well I’m not putting up with this shit any longer. I’ll just have to take what I can get and move on.” She made a grab for Peter’s gun, her fingers closing around the barrel as she tried to wrench it from his hand.
“Eva, what are you doing? Eva, let go of the gun!” Peter shouted as he struggled with her. I lunged towards the both of them, too late. The gun went off, the sound reverberating and echoing around the mansion.
Eva slumped to the floor, looked down to see a red stain spreading out over her chest before she passed out and collapsed onto the mosaic tiles.