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“Sounds like a woman who knew how to get what she wanted.”
“Oh, she did. She was relentless when she needed to be, yet was compassionate to a fault.”
“Fiery and gentle, just like Avery.”
“She was both those things, which made for an exciting romance.”
“They do make a good combination.” Bette shifted her weight to relieve the pressure on her booted foot. “Mind if I sit down? The foot still swells.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” Tina pointed toward the small sectional. “Take the inside corner so you can prop up your leg. Can I get you something to drink?”
Bette plopped down on the couch and positioned her boot on the cushion, then dangled it over the edge, making sure she didn’t dirty the fabric. “Water would be great.”
Soon, Tina returned with a glass of water.
“Thank you.” Bette took a sip. The surprising taste prompted her to inspect the glass. “Delicious. What’s in it?”
“Just some lime and mint. When we moved to Atherton, the cook always had it on hand.” Tina joined Bette on the couch. “She spoiled me, and now I can’t seem to break the habit. I always keep a container in the fridge.”
“Cook, huh?” Bette snickered while sneaking a look a Tina.
“Daddy did well.” Tina shrugged.
“So why the DEA?” Bette asked.
“Izzy. The other guy was high. Drugs took her from me, so I wanted to put drug dealers behind bars. How about you?”
“The officer who helped me after my parent’s accident died in the line of duty. I wanted to honor him.”
“Sounds like our paths were chosen for us,” Tina said.
“I think you’re right.”
With similar paths and lovers, their lives were bound to cross again. She figured if Tina could get past losing someone she loved, then she could too.
“So, on the phone, you said we needed to talk.” Tina shifted on the couch marking the change of subject. “I’m assuming this is about Diego.”
Bette took another sip. “I am here about Diego. Eric said he met with you right after Diego was killed, and that you both think it was a hit.”
“I don’t believe in coincidences involving lowlifes, so yes, it had to be a hit.”
“It had to be Caco,” Bette said.
“I see you’ve caught up.” Tina nodded.
“He had to be the one behind the bomb at Diego’s lab.” Bette gritted her molars. “I’m going after him.”
“I wish I could help, Bette. Ever since the lab explosion, Prichard has suspected I was the one who tipped you off. And now that Diego is dead, he’s limited my access to the case. I was trying to find another source, but he shut me down. The strange thing is that I think he and the U.S. Attorney are slow rolling the case, and I can’t figure out why.”
“What if we already had another lead? Would you be willing to help me off-book?”
“What do you mean?” Tina’s head tilted.
“What if we had the number to Diego’s burner phone?” Bette hoped Tina would join her.
Tina studied Bette for several beats, then said, “I’m in. We have a leak somewhere. I don’t know who I can trust at the federal level, but I know I can trust you, Bette.”
“Feeling’s mutual, Tina.” Unsure where this case would lead, having Tina on her side gave her a sense she’d find answers.