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17

Fleeced

After Regan spoke to Carl, she took a little walk through the apartment. She found herself back in Nats bathroom. No doubt-it was luxurious. The marble walls and floor, gleaming glass shower door, and beautiful porcelain sinks all gave the feeling of well-cared-for opulence. An electric heated towel rack stood against the wall near the Jacuzzi. One large white towel was draped over it. I bet thats the one Nat would have used last night, she thought.

Regan turned and walked over to the two hand towels that were hanging on a rack between the sinks. She hadnt really noticed them before, but now she could see that the miniature appliqu'es lining their borders were little sheep. My God, they had sheep everything, she thought. Theyre cute, but they dont look like the kind of towels that you use. Theyre more for show.

There was an empty towel rack on the wall next to the shower. For some reason, it seemed odd to her that it was empty. Just then something on the floor caught her eye. She walked over and picked it up. It was a tiny sheep appliqu'e. This must have fallen off a towel, she thought. But wheres the towel?

There was no hamper in the bathroom. Regan walked into Nats bedroom and opened the closet door. All womens clothes. These must have been Wendys, Regan thought. She shut the door.

In the guest room, she found her suitcase on the floor and hanging bag laid out on the bed. She opened the first of two closet doors. This was obviously where Nat kept his clothes. She lifted the lid of a wicker hamper, but there were no towels in there. Just a couple of mens shirts, socks, and underwear.

Regan smiled. Even though Wendy had been dead for three years, he hadnt moved her clothes. He still had to go into the guest room to get his things. One of Regans friends had gotten married and moved into her husbands apartment. He was so persnickety he made her use the guest bathroom and second bedroom closet. Needless to say, the marriage hadnt lasted. But Nat obviously had been devoted to his wife. And all these sheep might have driven another man crazy.

It was as if Regan were getting a feel for Nat Pemrod. I wonder if he slept in here at all. Just as Regan was pondering all this, her cell phone rang. From the Caller ID she could tell it was Jack.

Hi there, she said.

Regan, hows it going?

Lets just say its interesting.

Im at the office. Its been pretty hectic, but I talked to a guy named Ronald Brier down at the 13th. He was there last night. He suggested you drop by and talk to him.

Regan looked at her watch. It was just about noon. I think Ill head down there right now.

And one other thing.

What?

Think about where you want to have dinner on Sunday night. Ill call you later.

Okay. Regan hung up and sat on the bed. She picked up one of the framed pictures on the bedside table. It was an old black-and-white picture of four men playing cards. This must be the Suits, she thought. Regan put it down and glanced at the other photos. They were mostly pictures of a couple at various stages of life. In one of them they were standing in a field, surrounded by sheep.

Regan pulled open the drawer of the table. A notepad and pen had been neatly placed in there. She lifted out the pad and opened it up. The page was dated Thursday, March 11th. Yesterday!

Regan began to read and was astonished by the words in front of her.

My little Buttercup,

These last four weeks have been undeniably joyous. After my dear wife, Wendy, went off to the Lord, her shepherd, I never thought I could feel anything deep for another woman. I guess I was right. While I enjoy your company, I dont think its right to keep sneaking around with you.

Ive decided that the rest of my life should be spent doing good for others. Who knows how long I have left?

They say that if you find one true love in your life then youre blessed. I figure Ill quit while Im ahead.

Best of luck!

Natty Boy

Regan couldnt believe her eyes. Natty Boy! And who in Gods name is Buttercup? More than ever, Regan felt certain that Nats death was no accident.


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