When Carlo answered his phone I asked, once we'd gotten past the formalities, "Does Ben know his mother was looking for him?"
"How did he feel about that?"
"How do you think? He wanted nothing to do with her. Not that she… or you… could have found him in the first place."
"True. Another question, does he live around here?"
There was the briefest of pauses before he replied, "No." Enough of a pause that I had the feeling he was lying. Not that I could do a damned thing about it. If I said anything he'd just deny it, and over the phone I had no way to read his body language.
"You never did tell me his name."
Carlo chucked. "No I didn't. And why does it matter now?" Then the coin must of dropped because he said angrily, "If you think he had anything to do with Coleen's death you're out of your mind!"
"Carlo," I replied calmly, "I didn't say that, but at this point I'm looking at anyone who had anything to do with her. I suspect the cops are as well. It comes with the territory."
"Well you can count me and Ben out. End of story," he retorted before hanging up.
How to win friends and influence people. Obviously at the moment I'm not doing so well on that score. I did, however, find out one thing—I think. Ben is somewhere around here. Possibly, probably, living near his father. That would put him only a couple of hundred miles away. Not a long distance if you're bent on eliminating someone you undoubtedly hate.
So I had three probables and one possible if I counted Whitmore, although it was a long way from Wyoming to here. I could see him coming here to kill her, if he actually had a motive. But sticking around, to watch and then threaten me? I found that highly unlikely.
I finished filling out all the information I had on my four suspects, glancing occasionally at the phone—as if looking at it would make it ring and Caiazzo would be on the other end, telling me what I needed to know about Frank Milano.
A phone did ring—my cell. It was Ricky asking if I was on the way home. A fast check of the time told me I should be. I said as much then saved the file and shut down the computer.
When I went into the waiting room, Chelsea grinned at me. "I was about to ask if you were planning on spending the night here."
"Not if I can help it." I followed her out, locking the door after setting the alarm.
When we left the building and got to the parking lot we both used, I watched as she walked to her car, to make sure she made it there safely. She caught me at it and came back, asking warily, "Is something going on I should know about."
"Yeah, maybe. I forgot to tell you about the message I got today." I explained quickly, and told her it wasn't the only one.
"First off, I should shoot you for keeping that to yourself," she said tightly. "Secondly, do you really think this… whoever it is, would come after me?"
"I'm not counting out the possibility since you work for me, so be damned careful. Still, I suspect he'd target Ricky, or more likely me. All it said was someone else would die." I smiled dryly. "I'd have liked it better if he'd said, 'or you die'."
"Which way would be more likely to get you to pull back?"
"Honestly? The idea he would target Ricky or you."
"But you're not going to," she replied, giving me a 'don't you dare' look.
"Nope. So like I said, be hyper-aware of the people around you and don't…"
"Go walking down any dark alleys. Got it." She patted my arm. "You be careful too. Okay?"
"Always." I hugged her quickly. "Now go home." I watched her, and the cars around hers, until she drove away. No one followed her, and as far as I could see no one was interested in me when I finally pulled out of the lot onto the street.