Pauley felt like shooting her. Vivian could be so incredibly exasperating.
“Viv, just do what you do, and I’ll do what I do,” Pauley checked the holster on her hip. “I’ll stay in the back and wait, you go out front, business as usual.”
Vivian handed Pauley her empty coffee cup and turned away with a backward wave.
Danela saw Vivian coming through the storeroom, and nearly dropped her phone. Ending her text quickly, she laid it down beside a notepad next to the register. Wiping her hands on the front of her skirt, she walked around the counter to meet her boss.
“Você surpreendeu-me, Vivian,” Danela seemed nervous, and kept looking back toward the storeroom. “I wrapped blouse as you asked.”
Vivian took Danela by the arm, guiding her toward the front of the store. Taking a quick glance back, she saw Pauley steal across the floor to hide behind a clothing rack.
“Você é muito nervoso hoje,” Vivian said, keeping Danela turned away from the counter and her phone. “Are you all right?”
“No nervous, did not think you be back so soon,” Danela stammered. Vivian smiled at the obvious lie.
Vivian quickly pulled a new blouse from a display, and handed it to Danela.
“We need to re-dress the mannequin, use this,” Vivian caught Pauley’s reflection in the front window, and smoothly stepped over to block the view from Danela.
Keeping Danela’s attention on the window display, Vivian watched as Pauley crept to the counter to grab Danela’s phone and notepad. Once she was back in the storeroom, Pauley slowly closed the door and locked it.
“Let’s see who our little mole has been passing notes to,” Pauley sat down at Vivian’s desk to scroll through Danela’s contact list and recent messages. Seeing the takeout order from the cafe where Vivian dropped it, Pauley picked up the coffee. “Can’t let good coffee go to waste.”
Thumbing through the texts, Pauley found her last outgoing message to “T. Azevedo.”
“Visitante na home de Vivian.”
Pauley knew “visitor” meant her. But why would Danela tell Azevedo she was staying at Vivian’s? Was he planning a hit at Vivian’s house?
The notepad was blank, but Pauley could barely make out the indentation of writing on the top page. Rummaging through the desk drawer, she found a pencil. Rubbing the edge of the graphite tip across the surface, the previous note emerged.
Written in Portuguese shorthand, Pauley knew she’d need help translating it. She could make out times and a date, but not what was happening.
She really needed to talk to Stan, needed some leverage against Azevedo.
“It’s time to have a little chat with Danela,” Pauley finished the coffee and cinnamon roll, licking the icing off her fingers.
You can find out more about our lady killers in Dead Money.