“Baby sitter? What the hell are you talking about?” Pauley wanted to punch Millicent in the face with her cup. “I just screwed up big time, I can be identified at a hit, and you want to talk about who wiped your butt as a kid?”
Millicent let Pauley rant, this wasn’t going to be easy and she almost felt bad about being the one to spoil her fairytale.
“What did Niles say to you?” Millicent now had to pry the cup out of Pauley’s grip, as much to protect Pauley from shattering it, as to eliminate a potential weapon that could be used against her.
“He kept calling me Gail,” she said, an undercurrent of fear mixing with her seething anger.
“That unsettled you, because?” Millicent picked at that childhood scab, knowing it could leave an ugly scar.
Pauley took a long, shuddering breath, gripping the edges of the table for support.
“Gail was my mother’s name,” Pauley said, “earlier Niles kept telling me I looked familiar and asked if I had family nearby.”
“Here’s what I know, “ Millicent felt something that she thought was impossible, empathy for her young accomplice. “When I was about nine, my dad had some dealings with Butch and Paul, who I now know was your father. While they conducted this business, I stayed with your mother, Gail. She was pregnant at the time with you. When my father reminded me of that time, I could see it then.”
“See what,” Pauley was starting to sound frantic.
“The family resemblance,” Millicent said with frustrating calm “You look very much like your mother did then.”
Pauley could only shake her head, trying to understand the connection.
“This whole thing, with Butch wanting the two of us to pull off this hit, was strange,” Millicent said, measuring her words carefully. “I had my suspicions that Butch wasn’t telling us everything for a reason.”
“When a hit is personal, like someone has betrayed the family, Butch keeps things close to the vest,” Pauley was beginning to relax a little, turning her energy toward trying to think through what was happening.
“I called my father eariler, to get some information from him about your parents,” MIllicent paused, waiting for Pauley to look at her.
“What are you saying?” Pauley’s jaw tightened, the veins on her neck throbbing.
“There’s no simple way to say this,” Milicent slid her chair back, giving her an exit should Pauley take her news badly.
“I don’t think your mother is dead. I think she was forced to leave by your father. I think Niles found her through one of his sleazy court cases, and put two and two together. He threatened to expose who she was and in turn, became a threat to you.”
Pauley jerked back in her seat, taking Millicent’s theory like a slap in the face.
“No!” Pauley slammed her open hands down on the table top. Other diner patrons turned toward the outburst. “My dad… Butch… they wouldn’t have lied to me like that. For all these years? No, never.”
“You need to get a grip on youself. We don’t need to draw any more attention.” Millicent moved her chair closer, leaning in she lowered her voice, “Lies are part of the game, and family will lie to you easier than anyone.”
“Think about it,” Millicent hissed at Pauley. “What better way to take out Niles than to get you involved. Especially if Butch had an ulterior motive of bringing you back together with your mother?”
“If you’re right, my whole life’s been a lie,” Pauley voice cracked.
“Welcome to my world.”
“What do I do now, Millicent?”
“WE… find Butch.”
The next two installments in “Dead Money,” written with Lance, the Renaissance man behind “My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.” Check out “Runaways,” for more from our killers on the run, Pauley and Millicent.