|Carra Copelin, Award Winning Author|
"Now that you're back, do you have the balls to stay, or are you going to turn tail and disappear again?" With that final sarcastic shot, he finally shut-up.
Graeme pushed upright in his chair to loosen the kinks from his back and shoulders. Every muscle screamed a protest at being bunched in a knot.
Elliott's words stung like the slap of Andrew's hand the first time Graeme had openly defied an order. He supposed, in all fairness, his brother had a right to ask the question. Whether one was born a Benning or raised as one, family meant everything. And, while he hadn't had a choice on whether to go or stay, he hadn't been available when the family had needed him.
While Graeme didn't have an answer yet, he damn sure had a few questions of his own for Dallas County's Assistant District Attorney.
Graeme took a swig from his longneck as Elliott mirrored his actions. They were, he thought, like two grade school opponents sizing each other up on the playground at recess. Graeme swiped at the condensation on the beer bottle while deciding where to begin.
"So Wyatt never contacted you, at any time, before the crash? You had no idea he was in trouble?"
"No. Not a clue." Elliott shifted in his chair, repositioned his beer. His foster brother made it apparent that he was unaccustomed to being questioned. Either that or there was something else he wasn't saying.
"Nothing . . ." Elliott swiped at a water puddle under the bottle. "It's nothing."
"Look, if we're going to get to the bottom of this, we have to level with one another. What were you going to say?"
"You know Wyatt. He was never like the rest of us. He didn't act out, never bucked the system. He always kept things bottled up."
"Yeah, that goody two-shoes act used to piss me off. We could never wheedle anything out of him." Graeme shook his head and grinned.
"Well, it was the same thing this time, except…"
"Elliott," Graeme ground out his brother's name, huffed out a sigh in exasperation. "Stop dragging this out. What?"
"Maggie came to the office about a month prior to the accident. She asked me for the name of a good divorce attorney."
That news ripped through Graeme like a shot. After digesting it for a minute, he asked, "Did you give her one?"
"Yeah, I did."
"No." Elliott picked up his bottle, drained its contents then answered sadly, "Whether or not she intended to, I don't know, because the next time I saw her, Wyatt was dead. Soon after the funeral, she moved in with that ditzy friend of hers like she didn't want anything to do with the family."
"Is that when you decided to charge her with theft of the morphine Wyatt likely overdosed with? When she was alone and vulnerable?"
Elliott scowled. "D.A. Harrison was relatively new in his job and still trying to impress the good people of Dallas County."
Snorting in disgust, Graeme ground out, "And he did it at Maggie's expense."
"Yeah, but not without cause. The drugs disappeared from the hospital's inventory and the investigators narrowed the time down to Maggie's shift."
"What did she have to say about that?"
"She denied stealing the drugs, of course."
"You don't really think she did, do you?"
"I don't want to, but . . . hell, I don't know," Elliott said with a sigh. "You knew her better when we were growing up. Do you think she's capable?"
Graeme pushed his chair away from the table. "I think I should talk to Maggie to get her side of the story."
Elliott leaned back in his own chair, sported a grin, and glanced past him. "Somehow I don't think you'll have to go far."