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.Once he was in close range, I realized there was something wrong.His eyes had rolled back in his head, leaving narrow slits of white along the lower rims.His face and body underwent a series of convulsive movements; he blinked his eyes, the comer of his mouth jumped involuntarily, his lips opened wide, then his head jerked back twice.The effect was weird - a sequence of behaviors that set his whole body in motion, culminating in a sound that was half shout, half cough.He moved his right arm, rolling it in its socket as if to loosen tension.In memory, a buzzer sounded dimly, and I recalled the existence of some medical condition that produced just this effect - tics and shouts.He made no reference to it, nor did Bibianna, who seemed more concerned about his reaction to Chago's death."I didn't do it.I swear to God.I didn't kill him.I'm sorry.It was an accident.Oh, please.Raymond, I didn't have anything to do with it."His expression had softened, becoming nearly wistful as he took her by the shoulders and pulled her in close to him, rubbing his hands up and down her bare arms."You don't know how happy I am to see you."I could see her tense up, holding herself away from him slightly, though she couldn't do much without perhaps risking some kind of outburst.He began to nuzzle her hair."Oh, baby.Angel.Sweet thing, I'm glad to see you," he murmured, his voice soft."This is beautiful.I really missed you, you know that?" He drew back from her then, clamping his fingers around her jaw so that she was forced to look at him."Hey, it's all right.Everything's okay.Don't worry." His gaze moved across to me."Who is this?" His head jerked twice."Hannah Moore," I said.She flicked a look at him."This is Raymond Maldonado."He held his hand out."Nice to meet you.Sorry about all this.My brother was killed last night."We shook hands.His were warm and soft, his grip firm."I'm sorry about your brother.That's terrible," The pleasantries created an air of unreality.Raymond glanced at Bibianna."You ready?""I'm not going.Raymond, I mean it.I'm done with all that.I don't want to go back to Los Angeles.I told you.I didn't have anything to do with." He took her arm and began to walk her toward the car.I could see her mouth twist and his fingers dug into her elbow painfully.She babbled on.He raised a hand as if to silence her, warding off the spill of words.She pressed a hand to her lips.He turned his head to one side.He hunched a shoulder, did a neck roll, and took a deep breath, eyes sliding up in his head.His face jerked to the right, once, twice.His eyes came open, the irises sliding into view - large, dark brown, and clear.He continued toward the car.I followed without invitation, calculating rapidly.Here was my quarry, Raymond Maldonado in the flesh.I knew I was being offered the perfect opportunity, but I'd had no prep time.If I went in without a briefing, I could blow the whole operation.I couldn't afford to start playing undercover cop, but what choice did I have? He was walking so rapidly, I had to do a quickstep to keep up.Bibianna was getting into passive resistance, slowing down, hanging back."Listen, Raymond.Maybe I could go another time, okay? Hannah's been talking about going home with me," she said."And we do have plans."He turned and smiled at me."We're getting married.""Today?"He shook his head."Soon, though.It was all set up, but she said she wasn't ready.Next thing I know she takes off.Just like that, she's gone.Doesn't even leave me a note.I wake up one morning and she's disappeared."Bibianna's face was drawn and pale."I'm sorry.I didn't mean to hurt you, Raymond, but what could I do? What was I going to say to you? I tried to tell you."He raised a finger to his lips and then he pointed it at her reprovingly."You don't leave a guy, Bibianna." He turned to me, one hand out, palm up, arguing his case."I've been in love with this woman for how many years now? Six? Eight? What am I going to do with her, huh?"Bibianna was silent, her eyes full of dread.I couldn't believe the change that had come over her.All the confidence was gone, the high energy, the sexiness.My own mouth was getting dry, and a whisper of fear tickled me in the small of the back.We reached the car.Another fellow stepped out, a Latino with a dark knit watch cap pulled down to his ears.His eyes were black, as flat and dull as spots of old paint.He had acne scars on his cheeks and a mustache made up of about fourteen hairs, some of which looked like they were drawn on by hand.He was my size.He wore sharply pressed khaki pants with numerous pleats across the front and an immaculate white undershirt.Tufts of underarm hair were visible, straight and dark.His bare arms were muscular, tattoos extending from his shoulders to his wrists - a graphic rendition of Donald Duck on his right and Daffy Duck on his left."That's a copyright violation," I remarked, nearly giddy with anxiety."That's Luis," Raymond said.He had a gun.He held the rear car door open, like a well-mannered chauffeur.Bibianna balked, one arm braced against the car."I'm not going without Hannah."Raymond seemed taken aback."Why not?""She's my friend and I want her with me," she said."I don't even know this girl," he said.Bibianna's eyes flashed."Goddamn it! This is just like you, Raymond.You say you love me.You say you'll do anything.First thing I ask for, all I get is an argument.Well, I'm sick of it!""Okay, okay.She can go if she wants.Anything you say."Bibianna turned to me with a look filled with mute pleading."Please.Just for a few days."I felt myself shrug."I got nothing else to do," I said.Bibianna got in first, sliding across the backseat.Raymond slid in beside her.I hesitated briefly, wondering at the wisdom of it.Luis turned the gun so that it was pointing at my chest.It clarified my thinking most emphatically.I got into the backseat.The dashboard was covered in white terrycloth with "Raymond and Bibianna" machine-stitched in glossy green script across the face of it.A rosary hung from the rearview mirror along with a Sacred Heart of Jesus, bleeding.The interior of the car, including front and back seats, was upholstered in white acrylic teddy bear fur [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]