“At the end of the day,” Griselda said, “I’m happy we have people like Christie, Liam and Arthur on our side to ensure that Sleepy Creek stays safe.” She held up her glass of double thick chocolate milkshake, the cherry atop the cream glistening under the Burger Bar’s lights.
The clock had only just struck seven, and Grizzy had closed to the restaurant to customers for the evening—unheard of for her.
I sat on one of the bar stools, accompanied by the four others who had been invited to this private party—Liam, Arthur, who was Grizzy’s beau, and the terrible twins, Missi and Vee. Each had a milkshake in front of them.
Mine was double thick strawberry and I drew some into my mouth, savoring the sweetness and trying not to focus too much on Grizzy’s kind words. I wasn’t the blushing type.
“I always knew they had it in them,” Vee said, raising her glass.
“Hear, hear.” Missi, who was in great spirits, probably because she’d seen Mona being taken to the police station for questioning this afternoon, clicked her glass against her sister’s and then Griselda’s.
“It was all Liam,” I said. “He figured it out before I did.”
And that was technically true. I’d discovered after the fact that my text wasn’t the reason that he’d rushed over to Janine’s house. My neighbor, Ray, had gone down to the police station after I’d left Grizzy’s place and had reported my behavior as odd and annoying. Liam had interviewed him and found the missing piece of the puzzle—the note, that just so happened to look remarkably similar to one Kensington had written him regarding her missing pumpkin-head costume.
“And I couldn’t have done that without Arthur’s stellar police work.” Liam looped an arm around my shoulders and dragged me into a hug.
This time, I did blush. Public displays of affection were out of my comfort zone, but I kind of liked that about Liam. He made me step out of comfort and take a good hard look at myself.
“I’m just glad it’s all over,” Vee said.
Everyone turned to Missi, who plucked the cherry from her cream and crunched it between her teeth. “What? I’m not happy about it. Watching Mona sweat is my new favorite pastime. Do you think the Sleepy Creek Police Department will release her interrogation tapes online? I’ve been watching a lot of true crime on those video streaming websites, lately.”
Liam shook his head. “Mona wasn’t interrogated. She was questioned. And she was released because she didn’t have anything to do with Megan’s death.”
“What a pity,” Missi said.
“Sister, you shouldn’t wish ill on other people.”
“I’m not wishing ill on other people,” Missi replied, between sucks of thick chocolate milkshake. “Just on Mona.”
There was no use arguing with Missi when it came to this and Vee was aware of that. She gave a tight little sigh and returned to her own milkshake with a shrug.
“I barely know what to do with myself now that all the excitement’s over,” Grizzy said. “I did play on decorating this place properly for Halloween. You know, I’ve only put up a few things.”
Grizzy’s version of a few things was pumpkins in every corner with smiling faces and paper bats hanging from the lights.
“That sounds like a fabulous idea, dear.” Vee clapped her hands together. “We’ll help you.”
I held back a groan. Spending my Friday night hanging up Halloween decorations was hardly how I had planned to celebrate another solved murder case. But then… what better way to spend it than with the people I cared most about?
“Great!” Grizzy clapped her hands, her heart-shaped face lighting up with joy. “But first, let’s have some burgers. Jarvis has created the most delicious burger imaginable. The Fully Loaded Burger.”
“My mouth is watering already,” Arthur said, smoothing his pale blond hair back from his forehead. He’d put on extra weight since he’d started dating Griselda, but it was happy weight. Happy was healthy. “What’s on it?”
“Two juicy burger patties, tomato slices, mayo, toasted buns, bacon, melted cheese, lettuce, and bacon. Oh, and butter, of course. Everything you could want out of a burger.”
“Sounds like a slice of heaven,” Liam said.
For once, I disagreed with him. The burgers sounded perfect. But a slice of heaven? That claim was already taken—it was being right here with my friends in Sleepy Creek, another mystery solved, and the prospect of a bright and curious tomorrow on the horizon.