Usually, I was a stickler about not getting involved in cases, but a buried body, a bag full of money, and a dog walker? How was a girl supposed to resist?
After the news about Dan the Man and his suspicious case, Bee and I decided to pay him a visit the following morning. The houses in Dan’s street were quaint and blocky, with square front yards.
Bee parked the food truck outside number 57 Cotton Way, and we prepared ourselves. Of course, preparing ourselves meant sipping a cup of coffee for me and devouring the last of a sugar dusted donut for Bee.
"Are you ready for this?" she asked.
"Sure. The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can head out and sell some treats."
I didn't want to tell Bee, but the strange call I’d received at the restaurant the other night was still kind of bugging me.
Could it be that my ex had called me? Was it a prank?
Bee and I got out of the food truck and headed up the steppingstone path.
I rapped my knuckles on the front door and held the box of jelly donuts close to my chest.
Footsteps approached the door, and it opened to reveal a handsome young man with a shock of brown hair. He grinned at us.
But that smile faded fast and was replaced by confusion. "Oh. Can I help you?"
He'd been expecting someone else. "Hi! My name is Ruby, and this is my friend Bee. We heard that you’re a mechanic and wanted to know if you could maybe check out our food truck." I held out the box of donuts.
Dan considered the cute pastel striped box like it was filled with poison apples.
"Sorry, ladies, I'm not accepting work on a personal basis. You can catch up with me at Clive's Garage. Opens in about a half an hour."
"Oh, sorry. We weren't sure if it would be open."
"Why wouldn't it be open?" Dan looked at Bee like she'd lost her head.
She flashed him a faux sheepish grin. "Because of the commotion yesterday. Apparently, someone found a dead body buried in the backyard at Greta’s house."
Dan scraped his fingers over his forehead. "And how would that affect whether the garage is open or not?"
"Uh, we just figured…"
"The world don't stop moving for a dead body, lady. Now, if you'll excuse me."
Before Bee could say another word, he shut the door in her face.
"Horrible wretch." Bee pulled a face.
"Kind of rude," I agreed.
Regardless, there was no point hanging around waiting for him to come back. Dan the Man might have been attractive, but he had a repulsive personality. Maybe that was harsh, but I was in a bad mood. Getting a call from one’s ex-fiancé would do that to a girl.
Bee and I headed for the food truck. Once inside, I grabbed my cup of coffee, took a sip, and started the truck’s engine. Bee stared at Dan’s house while we waited for the engine to warm up.
"Hey, look." Bee nodded.
A pretty blonde woman strolled up the steppingstone path. She knocked on Dan’s front door, and it opened.
Dan the Man had reappeared, and this time there wasn't a scowl in sight.
He drew Cassidy the dog walker into his arms and held her tight.
Bee and I exchanged a glance.
“Would you look at that,” Bee murmured. “Two of the suspects embracing.”
“Working together?” I asked. “I mean, they’re probably dating. That doesn’t make them particularly suspicious.”
“Hmm.” Bee tapped her chin. “I don’t know, Rubes. It seems pretty suspicious to me. First, we find out Cassidy knew Greta and that she had no reason to be afraid of Frankie the dog. Now she’s spending time with another of our suspects? The man who supposedly brought a case full of money to Greta’s house?”
“You’re right,” I said.
The pair entered Dan’s house and the door shut behind them. Hadn’t the mechanic said he was going into work soon?
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Bee asked.
“We should.” Bee was out of the food truck before I could stop her, and I followed, hurriedly, my nerves building in my chest.
How many times had we done this type of thing? Snooped around houses, listened in on conversations, even broken into people’s homes to find evidence.
And it’s all been worth it so far.
Bee and I crept around the side of the house, thankful for the tall fences that flanked the property and hid us from view. Nosy neighbors were common in small towns. I listened hard as our feet whispered on the concrete in Dan’s breezeway.
Muffled voices came from the back yard, and we slowed to a stop on the corner.
“—worry about that,” Dan said, his voice quiet and warm. “I’ll make sure you’re taken care of, Cas. Just keep doing what you’re doing.”
“She can do anything to you,” Cassidy replied. “And if she tries, well… the police are watching her now. It’s your chance, Dan. You should run.”
“Run?” Dan cleared his throat. “I’m not leaving you, honey.”
The pair fell silent, and Bee and I tensed. Had they seen us? Had they…?
“I can’t come with you, Dan. This is my home. I want to help you, to save you, but that’s just… It’s not like we’re married,” Cassidy said.
“That can change.”
“Don’t say things you don’t mean.” Her tone heated.
“I’m not, Cas. I’m saying that I’d happily make you my wife. Leave Muffin with me.”
A pause. “You know I can’t do that now. The cops—”
“Who cares about them? They’re not after you! Thanks to your hard work, they’ve found everything in Greta’s back yard. They’ll be focused on her instead. You know that.” Another quiet. “Why are you hesitating? I thought you loved me.”
“I do. Of course, I do, but it doesn’t make sense to run now.”
Bee tapped me on the arm, distracting me from the conversation, and gestured to the slatted fence. The top of a woman’s head, tufty gray hair standing on end, peeked over the tops of the slats, staring into the yard. Not at us, thank heavens, but at Cassidy and Dan. Or so I had to assume since I couldn’t see them myself.
Is that… Greta?