“I feel like I did.”
“What do you remember about last night?” Shannon had joined them shortly after the doctor left. Lori left a message in her room for her via Datu, and she camped out with the rest of them.
“We had dinner.”
“We were at the club. Do you remember dancing?”
“Yes.” She shook her head. “Kinda.”
Lori thrust the cup toward Trina again. “Just pee in the damn thing.”
“Stop, okay. I’m fine. Hungover, but otherwise fine.” She stood, held her head. “You guys should go ashore. I’m sure there are better things for you to do than babysit me.”
“Doesn’t it worry you that Miguel might have slipped something in your drink to loosen you up?” Avery was starting to get pissed.
Trina’s gaze scanned the three of them. She grabbed the cup from Lori’s hand. “Fine.” Then disappeared into the bathroom.
The three of them slipped from the bedroom and into the living room section of her suite. The balcony door was open, with the view of Florence in front of them.
“What is she worried about?” Avery asked.
Lori wondered the same thing.
“Let’s shower and regroup for breakfast.” Lori could use the time alone with Trina to pick her brain.
Shannon and Avery left her suite in search of their own. Lori waited for Trina to emerge from her bathroom. She glanced around the room.
“They went to their rooms to get ready for the day.”
Trina sighed and sat in one of the chairs. “I’m sorry.”
“What are you sorry for?”
“For ruining your night. All of you—”
“Please. Don’t even go there. If someone spiked your drink, you didn’t cause this.”
Trina glanced at the bag in her hand.
“I’ve been, uhm . . . taking a mood stabilizer since Fedor. It says right on the bottle I shouldn’t really be drinking while taking it.”
“We’ve been drinking since we arrived in Spain.”
“I know.” Trina studied the floor.
“Have you been taking the medication the whole time?”
“Yeah. I guess I just hit the breaking point.”
Lori wasn’t a doctor, but she assumed that might have something to do with it.
“Let’s let the doctor figure that out, shall we?”
“Seems a waste of his time.”
“Maybe it is.”
“I don’t want you to think less of me because I’m taking pills. I didn’t really want to, but my doctor thought it would help.”
She shrugged. “It hasn’t hurt . . . until last night.”
“Let’s get to the bottom of it. As far as I can see, last night you had less to drink than the previous four. You haven’t so much as been tipsy this entire cruise.”
Trina opened her mouth.
Lori stopped her before she uttered a word. “I will never judge you for taking medication. I might blame myself for being a part of your marriage to Fedor, but I won’t judge you.”
Trina offered a fake smile. “No one forced me to marry Fedor.”
Lori agreed, but it didn’t ease her guilt at all. “Let’s visit the doctor, okay?”
Twenty minutes later she sat in the small waiting room while Trina spoke with the doctor. Her phone buzzed with a text from Reed.
How is she this morning?
Hung over. We’re in the infirmary now.
The dot, dot, dot had her waiting for his message to come through.
Anything I can do?
It was nice of him to offer. No, go enjoy your vacation in Florence. I doubt we’ll get off the ship today. She had enough guilt knowing Trina had been reduced to taking drugs to get through her day, Lori didn’t want to take advantage of Reed’s goodwill.
Would you ask me to help if you needed it?
She considered lying. I’m not used to asking anyone for help.
I’m here if you change your mind.
The comfort of his words warmed her. Not that she would take him up on his offer.
The door to the exam room opened, and Trina stepped out.
“He suggested I stop taking my medication if I’m drinking.”
Sound advice. “And?”
“And that there was a trace of something extra in my urine.”
Lori felt her muscles tighten. “A trace?”
“He’s sending the sample off the ship for further analysis. He said new designer stuff comes out all the time, and some of it is almost impossible to detect if there are other substances in the bloodstream, like the medication I’ve been taking.”
It was Trina’s turn to look guilty.
“How are you feeling?”
“I have a headache, but otherwise I’m good. A little hungry, even.”
Lori nodded for the door. “Let’s take care of that.”
Outside the door, Trina stopped her. “Don’t tell the others about all this . . . I don’t want them to worry.”
“They’re going to worry anyway.”
“About the drugs. I don’t want them to know . . .”
“If you haven’t already figured it out, I’m good at keeping secrets. You tell them what you want them to know and I’ll back you up. But Trina . . .”
“No more drinks handed to you by anyone other than the three of us.”
“I don’t have to be told twice. No liquor for me today at all. Maybe the rest of the week. The meds are going in my suitcase until I’m home, too. I don’t like not knowing what I did last night.”
“I don’t like it either.”
There were many things Reed was good at, and blending into a crowd was one of them.
He didn’t see Miguel and Rogelio as art connoisseurs and found it surprising when they entered the Piazzale Michelangelo. Reed held back when the men he was following paused at the famous statue and studied it.
Reed tracked their gazes up to find the statue of David’s goods right out there for everyone to see. Nothing quite like being mooned from the front, in marble, to make you appreciate your own package.
His targets moved, and David’s chilled package was quickly forgotten. Reed followed them around the plaza, weaving in and out of crowds of people, and then lost them both when they slipped into the restroom.
Reed waited for ten minutes before going in, only to find the space occupied by a half dozen others who were not Miguel or Rogelio.
“What the hell,” he whispered to himself.
There wasn’t a back door, and he’d only let his eyes off the restroom a few seconds at a time. He doubled his step to the door, scanned the people standing around.
On the other side of the street, a leggy brunette hidden behind large sunglasses looked away once he noticed her. He recognized her profile from the ship . . . the sunglasses. Had she bumped into him on the street? He wasn’t quite sure.
Either way, he knew she was spying on Miguel and Rogelio. He also knew, as he looked around the sea of unfamiliar faces, that he’d lost them.
He reached for his cell phone inside of his jacket pocket.
“What the hell are you doing calling this early?”
“Cut the crap, Jenkins, I need a favor.”
“At o-dark-hundred in the morning?”
“I’m in Italy. Are you going to help me or not?”
“Well aren’t you going all James Bond on me. Of course. What’s up?”
Jenkins was a good ten years younger than Reed, a decent private investigator who spent way too much time calling him to learn the trade. The man owed Reed a favor or two.
“I have a couple of names I need you to look up.”
“Okay, maybe not so easy.”
“I have faith in you.” Reed gave him Miguel and Rogelio’s names, or at least the ones they were using on the ship, and told Jenkins to watch his e-mail for pictures of the guys.
“So what are you working on?”
Reed scanned the crowd again. “Do you know what the word private means?”
“I haven’t gotten much sleep. Dig a little, see if you can find anything.”
“Any context you can share?”
“I’m not sure if these guys are opportunistic predators or real players of some sort.”
Reed didn’t prefer to work with partners, but in this case, where he was thousands of miles from home with no real danger of putting his partner at risk, he made the exception.
Reed considered the last time he’d worked with a partner and how that had panned out.
His mind wandered back to when he carried a badge. He was a cop then, and he and his partner, Luke, had been investigating a few amateur drug dealers and were on the path to finding their suppliers. A tip had come in about a warehouse. They were going in to plant surveillance to capture the brains who were beyond the simple dealers.
The two other cops that scoped out the scene with them said they did a pass of the location when they were planting bugs, but as it turned out, that team wasn’t playing for the good guys. Reed and Luke had been ambushed. They didn’t have time to be anything but reactive when they realized the danger they were in.
The trap cost Luke the full use of his right arm and two years of his life to learn to walk again after a bullet ripped through his spine.