Makeup and Murder

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Chapter 23

Dixie woke up the next morning, and when she went downstairs, Officer Roy Greenlea was there to greet her. She was a little sad because she had hoped to see Harlan.

Angie noticed the look of disappointment on Dixie’s face and shook her head.

“Good morning sleepyhead,” Angie said and invited Dixie to the table. “Just oatmeal this morning. Roy picked it up for us. I thought we should lay off bacon and eggs for a while.”

“I don’t think I could take another night with a bear,” Dixie said, raising her eyebrows.

Roy jumped in, “Yeah, Harlan told me about last night. You guys were lucky. That bear could have crashed through your sliding screen door. Good thing Harlan scared it off.”

“Where’s Harlan this morning? I thought it was his day off,” Dixie asked, opening her small container of oatmeal. “His car wouldn’t start either.”

“He went into work for a little bit after I jump-started his car. It was just a dead battery,” Roy said.

Dixie ate in silence while looking out the window towards the lake. It was overcast, but a nice day for fishing. She could see a lone fisherman not too far away from the bank by their cabin. A cold shiver went up her back, and she stopped eating long enough to rub her arms quickly to fight off the chill.

“You should put a sweater or jacket on,” Angie said. “It may warm up in the afternoon, but you’re going to catch a cold if you keep wearing t-shirts.”

“Yes auntie, I know. I didn’t think that we would be here very long. I may have to send someone to get me warmer clothes.”

“We haven’t heard anything from the suspect over the past few days, which in a way is a blessing. I don’t want anyone else killed,” Roy said.

“Hey, Roy, do you know where Harlan put my laptop? I wanted to check my business calendar,” Dixie said.

“He left it in the living room on top of the bookcase,” Roy replied, sipping his coffee. He didn’t like how close the boat was to the boat launch behind their cabin, and he asked Angie to hand him the binoculars.

Dixie ignored what he was doing, and after gulping down her oatmeal, she went into the living room in search of her laptop.

After she had logged on, she pulled up her calendar and frowned. Three more customers would miss their deliveries while she was in exile.

She pulled up her email and looked for customer inquiries about new products, but there were none. It soured her mood immediately, and she put the laptop down on a side table.

While she stewed, Angie brought her a cup of coffee and sat down beside her.

“What’s wrong? You seemed to be in a good mood when you first got up,” Angie asked.

“My business is drying up, and there isn’t a thing I can do about it,” Dixie groused.

“Maybe you forgot, but this is a cabin on a lake. The whole point of people going to the lake is to get away from it all, including computers and cell phones. When is the last time you went on a vacation?” Angie asked.

“I don’t remember. Probably when I went to summer camp when I was 13,” she replied.

“Well, your mom loved the lake, and she always left all her cares and worries behind her when she vacationed here. I think you should take advantage of this down time and enjoy it. You work too hard,” Angie said.

Dixie heard Roy talking in a low voice to someone on his phone in the kitchen. She picked up a few words like “suspicious,” “worried,” and “armed.”

“Are you listening?” Angie asked, clearly annoyed at being ignored.

“What?” Dixie asked.

“I was talking to you about your job and next thing I knew, your mind was off somewhere else,” Angie said.

“Sorry, I was listening to him,” Dixie said, pointing her thumb towards the kitchen. “Didn’t you hear what he was saying? He was talking about something suspicious, and he was worried about it.”

“Don’t let your imagination run away with you. Roy was watching a boat earlier, that is all. The fisherman was getting a little too close to the boat dock,” Angie said.

The whole situation had her nerves on edge, and she wished that it would end, right now, today. She wanted things to get back to normal. Dixie leaned back in her chair and wondered how she had come to this point in her life. Everything seemed like an uphill battle, and it was exhausting.

Roy walked into the living room after his phone call and asked if there were any nearby stores.

“There is an old grocery store, the Pick and Poke, up the road about a mile or so,” Angie replied. “It’s a mom and pop business run out of a home. They don’t usually close up until the snow flies. What did you need?”

“I’m going to buy some bait. I figured I could take the boat out a little way and keep an eye on the fishermen. I don’t like them coming in so close to us,” he said.

“They don’t carry much there, but they always have bait,” Angie said.

“I’ll be right back. I’m taking the car, so I shouldn’t be more than a few minutes,” he said. “Lock up behind me, okay?”

Dixie nodded and got up to follow him to the door.

“Is everything okay?” she asked him softly so Angie couldn’t hear.

“I think so, probably just a fisherman that doesn’t know anyone is here. I’ll find out who they are soon,” he replied.

After he had left, Dixie locked up as promised and headed back into the living room. Louie chose that time to join them on the couch. Dixie stroked Louie, noting that his fur was growing back in. Just in time for winter, she thought.

Angie went upstairs to get her knitting bag, and Dixie remained downstairs. She picked up her laptop and found the book she had been reading the day before.

A nagging suspicion, however, kept her from enjoying the book. It had been at least a half hour since Roy had left to go to the store and he hadn’t returned. She wondered if the shop had been closed and he was forced to go somewhere else to find bait.

When it had been more than an hour, she began to worry, and she called Harlan.

“Granger here,” he said, sounding tired.

“Harlan? It is Dixie. I think we have a problem,” she said.

“What’s up?” he asked, rubbing his eyes.

“Roy left here over an hour ago to buy bait up the road. He hasn’t returned yet,” she replied.

There was silence on the other end for a moment, making Dixie’s stomach do a flip-flop.

“I’ll be right there with reinforcements,” Harlan said, sounding alarmed. “Don’t open the door to anyone except Roy or me, understand?” he demanded.

“Okay, okay,” Dixie said, panic washing over her.

Harlan hung up, and Dixie stood there with the phone in hand, staring at it as if she had never seen one before.

Angie came down the stairs and saw Dixie standing there, dumbfounded.

“What’s wrong?” Angie asked, her eyebrows knitted with worry.

“Roy is missing,” Dixie replied. “And I don’t think he got lost either.”

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