Twin Hearts

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Chapter 10

Chapter 10

Artie shuffled his paper a few times and Liam frowned in annoyance, after what he’d learned about Danny how bad could Artie’s finding’s on Rita be.

“Whatever it is just spill it.” Liam growled.

“Okay but you aren’t going to like what I have to say, especially since you said Keith is interested in this woman.” Artie leaned back in his chair as he caught Liam’s eyes. “ To begin with her real name isn’t Rita Nelson, she was born Florence Dubats, her parents were Sally Riley and Peter Dubats of Lockart Texas. her father was a rodeo clown and ranch hand and her mother a waitress of the only diner in town.”

“So she changed her name, nothing wrong with that.” Liam replied trying to give Rita the benefit of the doubt.

“She has done more than that.” Artie replied. “ When Florence, aka Rita, was sixteen she got into trouble for attacking another girl in high school. Rita accused the other girl of stealing her boyfriend and attacked her with a branding iron. The other girl had to be hospitalized and Rita was given probation and three months community service. In my mind Rita got off lightly, from what my men found out the other girl had actually been dating the boy in question and Rita was the one who was stalking him.”

“Okay, go on.” Liam said sitting back in his chair.

“Rita who was the middle child of a family of seven kids apparently was less than a model student and frequently got into trouble, apparently she didn’t like the fact her family was poor or that they lived with her father’s parents on a ranch.” Artie looked down at his papers again. “She was frequently in trouble for missing school or when she was in school causing trouble. She also was arrested more than once for shop lifting and even helped a boy steal a car.”

“None of that is that bad.” Liam said.

“I’m just getting started. When she was eighteen she and a boy named Trent Darby stole a second car, this time the joy ride ended with the car crashing it into someone’s house. Luckily the owner’s weren’t hurt, but they happened to be the richest people in town and pressed charges.” Artie looked up to be sure Liam was listening. “Now here is the crazy part somehow Rita convinced the judge to go easy on her and to throw the book at the boy.”

“That doesn’t seem unreasonable I’m sure the boy was driving.” Liam replied.

“But he wasn’t Rita was and according to Trent it was her idea to steal the car, it gets weirder though. Apparently after the trial and two weeks after Rita graduated from high school she moved in with the judge, one Herman Boon. He was forty five and she was eighteen. I have pictures of both of them.” Artie leaned forward to drop a grainy photo obviously from a newspaper on Liam’s desk. It was a picture of a middle aged, balding, slightly overweight man with a tall skinny, brown haired young woman on his arm. The girl had large glasses and buck teeth and while cute bore no resemblance to Rita. The caption under the photo read Judge Boon and fiancé Florence Dubas.”

“You have to be mistaken this woman bears no resemblance to Rita.” Liam pushed the photo back towards Artie.

“That’s her before plastic surgery, my men and I don’t make mistakes. Rita and Herman were married two months after she graduated from high school. The judge then paid for Rita to have extensive plastic surgery, new nose, new chin, breast implants, lipo suction as well as laser treatments to correct her eyes. He also paid for her to get braces and veneers. As you can see from a photo of them a year later the judge got his money’s worth.” Artie laid another photo on Liam’s desk, obviously also taken from a newspaper. It showed the same balding man and a tall dark haired young woman with a killer figure leaning on his arm, the woman bore some resemblance to Rita but did not look like the woman Liam knew.

“Okay, so what happened to her husband.” Liam asked.

“The judge died suddenly a week after Rita’s twentieth birthday. The judge’s family was suspicious but somehow Rita was able to talk the county coroner, one Dr. Bishop, to rule it a heart attack, and Rita inherited the judges’ house and eight hundred dollars in life insurance.” Artie replied.

“Sad but not unheard of older man with much younger woman happens all the time.” Liam shook his head.

“True but the judge soon after getting married had started a diet and exercise program and had seen his doctor for a full physical and been given a clean bill of health. Now this is what really got my interest, the grieving young widow apparently began dating the coroner. In fact she married the coroner, Dr. Bishop, four months after burying the judge. Do I have your attention now?” Artie demanded.

“That is a bit odd.” Liam agreed.

“Oh it gets even odder. Apparently Dr. Bishop had been friends with the judge, and Dr. Bishop who was forty three and his wife frequently came to the judges house for barbecues and drinks. Dr. Bishop’s wife of twenty years had been killed in a car accident one month before the judge died. According to the police report the brakes on her car failed and she went off the road and crashed into a ravine and was killed instantly.”

Liam frowned. “ Weird but I’m guessing it was a small town.”

“Very small town, the mechanic who had worked on the coroner’s wife’s car was Trent Darby, Rita’s ex-boyfriend and the young man who’d helped her steal a car. Dr. Bishop had children Rita’s age and none of them were too happy about their dad marrying Rita only a few months after their mother’s tragic death.” Artie dropped a copy of a newspaper article on Liam’s death describing the tragic death of a Mrs. Bishop wife of the county coroner.

“Dr. Bishop and Rita were married for two years, in that time she apparently took online college courses in accounting and organic chemistry. And had more plastic surgery as you can see from this photo.” Artie slid a photo of a distinguished looking man with black hair and a long nose with his arm around a tall much younger blond wearing a clinging black evening gown. The caption said Dr. Bishop and Mrs. Florence Bishop at the governor’s ball.

“Okay, so Rita divorced the Doctor I’m guessing?” Liam asked and Artie shook his head.

“Nope the good doctor died of a heart attack. Which was again odd as he had been a fitness fanatic and in excellent health. The doctor’s kids cried foul play and had the cops investigate but Rita had the doctor’s body cremated the day after he died, the cops searched the doc’s and Rita’s house and found a large number of chemical’s including several poisons and digitalis. Rita claimed that the chemicals were there because she was studying organic chemistry.” Artie gave Liam a long hard look and Liam shook his head.

“No I don’t believe it, you’re saying Rita killed two men, for money?” Liam demanded.

“I’m not saying anything but the facts. Rita inherited one million dollars in insurance money and got another five hundred thousand when she sold the doctor’s house. His kids who were in college were left without a dime, Rita produced a supposedly recent will leaving her everything. The kids tried to contest the will but Rita skipped town with her old flame Trent. The same Trent that had worked on Mrs. Bishop’s car before she crashed. Now I’m not saying she killed her husbands but it sure smells fishy to me.” Artie said.

“All right that is a bit odd, what happened to Trent?” Liam demanded.

“He disappeared, he wasn’t seen alive again in fact his family had the cops looking for him for years. He’d told his family he and Rita were going to Vegas to get hitched. Well Rita arrived in Vegas without Trent. When the cops asked her a few months later where Trent was she told them they had a huge fight and that he’d left her with the car and gone off with a trucker at a rest stop. Family didn’t buy it but there was no sign of him, until two years ago.” Artie pushed a copy of a newspaper article across Liam’s desk. The head line read boy scouts find dead body of male in the desert. “His body was found by a bunch of boy scouts in a canyon about two miles from the road to Vegas, the side of his head had been caved in with a rock. Now it’s very dry out there so the body was preserved pretty well. What was bizarre was that he had his pants and under wear down around his ankles and he was lying on a blanket, making the cops think he’d been having sex when he’d had his head bashed in.”

Liam shook his head, he couldn’t picture Rita as a cold blooded killer, annoying and loud but not a killer. “Is there anything else?”

“Yup, Rita took a job in Vegas as pole dancer in a large gentleman’s club under the name Brenda Bubbles. She worked at the club for about six months before catching the eye of a rich sixty year old real estate developer, named Donald Beck, apparently Mr. beck really liked Rita and she moved in with him. They were soon seen around town at all the big night clubs and restaurants. According to what my men found he bought Rita a Mercedes S class in bright red as well as about half a million dollars in jewelry and a condo off the strip.” Artie looked up from his notes to be sure Liam was paying attention.

“So what happened to Mr. Beck?” Liam demanded.

“He died suddenly while in a hot tub.” Artie replied.

“Don’t tell me it was a heart attack.” Liam shook his head and saw Artie nod.

“Yup you guessed it a heart attack. Rita was cleaning out his house when his estranged adult kids showed up and there was a shouting match. The cops were called, guess whom they sided with?”

“Rita, I’m guessing.” Liam said.

“Correct, they escorted the kids off and in the time they were talking to the cops down at the station Rita apparently packed everything she could carry into Mr. Beck’s luxury half a million dollar class A and drove off with her Mercedes in tow.” Artie replied. “ She appeared next in the San Fernando Valley in California and started appearing in low budget porn movies under her stripper name of Brenda Bubbles. After being there for about a year she caught the eye of a real estate developer and banker named Charles Babcock, he was fifty five. Rita moved in with him , quit doing porn and sold off the class A. She and Charles were an item for a bit over a year and then suddenly.”

“Please don’t tell me he died.” Liam said.

“Oh yeah, apparently Charles owned a yacht, he had invited some friends onto the yacht for a cruise down to Mexico, while they were off of Carbo San Lucas Charles got drunk and fell overboard in the middle of the night and was never seen again. Mexican authorities came aboard talked to Rita and the other couples on board and they all said that after dinner Charles and Rita had retired to their cabin. The other couples said they could hear Charles and Rita having loud sex till well after midnight and then silence. Apparently the Mexican authorities let Rita go, my man who called the Mexican authorities said they all remembered the beautiful blonde senorita who was crying so hard over her fiancé dying.” Artie sighed heavily. “Rita sailed the yacht home, and sold it and Charles’ house with the entire contents for about seven million dollars. She left California just before Charles younger brother managed to convince the California cops to look into his death. Rita apparently opened a bank account in Switzerland, transferred all her money there and took a plane for Paris. Where she disappeared for a bit, my men didn’t pick up any trace of her for about two years when she popped up in the south of France where she was the mistress of an Italian vineyard owner.”

“Please don’t tell me he died too.” Liam stated and saw Artie nod.

“Oh yeah, he and Rita had a party on his yacht and during the night he fell over board and drowned. The authorities were called and.”

Liam held up his hand as he shook his head. “No, you don’t need to tell me they let Rita go.”

“My man in Italy talked to the investigating officers, and they all remember the beautiful blonde American lady who was crying at the loss of her lover, that the head constable had to console her himself as she was so despondent.” Artie leaned forward to drop a copy of a newspaper article in Italian on Liam’s desk, the title said vineyard owner dies in tragic drowning. The article went on to say that his American fiancé was cleared off all wrong doing, and there was even a grainy picture of Rita being helped off a yacht by two police officers.

“Italy’s inheritance laws are different than ours, Rita didn’t make as much money as before but she still scored two million dollars. She disappeared for six months and then we found her again in Boston working in a coffee shop across the court house.” Artie said.

“Why the hell would she be working in a coffee shop when she had to have millions in the bank?” Liam demanded frowning.

“Good question, but the lady has expensive tastes from what my men have found out, very expensive tastes and likes to party, it’s possible she blew through all her money. Any way after working at the coffee shop for about six months she hooked up with an up and coming district attorney named Anthony James. He and Rita got hitched in a big fancy wedding and moved into a very expensive house out in the burbs.” Artie dropped a wedding announcement for a Rita Bishop and Anthony James, showing a refined looking man in his late thirties and Rita.

“So is he dead too?” Liam hated asking but he had to.

“Nope, he escaped. He divorced Rita, after two years of marriage he discovered that Rita was not the poor little widow he thought and she had lied to him about her past. In the divorce papers my men dug up he learned that she’d be in porn and that’s she’d had her tubes tied. Apparently he wanted kids and was running for a councilman seat, being married to an ex-porn star wasn’t good for his image.”

“I could understand his anger at being deceived, so she came here next?” Liam was wondering how he was going to tell Keith that his woman had something of a past and was infertile.

“No she disappeared for two years before popping up here working in the book store across from the court house, she worked there for a few months before becoming involved with Derek Blakely the legal aid for Judge Jameson.” Artie shook his head. “ According to what my men found out she and Derek had a very hot and torrid affair, apparently she and Derek were caught doing it in the court house elevator one night. But despite that judge Jameson hired her to be his secretary. Rita broke up with Derek two weeks after landing her job with the judge, Derek quit his job and moved to another town. Rita then had affairs with several very rich men, a doctor, and several lawyers, even a judge before she started dating Keith. If you and Keith weren’t practically invulnerable I’d be worried about both your health and safety, as it is after going through Keith’s credit card statements for the past few months I’m wondering if some kind of intervention isn’t in order. He’s spent close to a million dollars on Rita, a new car, a condo, furniture, jewelry, two vacations to the islands, enough cloths to cloth a village and lots of dinners at fancy restaurants.”

Liam frowned, he knew Keith had spent a lot of money on Rita but not that much. While it was true he and Keith each had sizable fortunes he didn’t like the fact his brother was being taken advantage of.

“Do you think Rita is dangerous?” Liam demanded.

“To you and Keith no, maybe to Keith’s bank account but not his life. I shared what my men had found out about her with a friend in the FBI, he thinks Rita is a serial killer, a black widow. The only reason she hasn’t be arrested is because she moves so much, he requested information from each of the police units that investigated the deaths of Rita’s husbands or boyfriends.” Artie said. “He’s starting a case file on her as a suspicious person.”

“Did he say anything else?” Liam demanded.

“He thinks he knows how she pulled off the murders, he thinks she used digitalis. Apparently everywhere she lived she had a garden, my friend had his team pour over photos from the homes she’d lived in. Rita has a habit of posting pictures of her home and life on line, lots and lots off pictures. And in every picture was a garden with foxgloves in it, even in California and Italy. Now I don’t need to tell you what the sap of foxglove is used for. The fact she grew them in every home combined with her studying organic chemistry.” Artie shook his head.

“So Keith is dating a serial killer?” Liam grated out.

“Probably yes, but like I said both of you are safe. If she tries to poison Keith all that will happen is he gets a headache, I asked Dr. Maxwell at the Institute and he said there is nothing she could do to either of you to kill you short of beheading you.” Artie replied.

“That’s not very comforting.” Liam grumbled.

“My men are still looking into her past, I want to fill in those gaps. I hated presenting you an unfinished investigation but you said you wanted it done quickly.” Artie said as he tidied the files in his lap before leaning forward to lay them on Liam’s desk. “Now speaking of investigations did you know your lady called Theo and asked her opinion on the writing found at the recent murders? Theo agreed with Dr. Troy about what the writings said. She shared them with Galen, Galen things he remembers something similar happening about a thousand years ago in Germany. The killings were traced back to members of the Dark Guard, whom I don’t need to tell you are an elite sect of the Ninmah. Galen thinks the Dark Guard are using the killings as a way to charge psychic batteries in the hope to open a portal to another dimension, I’d say it was all crazy but I work for ancient alien human lion shifters so what the hell do I know.”

“Yes Danny had mentioned she’d contacted Theo, though she hated bothering her on her honey moon. As for what you told me Bowen did call me several times and left messages but I’m afraid I never called him back, work and my interest in Danny has distracted me from my ancient duties. I shall have to call him back and see what he and the others have found out, in his last call he had asked for any information about the killings I could get from Danny.” Liam sighed his dealings with Xena had been taking up far too much of his time of late. Liam also didn’t want to betray Danny’s confidence by sharing her findings of the murders, he’d felt bad about forward what he had with Bowden, but if the Dark Guard could be involved than his duty to his team mates and prince was more important than a promise to Danny.

“Well I’d better go as we both have work to do, I’ll contact you when I dig up more on Rita. Do you want me to say anything to Keith?” Artie asked getting to his feet.

Liam rose and leaned across his desk to offer Artie his hand in thanks. “No, no leave it to me and thank you for what you uncovered.”

“You’re welcome, besides it’s my duty to help you, my family took an oath to protect and serve the Enki and I take that oath seriously. I’ll contact you as soon as my men turn up anything more on Rita.” Artie gave Liam a final nod and then walked quickly from the office.

Liam dropped to his padded leather desk chair and began slipping the photos into the folders of information Artie had presented him on Danny and Rita. How was he going to tell Keith Rita was probably a killer and how was he going to look at Danny and know that he’d had her investigated and not tell her. Danny had only ever given hints about her past but never come out and said they had all been murdered or that she’d died twice, the knowledge of how she had suffered turned his stomach.

They were supposed to meet tonight in his office for another working dinner, he would have to do something more special than the Chinese takeout he’d planned.

His intercom buzzed loudly and then crackled to life. “Sorry to bother you boss but the secretary for Xena Angelos called three times while you were in your meeting with Mr. Banks and was very annoyed I wouldn’t interrupt you, she insists you call her back immediately. Like you don’t have better things to do.” Paul sounded rather annoyed, and Liam smiled. Paul was an excellent assistant and not one to hide his distaste for certain people.

“Thank you Paul, I’m seeing Danny again tonight for a working dinner can you arrange for flowers to be delivered to my office before then and for some of those chocolate puff pastries you like to be delivered as well, and be sure to order a dozen for yourself. And I’ll call Ms. Angelos back.” Liam replied.

“Thanks boss you’re the best.” The intercom went dead and Liam hesitated before he reached for the phone dreading the call he had to make that would be half business and half phone sex on her part.

Hell what was he going to tell Keith about Rita, his brother hadn’t been this taken with a woman in fifty years. Hi Keith how was your day, by the way I had your lover investigated and she could be a serial killer and is an ex porn star, that was a conversation that wouldn’t end well. With a sigh Liam reached for the phone better to get his conversation with Xena over with, she’d yet to officially give them the contract so it was best to keep her happy. After he was finished with Xena he’d have to call Bowden and apologize for ducking his calls and shirking his duties as a member of Galen’s personal strike force. Duty before pleasure even after ten thousand plus years often wearing on the body and soul.


Note due to Covid I had to take a new job that gives me little time to write so I don't know when I will be able to update again..stay safe and happy holidays.

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