I got his name out of Roderick on the grounds that I thought he might be the person who’d been following me around.
She had darker hair, but he obviously thought I was her. Or, still, red herring. I just couldn’t decide whether I was on the right track or not.
I wasn’t surprised to find that the stalker lived around here, in a fairly cheap apartment. This was a reasonably affordable neighborhood by DC standards, probably because there was nothing around but fast food joints and a mediocre supermarket. There was a mall somewhere, but it was like a mile from here.
So, yeah, rich people didn’t want to live here. People who couldn’t quite afford anything decent lived here. Or who didn’t care about a twenty minute metro trip to get anywhere. And a few who probably wanted a house.
Not really rich people. The apartment was in a multi-building complex that was full of fir trees. The outer door, of course, was locked to residents. I hadn’t managed to work out lock picking skills yet, and this wasn’t a situation that warranted kicking it down.
Temporarily stymied, I moved to hang out somewhere where the fact that I was watching the door wasn’t particularly obvious. And then watched the door until an elderly lady struggling to get it open with groceries showed up.
I moved to help her, and that got me into the building. She was too grateful to properly question my presence. He was on the top floor. I let her take the elevator, then ran up the stairs. I didn’t want her talking to me, questioning me, working out that I didn’t belong there.
I turned right, remembered the number, then knocked on the door.
“Hey. Scott. You in there?” I raised my voice.
There was a grunt from within.
I took that as a yes and waited. The door opened and a man in, despite the temperature, plaid shorts and a white T-shirt opened it. “Eleanor.”
“I’m not Eleanor.” I was in the apartment before he could close the door in my face. “Look at me. Look at me properly.” I tugged on my hair.
“You dye it.”
“Nope. Au naturel. My name is Jane. I am not Eleanor.” This was my man, I knew it. I looked around, and saw ammunition on the table, although no sign of the gun. But the voice, the voice was the same.
“And you’re a lousy killer.”
“I’m helping you. I understand why you disappeared yourself.”
“I’m not Eleanor,” I repeated. “Maybe she did disappear herself, maybe she’s dead. I’m not her.”
I should have known pushing the guy was stupid. The gun did appear…he picked it up from a chair. Pointed at me, but it wavered.
“Put that down. You don’t want to shoot me.”
“I did it all for you.” The gun was still wavering, then he pulled the trigger.
I dodged, but not quite enough. A burning pain in my side indicated where the bullet had grazed me.
I rushed him before he could fire again, had him against the table, my hand around his wrist. “I didn’t come here to hurt you.”
“Eleanor…they…they were hurting you.”
“What Eleanor’s father did was terrible.” So was what Kanesha’s had done. “But an old woman?”
“A mafia bitch.”
Not an unreasonable conclusion. “She was not my enemy. Or Eleanor’s.”
I managed to get my hand on my phone, dialed 911. I didn’t want the cops, but I needed them for this.
I needed them to make sure he ended up where he needed to.