Turned out that Mike lived on the third floor. Jake stood in front of the door,
pretending to be waiting for Mike. Someone down the hall had just locked their door.
The girl walked up to Jake. “You looking for Mike?” she asked.
Jake grinned. “Yea. We used to work together. I’m in town for the day. Thought I’d drop by. But he doesn’t seem to be home.”
She bit her lip. “Well, I have his spare key. I water his plants when he’s out of town I don’t think he’d mind if I let you in.”
“Seriously? That would be great!”
“Besides, I know who you are. I’m a rabid baseball fan.” She smiled, holding out her hand. “I’m Shaelyn.”
Jake took her hand. “I’m Jake, but you know that already.”
Shaelyn moved to the door, taking a set of keys from her jeans pocket. She opened the
door wide, gesturing into the room. “Come on in, Jake.”
As he followed Shaelyn into the apartment, the light from the panel windows shone down on an intricately patterned ceramic tile floor. Furniture around the room. Tables on the side walls. A galley kitchen with pot hangers. A professional stainless steel fridge took up half the back wall of the kitchen.
Shaelyn grinned at him as she picked up a watering can from the bar counter. “Kinda
nifty, isn’t it? Mike had it redecorated after he bought the condo.” The greenery
around the room almost leaned up to take in the water from the spout of the can.
Jake stood in the middle of the floor, gazing around, taking in everything. “Do you
have any idea where Mike is?”
She shook her head, continuing to water the plants. “Nope. Just said he needed me to
water the plants this weekend. Had to make a trip to see an old friend.” She stood up, watering can held below her waist. “But…well, something’s been bothering him lately. Just a little jumpier than usual, you know?”
“Yea, I know.” He decided to open up a little more. “He came to see me in Florida. I’m a Private Investigator now.” Jake pulled out his credentials wallet and flashed it at her.
“What did he want?” she asked, putting the empty watering can back up on the bar.
Jake breathed out in exasperation. “He said he thought somebody has been following him.Tried to kill him.”
Shaelyn didn’t react. “Yea. I know. He asked me last week if I’d seen anybody strange
hanging around here. I asked him how strange. You know, this is Atlanta. We get all
kinds of crazies around here.”
Jake nodded. “Florida’s worse, though.”
She didn’t disagree. “Mike just took off the next morning after he gave me the extra
keys. Is he okay?”
Jake looked back at the girl, standing there, trying not to look anxious. “How well do you know Mike, Shaelyn?”
She shuffled over to the couch and flopped on it. Held up her left hand. Jake hadn’t
noticed the big flashy ring on it. “He gave me this two months ago after he proposed. We’re working out how to combine our stuff into one apartment.” She shook her head back and forth. “But he didn’t tell me why he was going, not this time. Said it
was better if I didn’t know details.”
She looked up at Jake. “What’s going on?”
He walked over to the balcony windows, looked out on the central courtyard. “I don’t
know, Shaelyn. Not really. But I have some ideas.” He stopped talking, looking closer
at the pool down below. “Anybody in the pool this time of day?”
Shaelyn pursed her lips. “Most everybody’s either at school or work. Why?”
“Cause there’s somebody floating in the middle of this one. And they aren’t trying to