“You’re sure about this?” I glanced yet again at my loving husband sitting behind the wheel of our broken down Volkswagen Jetta, part of me hoping for a last minute reprieve.
“Out,” He ordered with a smile. “You know how proud I am of you. And you didn’t bust your ass for the last three years to become a chef just to keep working here.”
I leaned across the seat and planted a steamy kiss on his lips. All thoughts of my pending resignation evaporated as he deepened our embrace, his mouth and tongue doing magical things to my throat.
“Mmm,” I mumbled, arching my neck to give him unfettered access. When I reached up to unbutton my blouse he pulled away.
“Be good, Jessie. We have to meet at the bank to sign the lease in an hour.”
I gave him my best pouting face but he just snorted. Begrudgingly I climbed out, waved goodbye and headed in to see my psychopath of a boss.
Cooley’s office was in the very back of the building, sandwiched between the utility closet and our server room. In the six years I’d worked here I’d never seen his door open, so I was more than a little surprised to find it slightly ajar. Giving it a quick knock, I gathered my nerve, opened it further and stepped in.
The room was dark with the exception of the slight glow cast from his computer monitor. It looked like he was out cold, slumped unnaturally forward across the keyboard. Being a chain smoker who weighed close to four hundred pounds, it wasn’t inconceivable that he’d finally had the big one. Hell, given his steady intake of the golden arches it was a miracle he’d lived this long. But the irony of this happening today of all days wasn’t lost on me.
When I took a step toward Cooley’s desk the office door slammed shut. I wheeled to find Marilyn—his secretary for almost twenty years—glaring at me. Her feral eyes and blood spattered face sent shivers down my spine.
“You weren’t supposed to be here today,” she growled, flashing the jagged blade gripped in her right hand. “I’m sorry, Jessie. You were always so nice to me.”
My brain had just registered the past-tense of her words when I felt a sharp burning pain in my stomach. I staggered back a step and peered down at my abdomen in shock. I’d never even seen her arm move, but the knife was buried up to the handle. The crimson stain rapidly spread across my blouse as Marilyn took me in her arms and lowered my limp body to the floor. After thoroughly wiping off her prints, she curled my fingers around the knife handle and laid it gently at my side. Wanting even more damning evidence, she reached my left hand across to Cooley’s arm, intent on having me scratch him. Only the sound of the front door opening stopped her.
“Jessie?” My husband called out tentatively. The sound of his voice penetrated the numbing haze that was enveloping me. I had to find a way to warn him.