Apprentice in Death (In Death #43)(5)

“First round’s on me.” Lansing pushed to his feet. “People come here to enjoy the park, to take their kids for a little adventure. Or like that girl, for the joy. She was a pleasure to watch. And now . . .”

He broke off, shook his head. “Yeah, first round’s on me.”

As they went out, a man and a woman with security badges on lanyards stepped in.

“Lieutenant Dallas. I’m Carly Deen, rink security, and this is Paul Spicher. Is there anything else we can do. Anything?”

“Who’s head of security?”

“That would be me.” Carly, no more than five-two and a hundred pounds, lifted her shoulders. “People assume it’s Paul. He’s the muscle.” She said it as a joke, struggling to smile.

“Okay. We’re going to have to keep you closed down until further notice.”

“We’ve already taken care of that. The media’s bombarding the main ’link, but we’ve put it on record—just your standard ‘The rink’s closed.’ One of them managed to get my personal number, but I’ve blocked it.”

“Keep doing that. I need you to keep off the ice. You and any of your staff, until that’s cleared. Crime Scene techs will come in shortly. Did you know any of the victims?”

“Ellissa. Ellissa Wyman. She’s here almost daily during the season. She was going to try out for this skating troupe.” Carly lifted her hands, dropped them. “She was nice. Friendly. She’d bring her kid sister sometimes.”

“I knew Mr. Michaelson, a little,” Paul added.

Second vic, Eve thought. Brent Michaelson—doctor—age sixty-three, divorced, one offspring.

“From here?”

“He liked to skate, would take an afternoon. Every other Tuesday. Nothing fancy, nothing like Ellissa, but he was a regular. Once in a while he’d bring his grandkids—evenings or Saturdays for that. He liked the solo in the afternoons. I never saw the other guy before.”

Paul glanced toward the office.

“The one whose wife’s in my office,” Carly added. “Your partner’s with her. She’s good with her. Is there anything we can do for you, Lieutenant?”

“Give us your office for a little while more.”

“As long as you need.”

“I’m sure my partner asked, but so will I. Have either one of you noticed anyone coming around, either to skate or to watch, anyone who seemed too interested in Ellissa or Brent Michaelson?”

“Not like this. A lot of people hang around longer when Ellissa’s skating. And there’ve been a couple of boys off and on who hit on her. But nothing over the top. We keep an eye out,” Carly continued. “We don’t have a lot of trouble. Pushy-shovies, your basic collisions.”

“More trouble at night, but even then.” Paul shrugged. “You get an asshole who starts a fight. Sorry about the asshole,” he added.

“I’m rarely sorry about assholes,” Eve commented. “We’ll be in touch when you’re clear. I’d advise your brass to coordinate with the police liaison on a statement. Timing and content.”

“They’re—the brass—they’re going to be in a spin about lawsuits.”

“The brass always is,” Eve said, moving to the office.

Inside, a woman in her early thirties sat in a folding chair, flanked by a man and a woman. Each had an arm around her while Peabody crouched on the floor, talking softly.

Peabody took the woman’s hand when Eve entered. “Jenny, this is Lieutenant Dallas.”

Jenny looked up with devastated eyes. “We saw the vid. Alan really liked it. You look like you did in the vid. I mean like the actress did. I don’t know what to do.”

“I’m sorry for your loss, Mrs. Markum. I know Detective Peabody has already talked to you. If I could just have a few more minutes.”

“We were skating. We’re terrible skaters. And we were laughing. We were taking the whole day together, and tonight, too. It’s our anniversary. Five years today.”

She turned her face into the man’s shoulder.

“They had their first date here.” He cleared his throat, but it didn’t clear the faint Irish accent that made Eve think of Roarke. “I’m Liam O’Dell, Jenny’s father. This is Kate Hollis, her mother.”

“It was my idea, the skating. Let’s do everything we did on our first date. It was my idea to come here, like we did that day. We both took off work, and we were going to get pizza afterward, just like we did on our first date. That’s when I was going to tell him why I wasn’t having wine like we did then. I was going to tell him I’m pregnant.”

“Oh. Oh, baby.” Her mother drew her in close so they clung and shuddered together. “Oh, my baby.”

“I was going to tell him, then we were going to tell you and Daddy and Alan’s mom and dad. But we were going to have today, all day.”

As Peabody had, Eve crouched so she was eye level. “Jenny, who else knew you’d be here today?”

“Sherry, my friend, and I think her guy—Charlie. They’re our friends. I told Mom. We really just decided a couple days ago. I pushed for it when I took the test and it was positive.”

“Did Alan have any enemies, anyone he had trouble with?”

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