The next weekend.
On the mirror was a ominous warning written in bright red lipstick.
"You could be next."
"Do you really wear that shade of lipstick?"
Her eyes opened in shock.
"That is one hell of a question to ask at a time like this."
Shrugging, he gave her a wicked grin.
"Just wondering. I have always liked women wearing slut red lipstick and cum fuck me heels!"
She gasped in exaggerated exasperation.
Chuckling he tossed her a phone.
"Better call the forensics guys and call Stu. This is getting out of hand fast."
While they waited for the forensics techs to show up, a car pulled up in front of the house. Steve watched as a single figure got out. He recognized the silhouette and opened the door as it approached.
Stu walked in without a word and looked around.
"What the hell is going on Steve."
"Sit down Stu and I will fill you in."
As they sat Rafferty came in from the kitchen. Stu looked up.
"Yeah. A little pissed off."
Stu's practiced eye watched her for a moment before he turned his attention back at Steve.
"Now what have you stirred up?"
Steve started laying out what he knew. He then pulled out the member list of the Dashwood Group and began pointing to names. Stu's eyes got wide.
"Shit Steve. This could blow up like a nuclear weapon."
"Yeah. I know. The only problem is I don't have a clue how to smoke out whoever is behind this."
Stu picked up the papers and thumbed through them.
"Well, you have rattled someone's cage hard enough that they are hitting back. What is your next move?"
"I don't think we can stay here at least for a while. I'm going to move us. Tomorrow I intend on grabbing this tiger by the tail and shaking."
Steve picked up the papers, turned a page and pointed to a name. Stu looked at the name and he cringed like he had been hit with a bat.
"Jesus Steve. Are you sure you want to do that? I don't know if I can protect you if you go there."
"It's the only avenue I have at this point. I have known him a long time. We will see if that counts for anything."
Stu stood up and looked around.
"Are the forensics guys about done?"
"Yeah. Not much to find. The place was clean. It was a pro job."
"Ok. I'm heading out too. Where are you going?"
"Stu, not that I don't trust you, but right now I don't trust anybody. I'll let you know how to get in touch with us tomorrow."
"You not using your cellphones?"
"I'm not sure that these people don't have that wired in as well. They are staying here."
"This is getting pretty cloak and dagger."
"I get the impression that we are dealing with people above our pay grade."
"It looks like it. Stay in touch."
Steve watched as the door closed behind Stu.
"Pack a bag for three or four days."
She nodded and headed to her ransacked bedroom. His bags were still mostly packed so he just grabbed what he had already and met her in the kitchen.
"Leave your cell phone here. We will pick up a couple of burner phones tomorrow. Tonight, we are going to ground."
They climbed into the car and backed out of the driveway. Steve was watching carefully to see if anyone fell in behind them. He didn't think that anyone could have bugged the car since it had been with them all day. He didn't see anyone and he started to relax.
He thought for a minute.
"Head downtown. There are a couple of hotels down there. Not the best in the world, but they don't ask questions and I don't think anyone will look for us there."
She drove quietly for a few minutes.
" I heard you talking to Stu. What do you have planned?"
"Better you don't know."
"Steve, I am your partner."
He cut his eyes toward her. She was right.
He told her what he had told Stu. She looked at him aghast.
"You really think that is a good idea. I mean, that sounds like you are planning on walking into the lion's den and smacking the lion right on the nose."
"Could be. But somehow I don't think so."
He pointed to a rundown old hotel near downtown.