Shame on Him
Author:Tara Sivec

Paige stands by the doorway with her arms wrapped around herself.

“There is nothing to be afraid of. It’s just an empty house. Suck it up and get to work,” Kennedy tells her. “Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll come across the ex’s closet. She moved out a while ago, but I heard the officers talking the other day when we were here that she left some things behind.”

Even with just the faint beams of our flashlights I can see Paige’s eyes light up with excitement.

“If you need me, I’ll be upstairs.”

She turns and races out of the room and a few seconds later I hear her feet pounding up the stairs quickly.

For the next twenty minutes, I stroll from room to room downstairs, not finding anything of any interest. I make my way back to the library and see that Kennedy has pulled out all the files from the desk and is reading through them.

“I can’t believe Paige was creeped out coming in this house,” Kennedy says with a laugh when she sees me walk in. “She is the biggest puss—SON OF A FUCKING BITCH, WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?”

The uncharacteristic girly scream from Kennedy has me racing over to her. I watch as she jumps up on the chair behind the desk, whipping her hand with the flashlight back and forth under the desk.

“Something touched my leg! SOMETHING TOUCHED MY FUCKING LEG!” she screams.

Aiming my flashlight under the desk, I walk slowly around it until I’m right next to Kennedy’s chair.

“I don’t see anything. Are you sure you didn’t just bump up against the desk?” I ask as I crouch down to get a better look.

“I didn’t bump against the Goddamn desk! Something reached out and smacked my ankle,” she argues angrily.

I try to hide my amusement at how upset Kennedy is right now.

“What were you saying to Paige a few seconds ago?” I ask as I continue my way around the massive desk. “Stop being such a baby?”

I can’t contain a snort of laughter.

“Don’t make me come down off of this chair and kick your ass, Lorelei.”

I laugh again and shake my head at her. “There’s nothing here. I think you just—OH, MY GOD, WHAT IS THAT?!”

Something that sounds like a cross between a rattlesnake and a dying person keens from under the desk. I scramble away from it, tripping over my feet and landing on my butt. My flashlight falls from my hand and rolls across the floor, the beam flashing around the room like a strobe light.

“I told you! I told you something touched me!” Kennedy yells in victory.

I continue scooting backward, as far away from the desk as possible. “Stop sounding so excited that something is under that desk trying to kill us!”

Suddenly, the room is bathed in bright light and I wince, blinking my eyes rapidly to adjust to it.

“Turn off the light! What if someone sees it?” Kennedy yells at Paige, who stands in the doorway.

With a roll of her eyes, Paige stalks across the room then gets down on her hands and knees, the top half of her body disappearing under the desk. The hissing and moaning gets louder when Paige suddenly pops back out from under the desk with a white ball of angry cat in her hands.

“Seriously? I could hear you screaming all the way upstairs. The neighbors probably heard you. Having a light on is the least of your worries,” Paige complains as she stands up with the cat firmly grasped by the back of its neck.

After getting up from the floor, I walk over to the cat.

“Awww, you poor thing. You’ve been alone in this house for a week. She still has dried blood on her paws.”

The cat answers my concern for her by hissing with so much force that spit flies from her mouth.

“While you two idiots were freaking out over a cat, I found some interesting e-mails in a drawer in Richard’s room,” Paige tells us, handing the cat over to me and then bending down to pick up a few pieces of paper that she set down on the floor when she crawled under the desk.

The cat looks up at me with big, sad eyes and right when I feel like we have a connection, she starts the low growl in her throat all over again and hisses at me.

Kennedy hops down from the chair and I turn to hand the cat off to her.

She immediately puts her hands up in the air and shakes her head. “Oh no. Don’t even think about it. That cat is an asshole.”

The cat hisses and tries to lunge out of my arms for Kennedy. I grip her as hard as I can to keep her from ripping Kennedy’s face off.

“Don’t call her that,” I whisper. “Obviously she’s traumatized from watching her owner get killed.”

I hold on to her with one arm and try to calm her down by scratching her behind the ears.

Kennedy takes a step forward and glares at the cat. “Not so tough now, are you?”

The cat growls and I turn away from Kennedy so she’ll stop taunting her.

“So, what are these e-mails you found in Richard’s room?” I ask Paige.

She holds out the pieces of paper and Kennedy takes them from her and glances over them.

“Well, well, well. It looks like Richard’s lawyer was trying to blackmail him,” Kennedy says with a smile. “A month ago he sent Richard an e-mail telling him that if Richard didn’t give him a quarter of a million dollars, he would tell everyone what he knows.”

“Does it say what he knew?” I ask.

Kennedy flips through the pages. “Nope. They go back and forth a few times and Richard basically tells him to fuck off.”

Kennedy hands the papers over to me, and when I see the name and e-mail address at the top of the page, my mouth drops open. “Oh, my God. I know this guy. I went to law school with him.”

Miles Harper. He was in my graduating class and I had a few study groups with him. He was a jerk then and the few times I’ve seen him at social functions since law school have only proved he hadn’t changed a bit.

“Well, then, getting him to talk to you should be a piece of cake,” Paige tells me with a smile.

“Paige, why do you have on sparkly silver shoes?” Kennedy suddenly asks.

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