“Why would he go back to Minnesota?” Marin asked.
“There’s a girl named Riley Brodin. She was in the class he audited at Macalester College seven years ago. He went back to Minnesota for her.”
“That’s crazy,” Cooper said.
“I’ve known men who have done crazier things for a woman,” Marin said.
“Anyway, Navarre or Maurell or whoever he is is still in Minnesota. I know it.” I pointed at Cooper. “So is Collin Baird. He wants his share of the loot. He wants his revenge, too, and he’ll do anything to get them.”
“Okay,” said Marin. “We’re going to Minnesota. We’re going tonight. Give me the name of your contact.”
“Lieutenant Pelzer, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department.”
“This isn’t just about Maurell and Baird, McKenzie. It’s also about the money. We want it back. I don’t suppose you know where it is.”
“Try the Lake Minnetonka Community Bank,” I said.
Shortly after the agents left, I went to the closed bathroom door and knocked.
“Are they gone?” Nina asked.
“Yes. Can I come in?”
I slid to the floor and sat with my back against the door frame.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Just sitting here feeling sorry that I involved you in all of this.”
“It’s what I wanted, isn’t it?”
“No, what you wanted was the fun and games, and I had hoped to give them to you. What happened with Mrs. Baird, that should never have happened.”
I heard the splashing of water, but no words. Finally Nina asked, “What did the Department of Justice want?”
“Information. Turns out that Jax Abana alias David Maurell alias Juan Carlos Navarre scammed the army out of forty-nine million bucks in Iraq a couple of years ago.”
“Now we know where he got his money.”
My cell phone started playing “Summertime.”
“Just a sec,” I said and answered it.
“McKenzie,” Greg Schroeder said, “where are you?”
“What do you want, Greg?”
“Old man Muehlenhaus is going crazy. So crazy that he said to call you.”
“Riley Brodin is missing.”
“I lost her, or rather I should say she lost me.”
“She received a phone call. Said it was from her BFF Mary Pat Mulally. Next time I looked, she was gone.”
“Have you spoken to Mulally?”
“She says she hasn’t heard from Riley for two days.”
“Navarre,” I said. “He finally contacted her.”
“That’s my guess.”
“Did the old man call the county sheriff?”
“To tell him what? That his sound-of-mind twenty-five-year-old granddaughter has voluntarily run off with the multimillionaire Spanish entrepreneur she’s been sleeping with?”
“Greg, this is way more complicated than either of us thought.”
I gave him the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books version of my Monday so far.
“Christ,” he said. “I gotta go.”
“Call Lieutenant Pelzer,” I said.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah…”
After he hung up, Nina called to me. “What’s going on?”
“Riley Brodin is missing. They think she ran off with Navarre.”
I heard the water splash as Nina got out of the tub. A moment later she opened the door. She had pulled on a white cotton shift without bothering to dry off. It clung to her body and in some areas seemed almost transparent, revealing to me all the things it was meant to conceal.
“We have to go home,” she said.
“It’s two hundred and eighty miles. Even if we take Highway 52 instead of 61, it’s still a five-hour trip.”
“We can take turns driving.”
“No. It’s too late. You lost a lot of blood and you’re tired. So am I. Tomorrow morning will be better.”
Nina slid to the floor next to me, her back against the opposite doorjamb. I changed positions so I could reach out and stroke her calf beneath the hem of her shift.
“I’m worried,” she said.
“You have a way of dealing with it, though—emotionally, I mean. You don’t panic. You don’t waste time or energy.”
“I practice a lot when I’m alone.”
“That’s why you left me this morning. After Baird pistol-whipped me. I’m sitting on the floor, bleeding all over the place. You took one look and left me. Didn’t even hesitate. You were off to get Baird.”
I removed my hand from her leg.
“I knew you were going to be all right,” I said. “I’m sorry if it seemed as if I didn’t care.”
“Put your hand back.”
“I’m not complaining, McKenzie. I’m just saying, I couldn’t have done that. I see everything as a whole and how it affects me personally. You break it down into component parts and never let any of it bother you. That’s why you can do this and I can’t.”
“I don’t know, sweetie. The way you took on Special Agent Matthew Cooper of the U.S. Department of Justice…”