“We have to do something.”
“I’ve already alerted detectives throughout the area to be on the lookout,” Schroeder said. “They have descriptions of Riley, Navarre, and Riley’s Infiniti. I think we should expand the search to the whole Midwest, if not the entire country. Of course, that would cost a great deal of money.”
Muehlenhaus waved his hand as if he were shooing away a fly. “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “Can it be done quietly?”
“Quietly takes longer,” Schroeder said.
“What are the police doing?”
“The police are looking for Collin Baird. Legally, they have no reason to look for Navarre or your daughter.”
Again he waved his hand. “A mere technicality,” Muehlenhaus said. “I can deal with that with a phone call.”
“So much for quiet,” I said.
“Do you have something to say, McKenzie?”
I recalled what Riley’s mother told me—She deserves her chance.
“If you make your granddaughter the subject of a nationwide manhunt simply because you don’t like her choice in men—”
“He’s a criminal.”
“Riley might not see it that way. She might see it as you trying to control her life, like you did her mother’s.”
“What do you know about it?”
“Only what I’ve been told.”
Muehlenhaus glared at me, yet it wasn’t personal. He felt he had to glare at something while he thought it over, and my face was closest. A moment later, his eyes refocused.
“I don’t know what my daughter told you, or how much of it is true. The fact remains that my granddaughter—whom I love dearly—is behaving foolishly, whether you agree with that assessment or not. The fact remains that her relationship with Navarre has put her in danger.”
“I want her home,” Muehlenhaus said. “I want her safe.”
“So do I.”
“See to it.”
Muehlenhaus spun around and made his way back toward the house. I called to him.
“I’m sorry about the slap.”
“Just bring her home, damn you.”
I waited until he was inside the house, the front door slammed shut behind him, before I said, “That went well.”
“This is the third time I saved your life,” Schroeder said.
“This doesn’t count. You weren’t really going to shoot me.”
“Muehlenhaus knows people who are a helluva lot scarier than I am.”
“Girl Scouts selling cookies on the corner are scarier than you are.”
“What I’m saying.”
We made our way back to our cars.
“I don’t know how to find these kids, Greg—no idea where to even begin looking for them. Do you?”
“The feds could issue a hotwatch order, try to trace their movements through credit card transactions or cell phone use.”
“If they do, they’ll have to do it off the books. I doubt a judge would issue a warrant. Neither of them has actually been accused of a crime. Freezing Navarre’s assets is already pushing it.”
“One good thing. If we can’t find them, Collin Baird won’t be able to, either.”
“I would feel a whole lot better if I believed that.”
Nina was sitting at her desk and finishing dinner when I arrived at Rickie’s. I watched her eat—Atlantic salmon roasted in a cherry-bacon crust with lemon butter sauce, braised vegetables, and heirloom potatoes. It was Monica Meyer’s Chef Special for the day. Meanwhile, she watched me drink.
“Are you sure you don’t want some food to go along with all that Scotch?” Nina asked.
“I’ll grab a cheeseburger later.”
“Don’t let Monica hear you say that.”
“Why? Is she going to yell at me, too? Do you know three of your employees stopped me on the way to your office to ream me out? Jenness wasn’t even going to pour me a drink, and I promised to pay for it this time.”
“They all think you’re a bad influence on me.” Nina dabbed at her stitches with her fingertips as if she wanted to make sure they were still there. The bruise had already changed from deep purple to an almost pretty blue-green. “It’s possible I might have embellished the story somewhat. You know, for dramatic effect.”
“Did you tell them you assaulted a federal officer, too?”
“The man reached for a gun. I did what I had to do.”
“You told them that?”
“At the time I thought Agent Cooper was reaching for a gun, so—yes.”
“Nina, forget the saloon business. You oughta go into politics.”
“Are you sure you don’t want anything to eat? I bet I could get Monica to make you a cheeseburger.”
“You’re just going to sit there and brood. And drink. Is that it?”
“That depends. Who’s playing upstairs, tonight?”
“The Willie August Project.”
“I love those guys—‘Empire at Twilight,’ great song.”
“So your plan is to sit, brood, drink, and listen to modern jazz.”
“I’m a multitasker.”