Home > Blue Christmas (Weezie and Bebe Mysteries #3)(8)

Blue Christmas (Weezie and Bebe Mysteries #3)(8)
Mary Kay Andrews

“Dueling desserts,” Daniel said. “Only the Foleys.”

“I’m sorry,” I told him. “Do you want me to see if I can figure out what she did with the trifle?”

“No,” he said. “Let James deal with it. Listen, sweetie, I hate to mention it, but I’ve really got to get over to Guale.”

“Already?” I checked my watch. “It’s only a little after eight.”

“You could stay,” he suggested. “Get your parents to take you home.”

“Never mind. Let’s find James and Jon and say good night.”

He headed toward the living room, but I pulled him back. “Not there. I’ve got to sneak out without Mama seeing me. There’s a fruitcake with my name on it out in Daddy’s car.”

“Ow,” he said. “I hope he left the windows rolled down.”

Daniel was quiet as we rode home.

“You okay?” I asked, scooting over and rubbing his neck.

“Just tired,” he said.

“That’s all?”

“It’s a busy time of year,” Daniel said. “There’s a lot more involved in owning a restaurant than there is in just cooking.”

“I know. But there’s something else going on too, isn’t there?”

He sighed. “I hate Christmas.”


“It’s no big deal. In two weeks, it’ll all be over. Life can get back to normal.”

“This should be a happy time of year. I’m busy too, but I love Christmas. I love everything about it….”

“That’s you,” he said abruptly. “Not me.”

I sighed. “Anything I can do to help? Do you want to talk about it?”

He shot me a look of disbelief.

When we got to the house, he parked the truck and left the motor running. “You can’t come in, even for a minute?” I asked.

He shook his head and walked me to my front stoop. He took his keys out and unlocked the door. “I’ll call you later,” he said, opening the door wide.

Before I could say anything, Jethro came bounding out. He was gone in a flash.

“Jethro!” I screamed. “Jethro, come back!”

“Damned dog,” Daniel muttered. He stepped out onto the sidewalk. “Here, boy,” he called. “Here, Jethro.”

His voice echoed on the deserted street. A skinny yellow cat slinked across the square, and I heard an owl hooting from the limb of a nearby tree. But no goofy barking.

I stood in the middle of Charlton Street and yelled his name.


“Now what?” Daniel asked, annoyed.

“Just go on and leave,” I snapped. “I’ll take care of finding the damned dog.”

“Get in the truck,” Daniel said. “We’ll look together.”

“No,” I said stubbornly. “He’s my dog. I’ll take my own truck and look for him. Go on to Guale. You’re late already.”

“All right,” Daniel said. He gave me a quick peck on the cheek. “I’ll call you, okay? And don’t worry. He can’t have gone far.”

I locked the front door and got in my truck, pitching my high heels onto the floor, and the shawl, which was hard to drive in, on the front seat. I cruised the streets of the district for more than an hour, stopping every block or so, calling his name.

Every person I saw along the way, I stopped and asked if they’d seen a black-and-white dog. But nobody had. I went back to my house and checked the courtyard garden, in hope that my own Lassie had come home. But the gate was locked, and there was no dog.

I got back in my truck and retraced my earlier route, calling for my lost Jethro, trying to reassure myself that he would be safe. He’s a city dog, I told myself. I’d found him when he was just a stray puppy, literally in a heap of trash in front of a decaying house in the Victorian district. He could take care of himself. And he was wearing his collar and tag. Somebody would find him and call me.

It was close to midnight when I gave up the hunt and went home. Dejected, I got a blanket and pillow and decided to sleep on the sofa—just in case Jethro came back, and I heard him scratching at the door.

The message light was blinking on my answering machine. I pressed the button and prayed. Maybe Jethro had already been found.

But the caller was Daniel.

“Hey,” he said, his voice sounding tired. “Don’t be mad at me. We’ll find Jethro. Everything will be all right. Call me as soon as you get home.”

Fat chance, I thought, tears welling up in my eyes. I pounded my pillow, pulled my quilt over my head, and fell into an uneasy sleep.

Chapter 6

Three times during the night, I got up, opened the front door, and looked up and down the street, willing Jethro to materialize there, ears pricked up, tail wagging, tongue lolling from the side of his mouth, big brown eyes begging for a treat. Each time, I dragged myself back to the sofa and tried to sleep.

At seven o’clock, I gave up. I trudged into the kitchen and poured myself a Diet Coke, followed by an ibuprofen chaser. I had no appetite, so I picked at a granola bar before discarding it in the trash.

Flyers, I decided, would be a good idea. I could print them up on my computer and post them around the neighborhood. And at nine, when I figured the county animal shelter probably opened, I would call and see if Jethro had been picked up.

I was in the living room, folding the quilt, when I heard the faint sound of whining coming from outside. I ran to the front door, opened it, and peered out.

The morning paper was on my front stoop. I looked up and down the street again, but saw nothing. Where was that whining coming from?

Dressed only in my flannel pajama bottoms and a camisole top, I stepped out onto the sidewalk. My truck!

A familiar black-and-white face bobbed up and down in the front seat of my truck, whining and pawing at the window.

“Jethro!” I cried, running over to the curb. I opened the door and he leaped into my arms, licking my face, tail wagging a mile a minute. I laughed until I cried. And two tattooed and body-pierced art students, who happened to be walking by, stopped to enjoy the spectacle of my reunion with my dog.

“Excellent,” said the androgynous kid with the purple spiked hair.

“Radical,” agreed his/her counterpart, who had a skateboard tucked under his arm.

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