Earl Walker looked up when Wyatt walked into his office. Not much of one these days, more like a cubicle but he'd been accused by the sheriff of not putting too much energy into the right cases. Instead, he focused on some of the cases that struck him as needing attention.
One of them being the mysterious assault and battery done on Elena. The sheriff had just given him a pile of graffiti cases to work on and he'd just stuck them in a drawer in his desk. He didn't understand why the sheriff was not pushing him to figure out who'd ambushed the young woman at the golf course. She still had no memory of what had happened and how she'd even wound up alone there in the middle of the night.
Let alone any memory of the man who had nearly killed her. The sheriff and some of the senior deputies felt that it was a random attack, committed by some transient that had already moved on to another town. Earl just didn't feel so sure about that. It smelled local to him because it wasn't the only time there'd been a case like that.
Two men had disappeared not long ago…both of whom did construction work after there were rumors that they'd gotten themselves into trouble over some gambling debts. The two men had played poker at a local club but that hadn't made sense to him either. The sheriff had told him not to spend time on that case either…even after an anonymous phone call had been made about some videotape that was connected with the two men before they apparently dropped off the face of the earth. Still, the sheriff kept pushing petty theft and vandalism cases, the bane of small town life, in front of him.
He might drop the case of the two missing men but he'd refused to do that with the nearly fatal assault against the young woman. Were they all connected? He couldn't answer that and it didn't appear so. But he'd been working on his flow chart of the chain of events surrounding what had happened to Elena when in walked Wyatt.
He stood up because that's what you did when a man of his stature walked into the room. Wyatt just gestured at him to sit back down in his chair like one of his charges. Considering how much money Wyatt and his partners dropped into the sheriff auxiliary league, that wasn't far off.
"How may I help you sir?"
Wyatt leaned back in his chair, squeaking the leather.
"I put up a sizable reward for the capture and conviction of the person responsible for attacking Elena."
"I saw that and we're working very hard on it right now…"
"Got any leads?"
"Not since yesterday….the last time you asked. But rest assured, we've got all our top investigators working on it"
"Bullshit Earl…and don't tell me how wrong I am," Wyatt said, "I know the sheriff's got you working on penny ante crimes. For some reason, he doesn't want this one solved."
Earl felt flustered even though he knew Wyatt was right.
"It's not that, it's just that he thinks it's a random assault…that the man's long gone."
Wyatt shook his head.
"I don't believe that. I think whoever hurt her is still around," he said, "and probably thumbing his nose at you."
Earl didn't disagree with that.
"I'm not going to argue with you. I'm just telling you what the sheriff told me and that is he's not wanting the resources spent looking for someone that he thinks will never be found."
"I'll just have to have another talk with him. He'll have to listen to me. I helped get him in that nice office and it wasn't for him to sit on his ass doing nothing when women aren't safe in this town."
Earl leaned forward.
"Are you worried something might happen to Lynette?"
Wyatt pursed his brow.
"Only that she'll spend all the money too quickly," he said, "But she's got a fiancé with a good head on his shoulders, a hard worker who'll keep her in line for me after I'm gone."
Earl smiled. He had his own fond memories with Lynette when she'd been barely legal but he kept them to himself.
"She's grown to a fine young woman."
Wyatt nodded, looking distracted.
"But back to Elena…I want you to work on solving her case. Even if it means the sheriff's not to know about it. I'll add money to the reward…and someday we're going to need a new sheriff…"
Earl knew the man in front of him was serious. He just didn't know why a man like Wyatt cared so much about what happened to a woman as far away from his world as could be. But then the multi-millionaire had purchased the dilapidated community center had paid for its renovation.
Still there had to be more to this than obvious and maybe he should do some digging of his own.
Elena and Lucky walked down the street. His arm casually around hers though he felt anything but casual with her now. He'd told her that whatever more they could share than friendship was worth waiting for and he meant it. Though he knew he wanted much more than that, he knew that as long as she had missing memories in her life that she needed to focus on regaining them.
Including what really happened the night she'd been assaulted. Frustration filled him whenever he thought about it. He had wanted to find the man responsible and make sure he paid for it. He didn't feel like the sheriff in this town was putting much resources into it but then the man had always been a political animal. His own father had backed the current sheriff's campaign but Lucky felt the man was playing it safe at Elena's expense.
She seemed happy enough right now with him after they'd both had lunch with Lacey and her ex-boyfriend Brock who'd returned to town after one of his missions. They'd looked like they might hook up again and Lucky just hoped his good friend would be careful with a guy who had a rep for loving them and leaving town. Lucky knew he'd had his own oats he'd sowed and hearts he'd broken but he'd put that behind him. He knew what he wanted now, and she was walking right next to him.
"I think Lacey and Brock…well he's nice but he's…"
"Rough around the edges," Lucky finished, "Yeah that and more…he's a mercenary I think though his title's a good cover."
"So he fights wars for money?"
"That…and does security gigs for whoever can afford him. Lacey's vulnerable right now and if he breaks her heart again…"
"She's a grown woman and he's acting like he cares. Not that it means anything but it's her choice right?"
"I just hope she knows what she's doing."
"I think she does…she's given me such good advice Lucky," Elena said, "She's smart about a lot of things that matter."
Lucky knew that Lacey had probably given Elena some advice about him but was glad that Elena had someone like that to help her especially right now. God knew her own mama, Lulu, had been a poor excuse for a mother. Still Elena had turned out real nice.
He just wished that the sheriff would get off his ass and work her case so they could find the man who'd attacked her. His gut told him the guy was still around, probably someone that knew Elena. Maybe she knew him.
Royal came to mind of course…but he had no proof. That man was kissing some pretty expensive ass including Wyatt's who'd dropped a chunk of reward money on her case. Lucky didn't know why one of the most powerful and wealthy men in town cared so much.
So much he didn't know. For being such a small town, this place held so many secrets.