While Dion amuses himself, Cate follows some pretty thin threads to try to find Beatrice Marquette, knowing only too well that the longer Bea is missing, the more likely it is she's dead.
A search of Bea's apartment revealed only one unusual clue - a vase of dying flowers. There was no card, but a call to the only florist in town gave her a copy of the sentiment: "Sorry to have overlooked you for so long." No name, nor did the florist recall who had ordered the bouquet.
Frankie mentioned Bea's unrequited affection for Max Bailor, and Cate begins with him, glad yet again that she keeps her P.I. license current.
Amused by Max, Cate agrees to dinner with him, "The first Friday after I find Beatrice Marquette."
Her only other lead is even thinner - Jesse Joone, the photographer for Blatherskite, although lacking any obvious connection with Bea, has a bit of an unsavory reputation. Cate figures a few quick questions will eliminate him definitively. Unable to find him at his hotel, she knocks on Maeve Cameron's door.
"Maeve Cameron? I'm Cate Brimo, I'm a private investigator-"
Before Cate can say more, Maeve says, "I'm sorry, Blatherskite won't pay PI fees as expenses," and begins to shut the door.
"No, I mean - I'm looking for Jesse Joone!"
"Jesse! Well, if you find the jerk, tell him I'm looking for him, too!"
"Missing? More likely hiding from the New Year's Eve f**k-up."
Curious, Cate asks, "When did you last see him?"
"Sometime between Christmas and New Years. We were going to crash the Museum fundraiser, then I got a legit invitation. I told Jesse to take the night off and amuse himself. But my camera got confiscated at the door! I tried to call Jesse, but he wasn't answering his cell, damn him! People got pictures! Star got pictures! We got bupkiss!"
Somewhat taken aback by Maeve's passion, Cate hesitantly asks, "Does he have any friends who might know where he is?"
Maeve laughs, a short bitter sound. "Try talking to that Argentinian bitch. She thinks the sun rises and sets on him. More money than brains, if you ask me. Oh! There's some kind of hunting shack out behind the studio, Jesse said he'd go there sometimes to spy on the horse chick."
"Do the Argentinian bitch and horse chick have names?" Cate asks dryly.
"Evita Menendez and Abby Smythe," Maeve replies.
"Er, thanks." Charming woman, she thinks, as she heads over to the bed and breakfast where Evita Menendez is staying.
Cate can see why Maeve called Evita Menendez a bitch - she treats Cate as if she covered in open sores until Cate mentions Jesse.
"Jesse? Oh, he is a true gentleman! Very sweet and gallant, so strong... You are not trying to accuse him of anything, are you?"
"Of course not," Cate replies, "I just have a few questions for him. Do you know how I can reach him?"
"He is a very busy man, very important things he does."
Which means no, Cate surmises. "Thank you for your time."
Abby Smythe runs every aspect of the Studio's stables. The Studio has decided to rent out horses, to help offset the cost of their care, but only after a rider has proved to Abby he or she is capable. And after paying a pretty fee for the privilege.
Abby, though young and beautiful, has the wary eyes of someone who has been hurt badly in the past.
"Jesse Joone? He better hope I haven't seen him, it'd be in violation of the restraining order!"
Startled, Cate repeats, "Restraining order?"
"He's a stalker! He should be in prison!" Abby's eyes narrow. "Is that why you're looking for him? Has he been stalking someone else?"
"No. Not that I know of," she adds. "Are you familiar with a hunting shack just behind the studio property?"
"Of course. I'm surprised it's still standing, no one maintains it. I think it's state owned property. Ride by it often. Not in this weather - snow's too deep, too easy for the horses to mis-step."
"Can you tell me how to find it?"
Abby gives Cate a dismissive up-and-down look. "You're from the city, aren't you?"
"I suppose you could call this urban camo, but trust me, Ms. Smythe, a jungle is a jungle, no matter what it's made of."
"Yeah," Abby concedes grudgingly. "Drive out past the menagerie - you'll have to walk from there..."
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