Calvin made his way to his convertible without Ashley, who had stayed behind with some show-broad with a deer-in-the-headlights look about her. He sighed and hopped over the driver's side door, lighting a cigarette as he landed in the almost addictingly plush seat. He had to be very careful about how he played his cards with Danielle. He looked down the sidewalk he had parked along. At the end of the block, there stood a lone payphone.
What a fucking mess. Calvin rubbed his forehead as cigarette smoke filled the interior of the car. Two different demons were gripping his arms, and he would have to choose one to elope with. On one side, bringing Ashley to Danielle's apartment unannounced would prove to be a nightmare; she was devious but there was no way she would be able to masquerade her relationship with Calvin to a detective as merciless as Gallagher. His facade would burst at the seams; all of the dirty loopholes Cal used to keep Danielle out of prison would rain into the public eye.
On the other side, if Calvin called Danielle and warned her of the impending search, she would have time to rehearse her persona and keep the ruse intact. But this would mean that she would have time to craft her own story and alibi; the truth would be long-gone by the time Gallagher made it there. It would save Calvin's skin, but it would destroy the case. She was the only thread of evidence they had. Fuck. Calvin stepped out of the car and slammed the door shut. He leaned against the car-door and tossed his cigarette on the ground, burying it with his wing-tipped shoe.
Calvin took a deep breath and hurried to the payphone. He pumped in a nickel rung Danielle's apartment. He had to live to fight another day.
"It's me. Calvin."
"Ugh. I got out of bed for your sorry hide?" Calvin could hear her chuckle behind the line.
"It's a pretty picture, darling. But I've got some alarming news."
"You were signed into the Carousel Club on the nights of both of the Florist's murders."
"Yes, but...what?! You don't think that I--"
"No. I don't. You came home long before the first murder. But that's the problem. I'm your alibi."
"I'm coming to your apartment with a fuckin' gunslinger of a detective--Ashley Gallagher--and he is going to drill his procedure into your goddamn skull until your brain starts to leak through your nose. Be ready for him. Prepare a story if you have to. We're forty five minutes away. Craft an alibi if you have to. If Detective Gallagher finds out about us, he will investigate our dealings and he will find everything. He is the best they have to offer."
"Perhaps it would be better if he was out of the picture..."
"Are you fuckin' crazy, love? No. Don't dig a deeper hole. Do what you do best. Act. I've got a lot on the line, but I'm working this case, Dani. I expect the truth from you later."
"Good luck, Calvin Lovegrove," Danielle muttered, with a raspy and almost seductive tone of voice. The line fell dead. Calvin quickly hung up the phone and sprinted back to his car. Ashley had not yet arrived. He hopped into his driver's seat and waited. Fuck. He'd quite possibly sabotaged the case before it even began.