Day 70, Chapter 70
Man, this book’s been too serious lately, with all this cop action, chase scenes, and interrogations. Chapter 70 is the antidote. Cindy Thomas and Rich Conklin are in bed together and Rich has a little problem.
“Oh man,” Rich said. “I never thought I’d say this, but this has never happened to me before. I’m sorry, Cin.”
“Hey, it’s nothing. Don’t worry, please,” Cindy said, shaking him gently, kissing his cheek. “Are you okay?”
“I don’t think so. I’m barely past thirty.”
“You know what I think? You’re preoccupied. What’s on your mind, Rich? First thing that comes to you.”
Oh man, that’s cold! He’s gone all soft on you and all he can think about is his partner? Well, he might have seen her topless today, I mean, half the city did. Cindy’s mind begins to race, even before Rich can offer an explanation:
Was Rich in love with Lindsay? Or was being her partner the same as being in love but in a different way? This, she knew: Rich and Lindsay were tight.
Rich explains that he feels he let Lindsay down today – that he let the “Lipstick Sicko” threaten her, make her “strip down”, and that she could have been killed at any point.
Cindy sighed and relaxed in Rich’s arms, strumming his flat belly with her fingertips.
So easily mollified. He still blurted out another woman’s name when you asked him what he was thinking about – that can’t be good, Cindy. Instead, she expresses a similar feeling of helplessness when she saw Lindsay heading out on her nude driving tour of San Francisco.
“Lindsay winked at me outside the Chronicle Building on the way to her rendezvous with that freak. She was trying to assure me that she was going to be okay when there was no way that she could know that. I felt utterly helpless.”
“I wanted to do something, but there was nothing I could do. Nothing.”
Rich kissed her palm. “I’m always knocked out by the bravery of women,” he said. “Like you, Cin.”
Seriously? That line got published with a straight face? “I’m always knocked out by the bravery of women.” Give me a break, Patterson. You can’t dig yourself out of that hole that easily.
So she’s brave because she works the crime beat at the Chronicle and lives in a crappy part of town, apparently. Rich uses this latter information to turn things around. (There’s so much great material here, it’s hard to know which parts to include. It’s a gold mine of bad prose!)
Rich pulled her tight, and she tilted her head back so she could look into his gorgeous face. She cared about him so much, it almost hurt.
“We ought to bunk together, you know?” Rich said. “I’d feel better if you weren’t here at night by yourself.”
“You want to move in so you can protect me?”
“Wait, wait. What I mean to say is, I’m crazy about you, Cindy. Dating and so forth, it’s great. But I want to be with you. I want more.”
“You do, huh?”
Rich grinned at her. “Scout’s honor. I sure do.”