Vision in Silver Page 80

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As a police officer, it took Monty less than a minute to realize he didn’t like, or respect, Captain Felix Scaffoldon of the Toland Crime Investigation Unit. As a father, it took him half that time to realize he didn’t want his little girl in the same room as the man.

Something about Scaffoldon was . . . off. Not a sexual predator vibe, but Monty had the impression that Lizzy didn’t count in some way, was considered acceptable collateral damage.

A chill went through him. What did Scaffoldon know about Elayne’s death that he wasn’t sharing? Had she been considered collateral damage too?

No one had asked for his consent before arranging this interview. Monty had thought it had been high-handed of Burke to make such arrangements. Now he had to admit he wouldn’t have thought to make these particular arrangements.

Scaffoldon had been prepared to have Monty and Burke present, one as the police presence representing the city of Lakeside and the other as the child’s father. But the man hadn’t been prepared for the terra indigene who had seemingly invited themselves to the interview. Elliot Wolfgard, consul for the Lakeside Courtyard and the Wolf who dealt with the city’s government, stayed near the door of the conference room. Nathan Wolfgard stood behind Lizzy’s chair, making it clear to everyone that the Wolf was here to guard the child. Then there was Vladimir Sanguinati, representing the Courtyard’s Business Association, wearing black slacks and a black T-shirt. And last was Stavros Sanguinati, one of the vampires who ran the Toland Courtyard, wearing a black-on-black suit that made everyone else in the room—including Elliot Wolfgard—look like they were wearing secondhand cheap.

“Shall we get started?” Captain Burke asked pleasantly.

The door opened and Pete Denby walked in. “Sorry I’m late. Had to get the children settled at A Little Bite.” He took the seat next to Monty, opened his briefcase, and removed a notepad and pen. “Whenever you’re ready.”

“Feel the need for an attorney, Lieutenant?” Scaffoldon asked.

Pete looked surprised. “I’m not here as Lieutenant Montgomery’s representative. I’m here as Miss Elizabeth’s attorney and advocate.”

“I, too, am trained in human law,” Stavros said. “So I can advise Lieutenant Montgomery if that is required.”

Scaffoldon barked out a laugh. “A vampire attorney? Isn’t that redundant?”

Stavros smiled, but his dark eyes remained cold. “Perhaps.”

“Should be having this interview at the station.” Scaffoldon had been voicing that complaint all the way to the Courtyard. At least Monty wouldn’t have to listen to the man’s complaints on the way back from the Courtyard. Burke had asked Louis Gresh to follow in another car and drive Scaffoldon to the train station after the meeting.

“Have you apprehended the person or persons responsible for the death of Elayne Borden?” Stavros continued to smile. “No? Then Elizabeth is safer here. Ask your questions, if you have any.”

Whatever questions Scaffoldon really had, he didn’t want to ask in the presence of the terra indigene. He covered the same ground that Burke had covered in the initial interview with Lizzy, but Monty noticed Scaffoldon didn’t ask about anything that happened before Elayne and Lizzy’s arrival at the train station.

Had Burke sent the part of the interview about Elayne and Lizzy staying in a hotel the previous night, or about the phone call from Leo Borden that precipitated the flight from the hotel to the train station?

Had the transcript that had been sent to the Toland police mentioned finding the jewels inside the bear?

A strange thought bubbled up.

Was Scaffoldon wondering if the terra indigene were staring at him with such focused attention because of what he was saying or because they were thinking about dinner?

Scaffoldon ran out of questions about the same time the novelty of being the center of so much adult attention wore off for Lizzy. In another minute, she would start pestering or pouting, sure that whatever Sarah and Robert were doing at A Little Bite was much more exciting than talking to police officers.

Scaffoldon couldn’t read Lizzy’s signals, but apparently Vlad could.

“I think that covers everything, don’t you?” Vlad asked, looking at Stavros.

“Everything,” Stavros agreed with a chilling smile directed right at Scaffoldon.

“Mr. Denby,” Vlad said. “If you and Nathan could escort the Lizzy to A Little Bite, she can join the other children for a snack.”

Pete looked at Monty and Burke before putting his notepad and pen back in his briefcase. “Sure.”

Man, Wolf, and child left the conference room.

Burke slapped his hands on the table. “Now that that’s settled . . .”

“Nothing is settled,” Scaffoldon snapped. “The child needs to be returned to Toland and her family. She’s a witness.”

“To what, exactly?” Stavros asked. “As she just told you, she didn’t see who hurt her mother, and she’s already answered all of your questions. At least, she answered the questions you chose to ask.”

“Meaning what?”

“I, too, have a few questions. Not for the child, but for you.”

Scaffoldon went so pale, Monty wondered if the man would faint.

“I don’t have to say anything to you,” Scaffoldon said.

“Which says everything I needed to hear.” Stavros stared at Scaffoldon. “There is no reason for you to return to Lakeside. There is no reason for you, or anyone you work with, to speak with the child again. If you stay focused on her, the Sanguinati are going to become focused on you. And your associates.”

Oh gods, Monty thought, noticing the color draining from Burke’s face while Scaffoldon’s face filled with dark fury. Is Stavros threatening to have the Sanguinati square off against the Toland police force?

Getting to his feet, Scaffoldon looked at Burke and didn’t try to hide his animosity. “You’re backing the wrong side.”

“No, I’m not,” Burke replied.

“I’ll escort Captain Scaffoldon to his car and see him out of the Courtyard,” Elliot said, opening the conference room door in a silent command.

Giving all of them one last look, Scaffoldon walked out.

“Mr. Wolfgard.” Burke fished his car keys out of his pocket. “Captain Scaffoldon needs the box of evidence that is stored in the trunk of my car. Since he won’t be returning to Lakeside, we wouldn’t want him to leave without it.”

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