“I know Gabe didn’t send that note,” Maddie said. “He doesn’t even like Claire.”
“She was sure,” Beverly insisted.
“Because she wanted it to be true doesn’t mean it was,” Maddie said, unkindly. “He thinks she’s a bitch. Do you have the note?”
“It’s in the trash upstairs.”
“Show me.” Maddie picked up the Platex gloves and a plastic bag from the kitchen and followed Beverly upstairs.
“It’s here in the trash,” Beverly reached for it.
“Wait. Let me get it.” Maddie put on the gloves and lifted the crumpled note. She opened it just enough to read it.
Meet me at the playhouse at 11 PM tonight. I have something special for you. Gab
“He didn’t write this,” Maddie declared as she slipped it into the plastic bag. “For one thing, he always calls it the torreón. And for another, it says Gab, not Gabe. He’d never misspell his own name.”
“Maybe he was in a hurry,” Beverly countered.
“Do you misspell your own name on a note?” Maddie pursed her lips. “That looks like a woman’s handwriting. Way too flowery for a guy. And Gabe’s left handed. This was written by a righty. The slant is all wrong.” She carried the note downstairs. “This is important evidence. We need to give it to the cops. Who touched it besides Claire?”
“Good. Let’s see what’s happening.”
Ted was in the kitchen when they got back. “Jose is talking to the police.”
“He’s not here? He didn’t come home. We figured he’d hung out over here and lost track of time.”
“Would you recognize his writing?” Maddie asked.
“Yeah, sure. Why?”
She showed him the note, explaining where it came from.
“No, that’s not his writing. It’s too neat. That boy should be a doctor, it’s so bad. And the name’s misspelled.”
“Can you introduce me to the cops?” Maddie asked.
“I need to talk to them. I think Gabe’s in serious trouble.”
Maddie followed Ted outside. He approached the nearest officer, who recognized him.
“Officer White Star, this is Maddie Reynolds. She has some information and some thoughts she’d like to share. Maddie, this is William White Star. Tell him what you told me.”
Maddie showed the officer the note. She pointed out the details she and Ted had discussed.
“I don’t think Gabe could have written it,” she explained. “For one thing, he doesn’t like Claire. He’d never invite her out here to show her something. And I don’t think he’d lure her out to hurt her.”