“Then you’re lucky,” Caroline said. “I was going to phone Mel to say I wanted to go over soon.
“We’ve talked about the fact I haven’t chosen my wedding dress. I haven’t had time, and without her to confide in I’m really not sure which of the designs I’ve seen would be good.
“I’m in a total quandary. I can just as easily commission my dress from a Croatian dressmaker as an Italian one and it may well be cheaper. What’s more, Antonio and I have been talking about him needing a break.
“All this wedding preparation’s exhausted you, hasn’t it, darling? All we need to do is let Mel know we’re coming over and you can come, too. Didn’t you say you wanted to see her again?”
They consulted calendars and Cesare was commissioned to phone Mel and let her know the good news. Instantly he felt better and went back to the police station with a lighter step.
* * * *
Mel had collected all the fingerprinted items and had them in her bag. She’d managed to squirrel away a teacup Severina had used.
Getting Makso’s prints was easy. She took one of the art books from his study. Ivan had left one of his cigarette lighters in the kitchen and Mihovil had been drinking a take-away cola when he came in and had tossed it in the bin before leaving for home.
Mel felt clandestine and sneaky when she took it out, but was pleased she had evidence on everyone. She’d labelled the things up in her room, taking care not to rub off any prints.
For good measure she put her own fingerprints on a discarded yoghurt carton and put them in the bag.
She was just about to leave her room nice and early to go and wait for Ryan when her phone rang.
“Hi, Cesare! How lovely to hear from you. Thank you for phoning.”
“I am sorry to ring this early in the morning, but I wanted to catch you in, and tell you the good news.”
“We are coming over to see you, Mel. Me, Caroline and Antonio, all three of us. Caroline wants to shop for wedding dresses and I, well –”
“You see, I just need to see you, Mel. I’ve missed you and I want us to talk things through.”
“Things?” Her legs felt funny underneath her so Mel sat on the bed. Just as well, as it turned out.
“Yes, I need to know, Mel. I really need to know and we will talk about it face to face when I get there. I need to know why you turned me down. The real reason why you refused my proposal of marriage.”