Their talk with Monica revealed a good deal of information. It was something solid anyway. Monica had been aware that Louisas gossipy temperament had become something more than innocent information gathering. She insisted it was never anything shed used against anyone. Not for monetary gain, anyway. The compromising tidbits of information shed unearthed had given her old friend a sense of power and purpose shed never had before. A sense of social importance. And for the most part, shed used her small arsenal to gain a foothold in the social circles otherwise closed to someone of her standing.
French could relate. That fact in itself made her queasy. She also believed that Louisa had gone beyond using the information for social climbing. But she wasnt going to get into that with Monica. Who was likely to try to blow her head off again if she breathed in the wrong direction. Some people can really work a grudge.
Its when she got the tape that I began to worry. There was no way she could have stumbled upon it and I was afraid shed get into trouble with the police. She said not to worry, thats where shed gotten it in the first place and no one cared about it. I didnt think so. Monicas voice trailed off and she rubbed her arms trying to ward off the chill. Fry gave her a symathetic smile and moved over to put an arm over her shoulder. The woman had had such a shock and lost so much weight she could feel her trembling bones.
I dont know whats on it. Its from a security camera, thats all shed tell me.
You have it? French asked.
No, Nathan does.
Nathan Cummings? Fry knew him from grade school. Theyd been in the same class. Nathan was on the other side of any debate they had in school.
Yes. He knew about it too. I think they were sharing it or something. But hes gone, probably terrified youre looking for him.
Was he the one she was having dinner with that night? French asked.
And you assumed I killed her!? Thats a jump, thank you very much. What puts the guy who was blackmailing with her and eating the food that killed her above suspicion? Maybe she had something on him too and wanted the whole thing for herself.
Jason would never kill Louisa, he was in love with her.
All the more reason to kill her if you ask me. French said.
He never would have been involved if it werent for her. He doted on her. Would do anything for her approval.
Stop, Im getting nauseous. Wasnt he twelve or something?
French! Jason was my age and whats that got to do with anything anyway? Fry was surprised at Frenchs prudish sentiment.
Come on Fry, she was like sixty!
She was forty-six. I cant believe youre squeemish over such an irrelevant detail. They were friends, so what?
Youre an unbelievable hypocrite. Monica was astonished. Youre the last person who should be criticizing anyones personal life. Monica was a mentor to him. She helped him at work. Hed even gotten a promotion. Shed never take advantage of him.
French doubted Monicas knowledge of her lifelong friend. As much as she hated to believe it, Louisa was sounding uncomfortably familiar. She guessed that somewhere along the way Louisa had stopped being the person Monica thought she knew. She became something more, or possibly less. Without letting on, she had pursued a darker path. And it had cost her.
Fine. She was a misguided saint. Im pure evil. I got the picture. So where do we find Jason?
I dont know, I havent heard from him since that night. He may have gone to stay with his brother in Westport. I doubt hes on the island.
Just great. Well girls, this has been fun, but I think we ought to wrap it up. With that French stood and streatched. Long day tomorrow. Fry youd better get going yourself.
Sure. Monica, Ill get your gun from the kitchen.
Youre not sane! How do you know she isnt going to try to kill me again? Its not like shes stable at the moment.
I wasnt getting it for her. It was for me. You think I dont know youre trying to get rid of me again? Were you going to ask Monica where Jasons brother Daryl lives when I left? Were you going to try to figure out where else he might have gone? Give it up French, Im helping whether you like it or not.
Go get the damn gun so I can shoot myself. Youll drive me to it one way or the other.
You poor thing! Driven to the brink. Monica, tell French... They both looked at the empty seat then at each other.
Monica! Fry yelped and the two of them ran for the kitchen. She was standing at the stove pouring herself another cup of tea. French grabbed the gun off the counter and tucked it in her belt.
Oh, are you done? I thought Id get another cup of tea. Im so cold.
Fry took Monica home with her to stay the night. She hated to think of the woman alone. She was glad when Monica had said she was hungry and they shared a snack before turning in.
It took all of her willpower not to ask what had happened to make her so angry with French. Even before she assumed French had killed her best friend. But she honored her privacy and let it be. She looked so tired. Hopefully shed get some rest and feel better the next day.
Continued in Chapter 13.