Written / Cooking On High


Disclaimers Addendum

Chapter 12

Their talk with Monica revealed a good deal of information. It was something solid anyway. Monica had been aware that Louisa’s gossipy temperament had become something more than innocent information gathering. She insisted it was never anything she’d used against anyone. Not for monetary gain, anyway. The compromising tidbits of information she’d unearthed had given her old friend a sense of power and purpose she’d never had before. A sense of social importance. And for the most part, she’d 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 wasn’t 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.

“It’s when she got the tape that I began to worry. There was no way she could have stumbled upon it and I was afraid she’d get into trouble with the police. She said not to worry, that’s where she’d gotten it in the first place and no one cared about it. I didn’t think so.” Monica’s 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 don’t know what’s on it. It’s from a security camera, that’s all she’d tell me.”

“You have it?” French asked.

“No, Nathan does.”

“Nathan Cummings?” Fry knew him from grade school. They’d 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 he’s gone, probably terrified you’re looking for him.”

“Was he the one she was having dinner with that night?” French asked.


“And you assumed I killed her!? That’s 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 weren’t for her. He doted on her. Would do anything for her approval.”

“Stop, I’m getting nauseous. Wasn’t he twelve or something?”

“French! Jason was my age and what’s that got to do with anything anyway?” Fry was surprised at French’s prudish sentiment.

“Come on Fry, she was like sixty!”

“She was forty-six. I can’t believe you’re squeemish over such an irrelevant detail. They were friends, so what?”

“You’re an unbelievable hypocrite.” Monica was astonished. “You’re the last person who should be criticizing anyone’s personal life. Monica was a mentor to him. She helped him at work. He’d even gotten a promotion. She’d never take advantage of him.”

French doubted Monica’s 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. I’m pure evil. I got the picture. So where do we find Jason?”

“I don’t know, I haven’t heard from him since that night. He may have gone to stay with his brother in Westport. I doubt he’s 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 you’d better get going yourself.”

“Sure. Monica, I’ll get your gun from the kitchen.”

“You’re not sane! How do you know she isn’t going to try to kill me again? It’s not like she’s stable at the moment.”

“I wasn’t getting it for her. It was for me. You think I don’t know you’re trying to get rid of me again? Were you going to ask Monica where Jason’s brother Daryl lives when I left? Were you going to try to figure out where else he might have gone? Give it up French, I’m helping whether you like it or not.”

“Go get the damn gun so I can shoot myself. You’ll 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 I’d get another cup of tea. I’m 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 she’d get some rest and feel better the next day.

Continued in Chapter 13.

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