They've both been wonderful, Molly thought. Needing to get away from everything, she had sometimes stayed with Jen in New York during the past months, and it had helped tremendously. Jenna and Cal still lived in Greenwich, but during the week, Jenna frequently overnighted at a Manhattan apartment they kept near U.N. Plaza.
Molly had seen Peter Black in the corridor as well. Dr. Peter Black -- he always had been so pleasant to her, but like Gary's mother, he ignored her now. The friendship between him and Gary dated from their days in medical school. Molly wondered if Peter would be able to fill Gary's shoes as head of the hospital and the HMO. Shortly after Gary's death, he'd been elected by the board to take over as chief executive officer, with Cal Whitehall as chairman.
She sat numbly as the trial actually began. The prosecutor began calling witnesses. As they came and went, they seemed to Molly to be just blurred faces and voices. Then Edna Barry, the plump sixty-year-old woman who had been their part-time housekeeper, was on the stand. "I came in at eight o'clock on Monday morning, as usual," she stated.
"Monday morning, April 9th?"
"How long had you been working for Gary and Molly Lasch?"
"Four years. But I'd worked for Molly's mother from the time Molly was a little girl. She was always so gentle."
Molly caught the sympathetic look Mrs. Barry cast toward her. She doesn't want to hurt me, she thought, but she's going to tell how she found me, and she knows how it will sound.
"I was surprised because the lights were on inside the house," Mrs. Barry was saying. "Molly's suitcase was in the foyer, so I knew she was back from the Cape."
"Mrs. Barry, please describe the layout of the first floor of the house."
"The foyer is large -- it's really more of a reception area. When they had large parties they would serve cocktails there before dinner. The living room is directly beyond the foyer and faces the front door. The dining room is to the left, down a wide hallway and past a service bar. The kitchen and family room are in that wing as well, while the library and Dr. Lasch's study are in the wing to the right of the entrance."
I got home early, Molly thought. There hadn't been much traffic on I-95, and I was earlier than I'd expected to be. I only had one bag with me, and I brought it in and put it down. Then I locked the door and called Gary's name. I went directly to the study to look for him.
"I went into the kitchen," Mrs. Barry told the prosecutor. "There were wine glasses and a tray of leftover cheese and crackers on the counter."
"Was there anything unusual about that?"
"Yes. Molly always tidied up when they had company."
"What about Dr. Lasch?" the prosecutor asked. Edna Barry smiled indulgently. "Well, you know men. He wasn't much for picking up after himself." She paused and frowned. "But that was when I knew something was wrong. I thought that Molly must have come and gone."
"Why would she have done that?"
Molly saw the hesitance in Mrs. Barry's face as once again she looked over at her. Mother was always a little annoyed that Mrs. Barry called me Molly and I called her Mrs. Barry. But I didn't care, she thought. She's known me since I was a child.
"Molly hadn't been home when I went in on Friday. The Monday before that, while I was there, she'd left for the Cape. She seemed terribly upset."
The question came quickly and abruptly. Molly was aware of the hostility the prosecutor felt for her, but for some reason it didn't worry her.
"She was crying as she packed her bag, and I could see that she was very angry. Molly's an easygoing person. It takes a lot to ruffle her. In all the years I'd worked there, I'd never once seen her so upset. She kept saying,'How could he? How could he?' I asked her if there was anything I could do."
Copyright © 1999 by Mary Higgins Clark. Published with permission of the publishers, Simon & Schuster
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The Angel of Losses
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