Then Jenna had taken the stand. I know it hurts her to testify, Molly thought, but the prosecutor had subpoenaed her, and she had no choice.
"Yes," Jenna had acknowledged, her voice low and halting, "I did call Molly at the Cape on the day that Gary died. She told me that he had been involved with Annamarie and that Annamarie was pregnant. Molly was totally devastated." Vaguely she heard what they were saying. The prosecutor asking if Molly was angry. Jenna saying Molly was hurt. Jenna finally admitted that Molly was very angry with Gary.
"Molly, get up. The judge is leaving."
Philip Matthews, her lawyer, was holding her elbow, urging her to stand. He kept his hand under her arm, steadying her as they exited the courtroom. Outside, flashbulbs exploded in her face. He made her hurry through the crowd, propelling her into a waiting car. "We'll meet your mother and father at the house," he said as they drove away.
Her parents had come up from Florida to be with her. They wanted her to move, to get out of the house where Gary had died, but she couldn't do that. It was her grandmother's present to her and she loved it. At her father's insistence, she had agreed to at least redecorate the study. All the furniture was given away, and the room was redone from top to bottom. The heavy mahogany paneling had been stripped off, and Gary's treasured collection of early-American furniture and art had been removed. His paintings, sculptures, carpets, oil lamps, and Wells Fargo desk along with his maroon leather couch and chairs had been replaced with a brightly patterned chintz sofa and matching love seat and bleached oak tables. Even then, the door to the study was always kept closed.
One most valued piece in his collection, a thirty-inch-high sculpture of a horse and rider, an original Remington bronze, was still in the custody of the prosecutor's office. That was what they said she had used to smash the back of Gary's head.
Sometimes, when she was sure her parents were asleep, Molly would tiptoe downstairs and stand in the doorway of the study and try to remember every detail of finding Gary.
Finding Gary. No matter how hard she tried, when she thought back to that night, there was no single moment when she remembered talking to him or approaching him as he sat at his desk. She had no memory of picking up that sculpture, of grasping the front legs of the horse and swinging it with enough force to cave in his skull. But that's what they said she had done.
At home now, after another day in court, she could see the growing concern on her parents' faces, and she could feel the increased protectiveness with which they hugged her. She stood stiffly inside their embraces, then stepped away and looked at them dispassionately.
Yes, a handsome couple -- everyone called them that. Molly knew she looked like Ann, her mother. Walter Carpenter, her father, towered over both of them. His hair was silver now. It used to be blond. He called it his Viking streak. His grandmother had been Danish.
"I'm sure we'd all welcome a cocktail," her father said as he led the way to the service bar.
Molly and her mother had a glass of wine, Philip requested a martini. As her father handed it to him, he said, "Philip, how damaging was Black's testimony today?"
Molly could hear the forced, too-hearty tone of Philip Matthews's answer: "I think we'll be able to neutralize it when I get a crack at him."
Philip Matthews, powerful thirty-eight-year-old defense lawyer, had become a kind of media star. Molly's father had sworn he would get Molly the best money could buy, and that comparatively young as he was, Matthews was it. Hadn't he gotten an acquittal for that broadcasting executive whose wife was murdered? Yes, Molly thought, but they didn't find him covered with her blood.
Copyright © 1999 by Mary Higgins Clark. Published with permission of the publishers, Simon & Schuster
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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