my grandmother,” he said.
“The chocolates were for your grandmother?” Ally asked.
“I paid for the chocolates,” he said defensively.
“Oh, that’s okay I’m sure you did, that’s not the problem.”
“Grandma Ruth said she needed them for a gift.”
“Grandma Ruth,” Ally’s head spun at the realization. Ruth got chocolates delivered from the shop on the day that Myrtle was murdered. Could she have swapped them to kill Myrtle?
“Ally, are you there?” he asked.
“Yes, sorry,” Ally muttered. “Do you know who they were a gift for?”
“No, sorry Ally,” he said. “I was just using the van like Charlotte let me when she doesn’t need it. I was going to visit my grandmother anyway. I hope that’s okay.”
“That’s okay, thanks.” Ally wanted to ask more questions, but she didn’t want to outright accuse his grandmother of murder.
Ally hung up and bit into her bottom lip. Peaches purred and nuzzled her elbow. She stroked the cat’s fur. “Well, Peaches I wonder if those chocolates were given to Myrtle. They certainly hated each other. Now I just need to see if I can find out?”
Peaches meowed and bumped the top of her head against Ally’s palm. “I know, I know, I’m not supposed to worry, but how can I not worry?” She shook her head and closed her eyes. “I can’t imagine how someone could despise us enough to try to frame us for murder.” She pulled Peaches closer. “You always help me calm down, but I’m not sure if it’s going to work this time.” Peaches curled up in her lap and nestled her chin in her paws. Ally pet her. Slowly she did begin to relax. “Honestly Peaches, I can’t imagine that after all of this Luke is going to want anything to do with me. I guess that’s for the best. My relationships haven’t been very successful.”
Peaches flicked her with her tail. “Okay, our relationship has been very successful.” She smiled and scratched the cat’s chin. She just hoped they would be able to clear their names so Peaches wouldn’t have to visit her in jail.
Ally was still thinking about the conversation she had with the delivery driver when there was a knock on her bedroom door.
“Come in, Mee-Maw.” She felt a pang of disappointment that soon they would not be able to just knock on each other’s door. Charlotte opened the door and peeked in at her.
“I was afraid you might be sleeping.”
“No. I think I just found our murderer.”
“I just found out that Brian delivered the chocolates to Freely Lakes on the day of the murder to his grandmother, Ruth, so she could give them as a gift.”
“What?” Charlotte’s eyes widened. “Oh, of course. No, Brian’s grandmother is not the Ruth we suspect. It is a different Ruth.”
“Oh, Mee-Maw. What a coincidence. I didn’t want to suspect that Brian or his family could somehow be involved. That’s a relief, but it’s another dead end. This is all such a mess, I’m not sure how we’re going to pull out of it.”
“Take a breath, Ally. It’s going to be okay.”
“But what if it’s not?”
Charlotte sat down on the bed beside her. She took Ally’s hand in her own. “We will always be okay, sweetheart. You have to stop looking at everything that is wrong, and start looking at everything that is right.”
“Luke’s on our side.”
“I’m sure he will continue to be. Now come on, we can go for a walk, and you can fill me in on the delivery.”
“A walk?” Ally shook her head. “The last thing I want is to see people in town. They will all be staring at us.”
“So, let them stare. We have never been a family that shies away from that. Right?” Charlotte looked into her eyes. “Now is the time we have to be brave. If we hide away, then we’ll be proving their suspicions right, that we have something to feel guilty about. Don’t you think?”