Still As Death

Still As Death by Sarah Stewart Taylor

Book: Still As Death by Sarah Stewart Taylor Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sarah Stewart Taylor
There wasn’t much else of interest, some more bills and a huge stack of the catalogs his mother loved to look through. At the bottom of the pile was a long envelope with the return address of a local roofing company. He opened it and took out a sheet of paper, reading the words on it with growing horror.
    “What shall we have for dinner, darling?” his mother called out to him. He looked through to see the credits rolling at the end of the grizzly program. What she really meant, he knew, was,
What are you going to cook for us?
He pushed down resentment and cleared his throat.
    “What are you in the mood for?”
    “I don’t know. What about those chicken cordon bleu things we had last week. Are there any more of those?”
    “No,” he called back, “but I can go out and get some.”
    “That would be lovely,” she said. “If it’s not too much trouble. And we can watch the rest of the show about the flamingos. Don’t you love flamingos?”
    He came through to the living room. “Sounds good,” he said.
    “What’s that letter you’re holding?”
    “Oh.” He held it up. “It’s from that guy I asked to come look at the roof. He finished his quote. He says we have a lot of rot in the northeast corner and that it all needs to be ripped up and replaced.”
    “Oh, dear, how much is that going to cost?”
    “He says fourteen thousand dollars.”
    “Oh.” She looked concerned and her eyes sought his. “That’s so much. Will it be okay, Tad? Can we … can we afford it.”
    The short answer, of course, was no they couldn’t. Tad had gone to the bank last week to see if they could get another line of credit on the house. That was the only good thing about property values going up. He’d been turned down and had gone home and made a list of all their debts, trying to get a handle on exactly what they owed. The numbers lined up on the page in his mind: $12,450 on the credit cards, the other medical bills, $19,000, plus the bill that had come today. Then there was the roof. What was he going to do? When the bank’s loan officer had broken the news that they had tapped out the equity in the house, he’d suggested that Tad ask a friend, a family member, maybe. But there wasn’t anyone. He didn’t have any friends. There was just Willem.
    Willem. He hadn’t thought before of asking Willem. Suddenly there was a small light of hope. Willem could lend him some money.
    He found his car keys and wallet.
    “I’ll find a way, Mom. Don’t worry about it. I’ll find a way.”

TWELVE
    SWEENEY PULLED UP in front of Quinn’s house around six-thirty, still not convinced her impromptu visit was a good idea. At the very least she should have called first, to make sure he was even home. She didn’t know if the missing collar had anything to do with Karen Philips’s suicide and the robbery, but she wanted to know more about them. And Quinn was the only person she knew who had access to that kind of information.
    She and Quinn had had coffee a couple of times, before Ian had arrived, just to catch up. They had gone together to the memorial service of a child who had been connected to their experiences in Concord the previous fall, and she remembered looking over at him during the service and thinking that at some point during the weeks they’d been together in Concord, he’d become someone she really cared about, a friend rather than a business associate or a mere acquaintance.
    Sweeney had thought they would stay in touch. But somehow, once Ian was there, she hadn’t called him, and the last time he’d left her a message, she hadn’t called back. She wasn’t sure why, but it had just seemed easier, simpler. She had told Ian about Quinn, of course, and about what had happened in Concord, and she didn’t think hewould have minded if she had met Quinn for a cup of coffee or a meal. But for some reason, she hadn’t gotten in touch until now.
    She parked in the narrow little driveway and knocked on the front door.

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