“What was your relationship with my mother?” Betsy blurted before she could stop herself.
Dr. Radnor hesitated. “She was our employee, a very fine woman.”
“Are you sure she wasn’t more than that?”
Dr. Radnor looked her up and down. “I don’t know what you’re implying young lady, but I think it’s time you leave.”
“You were always so nice to us, Dr. Radnor. You treated me as if I was your own daughter, remember, taking me to synagogue and everything.”
“I think it’s time you leave,” Dr. Radnor repeated, standing up from his desk.
“My mother was murdered,” Betsy stated almost matter-of-factly. “Four months ago, on May 7. This guy came to our apartment and beat her to death.”
Dr. Radnor sat back down. He looked a little shaky. “I’m sorry to hear that,” he said.
“I was the one who found her,” Betsy continued. “I don’t think I’ll ever get that image out of my head, mom lying there on the bed with her eyes open and all that blood.” She began to cry quietly, wiping at her tears with the backs of her hands. Dr. Radnor gave her a tissue and murmured something like “there, there.” That made Betsy cry harder, and it took a few minutes for her to regain control. She blew her nose and dabbed at her eyes and when she finally could speak again, she said: “You’re my father, aren’t you?”
“There’s no proof of that,” Dr. Radnor said, opening a drawer and taking out a pack of cigarettes.
“I could demand a paternity test.”
“You could, but I don’t think it would do much good.” He lit a cigarette without offering her one and blew out smoke. “Elizabeth, I don’t know who your father is. It’s true, you’re very light, but your mom was friendly with a lot of guys –“
“Including you,” Betsy interrupted.
“Including me,” Dr. Radnor admitted. “But that was a long time ago, long enough for an old guy like me to have practically no memory of it.” He took another drag on his cigarette and stubbed it out. “I’ll tell you what though. Even though I don’t have to, I’m going to help you out. I don’t like seeing a girl like you suffering.” He removed a checkbook from the same drawer that housed his cigarettes. “Elizabeth Johnson, right?”
“Well, this should do you.” He wrote a check, signed it with a flourish, and put it in an envelope which he slid across the desk.
To be continued…
Cover photo ~ http://skia.deviantart.com/art/There-there-257446450