A Secret Grave 44: Strange Accusations

.

I couldn’t decide which would be better: to invite Betsy out to dinner at a chi chi restaurant since I knew she liked dressing up, or to invite her to my house where it might be a little more intimate. Finally I decided on the less interesting option of my house. No traffic (Betsy lived north, like me), no parking problems.

.

Mopac

Mopac mo’packed!, lee leblanc,  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

.

I didn’t want to include husbands, so I chose an evening when George was out of town and prayed Betsy wouldn’t bring her stepson – she had a reputation for sometimes showing up with him, even at events where it was pretty much ladies only, like mahjong. Well, she did bring Clark, appearing on my doorstep with the cheery disclaimer that he’d already eaten and would be perfectly happy on a couch with his iPad. Playing the good hostess, I said this was just fine and led them inside. Immediately the dogs were all over Clark, jumping and sniffing at him, picking up odors, no doubt, of Victor’s abandoned dog, Ranger, who lived with them.

.

Clark PS

.

While this was going on, Clark stood stock still, rigid as a post, hands up in the air, surrender position. He was an awkward young man with the pale skin of someone who didn’t leave the house very often. His hair was carefully groomed and glossy, and oddly he wore a dark suit as if he were going to the office or to a business meeting. Betsy was in black leggings, ankle boots and a soft top. “I told Clark you were a painter,” she said. “He’s very interested in seeing your studio.”

“Of course,” I said, though the last thing I wanted to do was traipse out to my studio in the dark and cold. For the time being, I relegated Clark to George’s man cave, a wood-paneled den with a leather Lazyboy and lots of books, adjoining the kitchen.

“Perfect,” said Betsy. “Can I help you with anything?”

The meal was already made, just a salad to prepare. I sat Betsy down at the kitchen table with a glass of wine while I sliced tomatoes and put lettuce, scallions, olives and feta cheese in a big bowl. I wanted to talk about Victor, but Betsy drove conversation to gossip about mutual friends: Had I been invited to Mme X’s annual holiday party? Did I know that Margot had found another weight loss guru? And how about that bitchy art dealer, Alicia Rossi – had I heard that her marriage might be in trouble? The last item was a bit of a shocker – how did news get twisted up and travel so quickly?

.

Betsy gossips

.

I told her I had seen Alicia recently and to my knowledge the marriage was just fine. “But did you know,” I asked, “that Emil was Victor’s therapist?”

Betsy looked at me out of eyes that had narrowed to shrewd black bullets in her head. “No, he wasn’t,” she said. “That guy’s just a hoax. Victor didn’t trust him as far as he could throw him.”

.

To be continued…

.

Cover photo ~ http://kingsenglish.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/A_little_bird_told_me_by_bruno_sousa-197×300.jpg

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *