Willow Pond

Willow Pond by Carol Tibaldi Read Free Book Online

Book: Willow Pond by Carol Tibaldi Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carol Tibaldi
removed the man and Laura was satisfied the nanny was all right, she joined Phillip in the living room. They sat side by side on the white velvet sofa, feeling the awkward space between them. He stared at her, and she avoided his eyes, looking from the rose-colored walls to the double glass doors leading to the garden.
    But before the police had ousted him, the reporter in Mrs. Nickerson's room had said something that clicked with Laura. What if they did cooperate, at least in part, with the media? An interview might uncover a new lead, or cause someone to remember something they had seen or heard.
    Phillip looked uncomfortable at the suggestion. “I don't think that'll do much good. Plus, once one of those vultures gets into this house we might as well let him move in.”
    “We could choose who we want. I have someone in mind already.”
    That surprised him. He cocked an eyebrow. “Who?”
    “The reporter who covered the shooting at McGuire’s last year. I met him when I went to make sure nothing had happened to Virginia.”
    McGuire’s was a small speakeasy on East Twenty-Ninth Street, and Virginia was friends with the owner. Two rival gangs had been fighting over whose territory held the speakeasy when the shooting occurred. Three men wound up dead, including the owner. Virginia had been on the premises when it happened, but had managed to stay out of the way.
    “Why him?”
    “I like the way he handled it. I think he’d be fair.”
    “Fair or unfair, you're just asking for trouble.”
    Laura felt blood rush into her cheeks. He was so stubborn. He seemed perfectly happy to sit back and wait for things to happen. Well, she couldn't.
    “Phillip, please. You cannot expect me to just sit on my hands. I have to do something to get Todd back. The police don't seem to be getting anywhere. It's just another case to them. But ...” She swallowed hard and struggled to get the next words out. She hated appealing to his ego. “You are such a big star, Phillip. A reporter might take an active interest in helping. Who knows what he might be able to turn up.”
    “Yes, but a man in my position has to be careful.”
    Phillip didn't seem to realize a man in his position should be careful around her as well. Since Todd’s kidnapping, there had been an unspoken truce of sorts between them, but he was about to find out just how fragile their truce was.
    “That's a horrible thing to worry about, Phillip. You should be ashamed of yourself. How self-centered and egotistical can you be?” she demanded. “This is our son we are talking about. Don’t you care about him at all? He is missing. We have no idea if he is still alive. And all you can think about is yourself. That makes me sick.”
    He pursed his lips, then closed his eyes in a rare moment of acquiescence. “All right, all right. I will see what I can arrange. Which paper does he write for?”
    “The Herald Tribune, I think. I don't remember his name, but I know he won a Pulitzer for that series about gangsters.”
     
    ***
     
    Just before noon, Virginia pulled up in front of Bacchanal. She opened the door of her forest green Packard town car and extended a shapely leg from within. Stepping onto the sidewalk, she took a quick look around, then descended the short flight of stairs and went inside.
    After the bright hubbub of Sixth Avenue, Bacchanal was as dark as a cave, its bar mirror shimmering like a mirage. Sawdust was sprinkled on the floor, gathering remnants from the previous night. The sickly sweet blend of gin and cheap perfume still hung in the air.
    While she was opening the blinds to let in some light, Virginia spied a police car pulling up to the curb. Two men got out and made their way toward the speakeasy's entrance. At five feet eleven inches, Virginia was well aware of how her physical presence affected people. Especially men. Cops were just men with badges. She timed it so that when she opened the door, Wilson was just putting his fist up to

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