You Don’t Own Me
Five years later, Caroline was still working in that same carriage house, but so much had changed. Mindy and Bobby were no longer her little babies. They were nearly finished with the first and third grades. They rarely cried anymore, even when the subject of their father came up.
And Mrs. Bell—Kendra, as Caroline often called her now—well, she was an entirely different woman. She no longer slept away the days. She was a good mom. And she worked, which is why it would fall to Caroline to pick the children up from their twice weekly visit to their grandparents’ apartment on the Upper East Side. It was a task that neither of them enjoyed. Dr. Bell’s parents made their son look like a free spirit compared to them.
Caroline had made it out of the apartment and halfway to the elevator when she heard the children’s grandmother call out behind her. She turned to see both grandparents standing side by side outside their door. Dr. Bell was thin, almost to the point of being gaunt. His wispy hair was combed sideways across the dome of his head. As chief of vascular surgery at prestigious Mount Sinai Medical Center, he had grown accustomed to getting his own way. Nine years into retirement the scowl he had brought to the hospital every day had not diminished in the least.
Cynthia Bell, now in her eighties, showed little sign of the beauty
that had once been hers. Her long hours in the sun had left her skin wrinkled and dry. Her lips were turned down at the corners, giving the impression of a permanent pout.
“Yes?” Caroline inquired.
“Did Kendra even try to get that television producer interested in Martin’s case?” Dr. Bell asked.
Caroline smiled politely. “It’s really not for me to say who Mrs. Bell speaks to—”
“You mean Kendra,” he said sternly. “My wife is the only Mrs. Bell. That woman is no longer married to my son, because my son was shot to death in his driveway.”
Caroline continued to force a pleasant expression. Oh, how she remembered the drama that had unfolded in the living room six months earlier over the subject of that television producer. Robert and Cynthia had asked to come to the house following Mindy’s after-school dance recital. They told Kendra all about Under Suspicion, a television show that reinvestigated cold cases. Without notifying Kendra, they had sent a letter to the studio asking them to look into Martin’s unsolved murder.
The official Mrs. Bell, Cynthia, interjected. “Kendra tells us that the producer, a woman named Laurie Moran, passed on the case.”
Caroline nodded. “That’s exactly what happened. Kendra was at least as upset about it as you are. Now, I need to get your grandchildren home before my shift ends,” she added, even though she was never one to watch a clock.
As the elevator made its way down from the Bells’ penthouse apartment to the lobby, she had a feeling that the couple wasn’t going to let this subject drop. She was going to hear the name Laurie Moran again.