The Nanny Murders
situation. Is he married? Divorced? Is he a player?” I swallowed. “Susan, this is not a date.” “Of course it’s not. And Molly can stay as late as you want. She can even sleep over.” “Susan—” “Just in case your meeting lasts later than expected. She’s welcome to stay.” It was no use arguing. Susan would think what she wanted. I knew the truth. My dinner date wasn’t a step toward romance or seduction. It was a step in the pursuit of a serial kidnapper and probable murderer. When we hung up, I
set her jaw, and brushed her forehead with the back of her hand, leaving a trail of flour. We faced each other in charged silence, each wanting validation from the other, each unable or unwilling at the moment to validate. My eyes burned, head ached. I stared at her folded hands, the emerald rings crusted with dough, the floured manicure. “Look, Zoe.” She pushed flour-streaked hair behind her ear. “You know I love you. But for all your brilliance and creativity, you can be really clueless.”
against the kitchen counter. My legs didn’t seem able to support me. Upstairs, overtired children were slamming doors, running, jumping, an extension of gymnastics class. Molly’s soprano giggles flittered down the steps. For the moment, incredibly, she was fine. Susan stared raptly out the window, biting into another cookie. “What about that? Trash bags full of nannies, just like the one I told you about. It’s their bodies. Gotta be. That’s why the ambulances. Otherwise, why not take trash bags
hair tied back in a ponytail, the dimple in his chin shadowed by three days of beard. “Morning, Ms. Hayes.” “Hi,” I nodded. “Watch yourself—your steps are icy,” he said. “I’ll have my guys sprinkle some salt.” “Thanks, Jake, that’s great.” “No trouble.” His teeth twinkled when he smiled. Almost handsome, he would have been irresistible if his eyes were just a tiny bit farther apart. Jake’s contracting company had done most of the renovations on our street. He was always around, always helpful.
matter of weeks, the ice would thaw. If I listened closely, even at that moment, I might be able to hear the sighs of snow melting, the exultation of water bursting free. Maybe I’d paint tonight. “Sure.” I got out buns and pickles, savoring the ease of our ordinary routine. I’d learned to take pleasure in small moments. Maybe there would be no aftershock. Maybe just this quiet change. Nothing earth-shattering, but still a change. “Can we melt cheese on them?” “Cheese?” I wondered if we had