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Bastard (A Novel)

Chapter 8

By TestPublished 4 months ago 3 min read
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Bastard (A Novel)
Photo by David Pennington on Unsplash

Author's note: You can find the previous chapters of this WIP novel—along with the outline—in the Critique community.

For the first time in years, Susan Freid was quiet. She didn't sputter about the city of London spreading gossip about the neighbors. She didn't talk about anyone or anything, but she was especially silent about the case pertaining to Roseanne Miller.

Jennifer Hamilton invited her over for tea. She accepted. She entered in a lovely gown, far too fancy for the occasion, with a splash of bright red lipstick and overly visible blush, her eyes accented with purple shadow, and her shoes royal blue to complement her rose pink dress, towering to the floor and trailing behind her.

"You look lovely," Jennifer said when she entered, surprised, especially since she had opted for a bare face and blue jeans with a casual green long-sleeve and some hoop earrings in the comfort of her own home.

"Thank you, dear," Susan replied, "Lovely tea."

"It's lavender."

"Ah. Good. Calms the nerves."

She inhaled audibly, then continued, "How's George?"

"He's good and all. The case is a bit stressful, but otherwise-"

"And Marlene?"

"Marlene is fine. She's doing well at the London School of Journalism. She loves her studies, and she's actually getting straight As at the moment."

"Oh? That's lovely to hear. Just lovely."

She sipped her tea quite quietly, refusing to say a word.

Time passed slowly. The clock ticked on relentlessly.

"Well, I've got to get back to my blog now. Lovely to see you."

"You as well, dear. Thank you for having me."

Susan's shoes clickety clacked as she left, then closed the door behind her without another word.

She's awfully quiet for being the talk of the town, eager to gossip at any opportunity. I wonder what's gotten into her.

Jennifer thought, then went back to work.

George wasn't quite home yet, and she appreciated the quiet, so that she could write in peace without having to worry about making dinner for him or cleaning up after him.

After all, she was just trying to get her business off the ground and, even though she hadn't earned enough to buy a chocolate bar yet, she worked long hours to ensure long-term success. Thankfully, her husband supported her during this difficult financial time, but she knew it pained him.

***

Jennifer flicked on the television after she'd finished her work.

"Dr. Jonathen Heathrow is suspected of killing a patient..."

The news was looping again.

Jennifer thought to herself, and quickly turned it off.

She called up Susan, determined to get a word out of her.

She picked up on the first ring.

"Hello. How are you?"

"Quite well."

"What do you think about this Heathrow business? They say he killed a patient, intentionally?"

"Probably him," she replied solemnly.

"I don't see how he couldn't have done it."

She paused, trying to resist the gossip: She was a Christian now, and she knew it was a sin.

"You know what I think? I think he's the one who killed Roseanne Miller. He's a cold-blooded murderer if you ask me. Caught in the act, he was."

"Do you really think he's the killer?"

Jennifer could picture Susan nodded vigorously on the other end of the line.

"Oh yes. Him or Darlene. Darlene Mather. Of course, she works so closely with the detective that she'll never get caught. Not in a million years really. Doesn't mean she didn't do it though."

She paused, realizing she had committed a grave sin.

"I-I have to go."

George knocked on the door and Jennifer opened it.

He immediately sat down at his desk.

"Jen, don't tell anyone I said this, but there's been a progression in the case. Susan Freid is a suspect. We've got to stop having her over for tea."

Jennifer put her hand over her mouth and gasped.

"No!"

Draft
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