23 Friday, October 27th

In the nine years since the divorce, Kerry had dated on and off, but there had never been anyone special. Her closest friend was Margaret Mann, her roommate at Boston College. Marg was blond and petite, and in college she and Kerry had been dubbed the long and the short of it. Now an investment banker with an apartment on West Eighty-sixth Street, Margaret was confidante, pal and buddy. On occasional Friday evenings, Kerry would have a sitter in for Robin and drive to Manhattan. She and Margaret would have dinner and catch a Broadway show or a movie or just linger over dessert for hours and talk.

The Friday night after Geoff Dorso left the transcript, Kerry arrived at Margaret’s apartment and gratefully sank onto the couch in front of a platter of cheese and grapes.

Margaret handed her a glass of wine. “Bottoms up. You look great.”

Kerry was wearing a new hunter green suit with a long jacket and calf-length skirt. She looked down at it and shrugged. “Thanks. I finally got a chance to buy some new clothes and I’ve been sporting them all week.”

Margaret laughed. “Remember how your mother used to put on her lipstick and say, ‘You never know where romance may linger’? She was right, wasn’t she?”

“I guess so. She and Sam have been married fifteen years now, and whenever they come East or Robin and I visit them in Colorado, they’re holding hands.”

Margaret grinned. “We should be so lucky.” Then her expression became serious. “How’s Robin? Her face is healing well, I hope.”

“Seems to be fine. I’m taking her to see another plastic surgeon tomorrow. Just for a consultation.”

Margaret hesitated, then said, “I was trying to find a way to suggest that. At the office I was talking about the accident and mentioned Dr. Smith’s name. One of the traders, Stuart Grant, picked up on it right away. He said his wife consulted Smith. She wanted to do something about the bags under her eyes, but she never went back after the first visit. She thought there was something wrong with him.”

Kerry straightened up. “What did she mean?”

“Her name is Susan, but the doctor kept slipping and calling her Suzanne. Then he told her he could do her eyes, but he’d rather do her whole face, that she had the makings of a great beauty and was wasting her life not taking advantage of it.”

“How long ago was that?”

“Three or four years, I guess. Oh, and something else. Smith apparently also rambled on to Susan about how beauty brings responsibility, and that some people abuse it and invite jealousy and violence.” She stopped, then asked, “Kerry, what’s the matter? You have a funny look on your face.”

“Marg, this is important. Are you sure that Smith talked about women inviting jealousy and violence?”

“I’m sure that’s what Stuart told me.”

“Do you have Stuart’s phone number? I want to talk to his wife.”

“In the office. They live in Greenwich, but I happen to know that the number’s unlisted, so it will have to wait till Monday. What’s this about, anyhow?”

“I’ll tell you about it over dinner,” she said distractedly. It seemed to Kerry that the trial transcript was on a Rolodex in her mind. Dr. Smith swore that his daughter was in fear for her life because of Skip Reardon’s unfounded jealousy. Had he been lying? Had Suzanne given Skip reason to be jealous? And if so, of whom?