The woman’s physical resemblance to her sister helped to confirm her identity, which was good because I couldn’t have asked her for proof. She seemed to be holding herself on a very short leash.
“Who changed the god-damned locks on the god-damned door?”
“I’m Nora Cahill,” I said, extending a wary hand, which she ignored. “You must be Susan Snowe.”
“I’m Susan Suddermill. I’m going into my sister’s apartment,” she said.
“That’s ok,” I said, “I was told by the police you would pick up an outfit for the wake?” My voice squeaked. I am a wuss.
“Then let’s go,” she snapped. I followed her out the door, scurrying behind her until I realized she wasn’t getting in without me.
Although an official from the Atlanta Police Department had told me Susan was coming, I did not feel comfortable leaving her in Abigail’s apartment. But where was my power here? The unit belonged to us, but who was the tenant in this case? With the rent paid through January and a deposit that could, I suppose, reach through February, wasn’t Abigail’s family entitled to come and go?
I satisfied my conscience by loitering just outside the open front door where I was soon met by an elderly resident, Mrs. Mason, a well-preserved woman in her seventies.
“Relatives?” she asked, nodding at the door.
“She stripping the place?”
“I think she’s just picking out some clothes for the viewing.”
“She’ll take the jewelry and the liquor first.”
Really? She sighed. “Now that was a sad girl,” she said, jingling her car keys. “That bottle of vodka on her kitchen counter is mine,” she said. “I meant to get to you first because I would like it back.”
“Would you like to go in and ask her sister for it now?” I said, only half kidding.
“You get it for me,” she said. “I’ll wait here.”