This was turning into one hell of a Christmas Eve.
Clearly, Susan had not heard Mrs. Mason’s remarks and was too caught up in the missing keys mystery to talk about vodka consumption.
“Did you take her keys?” she demanded in a tone that made me flinch with guilt. I couldn’t honestly remember if I’d taken her keys. I hadn’t, in fact. I don’t think anyone had. Quickly, I flipped through a mental file of images from the night before: cops? EMTs? Stephen? No one appeared to be taking anything from the apartment that wasn’t attached to Abigail’s body.
“Maybe the police took her identification and keys,” said Mrs. Mason, when it was obvious my mouth wasn’t working along with my brain.
“That’s ridiculous,” Susan snapped. Her anger seemed to bring me to my senses.
“Look,” I said. “Why don’t we go to the office and get the spare key for you? I don’t know what to say about her car, but until someone comes forward or we find out she left it at the airport, I don’t know what to say.”
“But I still have to pick out an outfit,” said Susan.
“I thought you’d decided on her uniform,” I said.
“Yes,” I said, picking up the plastic drycleaner bag in which hung the natty uniform. “It will be fine.”
We left Mrs. Mason at the curb giving me eye signals to call her later. I nodded and guided Susan across Biscayne Drive, led her to the office and unlocked the door. How quickly could I hand her Abigail’s spare key and send her home? The afternoon was fading fast and I wanted to crawl home to my own little townhouse and open a bottle of wine. I needed food and quiet if I wanted to avoid the headache I could feel creeping my way. The events of the last day were starting to catch up on me.
Fortunately, Abigail’s spare was hanging where it was supposed to: in the lockbox in Judith’s office. Too many residents changed their locks or added deadbolts without letting us know, but Abigail was not one of them. I handed it to Susan with a smile that didn’t quite reach my eyes.
“I’m here tomorrow,” I said. “I’ll be working until 3 p.m. if you decide to come by and want some help. I’m pretty sure I won’t be showing any apartments on Christmas Day.”
She nodded. The fight gone out of her.
I had just gone back to Judith’s office to secure the lockbox, when the door bell rang.