Molly sucked in a startled breath, which answered one question in Hunter’s mind. She hadn’t known about Paul’s temper.
“I told him we were through. To get the hell out, and he left. He stormed out and that was the last time I saw him again until—” She shook her head and finally buried her face in her hands at the memory of her husband’s murder.
Hunter glanced up to see Molly had left the room, only to return with a glass of water for Sonya. She handed it to her, then took her seat beside Hunter.
“I have a few more questions if you’re up to it,” Hunter said.
She sipped her water. “I’m fine. Go on.”
“The general said you called him to come over.”
Sonya nodded. “I’m embarrassed to admit it, but after Paul left, I fell apart. I’d just discovered we’d lost our money, our savings, my husband had—He’d torn apart his office. I was hysterical.”
Hunter glanced down at his notes, but what he was thinking wasn’t on paper. He debated the wisdom of asking, then decided he wasn’t being paid to be nice or correct in his questioning. Hell, he wasn’t being paid at all, but he was expected to get the general acquitted of all charges.
He had no choice but to delve and pry until he found something that would help his case. “So your husband loses it and the first person you call is Frank? Not a female best friend or neighbor?”
“Hunter!” Beside him, Molly stiffened. “That’s an awful question.”
“Actually, it’s a pretty common-sense question. One a jury might think about. It’s my job to cover all those potential bases.”
“It’s okay,” Sonya said. “As awkward as this sounds, Frank is my best friend.”
“Was Paul also your best friend?”
Molly threw her hands in the air, then rose from her seat. “This is a ridiculous line of questioning.”
“Why? Why is asking if her husband was also her best friend a ridiculous question?” Hunter asked, narrowing his gaze at her over-the-top reaction.
“Because she just admitted he abused her,” Molly hissed.
“Relationships don’t always make sense to the outside world.” Hunter was referring more to Sonya and Frank than to Paul and Sonya. He had no doubt Sonya’s marriage had been in trouble for a long time. He’d only asked her about Paul being her best friend to contrast her relationship with Frank to that of her husband. He turned to Sonya. “It strikes me as odd that you’d turn to Frank and not one of your women friends at a time like this.”
Molly groaned, her frustration with him obvious.
Between Molly’s frustration and Sonya’s silence, Hunter had the sense he was hitting a little too close to home for both families. At first, Hunter had just been asking questions that might or might not come up in the course of a trial. Now he realized he was on to something serious.
“You’re being completely insulting to a woman who just lost her husband.” Molly now stood behind Sonya, defending her.
“And you’re too close to this situation to see things clearly, Counselor.” His goal was to remind Molly she was not just a family member but also a professional who knew the score. Who’d hired him to do his best and that meant leveling anyone who got in the way of him defending his client.
“God, stop arguing over me, please.” Sonya rose to her feet. “There’s a simple explanation. Really there is. I called Frank that night because he’s the only one who knew Paul had hit me before.” Sonya began pacing the floor in front of her chair.
Molly remained silent behind her, not meeting Hunter’s gaze.
Sonya shook her head. “So you see, he was the only one I could call when it happened again.”
But she’d also said he was her best friend, Hunter thought, the words sticking in his head. Very few married men or women would use that term to describe their relationship with a member of the opposite sex that wasn’t their spouse. And until her husband’s murder Sonya had been married. Which begged the question Were Sonya and the general more than friends?
In his first meeting with the general, Hunter had noted that he was protective of Paul’s widow. Could Frank have killed his partner because he’d laid a hand on Sonya again? And what exactly was going on between the two?
“How did Frank react when he found out Paul hit you?” Hunter asked, starting slowly. He didn’t want to risk antagonizing Sonya to the point where she called off the interview.
Hunter wasn’t pleased with Molly’s defensiveness, either. He wondered what exactly she knew about Frank and Sonya’s relationship that he didn’t.
Sonya shrugged. “Frank was upset when he saw the red mark on my face. Just like he was upset that Paul had stolen from him and lost everything they had! But he wasn’t angry enough to kill. Frank doesn’t have it in him to…” Her voice trailed off.
Hunter knew she couldn’t say the general didn’t have it in him to kill, because General Frank Addams was a military man through and through.
He’d served in war.
He’d killed before.
“The army was different,” Sonya said quickly.
Molly chimed in, “I agree.”
Hunter was not about to argue with either woman at the moment. His head was swimming with information and notions he had to sort through.
Just then, Sonya’s phone rang. “Excuse me.” She lifted the receiver. “Hello?” she asked, then listened to the voice on the other end. “Well, hi, yourself.” She smiled, a full-blown, feminine smile before turning away from Hunter and Molly so she could talk more privately. “Yes, yes, I’m still tied up,” Sonya said.
Hunter couldn’t help but overhear and he had no intention of walking away.
“I’m doing the best I can. No, no need to worry, although I appreciate it. Yes, I’ll call you when I’m through.”
Her voice held a warmth people reserved for a person they cared about, Hunter thought.
Her eyes held a glow he’d seen before, during their earlier conversation.
Sonya hung up. “Sorry about that,” she said.
“Was that the general?” Hunter blurted out the thought he hadn’t even realized had been running through his mind.
Sonya blinked. “Well, yes, it was. How did you know?”
Hunter gathered his pen and paper. “Simple, really. You light up when you talk about him. Or to him.”