“I know, but you can check for yourself. He never married. Never had kids. Spent most of his life in and out of jail, to be honest.”
“Could there be someone we don’t have a record of? Anyone?”
“I suppose it’s possible. Biologically, he could’ve had kids and not been part of their lives. But then that leaves you wondering—”
“Why one of his kids would avenge his death by killing Shapiro.”
Laura threw her hands in the air. “Will someone, for the love of everything good and holy in this universe, tell me what’s going on? What do you mean you saw him? We’re talking about the same guy, right? The dead one?”
Before Cassie could respond, Laura jabbed a finger in her direction.
“The next words out of your mouth better be a direct and truthful answer to my question, Cassie, or so help me God.”
The air in the meeting room was heavy and suffocating. The chill they had encountered upon entering was now uncomfortable, humid, and hot.
Cassie and David exchanged a look.
Laura’s voice had a growl to it. “Don’t do that.”
David looked away first. “Don’t do what?”
“That.” She waved her hand at the two of them. “Whatever that is.”
Cassie was sure laughing would be the wrong response in this moment, but she was having a hard time holding it back. She mimicked her sister’s gestures. “I have no idea what that means.”
“You guys talk to each other. Silently. I’m not stupid, you know. I’m a psychologist. I’m trained to watch body language. I can tell when someone is lying. I can tell when someone is keeping something from me. I wasn’t going to say anything because you’re my sister, and I want you to trust me on your own terms and not mine, but I’m really confused. Screw that. I’m beyond confused.” There were tears in her eyes now, and Cassie could tell she was seconds away from a meltdown. “This trip has been really weird. And you’ve been really weird. And I’m trying to do the best I can to be a good sister, but I feel like nothing I do is enough. Nothing I do will get you to open up to me.”
Cassie’s eyes started to water now. “What? No. Come on. You’re the best sister I could ask for.”
“Then why won’t you tell me what you’re hiding from me? Is it bad? Are you afraid I won’t be okay with it?”
Cassie felt a lump rise in her throat, and she had to work to keep her voice even. “Yeah. That’s exactly it. I don’t want you to think of me any differently.”
“Why would I think of you any differently? You’re my sister.” She sniffled. “I just don’t get it. You’re always on edge. And, like, I get it, you’ve been through a lot of shit. But you talk about it like that’s not a big deal. Like it doesn’t affect you that much anymore. And when it does, you tell me. So, it must not be that.”
“You freaked out at breakfast the other day. During therapy, it sounded like you were holding something back. And now, with this? How could you just know those things? You’re smarter than that. You’re not that cavalier, so there’s something else going on.” Laura was pacing now. “Then again, you’ve always been that way. Always known when something was off. Always known things you shouldn’t have known. I just thought you were a nosy older sister when we were growing up. But this? This is weird. This is—”
“Laura?” Cassie took a step forward. “Are you okay?”
“You said you saw him.” She pointed to the file that David was still holding in his hands. “You said you saw him from the beginning. What did you mean by that?”
Cassie’s voice faltered, and she looked to David, who just shrugged.
“You might as well tell her. She’s three-quarters of the way there already anyway.”
Cassie scowled at him. When she turned back to Laura, her sister had the strangest mixture of expressions on her face. It was anger and hurt and expectancy and incredulity all rolled into one. “When I said I saw him,” Cassie said, swallowing audibly, “I meant I saw him. In my dining room. That day that I dropped the coffee mug. That’s why I dropped it.”
“You saw him in your dining room?” Laura looked at David, who nodded, and then returned her gaze to Cassie. “You saw the dead man in your dining room.”