Worthy, Part 1


Abigail Worthy steps into the living room of the home she shares with her mother, Rhiannon, and presents herself. She’s dressed in a blue plaid skirt, short-sleeved, pressed, white shirt, with saddle oxfords and light colored socks. Her dark hair is pulled back into a ponytail.

Rhiannon examines her closely and nods.

“This will make the right impression,” she says.

“Mom, I think this is a really bad idea,” Abigail says, knowing no objections on her part will sway her mother’s intentions.

“Who’s the responsible adult here?”

“Do you really want me to answer that?” Abigail replies.

“Speak when spoken to,” Rhiannon admonishes, “and be polite. She at least needs to like you.”

“So it’s good cop, bad cop, eh?”

“That’ll work.”

Abigail sits beside her mother on the couch and releases a frustrated sigh.

“What makes you think she’ll even see us?”

Rhiannon slides to the edge of the couch and opens a notebook that’s on the coffee table in front of her. Inside are photos of an elegant house along with pages of notes and diagrams.

“There’s no gate,” she says, “and the cleaning staff comes in the afternoon before Danny gets home.”

“You mean Dr. Hawkins.”

“To me he’ll always be Danny — the deadbeat creep.”

“He’s not who we’re going to see, right?”

“No, it’s Elspeth, we want to see. She’s the one who pulls the strings in that family.”

“What makes you think she’ll even give us the time of day? Doesn’t she have an assistant who screens callers?”

“Not today. This is the day her assistant, Nan, visits her mother in the assisted living facility.”

“You’re sure it’s today?”

“I told you, the facility’s in our network. I looked her up and made a few calls.”

“Technically, that’s called stalking, I believe.”

“I only followed her the one time. When I saw her turn into Crestwood, I headed back to the hospital and ran a search. We’ve been giving her mother the best of care since her stroke last year — something Nan’s very appreciative of, I should point out.”

“How do you know that?”

“She’s very rules oriented and regularly completes her surveys. We always get high marks from her.”

“Wonderful.”

“Now, when we get there, I do all the talking, unless she questions you, got it?”

“No problem there.”

“Good. Get your jacket and let’s do this.”

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