“Hi Sarah. Out doing some shopping?”
“I’ll make us some coffee, have a seat.”
Vanessa noted the lack of an answer to the question. Sarah came back with two coffee cups and they sat down on the sofa.
“Get much work done today?”
“Yeah, a fair bit. I’ve got a deadline coming up so I’ve been banging away at it. So how are you and James finding the house? Everything to your liking.”
“Yeah, it’s good. I want to redecorate some, but I’ll wait a while. Heard anything on the block party yet?”
“No, I’ll keep you informed though.”
Vanessa looked for visual clues of Sarah’s condition trying not to be too obvious. She noticed a slight bruise on her left wrist but didn’t stare.
“So what brings you over?”
“Oh, I’ve been thinking I’d like to get to know you a little better is all. I like you Sarah. I thought maybe you’d want someone to talk to.”
There. It was out now. She watched Sarah’s face carefully.
“Yeah, I like you too Vanessa. I’m flattered. I’m sure we can be good friends.”
She turned her head slightly as she spoke and looked down. Not a good sign. All at once she turned back and looked Vanessa in the eye.
“You heard us arguing last night didn’t you.”
Sarah blushed in spite of herself.
“Well, yeah, I heard raised voices. Didn’t last long. Just a spat?”
“Yeah, nothing serious. He gets wound up about work and takes it out on me sometimes, but he’s always quick to catch it and apologize.”
“I see. I hope I’m not being too brazen, but since you brought it up…are things all right between the two of you overall?”
Sarah smiled and covered her mouth as she giggled.
“Oh yeah. We haven’t been together that long.”
They made some more small talk and finished their coffee and Vanessa, sensing she wasn’t going to get anything more excused herself to go do some more work. As she left she heard the phone ring. Noticing that the side window was open to the heat of the day she made her way along the hedge and stood underneath it and listened. She felt bad about being nosy but she had to find out more about Sarah. She could hear the conversation from Sarah’s end clearly.
“…I don’t know if I can make it tomorrow, I have to…yeah…uh huh…but I told you I…okay, okay, fine, I’ll be there. I know, you don’t have to remind me.”
Vanessa moved away and back to her house. Inside she sat down and thought things over. Whoever Sarah had been talking to it was someone she was afraid of, that much was clear.
It had to be James. She could tell Sarah was covering something up when she talked about how he always caught himself and apologized. Her words didn’t match the feeling Vanessa had gotten while listening.
She made up her mind that she needed more information and there was only one way to get it. She had to follow Vanessa and see where she went during the day. She had noticed that often when she’d been gone she came back without groceries or shopping bags of any sort. That didn’t add up.
It had sounded like she was going to meet someone tomorrow. It might just be that she was to meet James for lunch but if not it might provide some insight into what was going on. She made a mental note to take her camera with her.
Part 4 Tomorrow