Chapter Seven; Part Two
“Yes?” The question is asked in a creaky, tremulous voice, and I have to strain to hear her voice.
“Mrs. Ephrams? My name is Megan Liang, and I’m Julianna’s best friend. I would like to talk to you about the man you saw leaving the—”
“When she was murdered. Of course. Come up.” She buzzes me in, and I make sure to note her apartment number before trudging up to the third floor. I like to walk whenever I can, but I’m regretting it by the second floor. No matter how fit I am, I always get tired climbing stairs. I’m panting lightly by the time I reach Mrs. Ephrams door, and I take a second to catch my breath. Before I can knock on her door, however, she opens it. She must have been watching for me.
“Come in, dearie. Would you like some homemade chocolate chip cookies and milk?” Mrs. Ephrams is five-foot nothing with determinedly blue curls. She’s wearing a hot pink housedress and pink mules. She’s smoking an unfiltered Camel, and I love everything about her. Expect for her thick-lensed cat-eye glasses. I’m not happy to see that.
“I’d love that, Mrs. Ephrams.” I smile at her as I enter the apartment. I waffle as to whether I should take off my shoes, but I decide to leave them on.
“Call me Gloria. Mrs. Ephrams reminds me of my mother-in-law, and I hated that witch.” Gloria says, flashing me an impish smile.
“Gloria. I’m Megan.” I grin at her, delighted at her frisky personality. She’s eighty if she’s a day, but she’s not letting it get her down.
“I’m so sorry about your friend. That has to be devastating, especially at such a young age!” Gloria leads me into the kitchen where she takes the top off the cookie jar, puts several cookies in her toaster oven, then pours us each a glass of milk. Once the cookies are nice and gooey, she takes them out and puts them on two plates. She hands one plate and one glass to me before taking me into the living room. She gestures to the couch where a plump tuxedo cat is sitting grandly on the middle cushion. “Bongo, move.” She makes shooing motions with her hands, but Bongo ignores her, of course. He or she is a cat. They don’t take orders from us mere humans.
“It’s OK. I have two cats of my own.” I sit on the cushion to Bongo’s left, careful to respect…his or her space. Bongo immediately jumps into my lap and starts kneading.
“That’s unusual. He doesn’t usually care for strangers.” Gloria sits in the rocking chair across from the couch.
“I have a way with cats,” I say, stroking Bongo’s fluffy fur. He rubs his face against my hand, and I press his ears back before letting them pop up again. He slowly blinks at me, and I do the same back.