Besides, I need to wait for Mr. Jenson, as he’s on my list of people to interview. I doubt very much I’ll get anything substantive from him as he’s a cagey man, but I owe it to Paris to try. I have a hard time believing that he drove or flew from San Diego to the Bay Area to kill Paris for reasons unknown, but odder things have been known to happen. I wonder about the Jensons financial situation, then wonder why I wonder. Even if they are strapped for cash, it’s not as if Paris has much in the bank. The money that Ursula claims she’s going to settle on him hasn’t happened yet, Mr. Jenson don’t know about it, anyway, and it’s not enough to kill your stepson over, is it? Thinking about money leads me to ponder whether Paris has a will or not. My guess is no, but he can be surprisingly pragmatic about things such as that. If he does have a will, I’m fairly share that much of his earthly possessions will be split between Lyle and me. I wonder if Inspector Robinson has looked into that. I’m sure she has. She’s a thorough inspector who always gets her man. Or woman.
I sit at the table a bit longer, though I no longer want to eat. I can’t bear to go back yet, so I sit. It’s nice to be surrounded by others with similar stories, but not to be immersed in their pain. In a strange way, we are a support group without ever having to say a word. This is one place where you can assume for the most part that most people are not here for happy purposes—except, perhaps, to give birth. I wonder how many tears the cafeteria has witnessed? More than its fair share, I’m willing to wager. It’s the one place that has a lock on grief. After ten minutes of resting, I rise, dump my trash, and return to the waiting room. I look around me with displeasure; I am starting to seriously loathe this place.
Lyle, my mother and Mrs. Jenson are each slumped in a chair, my mother sitting between the other two. Mrs. Jenson has her head buried in her hands while Lyle is staring at the wall opposite. My mother is leaning against the wall behind her with her eyes closed. I can’t tell if she’s just resting her eyes or if she’s actually napping. I sit in the seat across from them so we don’t look like a line of prisoners waiting for execution. I close my eyes as well, suddenly exhausted. I want desperately to go home and sleep in my own bed, but it’d be too lonely and desolate without Paris in the other room. In the last couple months since the conclusion of the first murder case, Paris hasn’t stayed over at Lyle’s place very often because he’s been watching over me. I don’t know if I can stay in an empty apartment with Paris unconscious in the hospital. I wonder if I could persuade my mother to come home with me.
“Catherine! I got here as soon as I could!” Mr. Jenson is racing towards us, his face red. He is a short man, around five-feet eight inches, but he carries himself with the erect posture of a military man. He has a short, bristly flat top of white hair with a neat moustache of the same shade. He is wearing a dark brown suit with a narrow black tie, which is appropriate attire for attending a funeral. I shake that thought from my head.
“Douglas!” Mrs. Jenson jumps up and hurries to her husband. He wraps her in his arms and murmurs something into her hair. It’s obvious that he loves his wife and would do anything to take the pain away from her. It warms up my attitude towards him, but only marginally. Mrs. Jenson ushers him over to our little group and introduces him to my mother who has never met him.
“Pleasure, ma’am,” Mr. Jenson says gravely, shaking my mother’s hand. “It’s most unfortunate it has to be under such duress. How is Paris?” He looks from one to another, studiously avoiding looking at Lyle. Mrs. Jenson fills him in on the developments. The five of us do a little shuffle so my mother, Mr. and Mrs. Jenson are sitting in a row with Lyle and I across from them. My mother quickly falls back asleep.
“Would you like to see him?” Mrs. Jenson ask softly, her eyes focusing on her husband’s. He hesitates, and for a minute, I’m sure he’s going to say no.
“Of course, Catherine.” He comes through like a trooper. The two of them stand up, and Mrs. Jenson leads him by the hand.
“Did you see the way he hesitated?” Lyle hisses as soon as the two are out of sight—and hopefully earshot. “He doesn’t give a damn about Paris.”
“Lyle, please,” I say wearily. I am too tired to hear another harangue about the evilness of the Jensons. While I may not agree with their ideology, I have to respect that they are being true to what they believe. Besides, obsessing about it isn’t going to do anything but give Lyle an ulcer.
“Oh, I know. I’m sorry,” Lyle says contritely. “It’s just that they remind me so much of my parents. And about a zillion other parents of queer folk. How did you get to be so lucky?”