“Hello, Ms. Liang. Sorry to bother you on a Sunday, but I have a few more questions I’d like to ask Mr. Frantz. Please put him on the line.” Her tone is cool to the point of frosty.
“Paris, it’s the inspector,” I mouth as I hand over the phone. Paris’s countenance tightens up as he wipes his lips. He takes the phone and walks out of the room. I am tempted to follow him, but decide to give him privacy. I hear his voice rising in the living room, but I don’t dare go comfort him. Instead, I sit down to finish my omelet. By the time I’m done, Paris still hasn’t returned. I start in on the dishes, wondering what Inspector Robinson has to say that is upsetting Paris so much. As I am placing my cup in the dishwasher, Paris bursts back into the kitchen. He is so irate, his face is red. He cannot speak as he gesticulates wildly. It takes him several minutes to get himself under control.
“That bitch!” He yells when he finally can speak again. “I cannot fucking believe her.”
“What’s up?” I eye him cautiously, hoping he’ll calm down. When Paris loses his temper, everyone is made to feel his pain. “What did the good inspector have to say for herself?”
“Let’s see.” Paris pauses to rearrange his thoughts. When he’s ready, he unloads. It seems the inspector found out that Max had given up a child nearly thirty years ago; Inspector Robinson wondered if perhaps Paris was that child. When Paris retorted that he could get his birth certificate from his mother if need be, she switched tracks. He was asked if Max ever confided to him about Moira’s affairs. When he said no, the inspector switched subjects again. Apparently her M.O. was to keep throwing accusations out there and seeing what stuck. She asked again about the last time Paris saw Max, what they did, can you please repeat that in excruciating detail? The coup de grace, however, was her parting shot. It turned out that Max was two months pregnant. Apparently, she had skipped a day or two of her pill. What would Paris happen to know about that? Perhaps he was the father? By the time Paris hung up the phone, he felt as if he’d had three shots of tequila with no lime and salt to ease the transition.
“She was pregnant?” My mouth drops open. I thought that was a literary convention, but it actually happens. “She’s older than God!”
“She’s only forty-three. She’s not that old.” Paris is still defending that woman, damn him. “Max told me she was on the pill.”
Max was fifteen when she had her illegitimate child. My mind is boggling with this new information. Not so much that she gave up a child for adoption, but that she was two months pregnant when she died. That means that Moira wasn’t the only one fooling around at the time of her death. I can tell by the look on Paris’s face that he appreciates the situation as well. I cautiously ask if he knew about either, and it saddens me to have to ask. Just last night I was marveling at how well we knew each other, how we had no major secrets. Now, I’m not so sure. He says he didn’t, and the weariness of his tone convinces me more than anything. If he had known, he would have sounded defensive or guileless. His eyes fill with tears as he confides that he wishes he had known because perhaps she’d still be alive. To my consternation, he won’t accept my comfort. He is beyond placation as he anguishes over why Max had been killed. He hugs himself, a forlorn look on his face as he keeps repeating, “Why would someone kill her? Why?” His pain is palpable, and I can’t stand it any longer. I need to get to the truth about his relationship with Max.