”No, but thank you.” I reach into my briefcase for several file folders.
”Caitlin? Bring in some trusts and marriage financials for me.” Joyce presses her intercom. ”And please bring us some Pellegrino.”
She focuses back on me. ”Well, Bette, you mentioned something about needing an adult to talk to. Was it about something other than marriages and money? I suppose it’s not a birds and bees question that’s on your mind.” Joyce gives me one of her sly crooked smiles.
”Here’s everything I own. It’s changed somewhat since my father’s estate was settled.” I hand over my accountant’s file folder. But, there’s something else I need talk about.” I clear my throat to start.
”Where to begin?” I wonder aloud. ”The short intro is I got a phone call late last week from a woman claiming to be a neighbor of my mother’s out in a desert somewhere. I’m guessing New Mexico, maybe?”
”Hm, is that right? From my digging into your life so thoroughly when … well, back then. I recall files on your father, but none on your mother, who, now that you mention it, I could have sworn was deceased. Now, you’ve got me curious. Why was that, Bette? Did you know she was still alive?”
”WitSec happened apparently. When I was very young and I always believed what my father had said – that she fell very ill one day while I was at school, and had died suddenly.”
”So, you never saw her in the hospital? And the Feds had her the whole time? Wow! Now, that must’ve been a shock for you.”
”It was a huge shock.”
”And when was this?” Joyce takes out a legal pad and begins to write.
”Friday late afternoon, and then we went to Malibu, and then, I asked Tina to marry me. Actually that night I proposed to her.”
”Uh huh, interesting timing for you and a shrink to think about but go on. So you got a call?”
”A Skype call from an elderly Native American woman who introduced herself as Mary Windhorse.”
”And said she was a friend of your mother’s. Right. So, what was the crime she witnessed, I wonder?” Joyce taps her Mont Blanc pen against her pad. ”How many years have passed since you last saw your mother, Bette?”