“Where could Lee have gotten almost twenty grand?” Mac asked.
They stared at each other for a minute.
“Keep digging. There must be some logical explanation.” Rejecting the possibility that Lee could have done anything amiss, Grant rubbed his forehead. “But if their life insurance should cover their outstanding debts, then whoever takes the kids can stay in the house.”
“I think so. Unless more liabilities turn up, or we find their will and it makes other provisions.” Hannah gathered the papers on the desk. “But if it comes down to it, I have some cash put aside. They won’t have to leave this house if we decide they should stay.”
“Same here.” Except for the money he sent to the nursing home, most of Grant’s pay went into the bank. He didn’t have a family to support and had few housing expenses. His savings account was healthy. If Lee had told him he was so broke, Grant would have helped out.
Maybe if Grant had called more, he’d have known his brother was in financial trouble.
“Where could they have stored their legal documents?” Grant scanned the room. Its small size limited possible locations, but the rest of the house . . .
She shook her head. “I’ve been through his entire desk and computer files. If they had a will, it’s not here.”
“Maybe they didn’t have a will.” Mac rubbed an ink mark on the tan leather ottoman next to his thigh. “They didn’t count on dying this young.”
“True, but Lee was a planner.” Hannah slid the papers into a folder. “Even in debt, he provided life insurance for his family. The will must be here somewhere.” She opened a second file, and they all drew a collective, silent breath. “Now we need to talk about funeral arrangements. I thought we’d use Stokes Funeral Home on First Street. It’s the one we used for Mom.” Her voice cracked. She paused to press her knuckles against her mouth.
Grief filled Grant’s chest like concrete.
Mac slid the ottoman forward and pulled her into a hug. “Why don’t you let me take care of the funeral arrangements? I’ll go down there today, talk to the director, and we can reconvene here tonight. That way, when . . .” Mac paused as if he couldn’t get the words out. “When the medical examiner releases the bodies, we’ll be ready.”
“Are you sure?” Grant was used to handling the tough decisions. Of course, he was also accustomed to his orders being followed, and that only applied in the military. His family did not recognize him as a superior officer. The only one who listened to him was Carson. Faith screamed in his face for eight hours a night. Mac’s lifelong modus operandi was to agree, then do whatever he wanted. Hannah would argue until the season changed. And he didn’t even want to think about his discussion with Ellie next door. She clearly wasn’t following any orders.
“Yeah.” Mac exhaled hard, then nodded. “Hannah has the legal and financial stuff under control. You’ve got the kids handled. Let me contribute something.”
“It’s all right with me,” Grant agreed. “Hannah?”
She nodded. “Thanks, Mac.”
“We need to coordinate errands so one of us is here with the kids. I asked Julia from next door to babysit for a couple of hours this afternoon to help out. But considering everything that’s happened, I’d still feel more comfortable if one of us is in the house.”
“Agreed.” Hannah frowned. “What about Dad?”
“I don’t know. He didn’t remember me when I visited him,” Grant said. “I didn’t see any point in telling him about Lee and Kate.”
“How do you think he’d feel if he misses the funeral?” Hannah’s voice caught.
Was their father’s illness one of the reasons she stayed away from Scarlet Falls? She’d been chasing his attention all her life. As a teen, Hannah was the best marksman of the four of them. But the Colonel had still been focused on his boys. His slight hadn’t been intentional. He didn’t know what to do with a girl. Intentional or not, Hannah had felt his disinterest. She probably would have gone into the service after college if their father hadn’t been so outspoken in his disapproval of women in the military.
“If he doesn’t remember Grant, he won’t remember the rest of us,” Mac said.
Grant turned. “Why do you say that?”
Mac lifted a palm. “You were always his favorite. For the last few years before the dementia took over, all he ever talked about was you becoming a general. Lee was never aggressive enough for the Colonel. Hannah was, but the old man didn’t see it.” Mac rubbed his sister’s shoulder. “Sorry, Sis. He totally missed the boat on that one. You’re the toughest of all of us.”
Hannah’s lip twisted into a weak smile. Grant knew that, on the outside, Hannah was tough as nails, but inside? Not so much.
“What about you?” Grant asked. “Mr. Outdoorsman.”
“Nah.” Mac waved a hand. “By the time I was old enough for him to take any interest in me, he already had you in the military academy. I skated under the radar. Could you imagine if he knew I spent my time living in a tent, studying families of otters? At least Lee and Hannah are lawyers. I’m a biologist who can’t keep his own fish alive.”
“That is pretty sad.” Grant laughed, then sobered.
“There’s an option for Carson, though,” Mac said. “Boarding school—”
“No.” Grant interrupted him. “I hated that place.”
“Really?” Hannah lifted her head. “I was so jealous I couldn’t go.”
“Yes,” Grant admitted. “Well, maybe I didn’t hate the place as much as being away from all of you. I was only twelve. And there were no girls.”
“You never said anything.” Hannah straightened the already perfect piles of papers on the desk.
“How could I?” Grant sighed. “Dad was so proud. I would have broken his heart. But that brings me to my next item for discussion.” Grant paused and listened at the door for a second. No sounds from upstairs. He lowered his voice. “What are we going to do about the kids?”
“Is it really just the three of us?” Mac asked. “Doesn’t Kate have any family?”
“Not that I know of—”
“She does.” Hannah reached for the bottom desk drawer. “I found an old address book with Kate’s handwriting.” She lifted out a small black book and opened it. “Mom is penciled under M. There’s a phone number.”
Mac leaned forward. “That’s a Boston exchange. That book looks old.”
“Probably is.” Hannah flipped through pages. “I found it stuck behind the drawer. Shall I call the number?”
The baby’s cries echoed in the hallway.
“The master calls.” Grant stood up. “I vote yes. The number might not even work, but I think Kate’s parents have a right to know about her death.”
Faith cried louder. Grant turned and hurried to the kitchen. The TV was on in the adjoining family room. Before Hannah had summoned him to the office, he’d been watching the news. As he prepared the formula, he read the weather report scrolling across the bottom of the screen. Shaking the bottle, he turned to leave the kitchen.
“Stay tuned for the noon report as the parents of Lindsay Hamilton speak out on the murder of their attorney, Lee Barrett.”
“Oh my God.” Mac’s voice came from behind Grant.
He turned. In the doorway, Mac stared at the screen. Upstairs Faith jacked up the volume. The girl had lungs.
“Can you record that?” Grant pointed to the TV. “And then turn it off. I don’t want Carson to hear it if he comes downstairs.”
“I’m on it.” Mac moved toward the digital cable box.
Grant grabbed the bottle he’d already prepared and climbed the steps to the nursery. Could the Hamilton case file be the one Lee’s boss was seeking? He’d have to find out later. If the report made the noon news, it would be on the Internet somewhere. He’d either watch the recording when Carson was asleep or he’d web surf until he found it. The news network would probably have the clip on their website feed.
Faith was on her belly holding her head and chest off the crib mattress.
“I guess you know how to roll over.” Grant picked her up and settled in the rocking chair to feed her. He grabbed the book he’d found on Kate’s nightstand, What to Expect in the First Year, and looked for the page where he’d stopped reading earlier. “OK, Faith, where were we? By your baby’s fourth month, you both should be enjoying a full night’s sleep. Faith, have you read any of this book?”
Footsteps at the doorway interrupted him. Hannah walked into the nursery.
“Do you want to feed her?” Grant asked.
“She looks comfortable with you.” Hannah perched on the edge of the toy box. “So I called that number. Kate’s mother answered. She and Kate’s father live outside of Boston. She said they haven’t spoken to Kate in almost ten years. She didn’t say why. They’re driving down.”
“Get any vibes from the call?”
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