The phone rang several times before Ted picked it up. Jim was impatient for the waiting and shouted angrily. “Ted, where the hell have you been? I’ve been trying to get you for three days.”
The sleepy voice said. “Who the hell is this? If you must know, we just got back on the red eye from Hong Kong.” To someone else he mumbled, “It’s nine thirty.”
“It’s Jim Martin. I’ve been trying to get you to find out if you know where Trish is. We haven’t seen her for three days, and we’re all worried sick.”
“What’s the matter with Trish?” He was sounding confused but more awake.
“She’s run away or been abducted. We’re frantic. We don’t know where she is. Has she called you?”
“Like I said, we just got in last night. I have no idea where she is. There were no messages.”
“If you know anything, you had better tell me, Ted.” Jim’s voice was hard, but tir
“I don’t like your insinuations. If I knew anything, my sister would be the first ted beyond words.
“You jerk, it’s all your fault.”
“You have your gutS in blaming me for all your problems. Why do you want to put the blame on me for Trish running away?”
Jim ignored the question. “Don’t hang up. Emma wants to talk to you,” Jim shouted.
“Ted,” Emma pleaded.
“What the hell’s going on there, Mom? Let me talk to Jen.”
“I can’t, she’s too upset. Trish left three days ago and we haven’t heard a word. It’s like she dropped off the face of the earth.” She was crying. “I moved in to help with Mike…you know, Jim’s boss. I’ll explain later. Anyway, do you know anything at all? Has she called you? I think it was the coat that set everything off kilter.”
“So, that’s what Jim meant. I don’t know a thing about Trish. Believe me I would have called if I thought she was up to something. Put Jim back on, there’s something I want to ask him.” Ted lit a cigarette and blew smoke into the phone while he waited.
“Jim, old man, I’m sorry I flew off the handle. Since the coat seems to be a problem for you. I came up with a way to get the tax money so I could take it off your hands. Giving it away was a hasty decision.”
“I’d be only too glad to return the coat, but we discovered that Trish took it with her, for what reason I can’t imagine.”
“Now there’s a kicker,” Ted muttered.
“I’d be only too glad to unload it. At this point all I want is Trish back. I’m afraid her life hasn’t been very pleasant…all of us are guilty.” He glanced at Jenny, who sat on the sofa wrapped in a blanket and was still shivering. “I wish we had never set eyes on that damned coat.”
“Don’t you have you any idea where she might have gone? Ted’s voice mellowed a bit.
“We thought she may have gone to New York to see you since she took the coat with her. We’ve been calling all her school friends. Let me know if she shows up.” He whispered into the phone, “Jenny has completely withdrawn. There’s no talking to her.”
Emma sat beside Jenny, rubbing her back and talking softly, Mike Farrell watched them both from the lounge chair. He winked at Emma to give her encouragement. His color was improved, but he was still breathing hard, especially since Trish’s disappearance.
“I’m sorry you have to worry about me, especially since…” Mike gestured vaguely and Emma went to stand beside him.
“Calm yourself, Mike. It won’t help any of us if you have to go back to the hospital.”
“Maybe we can put off the shareholder’s meeting next week …until later, Jim. It’s only going to give you more to worry about.” He seemed to sink further into his chair.
If Jim heard Mike, it didn’t register. All he could think about, was his daughter safe? And where was he when she needed him? he was too angry to talk.