The April Saturday held a hint of summer. With a pitcher of iced mint tea on the table between us, I quizzed Jenna for a test in Anatomy. A car pulled in at the curb. Jenna’s shoulders tensed. When I looked up, the reason for her uneasiness was evident. Marcus Garner strode up the walk. He’d inherited his height and build from his father. Only his black hair and dark eyes came from Martha.
“Marcus, what brings you?”
The owner of the local newspaper glared. “The pair of you.” Anger darkened his eyes. “Katherine, my family doesn’t need your interference. I don’t appreciate what you did with my mother the other evening.”
I rose and faced him. “Just what’s wrong with two friends having dinner at the best restaurant in town?”
“I know what you were up to.” He stabbed his finger toward me. “Stay out of my business.” He turned to Jenna. “What did I tell you when I heard you were back in town?”
“Not to see Gran.”
“But you did and you have her all upset. She doesn’t need another addict siphoning her money.”
Jenna sprang to her feet. “I’ve never done drugs and I don’t abuse alcohol. I saw how those things messed up my mother and Mark.”
“Liar. Mark had no substance abuse problems. For the last time, stay away from my mother.”
“She’s my grandmother and I love her.”
He raised his fist and swung. I grabbed his arm and deflected the blow. “Marcus Garner, you have no right to come on my property and threaten anyone.”
“Just stay out of my business.” He stomped to his car and drove away.
I shook my head. How could a middle-aged pillar of the community have so little restraint?
“You should have let him hit me.”
“He would have been talking to the police.” She reached for the tea. “Sorry.”
“What for? He’s the one at fault.” I patted her hand. “If Martha wants to see you, he has no reason to say she can’t.”
She sucked in a breath. “I shouldn’t drag you into my problems. Maybe I need to find another apartment.”
“Absolutely not. Your uncle and I have had our differences in the past. He doesn’t frighten me either.” I frowned. “He can be rude, but I wonder what has him so worried. Could he have a guilty conscience? Maybe he’s afraid your grandmother will learn the detective was a hoax.”
Jenna settled in the chair. “I doubt he feels guilty about anything. He’s afraid Gran will leave her money to someone other than him. When Granddad died, Uncle Marcus was furious when he received the paper and no money. He and Sophie had been married a year. She wasn’t happy either.”
My thoughts churned. If Marcus was living off the profits from the paper, he could be over-extended, especially with the show of wealth Sophie enjoyed. Was Martha subsidizing his lifestyle or was he counting on a large inheritance? I picked up the study guide. “Back to Anatomy.”