The Doctor's Choice(95)

By: J. D. Faver

Teri figured she’d put on a good ten pounds, but there wasn’t a scale. She had gone from a size four to a size eight. When she got back to New York she would hire a personal trainer and go to the gym every day. For now, the extra pounds were part of her disguise.

She removed two crisp hundred-dollar bills from the bag and stuffed them in her pocket along with her keys. Unfolding a brown paper grocery bag from the pantry, she placed the rest of the money inside.

Teri walked to the Wal-Mart two blocks from the apartment. She purchased a pair of jeans and a yellow knit shirt and changed in the restroom. Adding a San Antonio Spurs baseball cap and pair of hot pink sunglasses as accessories completed her outfit.

People who lived and worked near the convent could spot the nuns even in lay clothing. Teri didn’t want anyone to connect a nun with what she was about to do. She stuffed her conservative skirt and shirt in the plastic store bag. Another two blocks took her to a branch of a local bank.

She went inside and rented a safe deposit box, using Bernie’s social security number and her St. Pius School identification. When the banker left her alone, she took the money out of the bag and neatly arranged it in the drawer. She regarded it solemnly. Teri Slaughter had not wanted this money, nor had she done anything to deserve it but she was positive the men who killed Colin didn’t deserve it either. She folded the paper bag on top of the rows of bills.

The last thing she placed in the safe deposit box was a list of numbers written in Colin’s handwriting. She’d found it in a pocket of the carry-on bag. The list contained ten sets of numbers, in no sequence Teri could recognize. It had to be important so she’d saved it. She locked the drawer and put the key on her ring. If forced to take flight again she might not be able to go back to the apartment to get the money.

Teri immediately felt lighter, as though having all that cash hidden under her bed had been a huge burden.

Walking as fast as possible without drawing attention to herself, she returned to the apartment and then folded the jeans and knit shirt in the bottom of her bureau drawer. After pulling on her previous attire, she returned to the convent in time for supper.

Mother Imaculatta caught her eye when she entered and Sister Clement waved gleefully. She took a chair between Clem and Sister Constantine or Connie as she was called.

“Oh, Bernie,” Clem said. “I was going to make you a sandwich if you didn’t make it to the dining hall in time for dinner.”

“Thanks, Clemmie,” Teri said.

“We have food at the apartment,” Connie said. “You could make something there.”

“Not as good as this,” Teri said. The delicious convent meals were the cause of her weight gain.

After supper they went to the chapel for evening prayers. Mother Superior drew her away from her friends and knelt beside her on the kneeler.

Teri was sure that Bernie would have been earnestly praying for her and she tried to apply herself to the task but found her mind wandering. She prayed for Colin, picturing his handsome, tanned face with the bullet hole in his forehead. She finally settled on a silent mantra begging for deliverance from her pursuers and a return to her former life.