Victoria blinked her huge brown eyes. She opened her mouth to reply to Granny but before she got the chance, the library door was thrown open and John James crashed into the room, red-faced and clutching a glass of scotch.
“How dare you.”
Victoria looked up, mascara-stained, at her brother’s towering frame.
“Accuse me of killing your husband. I wouldn’t have wasted a second of my life on planning his murder, or anything to do with him.” John James’ eyes were wild and sparked with the fuel of alcohol and rage. He threw his glass down at Victoria’s feet where it smashed to pieces.
Victoria recoiled against the couch cushions and spoke in a small but even voice.
“John please. I know how much you hated Victor. I know what he did with your wife -”
“With another roar, John James picked up a porcelain vase next to the couch and threw it across the room, where it shattered as well. Granny pursed her lips but said nothing.
“Enough of your lies! Don’t speak about Catherine! Just because your husband was a cheating bastard doesn’t mean that everyone -”
But Victoria was gathering strength. In a slightly louder voice, she continued: “Their affair. I know all about it. If Victor was a cheating good-for-nothing, then so was she! Don’t act like she was a saint, John! I know -”
This time it was Granny who interrupted her softly. “Be quiet, Victoria. John, calm down for heavens sake. You’re family, you should be on the same side no matter what.”
But John James was unshakeable. Turning around to face Granny, running a hand through his silver-streaked hair, he shook his head almost pleadingly. “No Mother! Catherine was family too. And the way she talks about her -” He whipped around defiantly towards Victoria. “It can’t be true. Catherine was always faithful to me. Always.”
“Oh, Father.” A dryly humorous voice came from the door, and everyone turned to look as Amy entered the room, carrying a tray of petite cookies and cakes. She gently set it down on the beveled glass coffee table and looked at John James with a slightly sarcastic, pitying look. “Of course she was sleeping with Uncle Victor. You really did bury your head in the sand, didn’t you?” Amy left and quickly came back with a large silver pot of tea, which she began pouring for a shocked Granny and Victoria.
“Amy, darling..” Granny murmured. “What are you saying?”
Amy laughed again, chillingly. “And that’s not all. You really didn’t know? About Tan -”
“Amy.” This time Granny spoke in a cold, clear voice. Everyone turned, startled, as she stared at Amy with no trace of her prior softness. “Think about what you’re saying.”
But Amy simply shifted her cold smile to Granny. “What is it, Granny? Afraid of the truth?”
Still smiling, Amy spoke as she spooned sugar into her tea.