The Case of the Absent Triplet

Digital drawing. Three women with identical features seen from waist up looking forward. From left to right. A woman with arms crossed, smiling and with her hair in a high pony tail. A woman with shoulder-length hair styled in waves, wearing a pinstripe suit. A woman with loose shoulder-length hair with her hands in the pockets of her windbreaker. Behind them, tilted is a the hazy outline of their image with the faces of the two women at right and middle blurred out.

Kat stood at the edge of the pristine high-piled white rug in her sister’s corner office, gaping at the facedown body of a man in a steel-gray suit with a knife handle protruding from his back.

“What have you done, Trish?” Kat said, unable to pull her gaze away from bright puddle of blood under the man’s left armpit.

She pulled her phone from her pocket and started entering numbers.

“Whoa!  He’s not dead,” Trish said. 

Kat’s trance finally broke, and she glanced up her eldest sister, a mirror to Kat herself.  Except that Trish had colored her hair a tasteful shade of auburn, and was wearing her typical uniform of a boldly colored pinstripe suit with chunky jewelry and powdery natural make-up.  Kat imagined that she herself looked like the “before” picture of the makeover split screen that culminated in the powerfully put-together result that was Patricia Blood.

“Not dead,” Kat said, as if the act of saying the words was paving the way for her mind to catch up to their meaning.

She glanced back down to the body and knelt before the man’s head.  She heard a soft groan escape the general region of his head, and almost tumbled back.

She resumed dialing.  “He’s needs an ambulance.”

“It’s already on the way,” Trish said.

Kat rose to her feet and sidled over to where Trish was, leaning against her real cherry wood desk (or mahogany, or whatever it was that at the moment actually smelled like pine). 

Trish blinked a few times and her auburn curls were shivering just a bit.

Kat was about to ask why in the world her sister had called her and asked her to rush over, if there wasn’t an actual dead body (and if there had been, what in the world Trish had expected Kat to do about it).  But her unshakeable older sister actually appeared a little shaken. 

Trish’s voice sounded a little strange, a little high.  And her eyes had a sheen to them, like tears forming maybe, or…Kat moved a bit closer.  She thought she caught the slight shadow that the edge of a contact lens made on the eye.  Trish didn’t wear contacts, though maybe she needed them now.  Maybe she wasn’t used to them. 

“Why does it smell like pine in here?” Kat asked instead, glancing at the desk, almost smiling when she saw an open box of chicken nuggets just in front of the chair.  No matter how much refinement Trish cultivated, she had not surrendered her pure and simple love of chicken nuggets.

Trish waved a hand.  “My new assistant is trying to impress me.  I think he polished the wood.  But he used some bargain polish.  I’ll have to talk to him about that.”

That sounded more like her oldest sister.

Kat walked over to the window.  Sure enough, she saw an ambulance pull up to the curb, and paramedics rush into the building. 

“You okay?” Kat asked.  “You sound a little…off.”

“I’m getting over a cold.”

Kat turned to face her.  “Is that why Trudy is not in here?”

When Kat first saw the man, among the many thoughts that raced through her mind was that Trish’s bodyguard, their other sister, Trudy, must have killed the man in defense of Trish, and in the course of her assigned duties.  Trish must have secreted her away before the police could arrest her. 

Trish pushed off her desk and stood up, folding her hands together before her.  “I have to apologize for calling you.  I think I might have panicked.”

Kat raised her brows.  “You?  Panic?”  She passed the phone on the desk and glanced over.  The number displayed on the screen was different from the one that had called her.  It was a number she hadn’t recognized.  She’d let it go to voicemail.  She’d only come because Trish had used the code words that they had agreed would mean “I’m in real trouble.  Come right away.”

Trish seemed to recover herself.  With a shake of her head, her curls bounced stylishly and then settled on her shoulders, still and unwavering. 

“Alright, maybe I was just trying to be relatable by saying ‘panic.’  The truth is that I was being impulsive.”  She sighed and sniffed.  “Even to this day, I still can’t quite reign it in sometimes.  And after all, I’m used to having one of my sisters by my side.”

Trish didn’t say any more about their absent sister.  And if there was any accusation in her last statement, Kat wasn’t interested in engaging with it.  Being that there wasn’t an actual dead body in her sister’s office, Kat was glad to leave.

She almost made it through the door without saying another word, but at the last minute, she turned to Trish, who was still standing by her desk.

“Next time you want to see me,” Kat said, “you should just call and set up a dinner or something.  Like a normal person.” 

That provoked a smile on her sister’s face, and a loosening of her shoulders that appeared to signal some relief.  Trish spoke her last words in her slightly off foggy voice.

“Thanks, Trina.”


Kat had stood outside the executive suite long enough to confirm that the paramedics came out with the stabbed man on a gurney.

Satisfied that her sister had kept her word on the “no murder” promise she’d made to her when they were still kids, Kat left the building.  At least Trish hadn’t said “clean crime only” for the millionth time.

And at least she hadn’t tried to recruit Kat to the family business one more time, though that wouldn’t have made sense right then given the circumstances.  Kat felt that feeling she got when there was a gap in the puzzle she was trying to put together.  Maybe she would try to review the morning’s events later, when she had calmed a bit.  She didn’t know whether Trish was really shaken or not, but Kat certainly was.

She checked her phone to see if she had any client meetings coming up before lunch, or any footwork she had for any of her open cases.  She wasn’t so distracted not to sense eyes on her.  She slowed and pretended to be engrossed in her phone as she glanced around.  But when she saw who was following her, she turned fully around, frowned, and walked toward her pursuer.

Kat’s sister grinned and collided with her.

“Why?  Why are you hugging me?”  Kat cried.  She had tensed herself for one of her middle sister’s all-embracing, near-suffocating bear hugs.  But Trudy seemed to be holding back a little.  And she let go after a quick squeeze.

“Did Trish send you after me?” Kat asked.

Trudy’s smile faded.  She blinked and pressed her lips together.  Then she clapped her muscular fingers around Kat’s upper arms.  “You’ve seen Trish?”

“I was just up in her office.  Saw the mess you made, by the way.”

Trudy let go of Kat’s arms and drew up to her full height.  “That wasn’t Trish,” she said.


Kat blinked.  “Come again?”

Trudy pointed a finger back over her shoulder, in the direction of the fourteen-story building that housed the corporate offices of the family business.

“That wasn’t Trish.  Trish is missing.  You have to help me find her.”

Kat put her hands in the pockets of her windbreaker and sighed.  “What is this?  You two playing some kind of mind game?  It’s been a while.  I thought you grew out of that.”

Trudy was shaking her head.  “Kat, our sister is missing.  She’s gone.  That’s the truth.”

“Okay, then let’s walk back and go see her for ourselves.”

“It’s not her.”

“What’s not who?”

“That woman.  That woman isn’t Trish.  She’s a decoy.”

Kat closed her eyes and rubbed her brow.  “A decoy.”

“You were in the same room with her, talked to her,” Trudy said.  “You didn’t notice it wasn’t her?”

“Does Trish wear contacts?”


Kat opened her eyes.  “She had chicken nuggets on her desk.  They were cold, but the box was still full.  She’d only eaten one or two—maybe she’s still sick.  But that’s not like her.  And the pine scent.  She said it was wood polish, but Trish likes that one perfume that smells like pine to me in the bottle.  But when she puts it on the smell changes.  I still think it’s terrible, but it definitely doesn’t smell like pine on her.”

Trudy widened her eyes.  “So…”

“But if I were to come over to your place wearing a black sequined dress and smoky eye makeup, holding a clutch but with no coat in sight, would you think I was an imposter?  Or would you wonder if I was just trying something different for once in my life?”

Trudy released an impatient sigh through her nostrils.

Kat didn’t spot the usual signs of deception that she’d learned to discern in both of her older sisters.  “Okay,” Kat said.  “Walk me through it.”

She looked up at her sister as Trudy spoke.  They were the same height, but Trudy—and Trish—looked taller.  They both had perfect posture, Trish as a result of her program of being polished and typically wearing ludicrously high heels, and Trudy as a result of her fitness and wellness program.  Kat also looked like the “before” picture compared to her middle sister, but in a different way.  The wimpy “before” to Trudy’s toned and graceful “after.”

According to Trudy, Trish had recruited the woman who now occupied her office to serve as a decoy.  She’d gotten the woman plastic surgery, contacts, her favorite perfume, and she’d trained the woman in pretending to be her, and even superficially to conduct some of the business that Trish normally managed, low stakes meetings mostly.  Trish had gotten some threats that seemed credible enough to take precautions.  The previous weekend, Trish had sent her decoy out to the office to take some weekend meetings and interact with the weekend staff in the offices and the building.  The test was only supposed to last over the weekend, but when they lost touch with Trish, her decoy just kept going.  Trudy told the woman to keep it up until she could track Trish down.

Kat nodded along.  “She didn’t call me, did she?”  She peered at her sister.  “You did.”

Trudy nodded.

“You know what’s happening here, right?” Kat said.  “She’s going from outside in.  First she tests the decoy on new clients, who maybe only know her by reputation, or people she usually only nods to in the hallway.  The decoy managed to fool them.  Great.  Now she’s going internal.  She’s testing you guys.  You were expecting her back.  She probably wants to know if you noticed that she hadn’t returned.  And to know if the decoy can handle the stress.  You have access to Trish’s secret accounts, right?  Let’s log in and see if she’s got any recent charges for some ski resort or something.”

Trudy was shaking her head.  “Or she got kidnapped while she testing her decoy.”

“Kidnapped by whom?  Who’s been threatening her?”

Trudy didn’t answer.

“Are you the one who stabbed that guy in her office?” Kat asked.

“Yes.” Trudy pressed her lips together.

“Were you trying to kill him?”


“Why did you stab him?”

“Because I think he knows where Tr—he knows where Trish is, I’m sure of it.  Or he knows something.”

“Who is he?”

“I don’t know.  I’ve never met him before, but he was trying to take a meeting with Trish—but the decoy Trish.”

“So maybe he’s part of her test?”

“We need to go question him.” 

“Yeah, seems worthwhile.  He might know something.”

Trudy glanced down the street, then turned and glanced down the opposite way.  “Where did they take him?  Which hospital?”

Kat held up a hand.  “So you thought one sister was in trouble, and you pulled the other one into the lion’s den with you, huh?”

Trudy’s straight shoulders slumped just a little.  “I had to.  You’re the only one I knew I could trust.”

“That’s what she said too…the decoy.” 

“She’s a very good decoy.”

“You don’t want to go interrogate her?”

Trudy waved a hand.  “She doesn’t know anything.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“If she did, I would have stabbed her too.”  Trudy smiled with one corner of her mouth.  The corner dropped when Kat answered with a silent frown.

“She called for help,” Kat said.  “You ran because you didn’t want to get caught.  And then you called me.”

Trudy nodded. “That’s how it happened.  I called Trish’s assistant too, after I called you.  Told her to cancel all her meetings and commitments due to a ‘family emergency.’  So I’ve bought us some time.”

“You really weren’t trying to kill that guy?”

“No, I swear.  No murders.  Clean crime only.”

Kat resisted rolling her eyes at the motto that Trish had devised for how she would run the family business when she was in charge.

“Then let’s go talk to him,” Kat said with a sigh.

Trudy licked her lips.  “So you believe me?”

“I believe I only had one client meeting today, and she canceled.  So I believe you’re my client now.”  She pointed at Trudy. “Let’s go and find old Patty-cakes, so the two of you can hash this out, and I can go and enjoy spending the fee you’ll be paying me to solving the case of the missing triplet.”

“You want me to pay you to find your own sister?”


Trudy shook her head and started walking away.  She stopped when she got halfway down the block and noticed that Kat hadn’t come along.

She turned back around and marched back to Kat.  “Agreed.  I’ll pay you.  Can we go?”

Kat smiled and offered her sister a single nod of agreement. 

“Want me to draw up a contract?” Trudy quipped.

“If you were Trish, I would.  But I’ll take your word for it.”

“Why are coming down on her so hard?”

Kat gave a mirthless laugh.  “Trish isn’t here, is she?  You are.  You’re the one I’m coming down on.”

“Why?  What did I do?”

Kat didn’t answer.  She let her sister think, and stew a little.  If Trish and Trudy were in on something together and dragging her into whatever that scheme might be, they had probably worked out how to keep their little sister befuddled and clueless.  Keeping the sister she was with ignorant of her thoughts might help Kat figure out if she being played for a patsy, or if she was indeed searching for a lost and possibly imperiled sister.


Kat remembered the name of the hospital on the ambulance that had come to take the stabbed man away.  She’d been considering following to make sure he lived, but then had thought better of it when her stomach lurched every time she thought of what she might do if one of her sisters was a murderer, or even an accidental killer.  She felt no gut instinct, however, about either of her sisters being in danger.  The better part of her reason for agreeing to go to the hospital was to confirm that the man Trudy had stabbed was still alive and would stay that way.

Trudy had one of Trish’s suits in her car—an “emergency suit” for if whatever Trish was wearing got dirty on her way to some function or meeting.  Kat put it on and pretended to be an attorney requesting a meeting with the man, whose name was Norrome, for the purposes of discussing a potential lawsuit for the injury he suffered.

Kat sat while her sister paced as they waited for someone to direct them to Norrome’s room.  She noticed something odd about the way Trudy was walking, the way she was placing her feet, as if she wasn’t used to the sneakers she was wearing.  They did look relatively new, but they were sneakers.  Sneakers were comfy.

“Why are you walking like that?” Kat asked.

Trudy stopped.  “Like what?”

Kat shook her head.  “Never mind.”

Trudy resumed pacing, though she walked more slowly and deliberately, as if Kat’s question made her self-conscious.  She finally gave up and sat down next to Kat.  “I have been doing a new kind of leg lift.  Starting position is—”

“I don’t need to hear about it,” Kat said, holding up a hand.

“Well, you look a little pale,” Trudy said.  “Not getting enough sun?”

Kat felt a smile approaching.  “Not as big as the last time I saw you, big sis.  Lost a little muscle tone?”

She braced herself for Trudy’s inevitable comeback, which would probably be about her haircut, or choice of profession.  Kat wouldn’t be bothered by either, or much else that Trudy said.  Now if the same insult came from Trish…

But Trudy went silent.  From the corner of her eye, Kat thought she saw her sister surreptitiously rubbing a bicep.

When they were finally given the go-ahead to see Norrome, Kat warned her sister to stay outside.


Kat dodged a half-eaten gelatin cup that came sailing through the air at her with impressive aim.

All she had said was, “I need to talk to you.”

“I’m not telling you anything!” Norrome cried.  He was pressing the button to summon a nurse.  “Nurse!”

“Why not?” Kat asked. 

“You stabbed me, you maniac!”

“Wasn’t me.”

His eyes went suddenly wide, so wide Kat could see the tiny blood vessels bulging and pulsing.  “Patricia?”

“I would say I’m sorry about my sister, but we need to review what happened before you…had your accident.”

The man was sweating profusely, his skin as pale and thin as a sheet of cheap copy paper, making his cherry-colored lips (he must have been wearing some balm) look morbidly cartoonish.

He shook his head.  “No, we’re done now.  You warned me.  I didn’t listen.  I get it now.  Just leave.  I won’t sue.  I won’t press charges.  We’re done.”

“Okay,” Kat said, folding her hands in front of herself.  “Repeat to me the warning I gave you.  Word for word.  So I know you get it this time.  Then we’re done.”


I’ll get some real answers from him,” Trudy said, just a tad too loudly, when they met up near the nurse’s station. 

Kat shook her head.  “He’s given all he knows.”

“He didn’t tell you anything.”

“He did business with her.  And knowing Trish, she didn’t give him anything but the exact details of what she needed him to do.  He got greedy.  Didn’t heed her warning when she told him their deal was a one-time deal.”

“But you didn’t find out what the deal was.”

“I tried.  He wouldn’t say.  But maybe we don’t need him to tell us.  Give me your login to the company database.” 

“And why would she use company resources to hire him if she wanted to hide what she was doing, even from me?”

“Trish has given you the highest clearance—other than herself, right?  This is what I do.  Let me at least try.  And if I don’t find anything, you can go and question Norrome—without any stabbing, punching, kicking, just with your words.”

Trudy gazed down the hall to where Norrome’s room was, but at last, she turned to Kat and said, “Fine.  Have it your way.”

She’d brought her laptop with her.  They found a table in the waiting area and Kat went to work.

“What did he do that made you stab him anyway?” Kat asked.

“He came at her.  He came at Trish.”

“The decoy, you mean?”

“He didn’t know that.”

“You sure?  Maybe I was right and what she paid him to do was be a part of her test of the decoy.  Maybe she expected you to respond with force.  Probably not stabbing force, though.” 

Kat logged in to her family business’s system.  “Now to apply what I’ve learned from the detectives on television…follow the money trail.”

Trudy looked over Kat’s shoulder while Kat started with a basic search for transactions with anyone named Norrome.  “What?  You don’t trust me all of a sudden?”

“I just want to see for myself.”

Kat shrugged.  “Maybe you should do this then.”

“You’ve always been better—best—at finding needles in haystacks.”

“Better at the boring tedious work that people like you and Trish are too good for, you mean?”

“No, that’s not what I mean.”

But boring was one of Kat’s skills.  And it was a good skill to have around people who couldn’t tolerate boredom and tedium.  She wanted some time alone with the company system, so she could investigate one particular avenue that her sister would object to.  She started narrating in whispers what she was doing, the file architecture logic, and how she would approach it to make the most efficient and effective search for any potential transactions that Norrome might be involved with, whether or not they were under his actual name. 

Her sister impressed her with her tolerance for Kat’s droning recitation.  But as Kat hoped, at some point, Trudy started glancing over at the hall leading to Norrome’s room.  She got drowsy, and while she didn’t leave, or pace, she did sit back.  Kat turned back on occasion, as she continued narrating, which allowed her the chance to see how attentive, or inattentive, her sister was being. 

Kat shifted her position in her chair slightly, and opened a window at the bottom right of the screen, blocked by her shoulder.  She started another search, on another person. 

On one Gertrude Blood. 

Her sister’s attention might snap awake at any moment.  So Kat searched quickly, and planned to make notes on her phone as soon as possible.  But she didn’t have.  What she found was as simple as a search result could be. 

She found nothing.

All of Trudy’s company accounts had been cleaned out.  Her employment record marked her as “active” but “on vacation.”  She’d been on that vacation for about a week.  About the amount of time that Trish had supposedly been missing.

“Find anything?”

Kat turned around, clicking the extra window closed, and found her sister sitting with half-lidded eyes and both arms folded back behind her head, which rested on her hands.

“Not yet.  Nothing on the company side, or public record.  But I’ll use my usual resources to find out what there is on Norrome’s side of the equation.”

Her sister sat up.  “While you’re doing that…I could question Norrome.”  She pointed between them.  “After a switch of wardrobe.”

“You think those buff arms of yours will fit into Trish’s delicate silk blouse?”

“Delicate blouses aren’t just for delicate arms, baby sis.”

Kat huffed out a laugh.  She pretended to hesitate and think about it, but she was eager to have to sister out of the way while she followed up on what she had just found.


They split apart for a few hours, agreeing to meet for dinner at a diner around the corner from the hospital. 

Kat made her calls, including some on Norrome.  Whatever work he’d done for her sister, he’d hidden well, at least well enough that Kat couldn’t find it.  But she did found out more about her sister.  About a week prior, before her supposed “vacation,” Trudy had given notice to her landlord about vacating her apartment.  According to that landlord, all her belongings were already gone.  She had rented a large storage space at some place near her apartment.  She’d made the last payment and cleared out that space too.

If she’d done all of that after stabbing Norrome, if the stabbing had been a fatal stabbing, it would have made sense.  She’d be on the run from the worse thing she’d ever done.

But her sister was still here. 

Her sister was still here because she feared for her other sister’s life.

Or so she claimed.


“You know most of the business is legitimate now,” Trudy said, sinking a fork into a meatball to cut it in half.  “Trish has been…uh, jettisoning, that’s what she calls it.  Jettisoning the shady parts.”

“Shady parts?”

Evening had fallen, and Kat and Trudy were at dinner.  They had both announced they had news to share, but agreed that they needed a break, that it would be okay for them to spend a little time making small talk.

“Does that make you think about maybe coming to work for us?”

Kat shook her head.  “You know I love what I do.”

“Helping corporate whistleblowers find evidence, and taking dirty pictures of people cheating on their marriages?”

Kat laughed.  “One.”  She pointed a finger up.  “I took one cheating spouse job, and you won’t let me live it down.”  She took a sip of her cola.

“Never,” Trudy said, grinning.

Kat sat up and stirred her soup.  “So, you got something from Norrome?”

Trudy glanced up and licked her lips.  “Using only my words, if you can believe it.”

“I can.” 

Whatever her sister had found was irrelevant.  It was a wild goose chase.  Maybe she knew it as well as Kat did.

“I found something too,” Kat said.  “Shall I go first?”

Her sister nodded, breathing in and exhaling an almost relaxed sigh.  Kat felt a twinge of regret at ruining the moment.  She revealed what she had found out.  The empty accounts.  The empty apartment.  The signs that Trudy was getting ready to run.

Her sister had one of the possible reactions that Kat had anticipated.  She seemed to think she was being accused of foul play.

“I think I know where you’re going.”  She set her fork down.  “I can’t really blame you for thinking it either, especially after today.  But I would never intentionally hurt Trish.” 

“I know.”

“Then what—”

“I’ve got good news and bad news,” Kat said.  “The good news is I’ve found Trish.”

“You have!”

Kat peered at her sister, at the toned arms, the straight posture.  “She’s sitting right across from me.”  She held up a hand and waved.  “Hi, Trish.”

Her sister seemed to freeze.  Her expression went blank.

“The bad news is that I don’t know where Trudy is.”

Kat waited.  Her sister again had one of the possible reactions that Kat had anticipated.

“Hi, Trina.”  She reached into her pocket and pulled out a tube of lipstick.  She held her other hand over her mouth and applied it right at the table. 

Kat said nothing.  She waited some more, and her sister began to speak.

“You thought I was Trudy when I tracked you down in the street.  The muscles, I know.  The clothes.  I’ve been working out.  We’ve been working on a double decoy plan.  I almost told you, but then I figured you’d be more likely to help Trudy.  You were happy to see her.”  Trish leaned over the table.  “But now you know.  You know that Trudy is the one who’s missing.  She’s the one who met with Norrome.  He gave me something—probably useless.  But we can follow it anyway.  No leaf unturned.”

“Trish, could it be that the real reason you pretended to be Trudy, and the real reason you called me to help find her is that you know deep down what’s happened?” 

Trish took a deep breath, and pressed her glossed lips together.

“Trudy has left the business,” Kat said.  “And she’s gone somewhere you probably won’t find her.  I know she’d mention leaving now and then, but she never did.  You took it for granted that it was just words.  You thought maybe she just needed to say it out loud every now and then to make sure she didn’t really want to leave.” 

Trish frowned.  “If she left of her own free will, she would have left a goodbye, to you at least.”

Kat shrugged.  “She probably figured you’d come to me, and that I’d search all her records.  That I of all people would understand.  And I do.”

“Look that’s fine.  She wants to leave, that’s fine.  But what if you’re wrong?  What if she was preparing to leave, but then something happened?  She was my other decoy.  That’s why I’ve been working out, so we would look more similar.  Maybe someone took her, thinking she was me.” 

Kat nodded.  There was a part of her that wanted to be sure Trudy was okay too.  “I’ll see what I can do.  But only on the condition that you don’t follow me.  You’d better comply, or she won’t be the only sister who disappears on you.”


Kat found herself on a flight, only a few hours long.  Trish had given her a generous expense account, but Kat used her own money.  She knew that Trish could follow or find her anyway.  Laying low, losing a tail, those weren’t among her skills.  But she hadn’t noticed anyone following her. 

Trudy had left a bread crumb for her little sister.  Kat had followed it.  That was all she’d told Trish.  And Trish had accepted that.

When Kat called the next morning, Trish sounded poised and ready for action.  Kat pictured her standing at her desk, overseeing the installation of a new rug.  But after hearing that Kat had found Trudy, safe and sound, she’d breathed an actual sigh of relief over the phone.  Kat told her to get herself some chicken nuggets for lunch, and Trish laughed out loud.

“All she had to do was ask,” Trish said.

“You wouldn’t have believed her.  She had to show you that she meant it.”  Kat shook her head.  “I’m surprised she didn’t fake her own death.”

“She didn’t do that because she wanted you to be able to find her.  And you did.”

“Yeah, well, she knew if I found her that’s as good as you finding her.  She wasn’t intending to disappear forever.”

Trish was silent for so long that Kat almost started to end the call, but then her eldest sister spoke.

“I guess I’m in this alone then.”

Kat frowned.  “No, you’re not.  Did you forget how I came running when you called?  And as it turns out, it actually was you who called me.”

“I put some money in your account for services rendered—from an account on the legitimate side of the business.  You can check on that yourself.”

“You didn’t need to do that.  I was just kidding about—”

“Consider it a ‘thank you.’”

Kat smirked.  “Or…you could just say the words.”

There was a pause, and Kat imagined her sister pressing her glossed lips together. 

“Thank you, Kat.”

Copyright © 2023  Nila L. Patel

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