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Authors: Mary Higgins Clark

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When there was no answer, he demanded sharply, “Kate, why are you looking for Leesey?”

“I don't know, I just hoped . . .” Kate's voice broke.

“Kate, tell me what happened.”

“Last night she went out with some of our friends to the Woodshed, a new place we've been talking about trying.”

“Where is it?”

“It's on the border of the Village and SoHo. Leesey stayed after the others left. There was a really good band, and you know how she loves to dance.”

“What time did the others leave?”

“It was about two o'clock, Dr. Andrews.”

“Had Leesey been drinking?”

“Not much. She was fine when they left but she
wasn't here when I woke up this morning, and no one has seen her all day. I've been trying to reach her on her cell phone, but she doesn't answer. I've been calling everyone I could think of who might have seen her, but no one has.”

“Did you call that place where she was last night?”

“I spoke to the bartender there. He said that Leesey stayed till they closed at three o'clock and then left alone. He swore that she absolutely wasn't drunk or anywhere near it. She just stayed till the end.”

Andrews closed his eyes, trying desperately to sort out the steps he needed to take. Let her be all right, God, he prayed. Leesey, the unexpected baby born when Helen was forty-five years old and they had long since given up hope of having a second child.

Impatiently, he pulled his legs off the hassock, pushed it aside, stood up, brushed back his thick white hair from his forehead, then swallowed to activate the salivary glands inside his suddenly dry mouth.

The commuter traffic is over, he thought. It shouldn't take more than an hour to get down to Greenwich Village.

“From Greenwich, Connecticut, to Greenwich Village,” Leesey had joyfully announced three years ago when she decided to take early acceptance at NYU.

“Kate, I'll start down right away,” Andrews said. “I'll call Leesey's brother. We'll meet you at the apartment. How far is this bar from your place?”

“About a mile.”

“Would she have taken a cab?”

“It was nice out. She probably would have walked.”

Alone on dark streets, late at night, Andrews thought. Trying to keep his voice from breaking, he said, “I'll be there in an hour. Keep calling anyone you can think of who might have an idea where she is.”

*   *   *

Dr. Gregg Andrews was showering when the phone rang, and he decided to let the answering machine pick it up. He was off duty and had a date with someone he had met the night before at a cocktail reception for the launching of a novel by a friend. Now a cardiac surgeon at New York–Presbyterian Hospital, as his father had been until his retirement, he toweled dry, walked into his bedroom, and considered the fact that the May evening had begun to turn cool. From his closet, he chose an open-necked long-sleeve light blue shirt, tan slacks, and a navy blue jacket.

Leesey tells me I always look so stuffy, he remembered, thinking with a smile of the little sister who was twelve years his junior. She says I should get some cool colors and mix them up.

She also says I should get contact lenses and get rid of my crew cut, he thought.

“Gregg, you're really cute, not handsome, but cute,” she had told him matter-of-factly. “I mean women like men who look as though they have a brain in their heads. And they always fall for doctors. It's kind of a ‘Daddy' complex, I think. But it doesn't hurt to look a little zippy.”

The message light was blinking on the phone. He debated whether he should bother to check it now but then pressed the play button.

“Gregg, it's Dad. Leesey's roommate just called me. Leesey is missing. She left a bar alone last night, and no one has seen her since. I'm on my way to her apartment. Meet me there.”

Chilled, Gregg Andrews stopped the machine, and pushed the numeral that rang his father's car. “Dad, I just got your message,” he said when his father answered. “I'll meet you at Leesey's apartment. On the way I'll call Larry Ahearn. Just don't drive too fast.”

Grabbing his cell phone, Gregg rushed out of his apartment, caught the elevator as it was descending from an upper floor, ran through the lobby, and, ignoring the doorman, rushed out into the road to flag down a cab. As usual at this hour, there was none to be seen with the light on. Frantically he looked up and down the street, hoping to spot one of the gypsy limos that were often available on Park Avenue.

He spotted one that was parked halfway down the block and rushed to get in it. He barked Leesey's address to the driver, then opened his cell phone to call his college roommate at Georgetown, who was now captain of detectives in the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

After two rings, he heard Larry Ahearn's voice instructing the caller to leave a message.

Shaking his head in frustration, Gregg said, “Larry, it's Gregg. Call me on my cell. Leesey is missing.”

He checks his calls all the time, Gregg reminded himself as the car threaded its way downtown with agonizing slowness. When they were passing Fifty-second Street, he remembered that in fifteen minutes the young woman he
had met last night would be waiting for him in the bar of the Four Seasons.

He was about to leave a message for her when Ahearn called back. “Tell me about Leesey,” he ordered.

“She was in a bar or club or whatever you want to call those places in the Village and SoHo last night. She left alone when it closed and never got home.”

“What's the name of the bar?”

“I don't know yet. I didn't think to ask Dad. He's on his way in.”

“Who would know?”

“Leesey's roommate, Kate. She's the one who just called Dad. I'm meeting him at the apartment she and Leesey share.”

“Give me Kate's phone number. I'll get back to you.”

Larry Ahearn's private office was adjacent to the squad room. He was glad that at this moment no one could see the expression on his face. Leesey had been six years old when he visited the Andrews home in Greenwich the fall of his freshman year in Georgetown. He had seen her grow up from a pretty kid to a strikingly beautiful young woman, the kind any guy, never mind a predator, would zone in on.

She left the bar alone when it closed. Dear God, that crazy kid.

They just don't get it.

Larry Ahearn knew that soon he would have to tell Gregg and Leesey's father that in the last ten years, three young women had disappeared in that same SoHo-Village area after spending an evening in one of those bars.

9

O
n Wednesday morning, as eleven o'clock drew near, Lil Kramer became increasingly uneasy. Ever since the call came from Carolyn MacKenzie on Monday, Gus had been constantly warning her to say only what she knew about Mack's disappearance ten years ago. “Which is nothing,” he kept reminding her. “Absolutely
nothing
! Just do your usual stuff about what a nice young man he was, period. No nervous-Nelly glances at me to help you out.”

The apartment was always immaculate, but today the sun was especially bright and, like a magnifying glass, exposed the worn areas on the arms of the couch and the chip on the corner of the glass coffee table.

I never wanted that glass table, Lil thought, glad to find an object to blame for her distress. It's too big. It doesn't go with this old-fashioned furniture. When Winifred redecorated her own apartment, she insisted that I take it and get rid of my nice leather-top table that was Aunt Jessie's wedding gift to me. This glass thing is too big, and I'm always bumping my knees on it, and it doesn't match the end tables like the other one did, she thought.

Her mind jumped to another source of concern. I just hope that Altman's not here when the MacKenzie girl comes in.

Howard Altman, the real estate agent and manager for the nine small apartment buildings owned by Mr. Olsen, had arrived an hour ago for one of his unscheduled visits. Gus called him “Olsen's Gestapo.” It was Altman's job to make sure that the individual superintendents were keeping everything up to snuff. He never even has the slightest complaint about us, Lil thought; what scares me is that whenever he comes into this apartment, he always says it's a waste of money to have two people living in a big five-room corner unit.

If he thinks I'll ever switch to a pokey one-bedroom, he has another think coming, she told herself indignantly as she adjusted the leaves in the artificial plant on the windowsill. Then she stiffened as she heard voices in the hall and realized that Gus was coming in with Altman.

Even though it was warm outside, Howard Altman, as usual, was wearing a shirt, tie, and jacket. Lil could not see him without thinking of Winifred's scornful description of him. “He's a wannabe, Mom. He thinks getting all dolled up to inspect apartment buildings will make people think he's hot stuff. He was a superintendent just like you and Dad until he started kissing the feet of old man Olsen. Don't let him bother you.”

But he
does
bother me, Lil thought. He bothers me because of the way he looks around as he walks in the door. I know that someday he's going to try to make us switch apartments so that he can tell Mr. Olsen he's figured out
a new way to make more money for him. He bothers me because as Mr. Olsen got older, he practically turned over the running of all the buildings to Altman.

The door opened, and Gus and Altman came in. “Well, hello, Lil,” Howard Altman said heartily, as he crossed the living room with long strides and an outstretched hand to greet her.

Today he was wearing trendy sunglasses, a light tan jacket and brown slacks, a white shirt, and striped green and tan tie. His sandy hair was too short in Lil's opinion, and it was too early in the season to have such a deep tan. Winifred was sure he spent half his spare time in a tanning salon. But all of the above considered, she grudgingly admitted, he was a good-looking man, with even features, dark brown eyes, an athlete's build, and a warm smile. If you didn't know how petty he could be, he could fool you, she thought. He took her hand in a firm grip. He claims he hasn't hit forty yet. I say that he's forty-five if he's a day, Lil thought as she gave him a tight smile.

“I don't know why I even bother to stop by here,” Howard said, jovially. “If I could only have the two of you in all our buildings, we could make a fortune.”

“Well, we try to keep everything nice,” Gus said in the fawning voice that drove Lil crazy.

“You do more than try. You succeed.”

“It was good of you to stop by,” Lil said, glancing at the clock on the mantel. It was five minutes of eleven.

“Couldn't pass by without popping my head in to say hello. I'll be on my way now.”

The intercom rang from the foyer, and Lil was sure
it was Carolyn MacKenzie. She and Gus exchanged glances, and he went to the phone on the wall. “Yes, of course, come right in. We're expecting you . . .”

Don't say her name, Lil prayed. Don't say her name. When Howard sees her on his way out, he'll probably think she wants to inquire about an apartment.

“ . . . Ms. MacKenzie,” Gus finished. “Apartment 1B. To the right as you come into the foyer.”

Lil watched as the good-bye smile on Howard Altman's face disappeared. “MacKenzie. Wasn't that the name of the guy who disappeared just before I came to work for Mr. Olsen?”

There was no answer except, “Yes, Howard.”

“Mr. Olsen told me how upsetting that publicity was. He felt it really tarnished the image of this building. Why is she coming to see you?”

As Gus walked to the door, he said, flatly, “She wants to talk about her brother.”

“I'd like to meet her,” Howard Altman said, quietly. “If you don't mind, I'll stay.”

10

I
'm not really sure what I expected when I walked into that building on West End Avenue. I remember Mack showing me the apartment after he moved out of the dorm at Columbia. He was beginning his junior year then, so I was just turning fifteen.

BOOK: Where Are You Now?
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