Today's Reading

"Yes. Yes, Lydia delivers. But..." He pressed a hand to his temple. "I don't think we ordered anything. I don't remember."

"That's all right. Look at me, Dr. Rufty. Do you know of anyone who'd wish to harm your husband?"

"What?" He jerked. Fresh shock. "Hurt Kent? No, no. Everyone loved Kent. Everyone. I don't understand."

Eve countered the spikes in his voice with absolute calm. "Someone from his office, from his practice, from the neighborhood."

"No, no. Kent has such a lovely practice. All those babies and little kids. It's all so happy there. He worked so hard for his children, his patients. You can ask," he said, his voice spiking again. "You can ask all of them, all of the people who work there. They love Kent!"

"All right. You've been married a long time. Were there any problems?"

"No. No. We love each other. We have our children. We have grandchildren. I need to call our children."

When he started to weep, Peabody moved over to sit next to him. "I know this is hard. Did Kent mention anyone who worried him? Did he say anything about someone or an incident that upset him?"

"No. Nothing I remember. No. I don't understand. What happened?

What happened? Did someone hurt Kent?"

"Dr. Rufty." With no choice, Eve gave it straight. "We believe Dr. Abner received a package this morning, and that package contained a toxin, which caused his death."

Tears fell still, but Rufty's body straightened. "What? What? Are you saying someone killed Kent? Someone sent something into the house, into our home that killed him?"

Eve rose at the knock on the door, let in the white-suited sweeper. "We need to take precautions. We need to ask you to submit to a scan, to allow us to test your blood, as you touched Dr. Abner. It's possible the package he opened this morning contained a toxic substance."

"It's not possible." He dismissed it outright, and with the ring of certainty. "No one would do that. No one who knew Kent would do that."

"We need to take precautions." Eve sat again, looked directly into Rufty's eyes. "We're going to do everything we can to find out what happened to your husband."

"You loved him," Peabody said gently. "You want to do whatever needs to be done to find out what happened."

"Yes. Do whatever you have to do. Then please, God, please, let me call our children. I need to talk to our children."

Eve waited while Rufty was scanned, tested, cleared. Whatever had killed Kent Abner had dissipated before anyone else had come in contact with the body.

"You can contact your children," Eve told Rufty. "Is there somewhere you can go, stay for a few days? It would be best if you didn't stay here."

"I can stay with our daughter. She's closer. Our son lives in Connecticut, but Tori and her family live just a few blocks away. I can stay with Tori."

"We'll arrange to take you there, as soon as you're ready."

Rufty closed his eyes. When he opened them, the tears had burned away to reveal the steel. "I need to know what happened to my husband. To the father of my children. To the man I loved for forty years. If someone did this, someone hurt him, I need to know who. I need to know why."

"It's our job to get those answers for you, Dr. Rufty. If you think of anything," Eve added, "anything at all, you can contact me."

"He was such a good man. I need you to understand that. Such a good man. A loving man. He never hurt anyone in his life. Everyone loved Kent. They loved him."

Someone didn't, Eve thought.

"I believe him," Peabody said as they finally left the crime scene. "That guy was cut off at the knees, and he honestly didn't know anything or anyone that put Abner in the crosshairs."

"Agreed, but a spouse doesn't always know everything. We need to dig into Abner, his work, his habits, his hobbies. Any extramarital relationships."

As she nodded, Peabody glanced back at the pretty brownstone with tulips blooming in its little front garden. "It'd be worse if, you know, it was just bad luck of the draw. If this was random."

"A hell of a lot worse. The package was addressed specifically so we'll look specifically. Let's talk to the delivery person asap."
...

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