The fashion show was going well. The models moved gracefully along the runway, and each new design received enthusiastic applause. The ballroom- was packed. Every seat was occupied, and there were standees in the rear. Backstage there was a stir, and Kendall turned to see what was happening. Two uniformed policemen were making their way toward her.
Kendall's heart began to race. One of the policemen said, ' you Kendall Stanford Renaudt '."I'm placing you under arrest for the murder of Martha Ryan."!' she screamed.1 didn't mean to do it! It was an accident! Please! Please! Please ... !' She woke up in a panic, her body trembling. It was a recurring nightmare. I can't go on like this, Kendall thought. I can'd I have to do something. She wanted desperately to talk to Marc. He had reluctantly returned to New York. ' have a job to dop darling. They won't let me take any more time off." understand, Marc. I'll be back there in a few days. I have to get a show ready.' Kendall wits leaving for New York that morning, but before she went there was something she felt she had to do. The conversation with Woody had been very disturbing. He's blaming his problems on Peggy. Kendall found Peggy on the veranda. ' morning," Kendall said. ' morning.' Kendall took a seat opposite her. ' have to talk to you." It was awkward. ' had a talk with Woody. He's in bad shape. He ... he thinks that you're the one who's been supplying him with heroin." told you thatt There was a long pause. ', it's true.' Kendall stared at her in disbelief. '? I ... I don't understand. You told me you were trying to get him off drugs. Why would you want to keep him addictedt IL ou really don't understand, do yout Her tone was bitter. ' live in your own little god damned world. Well, let me tell you something, Miss. Famous Designer!, I was a waitress when Woody got me pregnant. I never expected Woodrow Stanford to marry me. And do you know why he did? So he could feel he was better than his father. Well, Woody married me, all right. And everybody treated me like dirt. When my brother, Hoop, came down for the wedding, they acted like he was some kind of trash.". ' tell you the truth, I was dumbfounded when your brother said he wanted to marry me. I didn't even know if it was his baby. I could have been a good wife to Woody, but no one even gave me a chance. To them I was still a waitress. I didn't lose the baby, I had an abortion. I thought maybe Woody would divorce me, but he didn't. I was his token symbol of how democratic he was. Well, let me tell you something, lady. I don't need that. I'm as good as you or anyone else.' Each word was a blow. ' you ever love Woody?' Peggy shrugged. ' was good-looking and fun, but then he had that bad fall during the polo game, and everything changed. The hospital gave him drugs, and when he got out, they expected him to stop taking them. One night, he was in pain, and I said, "I have a little treat for you." And after that, whenever he was in pain, I gave him his little treat. Pretty soon he needed it, whether he was in pain or not. My brother is a pusher, and I was able to get all the heroin I needed. I made Woody beg me for it. And sometimes I'd tell I was out of it just to watch him sweat and cry - oh, how Mr. Woodrow Stanford needed me! He wasn't so ig 'hi hand mighty then! I goaded him into hitting me, and then he'd feel terrible about what he had done, and he'd come crawling back to me with gifts. You sm. when Woody is off dope, I'm nothing. When he's on it, I'm the one who has the power. He may be a Stanford, and maybe I was only a waitress, but I control him.' Kendall was staring at her in horror.
"Your brother's tried to quit, all right. When it got real bad, his friends would get him into a detox center, and I'd go visit him and watch the great Stanford suffer the agonies of hell. And each time he came out, I'd be waiting for him with my little treat. It was payback time.' Kendall was finding it hard to breathe. ''re a monster,' she said slowly. ' want you to leave." bet! I can't wait to get out of this place.' She grinned. ' course, I'm not leaving for nothing. How much of a settlement will I gett ' it is,' Kendall said; ' will be too much. Now get out of here.".' Then she added with an affected tone, ''ll have my lawyer call your lawyer."'s really leaving met '." means ...' ' know what it means, Woody. Can you handle it?' He looked at his sister and smiled. ' think so. Yes. I think I can."'m sure of it.' He took a deep breath. ', Kendall.
I would never have had the courage to get rid of her.' She smiled. ' are sisters fort That afternoon, Kendall left for New York. The fashion showing would be in one week. Clothing is the single biggest business in New York. A successful fashion designer can have an effect on the economy all around the world. A designer's whim has a far-flung impact on everyone from cotton pickers in India to Scottish weavers to silkworms in China and Japan. It has an effect on the wool industry and the silk industry. The Donna Karans and Calvin Kleins and Ralph Laurens are a major economic influence, and Kendall had arrived in that category. It was ru- mored that she was about to be named the Women's Wear Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the most prestigious award a designer could receive.. Kendall Stanford Renaud led a busy life. In September she looked at large assortments of fabrics, and in October she selected the ones she wanted for her new designs. December and January were devoted to designing the new fashions, and February to refining ""Iheni In April, she was ready to show her fall coi- lection. Kendall Stanford Designs was located at 550 Seventh Avenue, sharing the building with Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta. Her next showing was going to be at the Bryant Park tent, which could seat up to a thousand people. When Kendall arrived at her office, Nadine said, 619 ve got good news. The showing is completely booked" ' you,' Kendall said absently. Her mind was on other things. ' the way, there's a letter marked urgent for you on your desk. It was just delivered by messenger.' The words sent a jolt through Kendall's body. She walked over to, her desk and looked at the envelope.
The return address was Wild Animal Protection Association, Park Avenue, New York, New York She stared at it for a long time. There was no 3000 Park Avenue. Kendall opened the letter with trembling fingers.
Dear Mrs. Renaud, My Swiss banker informs me that he has not yet received the million dollars that my association requested In view of your delinquency, I must inform you that our needs have been increased to 5 million dollars. If thispayment is made, Ipromise we will not bother you again. You have fifteen days to deposit the money in our account.
Ifyoufail to do so, I regret that we shall have to communicate with the appropriate authorities. It was unsigned. Kendall stood there in a panic, reading it over an dover, again and again. Five million dollars!
It's impossible, she
I can never raise that kind of money that quickly. What a fool I was! When Marc came home that night, Kendall showed him the letter. ' million dollars!' he exploded. ''s ridiculous! Who do they think you aret ' know who I arn,' Kendall said. ''s the problem. I've got to get hold of some money quickly.
But howt ' don't know ... I suppose a bank would loan you money against your inheritance, but I don't, like the idea of ...", it's my life I'm talking about. Our fives. I'm going to see about getting that loan.' George Meriwether was the vice president in charge of the New York Union Bank. He was in his forties and had worked his way up from a junior teller. He ' ambitious man. One day I'll be on the board of "s an [email protected],,zkrectors, he thought, and after that ... who knows? His thoughts were interrupted by his secretary. '. Kendall Stanford is here to see you.' He felt a small frisson of pleasure. She had been a good customer as a successful designer, but now she was one of the wealthiest women in the world. He had tried for several years to get Harry Stanford's account, without success. And now ... ' her in," Meriwether told his secretary. When Kendall walked into his office, Meriwether rose and greeted her with a smile and a warm handshake. ''m so pleased to see you,' he said. ' sit down. Some coffee, or something strongert '. thanks,' Kendall said. ' want to offer my condolences on the death of your father.' His voice was suitably grave. ' you."
"What can I do for yout He knew what she was going to say. She was going to turn her billions over to him to invest ... ' want to borrow some money.' He blinked. ' beg your pardont ' need five million dollars." He thought rapidly. According to the newspapers, her share of the estate should be more than a billion dollars. Even with taxes ... He smiled.
"Well, I don't think there will be any problem. You've always been one of our favorite customers, you know. What security would you like to put up7'
an heir in my father's will.' He nodded. '. I read that."'d like to borrow the money against my share of the estate." see. Has your father's will been probated yeff ', but it will be soon."'s fine.' He leaned forward. ' course, we'd have to see a copy of the will.",' Kendall said eagerly. ' can arrange that."
"And we would have -to have the exact amount of your share of the inheritance." don't know the exact amount,' Kendall said. ', the banking laws are quite strict, you know. Probates can take some time.
Why don't you come back after the probate, and I'll be happy to -" need the money no*,' Kendall said desperately. She wanted to scream.
"Oh, dear. Naturally, we want to do everything we can to, accommodate you.' He raised his hands in a helpless gesture. ' unfortunately, ourhands are tied until -' Kendall rose to her feet. ' you." soon as .. She was gone. When Kendall returned to the office, Nadine said excitedly, ' have to talk to you.' She was in no mood to hear Nadine's problems. ' is itt Kendall asked. ' husband called me a few minutes ago. His company is transferring him to Paris. So, I'll be leaving."'re go ... going to Parist Nadine beamed. '! Isn't that wonderful? I'll be sorry to leave you. But don't worry. I'll stay in touch.' So it was Nadine. But there's no way to prove it. First the mink coal and now Paris. With five million dollars, she can afford to live anywhere in the world How do I handle this? Ifilellher that Iknow, she'lldeny it. Maybe she'll demand more. Marc will know what to do.
"Nadine.. One of Kendall's assistants came in. '! I have to talk to you about the bridge collection. I don't think we have enough designs for Kendall could bear no more. ' me. I don't feel well. I'm going home.' Her assistant looked at her in amazement. ' we're in the middle of .. ''m sorry ...' And Kendall was gone. When Kendall walked into her apartment, it was empty. Marc was working late. Kendall looked around at all the beautiful things in the room, and thought, They'll never stop until they take everything. They're going to bleed me dry.
Marc was right. I should have gone to the police that night. Now I'm a criminal. I've got to confess. Now, while I have the courage. She sat there, thinking about what this was going to do to her, to Marc, and to her family. There would be lurid headlines, and a trial, and probably prison. It would be. the end of her career. But I can't go on like this, Kendall thought. rfl go crazy. Almost in a daze, she got up and walked into Marc's den. She remembered that he kept his typewriter on a shelf in the closet. She took it down and put it on the desk. She rolled a sheet of paper into the platen and began to type. To Whom It May Concern: My name is Kendall She stopped. The letter E was broken.