"For obvious reasons," Vicki went on, "we couldn't be together in public, and I couldn't be seen coming here, but it was pretty easy for me to come and go by the window. At night, of course."
"And what happened with Ryan?" Jan asked
"I was waiting for Claudia, and suddenly he came in. I don't know if he'd heard me, or if he was looking for her, but he came in and yelled at me. He called me a few names, and then he tried to attack me." She looked at the floor. "I guess he lost his head. I didn't want to hurt him, so I just ran around the room and kept away from him. But he chased me, and then he slipped on that little rug, and when he fell his head came down on one of those iron fireplace things, really hard."
She gestured and Jan said, "The andiron. We noticed that one of them was missing. But why did you take it with you?"
"I panicked. He made a terrible racket when he fell, and I was in shock. I picked it up, I don't even know why, but then I heard people running up the stairs, and I thought of fingerprints, which was stupid since my prints are all over this room, but by the time I thought of that, I was already out the window with the thing in my hand.
"I landed in the alley, and I hid next to some garbage cans. It was dark, and I knew they'd never see me if I didn't move. As I waited, I realized how stupid I'd been. I was so mad at myself that I took the thing to the bridge, wadded it up into a ball, and threw it out to sea, as far as I could."
There was a moment of silence after that, and Vicki took her hand from Claudia's shoulder and let it fall to her side.