The Best Part of Me

Chapter 1

Della came awake with a startled jerk. Beside her, Perry Mason, her boss, lover, companion, and best friend, for nearly 40 years, still snored, oblivious to anything that might have occurred to wake Della. Smiling to herself, she knew he had reason to be tired.

Again, she heard a noise. Her cat, Festus? He did have a bad habit of dragging in late looking quite the worse for wear, sometimes bringing the "prize" of a dead mouse or a lizard. Even after he had been neutered, it hadn't stopped his late night walk-abouts.

She rose from their warm bed, and after slipping on her bedroom shoes and light robe, Della made her way downstairs. Getting to the first floor, she called, softly, "Kitty, kitty."

Suddenly, Festus ran so quickly from the kitchen, across to the living room and to his basket in front of the fire, that the cat slid sideways, almost colliding with a chair.

"Good grief, you silly tomcat, you nearly gave me a heart attack!" she scolded softly.

She entered the kitchen and froze in her tracks when the broken glass on the floor glittered up at her in the soft light.

The window right above the door handle was smashed inward, with pieces all over the floor; fortunately, no one could break inside because the locks were keyed on both sides, and the inside key had been removed as a safety precaution for years and was hung on a peg beside the kitchen door.

Now, she thought, it had paid off.

Della Street turned to go back up to the second floor to wake Perry and tell him what had happened, but as she turned, two strong hands gripped her arms above the elbow and held her in grip like a steel vise.