The View from Nob Hill
The View from Nob Hill
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While waiting for my husband to come home for date night, I finished two bottles of Cabernet and watched a man fall from a building.
Actually, I’m not sure what I saw because of the wine. But the following day, the news reported that Errol Tiller, someone I sort of knew, had committed suicide by leaping from his balcony.
I tried to forget and move on, but the connections started immediately. One by one, I learned my family and best friend had lied to me about their ties to Errol, making me question whether it was suicide.
To make matters worse, the police have questions about what I may or may not have seen that evening. Did I see something more than Errol falling? I wish I could answer that question, but I drank a lot of wine that night.
There is one thing I know for sure. Everyone trusts me to keep their secrets, but I’m afraid I’ll have to betray one of them.
Read An Excerpt
Read An Excerpt
I was alone, but not lonely—far from it. In fact, I was feeling giddy. It was Friday, my children were away for the night, my husband would arrive home soon, and I had just uncorked a bottle of Cabernet. Date night was off to a good start. I turned up the music on the portable speaker—Duran Duran—and danced around the living room while sipping the lovely red. I should have waited, but someone had to determine whether the wine I bought from Trader Joe’s was a deal.
I was married to a wonderful man, Alan. I had two teenage children, Mia and Ollie. And I lived in a three-story house on Nob Hill with incredible views of the San Francisco Bay. As far as I was concerned, I was living my perfect life. This wouldn’t be the case three days later.
Mia, my oldest at seventeen, was at a sleepover at a friend’s house. Ollie, my sweet sixteen-year-old, was on a camping trip for the weekend. Once their plans were confirmed on Thursday, I told Alan that Friday would be our night. We hadn’t had real alone time in ages, and the last time we had sex, it was quicker than a quickie. That night, there would be no fly-by sex or shushing because the kids might hear us. I planned on singing an opera.
Unfortunately, a hiccup had developed Friday afternoon. VIP clients for Alan’s company had come to town on short notice. He’d drawn the short straw and had to entertain them that evening. Not wanting to put a damper on what could still be a salvageable night, I had said, “Fine, just come home as soon as you can.” It wasn’t like we needed to be in bed by eleven.
Alan had had a lot of success early on in his career, and quickly made partner at a successful financial services firm in the city. With that success came a lot of responsibility. He had late nights and worked some weekends. There were client calls during dinner and, occasionally, a last-minute thing that screwed up our personal plans. But hey, that came with the territory, right? I couldn’t complain. Alan provided a comfortable living for us. I was able to quit my job right after I had Ollie. Honestly, once I got a taste of this lifestyle, there was no returning to a dead-end nine-to-five.
Alan had texted me earlier to let me know that he and the clients would have dinner and maybe a couple of nightcaps before calling it a night. When eight o’clock rolled around, I sent him a text for an ETA. I still felt sexy in my dress and anticipated a lively night. The charcuterie board I had made still looked appetizing.
Alan was usually pretty good about answering me right away, so I was surprised when eight thirty rolled around and he hadn’t responded. Relax, Jill. He’s probably listening to his client tell him a story and can’t answer.
I helped myself to another glass, knowing I couldn’t keep that up all night without slurring my words. But hey, Alan was probably downing a couple of libations, too, so we’d both be primed to go when he got home.
Nine o’clock rolled around, and I still hadn’t heard from Alan. I’d actually thought he’d be home by that time. I checked my phone. The message I’d sent was still unread. Maybe he read it on his lock screen. I just thought he would have found a minute to type out a quick response in that hour’s time. Nope.
However, the bottle I’d opened earlier was feeling light. I had a decision: either go stingy on the next pour or continue my streak, open another bottle, and run the risk of passing out on Alan. I glanced back at the clock. It is only nine… I might not have had the energy of a teenager, but I wasn’t in the grave yet. I tried calling my friend Helen to pass the time, but she wasn’t picking up.
About an hour later there was still no response, and I was officially annoyed. I fired off another text. This is so not like him. I was also a little worried—what if something happened? Had he been in an accident?
I called his cell, but there was no answer. He usually didn’t like partying late, but these were important clients who were probably in the mood for more than a simple dinner. Still, I didn’t want to give up hope on our date night. The earliest Mia would come home was noon on Saturday. Ollie wasn’t due to return until Sunday night. We had no curfew, and we could sleep in.
Finally Alan responded with a blurred selfie of himself sitting next to two men. They were all holding drinks and had silly smiles on their faces. He said sorry and that he’d be home soon.
Accepting fate, I’d already gone through a bottle and a half, filling my glass to the rim with each pour. I’d gone from happy-tipsy to irritated-drunk. My fantasy of a kid-free night with Alan so we could act like a couple of teenagers ourselves was fading fast. The charcuterie board and I were both starting to look like tired messes.
Part of me wanted to scream into the phone, “What’s taking so long, Alan?!” I mean, come on. Can’t you just tell them you have to go? I didn’t think I was asking much, considering our plans for the night. Alan was just as excited about the evening as I was.
I decided to move the party to the balcony outside our bedroom. I headed up to the third floor with a glass in one hand and a bottle in the other. Mia’s and Ollie’s rooms were on the second floor, along with an entertainment room and a guest bedroom. The first floor housed a living room, a dining room, an office, and an open concept kitchen that led to a large deck.
When I hit the second-floor landing, I noticed a light coming from Ollie’s bedroom. He’d left his desk lamp on. I switched it off, and just as I turned to go, I thought I heard something click. I turned around and spied Ollie’s camera on his tripod. He had gotten into photography two years ago and had really come to like it. He already owned three cameras and had even started a photography club at school.
I tried twisting my bare foot against the carpet, thinking maybe I had made the noise, but it didn’t quite sound the same.
You’re just buzzed, Jill. Forget about it.
I continued up to our bedroom and walked out onto our balcony. I filled my glass and plopped down on a chair. I’d concluded that we would need to take a rain check on our date night. At the very least, I’d enjoyed some decent wine and got a little dance cardio in.
The weather that night was chilly but clear. The usual fog hadn’t rolled in, so I had a fantastic view of the city and the bay. I drew a deep breath and admired the twinkling lights. It was a million-dollar view, nearly perfect—nearly. A thirty-two-story high-rise stood right in the middle of the view. It wasn’t grouped together with other buildings to add to the skyline; it was an outlier. But it had been there for three decades by the time our house was built. I had nicknamed it the Middle Finger.
Its real name was the Residence, one of the city’s first luxury high-rises. The architecture was dated, but it definitely had its charm. That didn’t mean I liked it, though. In fact, it had been a major issue for Alan and me when we first considered buying the house. I’d fallen in love with the place the minute I set foot inside. Everything about it was perfect, except for the view from our bedroom. I told Alan the building was like a middle finger, telling us, “No, you can’t have it all.” Still, we bought the place, and I learned to live with it.
Alan was an amateur astronomer; he loved looking up at the stars and had a collection of costly telescopes. He’d left one of the lower-end models out on the balcony. I placed a hand on the railing to steady myself as I downed the rest of the wine in my glass. The width of the Middle Finger faced us dead on. If I looked through the telescope, I could see right into just about any apartment, as if I were standing outside with my nose to their window.
I peered through the eyepiece of the telescope and moved it around, scanning the building. I was surprised to see a number of people up so late doing all sorts of mundane things in their apartments with their drapes open and lights on. Some people were watching TV, one person was folding laundry, and another was doing push-ups. I continued to scan the apartments.
Wait, what was that?
I blinked my eyes for clarity, wobbling a bit. I might have had a bit more wine than I should have, and it was just a blip passing through the field of view, but…
Did I just see someone fall?
Your husband lied to you. So did your daughter and your son, even your best friend.
The View from Nob Hill is a gripping read that will have you guessing from beginning to end. Perfect for fans of Frieda McFadden and Shari Lapena.
"He got me! This author kept me guessing until the very end." ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ — Reader Review
Series: Psychological Thrillers #1
Ebook: 270 pages