Parts 10 & 11 w/ 3 more to go!
He was almost glad he had the project to focus on at work. It kept his mind off of her, off worrying about her, her not being with him, his not being with her, not to mention the cloud that hung over them both. The missing and now presumed dead abusive boyfriend. He stopped off home to change his clothes and jump in the shower and made it to work only 15 minutes late. He was the boss, so that allowed him some latitude. “Hope you lazy bastards have that project wrapped and ready,” he bellowed when he walked in. The best defense being the best offense.
They were all huddled around the table in the conference room and had the title page of the project on the main display at the head of the table. “Looks good, now lets see what you have in front of this intro.” They spent the next hour reviewing the presentation, tweeking various items. Several needed to be embellished and he designated various individuals or pairs to go back and rework them. “Let’s see what you have at the end of the day then we can start pulling it all together for the end of the week. Looks good ladies and gentlemen, I think we might even get it wrapped by week’s end. Let’s meet back here at 4:00 this afternoon. He stood up and left the door to the conference room open as he headed to his office.
He closed his office door and dialed his brother’s cell phone. His brother picked up on the second ring, “Officer Morris.” “It’s John. Can you talk?” “For a minute. You’re still coming to dinner tonight? Kate has a great dinner planned and the kids are anxious to see you as always. Sometimes I think they like you more than me.” “Yeah, wouldn’t miss it. What can I bring?
“Yourself and a bottle of wine for Kate and a six pack for you and me. Better have something for the kids. Eskimo pies would go over well. Around 6:00 okay?”
“Yeah, that’ll work.” John was waiting for Andrew to ask him first. He did.
“Hey, d’you get a chance to talk with that Marshall gal?”
“I did. She’s a royal mess, a beautiful mess, but really in a bad way. I ended up spending the night there, and no, nothing happened, I was a gentleman for a change. I mean she’s been through a lot, I’m not one to take advantage of someone in such a vulnerable position. But she did fill me in on some things. I’d rather wait for tonight to give you the details if that’s okay?” Andrew hesitated. “Yeah..sure, tonight. I’ll be waiting with baited breath.”
“Anything new on that missing ex-boyfriend?” John asked. “Not really, canvassed the neighbors, they saw nothing, they heard nothing, they know nothing. Dumbasses,” Andrew seemed mildly annoyed. ” Look someone’s standing outside my door, I gotta go. See you tonight.”
John arrived on time, six pack and Eskimo pies in a plastic bag on one arm, a bottle of Pinot Noir under his other arm. He opened the front door to Andrew’s house with his free hand. “Anybody home?” he called out. Andrew’s three kids came running, “Uncle John, Uncle John, what did you bring us?” “Bring you? Besides me you mean?” The oldest, Sam was spokesperson for the group, “Yes, besides you. You’ll probably have some booze for mom and dad, so you have to have SOMEthing for us you know. Otherwise that would be rude.” Sam was the smart one, like his dad. “Well, I might have a few…ESKIMO PIES! He shouted. But not until after dinner. Here, take these and put them in the freezer,” he said and opening the plastic bag let Sam grab the package of four pies. “Who gets the fourth pie?” Sam asked. Whoever has the cleanest room, and I’ll do the inspection after dinner. The two youngest ran to their rooms to clean up most likely while Sam ran to the kitchen to put the pies away and then run to catch up with his two younger siblings.
John found his way to the kitchen where Andrew was setting the table and Kate was cooking something on the stove. She turned to look over her right shoulder. “I heard the kids screaming so I figured you’d made your grand entrance,” Kate mumbled. “Hey little brother, glad you could make it, Andrew barely looked up trying to figure what the order was, fork, knife, spook or knife, fork, spoon.
John put the six pack in the fridge peeling off two for him and Andrew, he set the wine for Kate on the counter. “Whatcha get me?” she asked. “Your favorite, Pinto Noir, he joked. “Peen-yo New-ware,” she corrected him in a perfect French accent. John leaned over to see what was cooking, “Give us a kiss,” she said and he gave her a friendly peck on the cheek.
Kate was a petite, blonde-haired blue–eyed package of pure joy. A great catch, in fact John had dated her for a while before Andrew stepped in. They had similar taste in pretty girls. John wasn’t ready for commitment at the time, and Kate settled for the older more mature brother, though they resembled each other so much, they could pass for twins. There was more than one occasion when John wondered if he’d made the right choice staying single, especially when he saw the joys family life had provided his older brother. Andrew was a lucky man, a smart, funny sexy wife, three great kids, nice home, the whole package.
“Andy tells me you met yourself a hot one,” Kate remarked. She was the only person he let call him “Andy.” For everyone else, including John especially including John, it was “Andrew.” Despite his easy going nature and sense of humor, Andrew was a pretty serious guy when you really got down to it, and when you stopped and thought about the responsibility he had, finding out who committed violent crimes including the occasional murder, well it was easy to understand where the lines were.
“Yeah, it was a chance encounter, I quite literally bumped into her, or she actually bumped into me. You might as well have bumped into me with a freight train or a bolt of lightening. Her eyes were just riveting, then when I came around to check out the rest of her, well it was pretty awesome too.” John found himself missing her, and was staring off into space thinking about this mystery girl.
“So you think this might be….the one?” Kate asked. Lost in thought he didn’t hear the question. “Huh? You ask me something, Kate.” Feigning annoyment Kate repeated herself, slowly, “So…you…think…this…might…be…the…girl…for…you, John?” “Ha, ha, funny, yeah there’s something special about her, can’t put my finger on it.” “I know you John, you’ve already put more than a finger on her, don’t bull me.” “No, really, in fact I spent the whole night with her and we both kept all our clothes on,” John told her.
Andrew was standing on the other side of the counter staring at him with an odd look on his face. “What!? John wanted to know. “I told you to be careful about this one, I….we can talk later,” Andrew told him rather curtly. By this time the kids were back in the kitchen chasing each other around the table and then the counter. “Save me Uncle John!’ the littlest and only girl child cried as she grabbed a hold of j
They enjoyed a nice dinner, and when the Eskimo pies came out, Andrew helped clear the table and then told Kate, “John and I have some business to talk about, honey, we’ll be in the study, “ and drying his hands on a dish towel and tossing it on the counter, headed in the direction of the study with John following behind.