“Tell me,” he said.

“It’s a little shop on the other side of town that specializes in French lace. I’d like more of it for my head piece tomorrow.”

“I don’t believe you.”

She peered out her window noticing the familiar Walden Street. “Turn here.”

Russo voiced his skepticism, but turned nevertheless. He continued to let Grace guide him to their destination until they were parked in front of a small house on the outskirts of the city.

Grace noticed there was another car parked outside. That’s strange, she thought.

“Where are we?”  Russo thought the house looked foreboding under the gray sky. He didn’t like that he had been led here, and he even less liked the face Grace was with him.

“My house. Well, I suppose it’s my old house now, isn’t it?”

“Why are we here, Grace?” Russo bit out through clenched teeth. He was not happy with her, and Grace began to feel something akin to uneasiness. Then she realized there was rarely a time when he was happy with her. Her resolve strengthened.  

“There is someone here I need to speak with. Feel free to stay in the car if you wish.”

“Like hell.” Russo slammed his car door, following Grace up the path to the front door.

Grace knocked. There was movement on the other side of the door.

Much to her surprise, it was not her father who answered the door.

“Peter.” Grace acknowledged, not expecting to see her high school friend.

“Gracie? What are you doing here?” Peter asked.  

Russo’s eyes narrowed upon seeing Peter. He was the same man Grace had been hugging outside the dress shop a few weeks back.

“I came to see my dad. Is he here?” she asked, a hint of worry creeping into her words.

“Of course he is. I was just leaving, but I know he’ll be happy to see you.”

Grace smiled, trading places in the doorway with Peter.                                                                                                               

“Take care, Gracie.” Peter took his leave, but not without shooting a nasty glare at Russo.

Russo felt for his gun, holstered against his side under his jacket, as Peter passed. He knew Peter knew it was there, and the look in the other man’s eyes was enough of a reassurance for Russo to turn his back and enter the house behind Grace.

Inside, the little house looked exactly the way it did before she had left nearly a month earlier. The ottoman and easy chair were exactly as they had been left by her, a blanket hung gently over the back of the chair. Her apron still hung on the hook beside the icebox. The only evidence that she had been gone was the dying plant in the front window. Her father had obviously not taken the time to water it.

Russo came up behind Grace, gently taking hold of her forearm to stop her advancement through the house.

“Grace, I’m sure this is a good idea. I have a bad feeling.”

She yanked her hand free of his grasp.

“Yes, because visiting my father is a bad idea. I already told you, you are more than welcome to wait outside.”

Love and LiquorRead this story for FREE!