Chapter 21

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Art figured his neighbors would be mystified by the parade of vehicles turning into his driveway. He led the way. Natalya and Joey followed in her Jeep. Anya was third in line with her vehicle. Jen wasn't home from work yet, and he remembered she was going out with her husband that evening.

Steven's car sat parked in front of the garage door. Art wondered what his son was doing here. Marvelous. Of all the times to choose for a visit, why did it have to be now?

Art made sure he was first to get out of his Mustang and enter the house. He called out for Steven.

"I'm in your office."

He walked back the hallway and met up with his son.

Steven sat, reviewing a legal brief. "I had a few minutes this afternoon and thought we could discuss what you're going to say in front of the judge concerning your assault charge."

Art closed the office door. "Son, I need you to remain calm and listen to what I have to tell you."

"What's going on, Dad?"

"Art, where are you?" Natalya spoke from the kitchen.

Joey rushed down the hall, burst into the office, and threw himself into Art's arms.

Steven stood there, stunned.

"You better come out and meet these folks," Art said.

They all assembled in the living room. Art turned to his son. "Natalya and her son are going to stay here for a few days."

Steven's face reddened. "Are you out of your freaking mind?"

Half hidden behind her mother, Anya piped up. "Yeah, that's what I've been thinking. By the way, who are you?"

Steven seemed to notice Natalya's daughter for the first time. His gaze lingered on her for a long moment. He introduced himself. "I'm not just Art's son, I'm also my father's attorney representing him against the charges your mother brought."

Anya scoffed, "Great. This is getting worse and worse."

"Those are my thoughts too," Steven said.

Joey started to fuss. Anya picked him up.

"I brought some of his toys," Natalya said. "They're packed with my things."

"I'll get them," Anya said. "I need some air, anyway." Carrying her little brother, Anya walked out.

"What's this all about?" Steven asked.

"Son, we have a situation." Art explained the whole story, and Natalya told again about what happened to her with Werner Gunther earlier in the day.

While they went over things, Anya returned with Joey. She sat on the floor with him. They rolled an inflatable beach ball back and forth between them.

When Art and Natalya were all done explaining, Steven said, "The two of you are going to drive me to drink."

Anya looked up. "I so get that."

"Do what you must," Steven said, "but I want you to know I don't like it."

"My sentiments too," Anya said as Joey rolled the ball to her.

Steven looked her way. "It seems you and I agree on a lot of things."

"So it seems." She rolled the ball back to Joey.

"Uh, Anya?"

Anya met Steven's gaze. "What?"

"Would you like to come and get some dinner with me?"

"Oh, hells bells," Art muttered.

Natalya smirked and elbowed him.

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