Chapter 35

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Art's back survived the night sleeping on the sofa in Louie's cottage, but his neck suffered a crick. He couldn't turn his head to the left without experiencing a jolt of pain. Natalya asked him how he slept, but he didn't want to complain to her about it. She had made a big fuss the night before about how she should take the sofa and Art the bed, but he wouldn't budge. It grated against his sense of Chivalry to even consider it.

They had spent a quiet evening sitting on the beach, playing gin rummy with a deck of cards Natalya had brought, admiring the sunset, until mosquitos drove them back into the cottage. She had been quiet, brooding, and he sensed her apprehension. She had to be thinking about the imminent confrontation.

Before they turned in for the night, he wanted to embrace her and tell her everything would be all right. But he wasn't sure things would turn out all right.

The temperature hovered around eighty. Louie explained the island never got too cold in the winter and never got too hot in the summer. Art could understand how a person might choose to take up residence here, but there weren't enough people around for him. No big grocery stores. No large settlements. Not enough bathrooms.

Louie was gracious enough to feed them breakfast, eggs from his chickens, ham from a local butcher, and much to Art's surprise good coffee.

Bobby was due to pick them up at nine. He arrived fifteen minutes ahead of schedule and joined them in Louie's kitchen.

"How was your date?" Natalya asked.

He smiled. "I'm not one to kiss and tell."

Art thought it might be his imagination, but Bobby's gold tooth seemed to gleam brighter this morning.

"Let's get started," Art said. He and Natalya piled into the back of Bobby's Toyota.

"Where to, Mon? You want to see Sidney Poitier's birthplace or The Hermitage Monastery or one of our famous pink sand beaches? I know all the tourist places."

Natalya spoke up. "We're here to find someone. A resident of the island. His name is Vince Henson and his address is Mount Alvernia."

Bobby stroked his chin. "You mean you are not tourists?"

"No," she said.

"This man, Vince Henson, is he a cousin?"

"He's my husband,"

Bobby turned in his seat and eyed them. "The man you are looking for is your husband, but the two of you are here together?"

"It's a long story."

With a shrug, Bobby turned away and mumbled, "Crazy Americans."

"Do you know of this Mount Alvernia?" Natalya asked. "Can you take us there?"

"No problem, except this entire area of the island is known as the Mount Alvernia region. Do you have a road name?"

She sighed.

"Show him the photo," Art said.

She hadn't brought a purse or clutch. Natalya fished the photo from the front pocket of her capris and handed it to Bobby.

Bobby studied the photo. "The face is a little familiar, I think." He shook his head. "No, I'm sorry." He handed the photo back to her.

Natalya looked at her folded hands in her lap. "What are we going to do?"

"The post office," Bobby said. "My auntie, Daphne, is the postmaster. She would tell us your husband's address."

Natalya beamed. "I think you've just earned yourself a tip on top of what Art has already paid you."

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