Driving back to the station, John didn’t say much.
Maybe she was afraid to talk to him in front of that big goon — or Frank. Maybe he should have gone alone . . .
Frank was the first to break the silence. “You see, John? I told you it would get us nowhere. She practically threw us out! If she knows anything, she’s not telling. Now are you gonna give up on this crazy idea of yours?”
“I think she’s just scared. That big guy works for her husband. He’s probably there to keep an eye on her. At least now she knows there’s someone out here who can help her.”
“Have you lost your mind? Help her do what? She doesn’t look like she needs any help. Do you live in some kind of fantasy world? Were we both in the same place? She’s not going to call you! She seems to be very loyal to her husband. You need to just leave this alone and look for another angle, or else you’re going to get yourself killed.”
John was quiet for a moment. “Maybe you’re right. I guess I’m just kidding myself.” He didn’t want to continue this conversation. Next time, he’d go see her alone. It would be less intimidating for her, and he wouldn’t have to hear “I told you so” from Frank.
He changed the subject. “Hey, Frank, did you watch the game last night?”
Anthony looked at Mario. “Get the car. I want to go and have a little talk with my wife before Poppy comes over.”
Mario knew that tone all too well. For
Anthony stepped through the restaurant’s front door and walked over to where Vinny sat at the bar. “Where is she?”
Startled, Vinny answered, “In the back, Boss.”
“Follow me.” As they walked toward the kitchen, Anthony instructed, “While I talk to her, you go into her office and bug the phone. Use this.” He dropped a small listening device into Vinny’s palm.
“No problem,” Vinny answered, closing his hand over it.
As they approached, Anthony saw
“Chef Paul, please excuse us,” Anthony said as he grabbed her by the arm and started walking her toward the back door. “I need to talk to you alone,” he hissed.
Before she could protest, Anthony had her outside the building. He spun her toward him and released her arm with a shove. “I heard you had a visitor today,” he said as he stood nose-to-nose with her, glaring into her eyes.
“I see Vinny couldn’t wait to call.”
“He told me you handled yourself very well.”
“Now, what else would I do? I know how this works.”
Anthony closed the distance between them, and she hurriedly asked, “Did you come over here just to tell me that? You could have called.”
“I wanted to see your pretty face,” he replied as he reached up and brushed her cheek with his hand.
Anthony didn’t appreciate her tone and made it known by grabbing her arm again and squeezing it.
“Anthony, stop — you’re hurting me! I only asked a simple question.”
“Let’s get something straight, Babe. You don’t ask me questions, simple or otherwise. I’m the only one who can ask questions. Is that clear?”
“Good.” He let go of her arm and continued, “I’m here to convince you to come back to the office with me. Poppy is coming for a visit and I know he would be happy to see you.”
Anthony eyed her with a superior air. He always enjoyed these little bouts for power. They ended the same every time — with him on top. “Sure, go ahead. I’ll wait in the car. Don’t take too long.”
“I wasn’t in your office,” he replied matter-of-factly. “I was just standing here waiting for you, ma’am.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Vinny said with a smile.
Anthony was waiting in the limousine. Mario saw her approaching and climbed out to open the door for her.
“Let’s go,” Anthony immediately instructed. They drove in silence, which was fine with
© Nadine Z. 2007