By the time Denise began her second trimester; Jerry had written to her and pleaded with her to return to him as his wife. At Denny’s request, Eva phoned Jerry and informed him that the Mexican marriage had been annulled months earlier by Denny’s father; the couple would have to be remarried—if everyone approved. Expressing his undying love and devotion to Denise and their baby, he readily agreed. Eva related the news to Albert Sr. who was not pleased. Eva suggested they both meet with Jerry without Denise present rather than “stick a shot gun up his ass and pull the trigger” as Albert Sr. suggested.
The meeting took place in Albert’s law office. He sat in the sumptuous leather swivel chair behind his desk, and Eva and Jerry sat in two of the generously upholstered chairs in front of the desk. Off to one side in a straight-backed chair, Agnes sat behind her stenograph machine. Poising her bony fingers over the keys, she signaled to Albert Sr. with a petite nod of her head that she was ready.
“Why do you want to marry my daughter?” Albert began brusquely.
“I … I … love her?” Jerry looked to Eva for confirmation that he had given the right answer.
“She’s only sixteen,” said Albert, grimacing. “You’re what, twenty-six, twenty-seven?”
“That shouldn’t matter,” he said timidly. “Denny’s mature for her age.”
“Bullcrap! If you believe that,” cried Albert, “you’re a bigger fool than I took you for. Denise is a baby, my friend; she needs a lot of attention, a lot of coddling, and a lot of money to keep her happy. Do you have a lot of money, huh? Do you have that kind of money?”
“I’m working on it,” Jerry said, shifting defensively in his chair.
“Yeah, you’re working on it all right,” Albert shot back, “by marrying my daughter so you can get your sticky hands on her money or mine or both!” Albert was red in the face.
“That’s not so,” Jerry said nervously. “I love her. We’re going to have a baby, aren’t we?”
“What the hell does that prove?” Albert roared. “That you raped an underage girl? I ought to have your ass thrown in jail.”
“It proves that I love her.” Jerry again beseeched Eva to rescue him. The distress in his face was unmistakable.
“Oh my God, what a pile of crap that is,” Albert yelled, swiveling his chair toward Eva. “Do you believe this moron? My daughter wants to marry an idiot!”
Jerry opened his mouth to protest, but Eva jumped in first.
“Jerry,” she said, “would you be willing to take a test to prove you love Denise?”
“I already said I’m the father,” he protested.
Eva smiled. “Not that kind of a test; a test of loyalty to Denise, to this entire family.”
“How?” he said, frowning suspiciously.
Eva looked toward Albert Sr. who was clearly puzzled by the tack she was taking. “Can we have Agnes leave?” Eva asked him.
“Agnes,” he said quietly, “would you please excuse us for a few minutes? I’ll buzz you when I want you to come back in.” Agnes was gone in a few steps, soundlessly closing the door behind her.
“What is this, Eva?” Albert asked skeptically.
“You sell drugs at The Watering Hole, don’t you, Jerry?” said Eva.
“No!” he protested, looking fearfully toward Albert.
“Jerry,” Eva said calmly, “lying to us is not going to help your situation.”
She waited while Jerry looked uneasily at Albert Sr. Finally, he said, “Maybe sometimes . . . a little.”
“And you get those drugs from the Blanco’s, don’t you?” Eva persisted.
“No.” He shook his head vigorously. “I get them from one of the bartenders.”
“And where does he get them from?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” he said, quickly adding, “I don’t, I swear.”
“He could be getting them from the Blanco’s, right?” she pressed.
Jerry shrugged uncomfortably. “I told you I don’t know where they come from.”
“You do know the Blanco’s, don’t you, Jerry?” Eva asked pointedly.
“I know who they are,” he said. “I never met them.”
“Do they come into the club a lot?” she asked.
“Ah, every couple of weeks or so,” he murmured.
“You could meet them, right?” she said, her eyes lighting up. “You could wait on their table, couldn’t you?”
“No,” he argued. “Norm always has his favorites wait on them.”
“You could slip them a message though, couldn’t you?” asked Eva.
Jerry shuffled restlessly in his chair. “Maybe … No … I don’t know! Look you don’t approach people like the Blanco’s unless they want you to—understand?” He swiveled his head helplessly between Eva and Albert. “What is all this anyway?” he said.
Albert Sr. stared grim faced at Eva waiting for her to reveal her scheme.
“I want you to deliver a message to the Blanco’s without telling them who it came from. You just say the woman didn’t give you her name.”
“What?” he jumped, “they won’t believe that! They’ll kill me if I try to play those kinds of games with them!”
“No they won’t,” said Eva confidently. “Not when you give them this message; they’ll know who it’s from. They won’t need to bother you because they’ll already know.”
“Eva,” Albert interrupted. “I think you and I should talk about this—alone.”
Ignoring him, Eva fixed on Jerry and said, “Will you do it?”
“What’s the message?” he asked, squirming in the chair.
“Hold it,” Albert Sr. bellowed, raising both hands over his head. “Eva, don’t say another word until we talk about this. You,” he pointed at Jerry, “you wait outside.” He pointed to the door.
“What are you doing, Eva?” he asked after Jerry had left the room.
“I’ve thought it over, and I want to meet with the Blanco’s,” she said clearly. “One way or another I have to confront them.”
“What! They’d kill you if given half a chance. Why in the hell would you want to get within a hundred miles of those jackals?” He raised his voice. “I thought we settled all that.”
“You settled it, Al,” Eva said, sitting straighter in her chair. “You settled it in your own mind, but I never agreed to anything.”
“What the hell are you trying to prove?” He raised his hands, totally exasperated.
“I want them to admit something to me, something incriminating in front of another witness that proves their guilt. I want to be able to testify in court against them.”
Frustrated, Albert shook his head. “It’s a long shot we can even get them into a court, let alone prosecute.”
“We will,” she said, smiling. “I know we will. I’ve got a plan. I’ve figured it out.”
“Oh,” he scoffed. “You’ve figured it out! Sure. By the way, what does any of this have to do with Denny?”
“Well,” said Eva, sedately placing her hands in her lap, “I’m not sure about that—yet.”
“You’re obsessed with the Blanco’s, aren’t you? Admit it.”
“Wouldn’t you be?” she said. Her eyes were laser beams, and he lowered his head.
“What about this?” she said, raising two fingers instructively. “Jerry may be too chicken to ever deliver the message and if that’s the case your problem’s solved because he won’t have done what he’s been asked. On the other hand, if he does deliver the message, then maybe he’s not such an awful choice for Denise after all.” She smiled at him contentedly.
“That’s … that’s … preposterous!” he yelled, throwing up his hands. “You’re pulling that justification out of your ear just to rationalize your Blanco obsession!”
“Maybe,” said Eva coyly, “but either way we’re going to know more about Jerry’s character than we do now.”
“I know all I need to know right now, thank you very much!” he sputtered.
“I don’t,” said Eva sharply. “Aren’t you the one who asked me to look after Denny, to advise her? Isn’t that so?”
“And … and if he doesn’t deliver this message, then what? Then what are you going to do?”
Eva shrugged. “I’ll just have to find another way.”
“You think you have an answer for everything, don’t you?” he said.
“Yes!” She grinned.
Studying Eva, Albert sighed and shook his head dejectedly. “Eva,” he said, “you are the most stubborn, infuriating, aggravating woman I’ve ever known.”
“Isn’t that why you love me?” she asked, playfully cocking her head.
“No,” he snapped. “I love you despite those faults! Those are maddening character faults, Eva—do you hear me?”
She laughed. “Don’t you even want to know the message I want Jerry to give the Blanco’s before you pronounce me guilty of being a stubborn, infuriating, aggravating woman?”
“I’m afraid to ask,” he said, discouraged.
Eva smiled. “Bring Jerry back in and I’ll tell you both at once.”
“Absolutely not,” he said harshly. “Eva, I’m putting my foot down here. I’m telling you as your attorney now, not as your fiancé, to confide this cockamamie plan of yours to me privately first. You listen to me on this, Eva, because if your “message” is as crackbrained as I’m guessing, I’m going to stop you or … or … something.”
“Fine, Albert.” Eva smiled sweetly at him. “Whatever you say, dear.”