Later that evening, Peggy’s apartment:
Peggy impatiently waited for Dede to arrive. Over the past few weeks, they’d grown closer and, to be honest, for her to call and ask to come over to talk, it truly surprised her. Now, here she was nervous and unsure about how to act. But her voice over the phone concerned her and wondered what she wanted to talk about. She too had seen the news reports last night about Detective William Douglas, the man whose dating Dede’s sister. Startled by the knock at the door, she opened it.
Dede stood there looking lost as if she could really use a friend. “Hey, can I come in?”
“Of course, come in,” Peggy replied. Peggy followed her into her place. “Well, here it is. It’s not much, just a studio, but it meets my needs. Take a seat; would you like something to drink, soda, juice, coffee?”
“No, I just need to talk.”
“Alright,” she said and sat down next to her. “Tell me.”
“It’s really bad.”
“I’m ready to listen; go ahead.”
“I don’t know where to start: my brother has a gambling problem; my sister is in love with a cop, who may be killed because of a mob boss who nearly killed my brother because of money he owed a loan shark. Should I continue?”
“Maybe you should have something stronger? I have wine.”
Relieved, she replied, “Wine would be nice.”
They took a few sips. “Dede, I’m trying to piece all of this together in my mind. How long has Andy had a gambling problem? I know your parents were well off. Did he blow through his inheritance?”
“No, he can’t touch that until he turns 25,” she replied.
“I see, well, he must have some type of allowance; right?”
“Yes, he does, but apparently, it wasn’t enough.”
“And Angie, what’s going on with her? How long has she been seeing this guy?”
“Not long, only about a month, I think.”
“Well, I guess falling in love doesn’t have a timeline.”
She tried to smile. “No, it doesn’t.”
“So, does this mean that your family, including you, are in danger from the mob or?” She couldn’t finish.
“Yes, we are and I have no idea what to do. I can’t just sit in my apartment; I have a job; I have friends; things to do; people to see. I can’t live my life that way.”
“Of course, you can’t, but maybe things will die down after a while and,” Peggy started.
“No, it won’t, but Bill is working on ways to protect us, like not staying out too late or watching our surroundings.”
“I can help with that. I’ll make sure you get home safe; I’ll protect you.”
“Oh, you’re my protector now?” She asked only teasing a little.
“I would do anything for you; you must know that.”
“Oh, and how would I know?” She asked staring at lovely face. Peggy is gorgeous, far too pretty for me, she thought.
She shook her head at her. “You have no idea how beautiful you are, inside and out, but I do.”
“You do?” Dede didn’t believe that.
“Yeah, I do. I guess I need to work on that.”
“Work on what?”
“I need to show you instead of talking about it.”
“Show me what?”
“So many questions.” She smiled and took her glass and placed it on the side table. “Dede, I know we haven’t talked about taking our ‘friendship’ to the next level, but I want you more than anything.”
She swallowed. “You want me?”
“More than I can say,” she replied then she leaned in for a kiss, just a kiss.
Dede leaned in as well, then they kissed softly feeling each others acceptance and then it happened. Tongues touched, heads turned, deepening the kiss.
Peggy pulled away. They opened their eyes. “Tell me if you’re not ready and I’ll understand.”
“I don’t know,” she answered truthfully.
“It’s Okay,” she said and touched her cheek. “I remember when I first saw you. In my class as a freshman, you walked in. Heads turned in your direction. You were shy but the way you held your head, I knew you wouldn’t take anything from anyone. At that moment, I knew that I needed to get to know you and I’m glad I did.”
Dede shook her head remembering.
“You had no idea; did you?”
“No, I didn’t; not at first.”
“Well, I’m glad I told you. Do you want more wine?” Peggy stood up and picked up their glasses.
“No, I should go. Thank you, Peggy for listening to me ramble on about my family.”
“No problem. If you need to talk or need anything, I’m here.”
“Thank you,” she said, but a thank you didn’t seem like enough, then she gave her a hug.
Startled at first, Peggy pulled her close happy about their talk at least.
Dede smiled enjoying their hug, then she pulled away. “Well, I’ll see you tomorrow at work?”
“Yes, I’ll see you tomorrow.” She opened the door. “Good night, Dede; be careful.”
“I will; good night, Peggy.” She gave her a smile.
Then she was gone. Peggy leaned against the door, smiled and touched her lips, took a deep breath and went to clean up.
Minutes later, a knock came at the door. She peaked through the door, but she refused to open it.
“Open the door, Peggy.” A man’s voice came through.
She opening the door. “What do you want?”
He walked right by her. “That didn’t take long.” Her former boyfriend, if you could call it that, had ties to the wrong people, meaning the mob.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Peggy said and walked into the kitchen, still cleaning up after Dede’s visit.
“Really? I saw her leave, well, how was it?”
“None of your business. You should leave; it’s over between us.”
“It will never be over; you know that. You’re family now. I still care about you and we don’t want to make someone unhappy about our breakup; now do we?”
Chills ran down her spine. “What do you want?”
In the cab bride home, Dede touched her lips, still unbelieving that Peggy wanted to be with her. Then she remembered her dreams of Peggy, but in her dreams, her face was never revealed; not once, and she wondered about it. Of course, she told her family about her dreams of being with someone special, but she hadn’t revealed that it was in fact a girl she was dreaming about. Now that she had met her, or did she, but Peggy is the one; she knew it.
Back home, Andy and Angie were still awake, but Bill was gone. “Hey, I thought you guys would be asleep. Is something wrong? Where’s Bill?”
“He got a call and he had to leave,” Angie replied flipping through cable news channels looking for something; she wasn’t sure.
“It’s late; turn that off. Andy, aren’t you leaving in the morning?” Dede asked.
“Yes, I’m leaving at dawn tomorrow. The train leaves at 7am.”
“Are you packed or?” Dede began.
“Yes, I’m packed; I didn’t bring that many clothes,” he replied stiffly.
“What’s wrong with you? You get to leave all this mess behind. It won’t affect you,” Dede snapped not the mood.
“Just because I won’t be here doesn’t mean that I won’t worry about both of you.”
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to snap. I’m worried too.”
Angie turned off the television and went into the kitchen. “Any chicken left? I’m hungry,” she asked searching for leftovers.
“Is this how you’re going to be every time Bill has an assignment?” Dede watched her sister eat cold fried chicken.
She stopped eating, and wiped at her hands. “I don’t know what I’ll do, but pray, I guess.”
Dede and Andy stared at each other. “We can do that. I know it’s been a while.”
“Come and sit down.” Dede patted the sofa; Andy sat opposite them. “Now, I know we’re worried about Bill and the fact that he’s working to bring down ‘mob bosses,’ but a little prayer never hurt.”
“We haven’t done this since after the service.” Andy stated what they were all thinking.
“I know, but let’s do this for Bill,” Angie said. “I have a very special prayer I’ve been thinking about since meeting him.”
“You do?” Dede asked.
“Yeah; let us pray.” They held hands, closed their eyes, then Angie pulled it from her pocket, began her prayer:
We come to you proclaiming that you are all powerful and all loving. You are our tower of strength. You are our ever - present help in times of trouble.
Our hearts are filled with thankfulness to those who serve our country in the police department. Their love for our country and for our people is inspiring.
Father, we are reminded that our men fight many personal battles, and we ask that today you would intervene in their lives and help each one individually.
We know that there are times when each one suffers from loneliness, homesickness, exhaustion, sadness, fear, extreme and risky conditions, personal physical conditions, and a myriad of other difficulties. We ask that every need would be ministered to this day. We ask that you come to each one and ease their personal challenges and give each one renewed hope and cheer. We ask that you refresh each one this day in every way.
“That was beautiful." Dede said. “It sounds like a soldier’s prayer.”
Angie folded the prayer and put it back. “That’s how I think of him, as a soldier, fighting for all of us in his own way.”
“You did good, Sis,” Andy said. “I guess we can rest a little easier tonight. So, good night. If you’re still asleep, I’ll say goodbye now. Group hug.”
They hugged each other tightly. “Good night,” Andy said and went to bed.
“Goodnight, Sis,” Dede said.
“We’ll talk tomorrow morning about your … visit with Peggy, if you want to?”
“Sure, we can talk tomorrow. Good night.”