A month and a week after mom went into the hospital, she passed peacefully in her sleep. Since mom had already taken care of arrangements, the only thing left for me to do was to call her attorney to let him know. That was one of the last things she said to me. "When I go, call Fessler. He has some things..."
I was going to Evelyn's in the mornings for breakfast with her and the boys, but the last couple of weeks I have been staying the night at the hospital to be with my mom. I wanted to be here when her time came, and I am at peace knowing that she went like she did. I have had a good bit of time to come to grips with all of this, and although I am sad, I know that she is in a better place now. No more pain, no more suffering. She is free.
I send Evelyn a text and ask her to call me when she gets a break at work, but she immediately calls me.
"Dom? Is everything okay? I haven't heard from you in a while now. How is your mom?" she rapidly asks.
"Mom passed early this morning, in her sleep. She didn't suffer or anything, which is a blessing really." I manage to say.
"Oh Dom! I am so very sorry. I hope you know that I loved your mother. She was amazing and I am sure going to miss her." she says, her voice cracking.
"I called my boss, and I'm taking a few days off so I can get some things handled. I called Mr. Fessler's office already, and have an appointment with him in an hour. Can I come see you?" I ask her. She has sent me photos of herself, but nothing compares to seeing her in person, touching her in real life.
"Absolutely! I'll have you something to eat when you get here. I'll see you soon." she says, then hangs up.
When I get to the restaurant, she was true to her word and had my favorite loaded omelet waiting for me at a small table. Before I could sit down, she wrapped her arms around me tightly, whispering something that I couldn't make out, so I just hugged her back.
"How are the boys? I'm sorry for being out of touch. I could've easily sent you a text or something, instead I just kind of ghosted you. Thanks for all the pictures, by the way." I say, shyly.
"I...we missed you. But don't you dare apologize for spending time with your mom. Those are moments that no one should ever begrudge you for. Now, eat up before it gets cold." she says, flashing me a smile and trotting off to handle her tables.
I finish eating, and set some money just under the edge of the plate. I don't see her, so I sit and wait a few more minutes for her. She is probably helping the kitchen guy out, like she does from time to time. Bobby is like a father to her. He's an ex-con like me, but she said he has a real mean streak when it comes to men being bullies around women. That makes me feel comfortable with her working here, that and there are always cops hanging around.
Evelyn doesn't come back out, and I have to get going. I shoot her a message. "Wanted to see you before I left. I'll be at the house later." By the time I get to my truck, she still hasn't responded. Is she upset with me because I ignored her? That can't be it. She loved my mom, and she seemed to be understanding. Did I get her in trouble at work for texting her and her calling me? I can't worry about it right now, even though I have a bad feeling in my gut, I have too much shit to do today.
I stop by Fessler's office and pick up a file box that has been sealed shut with tape, and a large envelope that is so full it had to be taped closed, both with my name labeled on them. He then hands me a letter envelope made out to Evelyn, and another file box that has a label "For Brayden and Logan" written on it. What did mom leave for Ev and the boys? Maybe when the open it, they will share with me. I'm a nosy fucker, I suppose.
I make a stop by the construction office and chat with my boss and the foreman for a bit, and they ask that I let them know of whatever arrangements were made for mom. They also said that they turned in a compliance for to my parole officer, stating that I was working from home. I'm thankful as fuck for the good people that seem to be in my corner.
I sit outside at the patio table on the front porch of my moms, well mine now, house and start going through the stuff from Fessler. Inside the envelope is a letter to me.
If you are reading this, then I've gone on to greener pastures. I don't want you to be upset about it, just know that I loved you and I lived a pretty full life. Don't you dare tell your sister a damn thing about me dying. That ungrateful little weasel couldn't take 5 minutes out of her day to talk to me, then I damn sure don't want her crying over me when I'm dead. You call her, I'll come back and haunt you. Now, listen to me carefully. I've had dreams. The doc says it is cancer revelations, but I say they are a sign from the good Lord above. You stay close to Evelyn and those boys for me. I saw how you looked at her, and how she looked at you. If I could do one good deed before I die, it is to make sure you know that you deserve a woman like her and she deserved a man like you. Take care of them, and keep them safe.
My hand hurts from writing, and frankly I'm tired. Catch you on the other side, my sweet son. I love you always, and I am so proud of you.
Love, Your Momma
That crazy woman, I think to myself, letting out a chuckle. I can almost hear the tone of her sarcastic voice in that letter. I will honor her wishes, though. Hopefully, she is right about Evelyn, because I do feel an attraction to her, a desperate need, that can't be explained. I look at the other papers, and there are several life insurance policies, all made out to me. Mom made sure that I would be well off when she passed, that is for sure. There are some banking things that she had already signed over to me, and photos that I have never seen before of me and her. I set those things to the side and open the box. Inside are keepsakes. All of my firsts...first pair of shoes, bible, the first thing I made her from school...shit like that. It was all too much, but at the same time, I wished there was more. Not one single shred of material for my sister. I don't feel bad about it. She made her choices, now she'll have to live with them.
Packing everything into the box, I close it back up and look at the time. Evelyn should be getting home with the boys by now. I hope everything is okay. She has that restraining order, so I'm sure Kevin or his mom aren't the cause of her being late. Is she sick? Are the boys ill? I don't want to seem pushy, but I'm actually worried. I pull out my phone and start to type up a message when I see a police SUV pull up into her driveway. I stand and go to walk over, hoping that it isn't Kevin because today wouldn't be a good day to deal with his smart mouth and attitude. An older officer gets out and walks around to the passenger side, opening the door. Evelyn steps out, covering her face with her hands. What the hell happened? Is she in trouble? Where are the boys? I walk over.
"Evelyn? What's going on, beautiful?" I say, reaching out for her arm.
"They took them." she cries out, loudly.
"What are you talking about?" I ask her.
"The boys. Their gone. Kevin and Mildred took them." she almost drops to the ground, weeping so hard that she can hardly catch her breath. "They took my babies, Dom."
I look at the officer and he nods. "Can you wait here for a moment?" I ask him, picking her up in my arms and carrying her into my house. I lay her on the sofa, and tell her to stay there for a minute. I go back outside and ask the officer, "What the hell is going on? Kevin and his mom kidnapped her kids?" I ask.
"Yeah. They went to the school with a forged document and checked them out. Around 8 or so, they sent Evelyn a message saying that they were boarding a plane and she would never see them again. She called it in, but we were too late. Plane had already taken off. Its a sad deal. Kevin was always a little prick, and his mother...real piece of work that one." he says, shaking his head.
"What's being done to try and get them back here?" I ask.
"By the time we were able to get subpoenas for the flight plans, they were already in mid-air to Germany. The German government said they won't get involved, and we can't extradite. I'm afraid, unless they cross back into the states, we can't do anything." he says. "I got to run. Here's my card. If she needs anything, make sure she calls us."
"She needs her kids back, but I'll give her the card. Thanks for brining her home." I say, walking back into the house.
What a shitty day this turned out to be. I knew something wasn't right. I should've gone and found her before leaving the restaurant this morning. She got that message around the time I was getting there. Those kids must be terrified right now. In all of our morning conversations, they had mentioned how much they disliked their grandmother and how scared of their father they were. No kid should live in fear of their parents, the ones that are suppose to love them and care for them. If they were my kids, they would know nothing but love.
I kneel down on the floor next to where Evelyn is laying on the sofa. Brushing some loose hair behind her ear, I whisper, "Ev, I'm so sorry this has happened. I'll do everything in my power to get those boys back to you. I swear it." then I kiss her forehead.
"They are so scared of Kevin. What if he hurts them? What is Mildred does? I just need them here, with me. I need to kiss their faces and hear their little laughs. I need to see them and hold them, Dom. But they are where I can't get them. All I know is the flight was landing in Germany, but the detective said that they could easily get another flight plan to go somewhere else. What am I going to do?" she weeps out, burying her face into her hands as she coils her limbs into a tighter ball.
"We'll hire the best private investigator alive. We will stay on top of the authorities, and make sure they are actively looking for them. We will bring them home to you, Ev." I say, standing up. Time to cash in those policies mom left me. She would want me to help Evelyn get those babies back. After making a few phone calls, all of the policies can be paid out through a bank transfer once I have proof of death. If we can hold off another couple of days, then I will use all of that money...a little over a million...to get those boys back here where they belong. Going back to Evelyn, she is on her cell phone, crying. She says a finally 'thank you' then hangs up. "Who was that?" I ask her.
"FBI. They are taking over the case. Some of the guys from the police department made a stink and demanded that more be done to help. The agent I just talked to said that no one matching Kevin's, Mildred's or the boys' description boarded another flight, so they are still in Germany. They are pulling Mildred's financials, and hoping they can get some kind of lead as to where they may be. If we find an address or something that leads to them, nothing says that I can't go to Germany and get the boys and fly back here with them. I have documents and the German government would have to honor them. That's what the agent just told me." she says, letting out an exhausted breath.
"Come on. I want you to go lay down for a bit. Just don't judge my bedroom. I still have posters hanging on the walls of my younger year crushes." I say, hoping that will bring a small bit a laughter to her, and she does let out a light chuckle. I get her situated and once I see her breathing get lighter, and I know she is asleep, I leave the room quietly.
I call Vincent, and let him know what is going on, but he is already well aware of it and said that he is the one that made the call to his buddy at the FBI. "I need a name of a good private investigator or someone that can get information that the Feds won't be willing to get. I can pay." I say to him.
"Kevin's message to her, did she tell you what it said?" he asked without providing information that I actually needed.
"No, the cop that dropped her home just said that he messaged that he was getting on a plane and she wouldn't see them again. Why? What all did he really say?" I asked him, feeling that there is a lot more to it.
"He said that his kids were better off with him and Mildred than they would be with a whore for a mother and convict lurking around. But I want you to know something. You may have been to jail, Dominic, but you are more of a man than Kevin is. And I've talked to Evelyn about you, so I know you haven't been anything but good towards her and the kids. She told me that you bought them bicycles and taught them how to ride. Shit like that, that's the way to a woman's heart. I know a guy. He is an ex-black ops operator. Married to my niece, but she is a bitch so he stays gone as much as possible. I'll give him a call for you. Keep your phone handy, because if you miss his call then he won't work with you. I got to run. Keep me posted." Vincent says, ending the call.
An hour later, I check on Evelyn, and she is still sleeping. Her eyes a swollen, and dried tears stain her cheeks. I settle in at the dinner table to look through some more of the papers from mom's 'Will', when my phone buzzes. A message from a blocked phone number..."Under the overpass of I380. 45 minutes. Come alone." I waste no time. I get my shoes on, leave a note for Evelyn that I am out running an errand but will return soon as I can, and drive to the meeting location. This has to be Vincent's nephew-in-law. I'm driving down the road, praying that he will help me to get Logan and Brayden back.