TRIUMPH OVER EVIL

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Chapter 57

With Bruno missing, and his car found not far from here, he could be anywhere, Barbara thought, as she walked into her apartment. We’ll need to take extreme care until they find him.

Barbara was in a state of dread. I can’t tell Katherine or Sophia. Until the police confirm he’s not in Boston, I’ll have to harbour the secret.

Sophia was in the kitchen when she heard her enter. “I’m in the kitchen, just getting dinner ready.”

Barbara walked in and kissed Sophia’s left cheek. “Hi. Is Katherine in her room?” It was silly question. They knew most of her waking hours were spent there, and sleeping ones.

“She’s into a new painting. I don’t know where she gets the ideas from, or for that matter, where she gets her energy. I’m tired just looking at her.” There was humor in her voice.

“She certainly inherited her father’s imagination and flair,” Barbara said, but as her words trailed off JM’s facial image appeared.

“I was thinking of driving to the cemetery on Saturday to see JM’s grave. Would you like to come? I haven’t asked Katherine yet. If she doesn’t want to go, I don’t know what I’ll do. I can’t leave her here by herself.” The Bruno saga was playing havoc with her mind. “I think she should see her father’s resting place again. I should go and say hello.”

“Dinner will be ready in about an hour, so put yourself on the couch, and relax. I’ll call you when it’s on the table.”

“Okay.” Barbara then went to Katherine’s room. “Hi, darling,” she said cheerfully, on opening the bedroom door. “How’s my baby?”

With a painting lying on the floor, and Katherine kneeling over it, Barbara had no other option but to lean forward and kiss the top of her head.

“Fine, but I’m not a baby anymore.”

“Sorry. We’ll be having dinner soon. If you go and wash your hands we can chat for a while.”

“I’ll come later. Call out when it’s on the table,” Katherine replied dryly.

Barbara walked from the room, but refused to shut the door. She’s like most teenage girls. When they are pre-occupied, food is not a priority.

Returning to the kitchen, after washing her face and hands, Barbara asked, “Can I help? I see you’ve cooked ravioli. It is one of my favourites. I’ll set the table.”

After removing the knives and forks from the drawer, Barbara began to grate some block Parmesan cheese into a small bowl. She dearly wanted to broach the subject of Bruno, his car, and his disappearance, but she wasn’t sure of what direction to take, or if she should say anything at all.

I’ll warn her now, while Katherine’s in her room.

“Do you remember a Detective Andretta coming to see you at the hospital? Well, he came to see me today . . . it was in regard to a client of mine,” she said quietly. She was looking at Sophia as she spoke, to gauge her reaction.

“The police suspect him of being the intruder, but he’s missing. He hasn’t been to his appointments for a while now. Unfortunately, I couldn’t give the detective much information, but they discovered his car parked not more than a block from here. The forensic police towed it away to examine, to see if there is anything in it that may incriminated him. I don’t want you to be alarmed, but you’ll need to keep all the doors locked and be on alert for anything suspicious. If you have any concerns, ring the police and ask them to send a patrol car urgently.”

As Sophia listened to Barbara’s unfolding story, she thought, does she have any idea what happened here? If she does, she is good at hiding it.

Sophia served two bowls of ravioli, then said, “Would you like bread with dinner?”

Barbara gave her a puzzled look. “Do you understand what I just said, and the seriousness of it?

Katherine shouldn’t know. Please tell me you’ll do as I ask?”

“Barbara, I promise. Now sit down and I’ll call Katherine.” Poking her head into the hall, she said, in a no-nonsense, “Katherine, dinner’s ready!

They’re both acting rather strange, Barbara thought. I can’t get a conversation out of either them. As JM would have said, ‘it’s like extracting teeth . . . slow and hard’. They’ve been together too long.

Rising from her chair, she walked to the kitchen bench and put the bowl of mostly uneaten ravioli down. She had decided to alleviate the tension. “How about we go to the movies tomorrow afternoon? It’ll be my treat.”

“What do you want to see?” Katherine asked. She wasn’t sure if she wanted to see a movie.

“I don’t care. Whatever Sophia or you want to see, let’s make an afternoon of popcorn, ice cream, or anything else you want. What do you say?” Barbara could feel her emotions rising as she remembered her last occasion at the movies with JM and an infant Katherine.

Favouring the idea of a temporary reprieve from the apartment Katherine gave her grandmother a nod.

“We’ll be ready,” Sophia said.

As they walked from the theatre’s entrance, some aspects of the movie were in fervent discussion. To defuse the conversation, Barbara suggested, “Let’s have coffee and cake before returning home.”

Katherine hadn’t consumed much coffee in her young years, so the thought of having refreshments with her mother and grandmother gave her spirits a boost.

By afternoon’s end, Barbara could see a change in her daughter, for the better. Katherine is in need of other forms of mental stimulation, besides painting. Playing the violin again is possible. She adored it! A visit to the Museum of Fine Arts should do it! Her epiphany had occurred. Maybe I could talk Conrad into making a surprise appearance. Katherine would get to see some of the finest artworks ever assembled in one place, including some painted by Pablo Picasso, and with Conrad presence she’d definitely learn more.

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