“Fred’s having trouble finding a flight. I suggested Sanford, apparently, it’s not a viable option either.”
“He’ll find something, Mom,” Aiden said.
She nodded, pressing her lips together. Vanessa took her hand, squeezing comfortingly.
“Meanwhile, you have us. Aaron and Eoin are spending the night. I’m just a phone call away, so are Scott and Jasper.”
“Jasper is only minutes away,” Aaron offered. “He’s just a few blocks south.”
Deirdre nodded, thanking them all. She picked at her food until Corin spoke up.
“Mom, you always used to fuss at me for playing with my food. Do I have to feed it to you? Because I will. This is the best lasagna ever, better than yours—sorry. Aaron made the sauce and froze it, and the pasta was made by hand. So eat.”
Giggling and trying not to cry, Deirdre did as he ordered. “I never thought I’d be taking orders from my fifteen year old.”
“Behave, or I’ll give you more,” he threatened, lowering his voice.
He sounded so much like his father, it made her gulp. All her boys looked like their father, too handsome for their own good.
“If you don’t mind, I’m going to take a pain pill and go to bed.”
“Can you get around by yourself?” Vanessa asked.
“I’ll use my crutches.” Deirdre gave Eoin an evil eye.
Reluctantly, he gave them to her. “You promise not to overdo.”
“I’m going to bed. The only place I’ll go after that, is the toilet.”
“All right.” He gave her a hug and kiss.
All the boys did the same. Vanessa gave her a hug and she hobbled to her bedroom. The noise of the household faded when she closed the door. It took longer to get ready for bed, but she finally turned in. Sleepy from her pill, she fell in to a deep, dreamless sleep.
Deirdre woke late at night. The house was quiet, but she saw a light peeping under her door. After a trip to the bathroom, she was thirsty, so she limped to the kitchen. Aaron sat at the table, going through pictures and papers. Glancing up, he smiled, then got up to help her walk.
“I’m surprised to see you awake.”
“Had to pee. Can you grab me some water?”
“Sure.” He got a glass and filled it with ice and water.
“Thank you. What are you doing?”
“Looking over photos that Vanessa gave me. That, and an endless lists of names.”
“Some private golf organization. In fact, it’s called the Private Golf Club or PGC.”
“Yeah, but not boring people. You and your husband got an invite several years ago, do you remember?”
“Vaguely. It was way too expensive, Corin wasn’t even in school yet, so we gave it a pass. We like golf, but not enough to pay thousands of dollars in membership fees and dues. I was surprised we were invited, to be honest.”
“You can be recommended by members. Do you remember who invited you?”
Deirdre screwed up her face, thinking hard. That was over ten years ago, and not important. “Bigby. Oh, what was his first name? Something with two syllables.”
“Was it? What a horrible name, Dickie Bigby. Yes, that sounds right. Why?”
“Because I’ve done some very injudicious digging.” He wiggled his fingers as if he’d been typing on a computer. “I was a hacker in my misspent youth.” He winked. “Be glad you said no. These folks are into some hinky shit.”
“How hinky?” She sipped her water, watching him over the top of her glass.
Aaron took a deep breath. “Illegal gambling. Insider trading. Wife swapping.”
“Wife—what? Did you said swapping?” Her voice got a bit shrill. Getting herself under control, she stared at him. “Swapping? Ew!”
“Yeah, which is why, I suspect, Dickie invited you. You’re a very attractive woman. He likes well built blondes.”
“Ewwg.” Shuddering, she wiped at her arms. “God, that’s disgusting. Have you seen him?”
Dickie Bigby was moderate height, but weighed over three hundred pounds.
“That isn’t the worst of it.” He handed a picture to her. Wendy sat on Dickie’s lap. Three other girls, all familiar, sat on the knees of much older men. Each of them was someone important, a pillar of the community. To the right of Dickie sat none other than Coach Bullock.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes