Authors: Suzanne Young
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Cozy, #Women Sleuths
“Speaking of relatives,” Edna said, “would you like to go to the hospital and see Grant and his family before you fly off to New York?”
“I'd love it.” Anita's response lit up her face. “I don't think another hour's delay will make any difference to my travel plans, and I've missed Jillian and Grant and Karissa so much. I wanted to call them a few times, but Yonny convinced me that the call would be traced. He had me so scared I didn't leave that house for the first two weeks I was there. He usually left me alone during the day, so Greta was a welcome companion. I think without her around, I would have gone crazy.”
“They'll all be delighted to see you. They've been worried. We all have,” Edna added emphatically.
“What has been going on while I've been secluded?” Before Edna could answer Anita added with tears in her voice, “I was so sorry to hear about Lia. Yonny didn't tell me she'd been killed until two days after her funeral. Can you believe that jerk? He knew she was my best friend.”
“He probably knew that you would insist on attending her funeral. He couldn't risk it.”
“He did treat me well. I have to admit that. He was always a gentleman and never once tried to hit on me. I felt so comfortable with him, so safe. How could I have been such a fool?”
“How were you to know? I thought he was very charming and sincere, too.” Edna's words were followed by a brief silence while she concentrated on merging south onto Wadsworth Boulevard. Anita stared out the passenger-side window at the foothills.
Once she had settled more comfortably into the traffic pattern, Edna spoke again, telling Anita all she had learned and the worries they'd had over Anita's disappearance. Edna explained that if it hadn't been for Ernie's persistence, Anita probably wouldn't have been found before her great-aunt was gone.
“I hope to get a chance to talk with him at length, but that won't be until after I've been to Rochester. Maybe there's something I could do to show how much I appreciate what he did.”
Edna slid her eyes toward Anita for an instant. “If you'd like my opinion, I have a feeling he'll need help with his wife's medical bills.”
“Thanks for the tip. I'll definitely see what can be done.”
As they approached the intersection at 92nd, the light turned red, and Edna could turn to speak directly to Anita without dividing her attention between driving and conversation. She nervously cleared her throat. “There's something else I'd like to ask of you, if I may.”
“Anything.” The young woman's face lit up. “Just name it.”
“I'd like you not to mention my part in your rescue to Grant. Not right away, at any rate. Perhaps you could wait until you get back from visiting your great-aunt to give him the whole story. I should be home in Rhode Island by that time, and he'll be busy with the baby and other matters. He probably won't feel the need to scold me by then.” She looked sheepishly at Anita. “And maybe he won't feel the need to speak to his father about my adventures. Albert worries about me, you know, and there's really no need. No need at all.”
Anita's surprised expression turned to amusement, and a second or two later a giggle erupted from her throat, followed by another and another. Soon the two women were laughing heartily. A horn sounded behind them, letting them know the light had turned to green, and Edna drove forward, still chuckling.
“Mum's the word, if you'll pardon the expression,” Anita finally managed to say before bursting into another fit of giggles.
When they arrived at the hospital, Edna left Anita at the front entrance, told her the room number, and went to park the car. They had agreed the young woman would go in ahead of her and give only the briefest explanation for her long absence. Anita would stay for a short visit, then call for a taxi to drive her home. Her own car had been left in her garage at the townhouse, and she would take that to the airport. She admitted to feeling a new sense of freedom and control and was anxious to drive herself instead of relying on anyone else for transportation.
Cruising the lot for a parking space, Edna spotted Ernie's car. She knew he'd been anxious about his wife. She would give him some time to check on Maxine and stop by the room later.
By the time Edna reached Karissa's room, Anita was sitting in a chair beside the bed, holding the baby and cooing to him. Jillian was standing beside her, one hand on Anita's shoulder, bending forward to give instructions on how to hold the baby so his head would be supported. Grant, sitting in a chair on the opposite side of the bed, was holding his wife's hand as they both beamed at their newborn son.
Karissa was the first to notice Edna. “Hello,” she called, her face glowing with pleasure. “Look who finally showed up.”
Of course, Edna and Anita had to pretend they didn't know each other. Per their arrangement, Anita had answered questions and told a condensed version of her story, leaving Edna out of it and involving only Ernie as her savior. Ernie would be instructed to do the same when Edna met him later in Maxine's room.
So Grant made introductions and Anita rose from her chair. “I'm sure this little guy would love to be with his grandmother,” she said with a twinkle in her eye and a twitch to her lips. Edna could tell she was choking back laughter and tried not to show her own amusement.
Cradling the baby in her arms, she looked at Karissa and Grant. “Have you decided on a name for my newest little grandson?”
Before either parent could answer, a jangling note sounded from the cell phone on the bedside table. Grant picked it up quickly and answered without looking at the caller ID. After a second's pause he glanced at Edna, who was handing the now-fussing baby back to his mother.
“Oh, hi, Dad.” Another brief pause before, “She's right here with us. No, I don't know why she wasn't answering her phone. Maybe it needs recharging.”
“Yes. Yes. Everyone's fine.”
He watched Edna's face as he said, “Karissa wanted to name him after Mom.”
Laughing, he said, “Of course we didn't name him Edna. We rearranged the letters of her name and came up with Dean. Dean Davies has a nice ring to it, don't you think?”
Apparently pleased with the reaction he'd seen on his mother's face, Grant turned and walked to the window where he stood looking out. He probably didn't want to disturb the rest of the group with his talking, but the acoustics in the room were such that his words could be heard plainly.
“Sure. We'll get her a ticket back to Rhode Island any time she'd like. We'd love her to stay for as long as she wants, but I know you miss her, and she must be anxious get home.” Another pause.
“Yes, she does seem to spend a lot of time at the grocery store, Dad, but you know how Mom is. She's not happy sitting around all day with nothing to do. I'm sure she's been bored to tears.”
Edna saw Anita glance over at her, and raising an eyebrow, she winked.
# # #
Meet Author Suzanne Young
Born and raised in New England, Suzanne Young has worked as a writer, an editor and a computer programmer since earning her degree in English from the University of Rhode Island in Kingston.
A resident of Colorado for almost 40 years, she recently retired from software development to write fiction full time. She is a member of Denver Woman's Press Club, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime, as well as a graduate of the Arvada (CO) Citizens Police Academy.