In last week’s episode of Suzie’s House, Christina, the CIA agent, pays a visit. While she’s there, Suzie calls Ben’s father to have him come take Ben permanently.
Drew watched Vin watch Miranda as they sat in the living room waiting for Suzie. Poor Vin. He wanted so much from Miranda, who would give so little. They were both on the couch, but might as well be miles apart.
“What do you think?” Drew asked as soon as the front door closed behind Ben and his father. It wasn’t Ben to whom he referred, and he assumed everyone knew it until Miranda spoke up. “What will we do without him? It won’t be the same without Ben.”
“It’s only temporary,” Suzie said. She moved to the arm of the couch and patted Miranda’s shoulder as if to comfort her but Drew didn’t miss the owlish, almost shell-shocked expression on Suzie’s face. She was already hurting for herself and her son.
Drew had brought devastation into this house. If he’d had any idea it would be like this he never would have listened to Vin, let alone actually moved in. Well, what was done was done. He had already volunteered to move out and been soundly refused. Though with this new threat…. No, put it aside. The matter was settled.
“I meant Christina. That was her name, right? The woman who was at Cindy’s party?”
Miranda nodded. “That’s what she said.”
“You think it might not have been her real name?”
“I don’t know… When I first opened the door and she told me her name…. It’s probably nothing.”
“If you ask me, there was something fishy about the whole thing.” Vin sprawled closer to Miranda. He had one hand on the remote, but the TV was off. “I mean, what did she want? Just being friendly? I don’t buy it.” Vin tried to put an arm across Miranda’s shoulder, but she shrugged him off.
“She talked like an airhead, but I think she’s probably pretty smart,” Miranda said.
“She seemed to know a fair amount about our shooter and his brother.” Drew tapped his teeth with the edge of a playing card from the deck on the side table. Sometimes it helped him think. “Think any of it was the truth?”
“Depends on why she was here.” Vin’s eyes narrowed thoughtfully.
“I think their names are right,” Miranda said firmly.
“I don’t know.” Miranda shrugged. “Something about the way she said them, like they just popped out of her mouth. It was everything else that I didn’t believe. I think she knows them really well. I think if she wanted to she could just lead us to them.”
“You may be right.” This time when Vin put his arm across her shoulders, she didn’t seem to notice.
Drew took a moment out of his analysis of the strange visit to marvel at Vin’s determination. If Miranda was really what he wanted, power too him. Drew was glad he’d found a far less prickly and more receptive woman in Suzie.
Suzie sat stiffly in some antique kind of chair on the other side of the couch from Drew. The two of them could be bookends to Vin and Miranda’s huddle. Her eyes were glazed and fixed on the floor. Any minute now she’d be excusing herself to go cry. When she did, Drew wanted to be there to offer a shoulder.
It was the least he could do after having brought to bear the forces that made her send her son away.
“So,” Drew cleared his throat. “Was it Sean or Joseph who tried to abduct Ben? Which one is The Smash Master? And which one shot Vin? The sooner we can close the investigation, the sooner Ben can come home and Suzie can get back to a normal life.”
Suzie’s head came up fast. “That’s right. Once we have them in custody, it’ll be safe for Ben to come home.”
Drew nodded as much to reassure her as to agree.
“Well off hand I’d say it was Joseph who shot me,” Vin said. “Which would make it Sean who tried to abduct Ben.”
“It doesn’t matter which is which,” Miranda said. “What we need it to catch them both!”
They all agreed about catching them both. Drew didn’t argue about the need to know which was which because Suzie got up with a murmur about supper and headed for the kitchen.
“Besides, we don’t even know of either name is right. Just because Christina believes it doesn’t mean it’s so,” Vin said.
Drew got up and headed for the kitchen. Over his shoulder he made one last comment.
“I think the next time we see Christina we should put a trace on her.”