The Morrow Family Saga, Book Three: Laughing, Chapter Four

Nattie watched as the sun set. She wished that she could be wrapped in all those colors. Had Shasta been there, she would have tried to ruin such a beautiful sight by giving a scientific description of what was taking place. Always the bookworm. Nattie doubted that Shasta could ever survive outside her books. They seemed to be for Shasta like what water was to a fish. Nattie found it sad.

Dreams were more real to her. She dreamed of being a movie star. She dreamed of being famous. She dreamed…she dreamed of being as far away from here as possible. Des Moines was boring. The city was too far from Hollywood for her. It was too far from New York as well. Both were centers for the arts. Hollywood was the movie capital, while New York was Where Broadway happened.

Either way, she would be able to follow her dream to be an actress. Let Shasta be whatever it was that Shasta dreamed of being. If Shasta dreamed at all. Nattie shrugged.

Michael stood in the door, looking out at his daughter. He had a surprise for her, but wanted to wait just a bit longer before giving it to her. The family was going to New York before they went to DC. New York would be a treat for Nattie and Shasta before he was needed in Washington for the inquest.

He opened the door and walked over, sitting down  beside her. He wrapped an arm around her. “What’s on your mind, Nattie?”

She sighed impatiently. “I’m never gonna get out of this city. By the time I graduate, all the good jobs will be gone in Hollywood and I won’t never be able to be the next Marilyn Monroe.”

He smiled, despite himself. “Honey, I don’t believe Hollywood will ever run out of the need for actresses. Neither will New York. You’ll be an adult in no time, sweetie.Don’t worry. ” He rose to go back in the house. “By the way, we’ll be stopping in New York for a few days before we go on to DC. It is my gift to you girls.”

She jumped up and hugged him unexpectedly. “Oh, Daddy!”

He hugged her back tenderly, smiling. “I love you too, Honey. Now, let’s go in and have a bit of something to eat. ”

Nattie accompanied her father into the house, the smell of fresh fried chicken beckoning them onward toward the dining room. Fried chicken meant mashed potatoes, green beans, and biscuits. Nattie loved her mother’s biscuits. She loved how they melted in her mouth, and mama’s gravy was to die for.

***

Jim Wallace sat in his office. There was a new storm brewing and this time, it wasn’t in DC. This time, the action was in America’s “land of virtue and purity”, the Midwest. Iowa, to be exact. For once, the whole country seemed to be on even ground. the Midwest no longer looked as pristine as it had been made to look.

Suddenly, he wanted to know how many politicians had taken money from Toffer French. He wanted to know how many dirty lawmakers had been backed by such an evil man. He smiled. Perhaps he didn’t have all the goods on those in office. It was time to go on a fact finding mission to the Midwest.

He smiled. He would make the trip to Des Moines. But first, he would go see what Eddy had on this Toffer French. Besides. He was the only person J. Edgar Hoover feared. He was the only person Eddy couldn’t get anything on.

He picked up the phone and dialed Hoover’s home number. Although most of America believed that FBI headquarters was Eddy’s home, it was not. Eddy, despite what most thought, was actually human. He had secrets he wanted kept under wraps. And at midnight, he was home with his lover.

He snickered. the idea of anyone finding Eddy attractive was hilarious. To Jim, Eddy was just another toad of a man. And all men had secrets. Even Eddy.

***

Kendrick woke up screaming from a nightmare. Sweaty and pulse racing, he sat up in bed. Mira, his wife, lay sleeping beside him. He looked over at her. God, he was a blessed man. 

He was just glad that he had not awakened her. Or had he? Was she just lying there, pretending to be asleep? He had not noticed.

He gently shook her. She didn’t respond. He shook her again, this time a bit harder. Still nothing

He rolled her over. Her eyes were open, unblinking. There was blood at the corner of her mouth and bruises around her throat. Dear God! He looked over in the corner. 

There, in the shadows, stood a little toad of a man with a leering smile. “She was good, your wife. Never made a sound to wake you. But you know I can’t leave any witnesses.” the man’s hand went down. Ken’s hand instinctively went to his nightstand, pulling out the drawer. The man lifted Ken’s gun. “Going for this?” the man pointed it at Ken. “Say goodbye.”

Ken tried to roll in the opposite direction. “Ah shit!”

The gun went off. He felt the bullet go deep. His antagonist was laughing. Everything went black…

Kendrick’s eyes flickered open. His hand went instinctively to where his wife laid beside him and shook her. she moaned. “What is it, Ken?”

He sighed in relief. “Just checking to make sure it was just a dream, Babe.” He rolled over onto his back and pulled her to him.  “Thank God it was only a dream.”

She rested her head on his chest. “You’re bringing work home with you again. That’s a dangerous thing to do, Hon. It always gives you nightmares.”

He smiled sheepishly. “I know. I’m sorry. I’ll try not to bring any more home with me.”

She giggled, tiredly. “That, Kendrick Wells, is impossible for you to do. It nips at your heels like a rabid dog.”She snuggled into his chest and sighed, falling easily back to sleep with a soft sigh.

Ken lay awake for a while, trying to sort out everything from his nightmare. Surely Toffer French wouldn’t come to DC just to kill him or his wife. Would he?

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