Natalia felt better than she had in years. Now clean, she was looking forward to a new lease on life as an actress. Her beloved son had promised her that he would find her a few acting roles. She trusted him to do so. He had never let her down before, she believed that he wouldn’t ever start.
She had spent her youth dreaming of a career in Hollywood. Now she would get her wish. She didn’t care if it lasted very long, she just wanted a taste. Something she could tell the grandkids when she was too old to do anything.
She smiled. She would have to thank Matty for giving her another chance. She was glad that he had never given up. He was her angel.
When everyone else had given up on her, he had been there. Most sons would have left by now. Most sons would have turned their backs. But Matt was not ‘most sons.’ He was her son. He was a Morrow.
Morrows rarely turned their backs on each other. Matt had proven that by bringing the rest of the family in on his little intervention. It had been years since she had last seen Mama and Daddy. But they had both been present. So had Shasta. And Trey.
Others had come to show their solidarity as well. The family always pulled together in times like this. They had back in the fifties when the Red Scare was at its height. So many people had lost so much then. Daddy had almost lost the business. But the family pulled together.
Now, Shasta and Trey ran the business. Daddy had retired. Now he spent his time with Mama. From what she had been told, they travelled all the time now.
She wondered who lived in the family home. Did Mama and Daddy? Or did Shasta now have the house they had grown up in? Not that it mattered. She didn’t want the house.
Perhaps she would visit it sometime soon. Just not for a while. Too many bad memories lived in Des Moines. Too much pain.
She had found out something from Mama and Daddy during their visit. What she had thought after the rape had been erroneous. Daddy had actually wanted to help her, not push her away. She had left before he could.
Mama, too, had wanted to help. but that was all in the past. There was no reason to go over it anymore. She had healed from the whole nightmare as best as could be expected. She had, for a time, had a happy life.
She took a deep breath. That had been so long ago. Thirteen years ago. And she had a beautiful, wonderful son out of the whole mess. And a few other children.
Shasta had her kids. All but Matt. At least they were where they could have the best. Even Matt. Tom had done well in his raising of her son.
But, then, Tom had also always been there for her from the very beginning. And that man named Kendrick. He had been there until that thug had vanished back in 1960. And then there had been Trent. The love of her life. The only man who’d shown her how it felt to be a woman.
But Trent had died in 1961, a casualty of the Vietnam War. Technically, the country refused to call it a war, calling it a Conflict instead, but it was still a war. So many had lost their lives. So many families had lost sons, husbands, brothers, uncles, cousins, and nephews. Those who were coming home still had nightmares.
It was a war that the country had no business being in. The majority of people had already come to believe this. Even soldiers coming home had stated as much. So why were their soldiers still over there?
She looked across to her roommate who was reading a newspaper. It had been years since she even looked at a newspaper. Now, she wanted to read one. Catch up on events.
“Excuse me,” she called, clearing her throat.
Her roommate raised her eyes above the top of the paper. “I presume you’re talking to me?”
Natalia nodded. “Yes. Do you have any newspapers that you have already read?”
“Yes,” came the reply, “and a few magazines as well. Want them? I will just be throwing them away later.”
“Sure!” Natalia agreed.
Tom sat reading the files that he’d received from Rick, his face going pale as he delved deeper into them. He would have expected the material inside had he been reading the case file from The French Case, but not from his own file or the Morrow file. Most of the supposed information in the files were crap. Made up and delusional, none of it made sense. It was almost as if a mentally ill man had scribbled out some creepy fantasy.
Ken’s file, on the other hand, was believable. Ken had been mentally unstable during and after The French Case. Something had twisted Ken’s mind past the point of no return. That had been why Ken had left after he murdered the hood sent back by Tobias to kill Natalia. The case had destroyed his marriage to Mira as well. But all that had been Eddy’s doing.
Tom, on the other hand, had connections everywhere. Eddy had been a little too liberal with his assessment of the Goldman household. He had known nothing of Susie and, yet, had marked her as communist. That didn’t set well with Tom.
He could have handled being accused of such activity. He had contacts in the North American/ U.S. Communist Party. He’d had to make those contacts for CIA purposes and he was more than willing to be vilified for the use of them. But to accuse Susie. That was going a little far, especially since she knew nothing of his contacts.
But to accuse the Morrows, a family who’d been a part of the country’s every battle, was going way too far. Tom knew the Veneceks. The Jewish family had no use for Communism. They had fed to the U.S. to get away from Stalin.
Eddy had been petty in his assessments. His homosexual fantasies blended with his aversion to Jews and Communists and his self-loathing to form a twisted unrealistic vision of the subjects of each file. Tom frowned. there was only one thing he could do with these files. He would have to burn them. He only wondered one thing: exactly what had Rick replaced them with?