No Laughing Matter (30)

Louise Falcone, recovering from the travesty/success of Josephine’s dinner party, left the table to brood in her room. It had been the strangest night of her life. Normally, Falcone family dinners were filled with loud conversations across the table with everyone. However, it seemed as if the Benedettos had cast a gloomy cloud on the usually bearable family affair.

Sitting in front of her mirror, Louise contemplated what Josephine had said to her a few moments ago. “Welcome to the family,” she had said. What could that have possibly meant? “I know she hates me. She always has, and she always will. No, that old toad has something up her sleeve. No matter, I’ll play her game for now. I’ll find out soon enough.”

Meanwhile, Josephine, after showing the Benedettos to the door, began to clear the dining room table. Her face was red and she was scowling. “Damn that girl! I bet I have her going now. Bet she thinks were the best of friends now. Ha! I’ll show her. No one shames Josephine Falcone and gets away with it! Bide your time, my dear daughter-in-law. You’re time’ll come,” Josephine mumbled to herself as she threw the ill-fated sauce, gravy boat and all, into the trash bin.

“Ma, what the hell was that? What’d you do tonight?” said Michael, entering the room.

Josephine feigned responsibility, “Oh, I suppose your old mother’s just getting old, Michael. I must’ve just been careless today, that’s all. Make no mistake though, I’ll make sure it never happens again.”

***

Laura Gardner jumped in her blue sedan, wearing a dark overcoat over her brown sweater and skirt. She was shaking with excitement. Steven Bains was alive! She drove hunched over the wheel, ready to bolt from the car as soon as she arrived at Burton Heights. The park was dimly lit with only two lampposts. Sitting on a bench underneath the one closest to her was Steven.

Steven rose at the sight of Laura, and said, “Why, Mrs. Gardner, you look like a Bond girl.” Steven always had a sense of humor with the woman. She was so good-natured that he knew she’d appreciate it.

“Why thank you Steven, you know I just bought–never mind that. For starters, why don’t you tell me why you’re standing here in front of me when your poor mother buried you in the ground two years ago?”

Steven shifted uncomfortably. With a heavy sigh, he said, “I guess I might as well put it all on the table.” He paused. With great reluctance, he said, “I’ll be frank with you, Mrs. Gardner. We all know Peter Falcone has somewhat of a discolored history. I saw him shoot a man in cold blood. No remorse, whatsoever. He saw me, and he knew that I saw. I faked my death not only for my own sake, but for Diane’s. We thought that by having me deep under cover, I could take down him and the rest of his bloodthirsty goons. That’s why I’m back here.”

Laura was stunned. Truthfully, she thought the Falcone’s just had an affinity for The Godfather. She didn’t think such things actually existed. “But, but Steven,” said Laura in disbelief, “Why did he do it?”

“That’s what I intend to find out.”

END

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