Annette Gardner once again found herself in her mother’s kitchen. Stella Bains sat across from her, placing cookies on a baking sheet. Stella did not push her daughter to speak. She knew better. Brooding in the silence, the tinny ring of the telephone rang. Stella answered it promptly.
“Hello? Mrs. Bains? It’s Mike,” said Michael Falcone.
“Oh yes, Mike. How are you?” said Stella cheerfully.
“Good thanks. Listen, I’m calling to tell you Louise is in the hospital. She took a fall and–” he paused, “She’s in a coma.”
Stella was stunned. “Where is she Michael?” she stammered out. Stella nodded, and slammed the phone down.
“Annette, that was Mike. Louise is in the hospital…she’s in a coma.”
Annette had a rush of feeling come over her that was entirely inappropriate for the situation at hand. Her sister was in a coma now, which meant to her that Michael Falcone was alone. She too was alone. Louise was in a coma. She thought that to herself over and over. She was worried, yes. But what did this mean for her?
Arriving at the hospital, Michael Falcone, returning from his brief departure from the hospital, greeted the Bains women. He saw the look on Annette’s face, filled with discomfort and uncertainty. He rushed towards her and hugged her.
“It’ll be okay, she’ll be fine. The doctors say there’s a good chance she’ll come out of it, ” said Michael. Annette hugged him tighter. She never wanted to let go. Michael wasn’t sure if he wanted to let go either.
Josephine Falcone sat in her chair absorbed in her knitting, feeling very satisfied with the days events. Peter Falcone entered after returning home from his usual business ventures. They sat together in silence for a few moments, before Josephine, not looking up from her knitting, said, “Louise is in the hospital.”
“What do you mean Louise is in the hospital?”
“Just what I said. She’s in the hospital. What else do ya want me to say?”
“What’s going on?”
“She fell today when we were in the kitchen together.”
“You were in the kitchen, together? Josephine,” he said with all seriousness, “What did you do?”
“Poison. Worked better than I thought.”
Peter Falcone could not understand the lack of sympathy in his wife’s voice. He had never met someone so cold. The feelings of others were not of any particular interest to Josephine.
“I’m not going to yell. For God’s sake, I know that’s useless. I’m going to say that this was no business of yours. I don’t care what you may think of her, a woman doesn’t poison her daughter-in-law.”
“She’s never been my daughter-in-law,” Josephine said with an icy aloofness, “And you have no right to say anything after what you’ve done to Redmond and Annette.”
“Josephine, I’ve made mistakes. I realize that. You have no idea how much I regret hurting that poor girl now. And think, now with Louise out of the picture, her poor mother. She’s only got Annette now.”
“I don’t care. I hate them. I hate them all.” She looked up from her knitting, “I hate every last one of them, and I don’t give a damn what happens to any of them. And, if you try to interfere now, Peter Falcone, I’ll put an end to you too.”
Peter Falcone left the room, furious with almost every decision he had made in life.