“Redmond, this is your mother. I know you’re there, pick up the phone!” said Laura Gardner authoritatively.
In his dingy apartment, Redmond Gardner turned towards the phone, watching the answering machine blink on and off. He had avoided every conversation he possibly could with his mother. It had been a while though, and he knew how she worried.
Taking a deep breath, he answered. “Hi Mom,” he said flatly.
“Redmond, why haven’t you been taking my calls? It’s been weeks…months maybe since you’ve spoken a word to me! Do you know how selfish that is? Your poor sister’s been laid up in a psych ward for the past two months, and you don’t even call to see how she is! You know, Annette was with her almost every day!”
“This is exactly why I didn’t pick up the other 300 times you called!” said Redmond bitterly.
“I’m sorry honey, I’m sorry. It’s been a living hell here lately. Honestly though, I want to know how you’re doing, and if I’m going to see you soon,” said Laura in a much calmer tone.
“I hadn’t really thought about it,” said Redmond, “I mean, I’d like to be around for the baby, when it comes…”
Laura Gardner smiled to herself. “You know dear, I think Annette would like that very much. Maybe you could come by even a little earlier…August is a long time off, you know.”
“I don’t know Mom, I mean, she made it sound pretty clear that the divorce was happening…”
“And, if you recall, my dear boy, she also said she wants you to be a part of that baby’s life. She’s worth fighting for, Red.”
Redmond stammered a bit, “Uh..uh yeah, Mom…I gotta go. Talk to you soon.” He hung up the receiver. Maybe he would give it another shot.
“Now I want us to all be very calm about this,” said Peter Falcone authoritatively, “We’ve got a lot to figure out.”
Josephine and Michael sat awkwardly in their chairs as Peter addressed them. Michael stared blankly out the window of the parlor as Josephine furiously worked her knitting needles. Discussion was never easy.
“I might as well get it out of the way. We all know Steven Bains is alive and well. We all know what he wanted to accomplish. That boy’s had it out for us since that night I–“
“You mean the night you shot and killed John Romano, Pop?” shouted Michael.
“Fine. Yes, Michael, since the night I killed the man who threatened to breakup our family–“
“Well that did ya a whole lotta good!” retorted Michael.
“For God’s sake don’t you see what he’s doing? This is exactly what he wants! He’s driving us apart with the very thing that put us in this position in the first place!”
“And what would you like us to do about it now, Peter?” said Josephine, still staring at her knitting.
“I feel like I should tell Lou,” said Michael.
“You’ll do nothing of the sort,” said Peter, “I won’t give him the satisfaction of having family on his side this time. I want him dead.”
“For the love of God, do you hear yourself?” shouted Michael, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m done with you, done! We’re movin’ out!”
“But Michael, where will you go?” said Josephine with concern.
“Who cares? I know he doesn’t,” said Michael gesturing to Peter, “And you Ma, you and Lou, it’s no good anymore. This whole thing isn’t good for anyone…” Michael’s voice faded as he rushed from the room.
“Peter,” said Josephine, “Please, calm down.”
Peter Falcone would not calm down. Too much was at stake to leave Steven Bains alive.