(Last Sunday: In a letter from Brazil to Chartan, the retired combat vet admits he lacks the courage to leave the war in the Ukraine. Chartan writes back asking his friend to return home.)
The day after Chartan mailed his letter to Brazil, a detective notified him that the missing teens were found penniless in Las Vegas.
“Where are they now? asked Chartan.
“With their respective parents.” The phone went dead before Chartan could come up with a response.
“Who was that?” yelled Gina from the bedroom.
“The police found the teens and I guess they’re back home,” replied Chartan from the bedroom doorway.
“Cross that one off the list,” said Gina.
“We just need Brazil to come home,” Chartan replied. He went to the edge of the bed and sat down by Gina’s bare legs—she wore loose pajama tops that barely covered her underwear.
“I’m very pregnant today, so you’ll have to do everything.”
Chartan’s smile was short-lived. His cell phone rang. Minerva wanted to meet to discuss his role at Sloan’s—he hadn’t told her that he was turning down her offer, although he envisioned himself boldly saying “no” to her several times while relaying his decision to Gina in a matter-of-fact way.
“That’s convenient,” said Gina. “You get to take two off the list today.”
“I’ll do it in person this afternoon at Sloan’s.”
“You’ll be back by 5 to take care of dinner?”
Twenty minutes later Chartan slowly pulled the limo out of the apartment complex parking lot. He looked at the limo’s clock several times. He had two hours to overcome his fear of saying “no” to the wealthy widow.
(Continued next Sunday)