A novel by Karen Lockhart
Copyright© 2017 Karen Lockhart
As the office door opened, Wendy let go of my hand, and tried to hide behind me. Of course Pete noticed this, and immediately started to tease me.
“See Ginny, if you would eat more, that kid would have more area to hide behind.”
Well, he and Ellen thought that was funny, but they didn't have a teenager's fingernails digging into their arms like I did.
Ellen broke the ice, thankfully ending my torture.
“Hey Wendy, this is my boyfriend Pete, Pete Smith, this is our new housemate, Wendy Heart.”
Pete chuckled, “Bond, James Bond. I love the way you introduce me Ellen. I expect to see Miss Moneypenny sitting at Ginny's desk. Hey, Wendy don't be afraid of me and hide behind the flagpole. Unless you're a murderess, you are not my concern.”
“Come-on Pete, quit scaring the kid! Wendy, go back to your computer, Pete loves to tease people. Ellen make him behave.”
As Pete and Ellen headed into her office, I could feel Wendy relax.
“He's not sending me home! I'll kill myself first!”
I immediately hugged her, and gave her a squeeze.
“No-one is sending you home, wherever that is sweetie. Don't be afraid of Pete, he actually protects me and Ellen from a drug kingpin.”
“What do you mean, Aunt Ginny?”
“It's a long story, but for now, a friend of ours named Tina Morales has a father who was the head of a cocaine and heroin smuggling and distribution organization in this area. Her father, Vincent, faked his death just before Christmas. He showed up again two weeks ago in a bar in Salisbury. A local cop was involved in a gunfight, Vinny's bodyguard was killed, and the officer was wounded. This involved Pete, who is in charge of a New England task force trying to break-up this drug ring. At one time I worked for a trucking company who used their trucks to spread the drugs around the region.”
“Oh my gosh! Are you and Aunt Ellen in danger?” Wendy asked, “Am I?”
“No, honey, don't worry, Vincent will not bother us, he's afraid of Aunt Ellen, and wants to stay a long way away from Captain Pete Smith anyway.”
She looked at me funny, “A big drug dealer is afraid of Aunt Ellen?”
I took a deep breath while I decided just how much to tell her.
“Morales and his daughter had a big fight over his chosen profession, and the fact that he hit on every friend of Tina's who was female, including me. Ellen and I insisted she stay with us a few nights, until she found a place of her own. One night her father kicked in our door at 3am and threatened Tina and me. Ellen came into the room with a loaded pistol and made it clear she'd shoot Vincent dead. Only the arrival of the Swampscott police prevented Tina's father being shot in our living room.”
“You mean Aunt Ellen stared down a drug lord? Aunt Ginny, are you sure you're not making this up?”
At this point Ellen and Pete rejoined us.
Pete laughed and said, “The local cops call Ellen 'Dirty Harriet'. It's true youngster, every word; Ginny didn't exaggerate. For some reason Morales respected Ellen, and even admired her. That's why I date her, it's for my protection!”
Ellen pinched Pete's arm and told the both of us to stop filling Wendy's head with stories that weren't true and that we should be ashamed of ourselves.
Before I could answer, Pete spoke up and said that it was true, every word of it.
Poor Wendy's eyes were the size of dinner plates.
Ellen was quick to assure her that was nothing to fear. Vinny had been hiding for months, and it was only by chance that he was found out bar-tendering in Salisbury.
Pete insisted in buying lunch for us three girls at the Porthole restaurant down the street. As we went to get in his cruiser, Pete asked Wendy to ride up front with him. I thought the child was going to faint.
Over lunch, Pete occasionally asked Wendy questions about how she came to be with Ellen and me. She told him about taking up residence under our office trailer.
Pete assured her he wasn't interested in sending her back to where she came from, but was only interested in what caused her to live on the street. She started to relax and trust Pete. Maybe the fried clams had something to do with that.
I found it interesting how she ate the fried clams, obviously she'd eaten them before.
Surprising Ellen and I, Wendy told Pete how her father had beaten her so badly she was hospitalized, and only the timely appearance of the police prevented another serious beating.
Pete asked why her father beat her; her answer, “Because I was born in a boy's body, but I'm really a girl.”
Pete was surprised, looking from me to Ellen and back.
“A boy? But you are a pretty teen-aged girl; you act like a girl and sound like a girl. Are you sure?” Pete stopped, realizing how dumb a question that was.
“No Pete, we found her dressed as a girl. We cleaned her up, and I gave her some of my old clothes that were too small for me.”
“So if I looked for a runaway 14 yr old boy, with the last name of Heart, I might find a request from a small town in the mid-west looking for someone like you?”
Wendy nodded, looking like the world was ending. Ellen and I sent glares at Pete, daring him to go on.
“But,” Pete said, “I guess that's none of my business, is it? I'm sure if it were true, you two ladies would return him to his distraught father right away.”
With that, Pete reached for his wallet to pay the bill. As we walked back to his cruiser, Wendy asked if she could sit in the front seat again. When Pete said yes, she gave him a quick hug before sitting in the car.
Ellen glanced at me and asked, “Should we tell her why those clothes don't fit you anymore?”
I nodded and decided to tell her everything as soon as we were back at the condo.
Pete perked up and asked, “Anything I should know?”
Ellen told him not to be so nosy and just drive the car.
To be continued.
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