By Nick Kossovan

Part 1 continued from April Bluffs Monitor

 

“Are the Grymski’s not home?” Glen asked as he walked to the front of the house to look out the living room’s bay window, “I saw their cars in their driveway.”
“The Grymski’s? What about them?”
“Steve’s not barbequing. Yeah, his and Wanda’s car are parked in their driveway. Weird.”
“Oh for Christ sake!” yelled Veronica from the kitchen, “Maybe they’re having mac and cheese too.”

Glen walked back into the kitchen.
“Well if they are, you can bet Steve would be making it on their barbeque.”
“Can you forget Steve not barbequing and focus on us?”

“Com’on Veronica, it has not been all bad has it? Sure it’s been somewhat of a roller coaster, but over all it has been okay, right?”
While wiping her tears away with a tissue Veronica looked at Glen wondering if he was making an attempt to be funny.

“Remember when you got shot four years ago?”
“Yeah, of course I remember, that punk from Cleveland.”
“You could have been killed and Athena would be without her father. Is that what you want? I have not been the same since that night. I will not even go into the numerous times you come home bloodied and bruised.” Veronica tried to compose herself before continuing. “… and you never talk about what’s bothering you and what you’re feeling. You keep everything bottled up inside. You’d rather talk about Steve not barbequing! I want to help you. I want to know what goes on with you when you leave this house.”
“You have to admit in the twelve years they’ve been next door Steve has been barbequing in all kinds of weather. It’s as if he lives to barbeque. It’s almost 6 o’clock on a gorgeous warm evening and Steve’s not out barbequing?”
“Forget it… you just want to avoid. Let’s just eat so you can go and do whatever it is you have to do.”
“You want to know what I do all day,” Glen asked in a low voice, “what I deal with.”
Veronica nodded as she sat down at the kitchen table.
“I have always wanted to know. After all these years I think I earned the right to know.”
“A few weeks back a couple hired me to find their daughter who they believed ran away. They presumed she was going after her boyfriend whose family had moved out to Vancouver. To make a long story short she never went out to Vancouver, turns out she’s been squatting in an abandoned farmhouse north of Goodwood.”
“Something about her home life that she’d resort to squatting?”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking. I did a background check on the parents. Found out the father has a history of violent behavior. I talked to a few of her friends, several claims she’d come to school with bruises.”
“So the father wants you to find his daughter…”
“Step daughter actually.”
“So he can continue to use her for a punching bag?”
“So many things are going through my head with this. My meeting later is with the parents to air out a few things. Right now I’m not comfortable telling them where they can find their daughter.”
“You met her?”
“Yeah. Sixteen, not much older than Athena. Hadn’t bathed in God knows how long, looked hungry. I gave her a few bucks.”
“You tell her who you are?”
“No. Told her I was a real estate agent who happen to see the rundown farmhouse from the road on my way to a friend in Port Perry. Seem to buy my story.”

As Veronica digested what Glen just told her Athena, who had been reading in her room, walked into the kitchen.

“Is dinner ready? I’m so hungry.”
“It just came out of the oven”, said Glen. “Your mother and I were just catching up. Once you’ve set the table we can start eating.”

Glen walked back to the bay window.

“We always said we should invite Steve and Wanda over for Thanksgiving dinner. Why not invite them this year?” Glen said out loud.
“Thanksgiving is a week away. If they’re available I can set 2 more plates, there’ll be plenty of food.”
“After we’ve eaten I’ll go over and invite them.”