Duke's Redemption

Page 82

Once inside, I walk to the front desk.
“Hi there,” the receptionist says in a chipper tone. “How can I help you today?”
“Hi,” I say. “We are here to see Harold Whitmore.”
“There’s no one here by that name.”
My stomach drops. “Are you sure?”
Maybe we have the wrong place. Or maybe we are too late. We don’t even have confirmation if he’s still alive.
The woman gives me a sympathetic nod.
“Well, thank you anyway.”
I start to turn away, but Duke says, “We might have the wrong last name. Do you have anyone named Harold here?”
The woman looks hesitant to give any sort of information, so Duke keeps going. “See, my girlfriend here is his granddaughter. They’ve never met, but a couple weeks ago, he wrote her a letter. Trouble was that the last name on the letter was all messed up because it got wet. But we were able to track the address back to here. She just wants to finally meet her grandpa.”
His sweet story seems to have an effect on her because she gives a warm smile and says, “We have Harold Avery.”
My mouth drops open, but Duke says, “That’s who we are looking for.”
As the woman starts to lead us down one of the long hallways, I look over at Duke and mouth the words,what the hell?
The woman stops at one of the doors and gently knocks. Poking her head in, she says, “Harold, you have a couple of visitors.”
I can’t hear what he says, but the woman steps out of the way to let us enter.
I swallow the giant lump in my throat before heading inside.
A tall old man sits in his recliner chair. He has white hair on the sides and is bald on top with big bifocal glasses.
“Hi,” I say. “I know you don’t know me, but my name is—”
“Avery,” the old man says, slowly standing up and getting out of his chair. He walks toward me, pausing a moment before giving me a hug. “I know exactly who you are.”
Completely in shock, I hug him back.Is this really happening?
When he lets me go, I say, “This is my boyfriend, Duke.”
Harold holds out his hand for Duke to shake before saying, “Well, come on, let’s sit down.”
Duke and I sit on the loveseat together while Harold gets situated back in his chair.
“I have to be honest,” he says. “I didn’t know if I would ever get the pleasure of meeting you.”
“I didn’t even know if you knew about me,” I tell him.
“Of course I knew about you.”
I sit there, completely unsure of what to say. My mind races, but I have no idea where to start.
Harold says, “You must have a million questions. Maybe I can fill in some of the blanks for you.”
“Anything you can tell me I’d be grateful for.”
“Samuel, your dad, had some sort of high-level, top secret military grade job. I couldn’t tell you what exactly he did other than it had to do with secret intelligence. He never wanted people to be able to come looking for him, so he went by a different name than what he was given—going by Samuel Whitmore instead of Samuel Avery.