Duke's Redemption

Page 87

“You can search the house,” I tell him. “But you won’t find anything.”
“See, now, there is another problem. I can’t leave witnesses.”
Oh, God.
As he gets closer, George comes out of nowhere and sinks his teeth into the man’s leg. The guy lets out a loud scream and pries George off of him before kicking him, sending the dog sliding across the wood floor.
Not wanting him to go after the dog any more than he already has, I run into the kitchen to try to keep the attention on myself. It works like a charm, and he follows me. Trying to think on my feet, I reach into the silverware drawer and pull out a knife. As the man runs up behind me, I sink the knife into his thigh.
He cries in pain, but it doesn’t seem to affect him for long. I try to run out of the room, but he grabs me by the hair and pulls me backward so hard that I fall to the ground. With his leg bleeding all over the place, he climbs on top of me, holding my arms above my hand.
“Get off me!” I scream.
“Do you know how much of a pain in the ass your stubborn father was? He made my life a living hell. I only wish he was alive to see what I’m about to do to his daughter.”
“If you’re going to kill me, just do it,” I taunt.
Why the fuck would I say that?
“See, I have to make this whole thing look like a whole different type of crime. I’m thinking a rape homicide will do the trick.”
Even if it’s a feeble attempt, I have to try to get away. It’s my only chance.
Chapter 34
“Hey,Momma,”Icallas I walk into her house. “You home?”
“Hey, Darlin’!” She greets, emerging from the hallway. “How’s it going?”
“Pretty good. Just dropping by on my way home.”
“Where’s home at these days?” She asks, raising her eyebrows.
“Avery and I are living together now. She asked me to move in.”
She cheeses so big I’m surprised her cheeks don’t hurt. “I know my opinion doesn’t rate high on your list of ones that matter, but I just want to say that I really like her. I wish you two all the best.”
“Thank you.”
“That actually brings me to why I called you over here.”
She nods. “I promise I won’t keep you long.”
I follow her into the kitchen, where she grabs a tiny black box off the counter and hands it to me.
“What’s this?”
“Look, I don’t know if you ever plan on getting married, but if you do, I wanted you to have it.” When I open the box, she adds, “It was your grandmother’s.”
A tiny opal ring sits in the black crease of the box. “It’s beautiful,” I say. “But why give it to me?”
“Call it a peace offering.” She lets out a heavy sigh. “Duke, I’ve made so many mistakes as a mother, but I’ve made the most asyourmother. And I don’t think I’ve ever told you I was sorry. Well, I don’t know that I’ve ever said sorry and truly meant it. As much as I hate to admit it, back then, I was popping so many pills that I didn’t know which way was up. And that’s not an excuse, but it’s me admitting that I had a problem. It took me a long time to realize how that must have made you feel. I’m really sorry, Duke.”
I look down at the ring, trying to pick the words that I want. “I’ve been waiting a long time to hear you say that,” I tell her. “I’m not sure that it makes everything better, though.”