She quickly nods. “Yes, please.”
I tell her I’ll go out first and make an excuse to leave. She agrees to wait a minute before following me.
When I get back to the living room, I say, “We’re going to have to get going. I’m having a shipment of building materials delivered to the house that I need to sign for.”
“Oh,” my mom says. “Well, alright then.”
I’m surprised she doesn't give me any attitude, but I’m thankful she doesn’t. Avery reappears just as Mom and Rob stand to tell us goodbye.
Seeing her reminds me of the main reason why we came here.
“Mom, I wanted to ask you something?”
“Do you remember anything about Avery’s dad, Samuel?”
She looks taken aback by my question.
When she doesn’t immediately respond, I add, “Avery didn’t know him. He left her the house with absolutely no explanation. We’re having a hard time finding out any information about him.”
She thinks for a moment. “That doesn’t surprise me. I didn’t really know him. I don’t think anyone really did. Truth be told, he was never even really home. I think he traveled a lot for work.”
Avery asks, “Do you know what he did for work?”
Mom shakes her head. “No, honey, I’m sorry I don’t. I always thought maybe it was some kind of military job or something. You should ask his dad.”
Avery and I both give a confused, “Huh?” before I ask, “Isn’t he dead? He left the house to Samuel when he died, didn’t he?”
“Oh, no, Darlin’. Samuel bought the house from the bank about thirty years ago. It fell into disarray since he was gone so much, but he lived there for years. Samuel’s dad, Harold, moved in with him for a while when he was down on his luck, but not long after, Samuel put him in an assisted living facility. As far as I know, he’s still there. I think it’s somewhere here in the area.”
“Holy shit,” I whisper under my breath. “I had no idea.”
“I wish I could help more, Darlin’. Samuel was just a big ol’ mystery.”
“No, Momma,” I tell her. “That actually helps a lot.”
We say our goodbyes, and Avery and I make our way to the truck. When we’re inside and on our way back to her house, I look over at her. She nervously gnaws on her fingernails. Usually, when you look at Avery, she’s a pillar of strength. The woman exudes confidence. This is the first time I’ve really seen her look like she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders.
“Talk to me, Angel,” I say.
“Do you ever feel like you are having an identity crisis? Like everything you thought you knew about yourself turned out to be profoundly untrue?”
“Yeah,” I answer honestly. “Every time I pulled the trigger and took a life.”
She looks over at me. “Yeah, I guess that would do it.”
“Do you want to go back into town and maybe see if we can get some more information about your grandpa?”
“Grandpa,” she repeats the word. “I’ve never had one of those before.”
“So, should we try to do some digging and find out where he is?”
“Not tonight.” She looks over at me. “Tonight, I want you to keep your promise of getting me naked and doing every dirty thing you can think of. Make me forget everything else for a while.”
“I can do that, Angel.”