I have finished book #7, The Family Connection. Over the next few days I will give you the final chapters of this book in Cali's life. I hope you are enjoying it. Here's chapter eighteen.
A couple days later, Cali came out of her room with her backpack slung over one shoulder and carrying a suitcase. She was wearing jeans and a cute little purple top. The only jewelry she wore was the Vinccencio family crest. The rest of her belongings had been tucked into the back pack, even the guns.
She had a thin knife, it was so thin and small one could barely call it a knife, but she had it taped just below where her neck bonesmet her back bones. It was just shy of two inches long and as thin as a pencil and as flat as a razor. One end was a double edged blade, the other was a handle of sorts. It had come with a sheath that was meant to be used with a belt. But, she had another blade running along the inside of her belt.
The blade on her back had already threatened to cut her a couple of times. She ended up using a thin canvas shoe tongue as a pad for the knife to sit on. It was small but, it could still be detected. She hoped that it would be dismissed as a shirt tag if anyone noticed. She had considered wearing a sports bra to help cover the knife but, she feared that would make it more obvious. Ben was not accustomed to seeing her in anything but lace and satin. She had transformed for him before, when the FBI had sent her in to his compound. She would transform again now. It would keep him thinking that he was in charge.
“I take it, that it is time to go.” Nonna spoke while cradling a cup of coffee.
Cali smiled. “Not until I have a cup.”
Nonna retrieved a cup and Cali poured from the pot sitting on the table. “Take your time. Nickola is napping. He came in the night.” She chuckled. “He’s lost a few pounds.”
“So slinging mud did him some good?” She stirred in some fresh cream.
“It appears so.”
They sat in silence for a few minutes drinking coffee. Nonna broke the silence. “I’m afraid that I didn’t do you much good. I was supposed to help you with your Demons. But… well, that didn’t happen.”
Cali reached across the corner of the table and put her handover Nonna’s. “You did exactly what my mother wanted you to do. She knew that I was going to need help here, and she knew that Nickola would as well. You were the one to give us both that help.” She squeezed the old woman’s hand. “And because of you… maybe a lot of other people will be helped as well.”
Nonna’s eyes looked a bit damper than usual. Was there a tear of two that she was holding back? “I just did what I always do. Honestly, when you were sick, so sick that you didn’t know where you were, there were times that you were completely gone, and I wasn’t sure if you were coming back.” The tears slipped down her cheeks.
Cali got up and embraced Nonna. “You saved me from my own stupidity. Thank you.”
Nonna let Cali hug her and she hugged back for a short time and then she pushed and swatted her away. “Sit, drink your coffee, we don’t have time for this blubbering!” She said angrily with a scowl on her face and a smile in her eyes. “Next time where a coat and proper boots!”
Cali giggled as she sat down. “Yes ma’am, if there ever is a next time, I will most certainly do that.”
They both giggled and resumed their silent camaraderie.
When they finished their coffee, they made breakfast. The smell of which brought Nickola out of bed.
They ate quietly, exchanging small talk. When breakfast was over, Cali turned one phone off and the other one on. Nonna made sure that there were no stray chickens or piglets running around inside the house, Nickola closed the shutters. As one they all headed for the front door. They had already planned for what they would say and do from here on out. Nothing that they did would be private. Nonna gave Cali and Nickola an encouraging smile and opened the door.
The last of the rain clouds had left late the day before. This morning was bright and clear. The ground was saturated to overflowing in areas, and there was a lot of work to do. Cali almost wished that she could stay and help, almost. She remembered just how hard the work on a farm could be. After such a long rain, there would be more than the usual. She was not a farmer any more. That had become painfully obvious with the first day of hoeing. But, still it had been nice, and she had calmed quite a few Demons that had been left over from her time on the grandmother’s farm. She breathed in the fresh clean air. She didn’t get this at home, and she did miss the smell of the world after a long rain.
They navigated their way to the car that Nickola had left in front of the housing complex. Gravel covered the road and it came right up to the house, lucky for them and their shoes. I don’t miss the mud. Cali thought sarcastically, thinking of how Nickola had just spent quite a while playing in it. Earthworms lay in and around all of the puddles. They were everywhere. The wind had brought down young fruit from the trees as well as branches and leaves. The animals were all loose, even the herds were out of their pens. Cleanup was going to take some time.
Other inhabitants were coming out from their homes as well. They watched the three get into the car and disappear behind the blacked out windows. Cali could feel Nonna’s hesitation in the seat next to her. This was Nonna’s home, and she may never see it again, if Cali’s plan failed. Cali patted Nonna’s hand.
After Nickola had secured their bags in the trunk, he took the driver’s seat, and pulled the car away from the house. None of them looked back. Nickola sat alone in the front seat, while Cali and Nonna sat holding hands in the back seat. All of them were lost in their own thoughts of the events that were about to unfold.
Cali had no idea where they were going. It didn’t matter. She knew at the end of the road was Ben. This was between him and her.Somewhere in the middle, Nonna would be left behind. That was the plan. This was a shopping trip. That’s what they had been discussing. In some shop, in some town, Nickola was going to force Cali back into the car and leave his Nonna in the shop. Her bags would be left on the curb for her. Nickola could justify doing that for his Nonna, and not even Ben would question it.
They made small talk and pretended to be excited for a day of shopping. They drove for about an hour before reaching a town where they began to shop. For the entire morning they shopped and collected purchases. The trunk filled with bags, and things needed to be rearranged.
After eating a small lunch at an outdoor café, Nonna headed for yet another shop while Cali took some of their latest packages to the car. She had her head stuffed in the trunk when the lid came down hard. It dazed her. Before she realized what had happened a kerchief was over her mouth and the smell of ether filled her nose. The last thought that crossed her mind was;Is this Nickola?
Now she's in the shit!
Live well and be good to each other.