Previous – Everything Will Be Okay
“I am not crazy!” I yell at Mr. Grim.
This is not how I expected to meet my boyfriend’s father, who’s also my boss.
“There nothing on the cameras from here to Sharp Shooter Road.” Mr. Grim growls. “No fat man, no red head, no vehicle, no wife.” He leans back in his black leather chair, wrapping a thick brown leather belt around his big hand. “You are crazy.”
“Easy, Dad.” Emilian scolds.
“You’re just a little anxious right now, baby.” Tehanie rubs Mr. Grim’s shoulders to calm him down. He’s tall and built, wearing a brown cowboy hat, black T-shirt, and blue jeans. “Let’s—” He swats her hands away before she can finish.
Tehanie stumbles backward, surprised by his coldness.
“Where is my wife?” Mr. Grim asks me again, slower this time.
“Ex-wife.” Emilian and Tehanie correct him.
I take a deep breath.
Just keep going.
“I told you. Pace and a red head woman took her.” I say it as slow as possible, so he understands this time. “I left the building and got in my car. When I turned it on, I looked up and saw K-Khiana walking out. Then a blue car pulled up beside her and they grabbed her. I took note of the plate and followed them until they stopped. I-I was on the phone with Emilian too, but my call dropped.”
“Mm hm. And what road were you on?” Mr. Grim asks.
“Sharp Shooter.” I respond, frustrated.
“Just making sure your story is on the up-and-up. Keep going.”
“Well, I looked up from my phone and saw this weird black and white static crawling all over the car, everywhere. Then it was gone, and everyone in it.”
“Static… None of this makes sense.” He rolls the belt around his fist, making a small creaking sound. “Another wife gone. A witness and no proof. Damnit. I can hear the whispers now, just like when I lost my other wife, Lux. Murderer. Criminal. That’s what they called me back then… Until I proved them wrong.”
Lost in thought, he unravels the belt and wraps his hand all over again.
“Oh, Weston.” Tehanie sighs, hovering around him. “Perhaps Khiana just left for another man—”
“IT’S NOT ANOTHER MAN!” He booms. His belt wrapped fist bangs against his executive desk.
“You better lower your voice when you speak to me, husband.” Tehanie scolds.
I look over at Emilian sitting in the distance staring at me. He’s been so quiet.
Does he think I did this?
“Misa’s tired of saying the same thing.” Tehanie hands me my purse and helps me from my seat. “Emilian, come take her home.”
“No.” Mr. Grim stares at me. “Not yet. I want to speak with Miss Honey alone, without you two buzzing around here.”
Wide-eyed, I look over at Emilian. He just nods.
“I’ll wait for you,” he tells me.
“Weston, this is absurd. Misa’s been here for an hour explaining the same thing.”
“And she’ll sit here for another if I want her to, Tehanie. I lost a wife today! Emilian lost his momma and I wanna get to the bottom of it. Is that okay with you?”
Tehanie huffs. “Make sure you don’t lose another.”
“You better stop keepin’ on, wife.”
“Hmph. Mm hm.” she mutters.
I watch Emilian and Tehanie leave through the large red double doors. They slam shut behind them.
“Come over to the couch with me.” Mr. Grim flops down and pats the cushion beside him. “Come on, sit down.”
I sit as close to my arm rest as possible.
Good. Now stay calm. Stay. Calm. He can’t be that upset if he can invite me to sit on the couch with him. Official conversations happen at desks.
“Now where’s my wife?” he asks for the twelfth time.
Mr. Grim flings his cowboy hat on the coffee table, revealing messy short brown hair underneath and bright blue eyes that are kinder compared to Emilian’s. He smells good too, like leather and jasmine.
“I don’t know. They took her.” I look him dead in the eye when I say it.
“By this Pace, and some red head. Associates of Timothy Hollow. A man I understand you dated before my son, correct?”
I let out a deep breath. “Me and Timothy went on dates, but we weren’t—”
“What happened with you and him?”
“I lost interest. Your son happened.”
He leans back, smirking at me.
“Where are you from, Miss Honey?”
“What do you mean?”
“They’re all dead.”
“Oh.” His face softens. “Hm. I’m sorry to hear that… Very sorry.”
“Yeah…” I whisper.
“I can’t imagine what you’ve been through.”
“One day everything is fine, then the phone rings.” I feel my lip quiver. “You just wanna hang up and erase what you heard, but you can’t.”
Don’t cry. Don’t cry.
“How old were you when it happened?”
I pause for a moment, trying to calm my emotions. “Sixteen when my parents died. My brother Micah went last year. I was twenty-one. He was twenty-three.”
Mr. Grim’s eyes turn into wounded pools. “Terrible.” He sighs deep.
“I’m getting a little better at accepting it. Probably why I can talk about it with you now… Strange.”
“Hmm. So, your brother took care of you? Uh, Micah?”
“Yeah. We helped each other. I cooked and cleaned.” I shrug. “He worked a lot.”
“What did he do for a living?”
“Micah worked for um, ohmygosh, I actually don’t….”
What was it called?
“Hm. Don’t worry about it.” Mr. Grim smiles. The first one I’ve seen from him. Makes me feel a little better. “So, I take it you find family important?” he asks.
“That why you chased after my wife?”
“Well, yeah, I mean—”
“Even though that Pace fellow scares you?”
How does he know that?
“She was in trouble. I couldn’t sit there and watch.”
“Even though she crashed into your car on pills that Timothy Hollow gave her a few days ago? And kicked in your door?”
“Huh?” I’m confused. “Why would Timothy give your wife pills?”
Mr. Grim scoffs, shaking his head. “I’m being bamboozled.”
“I’m telling the truth!”
“Not bamboozled by you! Khiana!” He bangs his fist on the coffee table, making me jump. “My damn wife.”
“Weston!” Tehanie scolds him from outside the office.
“Ah, I’m not mad at the girl!” Mr. Grim yells at the door. “Sorry.” He looks at me, speaking normally. “I’m not upset with you.” He slides his hands down his face, looking exhausted. “It all smells funny, you know? Khiana and I were just turning a corner in our relationship and now she’s gone. Feels like the end.”
“Wait. What? Someone’s going to find her, right? Or find out who Pace is? And Timothy? You make it seem like there’s no hope left or something.”
“Sometimes there isn’t.” His long sigh sounds like defeat. “You can go.”
I grab my things and head for the door before he changes his mind.
“And Miss Honey?”
I leave one hand on the knob. “Yes, Mr. Grim?”
“My condolences about your family. And thank you for your bravery today. I don’t think many would’ve done what you did for my Khiana.”
Um… wasn’t expecting that.
“Maybe she’ll be okay. Just stay positive.” I smile lightly.
Mr. Grim sighs and nods. I’m not sure what will happen, but kindness never hurts.
I open the door.
Tehanie rushes inside to Mr. Grim on the couch while Emilian scoops me in his arms tight.
“Sorry for raising my voice.” I overhear Mr. Grim tell Tehanie. “Just so upset… You think Khiana bailed on us again?”
“Maybe. But you still have me and Lux.” She says happily.
-to be continued