Saturday, February 15, 2014
A Family Chat with Nick
I smiled as the other three nodded. It seemed likely that my cousin Penny would want to travel soon, now that she had possession of the axe of Pangu. But her husband, Nick, could be a problem. I decided to ask Penny's older brothers, Vincent and Stephen and my little brother Elmer to meet and have a serious chat about Nicholas Grant.
"You aren't planning to kill him?" asked Stephen. "I don't mind shutting it for an hour for some frank talk but it would be bad for business if word got out that someone died here."
I shook my head, "No, not this time. This time I just want to make sure he's very afraid."
"Oh no," I told Vincent with an evil smile. "I'm going to put the fear of me into him." I looked across the table at my brother, "You think you can handle your part?"
"Are you sure you don't want to involve more family?" asked Vincent. "I'm sure that they'd be interested."
"There are four of us. I think that should be enough to control Nick, if he should put up a fight. It also should be enough to get the point across that Penny's family will not let her get hurt again without serious consequences for him." I stood up. "Tomorrow at three then?"
"I would think that Abbey would be all right with it, Stephen. You and Abbey did help with the triplets when Penny couldn't cope, yes?" By the accounts I'd heard, Penny collapsed and might have died if not for the family. The sudden disappearance of Nick soon after the birth of triplets just completely undid her.
"Now that I think about it, Abbey hasn't spoken to Nick since he returned. It should be all right."
The next afternoon, I was waiting in the car for Elmer and Nick to emerge from work. I'd timed my arrival for a few minutes past 3, just after most of the soldiers has left the base. I heard Elmer speaking as they approached, "I'm sorry, I must have kept you too long. I think your ride left. We can give you a lift, if you like."
I saw Nick look around. "Yes, sir. Looks like I do need a lift. It won't take long, my place isn't far from here." I nearly laughed hearing Elmer being called 'Sir'. I never see the military side of Elmer's life.
I waited until I'd heard both doors shut then locked the car. I'd already taken the precaution of setting the child lock on every door but mine. Now that Nick was in, he wasn't getting out until someone let him out.
"That's because we aren't taking you home yet. We are going to the pub," said Elmer.
"But I don't want to go to a pub. I want to go home. I need to go home," protested Nick.
"No one said you had a choice. We are going to the pub," I told my reluctant passenger. I heard Nick pull at the door handle when we stopped at a stop sign. "Don't bother, it's locked."
"Who do you people think you are?" Nick demanded. He looked closely at me. "You're not in the service. But you do look familiar."
I shrugged and just let him stew over the question. We were already close to our destination and he'd have his answers soon enough.
"We're here," I declared as I pulled into one of the parking spots.
Nick's door was pulled open. "Out." He was roughly pulled from the car.
Nick struggled to free his arm when he noticed who had grabbed him. "Vincent? What's going on?"
"Inside. Now," was the terse reply. "You'll find out what's going on in the pub. Are you going to walk or do we drag you?"
"What's going on? What the hell are you doing?" he demanded. "Who the hell are you? What gives you the right to bring me here?"
"I am Jerod Grant and that is my little brother Elmer. We are a very small sample of Penny's cousins around town. I believe that you know Penny's brothers?"
"I mentioned to them that I wanted to talk to you. Stephen volunteered using his pub as a meeting place. Elmer volunteered to arrange your normal car to leave without you."
"Because Penny may have forgiven you once but we haven't," said Elmer.
Vincent said, "And the family will never leave you in peace if you dare do it again."
"Penny has practically an army of cousins and second cousins in this town," I told him. "I can promise that most if not all of them will act if they are asked."
Vincent growled, "We don't care if you planned it or not. We care about our Penny. So will you be running off again? Will we have to pick up the pieces left of my little sister again?"
"No! I swear. Please believe me, I regretted leaving. But they wouldn't transfer me home." He looked at each of us in turn. "I know, you probably don't believe that. But why threaten me now?"
"I have reason to believe that Penny wants to travel. And if she does, I want to be fucking sure that her home and family are well cared for," I replied. "That's why now is a good time to have this little chat."
"Penny might travel? She hasn't said anything to me yet," Nick said. "Then again, she still doesn't talk to me except about the kids."
"Easy, little bro. Four kids are a lot of mouths to feed," I said. "He needs a job to pay the bills. It's all right as long as he doesn't use the service as a way to escape again." I looked at Elmer, "We don't want to destroy the family by losing them their home." Elmer gave me a small nod.
"So none of the women in the family wanted to get involved?" asked Nick.
Nick gasped and looked at the others. "You wouldn't. Not really."
I spoke with deliberate emphasis. "Make no mistake. I would. I swear, you dare hurt my cousin again and when I catch you, you are a dead man."
"But ..." Nick paused as he looked at the others. Then he shut his mouth, there was no sympathy from any of them.
"For the moment, you are safe. Penny has chosen to take you back. I will respect her decision. I seriously don't understand it though."
"I do," replied Nick. "Our oldest, Buddy. He listens to me. He was being a bully at school and uncooperative at home. Now that I'm back, he's much better."
"So, you will be there for the family, Nicholas Grant? Penny can travel without worrying about the babies?" I asked.
"I swear to you I won't let Penny down. I won't let our kids down. If I fail, I'll bring the knives for you to use myself."
I nodded. "Then let's get you home, Nicholas Grant. Elmer rang your house to let Penny know you'd been delayed." We set off. Would Nick be true to his words? Only time would tell, but we could all encourage Penny to take her long overdue holiday.