“Can you get me a drink?” I asked.
She got up. She got me a drink out of the kitchen. She handed it to me and she sat back down.
I counted to five. “Can you put in the movie Braveheart? It’s right over there.” I pointed with the remote.
Bekah got up from her chair and put the movie in.
I counted five seconds. “Can you get me another blanket? This window behind the couch is a sieve, I swear.”
She got up and got me a blanket.
While she was gone, I got up as quickly and quietly as I could and put the remote on the TV.
I wasn’t supposed to be getting off the couch for anything. My doctor had been very explicit about that.
She got the blanket and sat down.
I counted to five. “Can you get the remote control for me? It is right there on the TV.”
She looked at me. She looked at the remote and she got up. She picked it up and stared at it for a moment before giving it to me and sitting down.
I counted to five. “Can I get some more ice?”
“You’re an ass,” she said laughing.
I broke out into gales of laughter.
“Settle down, you’re going to have a heart attack,” she said. “Look, I called your parents and told them everything.” She shook her head and she shrugged. “I probably shouldn’t have, but I knew that if it was my son, I would want to know. I told them that if they came to visit, they were not allowed to talk about Grasp at all. That the topic was to not even be broached.”
“Rose won’t come see me,” I said. “We won’t see them.”
I was wrong. We would see both of them, and more.
It was about seven at night when Mumble came over.
“We need to talk,” he said.
“Not about Grasp, you don’t,” Bekah said.
“It’s about Grasp,” Mumble said.
“Get out!” Bekah snapped. She was up and furious.
I could tell by looking at him that I needed to hear this. “What happened?”
“Well, I talked to his lawyer.”
“Why were you talking to his lawyer?” I asked.
“I’m paying for him,” he said.
“You’re what?” I said. I stood up and glared at him.
“Baby, you gotta sit down,” Bekah said. She was pleading. “Tell him to leave. Tell him to talk to you about it later.” Begging.
“What did you do?” I asked with dawning horror.
“Well, on the night you called, he came by the house after the cops were done questioning him, and while he was getting his stuff, your mother looked at me and started yelling. She said, ‘Will you at least pay for his lawyer?’ And I agreed to so—”
“It’s your daughters that he molested.”
“Stepdaughters, and yeah, we are getting to that,” Mumble said. “Well, I sat down with his lawyer and the guy said that the case would cost about nine thousand dollars if we went to court. Or nine hundred if we listened to him.”
“I can’t believe this!” I was on my feet again.
“Jesse, you have to sit down. Baby, you could have a heart attack any moment, please sit down.” She turned to Mumble. “You have to shut up right now.”
He scoffed. “The lawyer told us that the evidence that will put him away will be allowed into court because of the girls testimony, but the cousin stuff happened when he was a minor. So, if the girls change their statement then the whole case will be thrown out.”
My vision was trembling and Guardian stepped forward. “You are a piece of shit,” he said.
“Well, we had the girls’ statements and we read them and we asked them to tell us again what happened. We figured it has been a year now and no child can remember a lie that long, so if they tell us exactly the same thing then it is true.” He sighed. “Well, they said the same thing almost verbatim.”
“So, he is rotting in prison somewhere?” I said.
“I asked the girls how long someone should have to pay for a mistake. I told them for the last year Grasp has not been able to go see his relatives. He has lost his job. He has not seen his father. He has not been able to live his dream of breeding dogs. I told them that as far as I could see he had paid for his crimes,” Mumble said.
“You’re a fucking monster,” Guardian said. He stood up again and stepped out into the middle of the living room and he roared.
“Mumble, get out!” Bekah said. “Baby, please sit down. Please throw him out, please. You have to calm down.”
“What did you do?” Guardian snapped, pointing his finger. He wanted to hit something, wanted to watch something break.
“We told the girls that we would leave it up to them, but if they thought that Grasp had suffered enough, then they should change their statements to say that they misunderstood Grasp’s intentions and sign the paper,” Mumble said.
Guardian stopped and glared at the man. He had never hated anything as much as this man right here. Had never wanted to kill anything this bad. He wondered if tonight was the night he would commit murder.
“You do realize that they are ten and eleven. One year doesn’t make sense to them. They don’t understand how short an amount of time that is, and they don’t understand the severity of his crime.”
“Look, I am going to sit that kid down and say, ‘Listen mister, you got away with it this time, but I am going to kick your ass if I ever hear of you doing anything like this again.’” Mumble got his best hard look and Guardian wanted to rip his eyes out. Wanted to bite his face off.
Guardian threw his hands into the air and shook his head. “He is doomed to do it again!” Guardian said. “It is a compulsion for him. He is obsessed with it. He can’t get kids off of his mind. It is the nature of his disease. The only hope he had was that when he was in prison, he could get counseling but that is gone now. This will make him bold. This will force him to do it again. I can’t believe you did this!”
“Jesse, please sit down. Kick him out. We don’t need them. We don’t need any of them. Please, I am begging you, please sit down.” She was weeping as she watched Guardian rage.
“It’s pretty far-fetched to imagine that he would ever do this again considering how close he got to getting caught this time,” Mumble said.
Guardian looked at the dogs. Katherine barked twice and walked to the door. Morgan looked at the door and growled. My deaf dog looked at the door a second before the knock and he growled.
Something wicked was on my front porch and as the knock sounded, Guardian knew exactly what it was.