When Jack returned to his office, Bobby had arrived back from New York. He sat in the reception room, hunched over as Dani fussed about him like a mother hen. She smoothed back his blond hair to check out his lump.
“Ouch, Dani!” Bobby exclaimed and jerked his head back. “I’m okay, honest!”
“Sorry, Bobby. You had me worried, is all,” Dani said as she leaned down and kissed him on the cheek.
Jack laughed. “The kid’s got a momma, Dani. What he needs is a dame!”
Bobby blushed and ran his hand back through his hair to straighten it out. “I’ve got a girlfriend, boss.”
Jack leaned down, placed a hand on Bobby’s shoulder and whispered, “Kid, there’s a big difference between girlfriends and dames. You take girlfriends home to meet your momma. You keep dames to yourself,” he finished with a wink. Then Jack nodded his head toward Dani. “Take our Dani here. Now she’s girlfriend material. She’s the kind of gal you’d want your momma to meet. Miss D’Amore, well… unless you want your momma to string you up by you ears, you’d never take a dame like that home. Understand, kid?”
Dani let out a nervous laugh and walked to her desk. “Stop teasing the poor boy, Jack. You’ll have him so flustered he won’t be able to get any work done,” she said as she sat down.
Jack slapped Bobby on the back. “Okay kid, that’s enough manly lessons for one day.”
“Uh… thanks, boss,” Bobby replied as he continued to blush. He grinned over at Dani and then lowered his eyes.
“What did the Captain have to say?” Dani asked.
Jack scooted out a chair from a nearby desk and sat down. He leaned back and with a light chuckle, he replied, “Well, he didn’t strip away my license.”
“Seriously, Jack, what did he want?”
Smirking, Jack fished around in his pocket for his cigarette and lighter. When he found them, he lit a cigarette and leaned forward. “He’s clueless, Dani. The Commissioner gave the investigation into Art’s death to the 7th Precinct. I suspect Morano has a few men on the take there. The Captain doesn’t buy their story.”
“What’s that about the Commissioner?” Bobby asked.
“He’s Angelo’s cousin,” Dani explained.
“Holy cow!” Bobby yelled with a slap across his knee. “No wonder I had a hard time getting answers in New York. The whole damn family is in on this shit.”
“What do you mean, Bobby?” Jack asked as he flicked ashes into the ashtray on Dani’s desk.
“I went to the Roosevelt like you said, boss. Talked to the bartender named Gerardo there. Nice guy, by the way. Anyway, he said that the Roosevelt was owned by Angelo’s cousin, Marco Agosti. Miss D’Amore was the main act, singing and dancing, from what Gerardo said.”
“Did he say why Ella left?”
Bobby nodded his head. “Did he ever! A murder case.”
“Murder?” Dani asked.
“Yeah, some guy got whacked because of her.”
Jack took a long drag off of his cigarette and then stumped it out. He leaned back in his chair and sighed. So a guy gets involved with Ella and loses his life because of it, he thought. Jack didn’t like this emerging pattern. He nearly lost his own and Larson did lose his.
“What else did you find out, Bobby?” Jack inquired.
Bobby glanced down at the floor. “I talked to several others who worked there at the time. A singer, a saxophone player, and another lady who knew quite a lot. She knows you too, boss. She had quite a story to tell, but you aren’t going to like it.”
“Spill it,” Jack demanded.
Bobby looked at his watch and then up at Jack. “She’ll be here around 1 pm and can tell you herself.”
“Miss Favero, boss.”
Jack’s eyes widened. He knew that name all too well. “Angelina Favero?” he asked just to be sure.
“That’s the one, boss.”
“Damn,” Dani whispered.
Jack slumped down in his chair. He glanced over at Dani and then at the floor. Angelina. He thought he’d never see her again. Pain ripped through his heart as memories of their entanglement flashed through his mind. He could still see her standing on the train station platform the day she left. Her long black hair blowing in the wind, her blue eyes staring at him and her lips parted as though there was something she wanted to say. But she didn’t say anything. She just boarded the train like Victor had ordered and left. Jack looked up from his reminiscence to find Dani glaring at him. She still resents me, Jack thought. I should have chosen you, Dani. God, but I should have.
The Stacked Deck is a noir-style WhoDunIt serial which will appear as 31 parts, told every day in March. I hope you will join me again tomorrow for another exciting part of this story!
The Stacked Deck, copyrighted ©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved. Permission must be granted to distribute or copy this serial (unless reblogging). Thank you.
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