*ding dong* Even from the grave Mordecai was causing trouble. Old Dam sat in the kitchen. It was one of few rooms that hadn’t been destroyed by the fire. *ding dong* Unclenching her fists, she ran her hand over the handle of her scythe. Perhaps she’ll have to clean her most prized possession tonight. *ding dong, ding dong* Her hand tightened around the handle. Why wouldn’t they leave her alone? She’d shut the door in their face. Slapped the one who kept trying to take her elbow. Told them to, “Buzz off!” repeatedly. *ding dong, ding dong, ding dong* With a snarl, Old Dam rose to her feet. She secured the grip on the scythe. Perhaps a larger message would be needed.
Ever since she was blessed by the bishop—bleh—every available man had flocked to her door like she was the winning hog at the country fair. Young. Old. Poor. Rich. She wasn’t fooled, no matter how many of them spoke of her beauty—wasn’t blind either—or of their love for her, all they wanted was a part of the fame that had suddenly befallen her. *ding dong*
But tonight the nonsense would die a slow, painful death, much like Mordecai. Lips curling in anticipation, Old Dam opened the door and froze.
The man was about ten years younger. Quite good looking if she was honest with herself. He had dark hair. Dark skin like he worked outside for a living. She had to crane her head to meet his blue gaze, which rarely happened with her 5’9 height. Wide shoulders. Only a slight paunch in his middle.
But it wasn’t his looks that captivated the Old Dam. It was the coin in his hand. The one his non-arthritic fingers moved so effortlessly from one to the other like a road side magician.
Upon meeting her gaze, the gentleman stopped playing with the coin and dropped it in his pocket. He bowed. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Madam.”
Leaning her scythe against the wall behind the door, she stepped back. “Come in,” she said sweetly.
* * *
Weddings. Cemeteries. Weddings. Cemeteries. Weddings. Couldn’t Elias Gorr go any place else?
How about the movies? The new Spiderman was out. Or the opera? Wasn’t Cats in town this weekend? But no, the Professor wanted him here. In case she spotted another potential son-in-law. She’d even take the groom if it pleased her. Of course, in this case the groom could be her daughter’s grandfather.
Sitting in the back corner, Elias eyed the bride and groom. Everyone was surprised when the Old Dam announced her engagement to Lorenzo Cappicino. The groom looked happy enough. His eyes shining as he twirled his bride around the dance floor. Although Elias suspected the groom’s expression was more for the news stations’ cameras that were around the room. The bride was. . . a bit scary actually. Sometimes more so than the Professor. The Old Dam had a smile on her face, as well, but the look in her eyes. . . Elias suppressed a shudder.
Maybe he could sneak out? Professor had been scoping out the guests for the past three hours. No one new was showing up. If he hurried he could catch the rerun of last night’s Dancing with the Stars.
“Hey! You at the table!”
Elias turned to see three men sitting at the table next to him. “Are you talking to me?”
“Yeah.” The man closest held up a pack of cards. “You play poker? We’re short one guy.”
Elias swept his gaze through the hall. The Professor was sitting at a table near the dance floor, still checking out the guests. “Yes. I will join you.”
Fortunately his well-used, no-officer-I-didn’t-dig-up-that-body expression came in handy. So clever at cards, Elias was the champion at the end of the night.
He was shoving his bulging bi-fold into his back pocket when a shout rang out. Fearing for the Professor, he ran toward the crowd on the dance floor, shoving and pushing the other guests out of the way to reach her side. “What happened?” he asked, gasping slightly.
Professor Helena Slogar shrugged. “The groom just fell dead to the ground.”
Elias gasped, his eyes swiveling to the bride. Widowed at her own wedding, the Old Dam’s cheeks were wet with tears. Gazing at her dead husband, she clutched something gold and shiny in her hand.
Lord Slogar: -45
Professor Helena Slogar: 0
Melissa Slogar: 0
Elias E. Gorr: -5
The Old Dam: -25
Cousin Mordecai: -10
Willem Stark: +10
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