(Catch up, here)
Sorry about the previous post, folks, and all that weird code. I didn't notice it until just now. Here's a more readable version. :)
Barrett and I each sit in a chair, me at the edge of the cushion, him comfortably reclining. I hold the tea cup, perched on my knee, watching Grampy and Ruthy as they carry on a hushed conversation on the sofa across from us. It's kind of funny how natural they look together.
Ruthy says something Grampy doesn't agree with and he starts arguing. Then she says something else that makes him snap his mouth closed. They twist their bodies around to face us.
Here it is. The truth he's about to divulge is the white elephant in the room. Only, in our case, it's something more obvious and awkward. A giant blue frog, five stories tall, perhaps.
"I have somethin' the organization wants," Grampy says.
Fear grips me. What the organization wants, they get. At any cost. "But they told me they only wanted to make sure you were okay."
"Lesson one, Junebug, the organization will lie if it means gettin' what they want."
"I made a mistake," I say. I drag my eyes up from the weak black of the tea up to Grampy's eyes. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay. At least we caught it before it was too late."
"What we need to do now," Ruthy says, "is come up with a game plan."
"What do you have in mind?" Barrett asks, tone smooth and calm. Like he's been through this hundreds of times. I'm impressed with the about face his attitude has taken.
"First, we need to get out of this town. Somebody's already been here looking for him. I didn't open the door, but they'll come back. With reinforcements." She gets up from the couch and walks to the wall, squatting in front of a large vent in the wall, about two feet square. She digs her nails around the edges and starts to pull.
Barrett sets his tea down and walks over to help her. When the grate's gone, Ruth reaches in and starts to tug. With a grunt, the object starts to emerge. At first, all I see is the leather handle she's pulling on. Then, slowly, a large chest comes sliding out of its hiding spot.
Barrett lifts it without being asked and brings it over to our grouping. The top is layered in dust. Ruthy wipes it away. "I put this together right after I made Abel leave. I knew it was only a matter of time before I saw him again. And I knew the circumstances wouldn't be ideal."
A large gold padlock secures the contents hidden in its bowels. Ruthy reaches down the neck of her dress and pulls out a small chain. At the end is a key. She licks her lips, looking a bit regretful, and twists the lock open.
It falls aside with a dull thud against the carpet. Her deft hands run along the edges of the lid and she gently lifts it, letting it fall back against the hinges.
I bring my hand up to my mouth as I gasp. Barrett's knuckles turn white as he grips the arms of the chair. And Grampy?