Copyright© 2010 by Michael Wolfam
"Well, we burned down a house, killed a guy, smoked pot and drank. You're a swell date, Liv. Got any other plans for the rest of the evening?" Finn inquired.
In spite of herself, Liv laughed. She wanted to keep the anger alive, but she felt better. Helping kill the guy in the house wasn't the highlight of her life, but he shot first and was probably one of the bastards who tried to kill her the night before. She could live with it.
"We need to pay Mitch Conroe a house call," Liv said through clenched teeth. "And we need to figure out where the rest of those guys are. I don't want them trying to finish us off."
"Wasn't Mitch your dad's buddy? What's he got to do with all of this?"
"That's who answered the red phone," Liv replied angrily. "I don't know what he has to do with this whole thing, but he's involved somehow. That phone only dials one number and it was his. Time to go pay a visit to an old family friend ... and probably kill him."
"Wow, remind me to never piss you off. Hell, I'm not even gonna risk playing board games with you!" Finn remarked with a twinkle in his blue eyes. "I would hate to see what would happen if I won!"
Liv swatted at him. "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm lots of fun. You were just talking about how much fun we're having. Besides, you would never win. I'm a Monopoly pro."
"Well, you're not boring, that's for sure!" Finn remarked. He paused, then scratched his head. "So, where does Mitch live, anyways?"
"He's over at the rehab center. He lives in one of the wings. Not gonna be easy to break in, but I've got an idea."
When they reached the Starfire, Liv took off the too-tight hiking boots and put on the mangled bunny slippers before sliding into the passenger seat.
"I used to think high heels were sexy, but now I've got a new fetish," Finn teased.
Liv stuck her tongue out at him, before telling him where he could stick that fetish.
Ten minutes later, they arrived at an elegant, two-story house in one of Eagles Landing's older neighborhoods. Several inches of snow had accumulated on the lawns and bushes, reflecting the moonlight that emerged from the departing cloud cover.
"Where are we?" Finn asked as they got out of the car and headed for the only house on the block with a light still on.
"It's Dr. Huntington's house. He was the psychiatrist Grannie made me see after Dad disappeared. He always said I could come over anytime, and I know he's a night owl. He got a job at the Center when it opened, so maybe he can help us out. Leave all the guns in the car. He doesn't like guns."
"You're just going to ask him to let you into Three Crosses so you can hunt Mitch down and kill him?" Finn asked. "Bet that's gonna go over real well."
"I didn't say I had a good plan. I'm still working on it, okay? Come on, let's go." They walked up to the covered porch, which was flanked by two enormous, sculpted hedges.
Liv rang the doorbell. Several minutes later, a man wearing a red smoking jacket and flannel, checkered pajama pants opened the door. He was carrying a pipe, which emitted a pleasant smell.
"Olivia, my dear, how good to see you! I thought you were dead! I read all about it in the paper," the man said with a slight British accent. He reached out and gave her a hug. "I'm very relieved you're not. I was greatly saddened by the horrible news; it ruined my day. So, other than being dead, how are things? Do come in and sit. I just stoked the fire." The man paused, almost out of breath. "Now, I don't believe we've met, young man. My name is Dr. Bartholomew Huntington." He stuck out his hand.
"Pleased to meet you, Dr. Huntington, my name is Finn Andrews." He shook the outstretched hand.
"Well, come in now, both of you. Can I interest you in a drink, Olivia? I was just enjoying a fine Scotch, and you look like you could use a glass." He noted Liv's scratches and bruises.
"Yes, thank you, Dr. Huntington. That would be great. Luckily, I wasn't home when the house burned down, and Grannie is alright too."
"You do not know how glad I am to hear that. I have been in a terrible funk all day because of you. I'm so glad the news of your death was a great exaggeration." Dr. Huntington chuckled as he gently poured a healthy dose of 18-year-old Glenlivet into a fine, crystal snifter. "For you, Mr. Andrews?"
"Yes please. I could really use one right about now."
After pouring the drinks, Dr. Huntington led them into the living room and motioned for them to take a seat on an antique couch, which was upholstered with a rich, red material. Sitting himself in a large, leather chair, he took a sip. "Well now, Liv, I assume you have something on your mind. You don't make a habit of coming by my house for social calls these days. Don't get me wrong, I'm very glad to see you. It always cheers my heart when former patients visit. Although, you have picked an extremely odd time for a house call."