Chapter 50 continues

The story so far: Lily and Katka have a tearful reunion at the jail.

 

Gregor squealed. Old Joe was tickling him. “See my boy?” Lily said. “He’s a strong one, he is. Going to win a popularity contest one day. Makes friends with everyone, even the rats. They don’t make me wear these chains in the cell. Today’s a different day. They don’t tell me anything. I don’t know what’s happening. If they kill me, Katka, you have to take care of Gregor.”

“They’re not going to kill you.”

“You’re the godmother, that’s your job. Didn’t know what you signed up for, did you? Gregor’s old enough now. He can go on the cow milk and do just fine. Ask Adeline if you have any questions.”

“Come along, now, Mrs. Kovich,” the guard said. He gestured toward the wood door.

“What’s happening, Katka? No one tells me a damn thing.” The guard pushed Lily inside before Katka could respond. “Watch my boy,” Lily yelled, disappearing behind the door leading to the negotiation room. Katka and Old Joe heard more clanking sounds and men’s voices from the foyer. Two guards entered, followed by Sam Scarlett and Carlo Tresca. They were manacled, too.

Then she saw him. Paul. She took a deep breath and instinctively patted down her hair. He had grown a beard and his face was grimy. But to Katka, he looked grand. As beautiful as he had the day she met him. She wanted desperately to put her head on his scruffy neck and breathe in his scent, that smell of wind and salt. As long as she could recall his scent, he would always be with her. But the guard cautioned her to be still. When Paul’s eyes caught hers, he smiled. “You are a sight,” he said to her. “I have been dreaming of your face for eight weeks.”

“Please,” Katka appealed to the guards, “Can’t we have just one minute together?” One of the guards hesitated, considering her words.

“Let me kiss her,” Paul said quietly. His voice was different. Needy.

“No contact with the prisoners. Those are the rules.” The guard shuffled Paul forward and like Lily, Tresca and Scarlett, he vanished behind the big door.

Next came Anton, Samo and Dusca, all with glazed, fearful looks on their scruffy faces. When Anton saw Katka, his eyes moistened. “Where is my Lily?” he asked.

“Right inside, uncle. She is safe.” Elizabeth Gurley Flynn followed them as the last of the guests were escorted to the sequestered room. She waved meekly.

Once again, Katka and Old Joe were alone. Or almost alone. Little Gregor was nestled on Old Joe’s lap, tugging on his white beard. They waited.

 

Tomorrow: Chapter 51 begins.