Annette was looking at me with hatred in her eyes. She was holding a gun although at the moment, she wasn’t pointing it towards anybody. I’d had enough!
“What are you doing, Annette? Put that gun down and please…untie Stella and remove the gag. I should have realized it wasn’t you playing the piano, Stella. Beethoven, you can stop now.”
Annette didn’t move so I went to Stella and untied her. She took the gag from her mouth but wisely remained silent. Beethoven finished playing Silent Night and didn’t begin a new song.
“Carl,” Annette said. “Meet Kat. She’s the daughter of the woman partially responsible for all the charges that were brought against you.”
Carl, who must have been posing as a piano teacher, got up from the piano bench, put his hands in his pocket and walked over to stand beside Annette.
“Give me the gun, Annette,” he said, as he took one hand from his pocket and extended it so Annette could hand him the gun. “You’re far too emotional to be brandishing a weapon.”
Annette looked at me… as she handed the gun to Carl.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I said. “And further more, I am no longer involved with the people my mother associated with prior to her death.”
“I don’t believe you,” Annette said. “I happen to know you spent Christmas with Jack. I also know you rushed to see him right after you walked out on me at the restaurant.”
“You were playing games with me, Annette. I went to Jack for help to clear up my confusion, but I realized I couldn’t trust him any more than I can trust you. I told him I was done with all of you.”
“It won’t be that easy, Kat. Are you forgetting…we get assignments and we’re expected to follow through with them.”
“Well, Mission Impossible is going to have to replace me. I don’t care to take anymore assignments. I would appreciate it if you both left, now. It’s been a long day.”
I looked over at Stella who had been unusually quiet up until now. She immediately found her voice. “Does this mean I’ll have to find a new piano teacher?”
Carl and Annette agreed to leave. Annette was apparently satisfied that I wasn’t taking sides. I did have to wonder what charges had been brought against Carl and what exactly was going on between Jack and Annette.
Stella and I had a light dinner. I was trying to concentrate on a book when the doorbell rang. I told Stella I would see who it was.
I answered the door to two men. One of them showed me his badge. “My name is Blake Stedman,” he said. I’m with the FBI. This is my associate, Tom Black. May we come in?”