The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 43 Section V Mega Chapter 2 (part 4)

The Alibi – Chapter 43 Section V Mega Chapter 2 (part 4)

Ed opened his eyes at the smell of coffee. Morelli stood over him, steaming cup in hand. “You take it extra cream, right?”

Ed sat up and looked around. “How did I get home?”

“This is your bedroom, right? Any idea what happened to you? Me? Us?”

“You had a heart attack. I told you to cut out all those Italian cold cuts and to stop smoking, didn’t I?”

“You’re not stuttering. Am I talking with Ed or Gio?”

Ed threw off the covers and looked down at his rumpled clothing.

“Didn’t want to get too personal. You were on the ground. You spoke Italian again. All I got was Fortuna. Did Gio do something to you? He’s changed a lot since I knew him if he hurts people for no reason. Is that what happened?”

“How come you didn’t take me to Anna Jacques or Lowell General?”

Morelli pulled back slightly and looked at the floor. “I…no idea. Something said not to.”

“Did you get us here?”

Morelli snapped his head as if shaking off loose thoughts. “Yeah. I guess I did.”

“You’re okay now? No pain?”

“I’m fine. You? And this is Gio’s doing, right?”

“He made a…” Vox hesitated. His eyes darted around as if the correct word was hiding in the room somewhere. “A suggestion?” He closed his eyes and nodded as if supremely satisfied with the answer. “Yes. He made a suggestion.”

Morelli followed Ed’s eyes as if expecting Gio Fortuna to come out of hiding.

Gio took a sip of the offered coffee. “God, you always make it this strong?”

Morelli took back the cup and sniffed. “Whoa. Guess I did. Yeah, I must’ve. I remember now. I added an extra scoop of coffee. It mean something?”

“Maestro Fortuna likes it that way.”

“Is he here? Now?”

Ed stood. “He is here. Not here, exactly. He stopped by to…help. He also needed help. One of his teachers suggested someone.”

“He has teachers? There are people out there who can do more than him?”

“Several, according to him.”

“Christ, is this Dante’s Inferno in reverse?”

Vox absently took the cup and emptied it in two long swallows.

“I thought you didn’t like it that strong.”

Vox looked away and a slight smile creased his face. He nodded. It seemed more like a slow motion wag as Morelli watched.

“Is Gio with you right now? Are you and he…I forgot the term. Sharing?”

Vox’s face quavered, shifted, for a moment young, for a moment old, for a moment clean shaven, for a moment bearded, for a moment crew cut blond, for a moment balding salt & pepper. He spoke with two voices, one Ed’s own and the other almost forgotten. “Borrowing, Tony. It’s called Borrowing.” The quavering face nodded towards the shed holding Morelli’s listening device. “You’re needed in your shed, Tony.”

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