Jenny stayed calm as her father came closer, the knife in his hand.
“You want to bend over?” he asked.
Jenny stared up at him.
“Unless you’d rather have your hands tied behind your back all night. Do you, actually?”
Jenny moved forward in her seat, bent over and allowed him to cut the plastic restraints.
As she massaged her wrists, he put the blade away and opened the stopper from the bottle she heard earlier.
“So, I was told you were a pirate.”
She said nothing.
“Which means if I offered you a brandy, you wouldn’t say no,” he said, handing her a sniffer.
She took the drink and smelled it. The evocative aromas kicked through her nose; she was almost afraid to drink it fearing disappointment.
She watched him sip his and relax, his body settling as it wound down the same way she did when she was at ease.
There was a long silence as the two of them stared at each other, the wariness in their looks slowly easing in the fire light.
He took the first step and asked, “So tell me about life in Buffalo.”
“Can’t be better than this,” she replied before she took the plunge and supped the brandy.
“No, I suppose not.”
“Which is why we never heard from you.”
He shot her a glance that seemed pained. “I’m sorry?”
“That didn’t sound like an apology.”
“So your grandmother never… No, I guess not.”
“What about Nana?” Jenny asked as she leaned forward.
“I used a few proxy-feelers to try and reach out. I have records if you want, to see the attempts.”
He sighed. “Every few months. Too often, that would have gotten the attention of the wrong authorities, mostly Americans. I wanted to avoid that; I’d heard DHS pays too much attention to people in touch with Canadians these days.”
“Yeah, I heard that too. Why Nana, though, and not Mom?”
“Your mother…” He took a long sip from his brandy and sighed. “We… did not get along that well.”
“How do you mean?”
“When we had to move to Buffalo, it did not sit well with her. We used to have fights, after Hurricane Alejandro. I think that made us both crazy. Everybody — I think everybody was made crazy.
“You’re way too young to grasp what New York was like, once upon a time. Before you were aware, there was a time when it was the center of the universe, all the important things happened there. When there were millions of people living there, a lot of them very rich, a lot…”
He took another sip of his brandy and asked, “You look thin. What can I get you to eat?”
“I… I had a burger, a while ago.”
“A really good burger? Some Wagyu off the boat perhaps?”
“You heard about what I did?” Jenny asked.
“That was you? You took that boat to Buffalo?”
Jenny slapped her head…
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