Murder Under the Italian Moon

Murder Under the Italian Moon by Maria Grazia Swan

Book: Murder Under the Italian Moon by Maria Grazia Swan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Maria Grazia Swan
Ferrari. The charges as of now are car theft and, yes, kidnapping. Being accused of kidnapping Ruby Russell is the excuse to keep him in jail until they'll come up with something else. Think about it, what happens after a person gets kidnapped?" She didn't wait for an answer.
    I wept quietly in the car. It was awkward being driven home by a stranger and not being able to stop crying. I asked the young lady to let me off way before the gate. I figured if the media was waiting, they'd be looking for me to arrive by car. They would be either by the gate or outside the garage watching my door. I let myself in through a pedestrian side gate used mostly by landscapers and other service people, walked past the complex's pool and hopped over the low fence surrounding the neighbor's yard.
    I entered my place from the back door and no one saw me. My drapes were drawn from the night before. Flash heard me and rushed over to welcome me. I rubbed her back and went straight upstairs to my closet. I found my winter coat, the one I had packed instead of wearing for the trip back from Florence. My hands shook so badly I had trouble getting into the pockets. Dio mio, found it . My fingers felt the paper. I pulled it out and unfolded it on the bed. The cell phone chimed in the depth of my handbag. I ignored it.
    I ran my fingers over the chart, Ruby's chart, and I sobbed. There weren't enough tears in the universe to wash away my guilt. How could I spend the night with a man I hardly knew while this man's buddies dragged my son to prison? Dio mio!
    My sense of reality faded in and out, caught in a twist of memories. Why, Ruby? Why? Was this misguided revenge? Against Kyle, or was she using my son to get to me? What was it that I didn't see? Maybe this had nothing to do with her brain injury. Perhaps she didn't change, just stopped pretending.
    I thought about those months after Nick's death—the emptiness left in my heart.
    I'd packed up the house, sold it, sent Nick's things to storage. Then I'd gone back to Italy, unable to bear being here alone. When I'd finally come back, I had no place of my own.
    Then, too, Kyle had picked me up at LAX.
    Kyle and I both avoided the subject of Nick and Ruby, keeping the conversation superficial and chatty. "You can stay at my place, Mom. I'll be in San Francisco the next few weeks." Kyle's career had taken off, and he worked on location most of the time. This time the location happened to be San Francisco, a one-hour flight from Los Angeles.
    I'd done just that. After Kyle left for San Francisco, I spent the next week lying in bed, not even getting dressed. I mainly wore pajamas or sweatpants. I ate the food I found in his fridge. Didn't turn on the lights or the television. I felt inconsequential and sort of embraced the feeling. I supposed it was a natural reaction after being married for such a long time and doing everything as a couple.
    Kyle's telephone rang constantly, and I listened to the messages that the callers, mostly female, left. The information ranged from sweet and simple to outrageous to vulgar.
    Ruby called on the fourth day of my self-imposed solitude. I didn't pick up. Even when I heard Ruby say: "Kyle, this is Ruby. I heard Lella's back. How is she? Can I have her phone number? She must have changed the other one I had. Call me. Thanks."
    Listening to her voice after all that time had brought a sense of fury into my consciousness. From the police report and from Kyle, I'd learned Nick was driving Ruby's car with Ruby in the passenger seat. It was unclear where they were going. Or what they were doing together. I chose the cowardly way out and never asked. What you don't know can't hurt, I told myself back then. I still did that sometimes.
    I screamed at the answering machine, at the walls and at the unfairness of the whole wide world.
    She called again the next day and the next…
    I seemed to live only for her calls.
    On the eighth day Ruby called in the morning. She sounded

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