Kyle Kent is a 3-book series. Co-habit is the second book in the trilogy. To get a better grip of the story, I would recommend you check out the first book, Kyle Kent: Genesis here.
Now, we can sit back and enjoy a beautiful story.
“So, that’s why I’ve been having this stupid déjà vu every time I go to the store”. Ben said, pacing round the apartment.
“Yes. It’s probably my memories interfering with yours”.
Wright had spent the whole day going through Kent’s memories. Kent had grown up in Pittsburgh. He had two brothers and a sister and the last time he’d checked, only his elder brother had moved out of Pennsylvania.
“That’s why you suggested Steel City, isn’t it? You wanted to be closer to your family”. Ben raved “And I was your vessel. You used me!”
“You know we needed to leave L.A” Kent countered “We were knee deep in debt and your gambling addiction didn’t help”.
“Oh. But your drinking habit did? You got me fired, Kent. You ruined everything. Was this your plan all along, huh? Did you sabotage my relationship with Claire? Just because you wanted to see Mummy?” Ben sneered. He moved into the bathroom and stopped in front of the mirror. The now familiar black spot shaped up to form Kent’s face.
“That was all you, Ben. You crashed your relationship all by yourself”.
“You know what, Kyle? It’s fine. I just have to make a quick stop at the clothing shop tomorrow?”
“Why?” Kent asked, suspicious.
“I have a date with your mother”.
* * *
* * *
Grandma Kent’s house was only a few blocks away from Mossfield Baptist Church. Ben rang the doorbell of the brick shingle-styled house. The argument with Kent had finally abated. Wright had eventually agreed to conduct himself in as civil a manner as possible. However, Kent had to take the backseat on this one and maintain radio silence all night.
The door was opened by Tom who cried grumpily that “Grandma, Ben is here”, ignored Wright and went back inside. Ben peered into the empty hallway.
“Mighty fine job your brother is doing on this one”. He muttered to Kent.
“Come on in. I’ll be with you in a minute”. Grandma Kent shouted from some part of the house.
Ben did exactly this and let his nose lead him to the kitchen.
The table was already set for five and a white man wearing yellow evening slacks was seated. He introduced himself as Bill Tagert. Grandma Kent came in minutes later. Nia was at her heels with a bowl of steaming Sancocho.
“You have a beautiful home here, Madeline”. Ben said, standing up to pull out a chair for her. She smiled.
“He’s a charmer, isn’t he?” She said to no one in particular. But they all nodded anyways.
With the table all set, the only thing left was…
“Tommy!” Grandma Kent shouted.
“He’s probably on the computer”. Nia said, rolling her eyes. Wright guessed her age to be 23 but a quick rummage through Kyle’s memory told him he was off by two years. Last Kent had checked, she was a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh. Kent did not know if she had a boyfriend. Ben could feel a change in Kent at the sight of Bill Tagert. Now he knew why. They’d grown up together and their shared adventures had made them best of friends. While Kent had left Pittsburgh for the sunny state of Florida after college, Tagert had stayed behind. He was a lawyer but now he had become…
“The District Attorney”. Grandma Kent said, proudly. “Where’s your hearing aid?” She asked Ben.
“It’s not a hearing aid, Madeline. It’s a micro earpiece. And I left it at home. I don’t want any interruptions tonight.
Tommy skipped down the stairs and jumped on the only available chair; the one beside Wright.
“Well, now that Tommy has graciously decided to grace us with his presence, let’s pray”. Grandma Kent said, looking admonishingly at Tommy who bribed her with a grin. She prayed over the food.
“I heard you just moved into town. What do you do, Ben? Tagert asked.
“Oh. I’m a Private Investigator. Wright Brothers Investigations. It’s a little place on Watt street”. At the sound of the word ‘investigator’, Tommy beamed.
“Do you have a gun, Ben?”
“Hush!” Nia admonished her younger brother. She looked at Wright and apologized “He has a mouth on him”.
“It’s alright, Nia. I do have a gun. I filed several papers to get it and I hope to God I don’t get to fire it”. Wright said, smiling in Tagert’s direction “The paperwork will literally kill me”.
“That sucks. I want to be a soldier. Then I can shoot whoever I want whenever I want without signing some stupid papers”.
“Tommy! Watch your mouth, boy. This is not proper dining table talk”. Grandma Kent chided.
Tagert chuckled and Wright, drawing on Kent’s memories, knew that he was laughing at the thought of some of the things he’d done with Kent when they were Tommy’s age. If only she knew.
“Well technically, Ben is not a cop. He’s a civilian with a gun”. Tagert joked “And we have way too many of them”. Nia and Ben laughed.
“Well, I was a Hollywood bodyguard”
“Oh. So you were a fashion accessory? That’s an improvement, Ben. You know the only thing that will try to kill those pompous suck-ups is their insecurity and cosmetic jobs”.
“Work with anybody famous?” Nia asked. Her plate was almost empty.
“Once or twice”. Wright said modestly.
Just then, Tagert’s phone rang. He checked the caller ID and stood up.
“It’s work”. He said. He moved towards the hallway. When he came back minutes later, his face had turned grave.
“Whatever’s the matter, Bill?” Grandma Kent asked.
“It’s nothing serious”. He said, forcing a smile “Though I do have to get going”.
Since Ben was almost done with his food, he decided to make his exit then.
“I’ve had a great evening, Madeline, but I have to take my leave too. There’s a mountain of paperwork waiting to be filled”.
“Did you shoot your gun?” Tommy asked with new found optimism. Madeline’s stern look was enough of a response.
“Okay. But y’all better find a way to get some rest”. She said as she followed Bill Tagert and Ben to the door.
Nia’s gaze lingered as she coyly wished Wright a good night from the doorway.
* * *
To the casual observer, the white Citroen looked unoccupied. But behind the closed tinted windows, the occupants were very much busy.
They watched as the two men came out of the house and two women followed suit although they stopped at the doorway. One, the older woman was shouting at someone inside the house to finish his food. The white man opened the door to a yellow Mercedes sitting directly in front of the house all the while talking animatedly into his phone. The other man entered a Chevrolet parked across the street.
A light went on upstairs and the silhouette of a small boy filled the shades.
The man with the scarred face watched as the two cars pulled out into the street.