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The funeral took place before the week was out.
Angie slipped into the back row at St. Anne’s wearing her only suit which luckily was black. The church was packed with mourners and the service was Roman Catholic which meant a lot of standing and kneeling. Angie really didn’t want to be there but she had made the promise to Vito Vanelli and she just wanted to get it over and get back to her own life.
After the mass, the casket was brought down the aisle and Angie paid particular attention to the pall bearers. She hoped one of these men might be Vito’s son, but as they passed she realized they were all too old. As she exited the church, an attendant handed her a sheet of paper with an address and map of the venue in Mississauga where refreshments were to be served to the funeral guests. As for the burial, the gravesite memorial was for close friends and family only. Angie groaned inwardly. I guess I’ll have to go to the wake she decided. It’s my only chance to find Vincent.
She drove for thirty minutes listening to dark and brooding music that fit the somber day. She was surprised at the sadness she felt despite barely knowing the old man. She followed other mourners into a banquet hall with tables and chairs set up as if for a wedding. Inside, the crowd was large and noisy and the open bar was jammed with people. Angie decided a glass of red wine couldn’t hurt.
An attractive older woman sidled up. “Good turnout. Are you a relative?”
“No,” Angie stammered. “I’m a nurse at the hospital where Mr. Vanelli was taken before he died. I was hoping to pay my respects to his family. He mentioned a son to me, Vincent. Do you know if he is here?”
“I doubt it, too much bad blood between them. But you could try talking to his grandmother. She’s sitting over there.”
Angie’s eyes followed the woman’s pointing finger. In the distance sat a frail old lady holding court. People were stopping by, talking, and moving on. The old lady seemed to know everyone. Angie headed towards her table.
“Excuse me señora.”
“Yes, my dear what is it? Come closer, my hearing isn’t what it once was.”
Angie crouched down beside her. “I am very sorry for your loss. I was hoping to speak to your grandson, Vincent, is he expected to—”
A hand touched Angie on the shoulder. She spun around. The old lady smiled up at the tall, dark stranger. He gently put a tiny cup of espresso in front of the old lady. He regarded Angie curiously. “I’m Vincent. I don’t believe I know you.”
“Oh,” said Angie, surprised. “Hello. I’m Angie Castello. I wanted to say how sorry I am about your father.” She put out her hand but Vincent just looked at it.
“Who are you?” he asked brusquely.