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“I hate to intrude at this time but if I could talk to you for just a few moments. Could we step outside for a second?” Angie asked.
He looked at her irritably. “Grandmother, I’ll be right back.”
“Go with her Vinnie, she’s a pretty girl.” The old woman pushed his arm.
As they stepped out into the open, Angie relaxed. “I can’t tell you how relieved I am to finally meet you—”
“Look here, Miss Castello,” Vincent interrupted, “I don’t know who you are but if you are another one of his girlfriends looking for a handout…to come up to my grandmother like that…” he shook his head.
“Oh my God, no, nothing like that. I just wanted—”
“Wanted what? The only reason I’m here is out of respect for my grandmother. I haven’t had anything to do with my father for years. I hated him!”
Angie stared at him with her mouth open and her cheeks burning.
“You look here, Mr. Vanelli,” she said hotly. “I barely knew your father. I am not one of his girlfriends. I spoke with him for just a few minutes before he died. He collapsed on the street and I just happened to be passing. I’m a nurse so I tried to help. There was this large bodyguard guy with him and I really believe now that something wasn’t right. Your father seemed extremely anxious about his bodyguard. When we had a few moments alone, he asked me to give you something.”
She rummaged in her purse. She pulled the ring out of a hankie. “He said, and I quote, ‘Give this to my son, nobody else.’ The numbers written on the inside are the code to his safety deposit box at the Bank of Montreal main branch at King and Bay Streets. That’s it. That’s all! And just for the record, he seemed to be a kind old man, whose last thoughts were for his son.” She thrust the ring at Vincent. “Here take it.”
Vincent looked at the ring carefully. “Yes, it’s his all right but I don’t know anything about a safety deposit box.”
“Well now you do, and I can go home. Good bye, Mr. Vanelli. And you’re welcome!”
Angie was all set to do her best haughty good-riddance exit when some men approached. She quickly crouched back behind Vincent, clutching his arm. “Oh oh, it’s that guy,” she said.
The huge man in the cashmere coat was walking towards her with a two other men, all equally big and sinister-looking. Cashmere man glanced in her direction and quickly away, but in that instant he recognized her and the old man’s son.
She knows something, he thought. He walked right past, not letting on. If he had his way, he would get rid of both of them.
“Sorry, I didn’t want him to see me,” Angie explained to Vincent “I don’t think he recognized me. I was in work gear that morning — ski jacket, ponytail, no makeup. Your dad told me not to trust him.”
“With good reason,” said Vincent. “That’s Carlo Zanini, a real thug. I’m not surprised my father would be in the company of criminals. He was one himself. Look, Miss Castello, I want to apologize for my rudeness. I understand that you were only trying to help. Will you let me make it up to you? First I have to go check on my grandmother. She tires easily now, she’s 87. I’ll be taking her home shortly. Can I offer you a lift?”
“No thank you!” Angie scowled, “I drove myself. Please say goodbye to your grandmother for me. She seemed very sweet, too bad you don’t take after her.”
“Wait, can I get your number? I’d like to talk to you some more about this.” He looked at the ring in his palm.
“There’s nothing to talk about! Your father was perfectly clear. I just happened to get mixed up in the drama. I made an old man a promise and I’ve delivered on that” she said. “I really don’t want to be involved any further. I’m sorry, goodbye.”
She turned on her heel, headed for her car, and drove quickly out of the lot.
Vincent watched her drive away. She was a strange girl, attractive but tough. He liked that...a lot.