Finding Us

By: Heather B. Moore

“Ma,” Leo cut in. He knew as well as anyone that his Italian mother wouldn’t stop talking once she was on a roll. “I’m calling you now, okay? And I need some information to help in an investigation.”

“Oh, is this like one of those undercover investigations?” she gushed. “Do I have to swear an oath on the Bible?”

Leo shook his head even though his mother couldn’t see him. “Not exactly. This is off the record.” Well, maybe it was an official question. “Have you heard from Angelo lately?”

For once in Leo’s entire life, his mother went completely silent. That’s when he knew something was wrong. “Mom?”

He knew the call hadn’t disconnected because he could still hear the droning of the television in the background that his dad watched twenty-four-seven since his stroke.

“Here’s the thing, Leonardo,” his mother said in a hushed voice. “Your cousin fell onto some hard times, and, well, you know how his mother is. So I told him he could stay here.”

Leo blew out a breath. “How long has he been staying with you?”

“Only a few weeks,” his mother said. “He’s got some job interviews lined up. One at the gas station.”


“Now listen here,” she said. “I know that you’re a cop and everything, but Angelo has turned his life around, for the most part. He’s clean, you know, and he needs someone to give him a chance.”

Leo tried to keep his tone even. “Where is he right now?”

“He comes and goes,” his mother said. “I don’t make him tell me every little thing. He’s a grown man, you know, and—”

“Look,” Leo said, cutting her off. “I need to speak with him as soon as possible. I’m coming over so that I’ll be there when he gets back.”

When he hung up with his mother, he told himself that it was better she didn’t know that he was about to turn Angelo’s life upside down.

When Felicity’s cell phone rang two hours later, she almost didn’t answer it. As tempting as it was to take calls from unknown numbers, she regretted each time she did.

“Ms. Miner?” a deep voice said.

“This is me,” she said.

“This is Officer Russo, and I’m calling to let you know that we’ve apprehended the shoplifter.”

“Oh.” Felicity hadn’t expected everything to happen so quickly. But, then again, the cop had said he knew who the man was. “Is he . . . in jail?”

“He was taken into custody, and processed, but he’s out on bail now.”

“So fast?” Felicity gripped the phone a little tighter.

“The judge wasn’t busy, so he set bail, and the man’s aunt paid the bail.”

“Oh.” Felicity didn’t know how she felt. On one hand, she didn’t think the guy was dangerous, but he clearly knew that she’d turned him in. Would he show up at the bookshop again?

“He has a court date set for two weeks from now,” Officer Russo continued, “and the judge will sentence him then.”

“Do you think he’ll go to jail?”

“It’s hard to say without knowing what else exactly is on his record,” he said. “He’ll get community service and a fine, at the very least.”

Felicity exhaled, thinking this over. “All right. Thanks for updating me.”

“No problem.” He paused. “Is everything else all right?”

“Of course,” Felicity said, noting the concern in his voice. She supposed it was part of his job—protect and serve, and all that. But when she hung up with the officer, she wished Mr. Smithson wasn’t out of town this week. She’d love to end her shift and go back to her house for a long soak in the tub—with all the doors locked.

She returned to reading the Elana Johnson novel, but not even the plot progression of the hot police chief and the heroine could distract her. Felicity’s mind kept returning to the shoplifter, and how he’d come into her store several times, barely speaking a word. Had he been staking out the place? Had he been watching her other times? How long had he been planning on stealing a book? And why a book? It was a strange conundrum to feel sorry for the man, yet stressed that she might run into him again. After all, he was out on bail.

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