For chapter 14 click here: Chapter 14
To go to chapter 1 of the novel click here: Chapter 1
(Author’s note: This chapter has multiple pages. Please click the number at the bottom to continue reading the next page)
More than a month went by after Owen’s death and no one contacted Demond. He and Alicia went about their daily routine — he at the car dealership and she at the hospital. The topic of his visit to Miami rarely came up in their conversation. There was no reason for it. Alicia took Demond at his word that his meeting never took place and he had to return home early. Then one Saturday when they had finished their breakfast and retreated to the living room Alicia saw a Chevrolet Impala pull in their driveway. They rarely got visitors this early in the morning on weekends. She knew the cars their friends drove. This was not one of them. She asked Demond if he was expecting someone. He said no. But he had a suspicion that the time had come.
When the doorbell rang Alicia looked through the peephole of the front door. Two men stood on the stoop — one dressed in a Dark suit standing nearly six feet tall and the other, a shorter man in grey suit with rimless glasses and a crew cut. What perplexed Alicia was that both wore suits. They must be there on official business. She hesitated to open the door to these strangers, but felt secure since Demond was home. Opening the front door just so the security chain was engaged, she addressed the men waiting outside.
“How may I help you?” She asked.
“Yes, Ma’m. Is this the residence of Mr. Demond Ibori?”
“Yes, it is. Is anything the matter? I’m his wife.”
“FBI. We would like to ask Mr. Ibori some questions.” She had no idea what this was about. The taller one introduced himself as John and pointed to the shorter one who he said was Mike.
Alicia didn’t know what to do. She had never faced a situation like this. Should she let them in? She wished Demond was with her.
The officers noticed her hesitation. They pulled out their identification badges and showed them to Alicia. They also handed her their business cards with their names and telephone numbers. Alicia carefully looked at the documents. She showed them inside and pointed to a sofa for them to take a seat. She went in the kitchen but didn’t see Demond. She wanted to ask him why the FBI was interested in talking to him. She wasn’t sure if she should have asked if they had a search warrant. She let it go hoping Demond will handle the details.
“Demond. Demond. There’s someone to see you.”
She looked around, went back to the kitchen and peeked in other rooms, but there was no sign of Demond. She guessed he went upstairs to use the bathroom. Her hands shook as she returned to the living room. John and Mike were looking around the room as if they would discover a hidden artifact.
“He’ll be here in a minute,” she said, though she didn’t know how long Demond will take. Her voice quivered as she asked “Can I get you anything to drink — coffee, tea, water?”
“We’re fine,” they said. It appeared as if they were not in a rush and had all the time in the world.
Alicia sat facing them, her eyes darting around the room, not knowing what to say. She adjusted the magazines on the table neatly stacking them. A few awkward moments passed without anyone saying anything.
“We heard Mr. Ibori was in Miami a short while ago.” Mike asked breaking the silence.
“How long was he there?”
So, this is about Demond’s trip to Miami, thought Alicia.
“Not long. It was a one day business trip. He had to come home early because the other person cancelled on him.”
Alicia didn’t realize she confessed information the agents sought — a confirmation that Demond made a short trip to Miami to accomplish his mission. She didn’t know that refusing to answer the question was an option. Sitting in front of these strangers made her uncomfortable.
“Do you have any idea what his trip was for?” Mike asked.
“He’s a car salesman. His boss had sent him to Miami to meet a dealer.”
Alicia just made up an answer. Again, she thought Demond should have been there to answer the questions. She didn’t know the reason for Demond’s trip to Miami and wondered why his trip required a visit from the FBI. Was Demond involved in buying or offloading cars illegally? She couldn’t think of a sound reason. She wished he told her about it in more detail. Where is Demond? Why isn’t he here answering all these questions?
A moment later she said, “He will be a better person to answer that. He’ll be here in a minute.”
When a few minutes went by and there was no sign of Demond, she got worried.
“Pardon me a moment,” she said as she got up. “I’ll go see what’s keeping him.”
Alicia went upstairs to find out. He was not in their bedroom. Their bed was not made up yet. The bathroom door, just off their bedroom, was closed but not locked. Alicia knocked on the door and called for Demond.
“Demond, are you in there? What’s taking so long? The officers are waiting for you.”
Alicia got worried when there was no answer. It wasn’t like Demond. She opened the door a bit and peeked inside. She could see Demond’s feet. She opened the door wider.