The next two weeks Clement decided to avoid the park. Becky started her new job just a few blocks away. Her first week Clement and Becky met every day for lunch. Her second week, Clement’s projects consumed all his free time. Becky took the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather and eat outside.
On Thursday Becky brought a bag lunch to a bench near a clearing in Regent Park. She didn’t notice the man approach until he was right beside her. He looked like a cheap detective.
“I know who you are,” said George Twill.
Becky pulled her purse onto her lap and shuffled to the end of the bench.
“I know your husband,” said George.
“I bet,” mumbled Becky.
“Clement. His name is Clement. There aren’t too many folks around with that name,” said George.
The thought that Clement could associate himself with the likes of this guy angered her. “How do you know him?” she demanded.
“He’s been hanging out with a dangerous man.”
“Who?” snapped Becky. She looked directly at him. Despite first impressions, he looked remarkably well groomed.
“People call him Emperor Don.”
“What’s it to you?” demanded Becky.
“Donnie’s my brother. I’ve seen first hand how he gets in people’s heads. Messes ‘em up. I asked for your old man’s help in puttin’ him away, but he turned me down cold,” explained George.
“So what if he doesn’t want to get involved? It’s none of his business.”
“It’s too late for that. Donnie trusts ‘im. He’s already started workin’ over your old man. That’s why he turned me down. I figure he thinks he’s protectin’ some crazy homeless dude.”
Becky stood up. “Look, we want nothing to do with this. Just leave us alone. Keep your family business to yourself.”
George looked at her with a careful air. “What if your old man won’t leave ‘im alone?”
Becky mumbled something and walked off. All afternoon her stomach turned. At the end of the day she made a quick exit and rushed to the bus stop.
“Excuse me. Are you all right?”
The voice from behind startled her. It was Emperor Don.
“I’m fine,” was her cold reply.
“I saw you speaking with my brother earlier. He certainly has a way with people, doesn’t he?” consoled Emperor Don.
“It must run in the family,” grumbled Becky.
Don looked genuinely surprised. “Have I offended you in some way?”
“You’ve wrapped my husband around your finger.”
“Are you referring to Clement?”
“Are you manipulating others, too?”
“I’m not manipulating anybody,” said Emperor Don.
Becky glared. “Then why do you people inject yourselves into our lives?”
“Please believe that wasn’t my intention.”
“Right,” said Becky. She rolled her eyes.
“If you wish, I’ll leave you alone. But I have one question,” said Emperor Don.
Becky saw the bus coming from up the street. “What?”
“Are you angry because of my presence, or is it because of the discontent you feel because of your present circumstances?”
Becky’s eyes flared and she swung around to confront Emperor Don. She was greeted by a swell of passengers that pushed her onto the bus.