Hot Six(14)

By: Janet Evanovich


“This isn’t a vampire. This is your grandmother.”

Grandma pounded on the door. “Hello?” she called.

I hung up and opened the door.

“Surprise,” Grandma said. “I’ve come to live with you while I look for an apartment.”

“But you live with Mom.”

“Not anymore. Your father’s a horse’s patoot.” She dragged her suitcase in and hung her coat on a wall hook. “I’m getting my own place. I’m tired of watching your father’s TV shows. So I’m staying here until I find something. I knew you wouldn’t mind if I moved in for a while.”

“I only have one bedroom.”

“I can sleep on the couch. I’m not fussy when it comes to sleeping. I could sleep standing up in a closet if I had to.”

“But what about Mom? She’ll be lonely. She’s used to having you around.” Translation: What about me? I’m used to not having anybody around.

“I suppose that’s true,” Grandma said. “But she’s just gonna have to make her own life. I can’t keep livening that house up. It’s too much of a strain. Don’t get me wrong, I love your mother, but she can be a real wet blanket. And I haven’t got a lot of time to waste. I’ve probably only got about thirty more years before I start to slow down.”

Thirty years would put Grandma well over a hundred—and me at sixty, if I didn’t die on the job.

Someone gave a light rap on my door. Morelli was here early. I opened the door, and he got halfway through the foyer before spotting Grandma.

“Grandma Mazur,” he said.

“Yep,” she answered. “I’m living here now. Just moved in.”

The corners of Morelli’s mouth twitched up ever so slightly. Jerk.

“Was this a surprise move?” Morelli asked.

I took the bucket of chicken from him. “Grandma got into it with my father.”

“Is that chicken?” Grandma asked. “I can smell it all the way over here.”

“Plenty for everyone,” Morelli told her. “I always get extra.”

Grandma pushed past us, into the kitchen. “I’m starved. All this moving gave me an appetite.” She looked into the bag. “Are those biscuits, too? And coleslaw?” She grabbed some plates from the cabinet and ran them out to the dining room table. “Boy, this is gonna be fun. I hope you’ve got beer. I feel like having a beer.”

Morelli was still grinning.

For some time now, Morelli and I had been engaged in an off-again-on-again romance. Which is a nice way of saying we occasionally shared a bed. And Morelli wasn’t going to think this was so funny when the occasional overnighter turned to no overnighters at all.

“This is going to put a crimp in our plans for the evening,” I whispered to Morelli.

“We just need to change the address,” he said. “We can go to my house after dinner.”

“Forget your house. What would I tell Grandma? ‘Sorry, I’m not sleeping here tonight, because I have to go do the deed with Joe’?”

“Something wrong with that?”

“I can’t say that. It would make me feel icky.”

“Icky?”

“My stomach would get squishy.”

“That’s silly. Your grandma Mazur wouldn’t mind.”

“Yes, but she’d know.”

Morelli looked pained. “This is one of those woman things, isn’t it?”

Grandma was back in the kitchen, getting glasses. “Where are your napkins?” she asked.

“I don’t have any,” I told her.

She stared at me blank-faced for a moment, unable to comprehend a house with no napkins.

“There are napkins in the bag with the biscuits,” Morelli said.

Grandma peeked into the bag and beamed. “Isn’t he something,” she said. “He even brings the napkins.”

Morelli rocked back on his heels and gave me a look that told me I was a lucky duck. “Always prepared,” Morelli said.

I rolled my eyes.

“That’s a cop for you,” Grandma said. “Always prepared.”

I sat across from her and grabbed a piece of chicken. “It’s the Boy Scouts who are always prepared,” I said. “Cops are always hungry.”