he nursing home, Kane with the boys to the hotel to return in the morning with their clothes to move in, Samantha looked at Mike. And Mike looked at Samantha.
In the next minute they were on each other, making love on the foyer floor, then moving into the living room, then to the library, both of them feeling as though they hadn’t seen each other in six months. In his exuberance, Mike began to bend Sam’s body into unnatural shapes, but she was so limber from years of aerobics classes that she bent easily, her legs twisting about various parts of him with ease. They fell asleep on the floor of the breakfast room and woke in the wee hours, to feel bruised parts of each other’s bodies. Mike, yawning, said they ought to go to bed, but Samantha said that she just had to have a bath—a nook and cranny bath. Grinning, Mike picked her up and carried her up to the bathroom.
Hell, Samantha thought, was rehearsing with Ornette Johnson. Never in her life had she met such a bigot, and when she called him that—after he’d told her for the fourth time in three hours that she was too white to sing the blues—a hush came over the room. According to Ornette, only white people could be bigots, and that idiocy sent Samantha into a rage.
When Mike entered the nursing home recreation room, he found Samantha standing on a chair shouting into Ornette’s handsome face while he yelled back at her. Maxie and Jubilee sat to one side, looking on with expressions of adoration.
“So who’s winning?” Mike asked, taking a seat next to Maxie.
“I’d say it was a draw, wouldn’t you, Jube?”
“A draw, yes. I think Ornette’s met his match.”
Leaning forward, Mike quietly told them that he had arranged for a record producer to attend the night Ornette was going to play. “Who knows what will happen, but at least he’ll be heard.”
Smiling and nodding, Jubilee nudged Maxie to tell her that Samantha had just called Ornette a racist and that they should watch the show the way the other residents of the nursing home were doing.
One morning, two days before the performance, Samantha threw up. “Nerves,” she said as Mike handed her a washcloth. As he’d done before, Mike held her head while she heaved, then smiling mischievously, he suggested breakfast, which sent Sam back to the toilet.
By midmorning she felt better, ate some toast and juice, and took the vitamins Mike handed her. With a wicked grin, she said, “How’s the dancing coming?” It had taken her four days of badgering to get Mike to tell her what he was doing to prepare for his role of Michael Ransome. When he’d at last told her, he’d had such a look of martyrdom on his face that she couldn’t help laughing. Mike was taking lessons in ballroom dancing.
At eleven Mike went with Sam to Maxie’s, then waited outside for what turned out to be three hours while Maxie told Samantha everything she knew about that night in 1928. When Samantha came out, she was white-faced and drawn looking.
“Find out?” Mike asked, taking her hand.
“Yes,” she answered. “Most of it, but not all.” Looking at Mike, her mouth was a hard line. “That corrupt old man,” she said, and Mike knew she was referring to Doc. He also knew that Sam would have cursed, but there were no words to describe what she felt about the man.
Everything had gone so perfectly that there had to be something that went wrong, and it did. On the morning before the day of the performance, after Samantha had thrown up for the third time, Kane called and said that one of his sons was sick. He said it was nothing, but Samantha could hear the worry in his voice.
“Blair’s with him and she says it’s nothing to be concerned about, but I don’t want to leave him. Could Mike get Dad or Frank to go with him to…”
“To get Doc?” Samantha finished for him.
“Yes,” Kane said with a sigh, wishing Sam didn’t know so much. “Dad will know what to do.”
After Samantha hung up, she called Mike into the library and told him what Kane had said.
“Sure, I’ll get Dad,” Mike said as he moved toward the door, but Sam put her body in front of it.
“I am going with you.”
“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,” Mike’s humorless voice said as he reached for the knob.
Samantha put her hand over it. “Mike, listen to me, it makes sense. I know what you and Frank have done, and don’t even think of lying to me about it. Your brother thinks money can buy anything.”
“For Frank it usually does.”
“I know that this time his money bought the guards at Doc’s place.”
“It wasn’t too difficult since they haven’t been paid in weeks. Doc holds them off with promises of big money coming in from Europe, but I think he’s broke. Frank could find out nothing about any money coming in from anywhere.”
“Who did he ask? His Wall Street friends?”
“Money is money everywhere. Frank asked in places you don’t want to know about.”
“Simple little Sam, too dumb to hear all the facts.”
“Dear little Sam whose life is in danger,” Mike shot back at her.