“Did you ask Gloria to give you something?” her father asked, concerned.
“Yes,” she answered. Another lie, but Norma Rose had been frowning ever since finding her and Gloria in the hallway. “It’s already easing up.”
Father reached over the seat to pat her knee. “Driving Dave’s car could have brought on a headache. It’s a rough-riding thing.”
Josie throat locked tight.
“Dave said yours wouldn’t start so you took his to your society meeting. He had to call Scooter to get yours running.”
That explained how Scooter knew she’d gone.
“I’ve called Big Al. He promised to have several for you to look at by the end of the week.”
Telling fibs in order to cover up her activities had never been easy, and she hadn’t liked it, but the sincerity on her father’s face filled her with such guilt her hands trembled. She couldn’t continue this. Just couldn’t. “Daddy—”
“No arguing, now, Josie-girl,” he said, twisting back to look out of the windshield. “I know you don’t care about such things, but I do. I can’t have you driving around in a car that’s not dependable. Any number of things could happen. Besides, those old ladies you’re friends with depend on you to haul them around.” Turning toward Ty, he continued, “Speaking of cars, Ty, isn’t it about time you got rid of that old Model T? That thing about rattled the teeth right out of my head today.”
Norma Rose was still frowning and Josie pretended to be interested in the discussion taking place between Ty and her father. There was a deep layer of trust between the two men. It was clear by the way they were so relaxed and comfortable talking with one another, even when arguing about Henry Ford’s thoughts on producing only black automobiles. Father trusted Norma Rose, too—that was evident by the way he always drew her into the conversation. Josie’s empty stomach revolted, sending bile up her throat.
Once he learned about all she’d done, her father would never trust her again. Not the same way he trusted Norma Rose. Not like he’d trusted her at one time, too.
She turned her gaze to the window, and her heart skipped a beat as Scooter’s station came into view. Dread filled her, caused by the danger she knew he was in because of her. Nothing looked unusual. The Closed sign hung on the door, but he was always closed by this time of the evening. He was probably at his mother’s house eating supper. It was a mile up the road that curved behind his gas station.
Another jolt of fear made her tremble. Scooter, his mother, Maize and little Jonas were all in danger because of her. Josie glanced around the car, taking in the other passengers. Everyone was in danger because of her, and by morning it might be too late. No matter what Gloria or Scooter had said, there wasn’t time to wait. Something had to be done now.
Anticipating a call, Scooter was halfway down the stairs before the phone jangled a second time. He’d left a message for Ty to call him as soon as possible. It was his only hope of making sure Josie didn’t leave the resort. Increasing his speed, he grabbed the earpiece just as the third ring started. “Scooter here.”
“Eric? Eric Wilson, is that you?”
Hope floundered when he didn’t recognize the voice. “Yes, it’s Eric. Who’s this?”
“It’s Clyde Odell. The cops just raided Francine Wilks’s warehouse. They took the girls and Francine and her men downtown, but, Eric, there are some things I think you need to see before the cops clean out the joint. How fast can you be here?”
“I can be there in a couple of hours,” Scooter answered.
“Meet me in the US Steel parking lot,” Clyde said, and then the line went dead.
Scooter’s blood turned icy. Clyde wouldn’t have called unless it was serious. It had to be about Josie. Francine must have had something on Josie.
Taking the stairs two at a time, Scooter raced upstairs to grab his coat, hat with earflaps and goggles. It would be well past midnight before he arrived in Duluth and even in the summer months riding the motorbike at night was chilly. In the winter months he drove his delivery truck, but it was as slow as driving through molasses.
In mere minutes, he was on the road, heading north. There was next to no traffic and he expected there wouldn’t be all the way at this time of the evening. That wasn’t a good thing. The desolate road would give him plenty of time to think.
Josie was his main topic of thought, which wasn’t unusual. Not lately anyway. She’d occupied a good portion of his thoughts, both when he was awake and sleeping, for days on end. Actually, she’d lived in his mind for years. There was this whole little corner there that had been reserved just for her.