I watched him prepare to leave, feeling a strange emptiness a foreboding. Then my dad happened to stride past. “Dom, you’re not staying for dinner?” he boomed.
Dominic shook his head. “The number 23 stops running after seven.”
“Yes, dad,” I said, unable to stifle my own attitude.
“Nah, come on,” he insisted, clapping Dominic on the back. “Stay for dinner, then I’ll give you a lift.”
Dominic’s face was still, as impossible to read as ever. All he said was, “My mother might worry, sir.”
Dad gave a sharp, approving nod. “Fair enough. We’ll take you back now.” Then he turned to me. “Whaddya say, Harry?”
“Dad, just be cool.”
But he wasn’t even listening for my answer. “Dom, where do you live?”
A quick glance in my direction. “Corner of Fifth and Washington.”
“That’s . . . that’s on the East Side, right?”
Dominic’s jaw tightened. “That’s right sir.”
The jovial tone returned. “Oh, would ya stop calling me sir. Call me Bob.” Then he grabbed the keys and flung open the door. “Come on boys, the Cadillac’s out front.”
We rode all the way to Dominic’s house in silence. Somehow, I knew that everything had changed.
* * *
A story by Gregory M. Fox