The Watchman

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Authors: V. B. Tenery
Tags: Christian fiction
long time?”
    I gazed over at McKenna. Her mother must have already asked her these questions. McKenna gave me a quick glance and shrugged.
    “Uh, yes, ma’am. We met at university in a study group. We crammed for exams and helped each other with individual weaknesses.”
    “I’m aware of what a study group does.”
    There didn’t seem to be an answer to that, so I kept quiet.
    “Are you clever, Noah?”
    “In what respect?”
    Angie waved an impatient hand. “In business, of course. I know about your police accommodations and war medals, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re intelligent.” She was doing an excellent job of putting me in my place.
    I answered truthfully. “No more, no less than most people, I should think.”
    “How disappointing. I’ve always wanted the best for McKenna.”
    “As do I, ma’am.”
    “Mother...”McKenna jumped in.
    “Wasn’t your family involved in a domestic tragedy some years back? I vaguely remember reading something about it in the newspaper.” Angie’s last question was a doozy.
    My jaw clenched. She hadn’t read it. She had me investigated.
    “I guess you could say that.” I didn’t intend to satisfy her morbid curiosity.
    “Your mother and brother were killed, is that right?”
    McKenna gasped and jumped to her feet. “Mother, how could...?”
    A gut wrenching pain seized my chest, but I wouldn’t let Angie see the hurt. I held up my hand and signaled it was OK.
    As we fled the inquisition chamber, I had the distinct feeling I’d flunked the interview. But so had she.
    On the drive home, McKenna squeezed my arm. “Sorry about my mother. She means well, but she’s overly protective.” She rested her head against my shoulder. “I’m so proud of you. Father and his friends were very impressed. Those people can send you more business than you can handle. You’ll have to hire a staff to take care of all the extra work. Isn’t that exciting?”
    I didn’t know exactly how to approach the subject. This called for tact I wasn’t sure I could muster. “McKenna, do you know that many of your father’s guests tonight are crooks? Steve Clark is an east coast mob boss.”
    “Steve? I’ve known him for ages. He’s totally harmless. Besides, if you want to talk about crooks, most of the CEO’s in America are cooking the books these days.” She spoke as if a correlation existed between gangsters and corporate crime. CEO’s might murder your retirement fund, but they didn’t take your life. At least, not literally.
    I shook my head. “Some CEO’s are crooked, but not most. Some good men are painted with the same broad brush as fraudulent bankers and insurance executives. You have to admit most CEO’s don’t kill people.”
    She looked at me and wrinkles formed on her brow. “You’re going to have to be realistic. My father handed you a fortune in future business tonight. The least you could do is consider it. You can’t afford scruples in the corporate world.”
    I couldn’t hide my disappointment. “How can you say that? You’re an assistant D.A.”
    “Like it or not, it’s the truth.”
    “So in my business life, I’m supposed to park my ethics at the door?”
    “That’s not what I said, and you know it.” She moved away from me and remained silent for the remainder of the ride home. When we reached her apartment, she jumped out and slammed the car door.
    So much for my use of tact.
    I watched McKenna enter her apartment building, and for a moment, I couldn’t breathe for the tightness that filled my chest. I’d let myself believe we could share a life together—denying the burden my gifts placed on a relationship.
    Had God determined I had to live a solitary life? Resting my head on the steering wheel, I prayed for strength.
    That evening signaled the end of our almost engagement. One year later, McKenna married Alexander Clark, Steve Clark’s son.
    Shaking off the past, I pulled into the parking lot at the

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