SHORTS FROM THE SHELF features short serialized fiction by author Shannon Muir, administrator of SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF, that may be later released as part of e-book or print collections. The story line featured over the next  fourteen days is “Shining a Light on Crime”. This is Part 9 of 14.

“How much do you really know about Lou?” Roxane pressured her parents while Lou worked the closing shift alone one evening at the shop.

 

“Do you know how ridiculous you sound?” Roxane’s mother told her. “You are married to the man, you have his daughter. Why can’t you be happy with what you have?”

 

“Then you do know something.”

 

“I never said that, dear,” her mother insisted.

 

“The fact you’re not willing to hear me out sure says you have something to hide.”

 

“Roxane,” her father spoke up. “Lou’s been a good worker. We know it is best to leave the business in his hands.”

 

“But why? I don’t understand. I’m your daughter. You know I know a lot. Why are you allowing Lou to control the family business? Why not me?”

 

“Can’t you just be happy with the safety and security we’ve given you?” her mother wailed.

 

Roxane started to piece together things from things her parents said. Her mother insisting she be happy with the situation they had. Her father refusing to directly answer whether or not they had something to hide and instead emphasizing Lou’s good qualities.

 

“What does Lou have on both of you?” Roxane said. “What does he know that is so powerful you’re not only letting him control your business, but allowing him to have an illegitimate child with your daughter even though you know Lou is married?”

 

Dropping the knowledge that she knew Lou’s true identity caused the desired effect. Both her parents, completely caught off guard, looked at one another with puzzled expressions. Roxane just crossed her arms.

 

“Did you decide since I had one child out of marriage having another wouldn’t hurt to cement this little charade? Is that how little you love and care about me and my children? We’re just pawns to you?”

“No, Roxane, please,” her mother pleaded. “We did this because we love you.”

 

“So, now you admit you did do something,” Roxane said, not relaxing her stance. “I can’t imagine how you’re going to explain your way out of this one.”