Niagara falls was heavenly. The weather was perfect for September and the landscape was lovely, just starting to change to the many hues of Autumn. Petra lay back on the bed. For two days she and Robert put aside the sadness and worries of Chicago. It turned out that Aunt Sadie had a brother from Altoona who didn’t like how long the police were taking to solve her murder. They were treating it like a random burglary gone awry, that Sadie had discovered the burglar and a gun went off in the panic. Unsatisfied, Uncle Max had put out a reward for information leading to the capture and arrest of the murderer. All the details rolled over in her head as she looked through the window at the falls from the bed in a honeymoon suite in their hotel.
“Happy?” Robert returned from his shower and shave, and sat on the edge of the bed. She looked so lovely like this. He couldn’t stop looking at her. “Because you seem like you are a million miles away.” He looked a little worried but she smiled and he let it go.
“I was thinking what our son would look like.”
Then he kissed her, like he had countless times before, but this time the feeling was visceral and deep inside his being. She finished him, like the last piece of a puzzle. He had never seen it coming. He was older than her, and their lives ran in parallel lines that did not seem like they should ever have intersected.
“I hope he has your eyes.”
She sat up and brushed her hair out of her eyes. She gave him a crooked little smile and winked at him. “I love when you talk like that.” She stretched and yawned and got up, grabbing her towel and heading to the shower. While she was in there, Robert ordered up breakfast and roses. When she walked back out of the bathroom, room service knocked on the room door.
“I hope there’s strong coffee. It’s been days without coffee.”
He opened the door and the porter wheeled in the elaborate cart. Robert tipped him well and the porter left.
“Perfect!” Petra clapped her hands together and sniffed the air. They sat down at the table together and ate and drank, famished after not thinking about food since they had arrived. She smelled the roses and smiled at him. They stuffed themselves and talked and laughed until they had their fill. When she was finished, Petra pushed away from the table and got up, returning to the bath to finish doing her hair. Afterward, she walked back in and slipped on her shoes.
“Going somewhere darling?”
“I want to get a newspaper.”
“Let me get it for you, or I’ll call one up.”
“No, no.” She grinned and shook her head, grabbing her pocketbook and heading to the door. “I haven’t left the room in two days. I’d enjoy the walk.”
“Alright dearest.” He opened his cigarette case.
“Can you pick up some Lucky Strikes?”
“Yes, dear. I will get cigarettes. Now don’t go anywhere. I’ll be right back.” She gave him another smile and shut the door.
At the newsstand, she bought a paper and two packs of cigarettes. A man in a navy blue trench coat came up beside her and bought the New York Times.
“All set?” His voice was gruff. Clipped.
“All set.” Petra looked up at the seller in the news stand. “Can I get a taxi from here to the train station?”
“Yeah, lady, just out front of the revolving doors.”
Trench coat grabbed her arm. “I’ll see you back in Chicago. Don’t leave the state.”
She nodded her head in understanding and handed one of the packs of cigarettes to the him, putting her newspaper under her arm. “Please give that to him.”
She walked quickly to the doors and outside, breathing in the fresh air. She walked up to a cab at the stand and opened the back door, slipping into the back seat.
The cabbie flipped on the meter and took off from the curb. He tried to make small talk.
“Where you headed?”
Petra took out a compact and opened it, looking at her face critically in the little mirror. She took out a lipstick and applied it carefully and evenly, dabbing the corners of her mouth with a tissue. “Home. It’s my anniversary today.” She gave him a smile in the rear-view mirror and sat back, snapping the compact closed, slipping it back into her purse.
Up in the honeymoon suite, there was an insistent knock on the door. Robert looked up, startled, then to the nightstand, seeing that Petra did not bring her key.
“Silly goose, forgetting things….”
He opened the door and three men entered, nudging him back into the room. One of them flashed a badge.
“Robert Sinclair? You are under arrest for the murder of Sadie Kominsky. Fine thing leaving the state.”
His arms were twisted behind him and he felt the cold snap of loss as he his wrists were trapped in handcuffs.
“Wait, wait, what about Petra? What about my wife?”
“She’ll be arrested in Chicago for bigamy.”