Getting closer to the conclusion. Scroll down and catch up on the first 14 chapters of this short, serialized novella.
Waltzing in the Snow
Chapter 15: Nothing Comes of Nothing So Speak
It was a quiet day in the Sommer house. Jack was very happy to have company and, after his late afternoon nap, he was even happier to have company for his cocktail hour. They settled into lawn chairs in the back yard, under the shade of a large willow tree and talked.
Daniel was only half-lying when he said he was interested in learning about diplomacy and politics in the 1970s for a new play. And the more Jack reminisced, the more Daniel began to contemplate a new play about that very subject. By the time Phil called them in for dinner, Jack was holding court about the death throe decades of the world behind the Iron Curtain.
“You and your friends, you are just old enough to remember how much we feared the Soviets. They feared us even more. They planted spies among us, did their best to infiltrate.”
“I guess that’s why it was so important to speak Russian,” Daniel saw an opening. “I always thought that our friend Candace would wind up in the State Department. She was always practicing her Russian at the restaurant where she waited tables.”
“Yes,” Jack sighed deeply. “I remember speaking Russian with her. She spoke almost like a native. Had me fooled for a while.”
“Fooled dad?” Amanda asked.
“She wasn’t exactly what she said she was,” he whispered.
Amanda shot a glance at Phil and the aide left the kitchen. This was their chance to find out what was going on between Candy and Jack all those years ago.
“No. Candace Gregore was quite a personality, quite an operative in every sense of the word.”
Jack paused. Daniel was about to press him to finish his thought, but Amanda quietly shushed him. It was best to let her father tell his story in his own way.
“I never told you, never could tell you. It was wrong to tell you and now…. Now, none of it matters, right? She’s long gone and the world has changed so much. The Russians are capitalists; the Germans are reunited; China is a world power…. And everybody hates the French!” Jack laughed at his own joke.
Daniel refilled his own wine glass and poured a few inches in the empty glass in front of Jack. The old man swirled the cabernet, took a long whiff and then put the glass back down.
“I guess it’s OK to tell you now. There’s no harm done that has not been done already. I adored your friend Candy. But not in the way you’re thinking. She was like another daughter — one that shared all of my interests. She spoke Russian and French and Spanish and German, too. She played the piano, sang…. I love you dearly, Amanda, and I appreciate your artistic talents and ambitions, but you are like your mother and our areas of interest… they don’t intersect. Your brother too, his interest in history — it was always the wrong history. But enough said about that. He can write about China and live in Hong Kong if it makes him happy.
“But Candy was so like me. Like the daughter in my own image, but she fooled me. She made a complete and utter fool of me.”
Amanda took a deep breath, anticipating the admission that he’d had an affair with her friend, but it didn’t come.
“She played me. I trusted her and she infiltrated our household. For years she had the run of this house whenever you two visited — and she was a spy.”
“A what?” Daniel asked.
“She was working for the East Germans. She was planted in our lives — in your life Amanda and mine — to gain access to top-secret information. I was still at the CIA… yes, I told you the State Department but that’s what you did then. You never said “the company” to anyone, just the State Department or Justice or Agriculture. In my circles anyway, we never stopped hiding our pasts with the OSS.
“Candace told you, and me, that she was the daughter of Russian immigrants who’d worked as translators until their deaths in a car accident. She told us she’d bounced around the U.S. and Europe with various relatives and all that. I don’t have to repeat her lies to you two. The truth is that she was an East German spy. She used you to connect with me and I let her into my office without a thought that she was anything other than what she appeared to be.”
A hush fell over the room.
“That doesn’t explain her disappearance. Or the dead bodies in the warehouse on Long Island or why the barrette Amanda gave her turned up with the bodies of a Russian mobster and a missing college student named Maria Ruiz.” Daniel said.