Part Six


            Mob enforcer Jason Morgan eased the front tire of his motorcycle up against the curb outside Ward House.  He was clad in his customary faded blue jeans, white t-shirt and worn black leather jacket.  Despite the casualness of his garb, the combat-style boots he wore were as highly polished as any Marine recruit’s. 

            It did not matter to Jason that the almost formal appearance of his boots was slightly out of line with the casual attitude that the rest of his clothing exuded.  From the beginning of Jason Morgan’s short life, he had noticed that the men he respected - such as Sonny and Justus - were never seen in public in any condition less than impeccable. 

            A closer look at the mob enforcer’s clothing would have shown that the sentiment remained true for him as well.  Jason’s jeans, though faded, were always clean and unstained.  His t-shirts were a brilliant white that hurt the eye.  And the leather jacket was baby soft and well cared for.  Once a week Jason painstakingly rubbed it down with a fine paste that he had obtained from an obliging source within the New York Yankees organization.  It was a private formula used by the team’s MVP shortstop to care for the valuable leather glove he used.

            Jason took his time in removing the sleek black helmet he wore.  He dismounted slowly and deliberately, as he did all things.  Something about his surroundings seemed just a bit off to Jason and he grew more alert than usual.  His brilliant blue eyes surveyed the exterior of Ward House from top to bottom.  The swift movement of a curtain in a second floor window drew his attention from the scan of the house.  Somewhere within the big two story building Keesha Ward awaited his arrival.  Idly, Jason wondered if the person peering down at him from behind the curtain might have been her.

            He made his way to the front door of Ward House.  Though Jason knew that he had initiated the meeting with Keesha, he did not look forward to it.  Keesha was one of the people from his past who had the ability to make him feel uncomfortable.  In the beginning he told himself that it was because Keesha looked at him with such desperation for Jason to recall their past together.  But as time went by and it became obvious that Keesha had moved on with her life, Jason still felt awkward and ill-at-ease in the young woman’s presence.

            “Jason… come in.”  The front door opened just before he reached it.  Keesha Ward stood there, her expression neutral. 

            Jason stepped into the house and allowed Keesha to close the door behind him.  The solid ‘thud’ of the wooden door almost seemed to echo in the silence.  “It’s quiet in here,” Jason observed.

            “The kids are all out on a field trip,” Keesha explained. 

            Her explanation answered Jason’s nagging concern about just what was different about Ward House.  On the odd occasion that he had visited Ward House, the entire block was alive with the sounds of children laughing and playing. 

            Keesha silently led Jason to the office she used.  She took a seat behind her desk and just sat waiting.  “Well,” she prodded him.  “Say what you came to say.”