"Nora Banks?" The voice of the man in front was loud and authoritative. How did these people know her name? The man held up some type of identification.

"We have a warrant here for your husband's arrest."

She heard the words but did not understand them.

"We're FBI, ma'am."

The light outside was turning yellow.

"Where's your husband?"

Her hand hurt from gripping the doorknob so tightly.

"Ma'am, step to the side. Where's your husband?"

He stepped forward so that there was only a sliver of space between them. He smelled of cigarettes and damp wool and something minty that was the gum she now noticed he was chewing; she could even hear it squelching between his teeth, the workings of his jaw purposely exaggerated and intimidating.

A sense of outrage brought her up abruptly.

"Get off my porch. My husband's done nothing wrong."

The man pushed past into the foyer. More men in suits followed.

"Evan!" she screamed again. The voice seemed to come from somewhere outside her now. Then, to the men, "Get out of my house."

Eyes looked up the stairs. She followed them. Evan stood at the top in his bathrobe. She half registered Beatriz standing in her nightdress on the landing a long way over to Evan's right. Beatriz had stayed over in her old room. They had arrived home too late last night for her to drive home.

"Evan! Tell these men they are mistaken, tell them to leave, Evan, tell them to get out of our house."

Evan said nothing.


Still he said nothing.

She saw Evan's face really for the first time then. It was ashen, his eyes almost absent. Why, he is sick! she thought, and she moved to go up to him. But she stopped when Evan said very quietly to the man beside her, "Just let me dress." This was not the Evan she knew when his wife was in danger. He had instinctively always jumped through fire to protect her. He would jump through fire to protect her from needing to be protected. She started to say something, but no words came out. Evan was looking at the men. He seemed unaware that anyone but they were in the room. All at once Charlie appeared, rubbing his eyes next to Beatriz and asking for Mommy. A new panic rose; the children could not see this. But Beatriz instinctively thrust her body between him and the scene. She pushed Charlie's face into her ghostly nightdress and shuffled him away.
From The Summer Kitchen by Karen Weinreb. Copyright © 2009 Karen Weinreb. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.


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