Christmas and a forecasted blizzard were just days away, and I had this nagging feeling that someone was on to us. I’d check out the window every few minutes, splicing the blinds with my fingers, and sit on the couch with a blank stare, and it wasn’t merely a phase. I’d started to become pissed off with Mr. Jane’s lavish spending. I robbed another bank last week, and I asked him to tone down the flashy spending. I even confronted him on the whole prostitute thing. I promised to tell Jenna if he didn’t stop it. Mr. Jane shrugged and raised his hands in front of his body. He vowed to spend only what he needed. I couldn’t help but think Mr. Jane’s money problems far extended his shady past. I’d started believing Mr. Jane was up to no good. It’s unusual for someone of his stature to need money, especially not like this. Robbing banks didn’t fit the whole wealthy doctor persona. Something else was going on here.
“Sit.” I gestured. “We need to talk. Look, you’ve been far too flashy with this cash.”
“Fine,” he said. “I’ll tone it down. I feel like a kid again. You know?”
“Your midlife crisis is none of my concern.” I leaned forward. “Besides, don’t you have enough money now? I mean, your practice is doing well. Where’s all this money going?” I asked. In all, I’d given Mr. Jane one hundred thousand dollars. “Did you even use the money for the house?”
“Oh, that? Well, yes, and no,” he said, slumping in his chair.
“Well, explain!” I said, waving my arms. “Do you not understand I’m being followed?”
“Stop being paranoid. No one is following you.” He sounded so sure, he’d almost convinced us both. Mr. Jane stood and paced to the blinds, peeking through. “No one is out there.”
I stood and raked my fingers through my hair. “Yes, they are. The cops or the FBI are on to us.”
“Us?” Mr. Jane said, waving his hands. “Now wait just a minute. I had nothing to do with any of this.” Mr. Jane loosened his tie. “Don’t look at me like that.”
“What do you really need the money for besides spending it on prostitutes?” I slammed my fist on the table, shaking my head. “Wait? What?” I said. “You’d throw me under the bus? Have you no shame?”
“Listen, buddy, no one told you to rob these banks. You wanted to.” I wanted to punch his pretty-boy face. If I’m going to go to jail, it may as well be for something worth it. And going to jail as a bank robber is severe as I could get decades for what I’ve done that kind of serious. I couldn’t imagine doing decades in prison; even one day would be an eternity. I wasn’t going to jail for Robert or Mr. Jane. I’d kill the bastards before I’d go to prison.
I pulled my fist back and grabbed a fistful of Mr. Jane’s shirt. “Tell anyone, and I’m going to beat the hell out of you.” I couldn’t believe how far I’d come from this shy boy to a man sticking up for myself. It scared me. Well, almost. “We’re done, I’m done robbing banks. I’ve paid my student loans and Jenna’s credit cards. I’ve given you one hundred thousand dollars because I believed you needed the money. And this is how you repay me?”
“Now hold on just a minute, buddy. None of this is my fault. You did it because you wanted to. You thought I’d let my daughter marry you.”
“No, you told me so.” I shook with terror. “Were you lying to me?”
Mr. Jane shrugged. “Maybe I lied. Maybe I didn’t mean any of it.”
“Maybe I don’t care,” I said, pointing my finger in his face. “Maybe I’m going to marry her with or without your blessing. It’s her life, not yours. It’s our future, not yours.”
Mr. Jane turned to Jenna. “I can see why you fell in love with him. But, you don’t have my blessing until you rob one more bank.”
“We’ve been over this. I’m done,” I said. “Done.” I couldn’t believe a crooked doctor, who wanted to marry his daughter, was okay with me robbing banks. Mr. Jane must not care whether I get caught because he can distance himself from all of this. In fact, Jenna could distance herself from all of this. Who’d believe me over a prominent doctor?
“For whatever reason, robbing banks comes naturally for you, and why not rob so more?” Mr. Jane held his finger in the air. “One more.”
“Why don’t you tell me the truth?” I let out a sigh I didn’t know existed. “What for? What do you need the money for now?”
“It’s not for me. You need a nest egg. A savings account with actual money, not an overdrawn checking account.”
Jenna covered a cackle. “It is always overdraft, though,” Jenna said.
I turned to her and crinkled my eyes.
“What? It’s true,” Jenna said, throwing her hands up as if she were clearing the air. “We never have any money. It’s always my dad paying for everything. The least you can do is help the family. I mean, if you want to marry me, we’d be family. Do you want to see your family suffer?”
My mouth hung open, not closing. “Of course, not. After all the money Dad gave us, we need to pay him back.”
“What about your practice and all the money you gave to Jenna over the years? I mean, I thought you guys were loaded with cash. What happened?”
Mr. Jane let out an exasperated sigh. “I told Jenna once she gets married, I’d cut her off.”
I turned to Jenna. “Why didn’t you tell me about this?”
“I dropped hints,” Jenna said.
“I’ll pay for your house, but after that, you’re on your own.”
Jenna and Mr. Jane looked at me, waiting for an answer.
I paused. “One more,” I said. “And that’s it.”