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Red nursed his beer and watched TV.

Kitty was busy in the kitchen and the children were somewhere else, most likely in the basement.

The only other person in the living room was William Barnett, nursing his own beer and watching TV with him.

Peaceful and relaxed, two men watching sports.

"What happened with Edna?"

Red wasn't surprised that WB asked. He was sure that Steven wouldn't say much about it.

"She drank and neglected Steven. After Bud left it got worse."

It was enough. There was no need to tell WB how often the boy had eaten with them because Edna and Bud had drank all the money away or how often he had slept here just because he didn't want to go home to his mother and her latest friend. The injuries, marks and other titbits nobody had ever mentioned, or the way Steven had always known and understood things they weren't willing to think about.

WB didn't ask questions, he knew that it was better to leave the matter alone.

"He is a good boy."

WB didn't say more than that but it was more than enough. Thank you for looking after him, thank you for taking him in, thank you for being his parent.

Both men sat there on the couch in companiable silence.