Chapter Eleven

Alice heard the car pull into the driveway. Andrew was home. She quickly picked up her laptop and pushed her glasses back on her face. He’d been gone less than an hour, yet, she was still worried. Things between them were beginning to fizzle again and she was terrified it would get worse. Anytime he left the house, she questioned if he was going to see Her again. He was never out later than normal or smelled of perfume. Alice had never found any evidence of an affair and she double checked nightly. Cheater’s Remorse was getting the best of her and she planned to put a stop to it. 

The door opened and shut and her husband slogged his way upstairs, avoiding her. She set her computer down and followed him into their bedroom. Andrew stood at their sink, splashing cold water onto his face. Something outside of the ordinary was wrong but Alice was too afraid to inquire. She couldn’t bear the pain that she had previously inflicted on him; the sheer weight would crush her heart and probably kill her, but she refused to let their marriage go quietly into the night. Andrew turned off the water and turned to her, his face covered in defeat. “Do you love me?” was the only thing Alice needed to know. Andrew sighed and stepped to his wife, holding her face in his hands. He didn’t speak, he knelt down to kiss her. He was tired of chasing maybes, tired of trying to replicate a feeling he had only ever felt with his wife. She covered his hands on her face and struggled to hold back the tears. “Love me,” she said.

The water cascaded over them, Alice struggling to maintain her balance with him kneeling between her legs. She lost count of her orgasms, but they rolled freely from her. He steadied her as she trembled, her legs growing exhausted. She gripped the back of his head, panting, moaning as his lips and tongue worked over her. Alice dropped her leg, holding his shoulders for support. He stood tall over her and kissed her, sharing her nectar that still dripped from his lips. He turned off the water and carried her to their bed, laying her down gently. “Please, no more,” she sighed as he knelt to kiss her thighs. They spread for him, ignoring her own pleas. He hovered over her, hitching her knees around his hips. “I love you,” he said before pushing himself deep inside of her.

The sun crept into their bedroom. It had been so long since she had awakened, still entangled to him. His weight was comforting and familiar on her, his breath warm on her chest. She stroked his head, stirring him from his sleep. He looked up at her and smiled. “I love you,” he whispered, his voice deep and still half asleep. “Promise me something,” she said.
“Anything.”
“Promise me, we’ll be together forever.”
“Forever,” he said, falling back to sleep.

Time was up on his deal with Shimamoto. Erik McLaren needed to be dealt with. Roman pushed the gloves onto his hands and adjusted the black hoodie he wore. “You sure you don’t want me to handle it alone?” Lurch asked. He cocked his pistol and slid it into the waistband of his pants. “I’m not foreign to getting my hands dirty,” Roman said, checking his clip. McLaren was never alone, even at home, with his pretty 20-something trophy wife. His bodyguards were always within reach but exposed, outside in the dark. That was Lurch’s job, neutralize the men on all three exits, and Roman would slip inside. Lurch hopped from the van and closed the door silently before he jogged down the street. Only a few moments went by before he saw the flash of the light: the signal. Roman hopped out of the van and went down the block towards the Victorian colonial. He met up with Lurch on the side of the house, one of the bodyguards lying on the ground. Roman was unsure if he was dead or just unconscious but that wasn’t his main concern. Roman reached in his back pocket and pulled out his lock pick set and gained access to the house in a few seconds. McLaren snored in his oversized armchair, the TV blaring a rerun of a football game. A hand grabbed his face, the force pressing his lips into his teeth and startling him awake. Before he could make a sound, a needle was jabbed into his neck, rendering him unconscious.

His backhand was enough to wake him. The man stirred abruptly and jumped when he saw Roman. He jerked in the chair, his hands and feet zip tied at his sides. “What the hell is going on, Roman?”
“You can’t tell? It’s called ‘retribution’,” Roman said, pushing up his sleeves. “Retribution? What the hell…I fucking take care of you!”
“Yeah, you take care of me. It took me a while but I finally figured out your game…”
“Game? You think this is a game?! I’m the only one who looked out for you ever! I protected you when you went to jail for your little girlfriend!” Roman punched the man in the face, causing blood to shoot from his nose. “Don’t pretend you’ve been on my side this whole time.”
“Roman…” Erik said, trying to calm himself. “You’re not making any sense. Tell me what’s wrong and we’ll fix it.” Roman grabbed a chair from across the room and dragged it to sit in front of his hostage. “How long have I worked for you? 20 years, something like that?”
“Yeah, yeah…you’re like a son to me.” Roman scoffed. “Son. 10 years ago, I would’ve accepted that title with pride. Now, all I see is an old, greedy bastard who would cut off his nose to spite his face.” Erik shook his head and looked between Roman and Lurch, who stood looming in the corner. “Roman, please, just tell me…”
“For 10 years, I played that night over and over and over in my head. How everything went down, how did that dude know where the meeting was going down…Then it clicked. You were the only person who knew. You sent him. Hired him to kill me after the exchange. ‘No loose ends’, that’s your motto.”
“Wait, wait…”
“If Bird hadn’t shown up when she did, I wouldn’t even be here!”

Alice had saved his life. It had dawned on him that she was there to tell him she wanted to run away with him, to start their new life when she stumbled on the two men struggling. She rushed the man who held the knife to her beau’s throat and he turned and stabbed her in her belly. Roman thought she had died because of all the blood. The assasin turned to focus on his target again when Alice picked up the gun that Roman had lost in the struggle and shot him in the neck. He cleaned up the scene, scrubbing as much evidence as he could away before he carried her out and drove away. She was trying to save him, trying to run away from the drug game with him and only wound up pushing him deeper.

Erik had to pay for his disloyalty and deceit then Roman would assume his place. He would do a better job as kingpin. “So what? You think you’ll kill me and skip town? You won’t make it off the block,” Erik spat. He knew his number was up, so there was no more reason to lie. “The Feds have been building a case on me for years. I knew a little punk like you in the wind would slip up and spill all the beans, especially with if they threatened that girl of yours.”
“You had no faith in me. 10 years and I never said a word, even after I realized it was always you who put me in that hellhole. Why set up the raid? Why give me money and product just to steal it back?”
“I needed you distracted. I knew the minute you got out, you’d go after that girl. I didn’t need you getting any more bright ideas, like this one.”
“Keep me under your thumb until I’m not useful anymore? Then get rid of me?”
“Your words, not mine.” Roman watched his former mentor for a moment before standing and walking behind him. Erik struggled to turn and see what was in store for him. Roman approached him from behind and wrapped his arm around Erik, in a half embrace, before he grabbed his jaw. He wanted to speak prolific last words to him, words that would haunt him into the afterlife but he couldn’t articulate his betrayal. He just shook Erik’s face in his hands and released it abruptly. He reached behind his back and removed the gun and emptied the clip into the back of his head.

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