The End


Andrew preferred to work solo until his partner was found. He hoped daily that his departure was voluntary, that he didn’t go rogue and got caught in a fatal situation. The day was unusually slow and he was about to call it  when he got the call. “Desiree” flashed across his screen and his heart quickened. He hadn’t spoken to her since the night he went over, even though he desperately wanted to apologize. He took a deep breath before accepting the call. “Hey,” he said, trying to sound cheery. “Andrew…”
“Yeah, Dee, I gotta apologize for the other night. I was way outta line…”
“Andrew…Someone’s here,” she whispered.
“What? Who?”
“I don’t know. He kicked in the door. I’m hiding upstairs.”
“Can you make it to the back door?”
“No. He’s coming up the stairs.” Andrew stood up from his desk. “Dee, listen, you need to open the window and…”

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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. 

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Chapter X


Six weeks later

Roman stood in the empty parking lot, Lurch on his left and 5 of his newest goons behind him. He was one handshake away from cutting Erik off at the knees.

Two black sedans pulled into the lot opposite the posse. Their occupants exited and formed a barrier around the man last to exit. Hiro Shimamoto was the primary supplier for all the drugs Erik moved into the States. Roman had to pull many strings and call up a bunch of favors to get his number, followed by several phone calls to get a face-to-face. Shimamoto didn’t venture far from his compound, unless a lucrative offer was in place or an example needed to be made. Roman still wasn’t sure which brought him here. Shimamoto was a small man with a large arsenal. Old age was beginning to set in his joints, evident in the black cane…

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Chapter Nine


Alice skipped over her criminal past and the scar tissue on her uterus. She told Andrew everything else, just as she promised: the miscarriage, the depression, the pain, how she wound up in Jackie’s arms. Every feeling and thought she’d had over the past 11 months, she laid bear for her husband. An hour had gone by when she finally stopped talking. Andrew struggled to maintain his composure but he could not hold back the tears. He was genuinely heart broken, the first time since Monique LaSalle, whom dumped him 3rd French in high school.

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Chapter Eight


I need you.
The text was vague, especially after all that had happened. Andrew was still concerned. The heart-to-heart with Desiree gave him all the insight he needed. He wanted to make it work with his wife. He began his own message when another blue bubble appeared.

At the station.
His U-turn was sharp and wide as he flipped on his siren and barrelled down the street in the direction of his job. He felt his heart skip a beat when he pulled in 8 minutes later. He asked a few officers about his wife as he sped through the building, leading him to the homicide squad room. Alice sat next to Detective Foreman’s desk, shaken with tears falling down her face. “Babe, hey, what happened?” he said, kneeling in front of her. She wrapped her arms around him and sobbed uncontrollably.

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The place was quiet, outside of his shallowing breathing, perfect for what they needed to accomplish. The giant stood nearby, preparing himself for the next round of punishment.
Martin was fading in and out of consciousnes. He had been their hostage for about 8 or 9 hours and he was ready for them to kill him. The man that worked him over never said a word to him; just constant torture. He used his ribcage as a punching bag, broke bones, and even sliced into his skin with a surgical scalpel. Begging and pleading fell upon deaf ears: he wasn’t the person in charge.

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Alice scurried down the stairs to the front door and straightened out her clothes. She hadn’t seen Andrew in two days and she was prepared for a lifetime of groveling and ass-kissing so that he would forgive her. Those days gave her insight to what she reallywanted: her husband, her home, his child. She sighed and whipped the door open, but it was not her husband waiting for her. Roman looked up from his cell phone and smiled, the bright, hypnotic smile that left many women breathless in his wake. “Hey Blackbird,” he said to his former flame. Alice stood, mouth agape, confused, excited, scared at him. He was no longer the skinny, corner thug she was madly in love with.

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Chapter Five


Andrew had to stomp on the brakes to prevent slamming into the back of the Taurus waiting at the light ahead. “Jesus…where’s your head at, partner?” Velez said, clutching the handle over him. “Sorry man, I’m just… Distracted,” Andrew said, scratching his head. “Penny for your thoughts?”
“Nah, it’s nothing.”
“Look, mano, you can’t leave stuff bottled up, especially out here. You’ll get an ulcer,” Velez said, swatting his partner’s arm. They rode farther in silence. Even though they had been partners for almost 10 years, Martin Velez knew Andrew hated sharing his personal problems and pressuring him would only make him clam up more. “You know…” Andrew started, “Alice and I have been…having problems.”
“Sort of,” Velez responded, giving his partner his undivided attention. “I don’t know. It’s just… After she got that promotion, she just… Hasn’t been around,” Andrew said, attempting to be vague. “Have you talked to…

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Chapter Four


The neighborhood hadn’t changed, except for being buoyant and lively, many of the homes were empty shells of their former glory. Roman stopped his car in front of one of the lots, few signs of a house’s existence there. He put the car in park on the curb and got out. He stuck his hands into his pockets and stared. So much history on this very spot. He’d been gone long enough and he was back to claim what was his.

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Chapter Three


Even with her music blaring, Desi could still ear Brian milling about her flat. He had been over every night for the past week and he was driving her crazy. She sat and stared at the blank canvass as she listened to him bop around the kitchen. He whistled along to “Pretty Brown Eyes” as he chopped the ingredients for his smoothie. Desi rubbed her forehead in disdain, trying to force an image out of her head. She needed to work. The blender started an ear-splitting grinding, drowning out the music overhead. Desi exclaimed out loud and threw down her paint brush. Hearing the commotion, Brian silenced the blender and the music. “You say something, babe?” he asked, looking across the room. Desi’s back was to him but he could still see her, holding her head. He rounded the kitchen island and strode across the room. He put his hands…

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