The End

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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…” Before he could finish his instructions, he heard a struggle and Desiree swear. “Dee? Desiree!” he yelled, before the line disconnected. He slammed the phone down on his desk and covered his mouth. He took half a second to collect himself before he kicked the chair and strode across the room. Detective Shondra Miller sat a few feet away from him, typing up her notes on a current closed case. Andrew’s large stature cast a shadow across her, slightly startling her. “Jordan, what’s up?” she asked, reading the worry lines in his face. He grabbed a Post-It note from her desk and began scribbling an address. “If I don’t call you in an hour, I need you to bring back-up to this address,” he said, lifting the note to her eye level and dropping it back on the desk, before jogging out of the squad room. “Wait, what’s going on?!” she yelled at his back but he was already gone.

The street was quiet and the gallery was dark. Andrew parked closer to the curb and shut off his lights. He reached under his seat and produced his weapon, which he slipped into the holster under his arm. He leaned down and double checked the pistol strapped to his ankle. Armed for bear, he got out of his car and rounded the block. He needed the element of surprise and he knew that the back entrance would be ideal. As he crept down the alley, he saw the large, gray service door was already slightly propped open, the latch never catching from its previous use. Andrew unholstered his weapon and pulled the door open slowly before slipping inside. The space was foreign from this side of her makeshift wall: the storage area for her supplies had been disrupted, as if a struggle had ensued. As he stepped over paint brushes and eisels, he steadied himself for what he might witness behind the wall. He never saw the hulking man in the corner, until he clobbered him with something heavy, rendering him unconscious.  Continue reading

Chapter Eleven

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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.  Continue reading

Chapter X

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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 he carried. Next to him was his son, Kato, who was soon to inherit his father’s empire. “Mr. Roman, good to see you,” Shimamoto said, stopping short of the group. Roman bowed the top half of his body, in respect. “Ah, please stand. I have not practiced the old ways in a while. I’m glad you did your research,” the man chuckled.
“I wanted to make sure you were impressed. Your business is important to me.” Shimamoto’s face changed from jolly to serious. “Why should I do business with you? What do you have to offer that your predecessor does not?”
“McLaren is only out for himself. All of the business he conducts is only beneficial to his end game and then he plans to leave everyone else in the lurch. Myself, included.”
“So this is retaliation?”
“Think of it as a lateral move. We both know McLaren has been lowballing you,” Roman said, looking over at Lurch, who retrieved a bag from the ground. He passed it to Kato, who passed it to one of their goons. He opened the bag to find it full of money. “He’s been cutting your product down to almost nothing. I know this can be harmful to your other business. I want to correct that for you.”
“With money? Not that I’m complaining.”
“That is the difference Erik has been skimming this quarter, plus a down payment on my first shipment. Think of it as good faith money.”

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Chapter Nine

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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. Continue reading

Chapter Eight

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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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VII

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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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Six.

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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 really wanted: 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. Continue reading