Saturday, October 15, 2011

S2: Chapter 08: Bad Streak

“Pin Cushion?” Ryan called stepping into the apartment with a bag full of groceries and a pizza. “Where are you?”
“Hey Ry!” Stefanie smiled stepping from the back bedroom. Her face beamed brighter as she saw the pie in his hand and immediately relieved him of the load. “I’m starving!”
“I figured. You’re eating me out of house and home,” he laughed remembering the empty cabinets and fridge he was shocked to find the previous night. “Had I known you had a tapeworm, I would have asked it to pay rent before you moved in!”
She laughed as she scarfed down her second slice. “I don’t have a tapeworm I just never got as much food at home,” she choked instantly regretting the words as they left her lips.
“You weren’t being fed? Stefanie what was going on in that house? I know you haven’t told me everything, I just wish you would trust me and be honest. I want to help you, I’d do whatever I had to for you and you should know that by now.”
“I know Ryan,” she said sitting back and dropping the pizza back into the box, her appetite suddenly disappearing. “It’s not important though. You got me away from there and everything is better now.”
“Nothing is better! You close up any time I ask you about it and I hate seeing your bright attitude die because of it!” He turned and headed for the kitchen with the groceries to put away the perishables before they spoiled.
“Just answer me this,” he said stepping back into the dining room. “Did Eddie ever hit you?”
She sank deeper into her chair and chewed on her lower lip; twiddling her thumbs as she felt his gaze search her. She drew her legs into her chest and kept her head down to avoid his stare.
“Stef? Stef look at me. Did that bastard ever put his hands on you?”
She nodded her head gently and started to shake. “He was drunk Ryan and he and Sandra were arguing. I yelled at him, told him to shut up and he slapped me. He told me to mind my business unless I wanted more.”
Ryan released a ragged breath and tried to control the rage that was building inside of him. “Son of a bitch…I’m gonna kill him!” he yelled slamming his fist into the wall. “Was that the first time? Only time? And don’t lie to me; don’t make excuses for that piece of shit, Stef.”
She didn’t answer and refused to make eye contact. She rubbed her shoulders and stood from the table. “I don’t feel well,” she spoke barely above a whisper. “I’m gonna lie down for a while.”
Ryan watched her head towards the bedroom anger and sadness wrenching his gut. Guilt started creeping up on him at the realization that he left her in that house after the first court appearance.
He dropped into the chair she was sitting in and hung his head as he thought. He was disappointed in himself and wished he had done more than a broken nose to that asshole. He grabbed his keys from the table and considered heading over there and finishing what he started when his phone rang.
Not recognizing the number, he didn’t answer and stared waiting for the caller to hang up. The small break of sanity was all he needed to give his nerves a chance to settle down before he did something he would regret.
He silently approached the bedroom door and knocked once before opening it. “Stef I have to head in for a few hours, but I promise to be back soon, I won’t stay gone long. Maybe when I get back we can go out to a movie or something if you feel up to it.”
“I’d love to!” she smiled at him as he rested against the frame of the door. “But I have to warn you, I like snacks when movie watching!”
He laughed. “I figured as much. When you finish with the pizza just stick the rest in the oven and I’ll see you in a little bit.” He walked over and kissed her forehead. “Stay out of trouble!”
Ryan got in and immediately handed Dustin his cell phone. “What’s this for?” he asked, looking down at the device.
“Someone called me from an unknown number,” Ryan sighed, shrugging off the curious look he received from Dustin. “You think you can figure out who it belongs to?”
He went through the recent calls in the phone log and jotted down the digits. “Yeah, that’s a burner Yve called from this morning. She was just checking in and I told her about the BOLO and that you may know more since you got the info first. I guess she wanted to see if you had anything to tell her.”
“I’ll call her and let know. Thanks man.”
“Ahh!” Brett grunted as he pushed himself one last time between Yve’s thighs. He blew a strand of hair from in front of his face and panted trying to control his breathing as he looked down at her. “I love you Baby.” He kissed her before rolling to his side of the bed and pulling her into his arms.
“I love you too Brett, but no more, please. I can’t take it. Five times today? My body is sore and I really think you made me pull something in my hip.”
He laughed, “I’m sorry. I just wanted to show you how much I care. I’ll let you take a breather.”
“A breather? No, I need rest, my body needs a break,” she said leaning higher up his shoulder. “This wouldn’t have anything to do with your experience with Joey would it? And now you think you need to prove yourself to me?”
He blew a heavy sigh and shook his head. “Brett Baby, I know you’re a man, trust me; we’ve spent the last two days in bed. You shouldn’t think that for one second I’d ever doubt the veracity of your manhood.”
“But I do love your determination and let me say uh…if this is your reaction to a little fondling, I need to find more men to flirt with you,” she laughed and rolled him over.
He smiled and pulled her up onto his chest. “It’s not just that either, your ex, Nick. Mafia or not if he puts his hands on you again I’m going after him. You’re mine and I’d fight a thousand men to keep it that way.” She kissed his nose and he pulled her lips into his. “I really do love you Yvette.”
“And I truly love you too. Now, I’m going to shower and hope that the warm water massages the muscles you strained.”
“Sounds good. Get it warm, I’ll join you.”
“No. You stay where you are. At least I’ll know I’m safe from another brutal round of slip the sausage.”
He laughed and watched her leave the room before standing and dressing to be on his guard. His phone rang and he pulled it from his back pocket and checked the ID.
…“Brett...?” Nathan said waiting for confirmation from his older brother.
“Nate! Long time no talk to! How ya been?”
…“I’ve been better. Listen, I got a call from some chick saying she knew you, that you might be in some kind of trouble and I should stay away…”
“That was my girl, Yvette. She was just trying to take precautions for me because of one of our recent cases. Has anyone come to see you?”
…“Yeah a few times. Three men dressed in black suits said they were with the government and that I had information they needed. You want to tell me what you’re into…?”
“I can’t Nate; the less you know the better off you’ll be.”
…“Well that’s just not going to be good enough Bro. These are some serious people and they’ll be back tonight because they think I’m holding out on them. I don’t know what you want me to do but if I don’t tell these people something, there’s no telling what they’ll do to me…”
“I don’t know what it is they want or what I can tell you, Nate. To be honest, I don’t really know much myself we’re still trying to figure everything out.”
…“Well can you meet me? I don’t feel comfortable talking about this over the phone…”
…“Tonight, before I have to see them. I’d just like to know you’re safe…
…“The place you picked me up when Kalene and I split…”
Brett sighed and rubbed his hand through his hair as he thought.  “I don’t know. It might not be a good idea. I don’t want them to hurt you if we’re caught together.”
…“Come on man, we’re both cops; half the training is how to lose the bad guys when undercover. It’ll be fine…”
“Alright; what time?”
…“7:30. I’ll see you then…”
“Hey Nate? Come alone. It’s easier if we make the visit as short as possible.”
…“Roger Dodger…,” Nathan laughed before hanging up.
Brett grabbed his keys, checked the clip in his gun before placing it into his holster and started for the door. “Hey! Going somewhere?” Yve asked stepping into the room.
“My brother called...”
“He called you here?”
“Yeah just a second ago on my cell.”
Yvette moved towards the desk and played around with a wireless gadget ensuring the red button was flashing before turning back to him. “It’s on,” she sighed.
“What is that?”
“Signal blocker, it ensures that no one can trace you through cell towers when you make calls. Make sure it’s always blinking if you’re going to use that thing. You should consider using burners like me and get rid of it. About Nathan…what did you tell him?”
“What do you mean what did I tell him? He’s my brother; I’m meeting him in a few minutes at a local bar.”
“You’re what? No, you can’t do that Brett. Besides the fact that you’re now a wanted man, it’s not safe to make contact!”
“Are you crazy? He’s possibly in danger and he needs help!”
“Or it could be a set up and he’s trying to get you pinched,” she reasoned with a sigh. “Brett I’m sorry but this is what I was telling you about. I tried to warn you to cut ties with me but you chose to stay and because of it you’re on the same shit list as I am. You can’t have contact with Nathan it’s too dangerous for not only him but us as well! You have to let him go.”
“I’m not leaving him out there to die if these people are after him Yvette! How can you even suggest that?”
“That’s not what I was suggesting Brett, I’m just saying you can’t have it both ways. I’m sorry but I’ve had to leave my family too, it’s just how it is. I know it’s hard but…”
“No! It’s not hard because it’s not happening. I’m going to see him and help in any way I can! I’m not choosing between you and my family Yve! I’m surprised at you,” he said shaking his head and stepping around her.
“Brett wait, I’m sorry.” He stopped at the door and turned to face her with his arms folded into his chest. “What I am trying to say isn’t coming out right. I’d never ask you to choose between me and your blood. If anything I’d expect it to be them. I just…I want you to think about what you’re doing. This is very dangerous Brett; trust me I know these people. They won’t hurt Nathan as long as he cooperates fully. But if you go to him, if they see you talking, there’s no stopping them from using him to get to you whenever they want!”
He uncrossed his arms and approached her, a grim look wrinkling his normally softer features. “Baby, I love you and I trust you, but this is my little brother and he needs me. There is no way I can deny his safety for my own, that’s not who I am. I’m sorry, but I’m going.”
“Fine, then I’m coming with you.” She stepped to the desk once more and grabbed her weapon before following him out the sewer drain.
They got to the bar and Brett started for the front door. “Wait,” Yve said pulling his arm and dragging him around to the back.
He gave her a curious look as she pointed up at the window. “You expect me to go through that?”
“No, I expect you to give me a boost so I can open the door, unless you want to just pick the lock. You’re good at that right? It is how you gained access to my home.”
He smiled and pulled out his kit, unlocking and opening the door for her. “After you.”
Brett spotted Nathan enter the bar and look around for him. He looked different; worry and fear was apparent in his movements and he appeared tired. He paused at the bar for a minute and decided whether or not he should order a drink opting to wait it out for Brett’s arrival.
“Be right back.”
“No, wait,” she said pulling him back behind the wall. “Do you trust him?” Yvette asked watching his brother grab a booth near the back of the bar.
“Of course I do! He’s my kid brother.”
“I’m sorry, I have to ask Brett. Is it possible he would set you up? Try and get you captured?”
“No! That’s ridiculous!”
“Is it? Then explain to me why I’m looking at two obvious CIA agents sitting near him; one by the door, the man with the newspaper. The other is the female waitress that just served his drinks, drinks he didn’t order. Brett, Nathan has been compromised! This is a setup; we need to get out of here.”
“No…no, he wouldn’t do that. No way. No.” Brett rationalized as he continued shaking his head trying to reason with the person he knew his brother to be and the facts that lay in front of him. He too noticed the agents and realized they were undercovers from the way they carried themselves. “He wouldn’t do this.”
“I’m sorry Brett. I am, but we have to go. This might be a kill mission which means every person’s life in this bar is in danger! The Company doesn’t care who gets hurt and they aren’t above blowing up a building full of innocents if it means getting what they want!”
He took one last, long look at Nathan before sighing and backing away out the exit with Yvette.
“I don’t get it; this isn’t something he would do! Why would he…?” he opened Yvette’s car door and hurried around to the driver’s side burning rubber as he peeled from the lot letting his anger get the best of him.
“You did say he was interested in becoming an agent, maybe…”
“Maybe what? Maybe my baby brother sold me out so that he could get a shot at becoming a Fed? You really think that he could hate me that much? I mean it takes a certain kind of person to make a deal like that right? We’re closer than that Yvette! He wouldn’t do it!”
“I’m sorry, you’re right. It was a stupid thought to consider. It’s just you said he was struggling only on the testing a few times…”
“He wouldn’t do this!” he said again only this time softer as though he was finally coming to grips with the fact that he may just have been stupid enough to fall for his brother’s lies. He was trying to convince himself the little troublemaker he grew up with was still the same dopey, easy-going kid that looked up to him. But now it was time to face reality. “If he did this Yvette…,” he sighed. “I need to hear it from him.”
He turned the car around and parked off to the side of the road. He walked to the front bumper and pulled out his cell phone, dialed Nathan and waited for an answer.
…“You’re late! If this were a date, I might be offended, Sweet Cheeks...”
“Yeah sorry, Nate, something came up and I had to take care of it. Uh…do you think you could come to me instead?”
…“Yeah sure, that might be better. Where are you…?
Brett checked his surroundings and realized how close they were to the abandoned steel mill before confirming a location with Nathan and ending the call.
“What are you planning?” Yvette asked stepping towards him.
“To get to the bottom of this thing. If my brother had anything to do with those agents being in the bar he’s going to look me in the eyes and tell me he betrayed me! Come on, he’ll get here soon,” he said pulling her back to the car and driving it out of sight.
Yvette jumped at the sound of a car door closing and feet rapidly descending upon the building. She looked up at the rafters for Brett and saw him pacing the length of the catwalk waiting for his brother to enter inside. “Honey I’m home!”
“Did you come alone?”
“Brett! Yeah, man, of course I did.”
Brett took the stairs two at a time and rushed towards Nathan. He wrapped his arms around his neck and gripped him in a hug that quickly turned into a pat down. “Yo, what are you doing Brett?”
“Checking you for wires. Are you wearing one?”
“A wire? Are you serious? Why would you ask me that?”
“Because you were setting me up back at the bar! I saw the agents!” he yelled with all the anger and frustrations he’d been feeling the entire night rising to a boil and bubbling over his usually calm demeanor. “What the hell did I ever do to you to deserve that shit Nate?”
Nathan backed away, a worried hand enclosed around his mouth as he slowly released a breath. He paced towards the door he’d entered kicked an imaginary rock and turned back towards Brett with the same scared look on his face he’d had at the bar. “Brett I can explain!”
Brett’s eyes widened and his jaw dropped in shock as he listened to his kid brother confirm his suspicions. Something took hold of him and in that moment he lost it. His hand clenched into a tight fist, he didn’t mean to strike him, but he wasn’t controlling the rage that shot the blow towards his brother’s nose. Nathan fell back in pain, clutching at his face and scooting backwards away from Brett.
Yve remained in her hiding spot determined to let the two work it out. And hearing the confirmation of guilt only meant that if he wasn’t bugged, he was followed and she would need to remain on guard for Brett’s sake.
“Why!? Why would you do this Nathan?”
“WHY!?” Brett’s voice echoed in the large empty space and a flock of pigeons broke loose from the rafters and flew out of the open roof to safety.
“They threatened to kill Mom and Dad!” he finally said getting to his feet. Blood was smeared along his cheek but he’d managed to stop the flow for the time being. “I was approached shortly after your girlfriend called me and the agents told me that if I didn’t cooperate and get you to turn yourself in or get a location where you could be apprehended, Mom and Dad would be murdered. I didn’t know what to do Brett, man. I…I was scared ok? I hadn’t heard from you in over a month and the first thing I do hear is that you’re in some shit and I better stay away from you or else and then those men show up? I knew you could handle it and I didn’t want anything to happen to our parents!”
Brett started pacing under the catwalk where he’d stood earlier thinking through everything. Yvette was right and he should have listened. He should have cut ties and run when he had the chance and let things fall as they may. He gave himself a mental kick for even thinking it; there was no way he could abandon her when she needed him the most and no way he’d want to. He loved her too much to see anything happen to her. But now that love may have seriously endangered his bloodline.
“What did they say exactly?” he asked turning back towards Nathan with a less angry scowl on his face. His voice was apologetic and his body language reassured Nathan that he was not going to hit him again.
“They said that you and this Evans chick killed some director of the CIA and that you were on the run and needed to be apprehended. He told me any contact I made with you would make me your accomplice unless I told them everything they wanted to know and helped aid in your apprehension and your girls’. When I told them I knew nothing they got upset, threatened to take a trip to Rockville and slit Mom’s throat while Dad watched and then decapitate him and stick his head above my mantle.”
“I know. That’s why I…”
“Yeah, I get it, Nathan, I understand. I might have made the same decision in your situation.” He dropped to a stack of crates and pressed his head into his hands. “I’m sorry I hit you Bro.”
“It’s cool, I’m sure I did something to you as a child that I needed to be paid back for anyway,” he laughed. “So what are we going to do?”
“'We’? We’re not doing anything; let me and Yvette handle it. I already hate that they involved you in the first place but there’s no way I’m going to let this ruin your life!”
“It already has! I haven’t slept since I spoke to your girlfriend and I can’t keep anything down I’m so worried about Mom and Dad. I’ve had my CO give me extra hours just so I could ride down and check on them every night. I am involved whether you want me to be or not and I won’t let…”
“FREEZE!” a male’s voice sprang out from the darkness behind Nathan. “Put your hands where I can see them!”
“Wait,” Nathan said stepping forward. “You followed me? You said I could meet him, get him to come in on his own. You said it would be better if he cooperated on his own!”
“Back off Knight or join your brother in a nice tight 6 by 8! Where’s Evans?”
“It’s fine Nathan, I’m not going to fight. And I don’t know where she is. Do what you want with me but leave my family out of this!”
“No, if anyone deserves a right to the face it’s this prick for what he said about Ma!”
“Him?” Brett asked glaring down the barrel of the gun. “You threatened to slit my mother’s throat?”
“To take you down? I’d piss in her open wound!” he laughed.
Brett dove for him, knocking the weapon free from his hand. The gun landed with a soft thud on the ground a few feet away ejecting the bullet waiting in the chamber. It ricochet off the banister before piercing the nearby vending machine and clinking to a halt. The agent fell hard on his face, breaking his jaw on a nearby pallet. Brett was on him instantly, sending one powerful blow after another to his face, knocking him senseless.
The man was choking on his own blood, but he wouldn’t let up. “Brett wait, we need him!” Yve yelled rushing forward.
Nathan grabbed the gun from the floor and aimed it at her. “Don’t you fucking move!”
“Whoa, put that down, Nathan, I’m Yvette.”
“Yeah? And I’m sure you weren’t just listening to that entire conversation to hear that name! Brett?” he glanced over his shoulder slightly to get confirmation but his brother was too preoccupied to listen. “How do I know that for sure? You could be another agent!”
“Are you serious Nathan? I’m the one who called you! Brett!?” she yelled at him. “A little help here before your baby brother blows my head off, please?”
“Put the gun down Nathan!” he yelled as he continued to pummel the agent. “It’s Yvette.”
Nathan smiled sheepishly and lowered the weapon to his side and she ran forward to try and pull Brett off the bleeding agent. Nathan came and helped hold him back as Yvette dragged the beaten man towards the tool lock up.
She dumped the contents of the locker onto a nearby table, strapped the agent onto the workbench and slapped him to ensure he was conscious. “You’re going to answer a few questions for me.”
“Do what you want to me but I ain’t telling you shit!” he said spitting a mouthful of blood towards her before dropping his head back to the table.
“Who’s behind the hit and why was Newell murdered?”
He smiled at her and a deep chuckle started from the pit of his stomach and rumbled out of his throat. “If I have to ask you again, you’re gonna wish I’d let him kill you!” her eyes burned holes in his flesh and his expression became grave.
Suddenly the reality of his situation hit him as he felt the first incision pierce his chest and rip down to his belly button. He let out a glass shattering scream that only encouraged Yvette to continue. “You’d better settle in agent, I have all night!”

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