Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Boston, MA November 1993
"I'm the luckiest guy in the world!" Brian twirled her around in his arms before settling her back on the ground and pressed his lips against hers.
"Luck hasn't got anything to do with it. You earned this Brian, this is all you." She tapped his chest with her finger and brushed back his blond hair looking into the most perfect blue eyes she would ever remember.
His hands slid around her waist and under the cotton of her tee, "I'm talking about you silly," he kissed her nose. He smoothed back her hair and grinned. "Seriously Mac you always believed in me and made me work hard for what I wanted. Even though Mom and Dad always said Football was such a waste of time, you were the one that always believed in me. Told me never to give up. And here I have the Championship game starting at Quarterback with the biggest Scouts this side of the East Coast looking for players. It's a dream come true."
"Well I don’t like to see talent go to waste, and besides," she leaned back in his arms and relishing his arms tucked tight around her, “it’s what girlfriends do.” A car revved and whizzed past them, revellers hanging out the windows. "GO HUSKIES! WOOOO KICK some ass on Sunday BRIAN!!!"
She laughed "See you're already famous, you’re halfway there, and we’ll make a Giant or Jet of you yet." He released his grip and turned her around, meeting her mouth his in a gentle kiss before linking his hand in hers.
"Come on you, let’s walk home, it's too much of a perfect night to not to." He led her
away from the grounds, the last pep rally for the season had finished leaving the air thick with smoke and excitement for Sunday's game.
She pulled herself inside the crook of his arm and slid her hand around his waist and into his jeans pocket. This was her guy, where she belonged. The year had been perfect, he’d been playing like a demon and earning respect from everywhere and she’d been acing all her exams. She’d finish with honours’ the way it was all going.
"You know Mac you've got to be my manager and trainer if I make it Pro, you’d do a fine job kicking my ass when I needed it. Promise me you'll do this with me," he whispered dipping in for a quick kiss.
"Of course, wouldn't miss it for the world. You need it with the amount you eat, hell the amount we eat," she chuckled meeting his gaze as they walked in step with each other. They'd been walking for a good ten minutes oblivious to anything else around them talking, laughing and enjoying each other. Nights like these just couldn’t get any better.
"Well look who it is Brian Henderson and his little bit on the side MacKenzie Cooper," she shot up her gaze to a number of young black men standing around on the sidewalk, flicking cigarettes and swigging beer.
Brian took a step in front of her, “now guys, we're just walking home we're not looking for trouble." He folded his arms and rocked back on his heels while she leaned into him from behind.
"That may be true bro, but you're on our turf. This is our turf after dark," the tallest one stood in front of Brian.
He held his hands up, “Guys, I don't have time for this, I want to get home with my girl and get a good night's sleep." He went to turn back to her, but the guys foot connected with the back of Brian, and he fell into her.
"Brian!" She reached out to grab him but felt strong arms tug her back.
"Come here beautiful, we won’t hurt you,” he grabbed her and ran his knuckle down the curve of her breast. He smelt like stale tobacco and beer.
"Get your hands off her!" Brian growled shoving her out of the way. "Mac, get out of here, now!"
Brian was dragged backwards with a guy on each arm, leaving the remaining two that moved towards her. "Get out of here, GO!" She was dizzy, unable to process what was happening and Brian was shouting in pain. She couldn’t, she couldn’t leave him. Not like this, but she couldn’t take them, god she couldn’t.
She spun on her hell and her feet pounded the pavement as she quickly put distance between them, tears sliding down her face as Brian’s broken voice followed her. She sprinted around the corner at least a mile until she spotted a police car stationary on the side of the road. She collapsed against the driver's door and pounded the window. Finally it rolled down.
"What's wrong miss?" It came out in a blur as she rattled off what had happened. Soon she was sitting in the backseat of the car directing the two officers to the scene where she'd left Brian. The lights beamed down the road and she held her breath as it was deserted.
“They were right here? I don’t understand.” Her stomach dropped as the headlights crept across a figure lying disabled on the ground.
“Oh god, stop!” She flung the door open and her knees hit concrete as she fell beside him, “Brian!” She screamed and grabbed his hand clutching it tight against her chest. “Please wake up, what have they done to you?” Tears started to fall she kissed his hands in hers. Blood seeped through his shirt, and was smeared up her arm, god...no.
The first officer called for an ambulance and the second one had attempted to move her away but she didn’t budge. Her knees dug into the dirt and her free hand stroked his brow., “Brian, I’m here—I’ve got help.” She gasped when his hand squeezed hers, and his eyes where open staring back at her. Her knees were starting to soak, she didn’t want to look down and face the reality his blood was everywhere. The officer shone his torch across him, his stomach was shredded and oozing. “Brian, please hold on...” She lay across him desperate to stop the bleeding, desperate to stop him slipping away from her.
"Mac, I love you—“
"Oh god, I love you too...please...please don’t go Brian.” Her own clothing was now his blood, and she couldn’t seem to control the tears as they came.
"I love you… Mac"
"Nooooooooo--" He slumped, his hand loosened off hers and slapped back against the ground. He was still warm, as long as he was warm he had to be alive, she couldn’t give up, she couldn’t...”please wake up...god ...please.” She murmured closing her eyes, desperate to wake in his arms and this all be a horrible dream.
In that moment her heart snapped and soul was destroyed as she laid her whole body against his, still warm, she didn't understand if he was still warm, he was still alive. "Please don't leave me, Please" she murmured closing her eyes desperate to wake up in his arms and this was all a dream. Her fingers curled around his hand, he couldn't go, not like this.
The click of a door in the hallway made her snap the folder shut. Memories, memories that were still so real and still so raw. She lifted her hand to her hear, Brian had died, and she’d never forget it. All through the Marine Corps, all through her cop training, she’d done what she’d needed to do so if it ever happened again, she’d be able to defend herself and the person she loved.
She’d done a pretty good job of keeping both separate until now, until Jon. And that was why she couldn’t let him in, as long as she was his bodyguard; the two had to stay separate. Of course, she’d done a pretty piss poor job at that to date, but there was still time to make sure they were ok.
The threat to them was very real, they’d gone after her, whether this meant her cover was now blown and they were testing her. She’d never know. She just had to make sure she kept the cover up and be a little more discreet in their public outings.
She tucked the folder away, it was a funny thing the things you always carried with you. Some people preferred a lucky charm, or a prized piece of clothing but not MacKenzie. She carried around a folder of love and loss and the reason she was what she was today.
On some level she was still so embarrassed that she’d been all over him the night before, when she was drugged. God that was so embarrassing, but thank god he’d been the sane one to stop anything happening when he easily could have.
Her Blackberry beeped and she picked it up with a smile. “David, hey—how did you get on?”
“Not that great Mac, I’ve had the pictures from the beach scanned and nothing’s come up in prints and I’ve had the staff-list at the party investigated and I have had no Puerto-Rican waiters there. So god knows how this guy came in, or he’s used a fake name which is virtually impossible in the security checks those guys do before they hire for these functions. I don’t understand.”
She sighed and rolled back onto the bed. “What about his family? Did you have that all checked out for me?”
“Yes, all is fine there. They’re safe and I’ve bumped up security around the house. There have been no reports of anything suspicious at any time.”
“Thank god for that, ok –well I’ll try and be a bit more careful.”
“Are you sure you’re not in too deep Mac? You’d say if you were right?”
She rolled her lip under her teeth, she should come clean with David about the attraction to Jon but she knew the minute she did, he’d step in and abort the whole operation, and she wasn’t prepared to do that just yet. This was still working. “No, I’m not---as long as we keep a super close on things, I’m not in that position yet.” She had to figure out this Jon thing for herself, yes she was attracted to him and yes there was something amazing between them but at this point it didn’t matter. She was here to protect him and she had the belief she still could do that.
“Ok, you’re the boss. But you let me know immediately if anything suspicious happens or you think you or Jon is in serious danger ok? I can’t have you risk more than you should be.”
She sighed, “Yes I will.” She knew her limits, and she wasn’t there yet. It wasn’t as if they were being stalked fulltime, the key here was to understand what they were trying to prove from all this. If the kid didn’t get on the team, were they going to make Jon pay until he did? Or send a general warning to the public that these guys were not to be messed with.
“Is there anything else Mac?”
Yeah, I’m in love with him.
“No, nothing David. I’ll keep alert and just keep me informed, run some scans around the gangs again see if we can’t get any clues to why they’re doing this.”
“I will---ok take care. We miss you down here.”
She smiled, she missed them too. Most of her life revolved around that office and those people, they were her family and not seeing them on a day to day basis was killing her. She understood why Jon felt like this with his kids, except his wasn’t out of choice.
“I miss you guys too, keep up the good work. Thanks David.”
She disconnected the call and rested her Blackberry under her chin, just maybe...she could do something for Jon. Something he’d been wanting in a long time.