Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Chapter Forty-Five

Jon couldn't remember the last time he sat in an ambulance. Maybe it was when Jake broke his leg trying to play superman off the the large oak tree in their yard. It turned out he was more excited than scared to ride in the ambulance and the medics had a ball entertaining him all the way. This however, was entirely different. They worked on her like clockwork as they ripped open packages of gauze pads and set up an IV for her.

"You look OK Mr Bon Jovi but I'm just going to check for any injuries."

Jon nodded but his eyes remained on Kenzie for any signs of life as the medic carefully patted him down. 

"Did you want me to ring someone? We're about two minutes from the hospital. Is there someone we can ring for her or you?"

Jon reached into his pocket for his phone and stared at it. Who did he call for her? He knew her well enough but he didn't know anything about her family. She had parents just like him. Did she have a close friend? God, he'd lived with this woman for weeks and they knew each other on a different level but what else did he exactly know about her? He didn't even have David's number but her Blackberry would.

"Uh, her partner...will be David on her Blackberry." He nodded towards her. 

"And you?" He leaned in and slid a stethoscope under his sweater.  

"Yeah. I"ll call a friend." Jon blinked as he shone the pen light in his eyes. 

"Great. You're visibly OK.  Do you feel dizzy or sick?"

Jon shook his head. Ok well that was a lie. He could do with throwing up. She was lying on that gurney because of him. She came down here because of him. She just took a bullet because of him. For once in his life he was wrong and he knew it. Jon's finger hovered above Richie's number. What did he even say? For a man that could pen the brilliant lyric now and again. He was stumped.

The ambulance stopped and the back doors popped open with emergency staff waiting on hand to carry Kenzie out. He didn't want to let her go, he wasn't sure when he'd see her again. 

He swallowed, if he'd see her again.

"Come with me, we'll get you somewhere private and you can make that call Mr Bon Jovi." He was assisted out of the ambulance and was led to a private room.

"Where are they taking her?" He turned his head as they whisked her down the corridor. 

"They'll take her to trauma so we can get a better view of her condition. Don't worry she's in the best possible place. She worked with you for long?"

Jon raised his brow. "Yeah, a few weeks." Of course, they wouldn't assume she was anything more than his bodyguard. He wondered how that would effect getting any information on her condition but he wasn't about to pour his damn heart out to a medic. He stood and stared at the small consult room. They were here because of him and his stupidity and that in itself was a bitter pill to swallow. 

He reached for his phone and pulled Richie's number up. Richie would come down here in a flash he had no doubt about that. He just wasn't sure if he wanted him here right now. He was still coming to terms with what had just happened and tried to make sense of it all in his head. He needed a minute and he needed to be with MacKenzie. He slipped his phone back in his pocket, he'd call Richie later after he'd seen Kenzie. After he knew for certain she was going to be ok because if she wasn't, he didn't want anyone to see him have to deal with that. 

"All done?" The medic popped his head in and smiled.

"Yes I'm all done. I'll have someone come in soon. Is there somewhere I can get a cup of coffee while I wait?" He would kill some time while they worked with MacKenzie.

"Yes, at the end of this wing there is a small cafe. Are you sure you're ok? I can have one of the nurses stay with you if you want?"
Jon held his hand up and shook his head. "I'm ok. I just need a minute. I'll get a coffee and wait."

"There's something else. The police will be wanting to speak to you at some point but we held them off for a wee bit."

He managed a small smile. "I appreciate that." He wondered if he could get arrested for stupidity as that was the only cause in this situation.

"No problems. The nurse's station is just out here. If you need anything you just ask or if you start feeling funny."

Jon nodded and thanked him again. Was it even safe to go and get a cup of coffee? He honestly didn't know anymore. Surely the gang wouldn't be so stupid to try anything here in the middle of a public place. But he'd been wrong about a lot of things. He smiled at the nurse who nodded in his direction as he made his way down to the cafe. He had a coffee, he wished he had something stronger to slip into it and he could have killed for a cigarette but they were in his car. 

He welcomed the fresh air on the enclosed smoking balcony. God, why had he been such an idiot? He gripped the railing and kicked his foot against it. What he'd done was selfish. What if something had happened to her? Hell, to him? What would that do to his kids? The band? Everything that he'd ever worked for? Gone in the blink of an eye.

He crumpled the cup in his hand, tossed it in the bin and headed back in. He waited until a nurse recognised him, he wasn't above playing the famous guy if it got him what he wanted.

"Are you ok Mr Bon Jovi?"

He dug his hands in his pockets. "The woman that came in with me, I was wondering how she was doing?" He rolled back on his heels.

She looked over her shoulder. "She's been taken to a room but I'm afraid that until we notify the next of kin, I can't let you see her."

Jon winced and scratched the back of his head. "If I told you she's my fiancé would that change things?" He also wasn't above lying to get what he wanted. He needed to see her and he'd do exactly what it took.

The nurse's eyes widened. "I understand. Say no more. We pride ourselves on discretion here Mr Bon Jovi. Let me show you to her room."

His chest tightened. A ball of relief and panic bounced around inside of him, now he'd have to face exactly what he'd done.

"Thank you so much." He was shown into a room. She was lying in bed with a wide white bandage around her head and her eyes closed. She looked soft, relaxed, alive.

"I'll send the doctor in to talk to you." 

He took a step in and carefully closed the door behind him. "Kenzie?" He dragged the chair closer to her bed. She had a couple of colored tubes sticking in her but there was no beeps, no ventilator. No beeps was good right? He took her hand in-between both of his and lifted it to his lips. He closed his eyes and pressed her hand against his cheek, feeling the warmth of her against him. "Thank God." She mumured and he leaned in closer. "I'm here Kenzie. You're ok baby."

Her eyes fluttered open. "Jon?" 

He smiled and swallowed the lump that formed in his throat. "I'm here. You're ok."

Her fingers curled around his hand and she whispered, "you're not hurt?" Her sleepy brown eyes stared back at him.

He shook his head, the woman was amazing. Even now, she was concerned about his well being when he wasn't the one lying in a hospital bed. "I'm fine Kenzie. God, I thought..." His belly churned with just the thought of what could have been.

She smiled and blinked slowly. "Don't be silly. You were very brave Jon."

His eyes flicked back to hers. "Kenzie I was--"

"Incredibly stupid." Her voice was a raw wheeze. 

He nodded and tugged her hand to his chest. "I know. You can kick my ass later but just rest now, ok?" He leaned over dropped a light kiss on her forehead and then flicked his eyes down to hers. There was so much to say but now wasn't the time they had to get through whatever this was and her well being was for now the top priority. 

"K." Her head rolled into the pillow and her breathing became steady. She had no visible signs of anything sinister but he wasn't the doctor here. He wasn't going anywhere, he would stay at her side for as long as it took.


MacKenzie licked her lips, her throat was as coarse as sandpaper but she was ok. He was ok. She curled her hand but opened her eyes when it closed around nothing. She was sure Jon was here. She squinted and focused on the nurse that was adjusting her drip. She held her hand up and croaked. "Water?"

"Oh honey you're awake. Here, let me help you." She settled MacKenzie up into the pillows and handed her a plastic clear cup with a white straw. 

"Thanks." MacKenzie couldn't bite back the whimper as she handed the water back to the nurse.

"Just easy sweetheart. You're ok but just a little banged up."

Where was Jon? Had she dreamt he was here safe with her? Panic and nausea rolled through her. "Where is the man that came in with me?" He did come in with her right?

The nurse cheerily fluffed her pilows. "Oh your fiance?"

MacKenzie arched her brow. "Excuse me?" Her what?

The nurse winked and stood back. "Don't worry sweets. I won't tell a soul. He just needed some fresh air and a refill to his coffee.

Her eyes widened. "What? He can't just go roaming around out there alone. You do know what happened to us?" Fear collided in her belly. They could be anywhere.

"Relax, it's all enclosed and we have some policeman that have just arrived. He's probably talking to them."

MacKenzie closed her eyes. She reached up to the side of her head, it still stung where the bullet had grazed her. God she was a lucky woman. "I need to see him, please. Can you go and get him?"

The nurse quickly nodded. "Of course." It all blurred. Her going after Jon to the steel mill, her body going into shock when she was scraped by a bullet. God. She'd tried to tell him she was ok but her body shut down in shock. All the training in the world couldn't stop her body from doing its natural reflex. He must have been beside himself. He was still pig headed and stupid for doing what he did but she was glad he was OK. She just had to concentrate on those facts for now before she ripped him in two. 

The door swung open and she felt her shoulders drop in relief. "Hey."

His jeans were all dirty, battered, and the ribbed grey sweater he was wearing was ripped at the edges and blood splattered. "Kenzie." He smiled and it just reached his eyes as he perched himself on the edge of the bed next to her. "You're awake."

"I was before, wasn't I?"

He nodded and placed his cup of coffee on her bedside table. "Yes but you were drowsy. They gave you some pretty heavy pain killers but on the face of it, you're ok." She watched his fingers dig into the mattress. "I thought you'd been shot in the head, there was so much...god, so much blood."

She covered his hand with hers and their eyes met. "I know, I wanted to tell you I was ok but I just couldn't. Everything moved in slow motion, it was just awful. I'm glad you're ok." Her eyes followed his lips as he moved in closer. The kiss was fierce but short. If she'd lost him, she would have never forgiven herself. 

"I'm sorry. I should have never gone out there." He didn't pull back his face hovered in front of hers. 

"No you should never have done that Jon, you could have been killed. There's one thing I can't work out though, how did you get hold of them?"

His eyes flicked down at her hand and then back to hers. "I read David's email. The interception of the email. They'd emailed me to call. I didn't even know that you guys were doing that, but I guess there is a lot of things I didn't know. I just wanted it to end, I hated it. I hated what it was doing to my us." His eyes looked so sad that it melted her anger away.

She swallowed and squeezed his hand. "Oh Jon. I know you hated what was happening to you, to your control. But as much as you think it. You're not Superman. These guys are thugs, and to have any chance against them you need to think like a thug and you aren't trained to. You never had a chance."

He sighed. "You know that should hurt my ego but you're right."

A smile toyed on her lips. "I'm sorry, did you just admit that I was-" This time the kiss came longer, slower, deeper. His hand cupped the back of her neck and he poured himself into her. She moaned and threw her arms around his neck diving head first in. It felt comfortable, it felt easy, it felt right. So much was still up in the air and she was itching to get David in here and pick this apart before the cops got too involved. And her and Jon where did they stand? They clearly had things to discuss in that department and she wasn't sure after the fiancé remark if she was ready to. She'd admitted she loved him but she wasn't ready to admit it was forever. 

He pulled back and his thumb brushed her cheek. "Kenzie-"

The door popped open and the doctor strolled in. "Miss Cooper. It's good to see you awake. I'm here to let you know, you're going to be fine. We were worried about a little concussion so we're going to keep you in here just tonight but you should be fine. The wound is minor on your temple, but I'd like you to be on bed rest for a few days."

She groaned. She was fine for goodness sake and she had things to do. 

He lifted his finger. "Now now, Mr Bon Jovi has told me you'll be under his watch."

She arched a brow. "Oh really?" She couldn't be mad, they had a lot to talk about and she figured she would be going back to the apartment just not as his bodyguard. But not as his fiancé either thank you very much.
"David is on his way down here, he'll be able to take care of the business side of things." Jon added. Mind reader. 

"Fine." She crossed her arms but frowned when it tugged on her IV line.

Jon smoothed back her hair and kissed her forehead. "Oh yeah, you're going to make a fine patient Mackenzie." 

She didn't do sick and she certainly didn't do bed rest. There was still so much left unresolved that it sat uneasy in her belly. The doctor left them to it and she dropped her head back into the pillows. Damn pain killers. "Stay with me," she murmured and reached for his hand.

Just before she slipped into sleep she felt his lips against her skin. "I'm not going anywhere Kenz."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chapter Forty-Four

MacKenzie pulled the car into the deserted lot and parked a safe distance away. The last thing she needed was for them to hear her car and freak the fuck out with Jon inside with them. His Chavelle was nestled under arches of rotted trees that flanked the side of the mill. The area had become a wasteland of scattered empty drums, scrap metal, and abandoned cars.

She unrolled the blueprint of the mill and took one last scan at the layout. She took note of the open plan, where the offices were located, and the exits, but it didn't do her jittery stomach any favors. Taking a calming breath, she slipped out of her car and crept across the lot to the main building. Weathered boards and peeling paint told a sad story, making it easy pickings to become a homebase for the gangs.

She lifted her gun and flipped the safety off as she weaved through the maze of twisted metal that led to the back entrance. The door banged in the breeze, but that was the only sign of life. Where the hell were they? And where was Jon? She swept the area before she headed inside. Her heart raced as her she backed herself up against the wall. She closed her eyes, forcing her breath to even out and her heartbeat to stop roaring in her ears. Light carved through the roof making it easier to navigate her way through the shabby hallways wound around the wide open work area. For an area that was once buzzing with work, it was now a graveyard for industrial sheet metal.

She stopped and looked over her shoulder. Hushed voices floated down the corridor where the cluster of offices sat. God, how many of them were there? She darted across to the door and held her breath. She peered around and steadied her gun. Through the gap she could make out three, maybe four young guys, each scarved in the red bandanas and hoodies but no Jon. She took two steps at a time and glided down the wall, careful of making any sounds. Where the hell was he?

The thud of boots froze her feet. She turned around with her gun out in front out and her chest collapsed as Jon stood there wide eyed. She lowered her gun and didn't know whether to shake him or hug him, so she dragged him around the corner and threw him against the wall. "Stay there and do exactly as I say." Her fingers curled tight into his sweater. She wanted to scream at him, but thank fuck he was alive and visibly ok. "Have they seen you?"

He shook his head.

Her voice was little more than breath. "Ok, good. We're going to get you the hell out of here before they see your car." She flinched as the boom of metal hitting the floor echoed through the warehouse.

"Rock star where are you? Come out, come out, where ever you are."

MacKenzie crowded in on him, her finger to her lips. Heavy boots stomped, chains jingled, and Mackenzie’s finger hovered over the trigger. If they were outnumbered she didn't know what she was going to do, but by Christ she was getting them both out of there alive. Their position was partially obscured by a stack of metal drums and with any luck they could stay there.

"C’mon, we just want to talk. I even made lattes." There was a snicker telling her there were at least two of them out there.

Jon’s body was motionless behind her and just as well. He wasn't fucking going anywhere near them.

"You hiding, coward? That's okay, I could just go find your prissy little kids instead. Maybe that would make you come out."

She grabbed his wrist and shot him a warning glance. They were winding him up on purpose it was all in their cocky tone. He clenched his jaw and pulled away from her grasp but didn't move. She nodded and covered him again while they waited. This required the best patience and precision, one false move and it was all over.

"I can wait all day, Preppy. I don't have any place to go, but I’m sure you have some fancy fucking dinner to go to. I wonder if your girlfriend will be there too, or is she off duty tonight?”

Jon shuddered behind her, but she kept their cover. His cheek was warm against the back of her neck. Why did he have to be an idiot and land them both here? She couldn't deal with that now, but God she would kick his ass once they were home. With any luck these guys would get bored and leave, giving them a chance to slip out the side. It was the best plan she had right now. The only one.

Tension hung as thick as the smell of rotting wood. Jon’s legs bumped against hers, the warmth of him behind her was little comfort as she wished she was there alone. MacKenzie could look after herself in these situations, but a guy like Jon was a wildcard. She couldn’t trust that he’d listen to her, he certainly hadn’t so far.

Heavy silence finally drew her attention away from Jon. When a shadow inched along the wall, she wanted to curse her own stupidity. Helluva bodyguard she was turning out to be.

“Well, what do we have fucking here?”

She trained her gun on the voice, saying a little prayer of thanks that it was rock steady. “I’m not dropping it so you can forget asking me to.” She scanned him quickly-gun left, knife sheath on the right.

He chuckled, his face silhouetted by the light. “Tsk tsk. Didn’t I tell you to come alone rock star?”

“He did come alone. I found him here.” She answered before Jon could. “Let us leave. Anything you want is not going to happen here in a place like this.”

“Oh yea?” He let out a whistle, the kind that called your dog. His dogs.


Two guys even bigger than him flanked him. “So whatcha gonna do now, cop? You’re outnumbered. In fact, you’re fucked.” His voice was overly pleased with himself. Hell, he even laughed at his own joke. Not good. He snapped his fingers and both guys drew out semi-automatics.

Even a two year old could hit a target with that many bullets spraying. Shit.
She lowered her weapon and nodded. “Ok.”

“Drop it.”

She swallowed. She let the gun skitter to the floor, but didn’t move from her stance in front of Jon.

The leader took a step forward. He smelled like cigarettes and oil. “Now, let’s go and have a little chat, shall we?” MacKenzie flinched as he tucked a loose strand of her hair behind her ear. She held Jon with her body weight and nodded.

“After you.”

His thumb traced across her bottom lip. “You’re not bad looking for a cop.” Her hands curled into a fist.

The screech of tires outside pulled him back. “What the fuck? That better not be the fucking cops.” His eyes were flat and cold as the end of his gun dug into her ribs. “He’s dead if it’s the cops.” He nodded to his boys and they disappeared.

MacKenzie prayed to God it wasn’t back up. She hadn’t called any, she wasn’t that stupid.

Footsteps pounded through the warehouse. “It’s the Vipers!”

“Fuck that shit!”

MacKenzie took the opportunity and pushed him toward the offices. It wasn’t where she wanted them to go, but at least she could cover them there.

More shouts and the distant spray of automatic rounds kicked her adrenaline into high gear. “Get behind here.” She shoved him under behind large sheets of metal resting against the wall. There was a human sized gap that should hold them both.

“Vipers?” he hissed.

“It’s another gang. They’ll be too preoccupied—“

Gunshots echoed, telling her they fire fight was in the main room. That was much too close. She shoved him forward, thumbing 911 on her Blackberry. As long as there was another gang in there, she just might be able to get the police in.

“Jon, get as close to the end as you can.”

He looked back over his shoulder. “You’re coming, right? Tell me you are.” Even in the dark, their gaze locked and she nodded.

“Yes, of course I am,” she lied without a qualm. She waited for him to crawl and ducked. Bullets ricocheted around them and MacKenzie flinched as the side of her head burned. Dammit, she’d probably clipped herself on the edge of one of the steel sheets. She crawled in behind Jon and kept low hoping the shower of gunfire would desist.

Blood splashed against her hand. She reached up to her her temple and her belly bottomed out. Her arms shook and her breathing staggered. She’d been shot. She needed to try and pull herself together and at the same time keep them safe but her body started to shutdown.


Concrete shavings and dirt stabbed through his pants as he crawled into the makeshift cubby hole. He flinched at the gunshots and breathed out. His heart jack hammered against his chest. Holy fuck. He turned again to make sure she was following him but his blood ran cold. Mackenzie was crumpled on the ground and blood streaked her face.

“MacKenzie!” He backed up. No, no, no. What did he do now? She was the brave one. She was the one that always knew what to do He scrambled back and gripped her shoulders. His skin turned to ice and his gut clenched as ruby red blood covered his hands.

“Talk to me...” She blinked and then her eyes rolled back into her head and fear kicked him in the chest. His throat constricted and he fought for breath.

“Oh, God…” She couldn’t

He pulled her close, shaking her. “Kenzie-Kenzie, no.“ She moaned and lifted her hand but dropped it. His stomach jerked but he swallowed. He closed his eyes as the faint wail of a siren, stampede of boots, and shouts blurred around him.

“Kenzie...God, Kenzie please.” He wanted to yell, he wanted to scream but he couldn’t’. He had no idea of anything except her limp body and so much blood.

His heart leapt as he heard the crackle of a walkie. He waited, his fingers digging into
her shoulders, his sweater heavy with her blood. He bent over her and whispered her name.

“No sign of them in here.”

“Ove-“ he choked. “Over here.”

He lifted his hand to his face as light burned his eyes. “I have a positive ID send in the paramedics. We’ve got someone down.”

The rest was like a dream in slow motion. The face crouched in front of him and talked, but it was all white noise. Men in dark blue uniforms blended with the red… god there was so much red. “Is she--“

“You’re in shock Mr Bon Jovi. Just relax, we’ve got you. You’re ok.”

The face came into focus. He gripped their arm. “Is she alive?”

“We’re doing all we can. You’ll need to come with us.”

Two hands hooked under his arms he was lifted up on his feet.

“Is she alive?”

He would never forgive himself if anything happened to her. If she died because he was stupid enough to come out here alone and think he could handle this. His eyes burned as he looked down at his hands. Her blood on his hands.

“She’s unconscious but we’ve got a pulse. That’s all I’m able to tell you ‘til we get her to the hospital. Now, I need to you come with me to an ambulance. Is there someone I can call for you?”

He nodded. “Her ambulance. I have to go in it.”

The paramedic looked over his shoulder and then back at Jon. “OK, but Gary will have to check you out.”

He didn’t care about himself, just her. Only her. Only Kenzie. The paramedic led him to the ambulance and he saw her there. Two men in the back of the truck working on her feverishly. All he could do was watch.


Fucking useless.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chapter Forty-Three

Mackenzie showered, ran six miles on the treadmill and ate a full breakfast. It had been a way to kill time until it was a reasonable hour to go back to Mercer. She hadn't slept well, words had rattled around all night in her head and her dreams had played out the rest. She slid on her boots and pressed her hand to her chest, it would be ok. After today everything would be out in the open and she wouldn't leave him until he had damn well co-operated with her and that they had sorted this like adults.

Her desk was buried high in papers, slashed with red marker in a late night attempt to make some sense out of this case. So far, she had nothing. No clue as to why they wanted to hurt her or Jon. She had set up an appointment with Joe for later this afternoon who was one of her old buddies down at the cop shop who had inside contacts that might give her some leads. She needed something, just anything to get her going in the right direction.

The drive across to Soho slow as she was sucked into the crawl of early morning commuters. "Just great." She activated her hands free kit and dialled Jon's number. She should at least warn him she was on her way. It clicked over to voicemail which didn’t surprise her considering how things had been left the day before.

"Hi Jon, its Kenzie. I'm on my way over." She took a deep breath. "We need to talk, there's things I need to say and I'm sorry the way things were left yesterday, I didn't meant to just leave you like that. I guess-" She slid into second and rounded the corner. "I was afraid of facing things with you because I feel like I've failed you. I'll be there soon." She reached up and disconnected the call. By the time she arrived down Mercer she was a jittery mess. The crisp morning smacked her in the face as she wound down her window and keyed her access to the parking lot. This place felt more like home than she cared to admit.

"Morning MacKenzie," George tipped his hat.

"Hi George," and even the doorman still thought she was Jon's girlfriend. She sighed as the elevator doors closed and leaned back against the wall. This was the right thing to do god knows she was overdue to face this head on like she should have done in the beginning. She went to knock but then shook her head and used her key to get into the house she'd called home for the last several weeks. She clicked the door closed and walked in, the place was silent so maybe he was still in bed. He lived the vampire life more than not.

"Mac?" David stood at the top of the staircase in running gear.

"Hey, I didn't know you were going for a run..." There were no signs of Jon, at least in the bottom half of the apartment.

"No, just been in the gym here. He still doesn't want to go anywhere with me." He jogged down to meet her. He's been in his room since last night."

"Oh lord, he's sulking then. Well, I should go and get this done and over with."

David scratched his head, "So you're going to lay it all out huh? The big L word and everything?"

"Yup, until he admits it back and we stop these stupid games so we can get on with the job at hand." She dropped her hands to her side and walked up the stairs. "I'll see you soon." She hoped it wasn't that soon as it would be nice for them to spend some one on one time with each other when they weren't playing silly mind games. She tapped on his door and waited and her belly twisted with snakes. He didn't answer, so she tried again. "Jon?" She waited another few moments and then turned the handle slowly. His big bed that glowed in the sun barely had been slept in. "Jon?" Was he in the study? She checked his bathroom and then disappeared down to his office but nope, he wasn't there either.

"Jon?" She backed it by force this time, "it's Mac, where are you?" She strolled back into the bedroom, his bed was cold and the cigarette in his ashtray stale. "Shit," panic rose in her throat. Where the hell had he gone? She broke into a run back down the stairs and followed the hum of the blender into the kitchen. "He's not here.”

David killed the power, "what? What do you mean he's not here? He hasn’t gone anywhere?"

"When was the last time you saw him?"

"Yesterday late afternoon he told me he had things to do in his room and didn't want to be disturbed. That was it."

She paced down the living room against the sun soaked glass. "So when did you go to bed? He must have gone out after that or--" Damn his car. When MacKenzie had pulled into the parking lot she didn’t remember seeing his car. "Dammit!" Surely he’d gone to Richie’s and not done something stupid.

David sat down in front of his laptop, "last email I sent was around 12am, so he had to have gone early this morning. I didn't hear anything. Shit." He kicked the side of the table.

MacKenzie tugged off her Blackberry and dialled his number but it went to voicemail. "Fuck," she hung up and found Richie's number. “Please be there, please be there.”

"Rich here."

"Richie hi, it’s MacKenzie." She dragged her hand back through her hair.

"Oh hey...what can I do for you?"

"Well I'm hoping it's what you can do for me. Have you seen Jon in the last twelve hours or heard from him?"

"Nope, he called me a night or so ago after the incident with the guy at the yacht club...that's it. What's happened and why don't you know where he is?"

MacKenzie took a deep breath. She was trained not to panic but hell Jon out there by himself when they had no idea what this gang wanted with them? “I've done something stupid Richie and now he's not here."

"You want me to come over?"

"No, I'll call you though if I need you or hear anything." She disconnected the call, he wouldn't go to his kids would he? She had to check all options. She put the call into the security that had been keeping watch on Dorothea and the kids but nope no sign of Jon coming or going there either.

Stay calm. She had to focus, she had to remove the emotional attachment and focus on finding out where he was. "Does Tiny still run the comms unit in DC?"

David nodded, "cellphone?"

MacKenzie nodded, "he'll have to skip protocol but I'll call him and see what I can do." Tiny Rogers was an old buddy in the force that was now a FBI agent and MacKenzie had used him at her discretion in the past. "Can you ring Joe down at central? Have him on alert for anything we need all the help we can. She held her belly and took a deep breath. “Just in case anything happens." She flipped her thinking back to logic and looked up the bureau's number. She sank down into her chair that faced the city skyline, somewhere out there was the man she was trying to find, it was just a matter of where.

"Tiny, it's MacKenzie Cooper." She propped her elbow up on the arm of the chair and closed her eyes. Her marine sergeant's voice screamed through her head. Get it under control Cooper! She wanted to, god she did but the panic inside her threatened to come undone.

"Well speak of the devil! You've reconsidered my marriage proposal after all this time?"

"Good to hear you too Tiny, how's things treating you?"

"Busy, I can always use an assistant if you want to switch over to the dark side."

MacKenzie smiled. Once upon a time she would have even considered it but not now. She was too used to running her business her way, by her rules and now that she was older it suited her lifestyle better. "A marriage proposal and a job? A girl doesn't get much luckier than that."

"What can I do for you Mac?"

Tiny wasn't stupid, a call out of blue meant exactly that but strong bonds always had stretched past their time of duty. "I need a favor and an urgent one. I need you to screen someone’s cellphone calls in the last twelve hours for me."

He let out a low whistle, "you know some of this takes times unless I have clearance."

"It's a matter of life and death." She spilled out the story briefly to him leaving off the part it was the man she was in love with.

"Ok, I'll see what I can do. Give me his number."

She gave him the details and he promised to let her know as soon as possible. "Thank you Tiny, I owe you one." She breathed out, took a moment and then popped herself up off the chair. She couldn't just sit and wait and let the world crumble around her. She had a man to save, one that she loved. She had to wonder if he’d done this to piss David off at his disgust over the new situation but surely, god surely he wasn’t that stupid. She tried his number one more time but hung up as soon as the click cut in. Dammit where are you Jon?

"Alright we’ll wait for the phone scans and if that doesn't point to where he's gone I don't know what the hell to do next." She paced and started to put the pieces together, there was no forced entry. They wouldn’t be that stupid. She ended up in his bedroom and analysed what was around her. She scraped the bathroom wall with her finger, no moisture so no shower in the last little while. He’d left in a hurry or without much thought and that was unlike Jon. Her phone trilled and snapped her back to earth.


"Mac, are you near email?" She stood and walked towards Jon's office, "I can be."

She slid into his chair and turned on his Mac. "What did you find?" It was the million dollar question and either the answer was going to be nothing or it was going to be what she wanted,

"You need to see this. I ran it through the transcript but I attached the audio if you want to listen to it."

"What is it? The laptop is taking awhile to load." She swung her legs and shook the mouse as if magically it was going to loading process faster.

"It's not good Mac. He's in trouble."

She closed her eyes, "Oh god. OK. I'm in." She opened her work email that she forwarded to her web-based account for all backup purposes. She found the email and double clicked it open.

The transcript spilled out in front of her and she doubled clicked the media file.


"Hello it's Jon here. Jon Bongiovi."

"Jon Bon-no shit? You finally called us huh? They let you be a big boy huh?"

"No, they don't know I've called. What do you want from me?"

MacKenzie clutched her belly, oh not this, anything but this.

"I want to end this. I want to know what you fucking want. And I'm prepared to do it."

The chuckle vibrated right down to her toes. "Oh really? Don't need the pretty bodyguard now?"

"As I said, I want to know what I can do for you to leave me alone. Is it money you want?"

Oh Jesus. "Jon," she whispered.

The laugh stopped. "Typical. You would think that's what we want. But no."

"With me where?"

"I think it's time that you and I had a little chat about life Mr Bongiovi. You want this to end? You want us to leave you alone and your family? This is your chance."

"I'll do it. Just don't hurt anyone anymore."

"I have to give you props, aren't you worried you'll get killed?

There was a pause, "You'd already have done it if that's what you wanted."

"Oh brave words Mr Bongiovi. Ok, so let's see you put your words where your mouth is. Come and meet me for a latte? Isn't that what you rich folk drink?"

God, don't do it. But this wasn't one of those movies that had a surprise twist ending. She knew exactly how this one was going to end.

"And you will leave MacKenzie and my family alone?"

She blinked away the tear that fell and covered her mouth with her hand. If she'd been in Jon's position maybe she'd have done this, they were both all about the control in their lives and she'd taken away most of his. She may as well have stripped his dignity at the same time.

"Deal but if you bring a hint of anyone with you, it's off."

"I won't. So where do I meet you?"

"Know where the old steel works is down past Giants stadium by the river ?

"Yes I do. North Service Road. What time?”

Ok, when she got him out of there alive she was going to slap him. Had he lost his freaking mind? He shouldn't be doing it at all, but he should have at least suggested a very public place. But that was the problem, he wasn't thinking at all.

"Meet us there at eight am."

MacKenzie looked at her watch, "fuck." It was a little before nine now. Dammit.

"Come alone Rock star or you'll regret it."


“Tiny, I’ve got to go. Thank you so much.” Her blackberry tumbled out of her hand.

"Holy Christ." She snatched it back and darted to her room and bent down to the safe. She jerked the combination until the door popped open. She reached in for her vest, a couple of cartridges and snapped the door shut.

"David!" She called as she tugged off her sweater and pulled the vest on and clipped it in place.

"What's up? Jesus Mac! What the hell is going on?"

"Tiny found the call. He called the fucking gang and met them an hour ago at the Steel Mill on North Service Road. I've got to go."

"How the hell did he get their number?"

She looped the holster on her belt and jammed the full cartridge into the gun. "I don't know, right now I don't care I need to get down there."

"I'm coming too. You can't do this alone."

"No, stay here, he might come back. I can handle this, you know me." She twisted her hair back into a ponytail and pulled her sweater down. "I'll call you as soon as I know anything and if I need back up."

“Wait a second.” David grabbed her and spun her around. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

Mac gripped his arms. The determination blinded all other reason. "Yes but he's my guy. I have to save him."

David nodded. "Use the code?"

She nodded. "I'll use the code." They had designed a code for the firm to use if they were in distress. A short text with ### to HQ was all it took. David would know what to do with the rest.

"Just be careful Mac--Jesus just be careful."

But she was already there in mind. How she'd approach, how she would find him and get him the hell out of there. She couldn't live with anything less than that. She was getting him out of there unharmed.

No matter what the cost.