Thursday, August 5, 2010
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.”
"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 god....no 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.