Sunday, January 23, 2011
She clipped her holster under her jacket and slid her baby Glock down into her ankle holster, she was taking no chances with this one. Her head buzzed as if she'd taken six shots of espresso but it wasn't caffeine responsible for her buzz. It was pure adrenaline. The gun shot into the living room has shattered the large window that overlooked the city's skyline and quite frankly her confidence that this was all under control. There was no time to dwell on that now, David was right they had to get the hell outta dodge and the safest option was to get Jon on a plane so they could at least breathe.
David paced into the room with a sports bag slung over his shoulder. "Is he ready to go?"
She nodded and zipped up her sweat jacket. "Yeah as far as ready is in this situation but he understands."
David grabbed his cell and keys. "It can't be easy."
She slid her aviators on and shook her head. "We should have handed this off to the police David. This is just ridiculously out of control and I don’t' have a good feeling about it." She kept her voice low in case Jon ventured out into the living room but she guessed that he'd have to be pretty much pried out of the bathroom at this point.
She closed her eyes as his heavy hand landed on her shoulder. "You did what was right. You even said they'd get more volatile if we involved the cops. You know how gangs work Mac."
She appreciated the sentiment but it was lost. "Yes but we're standing in a Soho apartment freaking floors up with the window blown out David!" She clutched her belly as nausea rolled through her. "What if he had been on the couch?"
"MacKenzie, He wasn't. Now pull yourself together! I know this is tough for you but you can do this."
She looked into eyes that she'd trusted for a long time and nodded. "I know. I can do this. Let's just get him to the airport. Is the car nearly here?"
David's phone shrilled and he nodded as he answered it. "This will be them. Go and get him."
She jogged up the stairs to the bedroom, took a deep breath and tapped lightly on the bathroom door. "Are you ready?" She did really have to pull her own emotions into check if this was how she was feeling Jon had to be a wreck. His whole world was been ripped away from under him and he was already so close to the edge of insanity with it. She slid open the wardrobe and snagged one of his baseball caps and a grabbed a pair of his sunglasses.
The door opened cautiously and her heart fell. He stood defeated in the hoodie and jeans she'd thrown him. She handed him the cap and glasses. "Here put these on and pull your hoodie up over the cap. David's doing the same so it will throw them off for a second.
He nodded. "David's taller than me."
She managed a small smile. "I know but we need to do anything to deter attention. Are you ok?"
"I could do with a cigarette."
"I've got some in the bag, you can have one in the car." She waited for him so he could walk out with her behind him shielding him from a shot in the bedroom window. It was unlikely they were still there as police started to swarm outside but she was taking nothing to chance.
He walked but stopped and grabbed her wrist. "I'm scared."
She nodded fighting the urge to break down. He didn't need to see that right at this moment. She was scared too, scared to go out into this, and scared he was going to get hurt. She swallowed and covered his hands with hers. "I know Jon. You've got to trust us. We know what we're doing."
His eyes were sad but he was nodded, trying to hold it together and it was breaking her from the inside out.
"MacKenzie...I..." He choked on the words so she shushed him and brought her finger to his lips.
"I know you do and I do too. Always." She leaned forward and they took a small moment in the shit storm that threatened to derail everything that they had. She closed her eyes and let the heat of his kiss be the only thing that centred her again. She soothed his arms, "let’s go babe."
She ushered him out to the foyer where David was waiting in the same colour hoodie with a cap and glasses. He picked up their bags. "Okay. The lobby is secure, the police aren't happy that we're bailing but they understand in the circumstances - I've given them a brief and they'll be escorting the car to the airport. The car is outside the building so as we walk outside the building Jon, I need to you duck down as we walk on each side of you and jump into the car.
He nodded. "No problem."
MacKenzie slid her hand in his inside the elevator, her other hand free to reach for her gun if required. She blew out her breath as the elevator pinged and the double doors opened. This was it, they just had to get to the car and they'd be safe. Jon was flanked by her and David as they walked through the lobby which was crawling with residents and police and as planned the low key dress didn't attract too much attention. The doorman held the door open for them and MacKenzie smiled at him before they torpedoed Jon into the back seat of the waiting car. David jumped in the passenger seat and MacKenzie slid in after Jon. She breathed a sigh of relief as the door closed swiftly behind her and the car pulled away from the building.
David turned over his shoulder from the passenger seat. "Car is bullet proof by the way."
Jon's hands dug into the leather seats. "Didn't think this was one of the town cars I used."
MacKenzie took his hand. "We're ok." Her heart was pounding in her chest and she was convincing herself as much as she was convincing him.
They weren't fucking ok. His living room window had been blown out and so had all his nerves. And now he was in a bulletproof car for fuck's sake. He wasn't a president; he shouldn't have to ride in a car that could survive a spray full of bullets. He was a man who wrote and sang songs for a living so since when did that qualify for bullet proof cars and bodyguards? When? He popped his knuckles as under the early morning sun they nosed out into the traffic flow bound for Teterboro. He glanced out the window as other cars cut into the flow possibly heading to church, family lunch...anywhere but to escape some gang member’s vendetta he'd bet.
He held his breath as they dipped down into the tunnel, he'd been through it a thousand times before but never in his life had he felt so trapped. The panic rose inside his chest like needles stabbing at his lungs. He couldn't breathe. He knew he was hyperventilating but he couldn't stop it.
He gasped for breath and gripped the seat. "Can't breathe." He felt helpless as his lungs gave out.
She inched across and grabbed his wrists. "Look at me Jon, I need you to look at me."
The lights down the tunnel bled into one and Kenzie blurred in front of him. "I can't." He couldn't scream so it pierced inside his head. His heart raced and he was restless like spiders were crawling under his skin.
"Yes you damn well will. Look at me!"
Her worried brown eyes came into focus and her beautiful face. Where were they going? He frowned as he couldn't remember for a second why they were in the car.
"Breathe. Take a breath Jon."
He struggled as if boulders were crushing his chest. "Hurts."
She yanked him and gave him a short sharp shake. "Fucking breathe. You're not doing this to me, not now."
The impossible weight lifted from his chest as he sucked in a short and shaky breath. Now he remembered.
"Again, I need you to do it again."
And he did--he was helpless relying on someone else to breathe for him. "Better." He managed.
"Shh...Again. Keep breathing, slow and steady."
She breathed with him and his body calmed the fuck down. "I-I don't know what happened." He squinted as they hit light out on the other side of the tunnel.
She squeezed his hands. "You had a panic attack. It's ok. I should have seen it coming. Just keep breathing, slowly Jon."
The pain in his chest eased and the tension in head dissolved. She handed him a bottle of water which he didn't refuse and chugged half of it down. He was a fucking mess, he needed for this to be over and he needed his life back. He was torn between stopping on the freeway and screaming his lungs out or curling into the corner and crying like a baby and it was doing his head in. "I'm alright." He bowed his head and closed his eyes. It was a lie but if alright constituted for not wanting to throw himself out of a moving car, then it was good enough for him.
She settled back next to him as his chest fell steady. He kept his eyes closed, maybe he was too afraid to open them and face whatever it was that out there. They bumped across the turnpike and headed north towards the airport. Everything had become so insignificant and it didn't even feel like this was his life anymore.
"Nearly there." MacKenzie whispered as she turned to the window.
"Thank god." He rubbed his chin. "Did someone make sure that Dot's house was ok?"
David held his berry up from the front seat. "Just got word that we have police outside and they've talked to your ex-wife as to why they're there."
"Thanks. She'll be less than thrilled but it's the best thing." He'd deal with that later, his kids safety was paramount in the first instance.
"Right." MacKenzie agreed.
The car edged up and around the back of the airport and David cleared the security gates for them. He wouldn't say that he was calm but he was certainly pleased to see the jet sitting on the runway ready for him to climb aboard and escape. At least no one could shoot at them in the fucking air. The car rolled around and came to a stop yards away from the plane. In all his twenty years taking planes he could only count on one hand the times his car was on the tarmac.
David twisted around in the seat. "Ok I'll get out and offload the bags to the hostess then MacKenzie will get out of the car and you will join her. I will cover you from the other side just like the elevator."
Jon nodded, the snakes coiling in his belly. "Ok." At this point he just had to do whatever they wanted him to do to get him on the plane. He had to get the hell outta here.
MacKenzie climbed out and he followed. David as promised came up the side of him and they walked towards the plane. The Jersey sunshine bit through the grey clouds as they made it to the stairs. The loud hum of the jet engine kicked into gear as he took his first step up the staircase. It was like thunder, shattering the air as the gunshots came. He heard the shouts behind him to go, run, hell he'd dive if he needed to as adrenaline pumped through him like blood.
He turned at the top and MacKenzie was right behind him with a face full of fear. “Run!"
The shot split the air and a yell of pain echoed behind him. He froze too scared to turn around, too scared to see if she was still alive. She was hanging off the rail screaming at David who had fallen flat on his back on the tarmac below. Blood pooled around him eating into the dirty concrete. Jon reached and grabbed her shoulder dragging her up the stairs, if they didn't move they'd both be down there. He pulled them both into the plane, sirens wailed and police swarmed the area.
"David NO!" She crawled to the side of the plane and curled her fingers around the edge looking out and down. “God, David no." The plane was rolling away and Jon sat crumpled against a seat not really seeing what he believed - this wasn't real life this was an action movie that he'd take one of his kids to see. MacKenzie slumped her body admitting defeat and sobbed into the carpet as the stairs were lifted and tucked into the side of the plane. His hand quivered as he reached out to her.
"It should have been me. Oh god, it should have been me."
The plane made speed down the runaway and the captain confirmed the clearance to take off. He lifted her up off the ground and into a chair. "C'mon buckle yourself in Kenz." He clipped the belt around her waist and quickly did his own before cupping her hands and pulling her into him. He kissed her forehead as she hiccupped but she settled against him. Both unable to even speak. It had to be like leaving Brian there all over again for her and his heart broke for her. He closed his eyes and knew he had to be strong for her, if he didn't he'd crumble just like her. He rubbed her shoulder and whispered. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."