Sunday, February 6, 2011
MacKenzie had never been so relieved to feel the tires bump against the runway below her. She yawned and stretched when she realized she was still curled into Jon. She briefly smiled as she looked up. His arms were wound tight around her and his eyes were closed. All the worry lines on his face that had been looking back at her for the last few weeks were gone. She ran her finger gently around under his eyes and he stirred.
"We're here?" He asked shifting beneath her.
"Yup we are." Her stomach flip flopped as the plane pulled into the terminal. There was a police car waiting for them which David must have arranged. David! She plucked her Blackberry from her pocket and frowned. "Shit, I cracked the screen."
Jon dug for his phone and handed it to her. "Are you going to slam mine against the armrest as well?"
She snatched it and dialed her office. "Claire! Have you heard from David?" She hounded her receptionist the second she answered.
"MacKenzie! Where are you? The place has been going crazy. The police called. David's gone from the scene."
She stood up even as the plane was still making its way up the runway. "What? Christ you mean gone - gone?" She swallowed, the panic rising in her throat.
"Gone as in missing, they grabbed him."
Her eyes went wide. "Shit. Seriously? Fuck." She rubbed her forehead. Calm down they would have only taken him if he was alive. Least that was something.
"Police are very keen to understand the situation. They're trying to track them. They got a positive ID on one of the guys and he was definitely from the Bloods."
She curled her fingers around the headrest of one of the chair she was leaning against. HIs wife would kill her if anything happened to him especially now, with a baby on the way. "God, can you call downtown and see if they have any leads at all? The police are waiting for us here so we'll talk to them as well. Ring me if you hear anything, ok?"
"Ok Mac. And stay safe would you?"
She smiled. "Will do." She disconnected the call and the phone vibrated immediately in her hands. "It's Stephanie." She held the phone out to Jon.
"Damn, she would have heard it on the news I'm betting. Shit." He took it and answered it walking away from her. The plane rolled to a stop and her hip vibrated. "What the hell?" She reached for her broken Blackberry but couldn't read the screen. "MacKenzie Cooper."
There was a pause. "Miz Cooper."
She froze and her head rushed. "Yes this is she. Who is this?"
He chuckled. "I believe I have something belonging to you."
She closed her eyes. "Is he alive?"
She clutched her chest. Thank you jesus.
"Is he hurt?"
"He's ok, for now. I also believe you have something I want."
She glanced over her shoulder at Jon who was busy in conversation assuring Stephanie he was ok. "I'm not swapping them."
"I don't want to keep him. I want you and Mr Bon Jovi to meet me."
She turned away. "To meet? You have to be crazy, after what your croonies just did?" She would have to have a suicide wish for both of them to even consider it.
"That was a mistake. I want to talk."
"What in the hell could you possibly want to talk about?" She restrained herself from the more colourful words of the English language. Did he think she was stupid?
"This. I want this over just as much as you do Miz Cooper."
She scoffed. "You say that now, after you've crossed the line and I've got people looking for you and your cronies. The police have been looking for a reason to arrest your boys for a long time and you just gave them one."
"That may be so. But I'm gonna tell you right now Miz Cooper. If any coppers knock on my door I'll put a bullet through your partner's head."
She felt sick as she clutched her stomach. This nightmare just kept rolling and now David was caught in the middle of it. "I'll meet you but not Jon."
"No deal. It's him I want to talk to."
She raked her hand through her hair and blew out her breath. They'd popped the door open to the runaway and the police were waiting down on tha tarmac. "Talk to him on the phone."
"No deal. In person alone, no cops. I won't even be armed if that's what it will take for you to do it."
What in the hell did he want with Jon? She didn't get it. "Sounds lovely Blackwatch but I can't trust you after everything." She assumed that's who it was and he didn't deny it. She knew in her experience that a gang leader never did the calling so this was out of character. She couldn't take the risk and put Jon in danger again, she'd already done once that and she'd swore she'd never do it again.
"Miz Cooper. I'm aware that it must be hard for you. But make no mistake this is a one-time chance to end this once and for all and you and your boyfriend can walk away and have the freedom I've taken away from you. Otherwise I can make life very difficult for you."
Freedom. What the hell was that anymore?
"I can't. Tell me what you want now, over the phone. I've got police waiting outside this plane and it will be my word to influence what they do next."
"You know the deal. I know you're not stupid Miz Cooper. You, me and Bongiovi. Tommorrow morning eleven am, there is a cafe down in Camden called Riverside Blue on the river . I'll be there at 10am. It's public and I'll come alone."
She raised her brow. "It's not going to be possible." Let alone logistical.
"I know where you are Miz Cooper. He's Jon Bon Jovi. You'll be able to get back to New Jersey before then without a problem."
She shook her head. "No. Whatever you have to say - it can be over the phone." She couldn't risk this after everything. She just couldn't. Maybe the police could find them before anything happened. You didn't trade one life for another, no matter who they were.
"Miz Cooper. I'm giving you an hour to decide. I'm going to call back, just know I'm not usually this generous. Think carefully as we wont' stop at David if you make the wrong move." The line clicked and then it was dead. Holy shit. She felt like she was trying to swim but fighting just to tread water.
She stared blankly at her berry.
"Are you going to tell me what that was about?"
She closed her eyes and turned around. Jon was standing with his arms folded and he didn't look impressed.
"It was Blackwatch. The gang leader. He's got David and he wants to meet us to talk."
Jon cocked his brow. "You said no?"
"Of course I said no. We'd be crazy to even consider it after what just happened."
"Why don't you look convinced Kenz?"
Her hands were shaking and so she clasped them together. "He offered us our freedom if we met him and he'd be unarmed. It's just unusual he'd suggest that--of course he's probably lying as well." She had an excellent radar on her and the kid didn't sound like he was lying. She wanted to believe he was, it would be easier that way to justify not going to meet him but something niggled inside her. It was like the biggest blackjack hand of her life, one move and they could win it all-one mistake and they could all wind up dead.
"And if we didn't go?"
She had to be honest. She made that mistake too many times before with him. "He'd shoot David but warned it wouldn't stop there. Fill in the blanks."
He choked on his words. "My kids?"
"He didn't say it but he implied it. If we send the police David's dead but they'd more than likely kill him along with him. They've been after this guy for a long time."
"So a life for a life, or a life and more?"
"The police might be able to save David. C'mon we'll go and talk to them." She went for the door and he grabbed her arm.
"I want to meet him."
She stood dumbfounded and shook her head. "Did you not hear what I just said?"
"The police will only complicate things. Why lose David when we don't have to?" The fear was in his eyes but he was trying to be brave. God love him.
"Jon. I know you're just saying it because it's my guy. It would be too dangerous. He might be unarmed but he might have snipers on us." She went to go again but his grip tightened.
"You were thinking about it. I know you were and that tells me you think it's legit. Please Kenzie. What if we can have our lives back? And Davids? Please."
Tears pricked her eyes. "Jon, we can't. I know how much you want it-"
"Don't you want it too? Don't you want to be able to leave the house and not have to worry if one of us is going to get killed by one of these guys?"
She put her face in her hands. "I don't know Jon. God, it's so risky and I can't do that to you again. I just can't." She'd never forgive herself if something happened to them, hell she'd never forgive herself if something happened to David.
He pulled her hands down into his and met her gaze. "This is our decision not just yours. I'm giving you the out you want to take. So do it. I trust you." He squeezed her hands. "I trust you completely Kenzie Cooper."
"Oh god. Jon don't do this to me. I could never forgive myself..."
"You don't have to. I'm asking you to do it. I want my life back, with my children. Christ I want our life to start and it's never going to as long as we do this. They may kill Blackwatch but you know he'll have his cronies ready to kill us. Eye for an eye."
When did he ever get this? Mackenzie realized that when she was so busy trying to protect him from the truth that when she wasn't looking -- he'd already got his head around this and how they worked. It had gone beyond a client and a bodyguard. She wasn't making the decision for him now, they were making the decision for them. She jumped, he jumped. And Mackenzie realized that was exactly why she loved him. Her heart swelled and so did her tears. He was being so brave for them when it should have been her but that was ok too.
"MacKenzie. I want this. I want my freedom. Our freedom. I want it so bad and I'm to the point that I'll risk everything for it. If I can't have control of my own life..." He took a step back and shook his head, his eyes misting. "I don't want it at all."
"Ok." She shook his hands. "Ok."
He dragged her in and wrapped his arms around her tight, his nose brushed against her neck. "Thank you." His grip tightened and it lifted her off her feet. She tried desperately to shut off all that was racing through her mind, she was crazy to consider this but Jon was right. myabe it was time to put it all on the line.