Warning: I’m going to rate this one PG-13 due to violence, language, and some nsfw content.
We double checked whether anyone was near our car before getting in. David drove once again, since I was in no state to handle a vehicle right now.
He really was handling all this like a trooper. Which was probably for the best – these people were dangerous, and having a panic attack at the moment would be dangerous.
I leaned back in the car seat, trying to get a grip on my own whirlwind of emotions. So, we knew who the killer was and why. For revenge. For the same reason I even started working at Collier Enterprises.
It seemed like Marilyn and I had something in common…
I started shaking again, which David noticed. I shrugged to reassure him I was fine. Really, I had no right to be breaking down at this point. I wasn’t the one at the receiving end of all the recent problems.
“Perhaps, we should make a pit stop,” David announced. “I think this trip has given both of us enough of a shake-up to warrant some relaxing herbal teas. We need to calm down before going to the station.”
Even though I knew there was no reason to delay the police visit, I didn’t have the heart to protest. Soon, David turned into the parking lot of a popular coffee shop, called The Java Haus. As he shut off the car, I realized that his hands were also trembling. So we did both need to calm down before getting on the road again…
Once inside, we barely managed to order our beverages, trying to look normal in front of the baristas. As we settled down by the coffee shop’s fireplace, David took a deep breath and noted:
“We have to tell them everything. Even about our break in to Dad’s office. Because the impostor already knows about it and it might be something the police need to know.”
I nodded in agreement. “We also need to fill them in on the whole backstory, probably. With my parents and Aileen and her involvement with your father – that’s the motive right there. What else?”
“We’ll need to explain about Roman since he is how we knew about Aileen and since he’s someone who can attest to the fact that my mother’s computer was tampered with. I’m sure that, with everything happening, they’ll just thank him for the help with the investigation. Right?”
“I hope so. At the least, they should ask him for help tightening their own station’s security, since these impostors knew as much as they did about the investigation,” I remembered how much information the criminals were able to steal.
“Yes. They definitely knew enough to impersonate a real person in an important position. I just wish we had something solid on them, you know!” David slammed his hand on the table. “At this point, the police will only have our word for what’s going on. Would it even be enough?”
“Maybe. It’s more than nothing, right?” I understood David’s worry, though. We did lack solid proof to back what we knew. However, we knew Marilyn Johnson and that she was dating a man named Sam… I was sure Roman could assist us and the police where it came to getting more information on them.
“I’ll be right back, alright?” David stood up, heading off in the direction of the bathroom.
Nearly as soon as he left the room, my phone rang.
“Ms. Meadows, are you alright? This is Deputy Rosswell! Where are you right now?”
The older policeman sounded seriously worried.
“Yes, I’m fine, why? I’m at the coffee shop. We both are – David is here. Did something happen?”
“Thank goodness! You two are staying at Blue Moon Lodge, right? There has been a break in to your rooms! Very recently, too. And when we weren’t able to reach your David, we began to think the worst.”
“Wait, a break in? How did you know about it?” my mind was immediately on edge.
“We got a call from your hotel. Apparently, a strange man was found in Mr. Collier’s room by one of the maids and when she asked him who he was, he introduced himself as Deputy Westen. She took his word, but told the check in clerk about it, and the clerk is actually a niece of the real Mr. Westen. So, they called us in – I’m really sorry, but both of your rooms have been turned upside down. We’re at the hotel right now. I don’t know what this man was looking for, but he sure made a mess of things. How does he know you’re in town anyways?” Rosswell winded down.
“Um, David told him. We thought he was a real policeman from your department, remember?” I explained.
“Of course, of course. Look, where exactly are you? I want to send some of my men to you and bring you into the station. You should file a report – the man who broke in to you rooms matched the description you and David gave when you were here. Whenever we find him, I want as much on him as possible. And frankly, I’m sorry Ms. Meadows, but I believe you and Mr. Collier might be in danger at this time. I would rather have you somewhere my people can protect you.”
“We know who the killer is, Deputy,” I announced. “We’ve almost ran into her and the man you are looking for. I can’t give you solid proof at this point, but her name is Marilyn Johnson and his name is likely Sam. I’m sorry I don’t know any more…”
“Are you kidding me?! You had a run-in with them?! Were you investigating on your own? Young lady, do you know how much danger you were putting yourselves into?! That’s it. Where are you? Stay there until my officers and I get there!” The policeman sounded panicked.
“Of course, Deputy! We’ll be waiting for you at the Java Haus of the 5th freeway.”
I ended the call, knowing I needed to tell David what happened as fast as possible. Heading towards the bathroom, I stopped myself just before knocking – wouldn’t that be somewhat inconsiderate of me?
“You can go in, no one’s inside” the barista told me. “The man who was in there went outside for a smoke. Can you believe he tried to light up inside?”
He was outside?! Ok, calm down, Irene. There was nothing wrong with going outside. Only that there were real criminals in town, looking for us…
Luckily, at that very moment, David came back in through the backdoor of the café.
“Hey, sorry if I worried you! I just really needed a cigarette, and there’s no smoking allowed inside… what’s wrong?” he noticed asked, noticing my blanched face.
“They broke into our rooms, David. The Deputy just called me. He’s saying he’s coming here with a patrol to get us to the station safely. I told him we ran into them and he totally flipped. He’s saying we’re probably in danger.” The words just kept spilling out of my mouth.
David’s mouth dropped open. He motioned towards the front of the shop. Turning around, I saw two people coming up the stairs of the coffee shop: Fake Westen and Marilyn.
What was it with our luck today?
Quickly thinking, David grabbed me and pulled me back into the bathroom which, was near enough, and shut the door.
“It’s ok, it’s unisex, no one will complain. Can you call the Deputy and tell him they’re here? I think I left my phone in the car.”
I nodded. Of course I could do that.
The Deputy picked up on the first ring “Irene? What’s the situation?”
“They’re here, Deputy Rosswell. The Marylin and Sam I told you about are in this very coffee shop right now. We’re hiding out in the bathroom, so they haven’t seen us yet.”
“Hang in there! We’re already on the way. Try to avoid them if possible, and if you must confront them, make sure there are many witnesses, ok?”
“Of course. We’ll do just that.”
Once the call ended, we pressed our ears to the door and listened. As it turned out, Marilyn and Sam have settled very close to the bathroom door, so their conversation was audible.
Remembering my last missed chance, I took out my phone this time and set it to record.
“So, that maid saw you? You don’t think she’s going to be trouble, do you?” Marilyn asked.
“No, I told her I was searching the premises on a police order,” Sam brushed off, nonchalantly.
“I wouldn’t be so calm about that. I think it’s time for you to stop using that pseudonym since you’re in Twinbrook now. Someone might catch on,” Marilyn replied disapprovingly.
“It’s a big city, not some small town with only one police station. You tell them you’re the deputy, show the right paperwork — they think it’s true. People aren’t as smart as you think, Lyn.”
“Your carelessness will get us in trouble, one of these days,” Marilyn half-hissed. “I didn’t spend months getting close to that scumbag only for you to blow the whole thing.”
I heard a sharp intake of breath from David. No doubt, it couldn’t have been pleasant to hear about how this woman finished off his father.
“It was your choice to get as close as you did. I told you I’ll figure out a better way to get the key. You really didn’t have to sleep with him for it,” Sam continued.
His voice sounded bitter — no doubt Sam wasn’t happy about Marilyn “cheating” on him with Lionel Colier.
“Quiet! Someone will hear!” Marilyn hissed again.
Sam laughed “Who? The barista who just went on break? Or the one who just slunk off to the backroom, with Netflix on her phone? There’s no one in this café but us.”
“You’re still too careless. And you know I had to gain that loser’s trust in order to be close enough to give him you-know-what,” Marilyn mentioned.
“There were other ways to accomplish that,” Sam argued.
“Maybe. But I wanted to do it myself, is all,” Marilyn admitted, smugly. “So, did you at least find what you were looking for in that room?”
The silence that followed bordered on awkward. It seemed as if Sam wasn’t as comfortable with his girlfriend’s bloodthirsty side as he let on. Finally he muttered “Of course, of course. It only makes sense. And no, they don’t even have a computer with them. If anyone’s been snooping online for us, it’s most likely not one of them.”
“So, what are you planning to do with the guy?” Marilyn asked. “I’m sure, after the mess you’ve made in his room, he’ll be on the first plane out of here.”
David and I exchanged a look. They were talking about him.
“I don’t know, Lyn. He seems pretty harmless. And it’s not like he’s important or anything. I say, let him get on that plane and get the hell out of here. One less problem for us,” Sam offered.
“Are you kidding me? ‘Let him get the hell out of here’?!!! After all the effort we’ve put into bringing him here? I don’t think so,” Marilyn sounded offended.
“Well, what do you have in mind? I do have that video of him breaking into his father’s office, but I fail to see how that will do much. He was hardly breaking any laws by being in his own father’s office.”
“His records show anxiety, panic attacks, and a full on mental breakdown, Sam. It wouldn’t be too hard to set up an overdose from one of the usual medications for these conditions,” Marilyn proposed. “That would get him out of the way, for sure.”
“You don’t think it would be suspicious if both Collier kids die of an overdose?” Sam asked.
“An overdose isn’t the same as alcohol poisoning. Besides, no one suspected any foul play the last time,” Marilyn rebuffed.
“Oh my god,” David whispered. “It was them. They’re responsible for Emily.”
And before I could stop him, he rushed out of the bathroom, screaming, “You bastards!!! You killed my sister!!!”
Sam and Marilyn looked like they just saw a ghost. Unfortunately, this only lasted for a few moments, before Sam sprang to his feet, and barreled into David, who responded in kind by pushing Sam back, forcing him to the floor, and starting to pummel him with his fists.
Marilyn screamed, and pulled a gun out of her jacket, pointing it at David. Before she could pull the trigger, I rushed up and managed to push her up against the wall, pointing her gun away from the fighting men.
Unsurprisingly, she was quite strong. Of course, all that pent up anger and poison must have been making her fight harder than an average individual.
“Little bitch, don’t think I don’t know who you are. What, you think you’re going to get a piece of their money by cuddling up to him?” Marilyn growled. “I hate the whole bunch of you.”
“Well, the feeling is mutual, Marilyn. But guess what? You’re a fucking murderer. And you are going to jail for what you did. Both of you,” I spat back, making sure her arms were restrained. I found myself glad that I’ve started weight training with Lana all those months ago. Otherwise, I would have stood no chance against Marilyn right now.
I glanced over at David – he also seemed to hold his own. I’ve suspected that he used to seriously work out in college and fortunately, he clearly still had enough muscle strength to overpower the slimmer Sam.
Sam however, was not going down without a fight. He seemed to understand that we overheard their conversation and he was giving it all to getting out of David’s hold. By the looks of it, David was going to be hurting all over for a while after this fight, provided we came out of it alive.
My momentary lapse in attention enabled Marilyn to wrench herself out of my grasp, and raise her gun. My attempt to overpower her again was met with a kick to the stomach, so hard that it forced me to double down.
“Irene!” David screamed, jumping off Sam and rushing toward us.
Sam made to rise to his feet, and Marilyn was indecisive on which one of us she wanted to shoot first.
This is the only thing that saved us, because the next second, an entire patrol of police officers came barreling through the doors of the coffee shop.
“Drop that gun! Hands up where we can see them!” Rosswell bellowed.
Marilyn dropped the gun. She knew her game was over, just as Sam did. He got up to his feet with both hands raised. “Don’t shoot. We’ll cooperate. I’ll cooperate.”
Marilyn hissed under her breath again “Weak. I always knew you were weak.”
Deputy Rosswell cleared his throat. “Marylin Johnson, Samuel Carson, you are both under arrest for murder and fabrication. You have the right to remain silent. You also have a right to a lawyer. If you can’t afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you.” He paused for a second before adding, “Although we both know it would take a freaking miracle for you idiots for any defender to keep you out of jail. Now, get in the car.”
As the two criminals were taken away, the deputy made his way towards us.
“Hello, Mr. Collier, Ms. Meadows. I’m sorry we couldn’t get here sooner. But those two are going to be under the strictest watch now. You can give me your statements later. Right now, you both need a doctor.”
David and I just nodded. He was covered in bruises from his fight and my stomach hurt like I’ve been ran over by a car. Marilyn had more strength than one would have expected from her and I’ve experienced it on myself in the worst way.
As we were taken to the hospital, I asked the deputy, who chose to ride with us, “So, is Selma Collier clear now? They are the ones responsible for Lionel’s death. And for so many other things, it seems. I recorded their conversation at the shop – there is no way they can walk out of that one.”
“Once they are booked, Selma is free to go. She’ll probably need to give her statements too and press her own charges. She was a victim of their activity as well.” He paused. “However, if she is proved to be involved with Lionel Collier’s criminal activities, she may need to stand trial, still.”
“I see,” David muttered. “We’ll get through it. After today, we’ll get through anything.”
“Yes,” I agreed. “We will.”
At the hospital, we were both treated for our bruises and sent home with a mostly clean bill of health – a few relaxing hot baths would sure help, but neither of us was significantly injured, just very sore.
We both gave our statements that same evening. My phone recording and Sam’s and Marilyn’s behavior at the coffee shop were enough to make the police book them on numerous charges and eventually, at their lawyer’s honest advice, they talked, admitting to all the crimes they’ve committed. Also, even if they hadn’t, some footage surfaced from Lionel Collier’s hotel, which clearly showed Marilyn there with him. She had no one to blame but herself, of course.
Two days later, Selma Collier was released from jail, with a warning not to leave town. David was rejoiced, happy for a chance to finally patch things up with his mother, since she was, now, his only remaining family member.
Four days later, Selma Collier violated her order not to leave the city by arranging a private flight to Dubai.
In a letter she wrote to David, which he dejectedly showed me that evening, she explained that she knew police will find incriminating things in the leaked files. She was involved in Lionel’s activities to a certain extent, after all. And she knew Dubai had no extradition treaties with our country. Besides, as she put it, after everything that happened, even if she didn’t have legal reasons to run, she would have anyways. She needed a fresh start. She hoped David understood.
“I guess I just wanted a fresh start for both of us, you know. Mom and I never really saw eye to eye, but I hoped we’ll be able to come together in grief, or something. I guess it was too unrealistic to hope for it, though,” David admitted.
“I’m sorry. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling right now. But you know, you can always talk to me if you feel alone. I’m here for you,” I reassured him. We were sitting on the floor in his motel room, trying to watch some old detective noir, but it wasn’t that great. So we just talked.
“I know. You’ve been here for me this whole time. Even when I didn’t deserve it,” David smiled.
“Didn’t deserve it? Why? You haven’t done anything wrong you know. If anything, if not for your decision to come here and investigate, these people will still be on the loose. I think we’ve done society a favor, don’t you?
“Yeah, we make a good team!” he laughed.
I laughed back “We do, don’t we?”
Suddenly, we were both too aware of how close the other one was sitting. His gray eyes were on mine and I don’t know for sure which one of us made the first move, but the next moment our lips met in the hottest kiss I’ve ever experienced, and his arm was on the small of my back and I was moving to remove his shirt…
“Wait,” he pulled away, panting “I just want to make sure you aren’t doing this to make me feel better. It wouldn’t be right and I’d never forgive myself if I let you.”
“I don’t do things out of pity, David. Sleeping with you won’t be something I’ll regret. Will you?”
“Oh, hell no!” he smiled. “Where were we, then?”
“Let me remind you.”
Let’s just say, neither one of us slept until much, much later that night.
As I’ve already posted over at Tumblr, this is my default IreneXDavid song.
Thanks for sticking with my legacy. All of my followers mean a lot for me.