Sunday, October 7, 2012

“Ms. Reynolds, it’s nice to see you again.” He stood to greet her. The tingle again shot up his arm as they touched.
Angie smiled. The chemistry between them was still there. “I brought you a housewarming gift, Rose’s fudge nut brownies. I hope you like chocolate.”
“Can’t get enough.” Nick took the plate and grabbed the big one on top. “I haven’t gotten around to dessert at Rose’s yet.” He took a bite. “Wow, these are amazing. Would you like one?”
“No, I think I’ve eaten a few hundred over the years.”
“It certainly doesn’t show.” Nick smiled, enjoying the buzz he got when she was around.
“Thank you.” Angie lowered her eyes and felt her cheeks flush.
“I was just about to take a walk. Would you like to join me?” Nick didn’t feel comfortable inviting her in. There was a strong, obvious connection between them. He found her charm and beauty overwhelming.
“I’d love to.” Angie and Nick walked along the shore in the setting sun.
“How do you like Minnesota so far?”
“It’s great. Not what I expected. Everyone’s gone out of their way to make me feel at home.”
“Yeah, it’s why they call it ‘Minnesota nice’.”
“That phrase fits perfectly,” Nick said. They walked on, nearing the wooded peninsula. There was a loud rustling in the brush next to them. Startled, Angie grabbed onto Nick, pulling herself to him. He looked into her eyes that were wide with fear. God, she was beautiful. The blood raced through his veins, a potent cocktail of adrenaline and lust. They pressed closer together, not caring what sort of beast watched from the woods. Lost in the moment his mouth found hers, deep and demanding. A moan escaped her lips. He could tell she was a strong, passionate woman by the way she returned his kiss. Another loud rustle in the bushes broke the spell. Angie pulled away and Nick instinctively reached for his gun which was back in California. He felt naked, helpless to protect himself or the woman he was with.
“We should probably get moving. We get the occasional bear and wolf around here. Whatever it is, it sounds pretty big,” Angie said anxiously.
Nick placed himself between Angie and the woods as they made their way back to the house. “I wish someone had told me that. I won’t be napping on the deck anymore.” Survive years on the streets of L.A. only to come to Minnesota and be eaten by a bear.
“The bears are just looking for garbage and the wolves are more scared of you than you are of them. Just don’t leave your dog tied out. It’s an easy meal.”
“I’ll remember that when I get a dog.” Nick nodded thoughtfully.
“I should get going,” Angie said.
“I’ll walk you to your car. It feels kind of funny not having my gun,” Nick said.
“A hand gun probably wouldn’t be much use against a bear, just make him mad.”
“About what happened back there,” Nick said, embarrassed by his actions.
Angie felt the color rise to her cheeks. “It was intense, but nice. I work the evening shift at Rose’s this week; stop by sometime.”
“I’ll do that,” he said, and headed into the house. He walked past the entryway mirror. “Get that stupid smile off your face,” he scolded himself out loud. It had been such a long time since he smiled or felt truly happy. He walked out onto the second floor deck, hoping the cold lake breeze would put out the fire Angie had stirred in him. Nick heard the mournful cries of a solitary goose, waiting for the mate that would never return. A wave of emptiness washed over him.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nick was the best detective Jack had ever worked with. He saw things and felt things that went unnoticed by others. If Nick said it was so, you could bet your life on it, and that’s exactly what they were doing now. Jack grabbed his coat and followed his headstrong friend. Nick shot him a “don’t even think about it” look, and headed off into the rainy night. Jack waited, hidden by the darkness, as Nick drove off to meet his destiny.

The eternal struggle of good and evil would be replayed tonight and with the grace of God, good would once again be triumphant. Davis was an off-the-chart psychopath: a brutal, methodical killer who fed off the pain and terror he inflicted on others.

The rain came down hard and Nick strained to see beyond the hypnotic rhythm of the wipers. The red light on the unmarked car pulsed like a beating heart as he wove his way through the late night traffic. Driving like a man trying to escape the demons that were chasing him. He disregarded every traffic rule in the book, but then Nick never had been one for rules. He thought of the old adage his grandma often used when referring to him-‘Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread.’ Fool was an apt description of himself, he thought, especially in times like these.

Jack didn’t try to keep up with Nick; it was useless. He knew where Nick was headed. As homicide cops, they usually got involved after the fact. This time it would be different; it was a matter of life and death.

Nick brought his car to a stop down the block from the abandoned warehouse. Unlike the last time he faced Davis; tonight there would be no backup and no margin for error. He un-holstered his gun and take it off safety. The rain let up as he made his way down the filthy alley. His heart thundered in his ears and his breath grew short as panic seized him. “What the hell am I doing here alone?” He thought. Somehow he knew Jack wasn’t far behind. Carl Davis wasn’t like the others he had encountered before; his insanity gave him an edge. That sudden rush of adrenaline just when you thought he was finished. Pain meant nothing to him and he was willing to take risks others weren’t, a trait that Nick also shared. Last time it had taken four cops and a bullet in the chest to bring him down, Nick’s bullet.

Nick reached for the door handle; the knob twisted in his hand and clicked. It was unlocked, how convenient. He held his breath and gently pushed on the battered steel door. He paused for a moment wondering what fate awaited him on the other side. The hair on the back of his neck bristled in anticipation. He pressed his back to the wall and moved slowly down the dark corridor. He cringed as rats scurried in front of him; Nick couldn’t stand rats. When he was ten, the neighborhood bully had stuffed him in a trunk with a bunch of rats, not something you forget. He still carried the physical and emotional scars from the ordeal. Had Carl Davis been the victim or the bully as a child? Had being pushed one too many times created the monster Nick now faced today? Could man’s inhumanity to man be neatly broken down to a specific time and place that unleashed the beast from within?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

   Kathy smiled when they pulled up to Nick’s house, it was rustic but in a modern kind of way. Four or five of his house could have fit inside of hers. He grabbed her suitcases and led her inside.
   “It’s very nice, very you.” Kathy said, looking around. Dark leather sofas and chunky wood furniture gave the house a woodsy, masculine feel. It suited Nick well. It was the kind of furniture he could put his feet up on. He always complained her furniture looked nice but wasn’t made for comfort.
   “What a view,” she exclaimed as she opened the door and went out on to the deck. A gentle breeze sent ripples across the lake and rustled the leaves in the trees above her head.
   “I don’t want you going outside alone, the wildlife here is very wild.” Nick said, from the doorway.
   “What do you mean?” She asked.
   “Bears, wolves and I don’t know what else.” Nick shrugged.
   Kathy hurried inside and closed the door behind her.
   “Come on.” He led her up the stairs. “This one faces the lake. I thought you might like it better.” He set her suitcase down on the bed. “I think this is for the best right now. I hope you understand.” His arms were crossed and he was looking at her over the top of his dark glasses.
   Kathy nodded, too stunned to speak. He wasn’t going to make this easy on her. There’d be no all is forgiven roll in the sack this time. For once in their relationship Nick had taken control. She wasn’t quite sure how she felt about the shift in power.
   “The food’s getting cold, let’s eat,” Nick demanded.
   He opened the bag Angie brought him and took a big whiff, a bacon cheeseburger and fries. Nick’s stomach growled. He had overslept and missed breakfast this morning.
   “I can’t eat that. Is the woman trying to kill you?” Kathy gasped.
   “Death by bacon cheeseburger. What a way to go. I’ve got some fish and salad in the fridge.” Nick knew what she needed. He heated the fish in the microwave and brought her plate to the table.
   “Is it serious?” Kathy asked.
   Nick chewed and swallowed. “My love of bacon cheeseburgers is very serious.” He didn’t want to have the conversation because he wasn’t sure of the answer. As strong as his feelings were for Kathy, this new relationship excited him. He didn’t have to compete for Angie’s attention; she was there, ready and willing to give of herself.
   “You know what I mean,” she said, gently touching Nick’s hand.
   He looked into her eyes and saw fear there. “Could be, I don’t know. You know what I want, Kathy.   I’m not willing to compromise anymore. We’ve been down this road too many times, baby. I’ve loved you since the minute I laid eyes on you but it’s all or nothing no matter what I feel for you. I have to do this for me. We don’t want to end up hating each other later.”
   “I understand. This is too important to get wrong.” She poked at the food on her plate. How could this be happening to them? All she had to do was say ‘yes Nicky, I’ll marry you’ and all would be forgiven. The biggest part of her wanted to say those words but the fear ran too deep. How could you lose what you never had? She’d never have to sit and wonder if one day he would leave her. If one day he would wake up and not love her anymore. Her way had always been safer but now she was paying the price and she would lose him anyway.
   “Please eat. I’ve got to get back to work. We’ll talk later. You keep everything locked up tight. I’ll set the alarm. Don’t go out and don’t let anyone in, and I mean anyone. Do you understand me? I’m leaving you all my numbers. We don’t have a clue who this psycho is.”
    Kathy wished she could make him understand. She let him into her heart and soul. He was the only man who ever stayed, the only man she ever loved.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

   Evening found Kathy and Nick curled up on the couch. “I wish you’d give up that damn job before it kills you. It’s not like we need the money. Every night could be as wonderful as this one.”
   “It’s a nice dream Kathy, but what would I do when you’re on location? I can’t spend the rest of my life chasing you around the world. Police work is in my blood, just like acting is in yours. It doesn’t seem like we’ll ever have anything more than we do now.” Nick got up and paced around the room before rejoining Kathy back on the couch. “I need more, Kathy. We’ve been playing house for five years. Maybe it’s time to make some choices. I’m in my forties; I don’t have the luxury of your youth.”
Kathy’s silence said more than words could. 
   “Can’t we talk about this in the morning when we’re more rested? I think it’s been a long day for the both of us,” she whispered in his ear. She stood up and flashed him that killer smile that made him putty in her hands. She had become very skilled at avoiding the subject of commitment. She reached out her hand and led him boldly into the bedroom. Nick was too tired to argue with her. He knew he was fighting a losing battle but what a way to go.
   “I bet you had some pretty little nurse help you with this,” she teased as she unbuttoned his shirt.
   “I can’t help what happens when I’m unconscious.” Nick smiled.
   “You are so bad.” She ran her hands over his scarred flesh, kissing each one as she went. Each one of those hurt her as much as they had him. The only thing she wanted now was to make the pain stop for the both of them. She unfastened his pants and let them fall to the floor. Kathy slowly took off each piece of her clothing until nothing remained but that glorious body he craved. Kathy moved in close and pressed her soft warm body against his hard muscular one; they fell back gently onto the bed.
   “Isn’t that what you love about me, baby?” He needed her so desperately his whole body ached. He leaned forward to taste her lips; a searing pain shot through his body. “I’m sorry baby, this isn’t going to work.” He fell back onto the bed.
   “Do you want me, Nicky?” She murmured.
   “What a crazy thing to ask, you know how much I do,” he said, pulling her down on top of him. His mouth came down on hers, demanding a response she willingly gave. “It’s been so long, baby; I wish I could show you.” He needed to possess and be possessed by her.
   Nick watched as Kathy in all her naked glory left the room. He closed his eyes. It looked like he was going to be sleeping alone tonight. Kathy came back and crawled on top of him. “Take this sweetie,” she said, handing him his pain medication.
   “It’s a great idea, but all this is going to do is put me to sleep.”
    “Let me make love to you, Nicky.”