Quiet Lost is a story of betrayal, murder, love and lost love. It will require several chapters to tell Neil’s story.
Monday, September 14
“Bro, I love your car,” Brad said, glad his bother wasn’t with him, as he turned the music louder and took off too fast from a red light, glancing over both shoulders to see if there might be any comers to a little racing; wanting to show off the 400 hp, twin-turbo V8.
He hit his palm lightly on the steering wheel, “I bet your owner doesn’t have any idea how sweet you are. He’s probably never even opened you up. Until I came along, I’m sure you were still a virgin.”
He had spent all afternoon playing with the Dynamic Driving Control, trying out all the options, analyzing the feel, expertly defining what actions must be occurring under the hood, amazed by the seamless performance of the six-speed autobox. He was willing to bet good money his boring bother had never taken the new 750i out of its Normal mode.
He had turned Neil’s cell phone off early that morning – it seemed to ring constantly interrupting his nap time, and he wasn’t about to answer it. It would be back in Neil’s hands soon enough.
He wished his cell would ring and be someone other than his brother. He really wanted to talk to Calista. He was worried about her; why hadn’t she called him? Had those men from the bar done something to her? (Humph – only one guy now – damn, Neil killed one – he had to keep reminding himself.)
He thought they had to be part of the Xatala family. He should have paid more attention during the times Calista would deal with them, but she insisted that that was her job; she was Mexican like them and she was protecting him. “Besides, mi amor, you are much better to take care of the street business.”
He’d set up an efficient drive-up method of meeting his clients and moving them along – perfected it, really – his brother would be proud if he wasn’t such a stiff. Nobody got hurt by gonj anyway. If everyone partook, war would go out of style, crime would become extinct. Peace and love would abide. He was a perfect example; the only time he lost his cool was when he was lucid.
But he didn’t like selling rock, and luckily he didn’t have to often. When he did, it made him nervous and jumpy. Calista said she’d keep it out of their inventory as best she could. Damn, he missed her. He could really sink into a little bit of her heat right now.
He sped up the on-ramp of US-36 and headed northwest. Time to return his brother’s car. It was about dinner hour, and he was hungry; Samantha would have something good cooking. Maybe Neil had cooled off enough that he could move back into the guest room for a night or two.
Forty-five minutes later he turned onto Pikes Peak Way. The sun had set, and though twilight lingered, the tree lined street was dark with shadows. He moved to the middle of the road to go around a big black Escalade parked just before the Durham’s drive. Lights came on and the vehicle lurched forward. “HEY!” Brad slammed on his brakes and pulled left to avoid a collision; watched the California plates speed away.
“Shit, what’s the hurry?” He turned right into the long drive. He didn’t see his truck. Good, no Neil yet. Samantha will invite me to stay.
The front door was wide open. “Sam? Cassie? It’s too damn cold to leave the door open,” he called as he walked in.
A wrongness hit him; too quiet – the stillness of death.
“NO!” He started toward Cassie, glimpsed Samantha’s limp arm behind the sofa, ran to her. He saw the certainty of her death and went back to Cassie. He felt for her pulse, weak but there.
He started to pull his cell from his pocket, but stopped and looked for the house phone, found it on the kitchen counter, called 911.
“A woman has been murdered and a young girl is hurt BAD. Send an ambulance NOW! 901 Pikes Peak Way.”
He leaned over, fingers stroking her cheek, smoothing her hair and whispered in her ear, “I love you, little girl, but I have to leave right now. Help is on the way. You’ll be OK.” He switched the phone to speaker.
“Sir, sir, are you there? An ambulance is coming; stay on the line,” he heard the dispatcher say as he kissed Cassie softly on the forehead and laid the phone next to her ear.
Click on Quiet Lost: Chapter 12 to the right.