MJ 2: The Violin Casebymadam_noe©
The door swung open to reveal a small woman in a green dress. "Yes, officer?" she said evenly.
I flashed the badge and swallowed. "I need to speak with a Mr. Viktor Petrov, is he home?"
"Yes, yes, come in. What's wrong?"
"Wait here," she said and so I stood there as she climbed the high stairs. From somewhere deep in the house angelic music swayed out, and I found it seducing. Not in a way I'd ever felt before, and holy hell, I discovered I liked culture.
The music stopped and green came back with a man in black trailing, a violin and bow in hand. He saw me and ducked back in his room as green came down. "Viktor will be here in a moment."
I took my hat off just as I used to, and held it behind my back. Outside Finn was watching me from a van like he used to from a cruiser. For a moment I could almost believe I was still a cop.
"What is the matter?" Viktor asked as he came down the stairs. "Officer..."
"Finn," I said with a crooked smile at Finn's joke. Viktor Petrov didn't seem like a namby pamby, he wasn't handsome, his rocky features forbade that, his hair so light it was nearly white and his eyes a shade of blue I'd only ever seen on huskies. He was commanding, however. When he reached the floor I saw he was two inches shorter than me, below average for a man, but his shoulders were broad and there was a confidence there I never really saw in most people.
"Are you here about my violin?"
"No," I said, raising my eyebrow.
"Then what?" He ushered me into a parlor that was decorated in light blue and natural wood tones, almost matching his coloring.
"Well, this is connected to the violin. We ran a background on you to see if there were any leads, and something came up." I sat on the sofa where he pointed.
"Yes?" he said impatiently, and sat across from me on a chair that looked like it'd break with just his weight.
"A credit card of yours had an unusual charge."
"Yes?" he sat back and folded his arms in a strange manner.
"This one," I pulled out a piece of paper with the numbers. "It was used to buy a disposable phone in St. Louis last week."
He reached for it and something made an alarm go off, and then those incredible eyes bored into mine like he could see past the lies. "This is the card that I use only for my violin. Nothing else."
I looked down and saw it. A tattoo on his hand. My heart started to pump and looked him over. He could easily disguise himself as a kid, but I couldn't see him skulking around Boy's Town.
"My tattoo. You know it, Miss Jackson?"
I gasped and went for my gun. He moved like lightning, faster than me, and when he sat back down he had my gun in his hands. I watched him eject the cartridge and pull the bullet from the chamber before setting it back down. He was a pro.
My heart was pumping at a million miles a minute as we stared at one another.
"I know who you are; I've been watching you. The tattoo is a sign of brotherhood, a brotherhood that, like the police, has failed to find my violin. I know your man Finnegan stole it, and I know it was stolen from him. All I don't know is who stole it from Finnegan, and I want it back."
Brotherhood meant gang, and he was Russian which meant...I was fucked. "I have names, I can give them to you right now."
"The men who insured Mr. Finnegan are gone now. So is the man who helped steal the violin, only he was killed before we got to him. Miss Jackson, I believe you may be the only one who stands a chance to recover my violin."
"Finn's paying me for to find it." If I wasn't careful I was dead, and my brain scrambled.
"He has a man in Rome buying it. Maybe half a million, for me, my cut."
He sat back but I was no less threatened. "I will give you a million. I will not kill you. All I ask is for the violin to be here, in my possession, within twenty four hours."
I gulped. That was a tall order since I was out of clues. "That means double crossing Finn, and he's a dangerous man."
He fingered the spider web tattoo as if it were a freckle. "And I'm not?"
"All right. Twenty four hours."
He took the piece of paper and pulled a pen from across the table, scribbling down a number. "The boy who tried to warn you, call him at this number when you discover the location."
I took it in trembling hands and forced a smile. "All right."
He slid the gun across the table and stood. "Now leave my house, and do not come back without the violin."
I scrambled up and out the door, almost pissing my pants.
I walked on trembling legs to the van and slid in to a thunderous look in Finn's face. "Marly, the investors are dead."
No shit, I thought, and forced a frown. "Fuck."
"That means Thomas Kincaid is the last lead. He must have talked."
"I was just thinking the same thing. Take me back to my office."
"Why?" Finn said and put the van in drive.
"I have to get ready. I have a date with Kincaid this afternoon."
I wouldn't meet his eyes, for more reasons that I wanted to think of.
I dressed with care in heels I could run in, a flowy skirt than wouldn't hinder me, and three guns under my jacket. Jesus, I thought, Sam Spade never had to face this.
I was smart, all right, not the smartest, but one of the brightest bulbs on the Christmas strand. It helped sometimes, and hurt me others. Right now I hoped Finn hadn't caught up, because I had a plan.
"Marly!" Thomas said, and kissed me lightly on the lips. He took my arm and guided me up the last steps. "Are you ready for an adventure?"
If my guess was correct, then he had no idea. "I'm ready for anything."
He winked at me, and then we went inside, and I could almost feel Finn's eyes bore a hole in my back from some unseen location. I needed time, that was all I needed.
"Where do you want to start?"
I smiled and went left. "What did you say the name of your book was?"
He followed with a hand on the small of my back. "The Blue Violin. Why?"
I trailed a finger down his arm and smiled. "I hope I get to read it, some day."
He smiled down at me as we stopped in front of a sculpture. "I hope so too."
I reached down into my purse and when I felt the object inside, knew with every bone in my body I had it figured out. All I needed was some time, or I'd be as cold as the marble in front of me.
"Tell me about this one," he said.
I took a deep steadying breath, and began to use my college degree for the first time in my life.
The museum had been fun, actually. Thomas was smart, sexy, funny, easygoing. It was a shame, really. Dinner followed, and it was easy to talk him back to his apartment, and with some drinks I made him shudder with my suggestion.
I tied him up on the same X rack I'd been on the day before, and I made sure it was tight. I stripped slowly, watching his eyes watch me as I undulated to music in my mind. My nipples were taught in the cool air, my pussy wet, and I walked to him naked.
"Lick my pussy," I said, and slammed it onto his face.
He licked quickly, his tongue circling my clit and flicking it. I grabbed the bars above him and held on as he took me higher and higher until I broke, screaming, my legs shaking with the orgasm.
He smiled up at me, his face wet with my juices. I returned the smile with hollowness in my eyes, and walked to the table where my jacket lay. I picked up a gun, cocked it, and walked back.
"What the bloody hell are you doing?"
I put it between his eyes. "Where's the violin, Thomas?"
"What? I don't know what you're talking about!"
I pulled back and shot off a toe. He screamed high and began to bleed profusely. When he didn't stop I backhanded him and his filmy eyes met mine.
"Where's the violin, Thomas?"
"In the safe," he spat out.
"In the bedroom?" I pointed at his other pinky toe.
"Yes!" He screamed.
His eyes glittered now, focused with hatred, and I squeezed the trigger. "Thirty four, nineteen, twelve!"
"Good boy," I cooed and stroked his head in a parody of what he'd done to me when I'd been on the rack. The safe was behind a large painting, a real Miro, and I gingerly set the painting down on the carpet. Opening the giant safe I saw two violins, identical, and my heart sunk to have my suspicions confirmed.
I grabbed them both, one awkwardly with my gun, and brought them back, setting them on the table and jerking it into his line of sight. "Which one is the real one, which one is the fake?"
He stared at them both, his lips pursed.
"Your first mistake was stealing from the mob, the Russian mafia, dumbass. You had to know this was coming."
"You're not one of them, you bitch!"
I shot off a pinky finger and his scream was higher. I slapped him quickly knowing he'd go into shock soon so I had moments. "Which one is the real one! Lie to me and you die."
He looked between the two as did I. "The one of the left, you cunt!"
I stepped back and smiled. "Thomas, I bought your book."
He began to curse and railed at me, struggling at the bonds and promising me a horrid death. I shot him in the left eye and his body jerked once, then went limp.
I grabbed the one on the right and pulled a disposable phone from my pocket. I dialed Viktor's kid assistant's number and got a curt answer.
"This is Marly Jackson. I have it."
I gave him the address and hung up, beginning to organize. I put the fake back into the safe and began to clean up. I put Thomas' body in the shower and ran the water to take the blood down the drain, then used TP and bleach to clean up, flushing the soaked TP.
For a moment I stared down at Thomas and shuddered. It had been cold blooded murder, but if I'd believed him on the violin, I would be dead, and he'd known that. Still, it was going to take a lot to repair my conscience.
It took longer to pull the bullets from the wall and his head, and when I was done the kid was there. One look at him and I knew, and the last steps to my plan fell into place with a resounding lock.
I was safe, for the moment.
Viktor was in a tuxedo, his bow tie loose around his neck. He'd been performing that night, and his eyes looked darker.
The kid gave him the violin and it was like watching two lovers, long parted, reunited. The second he had the violin I pulled my gun out and grabbed the kid so fast his hat fell off. Underneath was a dead ringer for Viktor Petrov, minus thirty years.
"Viktor, I have your son here."
The violin came down with a curtain of violence in his eyes. "So I see. I seem to recall we had a deal."
"And I know how you people work. His number? I gave it to a friend. Anything happens to me and they'll find your son and kill him much slower than I did Thomas Kincaid."
His lips thinned to almost nothing. "What do you want?"
"I want my million and safe passage. I die, your son dies."
"Fine. Let him go and I'll wire you the money."
I shook my head. "Get a phone and wire now, then I'll let him go."
For a moment he stared at me, deciding, and my fate hung in the balance. I let my breath go when he pulled a phone from a desk and dialed a number. He spoke in rapid Russian and then glanced at me like I was an insect. "Account number?"
I rattled off the routing and account numbers and after a few minutes he put it on speaker so I could hear in Russian and English that it was transferred.
He hung up and I bent down to his son's ear. "Pull out my cell phone from my left pocket."
His son trembled but did so, holding it out on a shaky hand. I looked up. "Now I'm going to call Finn and tell him Thomas Kincaid has the violin in his house. It's a fake, a good one, and I'll make sure a new appraiser won't say otherwise. When the Roman calls, laugh it off, Petrov."
He held a hand up, the violence dying into...a strange kind of admiration. "How did you discover this?"
"I read Kincaid's book. He talked about a rare Stradivarius, one with a blue tint. Your Stradivarius, Petrov. It's been considered lost for sometime, changing hands in the underworld. I saw pictures of you playing and knew it was yours. It was easy to see from his writings he planned on stealing it and unveiling it to the world for riches and acclaim."
"So why didn't he? Because of the brotherhood?"
"Exactly. He was laying low, but Finnegan's theft threatened to expose that he stole it the first time he appraised it; when you bought it years ago."
That was met with twin gasps, and I nodded. "He killed innocent people to protect himself and now he's dead. Isn't he?" I asked junior who nodded. "Now you have the real thing, I have my money, and Finnegan will sell a very, very good fake to the Roman, and I get to walk out of here."
"Interesting, Miss Jackson. I admire your brains and skill, but surely you know that threatening my son...Do not ever let us meet again, Miss Jackson."
"Count on it," I said.
I made the kid dial Finnegan and when he answered, let the kid go. "Finn," I said, and turned around for the door. "You have anyone disposable on your payroll?"
I walked out into the night and quickly made haste for the shadows, not that there were many in rich neighborhoods. "Why?" he asked.
"The violin is in Kincaid's safe, his body is in the shower. He's your thief, and this will be a lot cleaner with fingerprints in Kincaid's room other than mine."
"You slept with him." This was a statement, made with a dark growl.
I made my way towards a train station quickly. "I did what the job took. You have your violin and I know a good man to appraise it for you."
For long moments there was silence, and I feared I'd dropped the call. "Thank you," he finally said, but his voice dripped with sarcasm.
"Alex Griffin, in the jeweler's building."
"You'll have your money soon, Marly."
I hung up without saying another word.
I woke up to heat and my foggy brain saw only dark. Then I realized the erotic dream was real, that Finn's mouth was on my breast, his fingers inside me.
"Finn," I groaned and stretched, gasping when his fingers inside me curled.
"Damn skippy," he said, and then he was on top of me.
He parted my legs roughly and slammed inside so deep he hit my cervix. I cried out in surprised pain, and then he was moving. He fucked me with his cock, hard fingers, and teeth that left bite marks.
Just when my pleasure caught up to his he pulled out, flipped me over, and dragged me to my knees. He slammed in again, even deeper, and bit my shoulder hard. I recognized this as a claiming, and then he jerked my hair in his fist.
I cried out and was rewarded with a thumb screwing into my ass. A rush of moisture drenched his pumping cock and I came with a long wail. Finn made me cum six more times, and by the time he came I was bloody, bruised, and more satisfied than I'd ever been.
He collapsed onto his butt, panting, and I crawled to the desk and flipped the light on. I glanced at the clock as I lit two cigarettes, then sat down and gave him one.
"It's not even six, what the hell?"
"Griffin got up early, the violin is on it's way, and a petty thief will go down for murder. Sure are getting good at this, aren't you, Marly?"
I blew out two rings of smoke and smiled wanly. "Comes from spending time with you."
"This was my last fence job. All porn now, all legal. Christ," He swiped a large hand through his dark hair and stared at a bleeding bite mark at the base of my neck. "You always have a way of fucking the bad guys, don't you?"
I raised an eyebrow and rolled my stiff neck. "Can I help it if bad boys are my taste?" I pointedly looked at the tattoo on his arm from his wild youth.
He stood and jammed his legs into his jeans. "Why do I love you, Marly?"
I froze. The word had never passed between us. I'd guessed at his feelings, but I'd never had it confirmed. "Jesus Christ, Finn."
"You never call me. You never share anything with me. Fuck, you won't even call me Michael."
And I'd betrayed him in a way that would surely hurt like hell, but if I hadn't, I'd be a corpse. "Finn, you have to know this won't work."
He glared at me. "I hope that fuck was worth half a million, toots."
I stubbed out my cigarette in the ashtray. "Sure was." Pointedly I smeared blood down to my breasts and saw guilt flash in his eyes.
"Don't," he interrupted, and slipped his t-shirt over his head, cutting off one of the nicest views of my life. He sat down to jerk on socks and shoes and glare at me. "You can be a real bitch sometimes, you know that?"
"Yeah," I said softly. "I do."
"If you think this is over you're fucking crazy. I'm watching you Marly, and I'll be back."
With that he slammed out the door leaving me to stare. "I know you will." And I knew he'd kill me.