Gangster's Moll Ch. 01byLaRascasse©
This chapter is set roughly one year after the events of An Unlikely Romance Ch.08. I would suggest reading that story to get an idea about Monica. If not, you can just leave it at her being New York City's most ruthless cop, willing to do anything to get the job done.
As always your comments and votes are much appreciated.
"Get inside the mind of your enemy and you have won half the battle"- Sun Tzu, The Art of War
"Are you sure you're up for this."
"Yes Chief Royce, I am ready."
Captain Monica Devereaux did not show it, but she was a bit nervous. She had every right to be. Inside the interrogation room sat Brett Cameron. He was the most feared man in New York. Law enforcement officers went to sleep at night praying that they would not come face to face with him. Even someone as fearless as Monica, could not but be in awe of his aura. He sat quietly on one side of the table waiting.
"Be careful, Monica, from the second you step in that room, you are part of his giant chess game. He will try to get inside your head and push your pressure points. Do not show him that he is getting to you. Always keep a straight face at all his mind games."
She nodded her head. Taking a deep breath, she entered the interrogation room. Brett immediately looked at her. His gaze was fixed on her as she sat down opposite him.
If one were to draw a tree showing the New York crime elements, there would be thousands of lowest level criminals. The next level would be the street gangs and drug dealers. Above that were low level mobsters, then gang leaders. Above that came hitmen, local enforcers, fixers, loansharks and bookies. This stratum was the barrier separating the big fish from the rest. The people higher than this were gang lords, mob bosses, dons and other crime kingpins. But very few people knew that there existed a level above that. That was the very tip of the pyramid and it contained only one man- Brett Cameron. Every other crime syndicate paid respect to his prowess and requested favours from time to time.
Monica stared into his eyes. He had a smouldering look as he was sizing her up. No one dared to break eye contact. She looked right into those cold, blue obsidian eyes wondering what went on behind them. She had heard too many terrifying tales about this man and had reason to believe they were all true.
"So Mr Cameron..."
"Please, call me Brett."
It had begun. The battle of wills.
"Okay then Brett. Do you know why you are here?"
"Because of what happened to Anne."
His reply was short, precise and to the point. His voice betrayed no emotion and his gaze never shifted. This man had made counter-interrogation into an art form.
"Precisely. Now can you recall that for us please?"
He took a second to gather his thoughts and started. "As I have already told every uniform I have met so far, I didn't do it. We were eating at San Clemente. At around 10, we left and were walking down 16th when, out of nowhere, she was shot."
"Did you see the shooter?"
"No. I think a hundred different witnesses on that street will testify that it wasn't me."
"Maybe you hired someone."
He turned his head obliquely to look at her, "Don't you cops use things like motive and evidence anymore? Why would I want to kill her? We were in a relationship."
This was time for Monica to unleash her trump card.
"Because you found out she was a cop."
Brett looked like he had been punched across the face. He was reeling for an instant. Just long enough for her to see a pressure point. She stood up and leaned over to look down on him.
"She was a cop?"
There was unmistakable surprise in that voice.
"Yes. Detective Anne Sherwood was part of a top secret operation to get close to you and your syndicate."
He seemed to be taking some time to digest this information. She leaned over until their faces were just inches apart.
"Did you know she was a cop?"
Interrogators call this a double-blind question. There is no right answer. If he said 'no', it would undermine his ego and his reputation that he had been sleeping with a cop. If he said 'yes' it would make him prime suspect. His next reply would have to be carefully formed.
"No. I did not know."
She could see the jugular exposed. Now to go after his ego.
"Are you sure? What about all that pillow talk? Did any important names or details slip out?"
He looked at her directly in the eye.
"I keep my personal and professional lives separate."
"Do you now?"
Brett cracked up with a smile.
"Yes I do. By the way, she was one firecracker in bed."
He was trying to turn the tables now, dehumanizing Anne so that Monica would be thrown off. He went on.
"I mean do they teach how to give blowjobs like that at the Academy or something, because she could deep throat like crazy."
Monica stiffened at hearing this. She didn't reply, knowing it would play further into his hands. They just stared at each other for a few long moments. Brett broke the silence.
"I take it you haven't found anything which remotely points in my direction."
"How would you know that?"
"I know you. You don't wait for bureaucracy. If the evidence is there, you go Rorschach on the suspect."
He had read her like a book. Still looking at his eyes, she knew there was nothing more to be done.
"You're free to go now," said Monica and stepped aside.
He just sat there looking up at her, knowing she couldn't do anything. Unable to restrain herself any longer, she grabbed his collar and brought her face within inches of his. The smile never left his face.
"You watch your step. If there is any evidence out there that you killed a cop, I will find it, and the next time you are here, you won't walk out."
"I'll keep that in mind. Do you know why I waved my Miranda rights and had this conversation without a lawyer?"
She knew that he was smarter than any lawyer in the city but stayed silent.
"I wanted to chat with you. You see we are kindred spirits. The world may view us differently, but under the surface we are the same."
"You are nothing like me."
He laughed a bit before replying. "Oh I am. We both do what it takes to get the job done."
"I save people and fight crime. You run the biggest criminal syndicate in the city."
"Oh do you? Unofficially, you have a higher body count than most gangbangers. Is that saving people?"
"They all had it coming."
"All of them?"
Monica felt a slight shudder course through her.
"There is no way he knows," she thought.
"Why don't we talk about the last year, Monica? It was quite a year for you, wasn't it?"
"Yes it was," she retorted, determined not to show any weakness.
"You were New York's version of Batman. The avenging angel so to speak. Descending from the clouds with blood tipped wings and a flaming sword to deal your own brand of justice."
She listened intently.
"I followed your career more closely than anyone else. I watched as you locked up some bad guys and killed others. Then, you got engaged."
She could feel that dark memory floating somewhere in her consciousness. He was about to use it to take control of the conversation.
"What was his name? Simon something right?"
"So, what was it like when you found his body on your wedding day? How did you feel?"
She said nothing, but inwardly relived that experience as she had done a thousand times in the last year.
"Honey?" she called out towards the bedroom, where Simon was. "I have some disappointing news... I need you to take the sting out of it."
Her hand closed on the doorknob. Monica grinned crookedly as another salacious idea presented itself to her mind.
She pushed the door open. She could hardly wait to titillate Simon with it some more. Never before had she had such an accommodating, yet firm-handed, lover. He really was the perfect blend.
There he was, lying on the bed, spread-eagled.
The sheets were stained with red. The blood was pooling, gushing out of three stab wounds. Her methodical, detective mind impassively recorded the details, to form a freeze-frame of the scene that would remain forever in her mind, even as the other parts of her screamed in a paroxysm of shock, denial, incredulity and the slow, slow beginnings of horror. There was a knife, sticking out of the deepest of the wounds. His eyes were glassy -- he had done this quite a few minutes ago, since death by bleeding from abdominal wounds was always slow and excruciating.
Estimated time of death: 1220 hours.
Proximate cause of... of death...
When they found her an hour later she was still screaming, Simon's blood staining her wedding dress, splotches of red on white.
"It was all over the papers. The husband of our very own avenger had committed suicide on his wedding day. Do you know why he did it?"
"No," said Monica in an even tone, determined to show no weakness.
"Still you must have some idea?"
"No I DON'T" she said, a little louder than she intended. He was getting to her.
"I think I know. He realized too late what he was getting himself into. I imagine he woke up on that day and realized that he had lived a microcosm of your married life already. He was getting married to a violent control freak with issues. Do you think that's why he did it? He was too afraid to back out because of what you might have done to him."
"It was nothing like that."
"I think it was. Maybe you do too."
In truth, Monica had spent the entire year brooding thinking why he had done that. She mentally analysed their every interaction leading up to that moment and got no answers.
Brett went on, sensing a pressure point.
"That day left you deeply affected. Add to that the fact that the Butcher of New York had proven to be more than you could handle. How did it feel when these two things happened so close together? Your personal and professional life had been turned upside down. Suddenly, the papers painted you as a volatile, dangerous cop whose fiancé killed himself out of fear. I remember an interview where Judy said that you were more dangerous than the people you put away. You needed something to shore up your reputation fast, and you got it."
She gulped inwardly, knowing what was coming.
"Your very next case was a slam dunk wasn't it. Tell me about it."
"The Mayor's daughter had been kidnapped from her prep school. We traced it back to a delusional teacher who thought it was the reincarnation of his dead daughter," she said impassively hoping he did not know what came next.
"That was by far the most important case of your life. Every New Yorker, every bit of media was fixated on it. You could instantly become a hero by finding that poor girl. Do you remember the night you went to the suspect's house?"
She did, as much as she didn't want to.
"How do you know about that night?"
Brett smiled at her, "There were five officers with you. They were left deeply disturbed by what they witnessed. I have copies of their sessions with court ordered shrinks. Putting all their accounts together, I pieced together what went on that night."
There was no way out. She had to face what she did. He went on.
"You found the man on the ground floor. The girl was nowhere to be seen. You tied him to a chair in his living room and 'asked' him where she was. That was when the fun started, am I right so far?"
"Fun. You think I enjoyed having to do what I did next?"
"I think you did. You hit him across the face over and over again, but got no answers. He steadfastly maintained that it was his daughter. Your calculating mind told you that his delusion was too strong to break. Yet, you needed this one so badly. Was that when you heard the sound at the top of the stairs?"
She desperately buried the urge to look away from him. He was bringing back a memory that she would give anything to remove. He paused for a bit to let the tension build before continuing.
"I am guessing your first reaction was surprise when you saw a young boy standing there looking on in horror at the scene below. How old was he? Eleven."
She nodded, her body now on autopilot. He leaned over the table and asked her in a soft voice.
"So tell me Monica, how did it feel doing what you did next?"
She was speechless, that painful memory playing in her mind.
"How did it feel when you grabbed him by the arm and pulled him in front of his father, threatening to hurt him unless he told you where the Mayor's daughter was?"
"I did what I had to. I had to get that girl back to her parents."
"Does that rationalization make it easier? Does that help you reconcile with what you did?"
They looked at each other in silence as he circled his prey. Now to drive it home.
"Answer me, Monica. Does that help you accept the fact that you pinned down a child and mercilessly beat him in front of his father?"
She felt flushed. This secret was so well buried, yet he knew.
"Did he scream, Monica? Did he cry for help? Did he beg you to stop when you repeatedly rammed your pistol butt into his face?"
It had reached Monica's tipping point. Her breathing was fast and shallow. Brett Cameron had proved once again why he was the master of mind games. He just sat back and grinned as she fought to regain her breath.
"Do you still hear the screaming at night? Do you remember the expression in his eyes when you heard his cheekbone crack?"
He was clearly in control now, dictating terms to her.
"You don't, do you? You have no regrets about what you did and if such a situation comes up today, you will do the exact same thing."
He was uncomfortably correct.
"Some say I am a monster, but children I could never hurt."
He paused for a moment to let the conversation sink in.
"The man broke down at what he saw and told you where to find the girl. There was a joyous reunion covered by everybody in the press. The mayor lauded you as the city's bravest cop. All those officers were ordered not to speak about what they saw that night. You wanted to make Lieutenant that year, but that case meant you skipped that step and went straight to Captain. The youngest Captain the history of the NYPD, I might add. But you know and I know that you got all that with blood on your hands. Blood of a young boy."
Monica looked at him blankly. The piercing gaze was gone and replaced by an expressionless look as she relived the reality of her actions. She could keep telling herself she did the right thing but it would never change what she did.
"Shut the camera."
She was jolted out of her trance. She looked at him quizzically.
"I have a proposition for you."
"What would that be?"
"With Anne gone, there is a spot open for a moll. Interested?"
Under any other circumstance, she would have laughed at the guy, but Brett Cameron always had an ace up his sleeve. This was part of some insidious power play.
"What makes you think I want to get in bed with you?"
"You're a smart woman. Think. I know every single bit of criminal activity that goes on in this city. Can you even imagine how many cases you could crack if I helped you out from time to time?"
She froze. This was totally unexpected. She knew that his reach extended to places the police could not even dream of. He would make a stellar source of information, but there had to be a catch in it somewhere.
"What's the disclaimer?"
"Nothing. You have sex with me every Sunday night and in return I give you help as and when you want," he said matter-of-factly.
"So you want me to prostitute myself for getting cases solved?"
"I know you do whatever it takes to dispense justice. So it must intrigue you just a bit."
In truth she was actually thinking about it. There was no hiding from the fact that she wanted to dispense justice, and was willing to go to any length.
"How about we try it out once? You go out there and give me your toughest unsolved case and see what I can do."
With several jumbled thought processes running in her head, she walked outside the room. She returned a few minutes later clutching a file.
"Young stock broker shot once to the head in his office," she said, tossing the file on the table.
"I am guessing from your expression that you have no leads whatsoever?"
"We went through the surveillance footage for that day and found nothing."
"That would be because the guy was in disguise and concealed his weapon effectively. Let me look at the pictures."
He glanced over the contents of the file and stopped at the picture of a young man sitting expressionless on his chair with a bullet hole in the centre of his forehead.
"This was an execution. It says here his name is Timothy Winters, any connection to billionaire hedge fund manager Terence Winters?"
"As a matter of fact, it's his son. How is that important?"
Brett's face cracked up in a wide smile. He dropped the file and smirked.
"Is something funny?"
"Yes, the fact that you have no idea who did this?"
She looked at him curiously. He had been with the file less than two minutes and he already seemed to know more than her.
"Terence Winters has been using his hedge fund to launder money for the Juarez Cartel for years now. There were rumours that he recently began servicing the Tijuana Cartel as well. I am guessing the Don got wind of it and ordered the hit."
"Why not kill him?"
"And lose their source of clean American dollars? Come on Monica, these people are not stupid. This was a message to him. I am guessing they called the hit locally. Given the Mexican connection and the precise shooting I would say they called Stanislas Navarro."
She gazed in amazement as he nonchalantly rattled off the names. There was no way the police could have known even a miniscule percentage of what he just said.
"Navarro has been on our list for months, but how do we get him? He's a ghost. No one knows where he is or how people contact him to set up hits."
"Give me my cell phone. You know.. the one you guys took when you arrested me."
Wordlessly she left the room and returned shortly with his phone. He pressed a number on his speed dial.
"Rob, I need to call a hit. Tell Navarro to meet me in person at the corner of 4th and Washington in one hour."
He dropped the phone and smiled at Monica. She just gaped on in amazement.
"Well, call the cavalry and get him. You know where he will be after an hour."
Still unable to get the look of amazement off her face, she called in the SWAT team to be in place.
"How do you know he'll be there?"
"I said- meet me in person. He knows better than to disobey a direct order."
He got up and started making his way out.
"Sunday, ten 'o' clock sharp at the Penthouse of The Tribeca Grand. Don't be late."
She was still gaping in awe as he left the room whistling to himself.
Monica was tense as Sunday finally came. No one else knew about her secret arrangement. She tried to find reasons for why Brett wanted it. Maybe it was some sort of thrill he got, having sex with the poster girl of the NYPD.
She had not had sex since Simon died and the last person she expected to have sex with was Brett Cameron, but here she was, getting dressed. He was unerringly correct when he said that she was willing to go to any length to get justice. This was probably the farthest she had ever gone.
She went up to the reception at the Tribeca. They informed her that Mr Cameron had booked the Penthouse for the night and had been expecting her. Taking a deep breath, she walked to the elevator which opened directly into the Penthouse. The room was dark as she stepped out. She could make out the silhouettes of furniture as she walked through it.