Seven Days Ch. 09bysoular©
Victoria was so tired, she could barely keep her eyes open. The trip from that hotel in the middle of nowhere where she had left her heart behind was a blur. She had slept most of the time while Antonio drove back. She slightly remembered him singing along to some rap song, but then she was out again.
She did however wake up right as Antonio was pulling up to some lavish hotel, and she vaguely remembered telling him to keep on driving until they reached something she could afford. A Motel 6 or something like that. But Antonio just laughed, insisting that Nic would kill him if he dropped her off at such a place, plus she didn't have her purse with her. And now that she had physically seen Nic kill a man, maybe Antonio had a point. The valet who took their car gave her a once-over. She was sure she looked ridiculous. She was half out of it, and was wearing a silly t-shirt with no bra. But luckily they had stopped by her apartment, and she had quickly gathered some extra clothes with her eyes half shut.
When they walked through the hotel room doors, she thanked Antonio and tried to march straight to bed, but he grabbed her hand.
"Wait a second, princess. I need to talk to you."
"Oh, Antonio, please, please, can it wait until tomorrow. I don't even know what I'm saying right now, I'm so tired."
"I know, but Nic said I need to get what's in your head now, while it's still fresh. Then you can go to sleep, okay? Now did those guys say anything, anything at all?"
Victoria plopped down on the couch and rested her head in her hands, covering her eyes. She really didn't want to think about anything from earlier that day. The whole ride back she had been trying to block it out of her mind.
She started relaying the details to Antonio as she remembered them. Once she was done, she walked to the bedroom and dropped onto the bed.
Antonio sat down on the couch. He was about to turn the TV on when he heard Victoria yell something. He hopped up and walked to the bedroom door.
"What was that princess?"
"T-Tell Nic I'll pay him back for everything and mmph frog nop tim," she said, with her face buried into the pillow. Antonio laughed when the rest of her train of thought turned even more unintelligible and then he heard a snore.
"He'd rather have you back than the money, Vicky," Antonio whispered before he left the room.
Nic didn't sleep after Victoria left the hotel. And instead of staying the night, he woke Jimmy, Raymond and Damon up, telling them he wanted to head back into town immediately. They all agreed, realizing that there was a real chance that Victoria still wasn't out of danger.
After they dropped Damon off at his car, the rest headed back over to Nic's place, and then Jimmy went home, praying Isabelle wouldn't kill him.
Nic had asked Antonio to check in with him every hour, and so far Victoria was still asleep.
"Hey Nic, I—I don't know what the hell all this means, but Vicky--Victoria told me that the kidnappers thought she was a banker's wife. And that they had a photo of her working at Calamity's and they were talking to someone else on the phone...and well, it seems as though that person set them up. At least that's what one of the guys said."
"They didn't give a name?" Nic questioned.
"No, she said they never said any names, other than the three stooges."
"Did she remember anything else?"
"Only that they seemed really confused. And when they found out that she was with you, they got scared and realized they had been double-crossed."
None of it made sense to Nic. Why the fuck would Sonny go through so much fucking trouble? He might not have had all the pieces together, but he knew without a doubt that Sonny's ass was dead.
"Oh! She did mention that whoever it was they were talking to on the phone got really pissed that they had taken the tape off her mouth. They apparently weren't supposed to talk to her."
"Alright. Well, watch over her and continue to give me reports."
"Will do," Antonio said, and then hung up.
Nic leaned back at his desk and closed his eyes. He had so many questions swirling around in his head. Who gave Sonny information on where his mother lived? That's information he never even told Amber, and she was married to him for three years. Jimmy was the only other person, and he trusted Jimmy with his life. Jimmy would never double-cross him. Who else could be involved?
And he quietly chastised himself for losing control. He had planned to kill all but one of them, but when that fucker had the gun up against Victoria's head, he knew he was going to kill him on general principles. But now all they had were three dead bodies and were back to square one. Nic knew he couldn't move in on Sonny until he could pinpoint evidence on the prick. There had to be some link. Something...
Nic pulled out a bottle of vodka to slow down the many thoughts that were racing through his head. He poured a shot and downed it, then poured another. But as Nic was staring at the colorless liquid in the shot glass, it came to him with the strongest of clarity. Clarity that shook him to his very core, causing him to drop the bottle and the glass.
He knew who set this up.
Nic knew Jimmy was already at home, and probably asleep in bed by now, but he needed to talk to him and explain his theory. He quickly dialed Jimmy's number. When he picked up Nic said, "I know who it is. Bring all the stuff that you and Damon took off the bodies."
Antonio walked into the bedroom to check on Victoria for the tenth time that night. Actually it was morning by then. She was still passed out and still snoring. 'God, she is so beautiful,' Antonio thought. Honestly, he never believed that she and Nic belonged together. They just seemed so different. He remembered the first night he met her at the party. She was so fucking sexy in that red dress, and she seemed so nervous. As she was talking to him that night while he was passing out hors d'oeuvres, he couldn't stop staring at her lips. She had the most perfect, plump set of lips he had ever seen. And she had this cute innocence about her, like she didn't know she was getting the attention of every straight man in the room that night. And maybe she really didn't. He could definitely see why Nic was so attracted to her...physically she was a walking wet dream, but her personality didn't really fit her body. She seemed awkward and uncomfortable around people. Like she didn't know what to do with her hands, or even what to say. And secretly that's what turned him on. And apparently Nic too.
Antonio sighed and walked back out of the room. He sat down on the couch again, and was about to take his shoes off when Jimmy called. 'Jesus man, she's okay,' Antonio thought.
"Hey Jimmy, she's--"
"Change of plans. Nic needs us to come to his place right now," Jimmy said, then hung up.
A chill immediately ran up Antonio's spine. Nic wanted him to leave Victoria, who could be in danger, to come to his house at four in the morning? It didn't make sense, but for some reason it scared the shit out of him. Should he tell Victoria, or should he just leave?
Antonio decided to just leave. He grabbed his jacket and walked out the door. When he pulled up he noticed Eddie's car out front as well. This must be an urgent meeting of the minds.
When he entered, he noticed Eddie sitting in the hallway typing on his cell phone. He looked up and greeted him.
"Well, looks like they found the culprit," Eddie announced, sliding his glasses back up the bridge of his nose.
"Oh! Who is it?" Antonio asked.
"Don't know, apparently they have him in the basement. Wonder if it was Sonny after all," Eddie said nonchalantly.
Antonio sat down. "Well at least she's okay now."
"Who?" Eddie said, staring at the screen of his phone.
Antonio glanced at him and rolled his eyes. "Victoria, of course."
"Oh. Yeah, good thing you guys got there in time," Eddie said, yawning.
Antonio rolled his eyes again. Eddie had no personality whatsoever. Antonio had tried talking to him on several occasions, but Eddie just always had a distant look in his eyes. Like he really didn't care about anything but business. Something Jimmy had warned him about beforehand, but Antonio being the talkative guy that he was, tried to break the ice, but it never broke or even thawed.
Finally Jimmy came up from the basement and stared at both of them for a second, before he said for them to follow him.
Antonio really didn't want to go down there. He didn't want to see whatever it was they were about to do to this poor bastard. Of course the guy deserved it, but Antonio couldn't stomach it. Seeing brains splatter against a wall from earlier that day was enough for him.
When they finally reached the bottom stairs, they turned to the right and entered into a small room. One Antonio had never been in. It was dark and smelled like bleach. They both looked around to see who the prick could be, but they found no one. Where was the mystery man?
"Hello gentlemen," Nic said from behind them. Antonio jumped, and turned to look at him. Nic looked so calm and collected, dressed in all black...including black gloves. What the hell was going on? Antonio gulped and looked around the room again. He saw Raymond standing over in a corner with protective goggles and a blow torch, turning it from bright orange to burning blue. What the fuck?!! Antonio thought he was going to hyperventilate.
Nic walked in front of them and stared. After a few seconds, he spoke. "As I was sitting in my office a few hours ago, something came to me. Very clearly. I was careless when it came to my mother. I was cocky and too trusting that nothing would ever happen to her again. You see, whoever went after Victoria, knew where my mother lived. And that's not information I give out to anyone. Only myself and Jimmy know. Or knew. And Jimmy, you didn't try to kill my girlfriend, right?"
"Of course not. And Jimmy, if someone tried to kill Isabelle or your girls, what would you do if you caught them?"
"I'd skin the motherfucker," Jimmy said with a straight face.
"As would I," Nic said, as he turned back around and started walking around the small cramped room. "I wracked my brain trying to find out who else would have known where my mother lived. That's information I even kept from my ex-wife. Who would know?" Nic said as he circled the two men.
"Then, it came to me. The one tiny loophole that I had been overlooking, because I never actually received them. Do you know what that was, Antonio?" Nic asked, turning to look at him.
Antonio's breathing quickened. He was going to be sick. 'Please, God, what is he getting at,' Antonio thought. "No," Antonio whispered.
"Bills. My mother's bills that had her residence on them. Bills that were entrusted to my accountant," Nic said, turning his attention to Eddie.
Nic watched as Eddie's eyes widened.
"Ni-Nic, I-I, I don't know what you're talking about," Eddie stuttered out, turning to leave but running straight into Jimmy, who was behind him. He glanced back and forth between both men, while Antonio slid back against the wall, grabbing his heart. He had thought he was dead. That they were going to kill him for whatever reason. But it was Eddie!
Nic continued to stare at Eddie. "Antonio said that Victoria mentioned the guys thought her husband was a banker. Makes sense...I'm sure you quoted them a bunch of phony facts and numbers that seemed legit since you used to be the head accountant at one of the largest bank corporations. You would know enough to make three strangers believe you. And you also knew that hiring them to shoot at her would cause me to send her away, because that's what I had done with my mother. But you knew I wouldn't keep her away for long, so you thought of another way to get rid of her. But you weren't betting on the fact that they would disobey you and remove her gag. That they would contact me."
"I swear t--to you Nic, I—I swear, I had nothing to do with any of this. I mean, anyone could have known where your mother lived," Eddie begged, now visibly sweating for all of them to see.
"Really?" Nic stated flatly.
A cell phone started ringing, causing Eddie and Antonio to jump in the small space.
"I think that's your phone ringing, Eddie. Go ahead and answer it," Nic said, staring the smaller man down.
"Uh, no, it can wait," Eddie whispered.
"Answer it," Nic demanded, narrowing his eyes.
Eddie nervously reached into his pocket. His hands shook as he clumsily flipped open the cell phone. "Hello," he croaked out.
"Hiya, Eddie," they all heard Jimmy say from behind him. Antonio watched as Eddie seemed to crumble right before his eyes.
"Recognize that number?" Nic asked.
Eddie didn't say anything. He just stared down at the floor and mumbled to himself.
"Jimmy got that phone off the dead Irish guy. Funny how the last number just so happened to be yours. How could such a smart man make such a costly mistake?" Nic asked, turning his back and walking away.
"Nic I...oh God," Eddie muttered. "I ju--just wanted you to be th--the best, you know. Like yo--you've always b—been. With no distractions. She was ca--causing problems. I was, shit, I was just trying to help. We—we were a great team...I was just trying to help."
Nic turned back around. "Help? By killing the woman I love?"
"By, um, clearing your mind," Eddie whispered.
Nic quickly walked back over to Eddie and punched him square in the face, breaking his glasses...and perhaps his nose. "Did that clear your mind, you fucking coward?!" Nic yelled, as Eddie grabbed his face, and writhed in pain on the floor.
Nic pushed his hair back. "Raymond, hand me the knives."
Raymond walked over to Nic and handed him two knives, one big, one small. Antonio thought he was going to be sick.
"Antonio you might want to step out of the room for this next part," Nic warned without taking his eyes off Eddie, who was still lying on the ground.
Nic sure as hell didn't have to tell Antonio twice. He jetted for the door, but before he closed it, he looked back at the unbelievable scene unfolding in front of him.
"Any last words, Eddie?" Antonio heard Jimmy ask.
Eddie's entire body was shaking. "Yes. Please make it quick," he whispered.
"Not a chance in hell," Nic said, as he approached Eddie, with the two shiny, sharp knives in front of him.
That was enough. Antonio slammed the door and tore up the steps as he heard Eddie's scream pierce through the quiet house.
Antonio walked outside and sat on the steps. No, he couldn't do this. This was not the life he wanted to live. No matter how much money and glamour could come with it, it's not what he wanted. He didn't know if it was even possible to leave the business, but he had to talk to Nic. He wiped his sweaty brow and closed his eyes as the cool night air hit his face.
The next morning, Victoria woke up to the sounds of knocking. She quickly hopped out of bed, threw on a robe and ran to the door. She looked through the peephole at a man in a black suit with a tray. She cautiously opened the door a few inches.
"Yes?" she asked.
"Good morning, Mrs. Andretti. Your husband wanted to make sure you ate something as soon as you woke up," the man said, pushing the door open and moving around Victoria to set the tray on the table. He turned around and smiled at her.
"He's not my—I'm sorry, I don't really have any cash on me. You know, for tips," Victoria admitted.
The man continued to smile as he walked to the door. "No worries at all, Mrs. Andretti. Your husband has paid quiet handsomely to ensure that I, and only I, deliver all things to your room. Your room will be cleaned once a day by Janice, and I will accompany her inside and stay until all is done. I will see you again at lunch, and please don't hesitate to call me for anything, no matter how big or small. You can dial the number on my card which is on the tray, or dial the front desk and ask for Ellington, which is my name," the man said "Good day."
Victoria closed the door and leaned against it. 'Damn Nic,' she thought with a smile. Before she could walk away from the door, she heard knocking again.
"Yes, Elling--," she started to say as she opened the door, but quieted when she realized who it was.
"Miss Davis, how are you?" Detective Marsh asked, although Victoria could tell he really couldn't care less if she were fine or not. He pushed past her and walked into the living room.
"I'm fine, thank you. How did you get up here?" Victoria asked.
Marsh flashed his badge to her. "It's amazing what this little badge can do. Nice room. What do they call this, the penthouse, right?" he said, walking around.
"I guess," Victoria answered, pulling her robe tightly shut.
"Yeah, I'm thinking that's what it's called. I wouldn't know. I'm just a lowly detective making an honest living. Hell, I'd have to fork over my kid's college tuition to stay in a room so fancy. Quite a step up from your old neighborhood."
Victoria walked toward the kitchen. "Would you like something to drink?" she asked, trying to be nice in hopes that he would leave soon.
"Sure. Coffee, black. Thanks. So, how is it that you know my good friend, Nic?"
"We dated. We recently broke up, end of story," Victoria stated matter-of-factly, as she poured him some coffee from her breakfast tray.
"Is that right," Marsh said, grinning and walking toward her.
"Why did you break up?"
"That's really none of your business," Victoria said, handing him his cup.
"I can question you here in your comfortable hotel room or downtown under some harsh florescent lights if you don't play nice, Victoria," Marsh warned. "And remember, it's not nice to lie to a detective."
Victoria was scared. She had never even been given a ticket before, and here she was about to lie to a cop.
"He's married to his work. I've been an afterthought for the most part. So it wasn't a hard decision."
"And what work might that be?"
Fuck! Perhaps she shouldn't have brought up anything dealing with his job.
"His restaurants and club."
"Hmm...are those the only businesses that you know of?"
Victoria tried not to swallow. "Yes."
"And you wouldn't be lying to me, correct? Because that would not work well in your favor."
"Excuse me, Detective Marsh, but I thought you were investigating a shooting at Calamity's. What does any of this have to do with Nic?" Victoria asked.
"Nic might be related."
"You think he's a suspect? That he would level his own girlfriend's work place with an Uzi, then show back up to the scene of the crime to comfort me?"
"I didn't say he was a suspect, I said he could somehow be related. And how do you know it was an Uzi?"
"I don't, I just guessed. It was a lot of shots at once like I stated in the report that day. And I highly doubt Nic has anything to do with it. But truthfully, I don't know much about him anyway, so if you have questions about the shooting at Calamity's, I'll answer, but more on Nic, I won't be able to help you," Victoria said, praying that he couldn't see through her bullshit.
Marsh just continued to stare at her, and then slowly sipped his coffee.
Victoria wanted him to leave so bad. She didn't like this guy one bit. He seemed like he was just waiting to catch her in something. The less she said, definitely the better.
"Where did you go?"
"What?" Victoria asked.
"You left town...even though I asked you not to. Where did you go?"
"I, um, I was scared after the shooting, and decided to take a vacation to Nic's mom's house."
"And where does she live?"
Not a chance. "Okay, this is going to sound silly, but I was on some pretty heavy medications, and I don't really remember going or coming. It's a small town, and I'd probably never remember the name of it."