An Unlikely Romance Ch. 06byLaRascasse©
Moving towards the ending. Your comments and votes are very important to my thought process so please do leave them. Private feedback is also welcome. There isn't much sex in this chapter, but the plot develops a lot. ---
"Veritas vos liberabit"
(The truth shall set you free)
"Won't you be going out tonight?"
"No. Please go away. I can't take it anymore."
It was my mother. Not just her voice any more, but a hallucination that urged me on.
"Why won't you listen to me for once? You know you want to do this."
"I ..I.." I could already feel my resolve faltering.
No. I have to be stronger than that. I cannot give in again.
"See that knife over there? It's calling out to you. There are hookers out there. They need to die."
I stood up defiantly and faced her.
"No they don't. There was only one that deserved that. You did that for me. The others are innocent."
"No one is innocent. They are all watching you. They know your deepest, darkest, innermost secrets."
Imagine that, having a hallucination of a schizophrenic. How ironic!
"I won't do it."
Mom looked at me smiling.
"You'll eventually come around."
"Simon, are you there?" Monica called from the next room.
Mom just stared at me wistfully.
"You are living in denial, my son. If you don't let your natural urges out on some evil hooker.... Your girlfriend might have to pay a steep price."
Something snapped in that instant as I lunged at her. Unsurprisingly, my arms went straight through the apparition and hit the wall.
"Don't you dare. Don't bring her into this. I would never hurt her, not if it costs me my life."
She just smiled and disappeared slowly.
Monica came into the room wearing a tee loosely over some faded jeans. She put her arms around my neck and looked lovingly into my eyes.
"I added the money to their accounts. It was a very nice thing that you did."
I smiled, knowing that I was the reason they even needed it in the first place.
"I had to. The story about your friend was really moving. Any progress in the case?"
Heaving a sigh of disappointment, she looked down. She did not have to say anything. I knew that look.
"Cheer up, you'll get him."
"I really don't know. We have been chasing him for months now and still nothing. We have double-checked everything. After Nina's death the entire force has looked as hard as they could. Maybe this guy is too smart for us."
Under normal circumstances, I would have taken that as a complement.
She brought her face close to mine. I could feel her breath on my skin as her beautiful aquiline features seemed larger than ever. She just stayed like that for a minute or so, those iridescent eyes searching my face. Finally, she parted her lips and gently placed them around mine. I let her tongue make it's way past mine. I held her as we settled into the rhythm. There was no urgency or rush as the kiss lingered. It wasn't fiery and passionate like the scorching, all-conquering lust that Monica had felt at first, but silent, intense and primal, like the love she felt for me right now.
We kissed deeply, until I saw a familiar face standing behind Monica. Mom was back, clutching a knife. She made a gesture asking me to take it from her.
"No. Go away." I said and stumbled back from the kiss. I hit the side of the bed and fell awkwardly. Monica looked at me quizzically.
"Are you feeling all right? You look pale." There was genuine concern in her tone.
I sat for a few minutes trying to regain my breath.
"It's okay. I'm just not feeling all that well. Nothing serious."
She crossed her arms across her chest and studied my expression for some time. I tried to put up my best poker face, but my insecurities betrayed me.
"Your hands are shaking. You're sweating. Something is wrong. What is it?"
"It's nothing. Honestly."
Standing a few feet away from me was my most unfavourite apparition holding a six inch kitchen knife with blood dripping from the blade. I visibly flinched. Monica walked up where I was sitting and placed her hands on my shoulders.
"You can tell me."
"Go ahead, tell her. See how she reacts to the news."
"I told you it's nothing."
"It's definitely not 'nothing'. Don't keep any secrets from me."
I mumbled something incoherently before making my way out of the room. She stood there, still waiting for an answer.
I had no answers, for her or myself. I just hopped into my car and decided to take a long drive to nowhere. Hopefully, it would clear my head.
Monica did not know what to make of Simon's erratic behaviour. He was definitely keeping a secret. Something that scared him more than anything else.
She sat down and sighed.
These last few months had aged her by a decade. Until then, she was fairly sure that no criminal in New York was smarter than her. Mob bosses, drug dealers, street gangs were all actually afraid when she took their cases.
She was born in the late 70s, when the crime rate in the Big Apple was at an all time high. The gangs weren't even afraid. Holdups and robberies were everyday occurrences. No one really complained, because no one thought it could be changed. An entire generation of New Yorkers had lost faith in the system.
Cases just kept piling up, justice was agonizingly slow. It didn't make much sense blaming the NYPD either. Shackled by a barrage of laws regarding search warrants, surveillance and interrogation, it was a miracle if they made an arrest, let alone got a conviction.
As a teenager, she saw the same scenario as her parents had seen. The 80s and 90s produced record breaking crime rates in the city.
Of course the likes of Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa did nothing to help the reputation of the police.
Monica, however, grew up at a distance from all these realities. Her parents were rich. She attended the finest prep school in Manhattan and seemed destined for a classy high society life. That changed unexpectedly.
Her best friend Ellen had been dating this guy in school, Carson Brady. He was the son of the city's top defence lawyer. Ellen was very taken by him, but Monica always sensed something less than endearing about his demeanour. This was another gift she had, an uncanny intuition, bordering on premonition, in judging people. She never interfered, but kept a close eye on her nonetheless.
Her friend had been visiting a lot of parties with Carson- the seedy, underground type with free drugs. Some nights, she didn't even return home.
One day, a homeless guy stumbled across Ellen's body in Washington Square Park. She had been shot multiple times.
A search of Carson's house unearthed a gun of the same make and model. The bullet was matched to it. It seemed like an open and shut case.
Unfortunately, the judge who signed the search warrant was in a hurry to return to his teenage mistress' apartment. He just somehow scribbled his name in the signature blank and left.
And this was how Carson Brady was released by the famous New York catch-and-release program, who liked to call themselves police.
Faulty search warrant. Hmm..... sounds like justice, right?
As far as the New York of the mid 90s went, it was the closest to justice you could hope to get.
Sixteen year old Monica simply could not reconcile with this. Carson returned to school and went about his life as if nothing had happened. A few days later, he even made a pass at her.
If she had a breaking point, this was it. That very day, she told her family that she would be ditching her father's plans for her to go to Princeton and instead join the police force. Her parents might have tried to dissuade her, but she had the look of unshakeable resolve.
Someone would have to do something about it. She wanted to do it herself.
Even trying to become a police officer was a pain. She spent more time learning about proper police procedure and the bureaucratic norms that needed to be followed than something actually useful.
At night, she would sneak into the firing range and shoot the practice dummies. She visualized Carson's face on the dummies to get a direct hit. With practice, she became an excellent shot. Her instructors kept bemoaning her lack of respect for the system, but she didn't care.
When she beca,e a police officer, she found out exactly how frustrating it was. Between having to follow every damn Miranda right to the letter and the red-tape involved everywhere; there was hardly any room for justice.
One of her earliest cases involved a man who routinely beat his wife. The neighbours frequently called 9-1-1, but it was no good. The wife refused to press charges against her husband. They were popularly called 'Stockholm Syndrome wives' on the force. Too beaten to think right any more.
Officer Devereaux decided to dispense her brand of justice. She took the husband in her cruiser and drove him out to outskirts and pushed her gun against his head. The poor bastard pissed his pants in fear and swore he would change.
The very next day, he tossed his wife out the window of their tenth story apartment.
He had changed, just not quite the way Monica expected.
She knew that she had erred. She had taken justice into her hands, but not quite dispensed it properly. It was the last time such a thing happened.
She returned to see him in connection with his wives' murder. This time there was no warrant, no confession, no trial, she shot him point blank in the head.
Everybody on the force seemed appalled. Being fired was the least of her worries. She was looking at facing manslaughter charges. But then, something unexpected happened.
This case was picked up by the media, and they ran with it. Every citizen of New York was fed up with the inefficient criminal justice system. They rallied behind her case calling her the 'vigilante cop'. According to them, she was being punished for doing the right thing, something the other cops were too afraid to do.
Faced with insurmountable public pressure, the mayor told IA to drop the case. That was an epoch in her career. She became a darling of the public. Every New Yorker from every walk of life wanted her to go about doing her job in her way. Finally, the city had a cop who could look beyond the rules and kick some ass.
The new commissioner and mayor agreed on the issue and gave her a hotline through the bureaucratic quagmire, affectionately christened the New York legal system. She could get any warrant she wanted instantly and in perfect condition. There was one judge appointed just for her. Over and above, she was given a free pass through all possible errors of impunity. Any complaints against her were duly fed to the religiously slow legal system, so that no actual justice came out.
Her rise since had been meteoric. She made detective in the blink of an eye. She had her choice of forensics and personnel. The media (except for that right wing slut Judy Lynch) projected her as a saviour. The people could not agree more. She had cut the city's crime rate in half, and she was just a detective. Surely, she would do radical things higher up. All this adulation came at a price though.
Her single minded dedication to her work meant that she really didn't have time for much else. Trying to succeed in a male-dominated sphere had hardened her to the extent that she had buried her feminine side. Every guy she tried to be with was either scared of her, or treated her with too little respect. After a few such disasters, she settled on a convenient kind of relationship- a purely sexual one.
It seemed awesome, no strings, no commitments, no expectations, her job never got in the way-- and most importantly, the issue of respect never came in. The entire relationship was just based on their physical needs. Nothing more, nothing less.
Also, she had an insatiable sex drive and a pathological need to dominate over her partners. This combination led to a string of steamy flings. She never felt the need for more.
Simon had changed that.
For the first time in ages, she met someone that she intrinsically loved. Not just sexually, but in every way possible. The most striking part was that he loved her back, for who she was. He put up with her headstrong attitude and need to overwhelm. He even put himself in the line of fire when she had a particularly violent phase. She looked down at her belt and smiled.
Simon was perfect for her.
But over the past few days, he had been distinctly off colour. He was pale and fidgety and constantly afraid of some invisible force. Sometimes, he would wake up at night, sweaty and shaking. She tried to get him to tell her about it, but he stayed shut. Monica knew exactly what was going on.
Simon had a dark secret. Something big had happened sometime last week, something that he was desperately trying to get over. All the signs were there. She knew this because she had one of her own.
A few days after Carson Brady walked free, Monica stalked him to a high end nightclub. She followed him inside and made herself very conspicuous. He noticed her immediately and started chatting her up in the hope of getting lucky. He promised her some new fangled drugs that had just come in. She readily agreed and followed him outside to his car. They sped off into the night.
They never found Carson Brady's body. The manager at the club vaguely remembered seeing him leave with 'some blonde'. The same day, a dossier was anonymously sent to the Times. It contained graphic photos of a well known city judge having sex with a girl young enough to be his grand-daughter. In fact, it was his grand-daughter. There were further pictures of him being spanked by this girl and tied up while she performed a few more exotic acts on him.
It was safe to assume he wouldn't be misspelling his name on any more search warrants.
"No, Simon is not worth losing over this. Whatever his secret is I have to find out."
She flipped open her phone and pressed 2 on her speed dial.
"Boz, listen I want favour from you, off the books."
"Sure, what is it?"
"Check Simon's phone records for the last week. Tell me if anything stands out."
"Your boyfriend Simon?"
"I'll let you know tomorrow."
She shut the phone. She needed that answer.
After driving for an hour or so, I stopped by the side of the highway. I was tired of running. Ever since I found out the truth, I felt like I was running away from it. I simply did not know where to hide from the truth. It had definitely not set me free.
Of course it didn't help that I was riding with the apparition of my dearly departed maternal figure in the passenger seat. She even gave me her derisive lop-sided grin from time to time. I had to endure her suggestions from time to time.
"Why don't you kill that girl?"
"She looks like an evil whore. Get her."
"Maybe you should diversify from using a knife."
Not exactly the best motherly advice, but I was helpless. Despite my subconscious earnestly warning me not to do so, I had broken the dam and unleashed memories of my traumatic childhood. That memory was sitting beside me pointing at random women on the street telling me to kill them.
"Just shut up! I can't take it anymore. Please, go away."
I was sobbing in my seat. Mom looked at me sympathetically.
"I am sorry, but this is who you are. This is who you were and this is who you always will be. You are going have to accept that."
I picked up some speed and drove on. My destination was unknown.
I thought of Monica. She was probably at home wondering what was wrong with me. She knew that I was hiding something.
I was broken out of my thoughts when I heard my phone ring.
"Monica. I'm so sorry. But you have to believe me, I can't tell you. I wish I could but I can't."
"Whatever it is, we can work past it."
"Unlikely she can look past THIS."
"I'm sorry. I can't. Good bye."
I slammed the phone shut and shed a few tears. The one relationship in the world that mattered was in danger of a premature death. Without her to hold me together, I might just pick up another hooker. I silently shuddered at the thought.
"No, I can't."
I checked into one of the rattiest motels along the interstate for the night. Sleep had become a memory. I could barely close my eyes without finding myself in that room with my father, mother and my favourite hooker in some sick scene.
I took coffee, drugs, whatever it took to stay awake. My nightmares were getting more and more vivid. I could slowly feel the mask of sanity slipping. This carefully constructed web of lies that I called life was unravelling fast.
"It's your fault. You went searching for answers you were clearly not ready for."
"JUST SHUT UP!"
Somewhere near the crack of dawn I made a resolution. I would tell her everything. She would know the exact nature of the monster she had dated for so long. I knew it would probably be my last conscious act but I needed to do it.
My guilt was holding me prisoner. The horrific flashbacks were unrelenting. I had to tell her, I had to get it out. I didn't care what happened after that.
I tried to form appropriate words the entire length of the drive back. Like a valiant hero planning his swansong, I thought of what could happen.
Somehow, I really didn't see this ending well.
But I had to do it. Whatever she did to me would be better than living the nightmare of my past over and over again. Tentatively, I made my way home and knocked on the front door.
I knocked again. There was no one home.
I sighed. The critical moment would have to wait.
I drove through traffic for about an hour until I reached Washington Heights. Parking under her building, I slowly made my way out. I looked up at her window, the light was on. She was inside. I smiled as my mind ran through the plethora of possibilities of what could happen.
Would she throw me out of her balcony?
Would she shoot me at point blank range?
Whatever happened, I would at least be free from this wretched state and my guilt would also be alleviated. After all, confession was good for the soul.
Almost reluctantly, I knocked on her door.
A few moments later, it swung open revealing Monica. I say revealing because whatever she wore did not hide much.
"Mon, I can't do this anymore. You were right, I have a secret. --a dark secret. I have come here to come clean to you and get it off my chest."
She didn't say anything. I could see the hints of tears forming at the corner of her eyes.
"Did you hear that? I am going to tell you everything. After that you can make whatever decision you want."
Still no reply. Her eyes were now visibly welling up with tears.
I tried to understand her expression, when I heard a muffled sound from her bedroom.
Finally Monica opened her lips, "I'm so sorry."
Mechanically, I walked into the room to find Aaron the young forensic handcuffed to her bedposts and stark naked. The long scratches and marks on his torso indicated that she had taken out her frustration on him.
It was also obvious that they had been engaging in several unsavoury sexual acts I was trying my hardest not to think of.
"I am so, so sorry."
I looked back at her. Suddenly, my redemption wasn't worth it any more. There was no point redeeming myself to a slut.
I tried to say something, but Monica lunged at me and held her arms around me tightly.
"Please stay, please tell me what you want to. We can move past this. I thought our relationship was over. I didn't know......" The rest of her words were rendered incoherent by her copious sobbing.