Dangerous Affairs Ch. 08bycpm09©
After a brief discussion, it was decided that Brian would head back to the city to check on Lucy. He would then meet David Hayes, Michael's former partner, to gather as much information as possible. They were running out of time, they desperately needed solid evidence against Michael.
For some reason unknown to Brian, he wasn't entirely sure about Agent Scott's intentions. Maybe it was instinct or pure paranoia but he couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't quite right. Damien felt it too.
They never thought they'd find themselves in a case deeply involved with the Mob and with FBI agents they didn't trust not counting the fact that someone they cared for deeply was being put in the front line. Things weren't looking good.
They would have to get Michael out of the equation soon if they wanted Leigh out of this mess. Brian suspected that Salvatore's interest in Leigh had to be related to Michael's knowledge of his business. Salvatore was probably worried Michael had spilled vital information to Leigh. If that was true, Leigh was in big trouble.
After hugging Leigh tenderly and wishing her good luck, Brian patted Damien on the back and got in his car. "Trust your gut, don't lose your focus." Brian said quietly and Damien nodded.
As the agents were getting the last detailed sorted, Damien pulled Leigh to a corner of the room. He leaned against the grand piano, bringing her to rest on his chest.
"Promise me you will not push him. Don't give him any reason to get angry or suspect anything. Promise me, Leigh." His voice carried a hint of fear. If anything happened to her, Damien knew he wouldn't be able to control his actions.
"I promise." She said, burying her face in his neck, trying desperately to hide her own apprehension.
Damien pulled back enough to cup her face with both hands. He looked deeply into her eyes for a brief moment, not caring if anyone was watching them, and kissed her hard.
They were lost in the moment, completely oblivious to Darryl's intent gaze. It was obvious to Darryl that Leigh and Damien were very much in love and that he wouldn't have a chance in hell with her. Pity. Darryl didn't believe in that love at first sight crap the movies tried to shove in people's head. But he couldn't deny the intense attraction he felt when he first saw her.
Now, lust at first sight I totally vouch for.
His baby sister certainly wouldn't have approved of his behaviour. She had constantly berated the way he treated his girlfriends, if you could call them that. The relationship never lasted long enough for them to gain the right to the title.
Darryl had dedicated all his time to work. Doing undercover jobs didn't exactly give him many opportunities to meet nice women, nor did it give him the chance to build a relationship. There were times he would be gone for months. Of all the women he'd met, none had put up with long periods of absence and the whole secrecy thing.
He didn't know why, but seeing Leigh's eyes passionately looking at Damien, kissing him fervently had slapped some sense into Darryl. It was time to stop being a jerk. He knew Leigh was a nice girl and despite his first impression, he also knew Damien was a good guy and an honest cop.
Pity. It could've been me. No more games, she deserves more respect than what I've given her so far. Darryl thought.
"Ahem. Sorry to interrupt. It's time." Darryl finally said.
Damien stopped the kiss but kept Leigh in his embrace. She sighed deeply. "Alright." Leigh gripped Damien's hand "Come on, walk me to the car."
As they approached the cars, Darryl started to speak. "Damien, you go with agent Nelson, he's the one in charge of surveillance. You will be able to listen to the conversation."
Damien nodded. He could sense a slight change in Darryl's attitude but wasn't certain.
With a last kiss, he helped Leigh get into the car. He then turned to Darryl. "I have no other option than to trust you will keep her safe."
Darryl remained quiet; he sensed Damien hadn't finished yet.
"I don't approve this. I don't like it one bit. So, if she is harmed in any way, I will hold you personally responsible. Understood?"
"Are you threatening me, Detective?" Darryl challenged Damien.
"Yes." Damien replied without hesitating.
Surprisingly, Darryl grinned satisfied with Damien's genuine concern for Leigh.
"So you know, Detective, I also think this is a risky idea." Darryl gave Damien a sympathetic look. "I won't let him hurt her. I will do anything to see her out of there safe, even if it means blowing my cover."
They had been on the road for awhile and the silence was excruciating. Darryl just couldn't stand her hating him. He needed to fix this. He needed to apologize.
"I am sorry." Darryl said simply.
Never taking his eyes off the road, he said it again. "I am really sorry."
Leigh sighed. "I know. What I don't know is why."
"What do you mean? Why am I sorry? I don't understand." This time he turned his head slightly in her direction.
"Why didn't you tell me who you were when you took me?"
"I was being an ass. At first, I had done it to keep up appearances but then you looked too beautiful trying to act brave. I was having too much fun...sorry." Darryl said looking repentant.
Leigh smiled as she shook her head. "Jerk."
After a long pause, Darryl sensed Leigh's apprehension grow.
"You don't have to do this. We can call it off." Darryl said with genuine concern.
"The thought of being in the same room as Michael just makes me sick."
"So, don't do it, I can..."
But Leigh interrupted him. "I have to do this, for my Dad and for myself."
Leigh also wanted it all to end so she could start living her life fully, which meant pursuing a relationship with a certain Detective. "Can I ask a favour?"
Darryl nodded. At this point he would grant her anything she asked.
"Damien has a tendency to be overprotective, but he has his reasons. I don't like to see him upset. Could you cut the bullshit with him?
Darryl plastered on a huge grin. Damn.
"I hope he knows just how lucky he is."
"He does." Leigh smiled; the thought of what she was about to do forgotten briefly.
Brian had phoned Lucy to let her know Leigh was fine, but he left out the fact she was going to meet Michael; Brian had thought it would be better to tell her in person.
He was standing in front of Lucy, bracing himself, waiting for the blow. "So, let me get this straight..."She said.
Oh God! It was all Brian could think.
"You two allowed her to face that filth alone? What the hell Brian!" Lucy shouted.
The fact that Lucy had reason to be angry didn't help Brian's argument. He hadn't been pleased with Leigh's decision either, but it had been exactly that, her decision. Still the whole situation stunk.
"Look, I am not happy with this okay? Damien is pissed too, but he went with her...to support her." Brian winced at his poor attempt to ease Lucy. Whenever he saw her upset like this he seemed to lose the ability to use his brain. What the hell.
Lucy sighed. She understood the underlying message in his words. Brian expected her to support Leigh, too. But, somehow, there was an undeniable feeling that he actually needed Lucy to support him.
"So, what now?" She gave in; something about him didn't let her be angry for long. How pathetic am I?
"Now I need you to stay here a bit longer..."
She relented. "Fine."
"I have to go out and check a few things, but I will call you later to let you know any developments, okay? Help yourself with anything you need." He was heading to the door and she followed him. Brian turned around and faced her.
"Lucy, I am sorry for all this."
Cupping his face with one hand, Lucy said. "The least you can do is kiss me goodbye."
Brian didn't need to be told twice. The kiss was long and full of promises.
"Take a deep breath, relax." The look Leigh gave him was enough to make him shift his body uncomfortably. "Well, try." Darryl shrugged ruefully.
They had been sitting in the car one block away so that Leigh could put her herself together. Darryl had been waiting for Leigh to calm down a little. She kept looking back to see if the other unmarked cars were behind them despite Darryl's reassurances.
In her mind, she continued to offer herself encouraging words, but her stomach thought otherwise. She had been feeling nauseous and her heart was pounding so fast she thought she might have a heart attack. Shit. Shit. Shit.
Leigh closed her eyes and took a deep breath. William Grayson, her father, popped into her mind; the memory of him smiling as they shared a big bowl of popcorn while watching The Shield, was enough to give her the courage she needed.
"Right, let's do it." She said with confidence as Darryl put the car back into drive and the vehicle pushed forward.
Michael's meeting with Salvatore had been enlightening to say the least. He felt like an idiot when Salvatore told him that Darryl was a fed. Michael's swollen eyes and broken nose was a small evidence of just how infuriated Salvatore had been when he found out.
He knew he'd messed up big time and now Salvatore had pretty much given him the last chance. Michael had been really surprised that Salvatore hadn't killed him right then and there. However, Michael knew his days were numbered as far as Salvatore was concerned.
Now, he had to find out if his Leigh knew about Darryl. That would be the ultimate betrayal. He had planned everything so carefully, or so he'd thought. All his side dealings using Salvatore's name as leverage had been halted earlier than originally considered. His plan to disappear had to be brought forward; the first step was to bring Leigh to him.
They got out of the car and headed to the front door. Leigh was shaking but tried to concentrate on her role. Darryl had Leigh's arm in a tight grip escorting her to the front door roughly. They had to appear convincing.
Leigh had taken a minute to check her surroundings; she couldn't believe this house was Michael's. It was a beautiful large house, gracious, regal, not exactly what she had expected to be Michael's taste.
They weren't even inside but they could hear music emitting from the house. She shivered. Leigh felt her stomach twisting in a thousand knots.
Something is not right.
Darryl didn't even bother knocking; he knew Michael had left the door open. According to his instruction he would have to put Leigh inside and leave. But he wouldn't do that. As they stepped in, Leigh's breath caught in her throat. She winced at the blaring classical music.
The tempo was slow with stirring piano chords; the intensity of the piece was something Leigh would have appreciated, but right then it only made her feel uneasy, to say the least.
Darryl's voice calling for Michael brought her back to the nightmare she was living. But right on cue, Leigh felt a reassuring grip on her arm. She didn't need to look at Darryl to know he felt as apprehensive as she was.
They continued to step forward into the house. The dimmed lights combined with her dread didn't allow Leigh to take in the place.
Darryl called out again, but there was no answer. What the hell is going on? But before he had a chance to figure it out, the door behind them shut abruptly.
They never even managed to turn around before Darryl collapsed on the tiled floor. Leigh lost her balance as she was pulled down by Darryl's hand which still had a grip on her arm. She landed just beside him in a heap of tangled limbs
The terror of seeing Darryl's seemingly lifeless body sprawled out on the cold tiled floor prevented Leigh from screaming. Suddenly, she was being pulled up and away from Darryl. Everything was happening so fast. Her heart was beating frantically.
The music, the dimmed lights, the horrific feelings running through her made her mind swirl. She couldn't think. She was suddenly being grabbed. Michael.
His calloused hands gripped her wrists possessively, bringing her to rest her back against his chest. Tears began to fall as Michael put his nose against her hair, and breathed in deeply.
Leigh heard him whisper in his usual arrogant tone. "Mine".
Damien's hands were clenched into fists. The murderous look on his face was enough to keep the other men in the car quiet. They had been quiet for a while now, focused on listening to the conversation happening in the house. But there was no conversation; in fact the only voice heard was Michael's.
"What the hell is going on?" Damien asked angrily. No one dared guess; Damien's body language screamed homicide. The agents in the car with him, highly trained and supposedly not easily scared, were actually intimidated by him.
For Damien, the silence was like torture. He needed to hear her voice. Say something, sweetheart.
"Where the fuck is Darryl? I don't like this." Once again nobody muttered a sound, not even agent Scott, who hadn't displayed any sort of emotion.
Leigh gasped and her immediate reaction was to scream but no sound had come out. She struggled hopelessly against Michael's hold, but that only seemed to excite him more.
"Always feisty..." He said smugly.
Leigh continued to watch Darryl, trying to catch a glimpse of life coming from his still body. But nothing.
Oh God he's dead!
Her reaction hadn't gone unnoticed by Michael.
"What is it dear Leigh?" He asked, looking down at Darryl's body and up to her face.
Leigh knew she had to say something, otherwise Damien was going to bust into the room in two minutes.
"Is he dead?" She asked trying to sound indifferent. She had to disguise her emotions.
"Why do you care?"
Leigh didn't answer, just stared at Michael's cold eyes.
"I thought he was your friend." She said merely, but in her mind she was screaming.
"I don't make friends with feds." Michael said but never took his eyes off Leigh's; he tilted his head as if to gauge her emotions.
His statement took Leigh by surprise. He knows about Darryl! She thought, but Leigh kept up the facade. Leigh tried to harness any kind of acting ability and convince Michael that she knew nothing of Darryl's involvement. She knew if she dropped character for a moment, it could mean the agent's life.
"Oh my God! But...I don't understand; if he's a fed then why did he bring me here?" Leigh asked as she tried to escape his grasp but no such luck. Get to the point, Leigh, she told herself.
Michael wasn't sure if he could believe she didn't know about Darryl, but decided to ignore the issue for now. He was becoming aroused just by having her next to him and thoughts of what he had planned to do with her were clouding his mind. Soon, he thought with a menacing smile.
"What do you want with me Michael? What is it that made you kidnap me and kill a federal agent?" She couldn't bring herself to look at Darryl anymore. She had to do this as quickly as possible. Be strong.
"He betrayed me. Fucking Fed." He said coldly.
"He's not dead, though." He sneered as he glanced at Darryl's body. "Not yet."
Leigh closed her eyes and relief spread throughout her body; She prayed Michael hadn't noticed it.
"What do you want with me?" She asked again as an attempt to get him to say something more incriminating.
"I will show you." Michael wasn't entirely convinced of Leigh's involvement with Darryl but he went along with his plan nonetheless.
Back in the car, Damien had heard enough. He wasn't about to sit there waiting for the crazy bastard to show her anything. As far as he understood, Darryl was out cold and Leigh stood alone with a sick man who had her at his mercy.
"I'm going in." He said reaching for the door handle.
"I don't think so. We haven't got any useful information on Visconti yet." Agent Scott finally spoke.
"I don't give a fuck about Visconti. You have one of your agents down, possibly dead and a civilian unprotected. I am going in."
"I am well aware of the situation detective; you heard Michael, Agent Johnson isn't dead. I will have the house surrounded by Agents ready to go the minute I say so." Agent Scott said coldly.
The other agents were all looking at Damien with sympathy. They hadn't seemed pleased with Agent Scott's lack of concern for one of their own and for an innocent young woman who hadn't needed to be in there in first place.
Damien was beyond angry, he was infuriated. The tension in the car became so thick, he was having trouble breathing. However, his focus was in every word Leigh was saying, waiting for her to give any sign she wanted out. He wouldn't hesitate; Damien would make sure she left the house alive and unharmed, because any other possibility just wasn't acceptable. He needed her; he needed her love. He knew that he couldn't ever feel for anyone what he felt for Leigh. His heart was aching for her; the feeling of protectiveness was almost unbearable.
God help him, but he would die to protect her.
Michael pulled Leigh by the arm gently, leading her to an adjacent room. His other hand was on her waist, keeping her securely close to him. She thanked God she had chosen to wear a thick jacket this morning, because the thought of feeling his skin on hers wasn't sitting well, and her stomach was churning. She could taste the bile rising in her throat.
She was on the verge of losing it completely. Leigh knew her bravery and self-control weren't going to last too much longer.
It wasn't until they entered the room and Michael turned on a tall floor lamp, did Leigh's head begin to spin. With her mouth open in pure disbelief, Leigh stared at the white walls where a few familiar paintings hung; her paintings. The only ones she ever had the courage to display. They were the ones that had made her extremely happy and proud when Lucy had told her they had been sold.
"I bought them so I would feel you near me; I bought them to make you happy." His voice denoted his sickness and selfishness.
Michael wanted to own her, as he did her paintings. Leigh would never let this happen, she would rather die; he would never ever own her. He might have bought her work which she had poured a little of herself when painting them, but he would never possess her soul. That belonged to one man only.
"I can't believe it! You..." Leigh's rage was overwhelming her. "Is this what you wanted to show me, Michael?" She asked, trying hard to calm down and keep her tone neutral, but her disgust was becoming too obvious to disguise.
"Can't you see? You belong to me."
"The hell I do! You disgust me! I hate you!" Her efforts to break free of him were in vain; it only made him tighten his hold even more.
"Now, we both know this is not true. I know you love me. Everything I've done for you was to show you my love."
"Was killing my father another twisted way to show me your love?" Her blood was boiling, her mind was clouded with rage;
Michael didn't even flinch; he knew she would bring up the issue. He knew that denying now would not matter at all. She knows, she's always known.
"You have to understand, love." He said, cupping her face in his hand while the other still had a hold on her arm.
"Don't call me that, you bastard!" She screamed.
"Leigh, he was going to tell you everything about me and Visconti. I couldn't let him do it; I needed time to make things happen." Michael sounded so pathetic, like a little boy giving stupid excuses for his bad behaviour.
Leigh was shaking her head frantically.
"Are you seriously telling me you did murder my father?"
"Don't lie to me!" She shouted, punching his chest repeatedly.
Damien didn't even bother look behind him as he knew for sure Agent Scott and the other agents were right behind him. Once he had heard Leigh's distressed voice, there was no stopping him. Things were becoming heated and he would not wait for Michael to finally lose his mind completely.