Chrissy Franco has every reason to take one hell of a victory lap around the courtroom. She’s just defended her client to the best of her ability and what’s more? Her client was actually innocent. Oh, she’d killed her husband, baseball legend Skip Maguire, alright; but he’d been about to hit a homerun with Miranda’s head.
His rabid fan base doesn’t agree with the verdict, and they’ve set their sights on Chrissy as the one to blame. One of them is about to set into motion a dangerous game when he publishes poor Chrissy’s address online…
Enter Tony McCormick, a detective with the right kind of attitude and Chrissy’s sort of ex-boyfriend. When he’s called to Chrissy’s apartment, he’s prepared for the worst. He’s a homicide detective after all. When he arrives, it seems that someone might have forgotten to check to see if Chrissy was still alive… now it’s everything he can do to find the man who did this and the other behind it all before it’s really too late.
Chrissy’s place. She was a lawyer, a defense attorney that I’d taken out a couple of times. We were like ships passing in the night schedule wise, and after the fourth interrupted date, we had pretty much come to the conclusion that it was nice, but it wasn’t going to happen.
That’d been over three years ago, pushing four; I’d always sort of wondered if our paths would cross again. I never imagined it might be on a homicide call in her building, that is if she still even lived here. Who was I kidding? I knew, deep in my gut from the minute I’d pulled up, it was the feisty lawyer’s apartment I was headed to.
“Well you can definitely say there were signs of forced entry, huh detective?” a uniform, Johns by the nametag on his chest, said as I stepped carefully over the shattered debris that’d been Chrissy Franco’s doorframe and lock.
“Jesus Christ,” I muttered taking in the raw scene.
There was a blonde, draped back over the arm of the couch, a movie-perfect shot through her fuckin’ forehead, right between the eyes. I walked carefully up to the second body and leaned down over my knees.
“Yeah, that’s Chrissy Franco, alright,” I said, heart heavy in the center of my chest. Regret weighed me down like a thousand pound boulder in the center of my chest. She was beautiful, even like this, body cooling on the floor. If ever there had been one that’d got away, it was Chrissy. I’d thought about her a lot in the intervening years since I’d last seen her. I’d even caught myself lingering in the corridors of the courthouse on the occasions I’d had to be there. Hoping to run into her, hoping to rekindle things; that she might happen to be single, maybe willing to give it a shot again… This was a-fucking-shame, and I was gutted that it had to be me to catch the call.
I pulled on a pair of gloves and went to trace some of her long dark hair away from the side of her face so I could get a better look at her when she gasped.
I nearly shot through the fuckin’ roof.
“Call a bus!” I screamed and knelt down amid the broken glass and spilled wine, the sweet smell of alcohol and coppery tang of blood singeing my nose even as hope filled me up like a goddamn helium balloon.
“H-he-help me,” she stammered out, and I took her hand.
“Ambulance is on the way, just hang on, baby.”
“Yeah, yeah, you remember me?”
“It hurts!” her tone was mournful, pain filled, and I deflated a little on the inside, but I wasn’t willing to show it. Confidence, surety, that’s what she needed right now.
Shit. Both of those things were the last things I was feeling right now. I wasn’t used to live victims, especially not ones I’d had the occasional date with. I couldn’t fucking help her except to wait for paramedics, and I hated it. I glared at the uniform who was spewing panicked words into the mic at his shoulder.
“Didn’t you check to see if she was a-fuckin’-live!?” I demanded, needing to direct my helpless anger somewhere.
“I mean, who gives a shit, man? I didn’t know! Just look at her!” he shouted, and I swore I was gonna have a quiet conversation with him and his CO later, whether or not she lived or died. That shit wasn’t right. You didn’t get to pick the vic. I strapped down my incendiary rage at the comment and stroked her hand, giving my attention to the wounded woman on the floor, the person that needed it most.
“Hang on, Chrissy, we’re gonna get you some help.” She squeezed my hand, and I could swear my heart squeezed down with it, a tight ball of sympathy for her pain.
My vision blurred with pain and tears as a back clad in black leather, a silver shield and indigo blue knight’s chess piece went past. He swatted back the curtain and slid open the door, his familiar voice whisper-shouting, “Hey Merlyn! She’s awake and in a lot of pain.”
A strong female voice called out gently, “Right with you, honey.”
He stepped back in and turned around, just as I squeezed my eyes shut against the hurt. Hot tears trickled out from under my lashes and down my cheeks but I didn’t dare try to move, the pain was bad, but moving? I didn’t want to think about it.
“Easy, Chrissy.” Maddeningly familiar voice! A tissue gently wiped away the tears and I opened my eyes to a pair of steely blue ones that radiated concern.
“Tony?” I whimpered.
“You’re okay, you’re safe now.” More fresh, hot, tears leaked out of my eyes. “Shh,” he soothed and I realized I was babbling.
“What happened; why am I here? What happened to me?” My mind tried valiantly to cling to anything but it was like as soon as I grasped it, it was gone, swirling into the murky haze inside my skull.
“You were shot, baby. In the back, you were shot twice.”
“It wasn’t a dream? It wasn’t a bad dream?” Of course it wasn’t, stupid! You were just dreaming of Tony before you woke up.
But why? Why would I dream of Tony, and why would he be here?
It finally came to me. A cop. Tony is a cop… tell him I have to tell him.
“They put my address up on the internet.” I swallowed hard, my voice a little warped but whether it was from the pain or soggy from my tears, I couldn’t tell. One thing I did know was that I had to tell him. I had to tell him everything I knew, because I hurt so bad I surely must be dying and he had to know in case I really was…
“Jim. Jim Parsons from my office found it. They put my address on the internet, told them to come to my apartment. Sam, Sami said that it was nothing, but I asked her to come over – oh god, is Sam okay? Where’s Sami Lynn?”
I wanted my best friend, I wanted to know that she was okay, but I didn’t think she was and he wouldn’t answer me… instead, he was holding his phone out in front of himself looking at the screen and I cried, “Why aren’t you listening to me!?”
“I am, I am, I promise, Chrissy. Can you tell me what he looked like?”
“Sam, where’s Sami? Is she okay? Is she alright?”
His steel blue eyes held a deep pity in them but he wouldn’t answer. He was saved from having to by the nurse. A buxom black lady with long thick braids to the middle of her back, came into the room in green scrub pants and a floral print scrub shirt. Buxom, that was a word you didn’t hear anymore but it was the best one used to describe her.
“Ms. Franco, honey. Do you know where you are?” she said and her voice was loud.
I ignored her, focusing on Tony, sweat popping out on my brow as I gritted my teeth against the pain and tried to fight back the only way I knew how. Through the system and by being a good witness.
Diary Of A Book Coming Together…
4/11/17: Hit this one hard and fast, and haven’t let up. I am over a quarter of the way through it and piling on five thousand words a day and more. This book has been heavily researched and takes on an issue that hit close to home so I’m working feverishly at making it the best that it can be. Current word count: 25,000 words.
4/13/17: At around 34,500 words and going strong. I’m having fun writing this one because it’s so different. Tony and Chrissy are fun characters to write. It’s time to start scraping live back together and for characters to start finding their inner strength. I’m going to hit it again come morning. I’ve set a fairly low word goal for this one at only 65,000 words as opposed to my usual 90,000, but it’s a new project and I’ll either go sailing past the 65k or it’ll end up in that neighborhood, but either way it goes, it’s going to be the best damn story that I can make it.
4/15/17: Yesterday I managed to kick some ass and wrote over 10,000 words on this project. I’m close to 50,000 words in so about two or three days from the 65,000 word initial goal. I’m betting dollars to doughnuts this is going to shoot up above 65,000 but I don’t think it will reach much higher than the 70-75k’s. Famous last words, of course. I’m going to try and get going on it. Usually I have some trouble the day after such a high word count. It’s like my brain needs the time to recharge. Gonna try, though.
4/16/17: Yesterday was kind of a bust for word count but sometimes that’s the way it goes after a big push. I’m going to be working on it today and am aiming for finishing the first draft by no later than the end of next week, which is about a week ahead of schedule. It’s doable and would be nice. That way I can get it through the betas and editing and have it on deck for release.
4/21/17: Okay, so I was really bad at keeping up with regular entries for this book, but I think that has more to do with I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with this book struggling for what to write. This one went really quick, and I just penned ‘The End’ on it. It’s less by way of wordcount for this book, clocking in at only 72k, but it’s a good story. At least I hope you’ll think so.
Text Copyright © 2017 A.J. Downey
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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