Chapter Sixteen

“Mom you don’t need to fuss over me I’m fine. ”

Reva huffed, “I’ll have you know that it is in my job description as a mother to fuss over my children.  So if I want to fuss and smother you with motherly affection you need to sit back and let me.  Isn’t that right Joshua?”

Josh looked over at Marah and winked, “As in all things you are right Darlin’.  Now let’s go sign those discharge papers, I’m sure Marah wants to get dressed in peace and get the hell out of her.”

Her father was right, Marah couldn’t wait to get out of here.  She went into the bathroom to change into the clothes her parents had brought.   She heard someone in her room and called out, “Mom can we stop by Len’s on the way home?  I could really use some ice cream about now.”

A hand reached out and placed a cold wet towel over her mouth, “Sorry change in plans sweetheart.”

Marah tried to claw the offending object away but he was too strong and the sickly sweet substance was getting to her.  Marah’s world went black.

***

Rafael was greeted with a solid right hook to the face. “God damn it!  What was that for Tony?”

Tony was furious.  “What was that for?  That was for hiding the fact that someone deliberately cut Marah’s brake lines!  She is in serious danger damn it and you kept it from me.”

Rafael gingerly rubbed the blood coming from his lip.  Tony sure packed a mean punch.  “And this is exactly why I didn’t tell you.  Because I knew you would go off half-cocked and do something stupid, maybe even get yourself killed.  I won’t even ask how you learned the truth, you went to see Marah.  Ever stop to think that maybe whoever it was had the room watched?  You could have put her in even MORE danger.”  

He hadn’t until now, but he still wasn’t ready to give up his anger just yet. “You still should have told me.”

“Yeah I probably should.  And you should learn that violence isn’t an appropriate outlet for you anger.  Seems we reached an impasse.  Now you need to sit down and shut up for what I have to tell you.” 

At Rafael’s sharp tone Tony actually complied.  Rafael placed a folder in front of him, “This is a prison file on one Romeo Jones.  Says here that he was killed in prison, face beaten beyond recognition.”

Tony felt nothing, not even an ounce of pity for the friend Romeo had once been.  That had ended years ago.  “So?  He probably deserved it.  And knowing Romeo there is no probably to it, he deserved it.  How’d you get this by the way?”

“You are not the only one who is ‘connected’.  And while I am inclined to agree about this Romeo guy there is more to the story.  So like I said, sit down and shut up.”

***

Marah eyes opened slowly.  They felt like they weighed ten pounds each and her head felt like it was stuffed with cotton.  But she had a pretty good suspicion that she wasn’t in the hospital anymore.  From the sounds of it she was outside, though where she didn’t have a clue. 

“Rise and shine sleepy head.” 

Marah couldn’t see the owner of the voice since he stood in the shadows but her brain told her she knew that voice.

“You have caused me a considerable amount of trouble Marah.”

Her befuddled brain finally clicked.  And the anger and hear washed over like a blanket, “R-r-romeo?”

The figure stepped out of the trees and made a mocking bow, “The one and only.”

***

“Are you telling me that Romeo Jones ISN’T dead?”

Rafael nodded, “Tony I think he was the one who held you captive.  He has been hiding out in Springfield and my guess is that he is the one behind your girlfriend’s accident.”

Tony jumped to his feet, “We need to get to the damn hospital!  If it is Romeo he won’t let it go, he’s going to come after her.”

“This is some of that half-cocked shit I was talking about.  You don’t walk into a possible ambush without a plan.  Besides I have someone watching Marah’s room in case Romeo makes a move.”

The words were no sooner out of his mouth when his phone rang.  Tony watched Rafael pace as he talked to whomever was on the other end of the line, and he saw when the other man got tense.  Rafael closed the phone and looked at Tony grimly, “Marah’s missing.”

But Rafael was talking to air, Tony was already gone.

***

“Mr. Santos the bank finally sent over the documents I requested.  I am faxing it over right away.”

Danny waited expectantly while the fax machine came to life.  Finally he’d be able to put a face to whoever was behind it all.  But when Danny held the photo in his hand he didn’t know how to react.  Sadness, grief, even joy was all there.  But most of all Danny was confused.  How was this possible?  He walked towards the kitchen where his wife was currently baking Bert’s famous apple pie that Robbie loved, “Michelle!  You need to have a look at this.”

But as he entered the kitchen he stopped dead in his tracks.  There standing in the doorway was a ghost from the past.

“Hello Danny.  Been a long time.”

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