What Matters Most~ Thirty-Three (Part Two)

Carlos pulled the car over to the side of the road right outside Springfield city limits. As far as Marah could tell he had just been driving in circles or perhaps his plan was to drive her out here all along. To get her outside of city limits and end her life. He had already tied her hands, as if Marah was a real threat in her current pregnant state. But she hated being helpless and at his mercy.  Perhaps if she could just get the door open she could try to at least make some sort of run for it. Shifting her body away from Carlos Marah surreptitiously reached her hands towards the door handle…

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Not that the doors would open anyway but I would hate to have to hurt you needlessly.” He turned towards her and held out a scrap of fabric. “I’m going to need to cover up your mouth Mrs. Santos. Can’t have you screaming and alerting curious onlookers.”

Marah recoiled in horror, a wave of overwhelming panic consuming her. She pushed herself as close to the door as possible she could barely breathe through the fear, he couldn’t cover her mouth! She threw up her bound hands when he moved closer, “Please! Don’t! I’ll be quiet I swear!”

Carlos let out a frustrated sigh before reaching in to the waistband of his tuxedo pants and pulling out a rather large and lethal-looking pistol. He grinned in satisfaction at watching Marah’s eyes go even more wide in fear, “Listen, I could kill you now and save myself a lot of time and aggravation, or you can put the gag on and perhaps live to see your child make their first steps. Your choice.”

She knew that he was most likely lying, no one would go through all this trouble just to let someone walk away, but she had no choice.  She reached out and grabbed the cloth from his hand and tied it securely behind her head, knowing that if she didn’t do it right he would know.  Carlos grinned at her acceptance. “Now that wasn’t so hard now was it?” He ignored the daggers she shot him from her blue eyes and instead turned back to the steering wheel and Marah let out a relieved breath through her nose.  At least he hadn’t hurt her, not really.  And she could concentrate on where he was taking her, perhaps make a run for it…then as quick as a snake Carlos turned back around and struck Marah in the back of the head with the gun he still held in his large hand.  As she slumped over unconscious in the passenger seat Carlos nodded to himself, “Not so hard at all.” Tucking the gun back into the waistband of his pants he then pulled the car back onto the road continuing towards his destination.

***

Rafael stood nearly toe to toe with the company hired to provide security for the evening.  He looked like he was ready to come to blows if need be to get inside, and knowing the man Tony was sure that wasn’t too far off the mark.  Tony let out another frustrated breath. “I do not have time for this.” Rushing over he quickly put a restraining hand on the older man’s arm. “Hey Rafael it’s okay man. I am right here. Let’s not start throwing punches.”

The security guard scrutinized Tony with a harsh look. “You know this guy?”

Tony resisted the urge to belt the guy in the face himself.  He really didn’t have time for meatheads on a powertrip, adding Springfield’s finest to the mix would just be the topper to this craptastic night. “He’s my father.” He ignored the slightly amused look on Danny’s face.  It’s not like he had planned to say those words, they had just come out. “He has just gotten back from out-of-town. Cut him some slack.”

The security guard still looked wary but after a few moments backed off grudgingly. “Next time read the invitation more carefully.”

Rafael gave a mock salute. “Yes sir” Turning towards Tony he looked as agitated as ever. “Well son I called in every favor owed to me in D.C. but at least I finally got some answers.  So do you want the bad news or the even worse news first?”

***

Blake moved through the throng of dancers to get to the pair that were still occupying the dance floor like a bunch of teenagers. She tapped Reva on the shoulder to get their attention. “Have you seen Tony anywhere? Frank called and told me to make sure he stayed put. He sounded pretty urgent.”

Both Josh and Reva scanned the room, when there was no sign of Tony or Danny they both suddenly knew something was amiss.  Josh turned towards Reva and gave her a reassuring smile he didn’t feel. “Darlin’ I’m going to go look outside for Tony. I’ll let you know what I find out.”

***

Rafael squared his shoulders, once again looking like a boxer getting ready for a fight. Or like someone ready to impart some really heavy news. “I talked to the agent who was in charge of keeping track of Ms. August while she was in Witness Protection. Took me damn near a week to get him to divulge anything important but finally I was able to work my magic.”

Tony didn’t know what Rafael’s brand of magic was and frankly he didn’t care.  All he wanted was answers. He made a hurry up gesture with his hand. “And…”

“And let’s just say she did not acclimate well to the program. She was defiant, hostile, you name it.  Agent Clarke said the psychiatrist assigned to help transition her into the program warned him that she was prone to periods of delusional fantasy. And can you guess who was her main characters in these fantasies?”

He didn’t have to guess Tony already knew.  Eden had always seen them as being made from the same cloth. “Me.”

Rafael shook his head. “You were only part of the story.  It’s Marah that was the star of the show.  Marah was reason she could never have you, why you could never love her.  Angela Coleman was just her most recent identity in Witness Protection, she’s had to have several more due to her troubles in the program.  And sure enough one of them she chose was Marah.  Seems she wanted to become what she envied most.”

Tony tried to digest all that Rafael was throwing at him.  If what he was saying were true then all the time he had been trying to protect Marah he had actually left her even more vulnerable to Eden’s plans.  Rafael said Eden had been prone to delusions which meant that Marah could be in even more danger than before.  “We need to figure out where Carlos could have taken Marah.”

Josh had exited the large double doors just in time to hear Tony’s announcement.  And judging by the fear in the younger man’s tone Josh knew something was seriously wrong. “What do you mean?  Is Marah in some kind of danger?”

“We don’t know Josh.” Danny hesitated before continuing, “But it’s possible.  We have reason to believe that Carlos Riviera isn’t who he claims to be.  And right now he has Marah and she is not answering her cell phone.   And Rafael here just came back with some interesting information about Eden August.”

“Do you think they are working together?”

Tony shrugged, a loss for answers. “We simply don’t know. ”

“You looking for answers?” Frank Cooper was practically running towards them holding a large manilla envelope in his hands. “I think I might have the answers you are looking for.”

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