One Way Or Another

Chapter 34

08/30/2005 Same Day Same Time

Chapter Thirty-Four

Brass walked into the interrogation room where Lauren sat quietly finishing her written statement. Reilly came into the room right behind him.

"What's she doing here? She isn't a cop." Lauren said as she looked at Reilly but spoke to Brass.

Reilly could have sworn she'd seen fear in the woman's eyes for just the briefest of moments before she masked it with a cold stare.

No, maybe not, but I thought maybe you might want to visit with someone who knows you. You know, a friendly face; woman to woman." Brass smiled at the woman's discomfort at Reilly's presence.

"She is not a friendly face." Lauren sulked.

Reilly feigned surprise at Lauren. "Now Lauren, what's wrong with my face? I thought I was very friendly to you when you so rudely interrupted my dinner with my daughter." Reilly said walking over to take a seat directly across from Lauren while Brass chose to remain standing near the door. "You do remember that night, don't you? The night you told me all those lies about you and Nick."

Lauren chose to ignore Reilly's taunting.

"Lauren I just wanted to come here and ask you why." Reilly said looking the woman directly in the eye.

"Why what?" She asked perplexed.

"Why would you take it upon yourself to come to me and tell me all those things about Nick; why did you harass us endlessly for the last three months; why, if you are so in love with John Smith did you continuously call Nick at all times of the day and night to see if he was alone or with me? Why did you act like a woman scorned if you had John? But most of all I want to know why would you let John take Nick away from me?" Reilly leaned in close to Lauren. She looked deep in the woman's amber eyes and she saw it. There in Lauren's eyes was the truth. Lauren didn't love John Smith. Lauren was still in love with Nick. Reilly knew it as sure as she knew she herself loved Nick.

And Lauren realized at the same instance that she'd just revealed her feelings to Reilly and the woman now knew the truth. She didn't answer; she just sat looking at Reilly. Then she broke down crying. "I don't know. I let John talk me into it; into the whole mess, but I didn't want him to hurt Nick. Not ever. I just thought maybe he'd scare him for breaking up with me, but I still felt he'd come back to me. I mean, he'd come back before; but when I ran into him with you that first time a few weeks ago, I knew. I knew you were the one for him and I was so jealous." She choked out between sobs.

Reilly reached out and took the woman's hands in her own. "You were… are still in love with him, aren't you?" She waited for Lauren to slowly nod at her. "You only helped John because he threatened you, didn't he? You and your father?" Reilly paused letting her words sink into Lauren's brain. Reilly heard Brass sharply clear his throat and Reilly knew what he was warning her about; don't lead the girl. Don't give her anything that will help her or her father out of this mess.

And Reilly made a decision right then and there. She chose to ignore Brass. Something told her that Lauren hadn't planned any of this, she was just a pawn. She'd been duped and left to take the blame. And God help her, but she suddenly felt that she needed to do the right thing, regardless of which side of the thin line between right and wrong she stood on. "You were led on by John's smooth talk and his seeming to understand you and how you felt. He said all the right things to convince you, didn't he?"

Lauren stared at Reilly surprised. She was getting it. The girl was beginning to get what Reilly was doing for her and she slowly nodded her head at Reilly.

"But something changed, you realized it was wrong, didn't you? So he threatened you; forced you to keep quiet. He's going to get away with this and leave you and your father here to take the blame if you don't speak up, Lauren." Reilly paused as Lauren continued to cry. "What did Smith threaten you with? Who's helping him now that he's out? What are you about to give your life up for? Tell me what's more important to you than your own life?" Reilly pushed.

Lauren finally looked Reilly in the eye. "You," She said quietly. "He threatened to hurt you."

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Nick watched as Thompson pulled into the parking lot of the motel. They'd probably only gone maybe five or six miles from the warehouse and they were going to check into a motel? Nick looked questioningly at Smith.

"We won't be here that long, pretty boy. Just long enough." Smith said, but instead of looking at Nick as he said it, he looked at Thompson. "Okay, let's go and keep close to our boy here." He turned back to look straight at Nick. "Do not try anything or I swear it will be the last thing you do." Smith produced his gun and aimed it at Nick's chest.

Thompson got out and opened the passenger door and pulled Nick out. Nick watched as Jameson parked the truck next to the driver's side of the Envoy then get out and joined them as Smith led them directly to a room in front of the parked cars. No one noticed as Smith opened the door and Thompson pushed Nick inside the room.

The room looked like every other motel room Nick had ever seen in Vegas. There were two beds, a nightstand between the beds, 2 dressers, and a table with two chairs by the front window; the only difference here in this room was that there were two large duffel bags on the bed closest to the door.

Thompson pulled one of the chairs to the middle of the room and ordered Nick to sit down. Nick hesitated, but when he felt Smith's gun graze the side of his face, he slowly walked over to the chair. As he sat down he realized he'd been positioned to be the first thing anyone saw when they entered the room.

Thompson produced the handcuff key and he unlocked Nick's left wrist then brought both of his arms behind his back and re-cuffed his wrists tightly behind his back. Then he produced another long strip of cloth and proceeded to gag Nick as he'd been before. The three men then moved to position themselves behind Nick.

"Now what do we do?" Thompson asked Smith as he pulled up the other chair and sat down behind Nick on his left. He pulled out his gun and placed it in his lap as he relaxed.

Smith stepped back to stand just inside the entrance to the bathroom as Jameson chose to sit on the farthest bed from the door. "Now we wait for our money to walk through that door." Smith said as he reached behind himself into the bathroom for the package he knew was already waiting there.

Nick suddenly felt his heart in his throat at the words. He was being exchanged now, any minute. And no one would know where he'd gone once they left this room. Oh God, what do I do now? I need help here. I need to get out of here.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Allyson drove her little blue Honda into the motel parking lot and pulled up next to the white truck already parked in the lot. She turned to look at her sister. "Are you ready?" She asked.

Jackie looked at the motel room door and she felt her insides heating up at the thought of Nick being behind that door waiting for her. She was excited and nervous; she could feel that old familiar feeling bubbling up inside her. She didn't trust herself to speak so she nodded as she looked at Allyson.

"Excited?"

Jackie nodded again. She slowly licked her lips as she allowed herself to embrace her feelings. "When.,.,. when we get him, how soon can I be alone with him?" She asked starting to rub her arms.

"As soon as we get out of here, don't worry." Allyson paused as she took in just how excited her sister was getting. She was a little unnerved at how her sister was looking. It reminded her of how she was before they'd taken her away; before their father had put Jackie in that hospital almost twenty-five years ago.

The older woman smiled eagerly. "Okay. Let's go." She opened her car door and got out. Both women looked at each other over the top of the car then they walked over to the motel room door.

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