No One Knows What It's Like
To Be Hated
To Be Fated
To Telling Only Lies
Same day 6:30 AM
Nate slowly pulled up to the location of Eliot's house and parked his Mercedes behind the SUV he knew was Detective Bonanno's. He sat for a moment taking in all the squad cars and other official looking vehicles parked all along the street in front of the house. He didn't want to do this, he thought. He could see the house was missing the garage from where he sat, and there was a lot of damage to the yard as well as the driveway. There was still a fire truck parked haphazardly in the driveway and the crew was working on pulling debris from what was left of the garage.
He couldn't believe the amount of damage he was seeing. Whoever had done this had been a professional. They had wanted to create chaos and damage, but not too much damage. Whoever had done this wanted this to be seen and reported. And Nate knew that could mean they wanted him and his team to know Eliot was dead.
He didn't want to believe that, but he couldn't see how anyone could have survived this blast from the damage he was seeing. He didn't think he could go into that house. He didn't think he could stand to see what he might see. This was Eliot's place. The most private person on the team, and he would hate seeing all of this going on at his place, safe house or not. He would be really pissed that the detective was letting so many people walk through his house even if it was now a crime scene.
Nate knew they wouldn't find much personal stuff in the house though. Eliot didn't keep much in a safe house. None of them did. They all had apartments in the building Hardison owned over the bar and they kept a lot of their personal things there. Close to Nate; close to home.
He slowly got out of his car pocketing his keys and walked up to the detective who was standing outside on the front porch inspecting what was left of the front window. Nate hadn't noticed just how much damage the house had actually sustained. He'd been so focused on what was left of the garage that he'd missed the damage done to the rest of the place. The bomb must have created a lot more damage on the inside from what he was seeing here on the outside.
"Hello Nate." The detective greeted him. "I'm sorry I had to call you on this." And he meant it. He knew that Nate and his team handled things that were not entirely above board as far as legal went, but he also knew that they did a lot of good in this world and he truly hated having this conversation with the mastermind especially about Eliot; but he needed answers if he wanted to find out who was behind this and…well, he needed to be sure they could put Eliot to rest.
"Hey detective. What exactly happened here?" Nate asked, trying hard not to focus on the remains of the window and the living room that he could see from where he was standing next to the policeman.
"We're not really sure. All I know is pretty much what I told you on the phone. My CSI guys discovered some broken branches in one of the trees in the backyard. They think a sniper was sitting in the tree waiting and fired through the kitchen window once Eliot came into view. He was shot and somehow he made it to the garage where his vehicle blew up. I've got other officers canvassing the neighborhood, but with the houses spaced so far apart out here, not many heard or saw anything." The detective answered pointing to the closest house across the street. "The Wilsons there are the only close neighbors and they're both in their eighties. They know Eliot as well as one can, and they love the boy in fact. He does a lot to help them out. Mrs. Wilson is convinced Eliot is a saint." He chuckled as he remembered her statement when he'd questioned the couple just barely ten minutes ago. "But they're both going deaf and they didn't hear anything until they saw the fire and that's when they called the fire department. That was around five this morning." He said reading from his notepad.
"You guys are sure that it was a sniper in the trees?"
"Yeah. There were broken branches and debris."
Nate looked at the other man. "The storm could have caused the broken branches, how can you be so sure it wasn't from the storm?"
"Because they found some distinctive scrape marks that they think were made by boot spikes like a repairman wears to scale telephone poles. They found them on only one tree and that tree has a perfect line of sight to the kitchen and can still be hidden in the shadows during the early morning dark hours."
"Okay." Nate paused as he thought that over smiling to himself at the detective's use of the word distinctive. "You said there was evidence of a body, where is it?" He looked around and he didn't see the coroner's van anywhere. "Has it… it been… has it already been taken away?"
The detective sighed again as he realized just how hard this was going to be. He didn't want to be the one to have to tell the man about… the body. "There is no body, so to speak."
Nate quickly turned back to look at the detective. "What… what do you mean… 'no body'? There has to be a body if your sure it's Eliot."
"We don't have a body." He repeated. "We have…remains." He watched Nate closely. "The bomb…the bomb scattered the remains all over the garage. We have blood, bits of bone; some large pieces, some hair and a couple of teeth have been found. We'll be running DNA on the blood and hair and we'll do a dental comparison on the teeth, but that's all we really have to work with. We've bagged his toothbrush and hairbrush to run DNA comparisons, but it would help if you have his dentist and his personal physician that we can contact for blood samples and teeth x-rays." Detective Bonanno took in how Nate's face quickly paled at what he was having to tell him. "I need to know if you were working any current jobs that could have put the man in danger. I know he has a past and I'm gonna need a list of anyone who could be after him for any reason." He watched as Nate slowly nodded. "Look, Nate…I know this is hard and I don't want to raise any hopes here, but there is the possibility…" He didn't want to get the man's hopes up, but he couldn't shake his feelings.
"What? What possibility? Are you trying to say it might not… it might not be Eliot in there?" Nate asked pointing to the garage.
"I just don't get any good feelings about this whole thing. There is evidence that Eliot could not have gotten to the garage on his own; he had help. That means to me that there was more than just the sniper. The guy in the tree takes Eliot out, but someone else was in the garage or house and they moved him. I just feel that whoever blew up this house wanted the scene found. They wanted an investigation. I think someone wants us to think Eliot Spencer is dead."
Nate took that in. "Then that means if he's still alive, he might not be for long." He ran his hands through his hair as he took that in. "Because anyone who wants to kill Eliot wants to do so slowly. He's made a lot of enemies over the years and most will not want him dead right away." Nate though about this. "But then again, he had just as many that wouldn't hesitate to kill him right away because they know how dangerous it would be to keep the man alive. If he's alive, there is the chance he will get free, it's what he does. And if he gets free then no one, not even God would be able save them from Eliot's wrath."
Nate prayed that Eliot was still alive, but he knew the odds were against that. The man just had too many enemies and since the Damien Moreau job, Eliot had confided a bit more to Nate about who and what might still be out there looking for him. He didn't know everything about the man, but Eliot had told him of a couple suspects that would stop at nothing to kill him.
"That's what I was afraid of." The detective seemed to take all the info in. "Well first things first. We determine if this is Eliot. If it is, we work the case as aggressively as possible to find his killer or killers. If it's not Eliot then… well then we bust our asses to find him as soon as possible. For his sake as well as his captors, I imagine."
"How soon can you find out if the… the remains are Eliot?" God, Nate thought, he hated saying the word 'remains', but he needed to know one way or another.
"I have the M.E. working this as a priority; as a favor to me. I have a lot of favors I plan on calling in on this if necessary. Eliot was my friend, Nate and no matter what he was before I met him, he will always be my friend. I'm not leaving this alone."
Nate smiled slightly as he thanked the detective. If Eliot only knew how much people believed in him then maybe he'd get it through his thick head just how good a guy he really was. Or is. Nate refused to think of Eliot in the past tense until the M.E. proved to him that Eliot really was gone. No if there was any chance in hell, Nate knew Eliot Spencer would still be fighting and not letting anything keep him down.
"I'll get you the name of the doctor we've used in the past, but can you try and keep it out of the system for as long as possible? I mean, if he is alive, we don't need someone coming after him through the police. In case you haven't noticed, cops ask too many questions." Nate said with a soft laugh. "And you'll let me know the instant you know whether or not it's Eliot?"
Detective Bonanno chuckled at Nate's statement. "I will. And I'll do my best to keep things as confidential as possible, but I'm not sure how much I can keep out of the M.E.'s report."
"I'm not worried too much about that right now. First I have to handle this as if Eliot is out there alive and in need of our help. After that if he's really gone, it won't matter anymore what the cops find out."
"And if he's alive?" The detective kept his voice low as they talked. He knew what the dangers were to the man if he was alive, but he needed to be sure Nate didn't act alone on this.
Nate looked up at the detective. "If Eliot is alive, I will do whatever is necessary to keep him that way. I will do whatever is necessary to keep his secrets. Make no mistake, detective, friend or no friend, I will put Eliot before everyone on this and I will do whatever I have to do to get him back."
The detective simply nodded in understanding. And he did understand; he knew he'd do whatever it took to help the mastermind secure Eliot's safety whether it was from the bad guys…or the good guys.
Somewhere in Eliot Spencer's past
"Eliot Hayden Spencer! You get your butt out here right now!" Jack Spencer yelled as he searched the field and surrounding area for his son. Damn it to hell, he thought. That boy was gonna get it when he found him. Hell he was gonna get it when his wife, Eliot's mother found out what he'd gone and let his son get away with doing. They were both gonna catch holy hell for this. "Eliot! Come here right now!"
Eliot sat huddled in the hay loft of the old barn on his Uncle Web's ranch as he listened to his father calling out for him. He was in so much trouble. He'd done bad and he knew his dad was gonna whoop him good, but he didn't regret it. Not one bit. He'd had so much fun! Man, he thought, it had been the best ride of his life!
He'd ridden that horse as if the devil himself was after him, but it had been so worth it! He'd rode like there was nothing in this world that mattered but him and the horse. Jasper; he'd started calling him that when his Uncle had bought him and brought him to the ranch two weeks ago. His Uncle had gotten a good deal on the demon of a horse 'cause he wasn't broke in yet and none of his uncle's hired hands had been able to do it yet. Eliot had been watching as three of his uncle's best had tried their hand at it that morning and they'd all failed.
No one could ride him, but Eliot knew in his heart he could. He could feel the horse calling to him, watching him as Eliot sat on the corral fence watching him in return. He'd begged his uncle and his dad to let him in the corral to just try and calm the horse; just get acquainted with him. Finally they'd agreed albeit reluctantly.
But when Eliot had been able to get the horse to calm down, to look at him, Eliot had quickly thrown his twelve-year-old frame onto the back of the beast and he'd rode him hell bent for leather. The horse tried everything to get Eliot off, but he'd hung on. And once on the horse, no one could get close enough to stop them.
Jasper had managed to jump over the corral and he'd taken Eliot for the ride of his life. He'd hung on and he'd felt like nothing else mattered except that moment. That one moment when he was one with the horse. He'd thrilled at the wind rushing past him, pushing his already growing longer than his mamma liked hair back from his face and he'd urged Jasper on harder and faster. Then it happened.
The horse has stumbled and had gone down taking both himself and his young rider down too. Somehow by some miracle, Jasper hadn't been injured other than a cut on his hindquarters, but Eliot hadn't faired as well.
His Uncle Web had been more worried about the horse than Eliot. He'd broken his arm in the fall, he knew it and he was worried about how much trouble he'd be in as his Uncle turned to face him so he'd ran. He knew his Uncle would never hurt him, but his daddy would and he didn't want that. He hadn't meant to hurt Jasper, he'd just wanted so badly to ride him and he knew in his heart that Jasper had been waiting for him to be the one to ride him.
Eliot sat now in the hay loft cradling his injured left arm to his chest as he listened to his father calling out for him. Damn he was in so much trouble. But he knew his dad was really the least of his worries. It was his mamma who was the real threat. The one he was the most worried about and not because she'd whoop him too, but because she would be so disappointed in him for not listening. Eliot knew his mamma would kill his father for letting him in the same place as a wild mustang and then she'd blister his backside for getting hurt.
Yep, he thought. He was so dead. Eliot Hayden Spencer was for sure and most certainly dead.
Roughly almost 8:00 AM
"Did you do it?" The man sitting in the sidewalk café just down the street from McRory's bar spoke into his cell phone. His deep accent would have clearly been noticed if anyone was sitting near him, but considering the time of morning, he was all alone.
The man reached out to grip his coffee cup and raise it for the waitress's attention to bring him a refill. The service here really wasn't up to his taste, but he wanted to be as close to the bar as possible without being detected.
"Yes." Came the male voice on the other end. "Everyone knows that Eliot Spencer is dead. He died in his truck in his garage when an assassin planted a bomb on his vehicle. He is no longer a threat."
"Good. See to it that's how it stays. I don't want anyone asking questions before… well before we're done here. I've got my eye on the bar and we can rest assured that the others will be easy to eliminate now that their protector is out of the way." The man stopped speaking as the waitress came over and refilled his cup. Once she'd moved on, he spoke again. "I will meet you back at the warehouse in two hours to begin the next part of our plan. I want to handle that part myself. I want to be the one to make sure Eliot Spencer stays dead. I owe him that much for what he and his team have done to my family."