Trust Works Both Ways
Earlier that day:
Peggy had a dilemma on her hands, whether to tell Dede about her ex’s threats or not mention it at all. Her ex-boyfriend, named Johnny, appealed to her bad side. He’s a bad boy whom she’s known since high school. She truly had no idea what to do about Johnny. His association with Tony; he’s probably in too deep. If what he told her was true, Tony’s empire is going down. The FBI and the DEA are determined to stop him and Dede’s sister’s boyfriend is at the center of all of it.
“Hey, what’s got you so distracted?” Dede asked her friend.
He told her how she felt. “You and why you left last night,” she replied and watched her face.
“Oh, sorry about that, but things are complicated. I had a lot on my mind and it just didn’t feel right.”
“I know and I understand. We can talk about it later if you want?”
“I wanted to talk last night, but when I came back, you had company. I saw him enter your apartment.” She stiffened. “Who is he or do I know?”
At the computer, she sighed and told her the truth. “He’s my ex and he’s not a nice guy.”
“Did he hurt you? Should we call the police?”
“No, no; don’t do that.”
“Oh, so you’re protecting him.” It’s a statement.
“No, it’s not about protecting anyone.”
“So, why didn’t you call the police?”
Dede frowned, not liking that answer, but before she could speak on that, Ben, their boss, approached them.
“We have customers who need their food. Get to work.”
“Sure, no problem,” Peggy said.
Dede watched her walk away worried if she could truly trust Peggy, if she refused to be honest about last night. She sighed and got back to work.
Back inside Bill and Angie’s cab ride home, Bill felt jumpy, and after everything that went down over the past twenty-four hours, he turned and looked behind them several times, then, “Pull down that alley,” he instructed the driver.
“What’s wrong?” Angie asked and looked behind them.
“Pull over; stop right here.” He got out and poked his head in. “Stay here and don’t come out; no matter what happens.”
Angie nodded too terrified to speak, then she reached inside her purse. The cold hard steel felt right inside her palm.
Bill turned and waited for whomever was following them. The car stopped and a gentleman exited the car. He realized who it was; Bill relaxed and inwardly cursed a blue streak.
“Are you crazy? I was about to shoot you,” Bill nearly shouted at his friend.
“Sorry about that,” David said.
“Why are you following us?”
“To talk some sense into you. Back at your place, I saw Angie go inside, and so I waited. We need to talk about this crazy scheme of yours.”
He sighed and went back to his girlfriend. He paid the cabbie and sent him on his way. “Your apartment is a few blocks away. David and I will escort you home.”
“Alright, but why was he following us?” Angie asked.
“I’ll explain on the way,” he replied.
“Let’s go,” he said to David.
Walking along, David began to explain about Tony, but Bill interrupted him. “She knows about my plan to confront my childhood friend.”
“And she couldn’t talk you out of it?” David asked.
“Believe me, I tried,” Angie replied, still worried about his insane plan.
Bill didn’t respond. He wasn’t going to change his mind, and they realized this just by the look on his face. Arguing about it would only make him more determined to do it. Once at the front door, Bill walked in and so did David.
She checked on her siblings. Andrew had left earlier that morning, and Dede was asleep. “Everything is fine; you can go.”
Bill knew she was still worried about him, came closer and pulled her close. She relaxed, gripped his jacket and closed her eyes. He pulled away after a minute. “I’ll call you later today.”
“Alright,” she said and leaned up to kiss him; he kissed her back. “Get some sleep.”
Then he and David left. Closing the door behind them, she headed to the kitchen to make some tea, maybe it will relax her.
Once the tea was done, she headed to bed. No sooner had she closed her eyes, Dede poked her head in. “Are you asleep? I heard noises.”
“I’m awake. Bill and his friend David brought me home.”
“Oh, they must be concerned for your safety?” She started and came inside.
“No, but I’m so worried about him.” She couldn’t hold it in not anymore, then broke down.
“Sweetie, what happened? It’s the case; isn’t it?”
“Yes, and Bill and Tony; they,” she couldn’t even think it.
Dede frowned. “What about Tony and Bill?”
“They grew up together in Jersey City. They’re complete opposites.”
“I’ll say they are. So, what is Bill planning? I saw the news about the drug busts. I can’t imagine Tony is happy about that.”
“No, and that’s why I’m so worried. Bill is determined to confront him about the drug busts and who knows how that will play out. He could kill him right on the spot.”
“I don’t think he will,” Dede thoughtfully said then stood up and walked. “Killing a cop is kind of sacred to these gangsters. They stay together because of some strange sense of brotherhood. If betrayed, like a snitch or keeping profits to themselves, for example, they will kill those who betray them.”
“How do you know this?” Angie asked.
“Well, after we got our gun permits, I did a lot of research about gangsters and how they manage to keep people in line; they kill each other.”
“Speaking of gun permits, Bill gave me this.” She reached for her purse then pulled out the gun.
“Oh, my goodness; he truly is worried about you; about all of us.”
“Yes, he is, but I just wish he would take better care of himself. This idea of confronting Tony is like some kind of… suicide.”
“He doesn’t want to die. Get that thought right out of your head. I know he loves you. I’ve seen it time and again.”
Her eyes watered. “I love him too.”
Dede sat down and pulled her close. “Look, you’re exhausted. Get some sleep and everything will look better in the morning.”
“I hope so,” she said and tried to get comfortable.
“I’ll take that.” She put the gun back inside Angie’s purse.
“Good night,” Dede said.
“Good night,” Angie said and closed her eyes.
Hours later, Angie’s dream:
I can see myself, but the mist is very thick. Unlike most of my dreams, Bill isn’t there. I call his name repeatedly, but there’s no answer, but then I can see him walking towards me. I screamed, stunned to see him covered in blood, but before I can reach him, he collapsed in front of me.
Back to the present:
Angie bolted awake, her face wet with tears, and not knowing where she was, then she remembered. He’s not dead; he’s not dead, she repeated that in her mind over and over. Then she realized it’s morning, but her alarm hadn’t awakened her. How do I force it from mind? She wondered. She got out of bed and entered her shower. After showering, which did relax her, she checked for messages from last night, and her boss said the D.A. has a plan to force Tony out into the open.
She immediately called him back. It went to voicemail then told him she would be the office first thing. Once she arrived at her office, he was waiting for her.
“Good morning,” Al said and watched walk over to her desk. “You seem a bit jittery this morning. Too much coffee?”
“Morning, Al, I’m just a little tired; not much sleep last night.”
Al sighed and came closer. “Look, I know you’re involved with Detective Douglas.”
Her eyebrows rose. “And why does that concern you?”
“It concerns all of us, especially the case against Tony Lucas. About my message last night. The D.A. called me and he’s ready to seize all of Tony’s assets.”
“Wait; how can he do that?”
“With the assistance of a judge and of course all the evidence we have against Tony, including the informant, who’s under witness protection, the drug busts, Jimbo’s involvement, plus all the evidence we found in his apartment.”
She sat down and rubbed her tired eyes. “But will it be enough to convict him and everyone else in his organization?”
“Once Tony is put back in jail, they will split up, go their separate ways, and,” he hesitated.
“Someone else will take his place. It’s a vicious cycle with no end in sight.”
“It’s all we can do, and hopefully, keep an eye on them before it goes too far.”
“How soon before we know anything about this?”
“That’s why I’m here. I need you to write the brief,” he replied with a smile.
Angie immediately perked up. “Oh, I’d be honored.”
“Alright, I’ll look forward to it.”
After he left, she pulled out her cell phone and called Bill. He picked it up on the first ring. “Angie, are you alright?”
She smiled at his immediate concern for her. “I’m fine. I’m at the office and my boss gave me a very important assignment. I’ll be writing an indictment that will coerce Tony to come out into the open. The D.A. had this idea to seize Tony’s assets.”
He sat down stunned to hear this. “I see where they’re going with this. Once he realizes he can’t continue to do his dirty work, he’ll come forward and fight the seizure. It’s a brilliant idea.”
“So, your plan to confront Tony is null and void until we can file the indictment?”
“Yes, it’s null and void for now,” he replied.
“I mean it, Bill, do not confront him.”
“I won’t; I promise.”
“Good; let me do my job.”
“Thanks, Angie, I love you.”
She smiled. “I love you too.”
“Don’t tell me; that was Angie?” David asked with a smile.
“Yes, and she has some great news,” he replied, then told him the D.A.’s plans.
Stunned, David had to sit down. “Then you won’t confront Tony?”
“Yes, that’s on hold for now.” He turned to his computer.
David frowned. “Please tell you’re not still considering that crazy idea?”
He sighed. “I won’t confront him.”
“Why don’t I believe you?”
“It’s true; I won’t do it.”
“Bill, I trust you with my life and I’m counting on you to trust me when I say, if Tony is backed into a corner, especially after he realizes he has nothing to lose, he may just kill you.”
Bill thought about that and it did give him pause. “I do trust you, David; I do.”
“Alright, just keep that in mind and think of Angie.” He watched him closely. “She adores you.”
“I know and I’m a very lucky man.”
“Good, think about that.” He got back to work.
Bill sat still and realized he did have his dreams fulfilled. Meeting Angie, which he thought he would never do, and to think that she loves me and I love her; it’s far more than he could ever have dreamed.
And with thoughts of Angie, their future, he picked up the phone and listened to Tony’s voice and the message he left last night:
“Hello, Bill. It has been a long time, well, not since our high school graduation. You’ve doing well for yourself. Enough about old times, but I think we should talk in person with no distractions. I have a confession to make and I hope no one is listening or recording this conversation. It’s true. I do know you and you know me, and I’m sorry we haven’t kept in touch. Call me back and we can discuss a few things; things that are important to both of us.”
The recording stopped, then Bill closed his eyes, but inside his mind’s eye, all he could see was Angie in his dreams, but he found the real thing and he couldn’t lose her, not now, not ever. If he went to see Tony, she wouldn’t forgive him. He decided to wait for the indictment. He had to have faith and he did believe in his friends, in the love of his life. He still believed in her and their future.