Thomas felt all the air leave his body. His gun hung by his side, and Dray touched his shoulder. “The truth is coming out tonight and they’re not going to like it. Get your family out of here.”
“How do you know all of this, and what does this have to do with you and my son? Where does Summer come in this?” It was the only reason David was in this mess in the first place. Damn McNeils.
“I was Governor McNeil’s assistant for eight years before he fired me for fooling around with his daughter.” His lips thinned. “I’m not sure where your son comes into play beside the obvious statue, status, financial gain and ties. David getting jumped was almost like a distraction to keep you off his trail.”
“Or a ploy to take care of you. He wanted me to think it was you who jumped David out of jealousy so I could get rid of you.”
“You’re known as the best for a reason.” Dray nodded, but Thomas could see he was a million miles away.
“You’re in love with her.”
“Yes, but love is not enough for her. So I took that love and added it to the love that I have for this county, this state, and I’m going to let the truth out, even if it kills me.” Dray moved out the door.
Thomas grabbed him before he got to far. He looked around before whispering, “You’re going to get killed this way for sure. We need a plan.”
Anna was coming down the hall with Crystal, the Governor, Mrs. McNeil, and a crew attendants and security.
“Dray?” Steve growled.
“Show time.” Dray announced, then rushed for the stage.
Dray snatched the curtains back. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m sorry to interrupt your night, but I have an announcement to make before we begin with the order of events! Your beloved Governor is a fraud and so are the women who run this charity.” Gasped filled the room. “Do not give this charity money! It’s a scam. They’re trafficking the very women they claim to be helping.” Dray screamed out.
“Young man. Are you lashing out because you were fired from being the Governor’s assistant?” Crystal questioned as she stood by the Governor’s side as the made it unto the stage.
“You need to apologize for your lies and get off the stage.” Steve said with rage behind his eyes and voice.
Thomas moved closer once he noticed the heap of security that was surrounding the stage. He looked out for Terry, who migrated Micah, Graham, and Aria closer to the exit before he eased towards the stage.
“Dray. What are you doing?” Summer said from the floor right in front of the stage.
“What am I doing? Something that you and the rest of this town are too afraid to do. Stand up to your father.”
“You said what you had to say, let’s move out.” Thomas whispered.
“You better think about this, son.” Steve warned. “Apologize.”
“I’ve thought about this a thousand times.” He smirked at Steve. “They’re trafficking women through this organization and you going down with them.”
“Enough!” Steve’s voice boomed through the room. “I have had enough of this. I will not let you stand up here and make a mockery of Ms. Harden’s charity, The Tuckers, and especially the McNeils.” Steve turned and yelled to his security. “Remove this man!”
“Don’t bring up the Tuckers! This is all you, McNeil, and your greed. I can prove it.” He wrestled for something in his pocket.
Thomas tried to yank him back, but it was too late. Steve’s security was quicker. Trigger-happy bastards let their guns fire into his chest, wetting Thomas’s shirt with Dray’s blood.
“DRAY!!!” Summer’s cries were slowly drowned out as all hell broke loose.
“Zora. Zora! Zora, can you wait?”
“What for what? So you can prove to me I didn’t make a mistake giving you another chance to break my heart.”
“I only want you!”
“You don’t know what you want! You didn’t get what you wanted from Summer, so you ran to me. Now that you didn’t get exactly what you wanted from me, you run back to Summer. I’m sick of playing games with you.”
“It wasn’t like that. Will you let me explain? The day I left your house Summer was returning the key to me and she was there. We talked-”
“Why couldn’t you explain two weeks ago when the two of you talked?” She didn’t give him time to answer. “Because you wanted to be sneaky. You always want a backup plan. Life doesn’t work like that, David.”
“I’m not talking about the Summer thing when I say this, but what’s wrong with security?”
“Because it’s not guaranteed. Take a leap of faith.”
“Take a leap of faith with me, Zora.”
“We can be friends, David, but that’s it. I don’t want to be the backup plan.”
His next statement was interrupted when the sounds of bullets and screams shot through the air. “Zora!” He tackled her over the hedges, and he used his body to cushion the blow.
“David!” She tried to clench him to her, but he pushed her beneath him, shielding her body.
“Shhh. It’s almost over.” He held her down as he squinted his eyes to see through the bushes.
“Go! Go! Go!” He watched the woman round up her men and was making a run for it. David tried to make sure he memorized her features to give to his father. He was 100% sure she had something to do with whatever just happened.
“We’re going to stay here for a second.” He whispered to Zora.
She nodded with a daze look, then fell into his arms.
“You okay?” Terry asked, as he helped Thomas slide from under Dray’s body.
“Take this and get my kids out of here. I’ll meet you at the house.” He secretly handed off the item, then pushed him towards his approaching family.
“Dad.” Graham called out for him, but security wouldn’t let him through.
“Go with Terry. Get your brothers and your girls out of here.”
“Go, get them out of here.” Thomas said to Terry as he moved for McNeil.
“Thomas!” Anna cried out. “Are you okay?”
“What the hell have you gotten yourself into?”
“I didn’t know.” She was sick. All the women she thought she was helping when in actuality she pulling them from the snake pit into the lion’s den. “I don’t know what that kid was talking about. You know I would never…”
“I know, Anna. Don’t you get it? Crystal set you up.”
She turned to look around, and sure enough, Crystal was nowhere to be found.
Anna’s hands shook. What have I done?
“Fix this, Anna.”
“I don’t know how.”
“You better think of something.” He growled. “Fix this.”
“Thomas…” Steve started, but Thomas cut him off with the raise of a hand.
“If I were you, I would watch my back, McNeil.”