Beyond the Ocean's Depths (Not an Average Shifter Romance)

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Chapter 56: Chief Waters Gets the Message

TOBIE

My hands trembled as I fumbled with the car remote, finally unlocking my SUV. Did Torin receive my text? And if so, how long would it take him to get here? “God, I hope he doesn’t come with sirens blaring! I’ll be shot for sure as soon as this manic hears sirens!”

The relatively short man with a slight stench and sweat-soaked clothes climbed into my passenger seat, training his pistol on me as I entered the driver’s side. Stashing my purse at my side, I nervously started the ignition. Even though my phone was on silent inside my purse, I couldn’t help but feel anxious. Were there any alarms or notifications that still might go off, alerting the gunman to its presence?

“No funny business, lady. Drive the speed limit and stay in your lane. Do anything to alert the cops or try to drive us into a ditch, and I shoot. Got it?”

My mouth was dry and all hopes I had of perhaps doing just that were lost in the thudding of my heart. As I slowly pulled out of the parking lot, my mind raced forward to the next burning question. What would he do once I helped him get his jewels back? Would he let me go? Yeah, right! Would he shoot me? Very likely.

Unsure of my fate, I had to come up with a way to delay the inevitable, hopefully giving Torin time to get help to the house before I became expendable. Inconspicuously, I took my first detour, adding at least five minutes to my short drive home, and praying with all my might that this guy wasn’t that familiar with little Navarro Beach.


}<<(((}> * <{)))>>{

TORIN

“Good to see you, Chief.” Detectives Barrett smiled cordially as he and Flores acknowledged me while everyone filed out of the briefing room.

“Detectives.” I nodded to both in turn. “Anything new on the case?” I replied hopefully, sure they would have contacted me if there had been.

“Not yet,” Flores piped up. “You?”

“Uh, no.” I shook my head, reaching for my vibrating phone in my back pocket. Glancing at the screen I noted the unread text messages notification and continued, “You still think Jimson’s around?”

“We don’t have anything that says otherwise, so we’re waiting him out. At some point he’ll need to come out of hiding to make a move, or someone will rat him out.” Barrett sounded sure of himself, and I felt slightly comforted by his confidence.

“I guess you heard from the briefing that my guys are still on the lookout.”

“We appreciate your efforts, Chief Waters. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.” The older detective stuck out his hand which I shook appreciatively before turning to walk out the door towards my truck.

Stepping across the emptying parking lot, I unlocked my phone, pulling up my messaging app. I quickly scanned the unread messages, the latest belonging to the pharmacy regarding Mom’s prescription. Below that, to my excitement, was October’s name. How unexpected! Thus far she hadn’t been one to initiate text messages, though she had no problem, replying back.

Help! We r being held hostage at rehab. Man with gun. Chuy shot. Locked in with animals. Going to my house for diamonds. Send help now!

“What?” I had to reread the message twice to understand. “Hostage? Gun? Diamonds?”

“Fuck!” I spun around on the asphalt, my eyes scanning the cars for the two detectives. “Jimson! This has to be Jimson! Where are Barrett and Flores?! We have to get over to the aquarium now!”

I found them three cars down and yelled loudly to get Flores’ attention before she shut the passenger door. “Wait, I know where he is!”

The pair exited the car, serious and expectant expressions on their faces as they met me halfway. Shoving my phone towards Barrett, I exclaimed with panic ebbing through my veins, “Jimson, he’s at the aquarium! He’s got my family hostage and he shot someone already.”

Barrett affirmed that he read the text, nodding to Flores, “This very well could be our guy.”

While Flores examined the text in turn, I was already calling in dispatch over the radio hooked to my shoulder, ordering them to send the PD over to the aquarium and alert my guys in the Marine Unit to wait for orders in the event this ended up on the water.

Ready to lead the detectives to the aquarium, I took back my phone from Flores and began to turn, but she stopped me. “Chief, who’s this ‘October’ who sent this? She’s a reliable source?”

“Oh. Yes, she’s reliable.” I fumbled for a second. Who or what was October to me? Girlfriend? Not yet, though she probably would be before long. My soul mate and the love of my life? The first part for sure, and the second part, almost undoubtedly. Finally, I settled on the safest answer, and what the detective was probably more interested in. “Uh, she’s the veterinarian at the aquarium. She works with my mother Rhonda Waters, the secretary for Rob Grant, the owner. She and both October and my daughters are there, along with another boy who’s interning for the summer with them. And also October’s two assistants. Chuy, the one she says was shot, and Vickie.”

Both Barrett and Flores’ eyes grew wide, realizing that I had family involved and motioned for me to go on. “We’ll follow you,” Barrett ushered, dragging Flores behind him and back to their car.

As I turned the ignition of my police truck, my emotions turned from panic and fear to anger. Jimson had better not hurt anybody else there. He was messing with the people I loved, and therefore signing his own death warrant.

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