The Candy Shop

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CHAPTER 38

Leon scanned the investigation reports on the Coronado family. “Come over here and tell me if you saw any of these people at The Candy Shop?” He said to Kira, who bent down and peered at the computer screen from over his shoulder.

“That’s Ian,” she said, pointing at the screen. “He’s Lucas’s right hand man.”

Leon clicked on Ian’s picture and a rap sheet a mile long displayed. “His real name is Issac Nader, aka the ‘In Man,’” Leon read.

“Why is he called the ‘In Man’?” Kira asked.

“He has multiple convictions for breaking and entering, computer hacking and a handful of charges for rape, including sodomy. It says here they call him the ‘In Man’ because there’s no place he can’t get in,” Leon explained and Kira shuddered.

“No convictions for rape?” She asked.

Leon scanned the document. “Ironically, his accusers wound up dead before the trial.”

“Nice guy,” Kira quipped.

Leon continued to read the document. “He has mob connections with several of the families, not just the Coronado family. That’s a little strange. It looks like he also has a son named Benjamin Nader.”

“Ben!” Kira blurted. “The bartender from the Lair was named Ben.”

Leon let his fingers glide across the keyboard. “Okay, let’s see what the Nader family has to do with the Coronado family?” He mumbled more to himself than to Kira.

The red light flashed and Leon leapt up and rushed across the room to monitor the outside surveillance cameras. He clicked from camera to camera, displaying the entire exterior of the home. “What’s wrong?” Kira asked, joining him in front of the screen.

“Looks like the cops are making a door-to-door search,” he mumbled. “And we’ve got an unmarked vehicle and two men approaching the front as we speak.”

“Cops?” Kira asked and Leon maneuvered the camera angle.

“One cop, one possible undercover cop,” he remarked.

Kira stared at the screen. It was Rocco and Peters and just the sight of them made her breathing quicken. “Leon, it’s them,” she gasped. “How did they find me?”

“Do you have a cell phone on you?”

“Only a temporary cell, not registered to my name or anything.”

“Did Rocco give you that phone?” Leon peered over the computer and Kira nodded. “Then he has enough information that he can trace it and it looks like he did.” Kira felt like she was going to hyperventilate. “Calm down,” Leon urged. “Even if he comes in the house, he’ll never find us down here.”

Kira grimaced and slid the cell phone from her pocket. “How precisely can it be traced?”

Leon rolled his eyes. “Depends, but it’s not a risk we should take. I don’t want anyone knowing about my office down here.” He checked all of the computers and made sure they were processing his data requests and then he headed for the elevator.

“Where are you going?” Kira blurted. “You can’t just leave me down here.”

“Give me your phone,” Leon instructed. “I’ll go up, answer the door and tell them that you were here, but you left; and you accidentally left your phone on the table. You stay put.”

It felt like Leon had been gone forever, though she knew it had only been a few minutes. Kira decided to distract herself by reading the reports that were popping up on one of the computer screens. Scrolling through the arduous history of Ian Nader was at the very least entertaining, if not disgusting. From what she read, he was nothing more than a street thug who had made a name for himself by doing the mob’s dirty work.

Making her way to the file cabinets lining the walls, Kira began to peruse the tabs, seeing if anything interesting caught her attention. Her fingers stopped on a file that bore the title: Parker, Adrienne. She felt a little guilty pulling it from the cabinet, but not guilty enough to stop. She wanted to know why Leon would have a file on Adrienne.

The first few pages were a lot of legal jargon, but the fourth page was the police report that was filed the night Adrienne was found dead. There were pictures of the front of Landon’s silver Mercedes with blood caked into the grill. Kira grimaced. Flipping to the next page she closed her eyes tightly and slammed the folder shut. It was a picture of Adrienne’s body, mangled from the car. Kira swallowed hard, fighting nausea. Poor Adrienne. Reopening the folder, Kira quickly flipped past the picture to the next page which was a statement from Frank wherein he reported Landon’s car stolen to both the police and the insurance company. Kira skimmed Frank’s statement and then started to turn the page when something caught her eye. It was the time. Frank reported that Landon’s car had been stolen after lunch, while he was still at the office. The statement indicated that the thief struck somewhere between 2:00 and 5:30pm, but Kira remembered Frank talking to Landon that night on the phone and it was well after dark when he called and told Frank he had wrecked his Mercedes. Had Landon murdered Adrienne and had Frank lied to cover it up? It certainly looked that way, but she still couldn’t believe that Frank would do that.

The next page sealed the deal. It was photos of the surveillance coverage of the hit and run and it was proof enough to put Landon away for life. Not only did he run Adrienne down, but he backed up and continued to hit her, at least five times, according to the report. Kira felt like she might throw up. These were the photos Rocco could never get his hands on to prove that Adrienne was murdered. Why did Leon have them? And why hadn’t he turned them over to the police?

“They’re all working together,” Kira mumbled to herself. Taking the surveillance photos from the file, Kira folded them up and stuffed them down the back of her jeans on the inside of her panties. She wanted to ensure they would not fall out. She then pulled the 9mm from her waistband, checked the clip like Rocco had taught her and took the safety off. Afraid Leon had already notified Landon or Frank that she was here she felt a pressing need to get upstairs and leave with Rocco and Peters as quickly as possible.

Kira started for the elevator shaft when a thought stopped her. Did Leon have a file on Frank? Rushing back to the cabinets, she found the S’s and a folder labeled: Sullivan, Frank. She pulled it out and flipped it open, instantly regretting that decision. Inside were pictures of Frank with another woman. She was a brunette and she was bent over his desk being taken from behind. The next picture showed him with a blonde who was straddling him in a chair. The third picture was of Audrey. She was standing in Frank’s office next to the windows and she and Frank were kissing. It felt as if Kira had swallowed a bitter pill, one so jagged as to tear her insides to shreds all the way down. Doing her best to shake off the emotion, she went back to the P’s and found another file labeled: Parker, Landon. She took that one as well. Driven by curiosity, she moved to the C’s and found a folder labeled: Coronado, Lucas.

She was about to head back toward the elevator when she heard the distinct humming noise of the elevator lowering in the shaft. Kira started to panic and then quickly shoved all three folders beneath her sweater, put the safety back on her gun and shoved it into her waistband. Then she grabbed the Taser from one of the desks and sat down in front of the computer screen that was showcasing the life of Ian Nader.

“Find anything interesting?” Leon asked as he stepped from the elevator.

“No,” Kira stuttered, “not really.” She turned to face him. “What happened upstairs?”

“Nothing,” he shrugged. “I told them you had been here and you left.” He handed her back her cell phone.

“And they believed you?”

“Why wouldn’t they?” Leon slid into the chair next to Kira, whose heart was pounding so violently that she was amazed he couldn’t hear it from where he was sitting. “Rocco wanted to take your cell phone with him, but I told him I didn’t feel it was appropriate to give it to him. I told him I’d contact you and you could swing back by and pick it up.”

Standing up and walking toward the screen showing the outside surveillance, Kira subtly tried to see if she could find Rocco and Peters anywhere on the screen. They were her only way out of the neighborhood which was now crawling with cops. “You know it won’t take long for the police to ID you and then the entire city will be looking for you,” Leon said. “Staying hidden down here might be your best bet.”

Kira’s nerves were shot and her options were looking bleak. Stay here locked in a bomb shelter as Leon’s prisoner, get picked up by the police for stealing Officer Downing’s car or worse yet, fall back into the hands of Landon, Ian and Lucas and wind up dead. Confusion toyed with her emotions and taunted her logic.

“I’ll tell you what,” Leon said as he slid from one computer station to the next and began keying in new search parameters. “Sleep here tonight and you and I will go together early tomorrow morning to find Audrey.”

Kira stared at him. Why would he say that when she had told him about Ian’s threat that if she didn’t come to The Candy Shop within the next twelve hours Audrey was as good as dead? Had he forgotten? Or did he not care that the time on Audrey’s life was ticking? She slowly walked behind him and peered over his shoulder at the computer screen. “You really don’t think Audrey and Frank are lovers?” She asked, feigning nonchalance.

“Nope.”

And that was the breaking point. “You’re a liar,” Kira seethed and planted the Taser against Leon’s neck, holding it there until he flopped out of the chair and twitched madly onto the floor. “You’re just like the rest of them!” She shrieked and then hit him with the Taser one more time. Leon’s eyes rolled back into his head and his entire body convulsed as Kira ran for the elevator. Once upstairs, it didn’t take her long to find his car keys hanging by the back door, make her way to his jet black BMW and drive as casually yet speedily out of the neighborhood as she could. She was cautious not to squeal out or do anything to draw attention to herself. Once she got onto the highway, the trembling set in and Kira broke down and sobbed. Had she killed Leon? Could a person be Tasered twice in a row and survive? She didn’t know and it was too late to worry about it now.

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