Author Topic: Eye For An Eye (18+ Violence, language)  (Read 1143 times)

Simon Toews

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Eye For An Eye (18+ Violence, language)
« on: May 26, 2017, 01:57:04 PM »
2006
Simon?s eyes popped open to the sounds of cartoons playing on the TV.  His entire body hurt from the night previous.  Cameron Cotter, local crimelord and low-life with delusions of grandeur sent him out to collect, and the skinny little junkie resisted.  Aggressively.  Cotter was piece of ****, but he paid well...and Simon?s skill set was...somewhat limited.
 
Besides...even blood money meant that he could take care of the little brown-haired girl sitting in front of the TV.  Cici was the product of a one-night stand with a stripper.  One day, he woke to find her bassinet sitting at his front door with a note that said ?she?s yours.?  Gods knew what the hell had happened to her, and frankly, Simon didn?t care.  The woman abandoned their child.
 
He was amazed at how quickly he settled into fatherhood.  For an orphaned thug from Westend, he was doing alright.  Even tried to go straight for a while.  Work a regular job, be a regular dad.  But eventually, the life called to him and he was right back in the thick of it.  Beating money out of lowlives, serving as a driver, muscle, and earner for Mr. Cotter.  It wasn?t an honest living, but it was a living.
 
Simon stepped out of his room, clad in a white tank top and grey pajama pants, walking up to the six year old and settled in beside her.  ?Whatcha watchin? baby girl??  He asked, leaning over and kissing the top of her head.  The girl?s hair was just a rat?s nest from sleep.
 
?Spongebob.?  She said, that gapped smile on her little face.  She was so proud to be getting some of her ?big girl teeth? as she called them.  One of those battered hands of his ruffled the girl?s hair.
 
?Lookit you, kid.  You?re a mess.?  He said with a chuckle.
 
Cici patted her hair down self-consciously.  ?Well, you?re supposedta brush it!?  She said defiantly.
 
?Oh-hoho, am I??  Simon laughed.  ?Well, yessum, Miss Cici??
 
He reached over to the end table, grabbing the brush as she climbed into his lap.  Whether Cici understood what her daddy did for a living was up in the air.  He did everything he could to keep the two lives separate.  She never asked about the bruises or the scabby knuckles.  It was just something that was always there.  There were times after a particularly rough job where he struggled to even look the little one in those pretty blue eyes.  If there was any good in him, she brought it out.
 
As he was working the knots out of her hair, his phone rang on the coffee table.  His eyes turned to it, wide and alert as they always did when the job interrupted his other life.  He leaned down and kissed the top of her head.  ?Daddy?ll be right back.?

?Hurry up!?  He said insistently.  ?My hair?s a MESS.?
 
Simon laughed.  ?Of course.  Wouldn?t want you to look a fool in front a? Squidward.?  He said, standing and picking up the phone.  He slipped back into his room and closed the door to a crack.  The phone was pressed to his ear as he answered.  ?Toews.?
 
?Simon!  Mate.?  Cotter?s voice came through.  That gruff, cockney voice always sent a chill through his body.
 
?Mr. Cotter.?  Simon responded, very calm and professional.  ?What can I do for you??

?Listen, bruv, I?m gonna need ya t?day, yeah??  Cotter said.
 
?Absolutely.  What?re we talkin?? Simon peered out, making sure Cici was still glued to the TV.
 
?Nuffin? too rough...in theory.?  he snickered.  ?My pain in the ass wife needs a driver going into Star?s End.  Thought you?d be up for a bit a? quick green, yeah??
 
Lyla Cotter.  Tall, leggy and gut wrenchingly gorgeous.  Too beautiful for a pug-faced lug like Cameron.  He?d met her only briefly and even then, she?d barely looked up from her phone.  It was no secret that the woman liked to party...and flirt.  He?d known men who responded a little too readily to her advances and ended up decorating the bottom of the river.
 
?How long??  Simon asked, trying to figure out how long he?d need to recruit his neighbor, Ellen to look after the kid.  Ellen was in her 60?s, a widow, but she adored Cici, despite her father?s less than stellar reputation.  
 
??Til she tells ya, mate.?  Cotter responded, a little edge to his voice.  ?Frankly, I want the bitch outta my hair.?
 
Simon bit his tongue, almost responding with a crack at the balding mobster?s quickly retreating hairline.  ?Yessir.?  he said, instead.
 
?Pick ?er up at the house at 1, yeah?  We?ll get you all set up.?  
 
?One o?clock.?  Simon affirmed.  
 
?See ya then, mate.?  And the line went dead.

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

Simon Toews

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« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2017, 08:16:27 PM »
Say what you would about him, but Cameron Cotter had damn good taste in automobiles.  Simon stepped up the driveway of Cotter?s place, a black Benz E 350 that would be his ride for the day gleaming on the pavement.  His eyes trailed along the body of the car like he was ogling a particularly beautiful woman.   His cheeks puffed out as he shook his head, stepping up to the door.  
One of Cotter?s inner circle of goons opened the door, a fat, track-suited thug named Frankie Carbone stood there, eye-balling the tattooed fighter.  ?Yeah?  **** you want??
 
Simon?s brow quirked slowly, staring right back at the man.  He paid him absolutely no respect, slowly glancing around him.  ?Here to see Mr. Cotter.?
 
?Well I ain?t heard nuffin? ?bout that, chief.?  The thick, smarmy bastard smirked at him before hardening back up.
 
Simon looked unimpressed.  ?Then I guess you?re a ****in? nobody he wouldn?t mind me plantin? in the ground.?  
 
Suddenly, Carbone grabbed him by the shirt, both of them cocking their fists back ready for a fight.  ?Oi!  You stupid, sodding pricks.  Knock it off, yeah??  Cotter?s voice interrupted them.  The man was built big at 6?1?.  Though his belly had gone soft and round, he was still built like a brick ****house.  A bit of salt and pepper stubble decorating his round face, and what hair was left at the top of his head was slicked back.  A grin formed on his face as he descended the staircase.  ?Simon Toews.  Simon.  ****in? Toews.  If it ain?t my favorite little runner.?  
 
Simon released Carbone and pulled out of his grasp, bumping past him with his shoulder and bowing his head a bit to Cotter.  ?Mr. Cotter.?  
 
The man was gaudy, a nylon tracksuit over his stocky frame, a gold chain around his thick neck and rings on every finger.  One of those big meathooks clamped down on his shoulders.  ?The TAZER!?  Cotter said, shaking him and mimicking what he thought a tazer sounded like before busting out laughing at himself.  ?Nah, nah, nah. You piss off with that ?Mr? ****.  We?s mates, yeah?  See, Mr Cotter...that was my ol? man.  You...uh...you call me Cameron.?  He gave a toothy grin, showing off a golden canine tooth.  ?No, Cam.  You call me Cam.?
 
Simon nodded, watching himself and everything he did.  He didn?t buy this nice guy act.  He knew what Cameron Cotter was.  And that was not someone to be ****ed with.  He glanced up the stairs then.  ?She about ready??
 
?Yeah, you know women.  Be late to their own funerals, won?t they??  Cotter said, laughing at himself as he slapped a hand around the back of Simon?s neck, even the little bit of pressure reminding the slimmer man that his employer could crush the life out of him in an instant.
 
?Lemme give ya a fair bit of warnin?, hey??  Cotter said in a hushed tone.  ?My wife can be a bit of a ****,  She?ll break your balls, try n? get you into trouble.  I seen it before.?  He narrowed those beady, hazel eyes of his.  ?She gets into ****...I don?t care what you gotta do.  You get her back.  You need to give her a rap on the bean, you do it, you hear me??  he said, tapping his forehead as if showing what the ?bean? was.
 
Simon turned to him and nodded slowly.  ?Whatever it takes.?
 
He heard her before he even saw her.  Lyla Cotter. 30 years old, and a drop-dead beauty.  Pale, flawless, skin.  Big, round, brown eyes.  Her brown hair dyed a shade of dark red and cut in stylish bangs across her brow.  She was on her phone already, speaking in that posh accent of her?s as she walked down the stairs, a skin-tight dress clinging to her curvaceous, toned form. Her heels giving more height to her 5?9? body.
 
Lyla got a lot of stares from the bunch of toughs milling about, but Simon, just glanced her ways with that calm, disinterested look he put on whenever around Cotter or any of his people.  The tall beauty looked over at him, a black leather jacket over a tight light grey v-neck and a pair of jeans.  The hints of tattoos at his neck creeping out of the collar.  With a sigh, she rolled her eyes.  Yet another in a long line of her husband?s lowlife, criminal flunkies.
 
?You could at least DRESS like you have some class.?  She said to him in an acidic tone.
 
A small smirk worked its way to his lips as he glanced away, amused.  Cameron chuckled and shook his head.  ?Was I right?  Complete ****in? ****.?  He grabbed ass roughly as she passed.  Lyla wheeled on her husband, her eyes at first hard and confrontational...but it melted away into...not affection.  But something close enough that she didn?t raise a fuss.
 
The woman turned to him, embarrassed a moment before that bravado came roaring back.  ?Let?s go.?

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

Simon Toews

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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2017, 01:18:59 PM »
Cool, blue eyes kept on the road ahead as the precious cargo in the rearview mirror ended yet another in a long line of phone calls that had lasted for 3 hours and 5 stops.  For a moment, he foolishly thought the broad had run out of **** to yack about.
 
Instead, she turned those brown eyes up to the mirror looking at him.  ?So.  Sigmund??

?Simon.?

?Like it matters.?  She said, rolling her eyes. ?What gutter did my husband drag you out of.?
 
He glanced up at her reflection, that poker face just staring her down a moment.  She didn?t shy away, though.  She just stared right back.   ?Are you deaf??  she asked.  ?I said, what gutter did-?

?One not far from the street corner he picked you up from.?  Simon spat back.
 
For a moment she looked offended, but the mouth-agape look of shock curved into a smile.  ?Oh...oh, Steven, I am going to have fun with you.?

Simon turned his eyes back on the road.  He regretted the comment almost immediately.  It was a gamble, talking like that to a woman so powerfully connected.  But rarely was it ever said the man was blessed with an abundance of brains.  ?Simon.  The name is Simon?
 
A cocky little smirk played across those perfectly manicured lips as she watched up at him through those long lashes.  ?You like to fight, Simon??
 
?Ain?t one to turn away from one.?  He said, eyes moving along the sides of the street.  Always alert, always reading people.
 
Lyla watched him a long moment.  ?You do.  I bet you love to fight.  Beat a man into the ground with your fists.  Feel that blood spray on your face when you bust his face open.?  She said it as if she was seducing him.  ?That?s probably why he likes you.?
 
?I?m a solid worker.  I don?t ask questions and I get results.  That?s why Mr. Cotter ?likes? me.?
 
Lyla rolled those big brown eyes.  ?You believe that.  That?s cute.  He?s got plenty of dumb slags who get the job done.  Not half of them would he put in the driver?s seat to cart me around.  You wonder why that is?  You?re a weapon.  A blunt object that he uses to bash in the skulls of whoever he sees fit.?

?Maybe.?  Simon said with an annoyed sigh.
 
?You know the problem with a blunt object, Simon??  She asked, receiving no response.  ?A blunt object is expendable.?
 
He just drove.  Trying his best not to let her get a rise.
 
?You know that, don?t you??  She asked him, leaning forward against the back of his seat.  ?Once he?s used you for what he wants, he?ll toss you out right back into that gutter you crawled out of.  No amount of punching or kicking is going to change that.  So before you go calling me a whore?  Maybe you should know your place.?
 
Simon could feel his ears begin to burn, but he tucked that rage down deep and turned his eyes up to her with that dead-ass expression on his face.  ?Noted.?

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

Simon Toews

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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2017, 07:16:02 PM »
Lyla wanted him to make a stop in a dodgy part of town.  The kind of place he?d thrived in when he was coming up.  How many people he?d robbed here as a teen, how many fights he?d had on these streets was a mystery even to him.  Even as they entered the side streets he was on-edge.  A car THIS nice in a place like this?  They might as well have a giant target painted on their ass.
 
Simon dug out the pack of cigarettes from his pocket and drew one out with his teeth.  A quick flip of the zippo and he lit the cherry.  His eyes turned back to Lyla as she checked her makeup.  The glamourous woman barely spared him a glance.  ?Come.?  she demanded as if he was a dog, stepping out of the car.  
 
He rose from the vehicle, sliding on a pair of shades as she started down the filthy alley, looking out of place in such a location.  A diamond in the rough.   He took one long drag and flicked the butt away, following her.  He kept his eyes ahead  and alert, not distracted by the her swaying hips.  At the far end of the alley?s intersection, he spotted a car waiting.  
 
The doors opened and he recognized the man immediately.  Enrique Marquez.  Small time gangster and drug runner.  The little hispanic man had made a name for himself coming up in the Juarez  crime family when he brought a new form of methamphetamine to the streets and gained even more infamy when he killed mobster Vigo Chauchevsi?s kid, Iosef in a knife-fight.
 
Marquez stepped out of the vehicle, topping off at 5?6?, his hair cropped close.  Tattoos crept up his neck and his teeth gleamed golden with the grill.  Simon could smell the cheap cologne the man slathered himself immediately.  Enrique sucked the air in through his teeth as if seeing Lyla caused him pain.  ?Oooh...damn, Mami.  You lookin? good, girl.?

?Jesus, ?rique...you take a bath in that ****??  
 
His lips upturned showing off that golden grin, stepping a little too close for Simon?s comfort.  ?Nah, mami, Just like to smell good for the ladies, you know how I do.?
 
Lyla?s lips quirked up into a smirk.  ?Well, you smell like a teenager trying to get laid on prom night.  Mind taking a few steps back??
 
He put his hands up and took a couple steps back.  Enrique turned his eyes to Simon, looking him over.  ?Yo.  Who?s Mr. Serious over here??

?He?s nobody.?  Lyla said dismissively.
 
?Well, Mr Nobody?s making me nervous.?  Enrique said, stepping toward Simon, puffing himself up a bit.  The smell of that cologne, mingled with strong scent of weed  was just overbearing.  ?You think you hard, cabron??
 
Simon just glanced down at him, eyes hidden behind those glasses, his face stoic, unmoving.
 
?He?ll do what he?s told.?  Lyla said, turning to Simon.  ?Like a good dog.?
 
The little gangster sucked his upper lip in, nodding slowly, trying to intimidate..  ?That?s good.  That?s real good, *puta*.?  He hit the insult hard in Simon?s face, but got no reaction.
 
?We doing this??  Lyla asked opening her arms impatiently as Marquez stepped back.  ?Or you two going to see whose dick is bigger??
 
The little man turned to her, all swagger.  ?Oh, come on, Mami.  You know I?m packin? a ****in? Lousiville Slugger.?  
 
?The deal.?  She said, sternly.  Enrique walked to the back of his car, popping the trunk.  Two metallic briefcases sat there.  
 
?It?s all there.  We got your ice, your o, got a little bit of H, some E for those lonely nights, you know what I?m sayin???  He grinned up at her with that unearned sense of swagger.
 
?Sounds like you?ve got the whole damn alphabet.?  She popped the cases looking over the goods, a grin forming.  ?Nice.  Very good work.?  Finally, she shut the case.
 
Enrique nodded, still eyeing her like a piece of meat.  ?So, wussup, you got that green for me??  She reached into her purse and pulled out an envelope and dramatically hand it toward him.  ?Pleasure doing business.  Mr. Cotter will be very happy.  Dog??   she glanced back to Simon.  ?Be a good little boy and carry mommy?s ball, yes??
 
Simon knew the smile on her face.  That dangerous sort of sensuality that made men do idiotic things.  The promise of great things that would leave one penniless, broken and, in the right situation, lifeless.  The woman was like a siren.  Dangerous and alluring.  
 
He grabbed the briefcases and began following her back to the car while Enrique counted his money.  If there was one thing he hated it was letting a sawed-off little prick like that get away with talking to him the way he had.  In any other situation, Simon would have beaten him black and blue.  
 
Enrique pulled the bills out and flipped through...and found half of them to be slips of cut up newspaper.
 
?What the ****!?  he heard the tiny drug dealer behind him exclaim.  ?Yo!?
 
Lyla moved quicker towards the car, talking through grit teeth to Simon.  ?Keep walking until you get to the car and get us the **** out of here.?
 
?HEY, BITCH!  You tryin? ta stiff he me here?!  What you think, I?m stupid?!?  Enrique shouted.  ?YO!  ****!  I?M TALKIN? AT YOU!?
 
She quickly ripped open her door and slid inside, taking the briefcases from a less than amused Simon.  
?HERMANOS!  BLAST THIS BITCH AND HER LAPDOG!?  He shouted.  
 
Simon slammed the car door just as the gunshot rang out.  The bulletproof glass cracked right where her head sat right behind its protective armor.   Simon?s head whipped around, his arm reaching behind him to his waistband and pulled a .45.   Quickly, he wheeled around, slowly charging forward, and firing a few rounds in their direction, sending the men scattering for cover.
 
With a glare. He turned back around, quickly running for the car as they opened fire on him from cover.  Fortunately, they were terrible shots and the bullets pinged harmlessly off the car.  Simon slid across the hood to the driver?s side and got in.
 
He started the car and threw it into drive.  ?What the **** was that??  He exclaimed, slamming on the gas.
 
?Please.  That little moron had it coming.?  She rolled her eyes.
 
?You almost got us killed!?  Simon shot back.
 
?Horseshoes and hand grenades, little dog.? She smirked at him.
 
Simon ripped off his sunglasses and glared at her in the mirror.  Suddenly he slammed on the brakes.  Lyla?s cool suddenly broke.  
 
?What the **** are you DOING?!?  She exclaimed.
 
He wheeled around on her.  ?That is the LAST time you call me your dog, do you understand me??
 
?DRIVE THE ****ING CAR, YOU IDIOT!?  She demanded as their SUV came tearing out of the alleyway.  Simon just threw the door open.
 
?Good luck.?  He told her.
 
?No, wait!  Please!  Please.  Just...just drive.  Get us out of here.?  That shrill voice took on a more concerned tone.  Simon watched her a moment, her eyes pleading with him.  He glanced back at the cars gaining on them.
 
Quickly he got back in, hit the gas and they took off.

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

Simon Toews

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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 08:05:35 PM »
The engine roared and tires screeched as the Mercedes fishtailed around the corner, Simon?s eyes alert, yet calm as they were chased by an Escalade.  Enrique Marquez sat in the passenger seat while one his lowlife lackeys drove.  
 
Being a lackey to Enrique Marquez.  Simon couldn?t imagine anything lower.  He cut the wheel, sending the car careening around a corner as their pursuers struggled to follow.  In the back seat, Lyla held on for dear life as she was jostled to and fro in the escape.
 
The back window splintered and cracked as gunfire rang out, the bullet ripping through the windshield.   ?STAY DOWN!?  Simon ordered, yanking the car into wild left hand turn down a narrow alleyway.  The grinding of the mirrors against the brick walls made his companion scream.  
 
Lyla goggled at him purposely damaging the vehicle..  ?What are you DOING?!?
 
?They?re mirrors!  You can buy new ones.?  He said flippantly.  The SUV wouldn?t fit down that alley as it was, so at least there was that.  ?Hold on.?  Just as they were about the emerge out the other side, the mirrors ripped off.
 
The car came screaming out the other side, Simon leaning into the turn as he jerked the wheel left.  In the rearview, he could see Marquez?s car come tearing around the corner, two thugs leaning out the windows with TEC-9?s.  The rapid ping of bullets rang out along the trunk as Simon sped onward.  
 
It seemed everywhere he went they stayed on him.  With a grimace, he turned hard again, the car screeching into a parking garage.  Quickly as he could he wound up and up the structure while the gangsters did their best to keep up in their much less maneuverable vehicle.
 
Enrique and his boys made it to the roof of the structure.  ?Where?d that mother ****er go??
 
They came around the corner to find Simon?s car facing them.  While Lyla panicked in back, he set his sights ahead.  His foot pressed on the gas, revving the engine again and again.  Challenging the small-time druglord.
 
Enriqure grinned those gold teeth.  ?Alright, pendejo.  Let?s do this.?   The SUV revved.  At the same moment, both cars were thrown into gear, tires squealing loudly on the concrete surface.   By the time Enrique realized Simon wasn?t coming at him, it was too late.  The little Mercedes whipped around out of the path of the SUV before Simon hit the brakes, sending Lyla forward against her seatbelt to see Enrique and his crew smash through the concrete wall and go careening over the edge.  The SUV slammed down, roof-first at the bottom of the 9 story structure.
 
Simon glanced up, cool blue eyes taking the panting Lyla in a moment.  ?You alright??
 
?Y-?

?Good.? He said impatiently and slammed his foot on the accelerator.

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

Simon Toews

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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2017, 10:04:26 AM »
The big front door creaked ajar, making way for Simon and Lyla.   Cotter was standing by the lavish fireplace, cellphone to his ear and a grim expression souring his face.
 
?Yeah   Yeah.  Let me know.?  He said before hanging up.  Cotter lumbered toward the pair of them, a stern expression on his face as those beady eyes flicked from one to the other.?Tell me?? he began before settling his gaze on Lyla.   ?...love of me life.  Tell me.  Just what.  The ****...you were thinkin???
 
?That skinny little prick was a lowlife nobody with delusions of grandeur.  He had it coming.?  Simon had expected the woman to shy away, but she looked right back at him.  He was impressed.
 
When Cotter grinned, it reminded Simon of a crocodile.  There was always something predatory in that smile.  A low chuckle left him as he looked away, moving around his wife.  ?He had it coming.?  Cotter repeated, tasting the words in his mouth.  ?Had it coming.?  Again, followed with a bitter laugh.  ?Yeah, he did, di?nt he??
 
Just as the smile formed on Lyla?s face he viciously grabbed her by the hair and yanked her head back.  Simon reacted on pure impulse, moving to defend her, but Cotter turned one sausage finger at him.  ?Stand down, boyo!  This is a matter between husband n? wife.   Innit *sweetheart*??
 
Simon glanced to Lyla, but the woman was too proud to ask for help.  Cotter got his whiskey stinking breath right in her face.  ?You.  Do not.  Make decisions like that EVER again.  Do you understand me, you arrogant lil? ****??
 
Lyla swallowed hard, wincing as he yanked again.
 
?Tell me you understand you rotten lil? bitch!?  he shouted in her face.  ?You **** me like this again, and I?ll put your ****in? head on the Goddamn postbox, you hear me.?
 
She grit her teeth, refusing to make eye contact and forced out,  ?Yes.?
 
?Good.?  He said letting go.  ?Get your ass upstairs and clean yourself up.?  
 
Lyla summoned all the dignity she could muster and headed for the stairs, leaving the men behind.  Cotter glared after her before finally turning to Simon with an amused smirk.  ?Women.?  He scoffed.  ?They?ll be the death of us all, won?t they??
 
Simon turned his gaze to her, keeping that pocker face on that betrayed nothing.  ?Yes sir.?
 
?You done good, lad.  Keep your mobile on.  I?ll be contactin? ya soon.?  Cotter assured him.
 
He knew Cameron Cotter was not the sort of man you said no to.  If he asked you a question, you generally knew what the answer would end up being, and that it would always favor Cotter.
 
?Right.?  Cotter said.  ?Now **** off outta here.?
 
?Mr. Cotter.? Simon said evenly, nodding to the man before starting away.
 
?Wait.?  Cotter said, stopping him dead in his tracks.  SImon half expected a bullet a gun to pulled when he glanced back.  But Cotter just grinned that crocodile smile.  ?Told you before, lad.  Cam.?  He nodded slowly.  ?You call me Cam.  We?s mates now, yeah??
 
Simon stared at him a long time before finally offering a slow nod.  ?Cam.?
 
Cotter watched the young man turn and walk away, that grin fading.  Something about the boy he did NOT like.  An arrogance, and a toughness that belonged to a man far above his station in life.  Like a dog who didn?t know who the alpha was.  A dog who would have to be broken.

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

Simon Toews

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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2017, 07:22:25 PM »
?Daddy!?  The little voice cried out when he entered the apartment.  Suddenly, Simon found himself being pounced on by the 6 year old.

?Oh!?  He grunted,catching her and spinning her around, a grin on his face.  ?Hey there, Munchkin Ninja!?

Cici stuck her arms out like wings as she was spun around, her childish laughter filling more than just air.  Simon would never tire of that kid?s laugh, never get enough of it.  He came to a stop and looked at her.  ?You been good for Miss Ellen??

Cici nodded aggressively.  ?I was SO good.?

Ellen had pushed herself off the couch and gathered her purse.  ?She was a perfect angel.?

Cici beamed up at her dad, all proud.  Being kind of a smug dick about it.  Simon grinned and kissed her forehead.  ?Good girl.?

He turned to the older woman again, an apologetic look on his face.  ?I?m sorry.  Thank you again.  You?re a life saver.?

Ellen gave him that tight smile that said she didn?t approve of him, nor was she doing it for him.  ?You?re welcome.?  

Moments later, Cici was sitting next to her father on the floor before the couch, bowls of ice cream in their laps, watching TV.  ?Did you have fun at your job, Daddy??  

Simon glanced down at her with a mouth full of ice cream.  ?Nope.  Really boring stuff.?

?It?s always boring there.?  She said, as that was his usual story to her.

?Well, just means I get to come home and have my fun with you, right??  He asked the little girl.

Cici?s face screwed up as if considering it.  ?That does make sense.? she decided, nodding and shoving more ice cream in her maw.  She leaned against his arm, turning those big ol? eyes up at him.  ?Daddy??

?Yeah, precious??


?What do you do again??  she asked him in her little voice.  

It was a question he always dreaded.  He knew that if he wanted her to have a shot at a normal life, he?d have to lie to some extent.  But he hated lying to his daughter.  To her and her alone, he always tried to remain true.

?I...I protect people.?  He explained.  It wasn?t really a lie...he?d protected Lyla today pretty damn well.

?Like a cop??  

?No.   No, it?s...It?s more like a bodyguard.?  He clarified.

?Oh.?  She responded.  ?Daddy??

?Yeah, precious??

?What?s a bodyguard??

Simon laughed.  ?Uh...it?s...it?s someone people pay...to make sure that...that nobody hurts them or the people they care about.?

That seemed to sit well with the 6 year old.  ?...so...is Miss Ellen my bodyguard??

That brought on a full laughing fit.  ?No, Ceese.  She?s your babysitter...though I bet if someone picked a fight with her, she?d whup up on ?em.?

Cici was clearly picturing in her head the old woman fighting like in the kung fu movies she loved so much and the image made her giggle.  The pair sat in silence, eating their ice cream.

?Daddy??  She said finally.

?Yeah, precious??  He sighed.  The kid was so full of questions?

?I miss you when you?re not here.?

Annnnd there went his heart.  Completely melted.  ?Me too, kiddo.?  He said, leaning down and kissing the top of her head.  ?Me too.?

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

Simon Toews

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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2017, 02:19:18 AM »
The next morning, Simon was in the kitchen, pouring himself and Cici bowls of Cap?n Crunch The little one?s legs dangled over the edge of her chair as she hummed a little tune.  Simon carried the bowls over, sliding one her way.

?Thankya, Daddy.?  She smiled that toothy cheeseball grin at him, bringing a smirk to his face.  

?You?re welcome, creeper.?  He said, settling in and taking in a spoonful of the cereal.  Before he could even swallow, the sounds of knuckles rapping on the door echoed throughout the apartment.

Cici leaned backwards in the chair, letting her head dangle over the back curiously.  ?Whodat??

Simon?s amused expression faded as he stared at the door.  The tatted fighter slipped out of his chair.  ?Wait here, sweetie.?  He said, tapping her head lightly as he passed.  He made it for the door when he saw her try and sneak over.  

?Cici.  Eat your breakfast.?  He ordered.

The little girl pouted, then.  ?Fine.?

He waited to make sure she stayed before he opened the door.  On the other end was a dark skinned woman.  Slim, fit, very officious, her black hair hanging in bouncy curls, kept in a stylish bob-cut.   She smiled politely to him.

?Mr. Toews.  Just the man I?m looking for.?  She said, tauntingly.

?Detective Paige.  And you found me in my home.  Those skills clearly aren?t going to waste.?  He returned that sickeningly sweet smile.  ?What can I do for you??

Paige stepped in, eyes scanning the place.  Considering he was a working, ex-con single father, the place wasn?t as big a wreck as she figured it would be.  It could use a solid cleaning, but at least someone was making an effort, she thought.  She reached out to the shelf, plucking up a red and pink-haired pony doll.  She glanced back at him with a quirked eyebrow.  ?One of yours??

?My daughter?s.?  He shot back, with narrowed eyes.  He stepped in front of the kitchen doorway as Paige peered in.   The protective papa bear.  Paige could appreciate that.  Not a lot of men like him stuck around, let alone took full responsibility for a child.  He was a rarity.

?What was your schedule like yesterday, Mr. Toews??  She asked, looking him in the eye.

?Got called into work at about 9.  Was there until about 7:30.?  He said, that poker face betraying nothing.

?What is it you?re doing now, Mr. Toews??  She asked him, propping a hip against the back of his couch.

?Ehrenshraudt Imports.  I work on the docks.?  Thanks to an agreement through Cotter, the foreman at the docks would corroborate under questioning.

?Rough job, is it??  She asked him with that suspicious, smug edge to her tone.

?Can be.?  he agreed/

?That what happened to your hands??  She asked, giving him a nod.

?No.  That?s from fighting.?

?Which I am certain was all above board.?  She nodded sarcastically.

?Is fighting illegal now?  You might want to tell the duelling guilds and halls, then.?  

Paige laughed.  ?Official, sanctioned duels are more than fine.  I tend to keep up with the big ones, myself.  Funny I haven?t seen your name pop up in them.?

?Well, maybe you don?t go to the right ones.?  He fired back.

?Hm.  Maybe.?  She nodded slowly.  ?So, you were at work all day, huh??

?That?s correct.?  He said.

?Then it might come as a surprise for you to learn there was a high speed chase through the city that resulted in the deaths of 4 men linked to the organized crime in the WestEnd??

?No, I heard something about that??  Simon bluffed, keeping casual eye contact.

?Did you, now??

?Not a big town.  Word gets around.?  He responded.

?That it does.?  He nodded.  ?Funny thing is, one of the vehicles, a beautiful Mercedes was found a burnt out husk in a scrap yard this morning.  It was linked to a known associate of your?s.?  She tilted her head.  ?One Cameron Francis Cotter.  Name ring a bell??

?Yeah, I knew him back in the day.?  Simon crossed his arms, resting back against the doorway.

?Rumor has it, you?ve done a bit of wetwork for the guy.? She said, eyeing him.  ?Simon??  Paige said evenly.  ?Are you doing something stupid?  Something that could land you in trouble??

He looked less than amused, he just stared in response.

?If you are working for Cameron Cotter, then I have to warn you.  The man is dangerous.  We like him for 23 different murders.  Several of them former low-level associates.  If you?re doing something desperate, something stupid...you should tell me.  It might save you.  And that little angel in there.?  She nodded to Kitchen.

?Detective, do I look like I?m stupid enough to get mixed up with a man like Cameron Cotter??

?Yes, you absolutely do.?  she nodded.  ?You are exactly like the kind of man his ilk goes for.  Angry, desperate,history of violence.  You show me a man with a criminal record like your?s and I?ll show you a man who only needs a nudge to fall back into old habits.?

?You don?t know me.?  Simon responded.  ?And nobody?*nobody* threatens my daughter.?  He leveled that stare at her.  Paige watched the man a long moment before pursing her lips.  FInally, she reached into the liner pocket of her black leather jacket.  

?Alright.?  She said, drawing a business card.  ?You think of anything, want to talk...you?ve got my number.?  

Simon took it without looking and pocketed it.

?Mr. Toews??  She asked, drawing his attention.  She moved in close so only he would hear.  ?You **** with me on this?  I find out you?re lying?  You hinder my investigation in any way?  There is no measure to how fast and hard I will bring this all crashing down around your head.?

The pair of them stared each other down a long moment before she smiled again.  ?Have a nice day.?

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2017, 08:35:05 PM »
A week passed before the next call came in.  Lyla needed a bodyguard and Simon was it.  They were going to a club opening in Star?s End that night and she was to meet him there.

Simon arrived to an empty house.  Stepping in, he peered around at the silent abode.  ?Hello??  He called out, his voice echoing through the cavernous interior.

No response.

He wandered further in, investigating the lower floor and finding nothing, but the sound of running water from above caught his attention.  He swore to whatever God or Gods there were, if she wasn?t there?

He made his way up the stairs and down the hall to her room,  As he knocked upon the bedroom door, he found it ajar, the force of his knuckles letting it creak open slowly.  He was greeted with the sight of Lyla standing there in front of a full length mirror, clad only in a pair of towels, her hair wrapped up tall beneath one.  For a moment he just stood there.

?In or out.?  She said.

?What??

?Come in or go wait downstairs.  I?m not going to put up with you gawking over there.?  She spat back at him.  As she bent forward checking her make-up, he could see the beginnings of a bruise on her back peeking out from beneath the towel.  He had no doubts where that had come from, and the placement was too strategic to have been an accident.  Cotter was trying to hide it.  He wasn?t exactly a fan of the woman, but men who beat on women were scum.   The image in his head of Cotter beating on her made his blood boil.  

Simon stepped into the room, waiting by the door.  ?So.?  She said, glancing at him in the mirror.  ?You again??  A defiant sneer upturned her crimson lips.   ?Figured you?d have run with your tail between your legs after last time.?

?I don?t run.?  He said simply.  ?Besides.  You were the one cowering in the backseat.?

She watched the tall, tatted bruiser walk up to one of her wedding pictures.  Cotter was sweaty and looked a little loaded in the picture.  The beauty next time him looked flawless, but the smile on her face was so devoid of any soul, one could swear he had a gun to her back.  ?You?re welcome, by the way.?  He said, staring at the picture.

?What do you want??  She said, fixing her eyeliner.  ?A medal for doing your job??

Simon glanced over his shoulder.  ?No.?  He set the picture down and  turned to face her.  ?That happen a lot??

?What?  Annoying scrubs barging into my room and badgering me with stupid questions??  She asked distractedly.

?The bruises.?  He clarified, undaunted.

Her cool immediately dropped.  ?Maybe you should mind your own ****ing business.?

Those eyes burned in that mirror staring at him as he rose his hands defensively.  ?You know what?  Get the **** out of here.  Go wait downstairs.?

Simon didn?t show any signs of annoyance, just pushed off the dresser and walked out of the room.  He sat there waiting a half hour before she came down the stairs, heels held between two fingers, looking immaculate and elegant, her bruises covered by skin-tight, glamorous dress.  She didn?t say a word, just brushed right past him and out the door.  Quickly, he snatched up the keys and followed her out.

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2017, 07:57:09 PM »
The bass from the club could be felt even as they parked nearby. A line of clubrats waited in vain, wrapped around the block to get into a club they'd never see the inside to.
 
Lyla walked up front to the door like she owned the place, acting like the bouncer wasn't even there. There was no question about who she was, he just let them through.  
 
The crowd was dense, the music bumping.  As Simon looked around, he found that he hated pretty much everyone in the damn building.  The pair of them ascended the stairs to the mezzanine, catching Cotter surrounded by a kiss-ass chorus of sycophants.  The stocky crime lord was bent over a table, snorting a line of white powder.  
 
He rose up, eyes wide and dilated, letting out a whoop.  ?God DAMN!? He bellowed.  When his eyes met Simon, he opened his arms.
 
?Heh-heh-heeeey!   Look at this mother ****er!?  He pushed through, completely ignoring his wife (not that she could have cared less) roughly throwing his arm around Simon?s shoulder.  ?How you doin? kid?  Come on, do a bump with me.?
 
Simon fought the urge to punch him in the face, moving through the crowd. ?Nah.  I'm good.?
 
?Ahhhh ya pussy!? Cotter chuckled. ?Get this prick a drink!?
 
As soon as he could, Simon broke away, glass of bourbon in hand.  Lyla was already 3 or 4 shots and a few pills in, surrounded by a gaggle of low lives.  That was a woman sprinting towards an early grave if he ever saw one.
 
He didn't like this place.  Too many bodies, flashing strobes.  It made it difficult to watch for an attack.  Plus, finding someone acting suspicious in place where 80% of the inhabitants were high as kites and trying desperately to get laid was no easy task.  He leaned forward upon the railing overlooking the crowd when a figure sidled up beside him.
 
 Lyla stared at him, her hip pressed against the railing and her arms crossed in front of her.  A disapproving look on that perfect little face.  ?Are you going to just stand here looking miserable all night??
 
Simon turned to face her.  ?Not my scene.?  he responded, taking a sip from his glass and glancing over to the crowd.  ?Besides.  Not paying me to have a good time.?
 
She rolled her eyes.  ?You always this ****ing dire?  Or only when you?re drinking top shelf liquor on my husband?s dime??
 
He wanted to say so much.  That working for her husband was as much fun as a forced colonoscopy.  That this wasn?t a vacation for him.  That he could care less if the scumbag and his entire organization burned.  That if he had the choice between this club and having his balls jabbed with red hot pokers, he?d go with the pokers.  Instead he just grinned and turned back to the crowd.
 
?Dance with me.?  Lyla demanded.
 
Simon furrowed his brow, glancing her way.
 
?Don?t stare at me like I just asked you a rudimentary math problem, I said dance with me.?  Lyla shot at him, grabbing the man by the arm and tugging him away.  But Simon didn?t budge.  He just looked at her under his brows.
 
?I?ve seen what happens to men who flirt with Cameron Cotter?s wife.  No thanks.?  He said.
 
Lyla?s teeth clenched hard, the muscle in her jaw rolling beneath the skin.  ?What if I told him you touched me in the car?  ?I begged him to stop, Cammy, but he kept on going!??  She said putting on a sweet innocent voice.  
 
?You really think I?m gonna let you blackmail me??  He asked her, that unreadable thousand yard stare on his face that gave even her the chills.
 
She sighed, the smart-assed game dropping.  ?Look.  Just one dance.  He?s not gonna care about a dance, alright??
 
He remained silent for a moment.
 
?Please??  Her tone seemed genuine, despite the drugs and liquor in her system.  Simon glanced Cotter?s way and the man raised a glass, grinning that golden toothed grin.  
 
He sighed and turned to her.  ?Fine.  One.?
 
She grinned big ?Yay!?  Suddenly, she grabbed him by the arm and lead him down the stairs and through the crowd onto the dance floor.  Her arms rose and hips swayed seductively to the music.  The woman had a natural grace to her even now.  Her arms reached out, grabbing Simon by the open jacket as she worked her way toward him.  For a moment, he was lost.  Only aware of the bass seemingly coursing through his body, the way he moved in rhythm to the beat, and the proximity of Lyla Cotter to himself.
 
He snapped  back to reality as he caught the glimpse of something out of the corner of his eye.  A man in an immaculately tailored suit was watching them *very* intently.  He looked to one side and found another.  And then another toward the back exit.  Finally, he and the first man caught each other?s eyes.  The two reading each other for what felt like hours, but was actually seconds.  It almost happened in slow motion, what came next.  The man reached behind him, drew a .45 1911 and pointed it at them.  
 
?DOWN!?  Simon yelled out, pulling Lyla close and dropping low just as the weapon was fired.  The bullet missed Lyla?s head by millimeters, but burst through the skull of a bystander behind them.  Even as the bystander?s head burst in a mist of red, Simon pulled a glock from his waisband and opened fire, but the hitman was already diving for cover.  Immediately the place was in a panic.  Simon used the crowd, yanking the inebriated woman to her feet and disappearing in the throng.  Out of the corner of his eye he saw Cotter?s kiss asses smuggling him out a side door upstairs.  The cowardly son of a bitch didn?t even put up a fight.
 
The hit men were shoving through the crowd looking  for their targets.  Simon kept his head low and Lyla behind him until the nearest thug was within arm?s reach.  He lashed out quickly, redirecting the gun upwards and lunging forth.  His forehead slammed  into the man?s nose, snapping his head back.  Simon wasted no time, putting two to his chest and one to his head.
 
His weapon empty, he threw away the gun, protectively  covering a panicking, INCREDIBLY high Lyla as they pushed on.  Suddenly a pair of hands grabbed him from behind.  Simon spun himself around , the hitman?s grip remaining on his suit coat.  Simon just put his arms out, slipping out of the jacket and roundhouse kicked the man in the chest.  Before the man could recover, he grabbed him by the back of the head and simultaneously pulled him down and drove his knee into his face.
 
The men at the back turned their automatic weapons on the crowd and just opened fire, indiscriminate of who they hit.  Simon immediately tackled Lyla to the ground, his lips going to her ear.  ?Stay still.  Do not move.?  He ordered her, sliding her underneath two already dead bodies.  He play dead, keeping eye contact with her.  The fear he saw there was something he never thought he?d see in the woman.  Maybe it was the drugs, but any facade she usually carried around was gone, and he saw her for who she really was.
 
Footsteps approached as he clutched an object tightly in his hand.  ?This is him.  This is the son of a bitch.?  he heard a voice say.  A strong hand gripped his shoulder and rolled him.  Immediately, he flicked out his switchblade and stabbed, backhanded right in the jugular of the thug hovering over him.  Blood burst from the man?s lips as he gasped, coating Simon?s face in a spray of arterial crimson.  He withdrew the knife roughly and shut the man?s mouth permanently, driving the blade through the bottom of his jaw and up through the roof of his mouth.
 
One hand gripped the gun as the other pulled him down, using the body as cover.  The last hitman opened fire, the bullets absorbed by his musclebound former friend.  Simon pulled the trigger, but one handed, the bullets weren?t well aimed, but the spray managed to catch him, ripping through the hitman?s clothing and torso in a bloody, violent series of bursts.
 
Lyla lay there on the ground hidden beneath the bodies of innocents who were killed by bullets meant for her.  Tears rolled down her face, marring that perfect make-up.  As the bodies were pulled off of her, she let out a scream and started lashing out like a feral creature until Simon grabbed her wrists.  ?HEY! HEY!  It?s me!?
 
Eventually she calmed, clinging to him tightly as she struggled to control her breathing. ?Come on.  We need to get out of here.?  He told her.  Lyla stared up at him wide-eyed, a look of appreciation and admiration...actual warmth on her face toward him.  And right then, in their perfect moment together...the cops burst into the club.

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

Simon Toews

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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2017, 02:05:30 PM »
Paige sat across from Simon, a ****-eating grin on her face.  ?Well.?  She said gesturing upward with her hands.  ?Here.  We.   Are.?

Simon?s eyes tilted slowly up to her.  ?It's not how it looks.?

Paige feigned surprise.  ?Oh, it's not??  She shifted in her seat, propping her chin atop her hands. ?Please.  Do go on.  Because where I'm sitting, I've got 8 bodies and you holding the murder weapon for 4 of them.  And unless I miss my guess, the blood on your face and hand might belong to the gentleman whose head you turned into a ****ing kabob.?

?I was defending myself and my friend.?  He said darkly.  

?Let?s talk about your ?friend?.?  She said, narrowing her eyes.  ?I?m sure you?ll be shocked to discover your ?friend? just so happens to be the wife of Cameron Cotter.  A man with quite the reputation around here.  See, your ?friend?, her husband is being eyed for several different murders, the sale and distribution of narcotics, and a string of assault and battery charges as long as my leg.  And I am a tall woman, Mr. Toews.?  She slapped at her thigh.  ?I mean.  These sons a? bitches are LONG.?

?I know who he is.?

?Then you know how dangerous he is.?  She countered.

?Listen.  I was hired to protect his wife.  People came to kill her.  Why aren?t you out looking for who hired them??

?Why, because they?re all dead, Simon.?  she said in sickeningly sweet tone.  ?You killed them.?

?It was self defense.?  He said, accentuating every word.

?Sure it was.?  She winked.  ?Let me tell you what's going to happen now.  You're going to be charged with murder.  You're going to be convicted.  And then, you are going to spend the rest of your life in six foot box.  Your daughter will go into foster care and you will never see her again.?

A dangerous look formed on his face as he stared in silence.  

?Unless...you play ball with me.?  Paige was unmoved by the tough guy routine.  She'd seen it before.  ?You're in a very unique position, Mr. Toews.  You have an in with Cameron Cotter?s organization.  You can help me bring him down.  You're small potatoes, my friend.  If I have a choice between sending you up the river or him?  Guess which I'm gonna choose??

There was no time to respond as the door to the interrogation room burst open.  A man in a very expensive suit walked in.  ?Mr Toews, don't say another word to this woman.?

Paige knew immediately who he was, a tight, annoyed smile thinned her lips.  ?Mr. Garvey.  Been a while.?

?Corrine.  Still questioning without counsel present, I see.?

?That's ?Detective or Detective Paige I think Phil.? She corrected him.  

?My client Mr Toews has rights,  and you are currently in violation of said rights.  Now you can either release him or I will see to it you won't be able to check a parking meter in this city again.?

?Your client is currently a suspect in several murders that occurred this very evening.  So, if you-?

?Mr Toews saved the lives of hundreds of innocent people tonight and I believe the surveillance footage from the club will provide ample evidence to support this.  He is a hero, not a criminal.?

She stared a hole through the man.  

?Now, if I might have a word in private with my client??  The attorney said pointedly.  

Paige's blood boiled staring at the man.  Toews would be released before the sun rose. She knew it.  She'd seen Garvey keep more damned men out of prison than she could count.  He'd long ago sold his soul to Cotter.  Reluctantly, she stood up and looked him and then Simon in the eyes.  

?This doesn't end here.? She said quietly and dangerously.  ?There will be a reckoning.  Count on it.?

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

Simon Toews

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« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2017, 10:41:24 AM »
Simon was lead out of the station by Garvey. If looks could kill, Simon would burst into flames as he passed Paige.  Her usual antagonistic sarcastic facade dropped completely, replaced by burning rage.  

He gave her a grave nod as he passed.  Somehow the fact that the son of a bitch didn't even have the decency to act all smug about his victory made Paige even madder.

?I'm going to bury that mother ****er.? He heard her mutter to the officer beside her.  

A black sedan idled outside and Garvey opened the door.  Cotter sat in the back, patting the seat beside him.  ?Get in, boyo.  Take a seat.?

Simon hesitated a second but climbed inside.  A sense of dread hung so thick, he thought he could cut it with a knife.  ?I think, lad, I might have underestimated you. ?  Cotter said, lighting a cigar.

All he could think of was Lyla dancing close the night before.  So forceful, so aggressive right in front of her husband.  This was it.  He was just waiting for the pistol in that shoulder holster to get drawn and fired.  Would they leave a body to be buried?   Would Cici know he had not abandoned her?  The thought made his stomach ache, but he would not give this bloated **** the satisfaction.

?See...I thought you was just a scrapper.  Ain't no good for nothin? but usin? your fists.  But you?? a grin formed on his round face. ?You are a stone cold killer.?

Simon?s brow creased in concern as Cotter leaned forward through a cloud of smoke, looking like the devil himself.  ?How would you like a more? substantial role in my organization??

It seemed like his pulse was beating like a war drum in his ears. There was no desire in him to play hitman for a lowlife like Cameron Cotter.   Slowly, he shook his head, and the smile on Cotter?s face faded.

?You should think about your answer, Simon, me lad.?  He said, eyes locked on the tattooed man.  ?You think about what this could mean for you.?

Simon got the feeling it wasn't an offer he could refuse outright.  

?And that little girl you got waitin? for you.?

Somewhere deep inside a fire just started raging.  He slowly turned his eyes up to Cotter. The stocky criminal bringing back that toothy grin.  

?I'm going out of town for a week.  Take some time.  Think it over.?  Cotter told him. ?But when I get back, I expect an answer.  And I hope you make the right choice.?

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

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« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2017, 02:13:49 AM »
Simon sat in the driver?s seat of his old Mustang, awaiting his charge.  Dread still seeped into the heart of him over the phone call he'd received from Cotter.  It wasn't that he was above killing, hell 7 years ago, he would have been all too eager to take the job.  But now it wasn't about what he wanted.  Now it was about Cici.

The doors opened to the building he was parked in front of, and there she was.  Cici.  The little girl lit up at the sight of the familiar car and the man inside.  A grin spread across his lips as he slipped out.  Cici sprinted toward him, shouting ?Daddy!?

She leapt into his arms, throwing her arms around him.  ?I didn't know you were picking me up today!?

Simon squeezed his daughter tight. ?Thought I'd surprise ya, kid.?

The look on the little one?s face told him he?d been successful.  She piled into the car and strapped in.  ?Where to, kiddo??  Simon asked.

?Um...Mel?s!   I want zella sticks!?

Simon smirked.  ?Mozarella sticks...alright.  Maybe we get you something else to go with that.?

?Nope!  Just sticks!?  Cici said, resolute.

?Sticks it is.?  Simon said with a little laugh.

Later, the pair sat in a booth in the cosy little diner.  Mel?s was a bit of a hole in the wall, but the owner/cook could work a grill like crazy.  Cici and Simon were regulars, and the eponymous Mel always gave her a few extra fries or mozzarella sticks.  The little brown-haired girl was currently stuffing her face with the latter.

?So??Simon said chewing a mouthful of burger.  ?You want to hit up the park after this??

Cici nodded furiously, clapping her hands excitedly.  Simon nodded to her, content for that moment.  The smile faded from his face when the door opened.  The woman who entered was almost unrecognizable.  Gone were the fancy clothes, her face precisely made-up.  But Lyla Cotter stood there, clad in a black leggings and hoodie, her hair pulled back in a tight ponytail.  Even dressed down, she had a natural beauty to her.

However, SImon was not distracted by any of that.  This woman was part of his other life.  A life he tried to keep separate.  She caught sight of him and started heading over, leaving him no doubts as to why she?d come.  He locked eyes with the woman, catching something new there that gave him pause..  Vulnerability.

?Hey.?  she said softly, a small smile gracing her lips.  Cici beamed up at her waving.

?Hi!?

Lyla turned to the little girl, mild surprise on her face softening to a warm smile.  ?Well, hi there.  Who are you.?

?I?m Cici.?  She pointed to herself.  ?Who are you??

?I?m Lyla.  I?m...I?m a friend of your...daddy?s??  She said, not sure of the relationship between Simon and the girl.  

?Cici.?  Simon said, sliding her a few dollars.  ?Go play a game.? he ordered.

?She?s really pretty, Daddy.?  Cici said in a whisper that was not at all quiet.

?Cici.?  He said firmly.  The little girl collected the money with a pouty face.

?It was nice to meet you.?  Lyla said as she passed.

?You too!?  She responded.  Simon watched until she was over by the arcade games before turning around to find Lyla standing there.  

?What the hell are you doing here??

?Can we talk??  She asked him, chewing on the back of her lip.

He was quiet a long moment, eyeing her before gesturing to the seat in front of him.  Lyla sat, a thankful look on her face.  ?That?s your daughter??

He just nodded.

?I?m guessing she?s the reason you??  She stopped herself, looking around.  ?Do what you do.?

He didn?t respond immediately, just kept staring at her as if trying to read her mind.  ?Why are you here??

?I was out and saw your car.?  She told him simply  Though it wasn?t enough for him.

?I?ll ask again.  Why are you here??

Lyla lowered her eyes a moment.  Humility wasn?t exactly her thing.  ?I...I wanted to say thank you.?  She said softly.  ?For the other night.?

Simon?s brow furrowed.  This was new.

?You went out of your way to protect me...and he??  she paused, looking out the window, drawing her upper lip between her teeth.  ?You know that son of a bitch didn?t even pick me up from the station??  

He could see there was a lot going on beneath the surface.  She was in turmoil.

?He sent one of his little cronies to pick me up.  Didn?t even ask me if I was okay when I got home.  The ****ing coward ran away and left me to die and the only thing he says to me when I get home is ?you look like ****.  Go shower.??

In spite of himself, he felt a tinge of sympathy for the mobster?s wife.  Still, though, he said nothing.  She leveled those brown eyes at him.  ?You saved my life.   And...I just...I?ve treated you horribly.?  She said, searching that poker face for some kind of reaction.

?I?m sorry.?  Lyla whispered.  ?I didn?t know who you were...and I?m sorry.?  Her eyes turned to the little girl, watching her playing a game for a moment.  Simon glanced back, no longer feeling threatened.

?She?s beautiful.?  Lyla said to him, a sad smile on her lips.  ?She deserves better than you working for...him.?

Simon turned to her, brow furrowed.  ?Why do you stay with him.?

She shook her head slowly.  ?You don?t know what he?s capable of...what he could do to me.  If I ran, if I left...he?d find me...and I don?t want to think about what he?d do to me.  What he?s already done to me.?

?You shouldn?t have to put up with that.?

Lyla stared at him, looking like she might break at any moment.  ?I should go.  I?m sorry for interrupting your date with your girl.  I just...I had to say that.?

He nodded to her slowly, deciding not to press.  Lyla stood and then slowly stuck her hand out.  ?Again...thank you.?

Simon stared at her hand, a million thoughts running through his brain feverishly.  Finally her reached out and took it, giving a firm squeeze.  ?Enjoy your night.?  Lyla told him and made her way out quickly.  

He watched as the beauty walked out the door, suddenly feeling like everything had become much more complicated.  Part of him preferred that she remain the arrogant, rude bitch he?d known.  At least then, there wasn?t any part of him that was truly concerned for her.  Now, she was vulnerable.  Now she was a person.  A terrified, wounded, incredibly lonely person.

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

Simon Toews

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« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2017, 11:48:30 AM »
He heard them talking before he entered the room.  Those husky, rough, boisterous voices, bragging about what nefarious activities they?d gotten into.  This beautiful, expensive home, the kind of home he?d never be able to afford if he worked a lifetime...and it was occupied by these lowlives.

?I bend the bitch over a pool table, grab ?er by the hair and she?s squealin? for me to drop the 8 ball, if ya know what I?m sayin?!?  Cotter growled, laughing along with his sycophants.  Already it was obvious he wasn?t talking about Lyla.  Simon pushed open the door, entering in silence.

Cotter looked up from the bar, sneering and slapping the countertop.  ?Well, there he is!  The man of the hour!  The V I ****in? P!?  He announced.  

Simon said nothing.  Just walked in and stood with a bit of distance between him and the gathering.  

?You made up your mind yet, kid??  Cotter asked jovially.

?No.  not yet.?

Cotter?s grin faded slowly.  ?That?s disappointin?.  Time?s runnin? out, Toews.  I ain?t gonna wait forever for you to grow a brain.?

Again, silence from Simon.  The sound of the doors opening behind him drew the attention of the room.  Lyla stood there, back in her familiar state.  Tight, sleek white sleeveless dress, stiletto heels.  Big, round sunglasses covering her eyes, and her hair immaculate.

?Ahhh...there she is.  Love of me ****in? life.?  Cotter said, pushing off the bar and ambling toward them.  ?I tell you what she done yesterday??

Simon just kept his eyes on Lyla.  She stood stock still and quiet as Cotter approached.  ?This lil? cuss sneaks outta here.  Nobody ta? watch ?er.  Don?t tell nobody.  Just thinks she can go out whenever she ****in? feels like it.   Di?nt ya, love??  Cotter said, smiling at her.  

He grabbed her roughly by the jaw and glanced back at Simon.  ?I don?t think I need to tell ya...I don?t like my things doin? **** I don?t know about.  Do I, love??  He looked to her with those beady eyes.   ?Show ?im.  Show ?im how bad you hurt me.?

Simon controlled his breathing as best as possible, something acidic building within him as he looked into those big sunglasses. Lyla reached up slowly and slid them off her face.  Though her left eye was swollen shut, she still held that strong, defiant expression upon her face.

?If you think I like hurtin? this pretty little face...you?re dead wrong.?  Cotter said as if he was the one sacrificing.  ?Cover tha? **** up.?

Cotter turned his beady-eyed gaze to Simon.  ?I don? like my property sneakin? around behind my back.  Y?hear??  

Simon wanted to hit him.  No.  Not hit.  Kill.  He wanted to smash that face in until it was a bloody pulp.  Wrap his hands around that thick throat and squeeze until the light left those beady little eyes and that black heart stopped beating.  He wanted to hear the son of a bitch beg.  But he was outnumbered, and worse, he had something to lose.  So, instead, he just nodded.

?Get outta here.?  Cotter said to the two of them.  Simon walked beside her toward the door.

?And Simon??  Cotter said, drawing his gaze.  ?Tomorrow.  I want an answer by tomorrow.?

He just nodded and followed Lyla out the door.

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."

Simon Toews

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« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2017, 10:16:02 AM »
Lyla stared out the window of the car in silence.  Simon?s eyes stayed on the road ahead and not on her.  He didn?t know what to say.  What *could* he say?  Cotter wanted to own him.  Lock, stock and barrel.  And he was, in no certain terms certain that he would burn the world to see that Simon worked for him.  Lyla, Cici, and then Simon himself would pay the price if the answer was ?no?.  

If there was something he hated most, it would be men who beat on a weaker woman.  He?d known women who could absolutely destroy Cotter, but Lyla was most definitely not one of them.  He?d beat her soundly, but was too much of a coward to even let the world see what he was.  Made her hide his sins, because what good was a trophy wife with a busted face?  Finally, he felt those eyes on him, even if he couldn?t see them, and glanced at the mirror.

?You should go.?  Lyla said quietly.  ?Take your daughter...take what you can and go.  Run as fast and as far as you possibly can.?

Simon?s brow creased as he looked forward.  The mere mention of his daughter putting images in his head that he couldn?t shake.  Cici looking like her.  And worse?

  ?I can't.?  He said, his voice a low grumble.

?Then you're ****ing stupid.?  Lyla muttered.  ?You think THIS is bad?? She asked, pulling off her glasses and showing that swollen, bruised eye.  ?You have no idea how far he's willing to go.?  She said with a shake of her head.  ?What he will do to your daughter will make this look like a love tap.  Leave.?  She said he voice shaking.  ?Get the hell out of this town and never look back.?

?And what?  He goes on to keep doing what he does?  To you?  To someone else??  Simon glanced into the mirror to look her in the eyes. ?How long before he comes looking for me?  For my daughter?  How long do I run??  

?As long as you can.?  She said turning her head out the window.  

?That?s not a life.?

?It?s better than death.?  she countered.

?No.  It isn?t.   I don?t run.?  He said.  ?Not from men like him.?  

?There are always men like him.  You can?t beat them.?

?No.  Not outright.?  He agreed.  ?But, I can do far more damage from the inside than out.  I can chip away at him.  Use him.  I can see to it that he never makes another penny.  That every time he makes a move, someone else is there before him.?

Lyla glared at him.  ?You stubborn moron.  You stupid, stubborn  ****ing idiot... ?  She spat at him before a little smile worked onto her lips.  ?If you?re doing this, I want in.?

Simon?s blue eyes flicked to her in the mirror.  ?You sure?  It?ll be dangerous.?

?Living with him is dangerous.  I want him destroyed.  I want him broken.  I want to see the look on his face as we take him apart piece by piece and him having no idea I?m behind it.?  Lyla said.  ?I want to see him break.?

"You can run on for a long time.  But sooner or later, God'll cut you down."