My car keys hung on the wall staring at me. Perhaps if I wasn't
only wearing a bathing suit, and knew the hell that there would
be to pay for blatantly disobeying Delaney, I would have been
tempted to snatch them and run. The truth was, although I didn't
think Lydia was a threat to me, it was clear that some pretty bad
people were after her. I was in no way capable of helping her
on my own. It was 3:30pm…and we only had one hour. Quickly, I
headed out to plead my case to the boys.
My mind was racing as I approached them, the anxiety building inside made it hard to swallow.
"Guys… I need to talk to you" I said sitting down at the table in between Alex and Tyler. My feelings must have been apparent on my face because all of the talking suddenly stopped and both boys looked at me concerned.
Alex studied my face for a moment before speaking. "What's the matter Alivia?"
I took a deep breath and looked from him to Tyler.
"Lydia just called me." The words came out in a whisper.
"Holy Shit!" Heather exclaimed her eyes wide with surprise.
"She called you? What the fuck did she say?" Alex asked in disbelief.
"She…she's down here somewhere hiding. She asked for me to have Mr. Delaney help her, she's really scared guys…she said some of Luther's men were after her." They were both looking at me like I was speaking a different language.
"How did she even get your phone number?" Tyler said the stress apparent in his voice.
"I gave it to her… when I met her in Georgia. She was so terrified of Luther, that I hoped she would reach out to Mr. Delaney for help, and she is…through me. We have to go get her."
"Where is she?" Alex asked standing up
"Well she didn't say where she is right now…she just said she would meet us at my parents' cemetery in an hour. Listen, I have to go with you. She won't know that you aren't with Luther unless I'm there. She knows my face, she trusts me."
"You Alivia aren't going any- fucking- where. This Lydia broad isn't the helpless victim you have built up in your head. Tell me, did she ask for you to come with us to get her?"
I nodded. The possibility of Lydia trying to set me up settling in, and making my stomach turn. I prayed that wasn't the case, and that we would be able to get to her in time. "She will never go with you guys" I said remembering her words to me.
"We don't really care If she wants to or not. She will, trust me." Tyler said as he pulled out his phone. "I'm calling Mr. Delaney. He needs to know about this. Alex, go tell Norma and Richard what's going on, we need to come up with a game plan quickly. Alivia you are not going with us… so please don't ask again."
He gave me a look that told me that the only thing I would accomplish by asking again would be pissing him off. He paced back and forth waiting as he dialed Delaney.
"Voicemail" He said looking at both Heather and I, before trying to dial him again. The call ended with the same result and he left a quick message and put his phone back in his pocket.
I saw Norma, Richard, and Alex coming towards us with worried looks on their faces. I never saw Norma look worried. This couldn't be good.
"Were you able to reach Mr. Delaney?" Norma asked once she was within earshot. Tyler shook his head as she pulled her phone out and dialed him once more. She got voicemail as well set her phone down on table next to me. The boys were all looking at her waiting for direction. It was easy to see that Norma was the one in charge now.
She placed her hand on my shoulder, "Ali there is no way you're going…do you understand?" I quickly nodded, I knew any resistance would be futile. "Alex, Tyler you both go in one vehicle and have Richard follow in another. If this is a set up… they won't be expecting a second vehicle. Once you have Lydia in custody take her down to our holding cells, until we are able to get in touch with Mr. Delaney"
She paused for moment thinking about what was going to happen. "Take one of the guys stationed in the neighborhood with you also Richard, we have no idea how many people will be waiting."
"There is a possibility that it could just be Lydia you know. That she really is just looking for help" My voice was ripe with sarcasm they were going to scare her to death with this entourage. Norma gave me a sympathetic look but shook her head.
"That would be the best case scenario Ali, but we always prepare for the worst…always. Boys make sure you suit up with your bullet proof vests. I will stay here with the girls keep in radio contact, and let me know the moment you have Lydia."
They agreed and then quickly scattered buzzing around collecting their guns and vests and whatever else they could possibly need if they met any trouble. I speed in which they got ready surprised me, they moved like a well-oiled machine. Norma set up her end of the radio in the kitchen and before I knew it the boys had loaded into the different vehicles and were gone in a matter of minutes.
I felt sick inside with worry… I wished I could help somehow. I pulled out my phone and tried Delaney myself. The call went straight to voicemail without so much as a ring. Where the hell was he…?
I looked over at Heather, who looked about as worried as I felt.
"They will be okay Heather" I said trying to convince her something I wasn't entirely sure of myself.
"I hope so. I was just getting to know him…" She sighed as we headed into the bedroom to change out of our bathing suits. We changed quickly into comfortable clothing and hurried out to sit with Norma as she listened to the two way radio and monitored the boys.
She was sitting in the kitchen at the table with the receiver in her hand listening intently when we walked in. There was a look of complete concentration upon her face.
"Did Mr. Delaney call back as yet?" I asked very anxious for him to know what was going on. She shook her head no but kept her focus on the radio.
We listened, and could tell that the boys were still in transit since the cemetery was at least thirty minutes away. They would be there soon. I picked up my phone to check the time and noticed that my hands were shaking. Dear God, please let this turn out okay. Don't let anyone get hurt… please. It was the only prayer I could manage at the moment. Heather was nervously chewing on her finger nails pacing around the table probably regretting coming here to keep me company during my lock down.
A loud popping noise broke our concentration. Heather froze and we all looked towards the front of the house. My blood ran cold, and my heart felt as if it had stopped beating all together.
"What was that?" I whispered to Norma who had already stood up. She motioned for us to stay put as she walked towards the front of the house gun in hand. I didn't even notice that she had it with her on the table. She came back after just a second her was calm but there was urgency in her voice and actions.
"Girls, I need you to listen to me very carefully. I need you to hide. No matter what you hear happening out here do not come out. Do you understand?"
I felt as if I was going to vomit, "Norma..."
"Ali, take your panic button with you…now hurry go." She turned and went back towards the front of the house. I grabbed Heathers hand and ran into my bedroom so I could grab the panic button from my desk. I grabbed it and pushed it immediately praying that whoever was monitoring it would be here soon.
We needed to hide, and hide quickly. I grabbed Heather, and ran towards Delaney's room. It was in the back of the house, it would take anyone a few minutes to get back there if they were looking for us.
There were more popping noises. Louder this time, it sounded like it was coming from inside the house. I pushed Heather into the room and quietly closed the door behind us and locked it. Heather and I ran into the closet. She was hysterically crying now, I grabbed her shoulders and shook her.
"You need to get control of yourself Heather! We will be dead if they hear you." I whispered to her as forcefully as I could manage. She seemed to grasp what I was saying and quieted down. I wanted to cry myself we were in a god awful position. All of the boys were gone to get Lydia… this was definitely a set up but not the kind the boys or Norma were expecting. Luther must have known that Delaney was away, and that there was no way any of his men would let me go with them to get Lydia. The plan wasn't to bring me to them… the plan to get me by myself with virtually no protection. Oh Jesus, there was no way Norma would be able to take down more than one or two people on her own.
God please… I whispered. I frantically began searching through the closet for something to defend myself with but there was nothing but neatly hung clothing. I leaned against the back of the closet and slid down defeated. We were dead. It was over. I thought of Delaney and wished he had never left. This would never have happened if he was here. Clearly the bad guys knew that
I felt one of the wooden floor planks shift beneath me. I hopped up onto my knees and pressed down on the loose plank. To my surprise it came up, I removed it and there shining up at me was a gun. My heart soared with hope. Maybe we could get out of here…. I quickly grabbed it and checked the clip. It was full, that meant I had fifteen shots…
"Ali, do you know how to use that?" Heather whispered
"Kind of" I answered.
I made a split decision to leave Heather in the closet. They were looking for me. Chances were they didn't even know about Heather, there was no good in them finding both of us. I gave Heather a quick hug and motioned to her to stay put. I cocked the gun and slowly opened the closet door and went out into the room.
It was empty and I ran towards the door and slowly opened it. I stood quietly listening for any noises that would tell me what was going on. It was deadly silent. My heart was pumping so hard and I was afraid to breathe. I tiptoed around the corner and began to make my way down the hall. I heard footsteps approaching and quickly stepped into the powder room. I left the door open and hid behind it, hoping they wouldn't look in here if it appeared empty as they walked by. I held my breath and the footsteps got closer. I looked through the space in the door and saw two men in all black approaching. They definitely looked eastern European of some kind. One was bald, and the other had black hair. They walked past the bathroom and continued down the hall.
Fuck! They were heading towards Delaney's bedroom. They were going to find Heather. I quickly got out from behind the door and followed them… They stopped whispering to each other before opening the door to Delaney's room. I took the opportunity and raised my gun, aiming at the bald one who was closest to me. They must have heard me cock the gun, because they turned around to face me shocked. I knew there was only a split second before their shock wore off and they lunged at me, so I closed my eyes and pulled the trigger.