Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 36

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Cover image from Free Stock Photos: Railroad Track On A Fall Day by Curtis Dean Wilson

Aiden has a chat with Eoin, who agrees to talk to Vanessa. Aiden finds out he’s been beaten up by Troy. Eoin is delighted to find out that Troy is in jail. Fred calls Deirdre to check in with her.

Always frugal, Deirdre sliced leftover roast and sauteed onions, adding shredded cheese. It was her version of a Philly steak sandwich. Her boys couldn’t handle green peppers, neither could she, so they did steak sandwiches without them.

“Sorry. There won’t be any left, Aiden can eat more than you, these days.”

“God, do you think he’ll have another growth spurt? He’s already taller than me.”

“His goal, as a child, was to be as tall as Shaquille O’Neil. Let’s hope he doesn’t get there.”

“No, dear lord! But he could do six five. How’s he been with Wendy’s death?”

“He went to school, so I guess he’s coping.”

“I hope so. Let him use the car until I get home. We’ll figure something out. I need an upgrade, but I don’t think we can afford two car payments.”

“Use mine. I can plan my days out for your time off.”

“Are you sure?”

“If not, I can catch a ride with Sarah or someone. Push comes to shove, I can drive you and pick you up.”

“We’ll work it out.”

“How’s it going?”

“Slow. Frustrating. I might not have any hair left when I get home. I feel myself snatching my hair at least five times a day.”

“Just don’t yank.”

“Trying not to. I want to carry heavy objects to hurl at people. I know I’m in charge, but sheesh! They can’t even wipe their own asses without asking permission. Or wanting to know how. Swear to God, I’m ready to beat them.”

“You can’t do that, darling. It’s against the law.”

“Doesn’t stop me wanting to. I wish I had a competent person to take over, but not even Holly and Maynard can handle this. I’m smoothing things over, soothing hurt feelings and doing—basically your job.”

Deirdre laughed. With four males in the house, she was always having to pour oil over turbulent waters. Aiden had been uncontested alpha of the boys, but Burl was fast outgrowing his brother’s influence.

“What’s wrong?” Fred’s perceptive ears had picked up on something.

“I’m so worried about all this. If they never find Wendy’s killer, it’s going to eat Aiden up.”

“What makes you think they won’t?”

“It’s a small department. It’s not like they get dozens of these at a time. I can’t remember the last murder we had. Suicides, accidental deaths, sure. But murder? And the longer it goes, after, the harder it is. It’s been three days….”

“Trust, my love.”

“I’m trying. I’ve been doing some digging on my own, and I think I found something interesting. I’m going to try to get down to the police station tomorrow with it. Maybe it will help.”

“Not today?”

“It’s still thin. I need to do more digging, flesh it out. Right now, it’s so anorexic, it would only make me look like a fool.”

“You’re far from that.”

“But the police don’t know that. Tomorrow, I’ll go over. Meanwhile, my book is taking shape.”

She went on to tell him about it, enjoying the few stolen moments. It didn’t last, unfortunately. She heard a swinging door pop open.

“Boss?” a whiny man’s voice spoke.

“Yes, Hodd?” he sighed heavily.

Fred sounded tired, frustrated and resigned. Funny how she could pick that up from two words and a sigh.

“We got a problem, Boss.” He went on to explain in a rambling, confusing way. Fred sighed again.

“Darling, I have go figure out what the f**k is wrong this time.”

“Remember St. Paul’s prayer, my love.”

“It’s completely out of my mind right now.”

“I’ll text it to you. Go be bossy. Whips and chains.”

Fred laughed softly. “God, being away sucks in more ways than one. I’ll call later. How late will you be up?”

“As late as I want, Aiden’s driving. Love you!”

“Love you!”

She heard his voice cutting sharply through confusion and babble before he thumbed the end button.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 35

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Cover image from Free Stock Photos: Railroad Track On A Fall Day by Curtis Dean Wilson

Aiden finds Eoin at home, grieving for Wendy. Aiden didn’t know that the other man loved Wendy. Eoin knew she was back, and had been in touch with her before her return.

“Why didn’t she ever call me? I’d have talked.”

“I know, Aiden. And I don’t mean to belittle, but you’re so young.”

“I’m almost nineteen!”

“And she was far older than you, in ways you can’t imagine.”

“I knew about her father and grandfather.”

“But you didn’t know the worst, and I won’t be the one to tell you. She was working up the courage to tell you about the baby. She had petitioned to get her back, but it was so expensive. She said she had a way to get the money, but didn’t explain and I didn’t ask. I should have. And now, she’s dead. Whatever plan she had, exploded on her.”

“Have you talked to the police about what you know?”

Eoin gave him a patient stare. “I’m a flamboyant drag queen, who works in the hottest club in town. Do you think they’ll take a thing I say, seriously.”

“I know a cop who will. I promise. She’s the best. She’ll listen. Will you talk to her?”

Pressing his lips together, Eoin nodded. “For Wendy. You can f**king rot,” he teased.

“Thanks a heap,” Aiden replied, punching his friend’s arm.

Wincing, Eoin clutched his arm.

“What happened?” Aiden stood, pulling the colorful, silk gently aside.

Eoin’s entire arm was covered in livid bruises, his torso was also black and blue. His face and legs were clear, but Aiden suspected that his genitals had probably also taken a beating. He sat carefully, guarding the tenderest spots.

“Who did this?”

“Doesn’t matter.”

“It does! Who did it!”

“No one cares what happens to a drag queen,” Eoin protested.

“I care! Detective Weinstein will care!”

“This isn’t her jurisdiction.”

“You’ll find with her, that doesn’t matter much. She will care, and will do something. You have to speak up, tell what you know. Please.”

“I already said I would. Let me get dressed. Don’t worry, I’ll be conservative.”

He came back, a few minutes later, wearing black, relaxed fit, jeans and a red silk tee with a black button-up shirt over it. His earrings were small, gold hoops. He wore a ring on his right hand, that looked like a wedding band, and an expensive gold watch.

“Nice clock,” Aiden remarked, pointing.

“I get paid well, prancing around in f**k me pumps,” he replied. “If you ever need a summer job, I can hook you up.”

“I’ll pass. I’m not wearing a dress.”

Eoin whooped. “We do ladies’ night. Body like that, you could make a mint.”

“My mother would disown me.”

Rolling his eyes, Eoin snorted. Picking up his wallet, keys and sunglasses, he declared himself ready.

“I’ll drive us. You shouldn’t be driving as beat up as you are.”

“No, I shouldn’t. How will I get home?”

“I’ll bring you, after I pick up my brothers.”

“I accept.”

They talked a little on the way, but Aiden could tell that Eoin was in a lot of pain.

“Did you report this?” he asked.

“Why bother. Dickless will just get out again.”

“It was Troy?”

Eoin didn’t say anything, his silence was confirmation enough for Aiden. “He has a golden ticket down your way. Rumor has it, he’s got a f**k buddy with magic hands, who can make things disappear at will.” He wiggled his fingers in the air by his head.

Strangely, Aiden wasn’t terribly surprised about Eoin’s suggestion that Troy was gay. He’d suggested it before, and it seemed to fit what he knew of him.

“Troy’s in jail in Port Orange. I’m assured his magic ticket won’t get him out up there.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“There is a God,” Eoin said with a happy sigh. “And right now, the old sod is smiling.”

Deirdre had worked hard on her novel all day. It was going directions she hadn’t anticipated, but felt good about. Fred called her around 1:00.

“I thought I’d take a chance, since you said that Aiden would transport the boys. How’s the day?”

“I slept in until eight o’clock, and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with two cups of hot coffee.”

“Hot? What a miracle!”

She usually had to finish it cold, or nuke it. “I actually managed to decided on dinner ahead of time. I found roasts on sale at Publix, buy one get one.”

“Sweet! I’m gonna miss roast sandwiches tomorrow! Dammit!”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 34

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Cover image from Free Stock Photos: Railroad Track On A Fall Day by Curtis Dean Wilson

Driving to Eoin’s is taking forever. Aiden decides to drop the girls at the police station to talk to Vanessa. He thinks what they have to say will be helpful. They agree.

The others put their hands on hers as they pulled up in front of the station. “For Wendy,” they chorused.

Aiden parked in a visitor’s spot and opened the doors for the girls. They each took an arm and walked confidently to the front door.

Vanessa was at her desk, getting ready to go talk to some of the former golf team members, when she heard a familiar voice in the lobby.

“We’d like to see Detective Weinstein, please.”

“Aiden?” She turned with a gasp.

He stood in the lobby, grinning. Two young women, whose faces she recognized, smiled at her, too. Making her way out front, she walked up to the young people, smiling, her hand out.

“This is Detective Weinstein,” Aiden said. “Detective, my friends Inez Westerman and Fonda Hart. They were seniors on golf team with Wendy and me. They have a lot to tell you.” He bowed slightly, turning to go.

“You aren’t staying?” Vanessa said, sounding hurt.

“I have another errand. Besides, I think the ladies would talk more freely without a man around.” He gave the girls each a kiss on the cheek. “She’s good people. Trust,” he murmured to them. “I’ll go see….” He pointed over his shoulder. “I’ll be back. I promise.”

He rushed to exit, trying to act casual. He couldn’t listen to them talk about their pain. It would make him too angry, and he was already hovering on the edge.

He found Eoin’s home, in a cul de sac trailer park, not far from Beville Road in South Daytona. Making the loop, he stopped at his friend’s trailer and pulled into the short, narrow driveway. It was a nice, clean place, not junky like some. Eoin had been able to buy his mobile home for $1500 cash, because the owner wanted to sell quickly. He’d been asking $3,000, Eoin talked him down by half. It was a muted, rosy pink with dusky, dark rose colored shutters. A trellis, concealing the front window, was covered with Don Juan roses. Eoin had named it Rose Cottage and loved fixing it up.

Trotting up the steps, Aiden knocked. He knew his friend had probably been up late the night before, working, but this was special circumstances. Eoin yanked open the door so abruptly, Aiden nearly fell on his face. Strong arms wrapped around his neck, hugging him for dear life. Sobbing, Eoin pulled him inside. Shocked by the emotional greeting, Aiden stood there stupidly, watching his friend. Eoin’s eyes were red, bloodshot, full of pain. He wore a tee shirt, boxers and a silk robe, swirling with color.

“I can’t believe she’s dead,” he said, his Irish accent flavoring his words.

“I didn’t know you’d be so torn up about Wendy,” Aiden said. “Here I’ve been feeling sorry for myself….”

“Of course you are. Come in. Sit. Whiskey?”

“Mom would kill me.”

“Tea, then. I’ve been drinking both. Mostly together. Why wouldn’t I be upset? We were—friends.” His lips trembled and fresh tears fell.

“Oh, f**k! You were lovers—too! How long?”

“I fell for her shortly after I arrived. How could I not? She was a ray of sunshine. Grant you, tarnished and broken, I came to find. But sunshine in spite of all that. She loved me, she loved you—she had us both….” He puttered around the kitchen, setting up tea.

“So, that summer when you were consoling me, you were grieving? I’m a selfish dick, I didn’t even see!”

“How could you? Your pain was greater than mine. At least she wasn’t my first love. But the best one.” He poured hot water in the mugs and dipped the tea bags until it was the right color. Adding milk and sugar, he set one in front of Aiden.

They sat at the small table in the kitchen. Aiden blew over his tea. Eoin let his sit and steam on the table.

“You knew she was back,” Aiden said.

“I did. She stayed here a few weeks, before she got a place closer to you. She was going to tell you something….”

“About Rowan. She left a note. Why didn’t she send it?”

“Because, she knew that was cold and cowardly. It took a lot of courage to write it, but she couldn’t tell you that way.”

“How long have you been in touch?”

“She called me a little over a year ago, drunk. Lonely. We talked.”

“Why didn’t she ever call me? I’d have talked.”

“I know, Aiden. And I don’t mean to belittle, but you’re so young.”

“I’m almost nineteen!”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 33

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Cover image from Free Stock Photos: Railroad Track On A Fall Day by Curtis Dean Wilson

Scott and Vanessa talk to Bullock, but he gets so abusive of Vanessa, Scott makes her leave. His anger barely controlled, he reads a passage from Wendy’s diary, which reveals Bullock’s abuse.

“That’s a lie! The little bitch lied about it all! You have no other witnesses! Nothing!”

“You can go on saying that all you want, but you’d be lying. There are other witnesses. You see, Wendy was very thorough. She kept a list of everyone who was around when you came on to her, threatened her, or sold her favors. There are some very prominent names on this list—men who bought what you sold. There aren’t names bad enough for people like you. You’re disgusting, not even a man.”

Face writhing with revulsion and anger, Scott continued. “I’m going to contact each of these men, as well as all the witnesses. I’m going to find out exactly what you did, how you did it and who you did it to. I’m going to send your pedophile ass to prison for so long, you won’t be able to count the days. If you last. Word of something like this gets out, I imagine you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of a gang bang.”

Scott got up, taking the folder with him.

“You can’t do this!” Bullock yelled. “I got connections. I’m a pillar of the community!”

“When your connections find out what a reprehensible piece of shit you are, you won’t have them anymore.” He opened the door and went out.

Bullock yelled loudly, screaming and swearing. Scott closed the door and Vanessa turned off the camera. She had the feeling that she knew the next words out of Bullock’s mouth, and wasn’t surprised to hear him screaming for a lawyer. However, since no one was in the room, and the camera was off, no one had proof that he’d asked. He hadn’t, for some reason, demanded one when he was arrested and processed. Eventually, he would make his request in front of a witness, but at the moment, they could play deaf.

Scott joined her in the booth, watching Bullock yank at his cuffs, rail and scream.

“There’s really a diary?” Vanessa asked.

“In the boxes at Troy’s. I think she went looking for that stuff, maybe got in a fight with him, dropped the letter for Aiden. The lab report came back. Troy definitely assaulted her, but there were other sperm samples. They were stupid, careless. I’m willing to bet that Bullock is another contributor.”

“I’ve had some awful cases,” Vanessa said. “This one disgusts me more than the rest of them combined. How deep does this carbuncle go?”

“I don’t know, but I intend to help you find out. I know you don’t like working with a partner, Ness, but I’m worried. You can’t go after these guys alone, especially not in your condition. I either want a uniform with you, or I go. Which is it to be?”

“Can you give me Jasper?”

“I don’t think I could stop him.”

“Then I’ll take him, please.”

“You got it. Anything you need, Nessa. You just ask.” He touched her cheek, giving her a soft kiss on her brow. “You look absolutely fantastic,” he whispered. “You truly do glow. Dario is very lucky.”

“Thank you. So is Cadence.”

“You take Jasper, and this list. I’ll send extra uniforms with you. We’re rounding these f**kers up and making a sweep.”

She took the list. “This is the city elite—the county! That’s the former mayor of Daytona Beach!” She pointed to one name. “He’s a judge. He was District Attorney ten years ago. Scott, this is—massive! Are you sure? A sting of this size takes timing, finesse. We can’t go arresting these people, or even bring them in for questioning, without proof. If we go in, balls to the wall, they’ll close ranks and we’ll get nothing. We need a cue ball.”

“Sorry?”

“A cue ball—something to break this open. And I think I know who that is.”

“The kid.”

She nodded. “Aiden Partridge. Excuse me, I need to make a call.”

The drive to South Daytona seemed to take forever. It was more direct going up US-1, but the traffic was heavy with people heading to work. Aiden managed to hit every red light. Anxious, he tapped his fingers on the steering wheel until Inez touched his hand.

“No rush, it’s okay. I know you want this all wrapped up in a nice, neat bundle, but it’s going to take time.”

“You don’t have to go with me to see him,” Aiden said, not for the first time. “I can do it myself. I think it’s more important for you to go see Vanessa.”

“Oh, it’s Vanessa, now?” Inez teased, batting her eyelashes.

Aiden rolled his eyes. “Saying Detective Weinstein gets tiresome. Look.” He pointed to the left. The sign for the police station stood out like a beacon. Making the left across US-1, he didn’t wait for them to agree or protest.

“You’re sure this is cool?” Inez said.

“Yes. She needs to hear from you both, as soon as possible. She wants to break this open as much as we do. She wants to help put Wendy to rest.”

“For Wendy,” Fonda said, reaching into the front seat.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Red River Radio Presents Dellani’s Tea Time with Christina, Dellani & Friends

 

Monday, January 14, marks the first Dellani’s Tea Time of 2019. Listen in from 4-6 PM Eastern!

As we to every year, Christina and Dellani save the first show to chat together, and bring in some special guests – the other show hosts on the Red River Radio Network! We’re never entirely sure who will show up, so we’ll just introduce them as they arrive.

Christina Giguere

 

Expect ridiculous behavior, sarcastic comments, jocularity, hilarity, and great excerpts from everyone! You never know where the conversation will go, with this bunch. We’re unpredictable, unavoidable, uninhibited and completely unexpected.

dellani photo dark red

Join us live, or at your leisure!

 

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 32

sidetracked 2Aiden talks to Inez and Fonda about their experiences with Bullock. They decide to go on a road trip to see Eoin, a former exchange student, who now works in Daytona. While this is going on, Vanessa and Scott decide to interrogate Bullock.

“What’s this? Good Cop, Bitchy Cop?” Bullock chuckled. It was an ugly sound.

“I’ll remind you that you’re addressing a female detective of this department,” Scott said calmly. “You’re under arrest for assault on a police officer, resisting arrest, verbal assault, obstruction of justice, and suspicion of murder. What do you have to say for yourself?”

Bullock started cursing. Scott held his hand up to his ear.

“Sorry, can’t hear you, I’m deaf to the sound of profanity. If you’d like to say something else, I’d be happy to listen.”

Bullock snorted and said something so filthy, even Scott was offended. Pinched nostrils turned white, but his neck and ears turned red.

“Detective Weinstein, I’d like you to go now,” he said, giving her a very emphatic look.

Without arguing, she left. Scott didn’t lose his temper often, but he had just passed the line. Turning off the camera, she watched to make sure he didn’t do anything dangerous. He took her welfare seriously, and always had. They had dated years ago, but they had remained friends. Now that she was pregnant, like his wife, he took an even greater interest in her well being.

“You’re going to tell me everything, you sorry sack of shit. You’ll tell me about molesting the girls under your care, of your involvement in the sex pandering and the sleazy drug and f**k parties. You’re going to tell me of your involvement in the death of Wendy Hamilton.”

“Or what?” the coach snarled, his mouth a hard line. “You gonna let her slap me?”

Scott stood, leaning over the seated coach. He was a tall, solidly built man, whose biceps bulged, threatening to rip his jacket. “Or I will tell every male member of this patrol what you said to Detective Weinstein, then I’ll leave the door open and the security camera off.” He let that sink in. “Then, I’m going to round up the fathers of the girls you exploited and molested, and I’ll tell them what a lowlife piece of human excrement you are. You sold those girls off, after you had your way with them. Some of them were virgins.”

“You can’t prove this shit. Lies. All of it.”

“Here’s what I know,” Scott said, sitting down. He signaled her to turn the camera back on, and scooted the folder in front on him. Opening it, he pulled out a picture, turning it to face Bullock. It was a close up of Wendy’s face, battered, bruised, bloody and pale with death. “You knew Wendy was back in town. I believe she came to see you, threatened to expose your little sex market, and probably had enough on you to send you away for a long time. We found a diary in her belongings.”

That was the first Vanessa had heard of it. Scott could be bluffing, or he could be telling the truth.

“You’re lying.”

“Am I? Believe what you will. She threatened you, maybe she asked for money. I imagine you had quite a good racket going. She wanted a cut to keep quiet. Or, maybe she wanted a cut, and threatened to shut you down. Either way, you raped and killed her.” He put a picture of Wendy’s body, torn clothing, pecked at by vultures, in front of Bullock.

The other man gagged, turning his head. Scott slammed his hand on the table, on top of the picture. “You look at this! This is your doing! She was young, innocent, trying hard to get her life on track. She suffered untold horrors at the hands of her father and grandfather—and you! Slobbering old men who took advantage of a pretty, young girl!”

“She wasn’t so innocent!” Bullock yelled, trying to stand. “She took what she wanted. She seduced me! Filmed it, threatened to show it to my wife! The school board! That cheap little c—”

“Not how I heard it. From her diary.” He pulled out a page, holding it where Bullock couldn’t see it.

Vanessa squinted at it. It was covered in handwriting, but she couldn’t tell if it was Scott’s, or really was a copy of a dairy.

“According to Wendy, you came on to her, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. She said, and I quote, He kept touching me, fondling my bottom and rubbing himself against me. He pinched my breast so badly it bruised. He wouldn’t stop! Constantly on me. No one would help. I asked the guys on the team, the other girls. Only Aiden tried to help me, but Coach Bullock knocked him around. I was so scared that he was going to kill Aiden, I agreed. I’m so scared. I felt filthy. Dirtier than I ever thought possible. Even worse than when my father touched me for the first time.” Scott stared at the paper a long time.

Vanessa knew it was genuine, because his hands shook and his neck went red with anger.

“She was barely seventeen when you did that. But that was okay, right? She wasn’t a child, she was a teenager. What you aren’t thinking of is two fold: she was under eighteen,” he held up his left thumb, touching it with his right index finger. “She said no.” He touched his left index finger with his right. “That, under the law, falls into two categories: Statutory Rape and Child Abuse.”

© 2018 Dellani Oakes

Sidetracked by Dellani Oakes Part 31

sidetracked 2Rather than staying at school, Aiden leaves, going over the the satellite college campus down the road. He intends to see some of the girls from the golf team, who were contemporaries of Wendy’s. He tells the girls about his baby girl.

“Oh, honey!” Fonda and Inez chorused, hugging him.

“You must feel even worse, finding her poor, battered….” Inez gulped, putting her hand over her mouth to stifle a sob.

Fonda’s tears were silent, making them the more moving. She was the one who had aborted Bullock’s baby. She hadn’t wanted to abort it, but her parents had refused to take action. She’d been seventeen at the time. The child’s death had haunted her ever since. Aiden put his arm around her shoulders, taking Inez with the other. They sat in quiet misery for a long time.

“She came back to take on Bullock,” Inez said. “She wanted us to come forward. She had a couple other girls she was talking to.”

“Why didn’t she come see me?”

“I don’t know,” Inez said. “But she spoke about you often. She was still fond….” She gripped his fingers. “But then, you’ve always been a sweetie.” She kissed his cheek. “How do we contact this Weinstein?”

Aiden hugged them both and gave them Vanessa’s number.

“Do you know how to find Jimbo?” he asked as he was standing to leave.

“Why do you want him?” Fonda’s scathing tone wasn’t lost on Aiden.

“I wanna know where he is.” His voice was hard, demanding.

“He went in the Marines,” Inez said. “I remember them saying at the awards ceremony. He got a scholarship. He was good friends with Otto Wren. That weird Austrian dude with the greasy hair?”

Otto was another exchange student, sent by a different company from Eoin. The two had not gotten along, nor had Aiden liked him in the least. Otto was as weird and twisted as Jim Butcher, and not in a fun way like Eoin.

“I remember Otto,” Aiden sneered. “Is he in town?”

“Daytona,” Inez said. “Last I heard, he was working as a bouncer at some club. That biker bar near the cemetery.”

“Yeah? Shit. I can’t get in there, they check IDs at the door.”

“You can’t, we can. And I bet Eoin would too,” Fonda said. “We’re cutting class,” she announced. “Do you know where tall, dark and dreamy lives?”

Puzzled, Aiden frowned. “Who?”

“Eoin,” she heaved an exasperated sigh. “He might be gay, but he’s gorgeous.”

“He’s not gay, he’s does a cross-dresser who does a fantastic drag show. Might be bi, but as far as I know, he likes women only.”

“A straight cross-dresser?” Inez was confused.

“He said there is a lot of money in it. He’s good, he’s snuck me in a few times. And yes, I know where he lives. Why?”

“Because we need backup at the bar, and he can provide it. Road trip.”

“I have to be back to pick up my brothers.”

“No problem. It’s barely eight. Off we go!” Fonda led the way to his car.

“How did you know this was my ride?”

“Your dad has driven this heap for the last seventeen years,” Fonda said. “He and my dad play golf, remember? I’ve seen it more times in the last three years, than I have you. Inez, you take shotgun. She gets carsick in the back.”

They hopped in the car and took off to Daytona.

“I can’t explain the gas use. Dad will notice and I’m tapped.”

“I’ve got it,” Fonda said. “Just put in a good word for me with Eoin.”

Aiden laughed. “You got it!”

She and Inez gave him cash, which he stuffed in the cup holder.

“And what about you, Aiden?” Inez asked. “You on the market?”

He glanced at her, puzzled, nearly running a red light. “Um…not—not taken. Why?”

“Because you’re all kinds of hot,” she said, patting his hand. “Even if you are a kid.”

“Almost nineteen,” he admitted, his ears turning a fiery red. “Next month.”

“Oh, not such a baby as I thought. I’ve never dated a younger man.”

“O—okay….”

Heading up US-1, they drove to Eoin’s home in South Daytona.

Bullock gave every indication of pacing, though Vanessa had left him chained to the table. He hadn’t appreciated that in the least, and had complained, cursed and fussed for the last forty-five minutes. Once he finally ran out of steam, she walked in the room with Scott. They took seats opposite the prisoner, and neither said a word, their expressions impassive.

© 2018 Dellani Oakes