MARTIN retreated to the corner gas station after seeing Corrigan’s vehicle in his sister’s driveway. He clutched the steering wheel and gritted his teeth. Corrigan, of all fucking people. Persistent asshole. He was like gum stuck on the bottom of his shoe.
But the asshole would never steal his job. He’d make sure Corrigan would never be captain at his precinct. And the car? He’d take care of it. Corrigan wouldn’t have anything on him or Pauline.
Martin left the gas station and drove by Pauline’s house. Corrigan and his minion were gone. He drove around the block and pulled into his old home’s drive. He’d told the others at the station that he had a doctor’s appointment.
Pauline and he inherited the house after their mom died. Their father had divorced their mother years ago because Pauline was always a handful and he couldn’t take it anymore. Fucking coward. Pauline stayed at the house, and Martin moved out after he got married.
He would never abandon Pauline. She was just fine as long as she took her meds. Mayhem happened only when she was off of them, like getting pregnant and worse. He shuddered. He’d done his best. Herculean maneuvering. He’d shoved that catastrophe out of his head until Corrigan threatened to unleash it all. He couldn’t allow it to happen. Neither he nor Pauline were going to go down. He’d make sure of that.
Martin parked in the driveway and went around to Pauline’s bedroom window. He tapped it three times. That was their code. He then went to the front door. It opened and Pauline stuck her head out.
“Marty!” she cried.
Martin went inside and embraced her. “It will be all right. I’m here.”
“A man in a wheelchair with another man with a mustache came to the door. I saw them on the security camera. I didn’t come to the door like you told me to, Marty. I’ve made such a mess of things.”
“Nothing I can’t fix,” he said.
Which was a lie…or maybe not. He knew who to call first.
Pauline sniffled. “I don’t know. I hadn’t seen him since last night.”
“I’ll make sure he doesn’t bother you.”
Martin led Pauline into the kitchen and made her a sandwich.
“You need to eat. I’ll be right back.”
Martin went into the living room and pulled out his cell, pacing while he waited for Niko to answer.
Niko and he had an understanding. Niko knew all the right people, and in turn Martin kept him out of prison. Niko didn’t kill. Nor did anyone he associated with. He was just a talented money manager.
“Martin, what can I do for you?”
“I need a car detailing, now.”
“No problem. Where is the vehicle?”
“At the old house, in the garage.”
“I’ll have someone pick it up.”
“Ah, exposition a problem?”
“I’ll send someone over to look it over. See if we can accommodate.”
“I’ll be here.”
Martin hung up. His temples pounded. There was no going back.
He went to the kitchen.
“You relax. Maybe go lie down. I’ll be in the garage,” he told his sister.
Martin picked up the key to the side door to the garage and went outside. How bad could it be? She drove home.
He unlocked the side door, since opening the main garage door would expose the suspected vehicle. He couldn’t take that chance.
Martin turned on the garage light.
The right passenger headlight hung off the fender like a broken jack-in-the-box, and the passenger door was dented inward and the whole left side had deep-clawed scratches with pieces of silver paint embedded in them. It would take a lot of time to fix, but he’d seen worse. Niko would get the best.
Martin sighed, turned off the light, left the garage, and locked the side door. The clock was ticking. The car and possibly Pauline would be on city cameras, so they had to move fast.
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