home | login | register | DMCA | contacts | help | donate |      


my bookshelf | genres | recommend | rating of books | rating of authors | reviews | new | | collections | | | add


My dad floored the car down Lincoln Avenue, blaring the horn several times to get people to move out of the way.

When we were almost at a light at Sheffield Avenue, I pointed. Turn there! I looked at my watch. Fifteen minutes. Then I looked back at the phone, despair and panic warring within. We were supposed to get the address, I said, still staring at my phone. And you said when we got the address, youd have one of your buddies run a search on the address to see if we could find anything out about the building.

He shot through the light, turning. And now we cant do that.

So we just go in there cold? My voice started rising. Keep your cool, I thought.

I watched as my dad reached down toward his ankle with his left hand. When he sat up, there was something in that hand, something black and gleaming. I drew back against the car door. Where did you get that?

I had never seen a gun up close before. The men in Naples had guns, and they were pointing them at me, but the proximity of this gun was different. Menacing. And I didnt particularly like it.

I looked up at my father and into his eyes, and for some reason I was nervous.

I carried it on the plane, he said.

They just let you do that? I thought back to the security wed gone through before boarding Theos private plane. There was little. Wed been required to show our passports and that was about it. Now that I thought about it, we couldve packed hand grenades in our bags, which were placed by the pilots into the luggage compartment.

My father tucked the gun into his waistband. I stared at his profile. How quickly Id sided with him, assumed that because he was my father he must be a good man. But hed killed Maurizio, even admitted it. And Elena had been a mess around him. That was expected, of course, since shed lost her husband, but was it something more than that? She was the only one who had known Christopher McNeil all these years. Was she afraid of him?

The air in the car seemed stale. I opened the window a little. My fathers eyes darted to my window, then went back to the road. I pushed myself farther into the side of the passenger door, felt for the handle, just in case.

He saw it. What are you doing?

I dont know, Im just

Are you afraid of me? This almost seemed to amuse him, which was bizarre. I dont know this man at all.

I dont know what Im afraid of anymore.

He blinked as if surprised, then his face cleared and he nodded. I understand that. His voice had been full of life when I was telling him about finding Michaels UND corporation, but now it was flat again.

Is there any reason I need to be nervous of you?

He stopped the car at a light at Armitage and looked at me. He didnt look amused now, but rather wounded. He shook his head. But I understand if you dont believe me. I have given you no reason for trust. He looked back at the road. Lets just focus on what we have to do, and then Ill be out of your way again. In one way or another.

Whats that supposed to mean?

He shook his head, not answering. Lets concentrate on Charlie.

The reminder of Charlie made my heart skip. I looked at my watch. We have eight minutes.

Just then the light turned green and my dad pressed on the gas.

I glanced toward his waist. I dont want you to use that gun. Not even on Dez.

I wont use it unless I have to.

You did with Maurizio.

A single nod.

You had to? I said.

I did. His tone was grave and regretful, but resigned.

I looked out the front window, pointed at Clybourn Avenue. Turn left here, I told my father. Then right on Halsted. We can take that to Lake.

He did as I told him, flooring the car down Halsted, dodging around slower cars, edging up to the front at lights and shooting ahead of the others.

Go faster if you can, I said, looking at my watch. Six minutes.

He ran a light that had just turned red.

Whats going to happen? I asked, scared and overwhelmed.

He shook his head. I dont know. I want to tell you not to worry, but I havent dealt with a hostage situation since my training at the academy.

I exhaled loudly and looked at my father. I realized that Id allowed myself a tiny false sense of security. It was a sense that assumed that my father, whod been able to survive for the last few decades, would not only allow us to survive today, but to succeed. I saw now that he was fallible, that I was going to have to continue to be part of our survival.

All right, I said, so lets think. We know Dez wants something from you.

My dad nodded. Right. Hopefully, I possess whatever that information is, whatever he wants. If so, Im hoping to keep stringing Romano along, maybe using the UND corporation. Im hoping to do that long enough to determine the setup of the place and to get Charlie and you out of there.

But earlier you said he wants you, too. Like he wanted you as a person, not just information you have.

My dad nodded. If Dez Romano were able to kill me today, it would be huge for him. Hes a somewhat small fish in the System, but if he took me out, it would catapult him to Camorra stardom.

I studied his profile. Why dont you sound upset by that?

He glanced at me, then back at the road, veering around a car that was parallel parking. Ive fought the Camorra long enough. Im done. And Im willing to give Dez Romano what he needs just as long as it means the two of you are safe.

I stared at him. You cant go away again.

We came to a stoplight. My dad looked at me. You dont know if you trust me. Why would you want me to stick around?

So you can give me time to figure it out.

He laughed. And it made me feel good.

Another glance at my watch. Three minutes.

He looked back at the road and shot through another yellow light. How am I going to accomplish anything if you dont want me to use my gun. Why would you care whether Dez is hurt or not?

I stared past my father at the side of a building where a fat, smiling Buddha was painted in bright colors-an advertisement for a bar called Funky Buddha Lounge. Two months ago, I found my friend a few minutes after she was killed. And I saw Maurizio yesterday. I dont want to be a witness to any more death.

He said nothing.

Plus, I dont believe in an eye for an eye. If we hurt Dez, or someone else, when we dont need to, it just hurts us in the long run.

My father stayed silent.

You dont agree with that? I asked.


I held up my wrist to my face. Two minutes. Thank God were almost at Lake Street. When you get there, take a left.

My father nodded and leaned forward a bit as if he could make the car move faster. His mouth moved back and forth, his eyebrows pulled together under his copper-rimmed glasses. He opened his cell phone and started to dial.

Who are you calling? I asked.

One of the men you saw outside the airport. Ive changed my mind. Im calling them in as backup.

But we were told not to bring backup. He said if we do that, hell kill Charlie.

My fathers jaw worked more intensively. He breathed out a loud puff of air through his nostrils and threw down the phone. No one should ever have to be in this situation. No one should ever have to do this on behalf of their son.

You brought it on yourself, I said, then immediately regretted it. Im sorry. My words shot out fast. I shouldnt have said that. I know you did the best you could do but

My father pulled to a stop at the light at Lake and looked at me. Youre right. I brought this on myself, and I will handle it.

| Red, White & Dead | c