Flash Fiction: Scars – Part 17

Written in 57 minutes.


Pozzulo’s Restaurant: Back Office

Jason shoved his hands into the pockets of his leather jacket. “You sure you’re okay with Frankie taking the Miami run this weekend?”

“Yeah, yeah.” Sonny leaned back. “I told you—you don’t need to be doing that crap anymore. Let the younger guys do the runs.”

“I don’t mind in the summer,” Jason said, with a shrug. Once a month he did a weekend in Miami, overseeing a shipment as it passed from Cuba and went to Venezuela. He usually took Elizabeth and the boys to the island and made it a vacation. But— “It’s just—I wanna stick close right now.”

“Yeah? This Baker stuff still bothering her? I know it’s pissing me off. You hear what our guy at the PCPD said about the surveillance?” Sonny got to his feet, went over to pour himself a cup of coffee. “Actually dumping the tail on that asshole and keeping them on us—is that what’s wrong?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Just—” Jason squinted, unsure how to articulate it. “I guess it was the dance. It stirred a lot of things up. Especially since Joss took off and tried to walk home on her own.” Sonny scowled at him. “Yeah, Carly said she’s having some issues. You know she’s like her mother. Doesn’t really make friends that easy.”

“Yeah, I know. Michael was saying something about it. Glad she got Cam, you know he’ll stick. But she was gonna walk home? All the way to Carly’s?”

“Elizabeth found her before she got far, but it’s just—she’s not telling me, but I know it’s bothering her. More than just the surveillance.”

“Look, it’s just rotten luck Baker got out this year. The kids are about the same age Elizabeth was—” Sonny shook his head. “It’s gonna be in her head. All you can do is be there when she needs you.”

“I know, but—”

“You like to fix stuff,” Sonny finished. “But this isn’t something that gets fixed. Even if we take care of Baker when the dust settles, it doesn’t turn back time. You, me, all the money in the world doesn’t get us back to that night and stop her from going to the park. She’ll deal and put it away. You know she’s stronger than the both us. You’ll get through this and in a year when you got a cranky infant keeping you up at night, you won’t even think about any of this.”

Scorpio-Drake Home: Living Room

Robin felt the sofa next to her give way, but she didn’t look up from her laptop, keying in a few more edits on the medical article that was due at the end of the month. She heard a NASCAR race on the television—

“Did you need something?” she asked Patrick sweetly as he sipped from the bottle of Rolling Rock. “Is there something wrong with any of our other televisions?”

“You weren’t there.” Patrick flashed his dimples, and instead of melting, she just narrowed her eyes.

“What do you want?”

“Always so suspicious. I can’t just hang with my wife?” He wiggled his brows. “Emma is at Trina’s tonight. Neither of us have to be at work—”

“Uh huh. Cut the crap.”

“You know me so well.” The dimples flashed again, but then Patrick took a deep breath. “Thanksgiving. You said you wanted to invite Sonny because Michael was doing something with his girlfriend’s family, and Morgan’s away at college.”

“And because Sonny’s a good cook and it’ll give Jason to talk to—”

“I thought maybe, in the spirit of cooperation and kindness—” Patrick paused. “We could extend the invite list. You know Portia has the evening Thanksgiving shift, so we’ve got Trina—”

“Patrick—”

“I’ve been thinking about Joss,” he cut in. “I told you about the dance. About her feeling left out and walking home.”

“Oh—oh, absolutely not.” Robin shook her head. “You are not asking me to invite Carly to Thanksgiving. Patrick Drake—”

“Hear me out—” He held up a hand and she closed her mouth. “I’m not asking you to be friends with Carly. I’m not even asking you to be friendly with her. Jason will be here, and Elizabeth gets along with her more—”

“And what am I supposed to do until you and Elizabeth are done work? And how did you end up copping an overnight shift on Thanksgiving morning?” Robin wrinkled her nose. “You both should have more seniority than that—”

“We both traded away a holiday ages ago. I think she’s covering Felix, and Griffin needed to get to the airport early—that’s not the point—” Patrick took a deep breath. “You have legitimate reasons to dislike Carly. And if you say no, it’s cool. I get it. It’s just—I know Elizabeth has been messed up over this Baker stuff—and then Joss walking home from the dance—”

“Right.” Robin sighed. “It upset her, I know that. And I know Carly’s worried about Joss. I overheard talking to Jason after you guys left with the kids. It’s just…” She paused. “She and I have stayed out of each other’s way for a long time, and it suits us. I was almost relieved when Emma and Joss didn’t hit it off. I can live with seeing her sometimes for Jason and Elizabeth’s stuff. But you’re asking me to invite her into my home.”

“I know. I know it’s a big ask, and I don’t do it lightly. I promise.” Patrick was quiet for a long moment. “I think of our little girl, you know. Of Emma feeling left out and taking a walk. I want to hope someone is there for her. That someone will notice. I want to protect her for as long as we can from the world. No one was there for Elizabeth until it was too late. It kills me, Robin, to think of her all these years later, still tormented by it.”

“And you think inviting Joss to Thanksgiving with kid who already make her feel left out will help,” Robin said, her tone skeptical. “It’s a sweet idea, but I don’t think shoving her down their throats—”

“It’ll be a lot of people. Laura, Spencer, your parents, Mac, Felicia—” Patrick shook his head. “I don’t know. I guess it’s a stupid plan.”

“I like Joss, I do. And I know she’s had a harder road  because of Carly.” Robin made a face. “And I guess if all those people are here, Carly won’t really have anyone to spend Thanksgiving. I don’t mind her eating alone, but it probably won’t make Joss feel better. All right. But I’m not talking to her.”

“Understood.” Patrick put an arm around her shoulder, drew her close for a kiss, then rested his hand on her belly, just beginning to curve. “How are you feeling?”

“Amazing. I can’t believe we get to do this again.” She leaned her head on his shoulder. “You know, you’re right. Emma’s gone all night—let’s go do something more fun.”

“I could get my race cars out,” Patrick offered as Robin tugged him off the sofa.

“Not exactly what I had in mind, Dr. Drake.”

Parking Lot

The next afternoon, after Robin buried herself in the study working on her article, Patrick drove across town to the run down lot of a drug store that looked like it had seen better days. He parked his car next to the dark blue sedan in the lot, got out and slid into the passenger seat of the other car.

Elizabeth handed him a ski cap and he tugged it over his dark hair. Then she put the car into drive and drove the two blocks to Baker’s street, parking across the way and a few houses down. “I’ve been coming for three days. It’s like clockwork,” she told him as they watched Baker lock up, then amble down the street towards the bus. “He gets home around 7:30 and goes right to sleep.”

“Do I want to know how you know that or is it going to make me mad?” Patrick wanted to know.

Elizabeth smiled grimly. “I went back after the first time. I left a camera in the bedroom. Just to know.” She handed him a phone and showed him the app. “And thanks to Spinelli, I have an encrypted phone. I know how to delete this so it never shows up anywhere.”

“Thank God you married a mobster,” Patrick said taking in the view of Baker’s room, the camera trained on the bed. “I still want you to stay in the car—”

“No. It’s a two person job.” She took the phone back. “Did you get your hands on the records?”

“Yeah, the security at the hospital is pretty crappy. Baker had a physical as part of the hiring process. He had heart issues in prison. He’s being treated for arrythmia — they’re trying to hold off on a heart attack.” He stared straight ahead at the back of a rusted Mercedes. “I thought about something that would trigger a heart attack but there’s no guarantee it would finish him off.”

“And we don’t know how long it’ll be before he’s discovered. He works Tuesdays-Saturdays. I’d say we do it on a Saturday morning, no one knows he’s missing until Monday morning—”

“But Thanksgiving is the only day we can make sure of the alibis. We have small window  between leaving the hospital and when we’re expected at the house—” Patrick paused. “But since we decided to have a huge dinner with literally everyone—”

“Including three former police commissioners—stroke of genius on your part—”

“It’ll be hard for anyone to say exactly when we get there. Only Jason and Robin would know for sure, and—”

“Spousal privilege keeps them in the clear. Plus, Jason and Sonny will be seen by at least a half dozen people the entire day.” Her hands tightened on the wheel. “Jordan can’t come near them. And we both know she’s not even going to think of us.”

“No. But that’s why we’ve got the alibi.” He sighed. “It has to be Thanksgiving. All we can hope is that follows up on a missed shift. The longer we have between time of death and the autopsy, the better off we’ll be.”

“So you have an idea on the how?” Elizabeth looked at him.

Patrick leaned into his pocket and pulled out a small bottle. She took it, read over the label. “Succinylcholine,” she murmured. “It’ll paralyze his respiratory system. How did you—”

“You’re not the only one getting lessons from Spinelli. Let’s just say it’s untraceable. The only caveat is that they can test for that. It’s just not going to show up on any normal tox screen. You have to go looking for it. Jordan might.”

“Maybe.”

“And if we can get at least twenty-four hours, we got a better shot of the sux not being traced in the tissues. An autopsy will probably come back undetermined or, best case, the heart issue will get blamed.”

Elizabeth exhaled. “So you’re all in.” She looked at him again. “If you want to pull out, I won’t think less of you, Patrick. You know that, don’t you? I love you. But—”

“I think about that day you saw Baker again,” Patrick murmured. “I’ve known you for years. I’ve seen you collapse from grief. I’ve seen you angry. I’ve seen you broken. But I’ve never seen you that way. And it’s been almost two decades. He’s watching the girls. Waiting for the chance. He might have taken it from Joss. I think of any of those kids being broken for twenty years—” His mouth was grim. “The justice system isn’t built for this. Some things can’t be forgiven. We’re doing this protect them, sure, but I’m doing this to protect you.”

Her eyes stung with tears. “Patrick—”

“Because I think when he’s gone, when you know he’s gone and maybe you get a hand in seeing it done you’ll be able to sleep at night.” He took the bottle from her and tucked it back in his pocket. “And that will be all I need. So, yeah, I’m all in. When we do this on Thanksgiving, you stay behind me. You’re pregnant. If I had my way, I’d do it on my own—”

“I’ve been through worse pregnant, but yeah. You’ll go first and you’ll be ready if the injection does wakes him up before the drug takes affect. I’ll do it between his toes,” Elizabeth decided. ‘They never look there.”  She switched the engine back on. “Let’s go. I need to trade this car back in. I’ll get us a new one for that morning. Nothing to track back to us. I’m buying one in cash, and then I know how to get rid of it.”

“I bow to you, the woman married to the master criminal.”

Elizabeth smirked as she turned away from Baker’s street. “Please. Luke taught me how to get a car clean and dump it afterwards. I led a very interesting life before I married him.”

Comments

  • So interested to see how this turns out. Are they going to get away with it? Is it actually going to go down like they’re planning? So many questions… 🙂

    According to Julie on August 23, 2022
  • Somehow I don’t see this going well for Elizabeth and Patrick, I just don’t have a good feeling about it. Tom Baker dies deserve what’s about to happen to him though,

    According to Becca on August 23, 2022
  • Great update. These two are diabolical together. I like how they are covering alibis for them as well as Jason and Sonny. I hope this works and they don’t get caught. If Jason ever finds out, he might have a stroke.

    According to nanci on August 23, 2022
  • You always leave me wanting more

    According to dallas jensen on August 23, 2022
  • I know that they can do it but I’m so afraid that something will go wrong. Baker has to die because he won’t stop. This is so good!

    According to arcoiris0502 on August 23, 2022
  • Some people will do anything to protect those they love amd Liz & Patrick will do a good job if Baker doesn’t wake up and struggle

    According to leasmom on August 23, 2022
  • I just love the special friendship between Elizabeth and Patrick. I can’t wait until they’re rid of Baker. Great writing!

    According to Felicia on August 23, 2022
  • I can’t wait to find out what is going to happen next.

    According to Shelly Samuel on August 23, 2022
  • I really hope this plan goes good and Elizabeth and Patrick don’t get caught.

    According to Carla P on August 23, 2022
  • Elizabeth has indeed had an interesting life. Something that is usually forgotten. I just love this story because it shows her strength. This Elizabeth is no victim. Love the friendship with Patrick.

    According to Aradia on August 24, 2022
  • Patrick and Liz together are dangerous. I hope it all goes as planned.

    According to Lisa on August 24, 2022