Flash Fiction: Watch Me Burn – Part 15

This entry is part 15 of 16 in the Flash Fiction: Watch Me Burn

Written in 61 minutes.


PCPD: Interrogation Room

Lucky dragged his hands through his hair, squeezed his eyes shut, and took a deep breath. “Let’s take this from the top, okay? Make sure you’re not missing any details—”

“I have left nothing out,” Spinelli said, his eyes flashing with irritation. He scowled. “You’re not listening—”

“I didn’t—” Lucky grimaced, leaned back and avoided the malevolent gaze of the man behind the irritated computer geek. It was so goddamn surreal, he thought abruptly, to be questioning a kid represented by his wife’s divorce attorney in the presence of the son of a bitch who’d destroyed his family—

He tamped down on his own impatience and tried again. “I didn’t mean that you left anything out on purpose,” he said. “Only that sometimes if we go over the story a few times, I can ask new questions and it can trigger your memory.”

Spinelli glanced at Diane Miller who nodded, then he focused on Lucky again. “Georgie said that she found roses outside her dorm room last month. There was no note on it. No tag from a florist. She didn’t even know if they were for her or her roommate.”

“Okay. When exactly did she tell you this?” Lucky picked up his pencil. “Can you remember the date?”

“It was—” Spinelli furrowed his brow, twisted in his chair to look at Jason. The older man was leaning against the bookcase against the wall, his arms folded. “Stone Cold, the day you came home—she told me when we were setting up the banner.”

Jason exhaled, flicked his eyes at Lucky. “Yeah, okay. So the day I was acquitted.”

Lucky nearly flinched at that. While Spinelli had been preparing a welcome home party for Jason after he’d been found not guilty of murder, Lucky had walked into the home where he’d expected to raise his boys and found Elizabeth packing. “August 16,” he said. “Fine. Why did she think it was suspicious?”

“She didn’t.” Spinelli scratched his temple. “She thought it was a prank maybe. Or that Conflicted Film Major—” he grimaced —”maybe that Dillon had sent them and the card got lost. But later that day, I think, that night, she was more worried. She had called Dillon in California and he didn’t know anything.”

“Still, she’s a pretty—” Lucky stopped. “She was,” he corrected himself, thinking of the fresh, sweet little girl he’d known all her life. Who had grown up with his little sister. “She was a beautiful woman. Maybe it was just an admirer.”

“We thought so,” Spinelli muttered. “So we put it away. Until the dead flowers came.”

“Dead flowers,” Lucky repeated, the news no less chilling then they’d been the first time he’d heard the story. “When?”

“A few weeks later.” Spinelli shifted uncomfortably.

“Do you know exactly when?” Lucky pressed.

“Yes, but—” Spinelli glanced at Jason again before focusing his attention on Lucky again. “Uh, I don’t really remember the date. I just—I know it happened the day I had a conversation.”

“What conversation? With who?”

“Spinelli,” Jason said, and the teen looked at him again. “Was it the day yo told me about Kelly’s?”

Spinelli flushed. “Yes.” He swallowed hard and looked at Lucky again, who frowned at the exchange. “It was a personal conversation that—”

“It was after Georgie overheard you and Sam talking about the divorce,” Jason said flatly, and Lucky stared at the enforcer dumbfounded. “She told Spinelli the same day he got the flowers and he told us. August 30. That’s the day the flowers were delivered.”

“Georgie…” Lucky leaned back, looked at his notepad, his cheeks warm, something rolling in the pit of his stomach. Georgie had been there that day, he remembered now. And absorbed the likelihood that when Jason said “us” he was including Elizabeth.

“Detective Spencer?” Diane said coolly. “Do you want to continue or shall we find another officer who has fewer ties to the parties involved?”

“My divorce has nothing to do with any of this,” Lucky snapped, curling his fist around the pen in his hand. “Fine. The dead flowers were delivered on August 30—” He stopped, then got up and crossed to the wall, yanking down a plain calendar that hung near the door. He flipped back to August. “Those were both Thursdays.” He focused on Spinelli again. “When did the calls begin?”

“I don’t know for sure. I—” Spinelli stopped, drawing his brows together. “I don’t know when they started, only when she told me about them. We were at Kelly’s. After the dead flowers got delivered. She mentioned she was getting blocked calls, and it was like it’d been a few days by then.”

“Was she working that day? I can check the schedule.”

“Yeah. I was there for dinner,” Spinelli said. “I had a burger. But it was early. I was still hungry when I got home—that was the night we ordered pepperoni pizza. The first time,” he added. He looked at Jason. “You know? Little Dude and I fought about who would finish the orange soda.”

“I remember,” Jason said, with a slight smile as if the memory was a good one. Little Dude, Lucky thought. Christ, Cameron had a Spinelli nickname already.

“Do you remember how long after the flowers?” Lucky said, irritated by all the tangents into the Morgan family home life. Why did all of it seem tied to this? Damn it—

“Yeah. September 10.”

The day of his damned divorce mediation when he’d told Elizabeth about Manny Ruiz. Lucky grimaced, avoided Jason’s cool gaze, knowing the other man knew exactly what he was thinking.

“Which means he was escalating after a few weeks, whoever this guy was.” Lucky gritted his teeth. “She was being stalked. Didn’t you tell anyone?”

“Not about the calls. She promised she’d tell her stepdad. I thought she had.” Spinelli huffed. “And the flowers—I told Stone Cold, but there was nothing to it. It could have been a frat prank—”

“Great, you told Jason. Why didn’t you go to the police?”

Diane held up a hand as Spinelli scowled and opened his mouth. “You’re not answering that. My client handled things as his friend asked him to. Until this morning, no one thought Georgie Jones or her roommate was in danger, including her own stepfather, the commissioner of the damn police department.”

“We could have pulled security footage—” Lucky saw Spinelli’s eyes drop to the table. “You did, didn’t you? You got into the system—”

“My client isn’t answering that question—”

“Yes,” Spinelli said, and Diane glared at him. “For Georgie. For my faithful and loyal friend, I must do what is necessary. Yes.” He looked at Lucky, lifting his chin in defiance. “I logged the footage on both days. I also marked it in the system so it would not be deleted. You can go find it yourself. But it shows nothing. There’s no face—”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” Lucky muttered. “Look, no one is going after you for this. I’ll…I’ll just make it clear you’re a confidential informant.” At Diane’s surprise and Jason’s suspicion, he added, “I know what it’s like to have a friend who’s in trouble and not going to the authorities. Sometimes you have to do what you can to protect them.” He got to his feet. “If you think of anything else, Spinelli, let me know.”

Spinelli and Diane left first, but Jason lingered. Lucky tensed as the mobster closed the interrogation room door, leaving them  both inside.

“Whatever happens with custody and the divorce stays on that side of the door,” Jason said coldly. “It has nothing to do with Georgie or her roommate. So you’ll get my cooperation for whatever you need.”

Lucky scowled. “You don’t get to make demands—”

“You didn’t have to take Cameron home yesterday,” Jason cut in and Lucky closed his mouth. “You heard him, didn’t you? When you walked away—”

Daddy, Daddy, I’ll be good—

Lucky swallowed hard, closing it out of his mind. Have to keep his eye on the goal. “One day, when he’s older, he’ll understand—I love my sons. Both of them,” Lucky added with heat, “and I’m doing what I have to do to keep my family together. Blood doesn’t mean a damn thing—”

“When he’s older, he won’t even remember you. Neither of them will. Diane is filing my paternity petition this week. You can throw whatever you want at me about my past. You won’t get my son, and you won’t get another chance to hurt Cameron.”

Jason jerked the door open and left, slamming it behind him. Lucky exhaled slowly, then followed him into the squad room.

Morgan Penthouse: Living Room

“Hey, Gram—thanks—” Elizabeth set the suitcase on the floor next to the desk. “The boys are all set up here, but I didn’t have anything—”

“I assumed as much,” Audrey said dryly as she considered the shirt sliding off Elizabeth’s shoulder. “I, uh, hadn’t realized things were moving this quickly—”

“They weren’t. I wasn’t planning anything yesterday.” Elizabeth readjusted the collar of the shirt, then went to scoop Jake up from the playpen. “I told you over the phone that Cameron saw Lucky at the park and was upset. I didn’t really get into the details.”

“I had a bad feeling it was worse than you described,” Audrey said. She glanced around the room. “Where is he?”

“Playing upstairs.” Elizabeth gestured at the side table where the grainy image of Cameron could be seen on the monitor. The toddler was singing to himself as he played with the action figures. “Cameron tried to go to Lucky, but Lucky—he rejected him, Gram. Didn’t hug him, kiss him—nothing.” Her eyes burned at the memory and she took a deep breath. “He cried all afternoon. I needed to focus on him, so it just made sense for us to stay over—”

“Because Jason could take care of Jake.” Audrey rubbed her chest. “I’m so sorry, darling—”

“I’m revising the custody petition, Gram. I wanted Cam to keep Lucky in his life, but not like this. Lucky had no problem hurting an innocent child to punish me. I know you think it’s too soon or that I’m rushing that decision—”

“I remember how often Lucky visited when you lived with me,” Audrey said softly, and Elizabeth stopped. “Which was approximately never. Cameron stayed with me for the better part of six months. Lucky never came once. And he certainly never came after you separated this summer. He’s had a chance to prove himself as Cameron’s father and clearly he’s failed.”

“Right. Well—” A bit discomforted by how easily Audrey had accepted the decision, Elizabeth had to gather herself. “I was going to  take the boys back to your place today, but then—God—” She sat on the arm of the sofa. “We found out about Georgie.”

“An absolute heart breaking tragedy. I loved those girls. There was a time, you know, when Felicia was dating your uncle, and I spent a great deal of time with them. She was such a lovely girl. So much promise. And the young man who lives with Jason—they were friends?”

“Yes. Close friends. Spinelli is devastated, and Jason’s worried for him. But Spinelli does so well with the boys. I thought maybe they’d help distract him. And—” Elizabeth adjusted Jake in her arms, looking at her bright, beautiful son. “Life is too short to waste any of it. I could wait a few more months. Maybe a whole year. Maybe then no one would think anything of Jason and I being together. But why should I care what other people think?”

“You shouldn’t, dear.” Audrey stroked Jake’s soft hair and then smiled at Elizabeth. “It’s not the choice I would have made for you. But I know he cares for you, and he’s a good father. If this is the future you want, you can count on my support.”

PCPD: Commissioner’s Office

“We have a lead,” Lucky told Mac, setting down a preliminary report. “I still have a few things to iron out, but so far-”

“What? Tell me.” Mac flipped open the report, tearing through it. “What do we know? What—what is this order for phone records?”

“We have her physical phone,” Lucky said. “And we found records of blocked calls. Mac, I don’t know if it means anything, but someone sent her flowers in August, then two weeks later, sent her dead ones. And then started hangups from a blocked number. So far I’ve got pictures on her phone and the call history. We’re trying to get more info from—”

“My baby was being stalked? Why the hell didn’t she tell me?”

“She meant to, or she told Spinelli she was going to,” Lucky said gently. “She told him a few of the things, and he wanted her to tell you. To do more.  But she thought it was a prank, Mac—”

“Christ.” Mac shoved away from the desk. “She seemed…distracted yesterday,” he remembered. He scrubbed his hands down his face. “I thought maybe something was wrong, but then Maxie and I started to argue, and Georgie had to leave for a class—I let it go. I told myself I’d figure it out later.” He met Lucky’s eyes, the devastation gut-wrenching. “I thought there would be more time. Why wasn’t there more time?”

Comments

  • I am so happy that Jason told Lucky what he did to Cameron. Also, Liz told Audrey about what Lucky did. I can’t wait to find out who kill Georgie and the others. Thanks for the update.

    According to Shelly Wendy Samuel on December 4, 2022
  • I’m glad that Jason told Lucky he had his chance with Cameron and blew it. I’m surprised that Audrey is ok with Jason but I’m glad. I hope Lucky can keep the job and the divorce separate. I love this story

    According to Becca on December 4, 2022
  • Jason isn’t going to let Lucky near his sons. Audrey surprised me with her feelings about Lucky and Cam. She’s being very supportive. I’m still heartbroken over Georgie.

    According to arcoiris0502 on December 5, 2022
  • I love when stories seem to break from the normal narrative of Audrey being totally u supportive of Elizabeth being with Lucky. She may not like what Jason does for a living but she recognizes he’s a good father and seems to genuinely care for her granddaughter,

    According to Julie on December 5, 2022
  • * unsupportive of Liz being with Jason, not Lucky 🙂

    According to Julie on December 5, 2022
  • Love this story.

    According to Carolyn Grandchamp on December 5, 2022
  • Hope to find out who the stalker is soon. Doesn’t make sense for Georgie’s stalking to be involved with what’s going on the Lucky and Liz.

    According to Tammy on December 5, 2022
  • Find this a great story. Just different enough to keep our interest and keep us guessing. Who killed George and why. Love this Audrey being so supportive.

    According to leasmom on December 5, 2022
  • loved the update.
    Lucky is such a jerk and now everyone sees it.
    Poor Spinelli
    Glad Audrey is supporting them

    According to Pamela Hedstrom on December 7, 2022
  • I am so glad Audrey is on Elizabeth’s side. I really liked what Jason told Lucky. I’m surprise Lucky is really doing his job and not going after Jason and Spin.

    According to Carla P on December 7, 2022