Lizzie’s Point of View
I felt sick at myself, it was more my fault that anyone else’s. Wasn’t it me who had let her do the job? Who had not watched carefully like I ought to have done? I knew fine well what the answer was, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell Erin to her face. I hated the way I left her at her house, swearing and practically churning with anger; but now I wasn’t pissed off, I was more disappointed. Actually, I’m not sure I was even angry when I dropped Erin off; I just didn’t want her to know how I really was. I never want anyone to know how I really am any more.
The closer I got to the pier the more deeply I had to breathe, my hands began to slip down the side of the steering wheel until they hung limply at the bottom. I tried to listen closely to the song playing on the Radio to calm me down, but my mind kept on straying aside.
“LA pick up the phone,… and all the old ones too,… I don’t drive a fancy car,… Goodbye LA,… So long LA,… Fuck you LA.”
I picked up my phone just after parking to try and take my mind off of things that were yet to happen, I had two text messages; both from Nick. I could feel my insides swell up and my hands tremble with anticipation.
Hey Lizzie, I just got a phone call; apparently you were late to one of your deals today so you should probably explain. I just arrived at the pier so see you soon. (Not angry)
Ok, now I got a phone call saying you didn’t show up at all, the fuck’s going on?
I sighed knowing that things wouldn’t be great when I had to get out of this car. I brought mt slightly shaky fingers to the keyboard of my cell and began to type. I really fucked this up, I don't think I've ever felt this shit in my entire life; which is hard to say considering that I steal for a living.
You still not mad?
I clicked the phone off and stepped out of the car, if Nick was here I may as well just talk to him right now. I wish I could just bury myself in the snow and not be found until the snow thaws, maybe by then no-one would care that I lost us eighty thousand in the space of twenty minutes.
I could see him, Nick, from where I had parked my car, he was leaning against the back of a bench and had a cigarette gripped between his thin, taint lips. In a way he resembled an italian mobster, he had his hair oiled back and he wore the blackest street-shades you could probably get; the only thing remotely american was his accent, a New Yorker’s accent. It was a frightening voice.
I could see his head bent down over his small phone screen, he was... smiling.
“Not the best way to spend your birthday, I guess.” Nick called over to me, still on his mobile; probably checking on the others or trying to call his shitty, ungrateful kids, they never answer his calls or texts and even though he never shows it I can tell that it's killing him inside. I only met them once last summer and I have honestly never met such stuck up fucks I'm my entirety.
“Never has been, but who's caring?.” I stopped in front of him and kicked some snow onto his black boots, his old scratched and dirty black boots.
“So you wanna tell me what happened?” He kicked snow back, but limply.
“Will you be mad?”
“No, I won’t. I promise you.” He pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and clenched it between his teeth, sparking it up with a flimsy plastic lighter.
“Ok…” I took a couple of seconds to piece together my thoughts before continuing. “…All right, so…” God this was hard. “…So, em we; I mean I… Well I…” Nick was still focusing on his smoke, sucking and puffing rhythmically. “Well,… I don’t know what to fucking tell you, is it not pretty obvious that I don’t have the money?”
“Oh yeah, I knew as soon as I got the first call.” He winked at me when I gave him a confused look. “I just wanted to make sure. I’m not mad.”
He changed the conversation, probably for my benefit, to basically anything that he could think of; he told me about his first time in jail and when he used to work with Stephen when he was my age, when he first met me when I was about three and a half. “You were a cute toddler.” He told me. Then he spoke about the first time he met Jordan, who wasn't coming here until much later because he had another meeting to go to. I had almost forgotten about what happened earlier that day, that's how easy it was to talk to Nicholas; he'd open his mouth and a sticky web of words would trap you, but not in a bad way, they were good words, funny words. At one point we even began to talk about Danny, and it didn't hurt me or torture me like it normally would have done because Nick was just as close to Danny as I was. Of course we didn't talk about his death, we never talk about that; mainly because I refused to tell them what actually happened. I was the only person there to see him die, maybe thats why I never see anything in a positive light any more.
“He’s here.I can see him across the road.” Nick was talking about Stephen, who was just visible through the swarming fog. “Take a swig of this, quick before he gets here.” He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a silver hip-flask with the ten commandments engraved on the front.
He told me, when he first got the flask, that it was to remind him what commandments he had still to break, which at the moment was only one; ‘Thou shalt no covet your neighbour’s wife’ which he claims he is “Working on.”
“Ok, fine. Give it here.” He handed me the cool metal alcohol container, I must have swallowed about half of the thing, it burned as it slipped down my throat and intoxicated me.
“Did you just give my niece alcohol?” Stephen growled from about thirty meters behind us. I clutched my lip with my teeth and raised my eyebrow at Nicholas.
“Shit.” He muttered under his cold breath. “Em… Yes.”
“Good!” Stephen yelled, still quite far away.
“Wait…What?” I turned to my uncle, who promptly dropped a joint to the ground and buried it in the snow.
“Lizzie, if I were upset about you drinking I would be a hypocrite, would I not?”
“Only slightly.” I smiled.
“So how did your deals work out?”
You know when people say they’d rather have someone yell at them than be disappointed with them? Well, when I told Stephen what happened I felt the opposite. Everything he said hurt, especially because I was taking the blame for something which wasn’t entirely my fault. I didn’t tell him that it was Erin who handled the deal, I didn’t even tell him she was there at all, I thought it would be easy to predict if he knew she was with me.
I have to admit that the alcohol did help a bit, afterwards I could hardly remember what he had said, only little snippets of angry words, for instance at one point I’m pretty sure he said;
“Fuck sake, Lizzie what the hell happened?”
And I also remember him kicking some random car and smashing the headlight whilst shouting “Fuck you!” and “Fucking cunt.” at the car repeatedly.
To be quite frank, I’d seen him a lot worse than this. Stephen has a little bit of a psychotic side which makes him do things that seem a little over-the-top; he never tells me himself what he does sometimes but when I’m on a deal and I tell the buyer that my uncle is Stephen sometimes they say things like;
“Oh, is that not the guy who burnt down little Joey’s place?”
“I heard he likes to torture people for fun sometimes, is that true?”
I always deny it for Stephen’s sake but there is no doubt that those things actually happened, because it’s Stephen, and Stephen is a bit of a loveable homicidal mad-man.
“Are you even listening to me?” Stephen asked, glaring at me through his sunglasses. Why is everyone wearing sunglasses? It’s fucking snowing, what the hell.
“Yeah, of course I’m listening.” I tried to smile but it came out wrong.
“What was I just saying?” He was trying to trick me, which I hate because it’s such a dick thing to do.
“Em… Cunt” I could feel my face growing hot with every word I guessed. “Fucker,… Cocksucker?”
His lips began to twitch at the corners as if he wanted to laugh, but he stopped himself and his face became stone-like and I am pretty sure he was biting the inside of his mouth. He looked genuinely upset when he started to talk.
“I said you should leave.” He whispered, his voice quivering like he was about to cry.
This really hurt, when he said that, it felt like I was gonna cry myself; but I couldn’t. It would be weak and I really didn’t want him to know I was upset at all. So instead of begging Stephen to let me stay and making an absolute twat of myself, I left. I threw my car keys to Stephens feet and walked away, adding a little “Fuck you guys.” As I strolled off, or, you know, staggered.
Oh god my head hurt, how can Stephen stand being like this all the time? Everything was blurry and my feet seemed to be hitting the ground too early with each step. And why was everything twisting and turning? Ugh I feel sick, I should probably get a cab or something before I pass out.
“Hey, you need any help?” A youngish man asked, he had a pale blue sweater over a pale yellow shirt and some pale blue jeans, his sunglasses reflected the cold sun.
“Wh-what? Yeah, can you please call a cab for me?”
“I’ll give you a ride in my car.”
I could tell where this was going. Not the first time.
“Nah, c-cab’s fine thanks.” My voice was intoxicated and clumsy, slurring each word to the point where I couldn’t even tell if he understood me.
“I’ll give you a ride back to my place and we can call you a cab from there.”
“I said no, if you won't call me a cab now I’ll call one my-myself.” I hiccuped.
He grabbed me by the sleeve and began to drag me towards what I’m assuming was his car.
"I said no.” I tried to pull my arm away from him but he only tightened his grip and pulled back harder. “Okay… You fucking asked for it.” I said as I pulled back my arm hard enough that the man lost his balance and fell towards me, then I collided my fist with his tiny nose which immediately burst and bled.
“Fucking… Whore!” He yelled at me, his eyes streaming and his sweater spotted with fresh blood. He pulled out something shiny and silver from his pocket, I didn’t see what it was until it was pressed against my neck.
I put my slightly bloody hands in the air and began to walk slowly towards the car, trying desperately to think of what to do. There was nothing.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” A harsh and scary voice called from behind us. A New York voice.
“Step back old-man, or I swear…” The man hesitated. “…I’ll cut you.”
“Oooooooh,” I laughed. “he’ll ‘cut you’ Nick, you better w-watch out for his blunt knife.”
“What the fuck?” The man muttered under his breath. “One more word and I’ll stab the girl.”
I held up my hands in mock surrender and began to laugh again. I was really drunk. What the hell was in that flask?
“Listen, put the knife down and you get away with some minor amount of dignity which is rare to have for a criminal of your level, but I swear to fuck if you even scratch her with that stupid blade you will find yourself six-feet-under with the rest of the foolish fucks who crossed me. Now do the sensible thing.” Nick reached into his pocket and pulled out a pistol. He didn’t even aim it at him, he just held it.
The guy put down the knife and backed away for a bit before turning and running. “Goodbye!” I called after him, still laughing from before.
“You drank way too much. The bottle’s nearly finished now.” He said.
“There was still about h-half left when I gave it back to you.” I had stopped laughing. It wasn’t funny anymore. It was sad and I was really tired. I had to shift on my feet to keep my balance.
“I never said that I wasn’t drinking afterwards.”
“Ah; that explains it then.” I yawned and almost fell into a trash can, but Nick caught my elbow just in time.
“Do you want me to take you home so you can sleep this off?” He chuckled.
He guided me to his car, holding my elbow to steady me and make sure I didn’t trip over or walk into anything.
I think I saw Erin pass me on the street, but I wasn’t sure. Everything was too blurry to be sure. For all I knew Erin was probably in her home watching America’s next top model and waiting for her mum to call her in for dinner or some lucky shit like that.
“Was that not your friend?” He asked, guiding me across the road to his old Merc.
“I don’t k-know, probably not. Nah it wont be, she’s probably at home eating caviar and drinking champagne or some other fancy shit.” I yawned again and nearly tripped over the sidewalk, but I managed to catch a hold of a lamp-post before I hit the ground. Nick came over to help me up and carry me into his passenger seat and buckled me up before he climbed into the driver’s seat.
Nick’s car was warm and cosy, I curled up on my chair and leaned my head against the window, hugging my knees. It was still light outside, the sun had just started to settle and the sky had a slight orange tinge in the distance. I let my eyes droop and my mind wander, wanting nothing more than to fall asleep and never wake up.
“Is Stephen ok?” I asked, my voice felt small and innocent, almost child-like.
“Don’t you worry about him, you know that in the morning it’ll be like this whole thing never happened. Just relax and fall asleep, it’s been a shit day for you.”
I accepted the lie, probably because I wanted to believe it, and I let sleep wash over me like a wave washing over sand on the beach and I fell into the darkness of my unusual dreams.