Summer Kids

When Lucas Tweedle, leader of Left Hand Private Investigators, receives a box containing a film he hasn't seen in years, he is prompted on a road trip across miles and years. He has to save Eva Grey, the only girl that ever loved his teenage self.
She may be in the clutches of the Nemesis Crime Ring but the memories of the summer after college graduation haunt the both of them.

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23. LIMP

 

CHAPTER TWENTY TWO - LIMP

LUCAS

The days had progressed and the data had been analysed. Camera footage had been pulled from the telephone box outside of Eva’s house. The footage had shown a red car parked just a little down the road, someone dressed in black in the driver’s seat, and it showed the disastrous moment when three men carried a limp and bleeding Eva from her home, the door left ajar in favour of stuffing the girl into the getaway car. The car drove silently and without anyone drawing suspicions. The plates were blacked out, deliberately, the windows tinted at the back when the three men and Eva got in. The men wore hoods that hid their faces and their forms were too similar to identify.

The sky was the colour of liberty. Liberty was not a colour though, but colours themselves were subjective interpretations. But the sky was the colour of ironic liberty when a female body was found by the side of the road, a hundred or more cuts littering her chest and arms, the final cut being on the neck, the eyes deadened.

It was the body of Amy Charlton and a phone call had been delivered that day saying that sadly a daughter was found dead.

Lucas had hid his head in his hands because although it wasn’t the body of Eva, and therefore it wasn’t the worst possibility for him, he had failed to save a life.

When someone died people usually said sorry. They apologized for something that wasn’t their fault. Lucas didn’t really understand why this was the common gesture because those words were pointless. An apology didn't really change anything. You couldn’t bring them back: death was unchangeable. He didn’t know how to comfort grieving parents or to comfort oneself when they themselves were grieving.

That was Farren’s job. But Farren was not there.

But to suit the sullen atmosphere it was raining and the heavens were crying for another dead victim of the Nemesis Crime Ring.

He was poised in front of the window of his motel room and he didn’t know what to do.

“Maybe you should phone Farren,” Shawna’s voice echoed from behind him. Farren would know how to handle this.

“Why would he phone him, he wants nothing to do with the case, like at all?” James jumped in from where he was leaning on the bed.

“He knows how to deal with deaths,” and it was true because Farren had dealt with more deaths than anyone in the team, even in the Mr. McClellan days.

“That’s the last case scenario,” Edward inputted, “If everything goes to hell then we go to Farren for help and ask him on how to deal with his, but now we have to go to the crime scene.”

This is why Lucas loved Edward in a way that was strictly platonic and wonderful. He always knew what to do.

“We then have to go the Grey’s house to prep them for the ransom transfer in a couple of days,” Lucas muttered still looking out in the dreary day.

“We're still doing that?”

“Of course, we can’t pull out too soon.”

The team behind him sniggered at the innuendo and Lucas shook his head. His team were a bunch of children.

The crime scene was soggy and blood still lingered by the side of the road. Amy Charlton had been found by a driver going to work that morning and the area had no cameras so they couldn’t tell when and who dropped her off at the bend in the road.

The driver had even been sick at seeing the site of a half decomposed body. All other bodies that had turned up dead were dumped in fields or abandoned areas, this one was the most public dumping site so far.

“Why here? Why now?” Shawna asked.

“Because they said it in the ransom letter,” Lucas mentioned, “We mistook it to mean Eva but no they meant their next victim to die.”

“This death suggests anger,” Edward motioned because it did, all of the other bodies had had wide eyes and an acute injury, maybe a burn or a snapped neck or it looked like they had committed suicide. This one was angry and desperate.

Amy Charlton joined the horrible list of the dead. Lucas Tweedle went to the Grey family home and tried to make the sight of the dead girl go away but to no avail. His sighs and crumpled forehead made him look constipated but who could blame him?

Amy Charlton’s body could have easily been Eva’s if she had pissed the Ring off.

“Have you managed to get some money together?” He said sitting in front of the fire place with Eva’s parents in front of him. They had been perturbed by the news of another death, Eva’s mother had even burst into tears of maybe relief because it wasn’t her daughter.

“We have the five grand,” Mr. Grey said, he was a lawyer and earned a pretty penny for his work, “But we do not have the quarter of a million that they ask for after that.”

“You don’t have to,” Lucas muttered, rubbing his crumpled forehead with his hand.

“Why not? If we do not wire the money over then our daughter’s life is forfeit,” Emma Grey answered clearly worried for her daughter because she was a mother and a human being.

“We are the only family that have been given letters, I think that is because they want more media attention, they want the thrill of being hunted just for them to evade us. They don’t need that money from the sounds of it. The plan is when we drop off the five grand, we take the people hostage and play the NCR at their own game.” That was their master plan and the police had a sneaky feeling that Lloyd Webber would be involved in the ransom drop off.

He had been seen around Edinburgh in a black out car, adopting various disguises that were just weak enough.

“How can you be sure?” Mr. Grey asked, getting more frustrated by the second.

Lucas couldn’t be for sure but he wouldn’t tell them that, it would only make them frenzied and make Mr. Grey want to drop him, both on a literal and a work point of view. He didn’t want to be dropped, no way in hell.

“There has been twelve deaths by the NCR which have been the kidnapped victims, only five of them were placed in mildly public places. On a geographical point of view they’ve been out of the way but the most recent five have been more public. That suggests that they want to have more attention. But they haven’t changed their other methods, they are still elusive, still not allowing the police to form an idea of who they really are, and they kidnap women quietly and quickly. They may seem powerful but they aren’t stupid, they’d rather wait than do something rash.”

Lucas had to stop and take a breath, allowing the couple to absorb the words he had just uttered. Of course it was a terrifying situation, ransom drop offs could go either way because they were volatile.

“How can you assume that when we turn up to the drop off point, you’ll be able to take them hostage without any casualties?” Mr. Grey asked, not wanting his money and his daughter to be forfeited too.

“I can read them, together we can read what they are going to do next. They’ll turn up at the drop off point with perhaps four people, enough to make us scared but not enough to be overbearing and waste men. The plan is to make your way to the carpark and give them the duffel bags, simple and we'll go over the other details later. The note didn’t say much so we’ll assume they’ll just drive by, check it, and go, if not then we have a chance to ask about Eva's safety. They’ll be in a hurry because they know that the police are probably involved, or they may try and play our game just to be cocky. There may be a second car which they’ll get away in so we can’t follow them. But we’re prepared, we have the brains and the man power.”

It was then that Lucas knew what he had to do. He didn’t like it one bit but he knew what he had to do. The look on Emma Grey’s face made him terrified because it was the face of a woman who was ready for failure even though she was desperate for success.

She didn’t trust that this would go smoothly. Lucas didn’t trust in it either.

“I will do everything in my power to make sure that your daughter is safe as possible until we get her back, and we will get her back. I’ll make sure of it.”

Emma met his eyes and saw the passion within them. Lucas met her eyes and saw cast iron fear mixed with hope.

They all had the same goal. It was just harder to get to it.

Lucas left with a weight on his shoulders, the phantom hands of responsibility and Eva Grey pressing down. He didn’t like this. He didn’t like this one little bit.

The music was loud, to the point that lyrics just weren’t necessary anymore. But Eva appreciated the bass and the general tune, so she gave it her all on the dance floor, dancing off her frustrations, in between fruity drinks and Lucas’s cold beers, they were ignoring anyone who asked them to dance. They weren’t there to pick people up and take them back to their beds, they were there to shake off their desperation and have fun, and having fun with each other meant not having other people involved. If once or twice Eva noticed Lucas’s hands twitching at his sides as a boy approached and grinded against her, she waved him back and dealt with it herself, telling them politely that no meant no. She didn’t need more testosterone in her life and the guys usually got the gist and left them to it.

Hours later, they left buzzy and all danced out. More importantly, Eva was blissed out and all frustrations had left her, and even Lucas was smiling. Lucas wrapped his arm around the other girl, loosely around her shoulder as they stumbled their way back to the house.

“We leave Penrith in the morning,” Lucas laughed into her ear.

“We’ll have hangovers to deal with.”

“Don’t you mean that you'll have a hangover to deal with,” Lucas answered because he hadn’t had that much to drink compared to her. Eva had so much to drink that her steps were wonky and unbalanced and a smile was put firmly onto her face for as long as it could.

“We can tick that off our bucket list,” she said her pony tail trailing off her shoulder and her mind wavered to the bucket list that they had made the first night in Penrith. They had made a list of what they had wanted to do and they were going down the list, striking off every item that they had had done on their trip away.

When they left Penrith that morning, Eva was cradling a water bottle to her head, the headache bursting through her brain with a vengeance and an item on the bucket list was firmly stroked off with drunken lines.

The pleasant memory eased him into what he was going to do next. He entered his hotel room with a backhanded comment towards his team about how the meeting had gone. His team would go to the house the next day just to prepare the family further, as well as fit them for wires and bullet proof jackets. They couldn’t be more careful with a Crime Ring as dangerous as this.

Then he asked to be alone and he was left with his phone and a number to call.

His fingers pressed the button that he had loathed to call. His breath was exhaled when it went to voicemail.

Of course Farren wouldn’t answer the phone to him, not after all that had happened.

His fingers went to the contact that read Kayleigh and he prayed that Farren and she would be in the office.

“Lucas, anything the matter?” she asked after the second ring had went through.

“Not exactly but I need you to get me in contact with Farren,” he sighed when he said it because they both knew that it was a sigh of slight weakness.

He was the boss and he had to admit that he needed the help of someone who didn’t want to give it to him. But he was the boss and if he couldn’t rely on his team then what was he doing being a boss in the first place?

“He’s on a call at the minute, but he’s due back any minute now. How about you debrief me in the meantime and then I’ll trick Farren into getting on the phone with you?” Kayleigh mentioned and Lucas could hear the rustling of papers from over the line. Even when one hand was preoccupied the other one was still busy. That was just who Kayleigh was. She was also sassy and a woman to battle with if there came the chance.

He did what he was asked and told her everything right from the start, the meetings with the Grey’s, the ransom letter and the dead body of Amy Charlton.

Kayleigh was jovial and devastated at all the right parts, offering her input on what they should do at other parts which Lucas wrote down. She promised him that she would put on DataRetriever all of her thoughts and a possible profile for the NCR. Lucas knew that she would do it as soon as she got off the phone to him.

He also knew when Farren entered the room because the conversation went off topic in a quick and snappy way.

“Yes, Mrs. Myster I will tell him your suggestions, yes I definitely will don’t you be worried – hang on, he just entered the office and yes I’m telling you the truth Mrs. Myster.” The woman must have been referring to a client and her voice went softer as she called out for Farren to take over the phone, “She said she tried your number but it went through to voicemail,” she said quietly definitely to Farren.

Lucas could picture them in the office together, trading off the silence with case files and coffee breaks. Kayleigh could bring out the best in Farren, probably because they were the same age and the circumstances that Kayleigh was in when she came to the team.

Farren’s voice came onto the line there and Lucas nearly sat down in shock. Instead he was pacing just to keep his worried limbs busy.

“Alright Mrs. Myster what was it that you wanted to tell me?” Farren had cleared his throat and then talked and for a moment Lucas forgot how to talk properly.

The line descended into seconds of silence, painful silence.

“Mrs. Myster?” Farren repeated.

“I’m not Mrs. Myster,” Lucas replied because his brain didn’t know what else to say. He physically face palmed because he was an idiot, it was plain and simple.

“No you are not,” Farren sighed and it sounded like had sat down heavily like his own limbs were too tired to keep him up. “What do you want Lucas?”

“I need your help.” And Lucas didn’t want to admit it but it was the truth.

He needed Farren because he didn’t want Eva to die because he was too stubborn to get the guy that was best at ransom situations up to Edinburgh. He didn’t want that on his conscience if he could avoid it.

 

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