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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41. NERVES

 

CHAPTER FORTY - NERVES

KAYLEIGH

 

Kayleigh Anderson was a secretary through and through, she always had been and probably always would be. She had been the secretary of a law firm when her boss was kidnapped and still a secretary when she herself was kidnapped when her boss didn’t spill his secrets. Left Hand Private Investigators had found her crouched over her dead boss, with three broken fingers but still alive.

Farren had coached her through the night, through the ambulance ride to the hospital and through the ride back home. He made her feel safe even though she felt completely terrified. There was no other bond besides platonic and they kept in touch after it had happened despite Lucas’s stern assurances that their friendship couldn’t be anything good. Hanging on to past clients was something hypocritical when Eva was taken into consideration but she wasn’t taken into account back then. She had come on board the team after her law firm had unlawfully fired her and she found herself in dire financial straits. Farren had begged Lucas for a job for her, the only time he had ever begged.

Lucas may have come on board the team as a broken man due to a fight with his family and Farren may have come on board a broken man due to his limp but Kayleigh came on board to save herself, and she thanked Farren every day for what he did for her. She was practically the only one that could stand Farren anyway despite his grumpier moods.

She was in the back of a police car, racing towards the location that Kate had identified and she was nervous. She was a secretary, not a proper field agent, she was trained but not prepared, and like Shawna happier to be behind the desk rather than in front of it. She had been in the field before, handling journalists and the media but the stakes weren’t as high as they were now. Women’s lives were at stake here and her breath rattled in her chest. What would they find when they got there? She didn’t know and the drive became shorter and shorter as they raced towards the Compound and were warned that the men would be armed and they would be dangerous. Half of their shots would be shoots to kill. It was every man for themselves.

 

MELANIE

 

She had just seen Naomi shoot a man and she knew that she was willing to do it again. The keys weighed heavy in her hands as she slung the sack of knives and guns over her shoulder and held the keys up to the locks on the cattle sheds. She knew from experience what the key looked like, having scrutinised the men that came for her when she herself was in one of those sheds. The keys had a square base, a crooked edge and a strip of black tape tied around it. Some men were stupid for marking them so clearly but she knew that it helped when it came to the rest of the keys on the set.

The women pressed themselves into the bars of their cattle sheds, dirty faces peering up at her. She dropped the sacks on the floor and busied herself with the locks, “Don’t worry we’re getting you out of here,” she whispered between the bars and the woman smiled, her hands loosening on the bars as the lock clicked free. The woman whooped and hugged Melanie as she escaped the close confines and they didn’t have time for lingering touches. “Arm yourself up with either a knife or a gun from those sacks, if a man comes in here you fight for your life.”

A gunshot echoed from outside of the room, Naomi no doubt giving them more time. Melanie made her way down the aisle, releasing more and more women but it was a slow procedure and soon the weapons were being taken up faster than Melanie was unlocking doors. The women knew not to hug her now and they knew they didn’t have time for it.

“Melanie you’re going to have to hurry up, more people are coming!” Naomi shouted through.

“I’m trying!” she hollered back, sweat dampening her forehead with the stress of having to be quick and having to be efficient when putting the key in the lock, damn you Victor for double locking these doors! “Try and get me another set of keys through will you?”

There was a grunt and then the sound of dropping keys on concrete. Melanie nodded to a woman to pick up the keys and soon there was two of them unlocking more of the doors. Melanie finally arrived at the cell that housed Rowan, “I remember you!” the woman was shouting, “You helped kidnap me!” swear words were flung her way and the flailing hands tried to strike her through the bars.

“I’m sorry for that,” Melanie attempted and had to duck to avoid the hands, it made it even harder for her to unlock the door when she had to defend herself.

“She’s trying to help you Rowan!” a girl shouted through to her and the flailing stopped, Rowan deflating as Melanie finally unlocked the door. Rowan stomped past her and to the gathering group of women in the centre.

Her partner finally unlocked the last cattle shed and Melanie turned to the group, the sacks now empty and hardened gazes in their eyes as they gripped their weapons, “let’s blow this joint,” she encouraged and the women roared their consent as they marched into their war.

 

JAMES

 

He couldn’t deny that he was nervous. He was nervous every single time they went out on the field since there were so many variables that could be affected by every decision he made. But he trusted himself; his objective was to save those women, save them from the atrocities that Kate had briefly described in the interrogation room. They were treated as animals, nothing more and their inner strengths were extinguished like old candle flames. The men as well were treated as brutes, expected to follow a strict regime like soldiers rather than men. He couldn’t imagine living there and working there, although he knew that some element of choice was there.

He may have been praised on his external strength, the hours in the gym and boxing ring paying off, but he still felt apprehensive. Pure muscle wouldn’t be enough for this mission and that was why Kayleigh was there, providing the comfort only a woman could. James knew that if he went to the women and tried to pull them out, flashbacks would dance across their eyes and that was not what they needed at the current moment. He knew the downfalls of being a man and he knew the downfalls of being a woman, and he was just pleased that a degree of humanity would be displayed when they saved them.

He swallowed the apprehension and looked to the left of him, Kayleigh didn’t know where to place her feet. She had toed off her heels in favour of flats, quicker and quieter to run on she said, but her nervousness was written on her skin. He patted her hand, the one that tapped on her knee, and whispered his assurances to her. They needed stability, they could break down when these women were saved. 

She met his eyes, drawn into the long look he gave her, and she understood. She nodded and the police car flew down the road, the police lights off to avoid suspicion. The Compound before them was fenced, sentries posted to patrol the barbed wire tipped at the top. Their car slowed as they approached what was a manned gate, the fence sliding apart at the sentry’s permission. But the fence remained closed and when the sentries noticed the black SUV guns were poised on their shoulders and shots rang out.

The Warehouses were to their right, the chapel to their left after a stretch of field. A crucifix was positioned in that field, bordered loosely by flowers. James looked at Kayleigh once more and they exited the car, their own guns taken out of their holsters.

Another car, one at the back of their five-car patrol, slammed through the gate in the fence, the patrols fleeing to avoid the onslaught and then emerging back to shoot at it. With the gap in their concentration, the occupants of James’ car swept forward, on their way into the Compound. “Head to the Warehouses, that’s where the women are, I’ll cover you.” He shouted forward and Kayleigh nodded, sweeping her head back and forth in the tornado of bullets and grunting men. In his periphery he saw a policeman lunge for a man, taking him down to the floor and knocking the gun from his hand. They had a good standing here and James had hope.

Kayleigh made her way to the left and as she made her way there, a swarm of women erupted from the building, armed with knives and guns of her own. She ran towards them, weaving between the men that splintered off to follow them and James aimed in the direction of anyone who dared to follow her.

“Police! Surrender your weapons!” James shouted and Kayleigh matched his enthusiasm. If she made her job known to the women then they wouldn’t shoot at her but rather at the men that came for them. The two women in front faltered for a moment, their eyes finding Kayleigh’s in the stampede. But before James could see anymore he was knocked aside by a man. 

The man was on top of him, not armed but fighting like his life depended on it. He must have been taught that the safety of the Compound was of utmost importance but he was only eighteen or thereabouts, just rearing his head into adulthood. He didn’t have the heart to shoot the boy, so he allowed the pistol to be knocked to the ground, He fought with his fists, punching the boy in the ribs to distract him then on the nose to make him stagger. He pushed him to the side, off of his body, and with one move knocked him out. The teen rolling over to protect his face in his unconsciousness, James took the cuffs on his belt and attached them to the teen’s wrists. He didn’t need him waking up and flinging himself back into the fray. He picked up his gun on his way up and he strode into the battle again.

He didn’t see Kayleigh but he didn’t worry. She could handle herself when she needed to.

 

KAYLEIGH

 

When the women recognised her as police they swarmed around her due to the orders of one of the women at the front. She knew her to be Melanie Doncaster, kidnapped just shy of two years ago, and she released a breath. “Melanie Doncaster?” she said her name and the woman nodded, “I’m with Left Hand Private Investigators, part of the team with Lucas Tweedle who is one of the friends of Eva. Kate is safe at the police station,” she shouted the words between scanning the area of potential threats.

Melanie sighed a breath of relief. “Let’s get you out of here,” Kayleigh said and helped shelter the few women who didn’t have weapons, guiding them to the open van outside of the Compound walls. They hid behind cars, weaving in between police personnel and men, shooting and plunging knives into appendages when they grabbed at the women. One of the other women, the leader beside Melanie, separated to hit the men more violently, slamming the butt of her gun into any head she could reach, she was a ball of rage and frustration, going for anything she could. The group of women were scared, huddled together in any way they could and Kayleigh knew that although they tried to be brave, there was nothing that could brace them for the war zone they were trying to get out of.

“Naomi!” Melanie was shouting and Kayleigh focussed on getting the other women out. She met back up with James and he shielded her with his body, placing his hand on her shoulder to alert her that he was there. Together they pushed through the clamour and at one point she dragged the woman at the front through the gate and screamed at the others to follow. Together, she and James, Melanie and Naomi shot and fought against the men that followed them and watched as slowly the men were pushed down, cuffs slapped on wrists and tackled and shot at. They watched as the Compound fell apart and the women were saved.

 

MELANIE

 

When she realised it was over she lowered her gun, knowing that it only had a few bullets left in it. The relief tore through her in the same way that love had flown through her veins when her son had been born and she wrapped her arms around Naomi, who took a while to return the hug and drop her own spent gun.

Finally, when the wives let go she turned to the woman police officer, Kayleigh she said her name was, and hugged her, whispering her gratitude in her ear. Kayleigh may have been like a statue at first but then the gratitude was returned.

Freedom was hers again and that was a concept she never truly knew until then.

 

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