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The proposition, p.37
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       The Proposition, p.37

           Jessica Schlafer

  Chapter 36

  I noticed movement at one of the first SUV’s and saw Paul walk around from the opposite side.

  He was talking on a cell phone, “Yeah, man, we’ll get her back.” Pause. “I’ll be there in 20 minutes.” Pause. “Yeah, I got it.” He disconnected the call and put his phone in his pocket.

  I felt like I was punched in the stomach. Paul was betraying him. Nick was right, he couldn't trust Paul. I felt tears streaming down my face again. Dmitry pushed me into an SUV with Merritt and two other men. I noticed there were a lot of guns.

  Dmitry drove the SUV out of the parking lot and through a city I didn’t recognize. We drove for about 20 minutes, toward a pier on an ocean or lake. I had no idea. As we drove closer to the water, I saw another black SUV and Nick standing beside it.

  Merritt’s SUV’s parked opposite Nick and men started to get out. Merritt told me to sit inside and don’t move.

  “Where’s Abby?” I heard Nick yell.

  “She’s safe, Nick. Where’s the money?” Merritt called.

  “Right here,” Nick was holding a brief case. “Show me Abby.”

  Dmitry opened the door and violently pulled me out, almost pushing me to the ground. I got back to my feet slowly.

  “Abby, did they hurt you?”

  “I’m okay, Nick. Paul is…”

  Merritt slapped me across the face, throwing me into the side of the SUV. “That’s enough,” he said.

  “Paul is right here,” Paul walked from behind one of the SUV’s. “Nick,” he gave an evil smile.

  “I knew you were a two faced fuck, Paul,” Nick spat.

  “I go where the money is, Nick. You’ve known that since day one.”

  “Oh yeah, I figured that would happen.”

  “It’s too bad that you didn’t prepare for it fast enough,” Paul laughed, joining Merritt and Dmitry. “Now I get to kill you and get rid of this stupid, little bitch. The same way I killed her Aunt.”

  “Oh my God,” I fell to my knees. “How?”

  “It wasn’t hard, Abby. She was drinking herself to death anyway. I just made it happen quicker,” Paul laughed.

  “Get up,” Dmitry pulled me to my feet, he made a point of looking into my eyes, almost motioning for me to look around.

  I glanced around and noticed that Nick wasn’t alone. There were people hidden in the darkness, none of Merritt’s men had noticed them yet.

  “Send Abby over here, you don’t have to hurt her,” Nick said.

  “She knows too much, you idiot,” Paul shouted. “You were such a fool, telling her everything.” I felt like I was going to vomit. “You had one thing to do and you couldn’t even handle doing that right. I should’ve had them kill you when they shot you the first time. Now I can just take care of two birds with one stone.”

  At that, I lost control. I lifted my cane into the air and swung it, hard, connecting with Paul’s head with a sickening thud. He fell to the ground, hard. All hell broke loose. There was shooting from the darkness. I saw several of Merritt’s men fall. I couldn’t see Nick, though. I was standing, in the open, by myself.

  “Nick!” I screamed.

  Merritt came from nowhere and grabbed me by the hair, dragging me away.

  “We’re gonna finish what we started, my dear,” he said through clenched teeth.

  He dragged me to one of the SUV’s. I noticed that tires were shot out on most of the vehicles. He threw me against the side while he went through the pockets of one of the dead men on the ground. I took the opportunity to kick him in the kidney, as hard as I could. He screamed with pain and rolled to his side on the ground.

  “Bitch,” he screamed as he pulled himself back up.

  He grabbed my bad leg, jerking me to the ground, and punched me in the leg repeatedly. I screamed in agony, trying twist away from his grip. There was gunfire all around us, I was even praying for one of the bullets to hit me, to stop the pain.

  I felt like the world was going dark when the punches finally stopped. I looked to see Nick had pulled Merritt away from me and they were fighting. When I first met Nick, I thought he was skinny and small. He had Merritt pinned to the ground and was pounding, trying to maintain the upper hand.

  Dmitry was staggering toward Nick and Merritt, he had been shot in the arm and was bleeding.

  “Nick!” I screamed, pointing toward Dmitry.

  That split second loss of focus was enough for Merritt to pull away from Nick. He pulled a gun from his jacket and aimed it at me. Dmitry shot Merritt in the shoulder. Merritt got two shots off; one that punctured the tire of the SUV I was leaning against, inches from my head. The other hit Dmitry, sending him to the ground.

  I screamed and couldn’t stop screaming. Merritt was bleeding profusely, lying on the ground. Nick pulled himself up and pulled a gun from his jacket.

  “You thought you were something, coming to my town, fucking with my life,” Nick kicked him in the stomach, making Merritt scream. “Abby was innocent, but I’m sure you knew that, after talking to Paul. You could’ve left her alone and we could’ve settled this back in Portland. You really fucked up, Merritt.”

  Nick pointed his gun at Merritt. The shot that killed Merritt came from behind him, not from Nick’s gun. Paul limped forward, his head bleeding.

  “Well, it ends here, Nick,” Paul said. “I told you a long time ago that I go where the money is, so, here I am.”

  “You son of a bitch,” Nick was seething with anger. “You had more than anyone could possibly want. But that wasn’t good enough. Where is your family, Paul?”

  “Who the fuck cares? They left me months ago. Good riddance, I say.”

  I was appalled. I loved his family. I hoped they were safe.

  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Dmitry slowly rising to his feet.

  “If you would’ve just done what you were told, we wouldn’t be here right now,” Paul said.

  “What’s that? Make Abby fuck Merritt and then kill them both? What a fucked up plan, Paul.”

  Dmitry raised his gun to shoot Paul, but Paul saw him and shot him again. Dmitry flew back against the SUV, losing his gun, and falling to the ground. Nick took that opportunity to throw himself against Paul, punching him in the jaw. Both men were on the ground, wrestling each other, trying to get the upper hand. I scrambled against the SUV, looking for Dmitry’s lost gun.

  I could hear punches from both connect, both men groaning in pain. They were standing again, I could see Paul had lost his gun, but he was able to keep Nick’s hand away so he could not fire his.

  I found Dmitry’s gun under the SUV. I pulled it out and studied it. I had no idea how to shoot. I thought about how they always say to do it in the movies. I aimed it at Paul, squeezed the trigger and shot.

  Both men froze. I stared, hoping I had hit the right man. Finally, Nick released his grip on Paul and watched him sink to the ground. Paul was dead.

  “Nick, we gotta get outta here,” I heard a voice call from the darkness. It was Diego.

  “Abby!” Nick dashed over to me, kneeling in front of me. “Baby, are you okay?”

  I stared at him, unable to form words.

  “Nick,” Dmitry was stirring. “We gotta go.”

  “Told you the bulletproof vest was a good idea, man,” Nick said, helping Dmitry to his feet, clapping him on the back.

  “Pick her up. We gotta get out of here,” Dmitry said.

  Nick scooped me up and ran to a waiting SUV. Diego was driving, Bill in the front seat. Dmitry was sitting in the back. I was on Nick’s lap.

  “Abby, are you okay?” Nick asked. “What did he do to you?”

  “Did she get shot?” I heard Bill ask.

  “No, Merritt was punching her in her injured leg,” Nick said. “We gotta get to the Doc, fast.”

  Diego pushed the accelerator, shooting the SUV forward. He expertly maneuvered the vehicle through the now
rainy streets. There was chatter amongst the men, it seemed like they were taking a tally to make sure they got everyone who needed to be taken out.

  “What city are we in?” I asked.

  “Huh? Abby! What is it, baby?”

  “What city are we in?”

  “Boston. You never left Boston.”


  “Did Merritt hurt you?”

  “He licked me,” I shivered at the memory. “He hurt my leg again.”

  Nick maneuvered my leg so that it was across the seats, almost on Dmitry’s lap. The bruising was frightening to see. It was almost black with blood pooling just beneath the surface. There was immense swelling and it hurt just to touch it.

  “Jesus,” Nick whispered, closing his eyes and leaning his head on my shoulder. “I’m so sorry, Abby.”

  That was the last thing I remembered.

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