It was dark when Terry finally opened his eyes. He reached for the alarm clock, knocking several things off the nightstand, before he remembered that that the clock was on the floor, along with his phone.
He lay on his back, staring at the ceiling. The water stain in the corner seemed bigger, and there was cobweb floating lazily in the air he had disturbed when he flipped over.
“This is no way to live,” he said to the empty room. Then he stretched, and threw his legs over the side of the bed, angering the guy who was inside his head, hitting his brain with a hammer. He made his way to the bathroom where he showered, saved, brushed his teeth and dressed in jeans and an Aerosmith t-shirt, that brought back a lot of great memories.
Then he walked into the living room, on his way to the kitchen, the two rooms divided by a counter top and three stools, and stopped. She was sitting on the couch, reading one of the files Mile had delivered yesterday.
He pulled the gun from the small of his back and said, “Who the hell are you?”
“Do you want me to put my hands up?” she asked sweetly.
“Tell me who you are, why you’re here, or it will no longer be an issue.”
“I’m Sally Long, and according to this file, you’re supposed to kill me.”
“What’d you do?”
“Wrong place at the wrong tine,” she said. “You know how that goes.”
He lowered the gun. “What do you want?”
“I want you not to kill me, of course.”
“If I don’t do it, someone else will,” said Terry, “and that person might be as nice as I am. How’d you get in here?”
“I’m good with locks,” she said, running her fingers through her short hair.
“What else are you good with?”
He laughed, and put two steaming hot mugs of coffee onto the coffee table.
“Thank you, and it’s nice to see the table used for what it was actually made for,” she said.
“Hope you like it black.”
“What did you see?” he asked, leaning back, taking a sip from his mug.
“I saw Two Hands Lazar kill Mickey Jenkens in the back room of Hell’s Garden.”
“What did the file say?” he asked, looking at the folder on her lap.
“You haven’t read it?”
“I was busy.”
“It said to disappear me. Or erase me, or just knock me off, I guess. Not a lot of details and the picture they used is four years old. I was wondering if you’re rather kill Lazar and let me walk. I didn’t run away, or try to hide, because I know your reputation. That’s why I came here. I wanted to talk to you and tell you what happened, so you could get to know me better and see that I’m not a threat.”
“As long as you’re above ground, you’ll be a threat to Lazar.”
“Well, not if he’s dead, right? Oh, and I made some corrections to the information in the file. My phone number has changed and I don’t live on Maple Street any longer.”
“Sure,” she said, pleasantly.
“I was thinking,” she said, taking a sip of coffee. “maybe, I could stay here, with you. No one would ever think of looking for me in your place. I could…clean up a bit and make some changes. It wouldn’t be forever, just until things calm down. I already got rid of my apartment and my car. My cat is in the carrier by the door.”
“Without a doubt.”
“Okay,” he said.
“Okay? Really? Just like that? Okay?”
“Sure, why not. If you drive me crazy, or things change, I can always kill you later.”
“Aren’t you afraid I’ll kill you in your sleep?”
“No, because as I said, the next guy who comes for you, won’t be half as nice as I am.”
“Deal,” she said, holding out her hand. “The couch is mine.”
The cat meowed and she got up and let him out of his carrier. “His name is Whisper, because his meow’s are very soft.”
The cat walked up to Terry then jumped onto his lap and curled up.