As it turned out, the Houston Detectives didn't get their man. At least not
right away. No one was arrested in the home invasion cases or in the attack
on LaFiamma. There were just no leads. And there was the matter of his
guns, stolen, being out on the street. That was what finally broke a piece
off the case nearly three weeks after the attack on the cop.
Lundy and LaFiamma had just brought in a man accused of fencing stolen
merchandise. He had a dozen stolen stereos and TVs on him in his van when
they'd arrested him. LaFiamma asked him about guns.
"I don't do guns man," the little wiry man had told them.
"But you know someone who does," Lundy persuaded.
He shrugged. "Well, yeah, I guess. What's it worth?"
"It's worth not takin' a trip to the ER on our way to the station,"
"Okay, okay!" The man held up his cuffed hands. "Gomez down on Pierce
street. He has a pawnshop. He gets some stolen guns every once in a while.
It's less hassle to sell them then to report 'em."
After a black and white unit took the fence, La Fiamma and Lundy made
their way to the pawnshop. A small Hispanic man with multiple tattoos was
behind the counter. He knew they were cops when they walked in.
"Whatever it is, I didn't do it," he said with an attitude.
"Well, I bet we can find something you did do, just to bust your ass,"
Lundy told him.
LaFiamma, looking around the place, nodded. "Yeah, I see at least a
dozen fire code violations right now."
"Hey, what are you cops or firemen?" the guy asked sarcastically.
"We're two guys looking for some stolen guns."
LaFiamma laid a Polaroid of his missing weapons down on the counter.
The man, Gomez, shrugged. "Maybe. I get a lot of traffic in here."
LaFiamma opened his cell phone. "I guess I better call the fire marshal,
"Okay, okay. Say I know about these particular guns, am I going to
"Not if you cooperate, give us the one who has them," Lundy said with a
shrug. He'd keep this guy on his hot list and pick him up another day.
Gomez shrugged. "Guy came in, about a week ago. Wanted to unload them; I
said no, those were too hot."
"Man, I know a little bit about guns. Those were special. They were one
of only three pair made."
"So what about this guy? The one that brought them in?" LaFiamma
"Name of Deets," Gomez told them. "Ex con, military type."
Lundy and LaFiamma met eyes. Deets had been stirring their lives long
enough. It was time he was stopped.
It took less than an hour to get a warrant for Deet's home. A call to
his parole officer and they had a guarantee that if anything was found in
his house, he'd be back in custody.
Lundy, LaFiamma and the Houston PD tactical team stormed Deets' house.
"HPD! On the floor!" LaFiamma yelled at Deets, the only occupant who'd
been watching TV in his sweat pants.
Deets complied, but he grinned at the detectives the whole time.
"Got somethin'," McCandless called from the back bedroom. He came out
holding a rifle and a handgun. Then another officer emerged.
"He's got a small arsenal back there. Including these," he showed
LaFiamma his stolen .45s.
LaFiamma and Lundy gave each other a small smile. At least that part was
Christmas Eve was cool in Houston but no foul weather was present. Joey
LaFiamma woke up that morning with mixed feelings in his heart. He was as
happy as he'd ever been: he was to be married to the woman he loved today.
But he was also melancholy: no one in his family would be there to see it.
He tried to push out the feelings that he didn't want and get on with this.
He wanted to focus on making the day perfect for Cassidy. She deserved it.
They had planned on a small affair to take place at the JP office, but
Lundy had other ideas. He knew how much a church wedding meant to LaFiamma.
He also knew hoe ijportant family was to his partner. He gave Joey the only
real gift he knew how to give. He and Caroline arranged the whole wedding.
They found a church and a priest who agreed to do the ceremony, even though
Joe and Cassidy hadn't been to the traditional wedding classes or were not
members of the church. Caroline arranged the reception and handled all the
details. Lundy took care of some other arrangements, including spending a
lot of time on the phone to Chicago. They told La Faimma and Cassidy
abuiot the "surprise" wedding a week before the event, a week before
Christmas. La Fiamma had never been so touched by anything his partner had
done. Cassidy was so happy she cried. She immediately asked Caroline to be
her Matron of Honor.
Lundy arrived at the apartment early for the 3:30 scheduled meeting. He
was already dressed in a dark blue suit. LaFiamma had never seen his rugged
Texan partner in a suit. He had to laugh.
"What the hell you laughin' at LaFiamma?" Lundy growled as he walked in
and took off his sunglasses.
"I've gotta say Lundy, you do clean up real nice."
"I wouldn't be wearin' this monkey outfit for anyone but you," Lundy
mumbled. "Damn thing's baggy."
LaFiamma chuckled still, as he slipped into his white dress shirt. "It
looks good on you. Really," he said, trying to convince his partner. Of
course when he'd finished dressing, in a matching suit, he looked right at
home. He tied his blue and green tie and then went to fix Lundy's.
"How long's it been since you've worn a tie?" LaFiamma asked, re-
knotting his partner's tie, much to his distain.
"Don't know," Lundy shrugged. "Maybe for church once when I was a kid."
"What about your wedding?"
"I just wore a white dress shirt and new Wranglers. It was kinda
informal. We didn't have a lot of money."
They finished getting ready.
"You got the ring?" LaFiamma asked, worried fro a moment.
Lundy made a big act of searching all his pockets, making his partner
sweat. Then he broke into a grin. "Just kiddin'," he pulled the ring from
his shirt pocket and showed LaFiamma.
They left the apartment.
Caroline had been helping Cassidy dress at the small church. Cassidy
looked beautiful in a long ivory fitted dress. It was Irish-Celtic old
style. It was long and hugged Cassidy's curves down to the knees, and then
fanned out into a train. It had short sleeves with a plunging neckline and
a back twice as deep. The dress had a matching matador length jacket of
ivory lace to wear after the ceremony. She had chosen a shoulder length
veil that attached under her hair, which was put up in a tight chignon and
had small white flowers and a few green cloverleaves stuck in.
Caroline, with her expanding waistline, had chosen a dark blue velvet
empire waist dress with a scoop neckline accented with white lace. She gave
Cassidy her wedding gift early.
"I hope you like it," she said, as Cassidy opened the small box. Inside
was a gold Celtic cross.
"It's beautiful!" Cassidy exclaimed. She gave her friend a hug. "Thank
you so much, Caroline. For this, and for all your help. You and Le Von have
done so much for us, this whole wedding.I just, I've never had anyone do
anything this special for me. It's been hard not to have many friends in a
new place. I didn't really have anyone who would have helped me out so much
with all this."
Caroline smiled. "I'm glad I could help. You two are going to be so
The Catholic Church was small; maybe it might hold a hundred people. But
it was true old Roman and English style. The clerestory stained glass
windows depicting biblical scenes dimly lighted it inside. There was the
traditional alter and traditional crucifixes. But for Christmas time, the
normally dark and somewhat religiously overpowering atmosphere was
lightened with merry red poinsettias and green holly as well as long green
wreaths over the backs of the pews. Candles lit the building by Caroline's
instruction. All shapes and sizes, in ornate stands and on every possible
surface. Also, white orchids and lilies in vases around the alter gave the
place a rich atmosphere as well as an intoxicating smell.
The church was not full, by any means, but the first few rows were
filling up. Joanne Beaumont had come and brought her sister. Annie Hartung
and her niece were there. Joe Bill and Carol came together. Esteban
Gutierrez and his girlfriend and her three kids took up a whole row.
Charlene Cosman and her two kids were also there. Several other friends
from the HPD also came, bringing their spouses or friends. Lundy had played
a few favors to make sure that there were enough people at the church to
make it look grand. Cassidy had invited a few relatives and her aunt, uncle
and two cousins made the trip in from Washington. Several acquaintances
from her job at the conservatory had also come. A friend and music teacher
from the school had offered her services to play the harp for the service.
LaFiamma and Lundy were secluded in a room off the front of the church.
Lundy kept glancing at his watch.
"Man, you'd think it was you getting married, the way you keep looking
at the time," LaFiamma said, noticing.
Lundy shrugged. "Well, you know," was all he said, not providing a
A knock on the door startled them both. Joe figured it was the priest,
telling them it was time. He opened the door and looked into the face of
his uncle Mikey and aunt Theresa. He couldn't have been more shocked if
he'd been hit. They came in quickly and closed the door.
"Joey!" his aunt greeted, putting him into an embrace before he said a
word. He gratefully returned the hug. "My favorite nephew all grown and
getting married," she continued, hugging him.
Finally, he broke from his aunt. He looked from her to his uncle.
Mikey stuck out a hand, but when his nephew took it, he pulled him into
an embrace as well.
"Good to see you son," he said close to Joe's neck.
They parted a moment later.
"What.? How'd you.?" Joey stuttered, then looked accusingly at Lundy.
"Did you do this?"
Lundy had to shrug.
Joey couldn't quit grinning.
"We can't stay long," Mike told his nephew. "We're supposed to be in
Phoenix. But my Bella, she tells me our nephew is getting married and we
can't miss this. Next thing I know, we're on a plane."
"But what about-"
Mike shushed him. "We won't speak of business today."
They spent a few more minutes catching up, and then Joe's aunt and uncle
went to sit in the church with the other attendees.
LaFiamma turned to look at his partner, sitting nonchalantly on the
"I can't believe you did that," he said, his heart deeply touched by
Lundy's gesture. "I mean.I thought." He was getting choked up.
Lundy saw his partner faltering for words. "Don't give it another
thought man. I figured that was probably the best wedding or Christmas
present I could give you anyway."
They readied themselves to go, as the priest knocked then and asked them
to come to the front of the church. In a very un-macho moment, LaFiamma
embraced his partner before they left.
"Thanks LeVon," was all he said, as they turned to go out the door.
Tears shown in Joey's eyes.
LeVon stood beside Joey as they waited for Caroline and Cassidy to
descend the aisle. The harpist, Ellen Grady, had been playing music all the
while and she played a wonderful version of "Waiting For You" while
Caroline, flowers in hand and a smile on her face came down the channel.
Caroline looked lovingly at her husband as she took her place at the alter,
across from the two men. The harpist ceased playing and cued the "special
guest". Much to both Joey and Cassidy's surprise and amazement, Ellen had a
friend at the conservatory that played the bagpipes. Knowing how Cassidy
wanted to stay true to her Irish and Scottish heritage, Ellen asked him to
play in full dress kilt.
Cassidy could only smile and smile as the piper played the familiar
wedding march on his bagpipes. It was hauntingly beautiful.
During the ceremony, some equally beautiful music was played softly,
selected songs from Enya, including "China Roses" and "Watermark". But
mostly the ceremony was traditional. And it ended traditionally, with
Joseph LaFiamma kissing his new bride, now Mrs. Cassidy LaFiamma. And that
put to rest for the last time the thoughts in Joey's mind that he could
never settle down, that he would only be a notch in some woman's bed post,
that he wasn't "the marrying kind."
The reception was held at Brady's Pub, probably the only Irish pub in
Houston, at least that Caroline found. The bagpiper stayed on and played
for the reception as well. It was a festive atmosphere at the pub well into
the night, with all dancing and drinking and having a wonderful time. Mike
and Theresa LaFiamma couldn't stay for the whole reception, having to get
out of Houston before it was discovered they were there. They left a large
package on the wedding gift table and Mikey also passed his nephew a
leather briefcase before leaving. Joey wasn't sure if he wanted to open it,
so he did it in the privacy of the men's room, while the Irish band and the
bagpiper played gaily in the background. Inside, he roughly counted fifty
thousand dollars and a note from his uncle.
"Joey, this may be the last gift I get to give to you, so I want you to
accept it. I give it to you with complete honesty in telling you it is not
'family' money. This is money your mother had placed in some stocks and
bonds. I didn't know until recently. Consider it her gift to you, if not
mine. You will always be my blood.
Love, Uncle Mikey and Aunt Theresa."
Joey read the letter over several times and hoped that it was true.
The last dance of the evening was a beautiful rendition of The Corrs song
"Runaway" and nothing could have described Joey's feeling for his wife
more. He held her in his arms and they danced slowly on the now mostly
deserted dance floor.
Say its true
There's nothing like me and you
I'm not alone
Tell me you feel it too
I would run away
I would run away yeah
I would run away,
I would run away with you
Cause I have fallen in love
No matter how what
I'm never gonna stop fallin in love with you
Close the door
Lay down upon the floor
And by candle light
Make love to me through the night
Cause I have runaway
I have runaway with you
I have run away with you
Cause I have fallen in love
No matter what I'm never gonna stop fallin' in love with you
I would run away
I would runaway yeah, yeah
I would runaway
I would runaway
Cause I have fallen in love
No mater what
I'm never gonna stop fallin' in love with you
Fallin' in love
No matter what
I'm never gonna stop fallin' in love