His hands stung as they slammed down onto the hard surface of the desk again. "I said I need to see Chief Williams," he bellowed, no longer caring what kind of disturbance he was causing. "I don't care if he's busy. I don't care if he's in a meeting. I don't care what he's doing. Find him and tell him I need to see him NOW!" He stepped back a bit, trying to contain himself. The number of officers that were beginning to surround him made him slightly uncomfortable. His shoulders sagged with relief as he saw Paul walk quickly through the bullpen.
"Paul," he said in relief, walking quickly in step beside him. "I need to talk to you."
"Not now, Billy." Paul barely looked up at him as he grabbed the file and began to order a few officers out towards the van. Billy continued to talk to him. He turned, locking eyes with him once more. "Billy, I mean it. I can't do this with you right now."
"This is important. It can't wait. It's about Phyllis and Marco and whatever crazy ass plan you gave her that is supposed to help put Marco away. I want you to stop it and I want you to stop it now. It's going to put Phyllis in a lot of danger and…"
Paul stepped forward, his icy blue eyes now glaring at him. "The only person putting Phyllis in danger right now is you." He stepped closer to him, lowering his voice. "Phyllis agreed to wear the wire. She's on her way to the scene to meet with Marco right now and I'm supposed to be on the way there with a team and a surveillance van to make sure everything goes as planned. The longer you hold me up here, the longer she's there without us. Is that really what you want?"
Billy felt his blood run cold. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Noah standing at the open door. His hand reached out, touching Paul's shoulder. "I want to go," he managed, his throat feeling unbearably dry suddenly.
"No. That's not protocol. I can't let you do that."
"He's going." He gestured to Noah. "I need to be there, Paul. You can't just leave me here waiting and wondering. I'll lose it."
"Marco contacted him, Billy. The woman he loves is in there for God's sake." Paul glanced up, his eyes looking into Billy's for the first time. He didn't need to say anything. The look in his eyes said it all. He nodded, before raising his hand and pointing his finger. "No playing the hero."
Phyllis paced nervously across the narrow patch of grass. She couldn't see any surveillance vans in the distance which, she supposed, was the point. Taking in a deep breath, she turned to face the agent. "So," she began, needing something to do to keep from making herself any more nervous than she already was, "How many of these things have you done?"
He smiled at her. "Thousands. Don't worry," he said softly, "You'll do fine."
She allowed the air to escape her body slowly. If only she could stop worrying, but every time she thought about being in the same room with him, about looking at his face, about hearing his voice…it made her want to scream. "What if I can't do it?" A fear suddenly shook her, her hands beginning to tremble uncontrollably. She took a seat on the rolling file cart they'd brought with them. "What if I get in there and I freeze? What if I can't look at him? What if he figures it out?"
"It's alright." He knelt down in front of her, forcing her to lock eyes with him. "You're just thinking the worst right now. You agreed to do this. You know you can do this. You're gonna go in there. You're going to play him just like he played you—just like he played everyone else. You're going to teach him what it feels like to be lied to. You're going to be the person that finally puts him away for good."
He patted her gently as he watched her regain her confidence. She nodded, feeling more together as she stood back up. "Are they out there somewhere?"
"Not yet," he said as he checked his phone again. "Chief Williams said they'd run into a bit of a delay but they'll be here any second."
"Where exactly are we headed?" Billy tried to look out the windows but they were deeply tinted, obscuring any chance at a view.
Noah leaned forward. The worry on Billy's face looked familiar. "Marco said he was at the cabin. At first I wasn't sure what he meant, but once I started to think about it…"
"God…" The word slipped from his lips and hung in the air.
"You alright back there, Billy?" Paul's voice rang out from the front seats.
"Yeah, I'm alright," he answered, before looking back at Noah. "I hate that she's doing this."
"She's the only one that can, man. If anyone can get to him, she can. Marissa's life may depend on it." Noah stared at him for a moment, hoping to see some form of understanding but instead he was meant with a stare of accusation.
"Wait a minute," Billy began, "You're okay with this? You wanted her to do this?"
"I'm the one that asked her to."
"What the hell were you thinking? So Phyllis' life means nothing to you?"
"Billy." Paul's voice was its warning as his eyes glanced back at him through the rearview mirror. "We don't need this tonight."
"I can't just sit here and listen to this. You all just act like Phyllis is going to be able to go in there and perform like some kind of show dog—that she can walk in that room, see that man, flip a switch, and then walk out and act like everything's fine again. It's not going to work that way. Do I have to remind you all the hell she went through for months? Do I need to remind you what that man did to her? He raped her. He lied to her. He made her question her choices, her sanity. He made her doubt everyone…made her doubt herself. You see her as some kind of robot that can just get this job done for you, but I see the woman that is just about to go in there and unearth something that she's just barely put behind her. She's going to come out of this shattered and I don't know if she'll let me help her again."
The words fell from his mouth in such quick succession—almost as a stream of consciousness and, as he heard them aloud, it was as if he realized the truth in them for the very first time.
"I need to talk to her, Paul." He stood as he felt the van come to a stop. "Before she goes in there—I need to talk to her. There are things I need to say…important things. You've got to let me talk to her."
"Absolutely not." Paul grabbed him, pushing him back towards the seat. "You can't see her now. She's already wired and she's in a very precarious situation right now. I can't risk you getting her all emotional. If you want her to be safe and you want this to go well, you've got to let those agents do their jobs. They know how to do this. They know how to keep her calm and help her get prepared. If I send you in there it's just going to take her out of that mindset which makes this a whole lot more dangerous for her. I know you don't want that."
Billy sighed. "So what? What do we do? We just wait?"
Paul held up earphones. "We listen. She's wearing a wire and we can hear everything that goes on in the room." He held out a pair to Billy and then passed some to Noah. "Hopefully," he said, as the two men began to put them on, "We get to hear Phyllis put Marco away."
She could still hear Billy's words echoing inside her head, begging her not to do this, asking her to trust him, to believe that he would keep her safe. It wasn't that she didn't trust him. It had nothing to do with trust. With Marco still on the loose, there would never be a safe place for her—not even with Billy. Even as safe as she felt in his arms, there was always the small corner in the darkest part of her mind, the part that she tried so hard not to go near, but the part that still exists, the part where Marco lurked in her darkest moments. All she wanted in this world was to banish him for good. She wanted to put him away and to finally know that she would never have to see him or think about him again. Only then would she truly be safe. Only then could she truly be happy.
With a deep breath, she raised her hand to knock on the door. She could hear his footsteps and she willed herself not to shudder as she listened to them coming closer to the door.
His disgusting smile gleamed at her as his eyes looked her up at down. "Well, look who It is," he cooed. "I had a hunch you might stop by."
The agents had asked her if there was anything in particular that Marco had liked her to wear. It made her sick to her stomach to realize that he'd always been more interested in getting her out of clothes than in what she actually had on, but she'd known he always appreciated anything that showed off her body. Concealing a wire in anything figure hugging was tricky, however and they'd settled for a plunging neckline to whet his disgustingly insatiable appetite.
"What made you think I'd come?" she asked, doing her best not to show her disdain. She still stood outside the door, not able to force herself to slide past him, the idea of her body touching his making her physically ill.
"Oh, I just thought your former stepson might call you up for a little help since I've got his wife…or is it estranged wife…in a bit of a bind." He stepped out of the way, allowing Phyllis to see Marissa, who was tied to a chair in the by the fireplace.
She swallowed hard, forcing the bile back down into her stomach as she stepped inside and closed the door behind her. "Why are you doing this, Marco? Why are you going after Noah and Marissa? What do you want with them?"
He stepped closer to her—too close.
She wanted to run from the room, but she didn't. She forced herself to stand still, to face him. She looked him in the eye, her breathing steady. She didn't move, didn't flinch. He wouldn't exert that kind of power over her. Not this time.
"Oh, I think we both know what this is about," he whispered, reaching up and touching her face for the first time.
Phyllis felt a chill run through her, the sensation of his skin on her making her sick, but she knew she couldn't cringe. She couldn't react. This was the moment she'd been waiting for. This was when it all mattered. "No," she whispered, "I don't know what this is about." She brought her hand up to his shoulder. "Why don't you tell me?"
"She's a distraction. All of this was—it was just a way to get you to come to me." She felt his hand brush her face again. "But you already knew that."
"If that's true then let her go," Phyllis said quickly, needing to get him away from her, desperate for his hands to be anywhere but on her. Her eyes widened as he stepped away.
Quickly he stepped over to the chair, stopping only for a moment to pick up a handgun that sat on the mantle. He dropped to his knees and quickly untied Marissa's hands and feet, holding the gun tight to her side as he walked her towards the door. Leaning in close to her, he whispered in her ear, "I want you to say thank you to Phyllis here for saving your miserable life. When I let you go, you're gonna run out of her and you're gonna keep running. You understand?" Marissa nodded. She turned towards the door.
"Uh Uh Uh.." Marco jerked her back. "What did I tell you? What do you say?" He jammed the gun into her back and she looked towards Phyllis, her eyes still filled with fear. "Thank you," she managed before rushing out the door.
Marco watched as she disappeared into the night. "Now," he said as he walked back towards her, "Isn't that better? Now it's just you and me."
"Noah..Noah…Wait." Paul's arms wrapped tight around him as he rushed towards the door of the surveillance van.
"You can't expect me just to sit in here and wait?" Noah yelped helplessly.
"That's exactly what I expect you to do," Paul demanded. "Marissa's out and that's wonderful. The agents downfield will take care of her, but we can't have you running out there and making a big scene. If anything happens and Marco catches wind of what's going on and who knows what could happen. Right now, we've still got someone in there and I'll be damned if you're going to put her in danger."
"Paul," Billy glanced up at him, pulling his headphones away for a moment. "Paul, why do you think he let Marissa go? What do you think he's planning on doing to Phyllis?" He could see the worry in Paul's eyes. This wasn't something any of them expected.
"I don't know, Billy. I honestly don't know."
"Why don't you have a seat?" Marco offered, gesturing to the couch. "I've got a nice bottle of wine here. I remember how much you enjoy a glass around this time of night."
Phyllis nodded. Maybe wine would take the edge off. She touched her side softly, making sure the wire was still in place. Somehow she had to get him to talk, to admit what he'd done. She stood up, walking over to him. "Marco," she began, trying not to be repulsed by the sight of his eyes roving over her body. "Do you ever think about it? About your time here?"
A smile played across his face as he handed her the glass. "Of course I do," he whispered, "but mainly I think about you. You were the only bright spot in this tragic town. You made this whole experience worth remembering." He looked at her, his eyes resting on hers. "What about you? Do you think about it?"
"All the time," she answered. That was honest, though she was certain they were speaking in very different contexts. "I just…It was different for me." She turned away from him, thankful she could now speak without having to look at him, but finding his hands were on her shoulders almost instantly. It was hard to determine if it was worse to see his face or feel his hands on her. Both made her want to scream and yet she kept her composure somehow.
"How?" She felt his warm breath on her bare neck and she turned to face him, unable to take the idea of his lips coming close to her. Forcing a smile, she began to speak, "Well, I didn't know it was you. I thought it was Jack the whole time, so I don't really have any real memories of you. You were lying to me. All the times we were together—you made me think I was with my husband. You made everyone believe you were Jack." Her heart beat wildly in her chest, so fast and furious she was afraid it would drown out anything on the wire. She looked up at him, blinking as earnestly as possible. "You lied to me," she said softly.
His hands rested on her shoulders, his fingers wrapping around the back of her neck as he looked at her. His eyes almost looked sincere. "He didn't deserve you," he whispered. "You were happier when I pretended to be him…even though you say you didn't know…you knew something was different. Something had changed. You knew it because he appreciated you. He appreciated your fire…your life…"
Billy threw the headphones on the seat beside him as he looked over at Paul. "That's it, right? That's all he needed to say. He admitted it."
Paul smiled. "Yeah, that's it. We got him."
"Let's get her out of there then. We've got to get her out of there." Billy lunged towards the door.
"Hold on," Paul held up his hand as he pushed down on the headphones. "I need to hear this."
Billy grabbed the headphones and threw them back on.
"That doesn't change anything," she said, wriggling free from his touch as she made her way towards the door. "You still weren't honest with me. You were never yourself with me."
He approached her quickly. "What about now? I'm honest now. I'm myself now."
"We're not together now, Marco. All of that is over. It's in the past." Phyllis glanced towards the door. "I should go. This isn't going to work."
"Wait." He reached for her, suddenly pulling her towards him, her body far too close to his now. "It doesn't have to be in the past. Right here. Right now. You know who I am. You know how it was between us…how it could be again."
"Marco," she protested, struggling to pull away as she felt his hands begin to travel down her body. "No!" she yelled. "Get the hell away from me!" She felt him still as his hand reached her side and she knew.
"Go! Go! Go!" Paul jumped from the van, ordering the officers towards the cabin.
Billy stood in front of the cabin, his legs giving way beneath him as he heard the sound of the first shot and watched armed officers rushing in. Seconds later another shot rang out and he thought his heart would stop. From behind him he heard the sound of a voice come over the radio. "We got him…Anicelli's down."
It didn't matter. Nothing mattered. He'd begged her not to do this. Justice meant nothing for him now. There was no justice if he couldn't have a life with her. There wasn't a life without her. He closed his eyes as he wished he could somehow go back in time, back to the club, back to the moments when he had a chance to say something, to do something. He felt the hand on his shoulder and already knew the speech. Paul had probably done this hundreds of times.
"I know," he managed, still kneeling on the wet grass, tears still streaming down his face. He was unable to move, unable to tear his eyes away from the cabin. "I know what you're gonna say…that it wasn't my fault…that there was nothing I could have done…nothing I could have said to make her change her mind…and you might be right about that, but there are still so many things I should have said. I didn't get to tell her that I loved her. I didn't get to tell her that I wanted a life with her, a real life—a house, a home, maybe even start out our own company or something. There was so much I needed to tell her and I didn't get the chance to tell her and now she's….."
"She's standing right behind you."
It took a moment for him to process the words and even when he did, he turned slowly to face her.
Phyllis held his trembling hands as he slowly stood up straight, his mouth gaping, lips moving a bit, but no words being said.
This time it was her turn to wipe away the tears.
"I…" he stammered, unable to find anything that seemed appropriate to convey the overwhelming joy he felt. He touched her face before pausing. "The shot…are you okay?"
"I'm fine," she said, her own voice shaking with the emotion of it all. "Marco fired, but it hit the wall and then the agents came in and one of them took him down."
"My God…" His arms were around her instantly and she felt herself being lifted off the ground. "I might never let you go," he said softly. "I just want to hold onto you like this forever." He pulled back only a bit, to look into her eyes, his lips pressing lightly against hers. "I meant every word…every single one. I love you. I need you. I want a life with you."
She nodded, happily resting her head on his shoulder as she fell back into his embrace. "I want that too," she whispered. "Let's get started on a real life happily ever after."