ROMEO MUST DIE: ALTERNATE THIRD ACT

Patricia O'day, a 21 year-old African-American girl, struggled to maintain a life of independence. Trish managed a clothing store in her old neighborhood and assisted displaced children in her off-time. She never had a cause to hate or a reason to be hurt. But within the last two days and nights a businessman named Vincent Roth changed her demeanor, having caused the senseless death of her brother Colin and the wounding of her father, Isaac.

Isaak O'day was also a corrupt, ruthless businessman, but she finally realized his heart was nearer to his family. On this late Tuesday evening in Oakland, California, the O'day family was closer to being obliterated.

At the Oakland Men's Club, during a monetary negotiation for waterfront property between Roth and Isaak, a grisly shootout had resulted. Two bodyguards were killed in front of Trish's eyes, and her father was also shot. David Macendale, known to everyone as Mac, was the antagonist who started the melee after confessing to murdering Colin. Isaak laid on the floor and bled on the expensive carpet, while Trish was held down by Mac's thug.

"Oh, Lord, too much death; too much death," Trish chanted.

"Shut the fuck up!" the thug screamed.

Mac's employee hoisted Trish off the shattered glass-covered carpet, not giving her a chance to escape.

"Damn Roth! I'm gonna get those fucking deeds," Mac said while he stood up after his Mexican Standoff with Roth's henchman. Mac said to the thug, "Watch her."

Mac raced upstairs and followed Vincent Roth, who also hastily exited during the gunfight. Isaak writhed on the floor and tried to see Trish. In his efforts, he saw a gun next to him. Was it loaded? Was the safety on? He had to chance it. Isaak positioned himself to see his daughter who was being held by a nondescript, underpaid henchman. Trish saw the eyes of her father, then the gun. Nothing needed to be said.

Trish wrenched her right arm away from the thug and thrust her elbow straight into her captor's gut, buying her some time to flee. Isaak grabbed the gun, and shot the man in the kneecap. He shot the man again in the chest, but the thug pulled out another gun. Isaak had little strength left and let loose another round straight into the guy's heart, putting him down indefinitely.

"Daddy!" She cried out as she ran to his side. As she knelt down, she held his head up. "Daddy, please talk to me."

"I've been through a lot worse, honey. I'm going to be all right," he said in a hushed, but pained tone.

Witnessing the extensive death and suffering these past few days allowed rage to grow inside of Trish. In her father's right hand was the gun that he just used, and she removed it. It was hot from its firing but she ignored the burning sensation because she just wanted to feel something other than pain.

"Tricia, what are you doing? " Isaak uttered, as she loosened his grip on the gun.

"He has to pay for what he's done," she stoically stated as she ran up the same stairwell.

Minutes ago, the roof had a sensational gun fight reminiscent of an Old West shootout. Mac fired his own gats at Roth and his hires to acquire the deeds. The ascending helicopter and automatic weapon spraying bullets the roof made Mac's efforts difficult, but his own shots were striking the metal briefcase with the paperwork in it. He ran low on ammo, but Roth was still not strong enough to withstand the incoming fire. The briefcase fell from his hands and onto the roof where Mac waited.

The chopper swooped away, leaving Mac to collect the coveted deeds. Unfortunately for him, he soon had company. Mac pulled out his gun, which was kicked out of his hand. When he looked up, the protagonist in the whole football arena endeavor, Han Sing, stood there.

Han had also endured a recent family tragedy, for his baby brother Po Sing was murdered. He enjoyed the companionship of Po when they were children. Despite Po's recent shady lifestyle, Han still loved him. At this moment he believed it was Mac who stole that sibling away from him.

"Why did you kill my brother, Mac?" Han urgently asked.

"Hey, I had nothing to do with that lynching," he admitted as he lifted the unclosed briefcase. "All that Chinese shit was in-house. You have your own people to thank for that."

Mac was no match for Han's martial arts skills, so in a desperate move he thrust the metallic briefcase at him. Han caught it, spun around, but faced a small gun that Mac held at his head. Han was fast, but even he was aware he could not dodge a bullet at such close range.

"Sorry, Romeo, you won't get a chance to," Mac said through a grin. "You've gotta die."

"'Forgive me, Po," Han thought.

A loud gun crack echoed in the Oakland sky, but Han reacted to something not aimed towards him. He saw Mac's leather coat exploded and spurted blood. The shot came from his left. They saw Trish with sadness in her eyes. She stood near the roof's door with the smoking gun raised.

"That's for Colin, you son of a bitch," Trish said through gritted teeth.

"Damn," Mac said while disoriented and stared at the wound in his chest. "That some cold shit!"

Mac lifted his weapon toward her. Trish defended her own life and fired the gun again. The bullet struck Mac in the chest, killed him and propelled him over the roof ledge.

Trish dropped the gun and profusely trembled. Han jogged over to her and kept her emotions grounded. He did not bother to thank her for saving his life, for her well being was a priority.

"It's all right, Trish. Come on, stay with me," Han calmly said.

"I've never touched a gun in my life until now," she said, but nervously massaged her brow.

"Trish, please, you did what you had to do," he said, and gently grasped her hands. "Where is your father?"

"Uh-in the clubhouse," she answered. As she looked directly into his eyes, her trembling ceased.

When Maurice was recently dispatched to guard her, she still felt unsafe. Even when her father pleaded to be a part of her life, it still assured no sanctuary. But when Han clasped her shaking hands, it was a security she had not been granted in some time. Indeed he was a man she had known for only two days, but Han had a pure heart and soul. She sensed it in him on the afternoon they met in the yellow-cab. The horror she witnessed during last two days would have been much more distressing without his presence. They sprinted down the stairs to check on Isaak. The bartenders already covered him with a blanket and elevated his feet and head. Police and ambulances were on the way, but Trish had to be certain of Isaak's condition. She knelt down beside him and kissed his forehead.

"Like I said, I'll be fine," he weakly said.

"You'd better be," she said. "We've still got catching up to do."

"Yeah, we do," Isaak smiled. With slightly blurred vision Isaak noticed the young Chinese man beside her and made a quick assumption. "So this must be Han Sing."

"Yes Sir," Han respectfully answered.

"You're the one that's been causing all this trouble, huh?" He joked. "Let me shake your hand."

Han leaned forward and tucked his right hand into Isaak's right hand.

"A firm grip," Isaak observed, and then gave a knowing glance to Trish. "I respect that."

"I know." Trish smiled at her dad, with understanding.

"I have to go," Han said to them. Then he placed her hand on her shoulder and gently squeezed. "There is some unfinished business I must attend to."

"Han, please, I heard everything Mac said," she said. "Let me help you."

"Stay with your father," Han calmly said it, more for her safety and her peace of mind, rather than it sounding like an order from a police officer. He darted out of the room.

"He's a lot shorter than I thought," Isaak quipped, as faint sirens are heard by everyone.

"Oh, Daddy," Trish lightly chuckled.

"I'm lying on the floor and he still looks like a little guy," he continued.

"What am I gonna do with you?" Trish asked with a smile.

The ambulance arrived shortly after Han departed. Issak, with an intravenous drip, was attached to the gurney in the elevator, and Trish stayed with him during the whole transport.

"Tricia," Isaak meekly said, "Do you like Han?"

"Oh, Daddy, now is not the time," she said. "You need to save your strength,"

"It is the time, honey. I saw the look in your eyes when he was leaving," he said. "I saw his as well. He's going to Chu's house to avenge his brother's death."

"You knew?" Trish asked.

The elevator doors parted, exposing the lobby to the E.M.T. workers. The hurried the gurney out and Trish followed.

"Not at first, but I dug deep," he admitted. "I wasn't going to make it my concern, but now that Han is one of your concerns-"

"Oh no," she exclaimed. The medical team passed him through the doors and towards the rear of the ambulance. As they went though the motions to get him into the vehicle, she asked, "Let me come with you."

"I only wish to be just a small part of your life," he said, and momentarily halted the E.M.T.'s action. "You deserve someone like Han as well. If you need to go to him, then do so."

Trish stood beside her dad and smiled. This was not the man she had come to know during her childhood and some of her adulthood. For once Isaak deferred to her, having only asked for some and not all. She kissed him on the cheek.

"I hope to see you soon, honey," Issak said as he was hauled into the ambulance. "Tell the police about Chu."

The doors closed, the workers sprinted to the front seats and the ambulance sped away. Police cars were strewn about the street trying to pick up the pieces of the carnage upstairs. Trish searched to find a police officer who wasn't busy.

"Ma'am, you'll have to stay behind the police line," a clueless young police officer said to her.

"But I am a witness," she announced. "I was upstairs when all of this went down,"

"Excuse me," he apologized. "In that case, you would have to come downtown for questioning."

"I can tell you who Po Sing's murderer is, Officer...Higgins," she stated, after she noticed his nameplate. "But I want you to take me to his place."

"What are you talking about?" Higgins bent the words in confusion.

"I'll give you the name, you look up his address and then you take me with you to it," was her ultimatum. "You can tell your fellow officers that you found a lead and get the collar all to yourself."

"I could run you in for withholding information." He said, but the young officer looked around, trying to make ends of her unusual request meet. "Come on."

The two of them jogged to his squad car and he jumped into the front seat.

"Okay, so who do you think did it," he immediately asked.

"Chu Sing," she said, leaning through the passenger window.

Higgins tapped in the information, and in seconds a home address popped up on the screen.

"Hop in the back," the officer told her. While she entered, he called out to his older partner who jogged over.

"What the hell do you want Higgins?" The elder officer grunted out. "In case you haven't noticed, this is practically a war zone!"

"I see that, but this woman has a lead for us," Higgins answered. "She can I.D. a suspect in Po Sing's homicide."

"Is that right?" The older officer stared at Trish in the back seat. She smiled and waved at him. The gray-haired officer reluctantly hopped into the car and sighed, "Let's go."

Trish had never been a police car, although she has seen her dad in one a few times. Thankfully, she was only there to put a murderer in prison, if Han had not gotten to him first.

This car drove toward the beautiful real estate of Chu Sing, bearing lush trees and fields, and a long, tapered bridge leading to the huge, but exotic mansion in the middle. A plume of smoke rose from the rear of the home.

"Han," Trish whispered in concern. The two officers contacted the standard departments: fire, E.M.T., and police backup. A short while later, backup arrived, four or five squad cars crossed the tapered bridge, deeper into Chu Sing's property.

"Look, my friend Han is likely to be in there," Trish said to Officer Higgins. "Please don't shoot him."

"We'll keep that in mind, Miss," he said. "But we still can't make any promises."

Suddenly, everyone heard a single gunshot.

"No!" Trish exclaimed.

The "shots fired' call rang out from all cars. The policemen emerged from their vehicles to see the flames rising from the back yard.

With weapons drawn, they entered the house. Han Sing appeared from the shadows with burned hands raised above his head.

"My name's Han Sing. I'm an unarmed Hong Kong police officer," he announced. "My father just committed suicide in his office and I may have killed a man in self defense."

"Okay, step this way," a random officer said. All saw his scalded, cloth draped hands, and appeared weakened with labored breathing. They suggested he go to the ambulance.

Han limped down a small flight of steps. Trish, from far away in the back seat, saw his beaten state, and leapt from the car.

"Miss, wait!" Officer Higgins said.

She ignored him and jogged up to meet Han. Han was not only surprised to see her, but also relieved to see a friendly, caring person in front of him.

She scanned him up and down, and hardly believed he still stood upright, for he was bloodied, burned and broken. She stood millimeters from him and very gently held his hands. It hurt Han, he ignored the pain, but soon her smooth skin soothed his.

"My God, Han, what did they do to you?" She asked.

"It doesn't matter anymore," he answered. "It's over."

She placed her right hand on his face, gently caressing his cheek with her thumb.

"Are you going to be okay?" She quietly and caringly asked.

They had done so much for each other in the past two days that seemed like years. He paused to stare into her soulful eyes. This moment slowly cured him of the sickness that permeated his own soul moments ago. His emotions defined the answer he was about to give her.

"I know I will be," he answered.

They leaned in, into a kiss that was going to eventually happen. She ran her fingers through his short black hair, and he ran his arm across the arch of her back. Their lips met, and pressed together in a kiss that William Shakespeare himself could not imagine. It was long, pleasant, and very much needed by both of them. If it was not romantic, then it would be cathartic.

They had both lost members of their family. In their periods of mourning, they found a new kind of family, not fraternal or paternal, but a family of love and understanding. It would be this kiss that began it.

Even after they completed their kiss, she couldn't tear her gaze away from his handsome face.

"Let's go," she said.

He allowed her to hold his hand. Her skin felt cooled to wherever his exposed skin was. They walked toward the ambulance in each other's arms. They did not want to let go. They did not wish the moment to end.

If love would not die, if honor would not die, then they had existed all along in Patricia O'day and Han Sing.

THE END