1A/N: I own no right, title or vested interest in Mr. Wolf's show or characters, but thank him for sharing

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Wednesday Night - (Thurs. 12:20 a.m.)

Lewis' Auto Body, Long Island City, NY

He loved being his own boss, owning his own business. It afforded him the luxury of making his own hours, taking time off when he wanted to and, his favorite part of all – not having to answer to anyone in higher authority. The rebellion – it was a common trait that he shared with his best friend.

But, being a business owner also came with responsibilities and the ones he hated most were the inventory and bookkeeping –– the tedious tasks that had nothing to do with rebuilding an engine, installing a new tranny with Hurst shifters, or beefing up a '70 Olds Cutlass with a new 12 bolt Dana rear.

He was now paying the price for his procrastination in those mundane chores. It was after midnight on a Wednesday night –well, now actually Thursday morning – the last day of the fiscal quarter when his taxes were due. He had numbers to crunch and, as he sat in the small, cramped office in the back of his garage he could've kicked himself for not keeping up with the paperwork. "No, this part isn't fun, at all," he cursed to himself.

He walked in the dimness to the small fridge in the corner. Some caffeine was just what he needed. The last thing he felt was the icy-cold can of Coke on his fingertips, instantly followed by the jolting pain at the back of his head as he fell to the floor.

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It had been another long day at the Major Case Squad. Just as Bobby and Alex had been straightening their desks as quitting time neared, a call came in which kept them occupied at the crime scene and, again, back at the office with the resulting paperwork, for hours. They left the office after 11:00 p.m. and, still feeling 'wound up' decided to share a nightcap at their favorite hang out.

Thursday, 12:25 a.m.

Carucci's Bar and Restaurant

Bobby gulped the last bit of beer from his mug. Alex checked her watch, "Twelve twenty-five," she sighed. I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted. You ready to go?"

"Sure," Bobby said, as he laid money on the table and helped Alex on with her jacket.

"So, you're taking a long weekend, huh?" she asked with a smirk as they made their way to the SUV.

"Yeah," he laughed. "Lewis wants to make the most out of it. He's been looking forward to this all year – we're leaving Friday morning."

"Well, I think it'll be good for you too – hanging out with the guys and getting away from the city for a while."

Actually, Bobby was looking forward to their little getaway. It was time for the gigantic swap meet, car show and the Summer Nationals at Raceway Park so, aside from the time they'd spend at the track, they'd devote just as much time at the Jersey shore — or at least on the boardwalk, hitting all the hot bars and nightclubs between Point Pleasant and Seaside Heights.

He and Alex talked a little more about their newest case, laying their "plan of attack" for the following work day and, before he knew it, he was outside his apartment. He grabbed his leather portfolio from the back seat and swung the door open. "Thanks for the ride; see ya' in the morning."

"Yup, same time," she said with a smile.

"Keep the car doors locked and call me when you get home." He always reminded her, like an overprotective parent, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she was also a gun-carrying member of New York's Finest.

"I will," she assured him.

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Once inside, Bobby tossed his suit jacket over the back of the sofa and walked to the kitchen counter as he thumbed through his mail; the usual bills from AmEx, Verizon and ConEd. Just as he noticed the digital clock on his microwave turn to "1:00," his telephone rang. He grabbed it on the first ring, already smiling, "Hi, you home safe?"

There was a hesitancy. "Bobby — it's Lewis."

"Lewis, what's wrong?" It wasn't too out of the ordinary for Lewis to call Bobby at the late hour, but Bobby had immediately detected the strain in his voice. "Where are you?"

"I'm at the shop – I, I think my ribs 're broken — they, they knocked me out and when I came to, they were beatin' on me..."

"Lewis, stay right there. I'm gonna' call the precinct closest to you and get a squad car and an ambulance there."

"No! Bobby, no! No cops – they said they'd kill me."

"Okay, okay ... just sit tight. Do you know who they were? What did they say?"

"Two big guys, I dunno', I've never seen 'em before. They kept saying something about 'payback' and they're gonna' get what they're owed — it, it was crazy Bobby, I didn't know what the hell they were talkin' about."

"Did they call each other by name?"

"No, no...the one guy...when they were leaving, he said something like 'Mr. DeMarco'...no, um, yeah, that's was it, 'Mr. DeMarco's associates will be in touch'."

Bobby was already taking notes. "Lewis, if you're bleeding anywhere or the pain's too bad, just call an ambulance, okay?"

"I'm not bleeding — just my nose was, but it's okay."

"All right, just stay put. I'll be there as soon as I can — we've gotta' at least get ya' checked out at the emergency room."

"Okay – try to hurry."

Bobby's call waiting had beeped while he was on the phone; he knew it was Alex's call he missed. He was pressing her number on the speed dial the instant he hung up with Lewis, with possible scenarios already racing through his mind – none of them good. He didn't want to panic Lewis any further – at least not until he got there in person, but Bobby, Alex and the Major Case Squad, in general, were very familiar with the name 'DeMarco.' Carmine DeMarco – the newest "Captain" in the Masucci crime family.

When Alex answered the phone, Bobby heard the teasing sarcasm in her voice. "Real nice, Bobby; you make me call you and then don't pick up the phone."

She didn't expect his response. He was serious, all business. "Eames. How quick can you get back here?"

"What? Did you get a call? I didn't get called in yet."

"It's Lewis – he's in trouble. I'll fill ya' in on the way out to his place."

"Long Island?"

"Eames!"

"I'll be right there. Wait outside."

Bobby grabbed his gun, jacket and portfolio and headed back out the door. He rubbed his hand through his hair and let out a sigh, as he worried for his friend, "What the hell did Lewis get himself into now?"

END Chapter One