A/N: As promised, here is my longer, full length Nohnny fic. Although it appears that I've grossly over-estimated the amount of entertainment the reopening of the Haunted Star is going to offer us, so be it. I needed the event to serve as a platform for the storyline that I have planned. The party was a natural setting for Johnny and Nadine to meet up with each other again, and, as is necessary with all relationships, two people have to spend some time together for attachments to be forged, for their lives to diverge with one another's. And, since this tale will not follow anything else spoiled about the show, it won't matter how AU the events depicted here end up being. Basically, the show has no relevance when it comes to this fic, so just sit back, relax, give me your patience, and I promise... or at least hope... to entertain you. Enjoy!


An Act of Contrition



Parties in Port Charles sucked.

She was two for two, so far, since moving to the small, riverside town, and, while, sure, the reopening of the Haunted Star Casino had not been near as traumatic as the Black and White Ball at Wyndamere, Nadine was determined to stay far, far away from all future parties she was invited to. And it didn't matter what kind of bash was being given. If someone threw Robin a baby shower, she'd send a gift but decline actually attending. If Spinelli surprised himself with a birthday party, she'd beg off actually attending what would surely be the one of a kind festivity and wish her friend well from afar. Hell, she was so determined to avoid all merry revelries that, when she went into work the next morning, she was going to make sure that she had Christmas Eve off just so that she wouldn't have to attend General Hospital's annual Christmas party.

After all, better safe than sorry, right?

It wasn't the most adventurous spirit, she knew that, but a pattern was a pattern. Growing up, her Aunt Rayleen had drilled into her head the old adage Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me, but the woman who had raised her never mentioned what happened when a person was fooled three times. Though slightly curious, Nadine didn't want to find out first hand. She'd wait, avoid all Port Charles parties, and observe what occurred to those who didn't immediately discard all invitations that came to them in the mail.

Wandering around the below deck quarters of the gambling yacht, the blonde nurse ran her hands up and down her bare arms. Though spring had officially arrived, there was a decided chill to the night air. The goosebumps she felt breaking out on her delicate, pale skin only reaffirmed her position – she wanted to go home.

Unfortunately, that was easier said than done. Her date, who just so happened to be the one who had driven them to the marina, was nowhere to be found. One minute, Elizabeth had been by her side as they stepped onto the lavishly decorated boat, and, the next thing Nadine knew, her coworker and friend had practically disappeared. No one had seen or heard from her, but her car was still safely parked outside. At first, Elizabeth's desertion had been amusing, a mystery, if you will, and, because she wasn't going to gamble away her hard earned money, she had nothing better to do with her time that evening then try to figure out what happened to her fellow nurse. But, after an hour, the allure of the mystery had faded, and she was left with annoyance that had now, three hours later, turned into worry.

So, apprehensive about her friend, bored out of her mind, and desperate to find a way off of 

the ship and onto dry land again, Nadine went in search of Elizabeth. She figured that, if the petite brunette wasn't gambling, then she must be hiding out somewhere either in an office or the yacht's private quarters. And who was she to begrudge her a little peace and quiet on a night filled with unease and anxiety? To say that the soiree to honor the grand reopening of the Spencer-Zacchara riverboat casino had been tense was quite the understatement, and, knowing of both Elizabeth's history with the Spencer family and sensing her discomfort around the various members of the Zacchara organization, she, too, would have wanted to escape as well.

However, even her sympathy had its limits, and, on top of everything else, her feet were killing her.

It was a common complaint among nurses, their inability to wear real shoes when the situation called for it because their feet were so spoiled and pampered by day in and day out, continuous tennis shoe usage. As she crisscrossed and zigzagged her way up one corridor and down another, looking in each stateroom she came across as she searched for her friend, Nadine couldn't help but wish that she had a pair of her favorite trainers on in that moment. They wouldn't have been stylish, and they certainly would have ruined her entire appearance, but what did she care, really? She had no one to impress, and, even if she did, her choice of footwear still wouldn't matter.

Sighing in frustration, the pretty blonde fell against a lavishly decorated wall, relaxing her body into the ship's structure and allowing it to support her momentarily. Wearily, she lifted one foot at a time, massaging her instep with a single index finger through the open space her stiletto sandals allowed. It wasn't perfect, but, at that point, she'd take any kind of relief she could find, temporary or not, especially since it felt as if she had walked a marathon in the brand new shoes.

And perhaps she had. The Haunted Star was a large vessel, too large for one woman to adequately search on her own in an effort to find another. Nadine had lost track of how many times she had traversed the various passages under deck in hopes of locating Elizabeth, but, as she switched between her left foot and her right, she finally admitted to herself that her exploration was futile. She'd simply have to settle for leaving a message on her coworker's phone, asking her to call her as soon as she got the voice mail so she knew she was alright, and taking a cab home. Besides, not only were her efforts to locate Elizabeth a waste of time, but she also had to be at work the next morning bright and early, ready to file charts, take vitals, and fill out paperwork, and Epiphany would never accept an excuse, no matter how justified it was, for a decrease in efficiency and competency.

But, before she could push off against the wall, before she could wander her way back towards the main staircase, she heard voices coming down the hall towards her – one male and one female. Automatically, she noted the curious combination and wondered if perhaps her fellow nurse had slipped out of the party to enjoy the company of a secret admirer. Elizabeth was so busted, Nadine wanted to laugh, imagining the look upon the brunette's face when she confronted her, but her amusement was short lived. Instead, it was replaced with both a sense of dread, for the other people in the hallway were not Elizabeth and some 

faceless, nameless man, and a sense of remorse for ever confusing her friend with Claudia Zacchara.

She would truly have to do penitence for that mistake.

The mob queen furtively disappeared into a room a few doors down from where the pediatrics nurse was standing, and Nadine was just about to leave the once again otherwise vacant passage when she recognized the man who followed the woman with the penchant for red shoes. It was Doctor Ian Devlin… or Doctor Evil Devil as she personally referred to him.

The man was a snake, a gifted surgeon and physician, but still a snake. As her Aunt Rayleen used to say, a man who speaks with a forked tongue should not kiss balloons, and, in the blonde's book, if a guy couldn't be trusted around an innocent amusement such as a balloon, then she wanted nothing to do with him. That said, she also didn't want him around her friends either, and, though Claudia Zacchara was no friend of hers, far from it, in fact, she had noticed the oncologist lingering around Nikolas.

For several weeks now, she had been wondering just what the Cassadine prince and the gifted if not immoral doctor were hiding from the rest of the world, and, if Dr. Devlin was involved with the mob, then whatever secret he and Nikolas had together could not be good. Despite knowing better, despite realizing just how foolish what she was about to do was, she felt the need to help the dying man whom she had befriended as he grieved for his departed fiancée, and, with that in mind, Nadine crept along the dimly, suddenly eerily, lit hallway until she was standing just outside the doorway that Claudia and Ian had disappeared into just moments before.

"When are you going to start shipping my product, Claudia?"

Although the former plastic surgeon was speaking softly, there was no way one could not pick up on the sinister tones of his voice. He sounded impatient, desperate, treacherous. Gone was the smooth, flirtatious playboy and, in his place, remained a truly dangerous man. The sheer menace her coworker gave off sent chills racing up and down Nadine's sensitive, almost perceptive spine.

"We had a deal," the head of the Zacchara organization returned just as heatedly. "I promised you transportation for your placebo drugs just as soon as you took care of something for me in return."

"I have crates of drugs just waiting to be brought in from Canada," Ian practically hissed at his associate, "and the longer they remain undistributed, the more money I… we lose."

"Well maybe you should have thought about that before you fucked up the hit on Sonny Corinthos. You promised me that he would be taken care of, but, instead, you turned his twelve year old son into a vegetable, and Sonny is still walking around this goddamned town as if he owns it. You get me the results I want, and then and only then will we talk."

She had heard too much. Stepping away from the entrance to the stateroom, the blue eyed blonde felt dizzy with the knowledge of things she didn't want to face let alone understand. All she had wanted to do was find out what was wrong with her friend; all she had wanted to do was help Nikolas, and, instead, she found out that Doctor Devlin was working for or with, she wasn't quite sure, the Zaccharas, that he imported illegal prescription drugs, that he had been the one to shoot and almost kill little Michael Corinthos, and that, if the sounds coming from behind the closed door were any indication, he was also sleeping with Claudia Zacchara. Her life had just gotten way too complicated. At least, she couldn't imagine it getting any worse at that point.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?"

She had spoken too soon.

Squeaking instead of actually talking, Nadine turned around to find Johnny Zacchara before her… and he did not look happy.


He really needed to punch somebody… no, make that fall into a bottle of high proof liquor, the variety really didn't matter at that point, and lose himself for a couple of days. Or, maybe, on second thought, he'd do both… that was if he actually had a choice in the matter. But, instead of relieving his stress, instead of trying to forget that his partner had gotten pass out drunk the night their casino opened, leaving him to handle everything when he was just supposed to be the checkbook, instead of attempting to block out the image of his… whatever Lulu was… hanging all over Logan Hayes, playing the two of them off of each other and, occasionally, just for good measure, using and manipulating Spinelli as well, instead of hiding from his guilt over the Michael Corinthos shooting, instead of dealing with the fact that the younger Lansing, just as slick and just as manipulative as his old man, had gotten his own father out of the mental facility he had been staying at, and instead of worrying about just how deep of a hole his sister had dug for the two of them to climb out of all in his name, all in, as she said, protecting him and his interests, he was freaking babysitting.

"You know, technically, this is kidnapping," the pretty nurse argued as he drug her by the arm down the deserted corridor. They were moving quickly in an attempt to make it out of sight before anyone caught them together, but he was being careful not to hurt her. After all, that was the last thing he needed on his conscious – abusing a woman, especially since that annoying, pesky part of his brain was already bogged down with some very serious remorse. "Now, if you let me go, I promise you I won't press charges. We'll let this little incident just get swept under the wrong, out of sight, out of mind, but…"

Interrupting her, he stated, "you're not a kid."

And he immediately wanted to chuckle at her reaction. Nadine Crowell, as she had so 

nervously introduced herself, or should he say reintroduced herself just in case he had forgotten her from the night of the Black and White Ball – as if forgetting a single moment of that night was possible, stopped still beside him and stood with her brow furrowed, her head tilted to the side, and her perky if not overworked mouth plumped up in a bewildered pout. In essence, she looked thoroughly perplexed. "Was that a joke."


"Huh," the blonde remarked somewhat unintelligently as if stumped for something else to say, a first since he had stumbled upon her eavesdropping just minutes before. "You know, it's been my observation that you mobular men don't often joke."

"Mobular," he repeated, grinning slightly, but she was too lost in her own mind to notice his amusement.

Paying him no attention, Nadine rattled on, "in fact, I think that's the first time I've heard a funny being uttered by a man of your… occupation."

"A funny?"

Again, there was no reaction to his mocking of her word choices.

"I mean, I'm not even sure if Jason Morgan's face is capable of smiling, and, as for Mr. Corinthos, Sir, granted, the only time I've ever really spent around him was when he was in the hospital with his son, but some people need to joke around when in a bad situation just to keep their mind off the inevitable, but he just either glowered or pouted or cried. There were no light hearted emotions displayed. The guards, too, they are quite somber as well. Now, Spinelli, he laughs, and smiles, and tells amusing tales, but he's not exactly in the business if you know what I mean."

Shaking his head for he wasn't sure what else to do in reaction to the nurse's confessions, Johnny pulled her forward once again, gently dragging her along behind him. "Spinelli's not as innocent as he looks. Trust me, he's broken plenty of laws himself." Why he felt it so important to both disparage the nerd in one breath and try to, in a way, make himself look better in her eyes by criticizing the computer genius, he wasn't sure, but he was in no mood to brood over the ways of his own mind.

"Yeah, but he uses his computer as a weapon," she argued. "The rest of you use guns. I'd much rather work on a guy who's been bludgeoned by a laptop than shot. There's far less damage and blood."

Disregarding her astute if not accusing statements, he stopped in front of a closed door. "Here we are."

"And where is here," Nadine asked as he propelled them both inside the dark room.

"My office."

"Oh," the blonde remarked, glancing around and then shrugging her shoulders as if she was satisfied with their accommodations. "I guess this will suffice. Anyway, as I was saying before, you essentially kidnapped me, but, since I'm not a kid, we'll call it adultnapped, okay?"

Turning his back on her, Johnny said, "whatever will get you to shut up for five minutes is alright with me." Rooting around in his personal safe, he withdrew a bottle of vintage bourbon, sighing in relief as soon as his fingers closed around the smooth, cool glass. Without even bothering to look at the nurse, he asked her, "do you want some?"

"No thank you."

Her reply was poised, laconic, and courteous, but he could hear the underlying edge to her voice. Although he could tell that her feelings were hurt, an odd revelation in and of itself seeing as how she hadn't objected or stopped talking while he was essentially taking her captive but only gave him the cold shoulder after he rudely asked her to be quiet, he didn't apologize. "I need to know exactly what you overheard this evening."

"Starting when," the medical professional asked acerbically, the sweet smile she wore on her face doing nothing to alleviate the sharpness from her stance and disposition, "because I listened in on more than just your sister and Doctor Devlin's conversation tonight. I admit that eavesdropping is a nasty habit, but what else is a girl supposed to do when she's stuck on some rattrap riverboat casino with no money to gamble away and her date abandoned her?"

Grinding his teeth together, Johnny closed his eyes in a moment of frustration and lowered himself to sit on the floor. Why, he wasn't sure. After all, there were plenty of chairs and even a couch in the finely appointed study, one that he refused to use but Luke insisted that he have since he was co-owner of the Haunted Star, but, for some reason, the floor looked more appealing. Besides, if he got as drunk as he was planning on getting, he would only end up falling off whatever piece of furniture he sat on anyway. This way, lounging on the floor, just hurried up the unavoidable.

"If you're worried about me telling anyone that you had something to do with little Michael Corinthos' shooting, don't." The words were whispered softly, comfortingly, reassuringly, and they made him open his eyes. What he found surprised him. With her heels kicked off and her knee length dress tucked demurely around her legs, Nadine Crowell, pediatrics nurse, was sitting across from him on the floor, the anger and hurt completely wiped away from her beautiful face only to be replaced by concern.

"Why not?" Swallowing thickly, the brunette expanded upon his previous inquiry. "Why not tell the police or even Spinelli what you overheard?"

"For many reasons," she replied easily. "For one, I don't know exactly how you were 

involved in everything and, frankly, I don't want to know, but I can tell that you're sorry for what happened, that you're beating yourself up for your actions far more than anyone else ever could. I think your sister feels remorse, too. However, Ian does not, and, though I really would like to see him pay for what he's done, it's not my place to orchestrate his punishment. Getting him or anyone else for that matter sent to prison or killed won't bring Michael back. All it will do is put guilt on my hands as well, and I refuse to do that. Enough blood has already been spilled. Besides," she added, nodding her head as if she was trying to convince herself that she was right, "eventually, Doctor Devlin will pay for his crimes. It could be tomorrow, or next week, or even several years from now, but, when he does, I want no part of it. Is it the coward's way out, maybe," Nadine answered her own question, shrugging her delicate, bare shoulders, and she surprised him when she let the topic drop there.

"A part of me wishes that you would say something to someone." Unscrewing the lid of the bourbon, Johnny forwent a glass and simply drank from the bottle. "Sometimes I'm so bogged down by guilt that I feel as if I can't breathe." She remained silent as he took gulp after gulp of the burning liquid, its fire doing nothing to expunge the shame he felt. "And, if you want to talk about cowards, I'm the coward here. I should just go to Jason Morgan and tell him everything. He's listened to me in the past, you know," he confessed, not pausing in his admission long enough to give the nurse a chance to respond.

"He's given me the benefit of the doubt, helped keep me alive when Sonny's wanted to kill me, and, hell, maybe he'd listen to me again now; maybe he'd realize that I just wanted Corinthos dead for what he did to me and my sister. I mean, the man kidnapped me." Glancing up at the woman before him, he smirked and amended, "he adultnapped me, he slept with Claudia and then belittled her every chance he got, effectively treating her like a whore, and, after the cannery exploded, he left her bleeding and hurt, not caring if she lived or died. So excuse the fuck out of me if I wanted some revenge. It's what we do in this business," he explained, his eyes already starting to feel glassy, but whether that was from the alcohol or unshed tears, he wasn't sure. "If someone comes after you, you return the favor and make sure that you succeed where the other person failed. It's life or death."

"Kill or be killed," the blonde added, evidently following his stream of conscious rambling.

"But I can't do it," he declared miserably. "I can't go to Morgan and tell him that it was because of my hatred for Sonny that Claudia went and made a deal with Moreau to kill Sonny, that it was because of my hatred for his business partner that the little boy he raised for the first year of his life like his own son is now permanently comatose." Taking another long, scalding gulp of the bourbon, he paused until the liquid had settled firmly, hollowly in his stomach before continuing. "And that's why I'm the coward, Nadine Crowell. You're… you're just too good, too pure, too moral for my world. In fact, I don't even care what else you overheard tonight. Keep it to yourself; tell the world. Whatever you decide…"

"What was that," the medical professional demanded to know as loud pops could be heard ringing about overhead of them.


He watched in part amusement and part terror as she scrambled to her feet, but, before she got to the door, he reached out and latched onto her naked calf. Instantly, a jolt of awareness coursed its way through Johnny's body, making him glance up to meet the 

beautiful nurse's gaze. But he dismissed the sensation, the responsiveness, because he had a… well, he had a Lulu. "Where do you think you're going?"

"To help," Nadine replied immediately, gesturing towards the awaiting passage outside of his office. "Someone's been shot. I'm a nurse. It's what I do; I help people who are hurt."

"There's nothing to help."

"Wait, what do you mean," she queried, backing up and then sliding back down so that she was, once again, seated across from him. "What's going on up there, Mr. Zacchara?"

"Please," he entreated her playfully, grinning flirtatiously before taking another drink from his rapidly emptying bottle of liquor. "I adultnapped you. The least you could do in return is call my Johnny."

"You're drunk."

"And you could be, too, if you just would have taken me up on my offer to share. Trust me," he assured her. "Bourbon makes everything better."

"Including the fact that someone was just gunned down in your casino the very first night it opened?"

"It's Port Charles," the brunette replied casually, rolling his eyes. "And one of the owners, as you so memorably put it, is in the mobular industry. What else did you expect to happen here tonight?"

Nadine crossed her arms over her chest, mumbling so softly to herself that he couldn't hear her response. However, he did have to admit that she looked pretty cute when she was irritated… not that he really noticed seeing as how… yeah.

"If you want to know what happened," he finally started his explanation. "I'll tell you. Two days ago, Ric Lansing, my attorney Trevor's son, got my father released from his mental hospital and had all the charges dropped against him due to the fact that, since my father was apparently suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the Black and White Ball, he could not held accountable for his actions, and, now, medicine has his symptoms under control, so he's allowed to roam free again. I'm not quite sure what the terms were of their agreement, but Ric Lansing would not help my father if there wasn't something in it for him as well. My guess is that it was an 'I scratch your back; you scratch mine' kind of deal, meaning that those gun shots you just heard were fired from my father's gun as he shot and killed, because Anthony Zacchara rarely misses, Trevor Lansing, the man who has served as his attorney for more than twenty years. The only good news is that my father will now be headed back to the mental hospital."


"I know."

"That's pretty Shakespearian, when you think about it, sick but still Shakespearian" Nadine murmured, eyes wide with what could only be described as shock as they darted anxiously around the small, dark room the two of them were sitting in.

Saluting the medical professional with his bottle of bourbon, he stated, "an astute conclusion, Nurse Crowell."

They sat in silence for several minutes, the only noises breaking the stillness of his office coming from the casino above them. But it wasn't necessarily an uncomfortable quiet. While he continued to drink, she sat in calm introspection, biting the inside of her cheek the entire time. When he couldn't stand the haunting nature of his own thoughts any longer, Johnny spoke up, "are you sure I can't offer you something to drink. There's still at least a third left in the bottle, plenty to get someone as small as you quite drunk."

"I'm sure."

"Suit yourself," he commented softly, tipping the cut glass decanter's contents into his mouth yet again.

"May I ask you a question, though?" He nodded his approval. "How long are you going to keep me here, because I have to be at work pretty early tomorrow morning?"

"Oh, you're free to go whenever you want, but, if you want some unsolicited advice, I'd wait a little while, at least until the other guests and the police clear out, just to avoid the hassle of answering a bunch of questions."

"Will do," she agreed, angling her head in a soundless gesture of thanks for the recommendation. "And you?"

"Oh, I think I'll just take a little nap," the brunette answered, already in the process of curling up into a little ball on the carpeted floor of his office. Sighing loudly, contentedly, for the alcohol had finally done its job of thoroughly numbing him, he whispered kindly, "thanks for listening," right before falling asleep.

He was snoring even before Nadine had a chance to respond, but, if he had still been awake, he would have heard her tenderly say, "anytime, Johnny."


The sun was just cresting over the horizon when he braved to open one eye in an effort to test and gauge his surroundings. His head was pounding, his stomach was revolting, and his back felt like he had slept on a floor. Sitting up and giving himself a slight shake to clear the cobwebs, Johnny realized that was because he had been sleeping on the floor. An empty bottle of bourbon tilted over onto its side proved to be the only explanation he needed in order to understand just how he had ended up sleeping in his office at the Haunted Star. Although the details from the night before were slightly fuzzy, he recalled enough to know that the day he was about to face would be no better the one he had just survived, but that seemed to be a common occurrence in his life.

Pushing himself up onto all fours and slowly regaining his feet, he found his body swaying slightly with the natural rocking of the yacht before finding equilibrium. What he needed was some strong coffee, an entire bottle of aspirin, give or take a few tablets of the pain reliever, and his bed back at Crimson Point, but, unfortunately, he was in no shape or form to acquire those three things for himself at that particular moment. Knowing he couldn't drive home, he rooted around his desk for a phone, knocking it over before he actually located it. Righting the alarmingly loud device as the dial tone blared out into his personal 

study, he made quick work of calling for information and then demanding a number for the local cab company.

After securing himself a ride home, he began the trek back up to the dock, starting immediately despite the fact that the cab wouldn't be there for fifteen minutes. Johnny figured, though, that he would need at least that much time if not more to manage the stairs that led upstairs to the casino and then the deck of the ship. Blindly, he passed by the taped off areas of the yacht, ignoring he blinding yellow of the police tape as it corded off the crime scene his casino had become the night before. That – among many other things – was something he would deal with later, maybe even tomorrow.

The ride back to Crimson Point was both endless and, in the same breath, swift. In the same vein, he was neither asleep nor fully awake during the journey, instead, dangling somewhere between a conscious state and the haze a hangover provided him with. But he didn't fight the odd condition he was in. Rather, he embraced it, appreciating the fact that it allowed him to forget and disregard.

It wasn't until he stepped foot in his own home that awareness started to creep its way back into him. He moved soundlessly, not wanting to alert either his sister or any of the staff members of his return. It would serve his purposes well if they all believed he had not come home, thus allowing him to hide in his private quarters all day long, but, as he passed in front of Claudia's office, the door slightly cracked whether on purpose or on accident, he wasn't sure, Johnny knew immediately that there would be no rest, no recuperation on his part that day.

"I want her taken out before the end of the day."

"Oh, please, Ian," his sister disregarded, apparently opposing the doctor's opinion. "Like some little mouse of a nurse will really pose any threat to what we have planned. You're pathetic and starting to make me wonder if I should even do business with you after all."

"Well, take this for pathetic," the oncologist countered. "If you don't do this for me, I'll go to Corinthos myself and tell him that you were the one who ordered the hit on his life, that you were the one who shot his son. As far as Corinthos is concerned, I'm just some doctor who helped work to save his kid's life. He's always hated you. In fact, he's probably looking for a reason to take you out. So, do this for me, Claudia. Kill Nadine Crowell or else."

"How do you even know…"

"I saw her," he snapped, and Johnny had to fight the urge he had to enter the office and protect his sister, but he did. If nothing else was becoming apparent about his older sibling, he was starting to see that she was quite capable of taking care of herself; she didn't need him to fight her battles for her, especially when it appeared as if he had more important issues to deal with, a more innocent woman to protect. "She was right outside that door last night, listening in on everything we said to each other. She knows that we're partners, she knows that I'm importing illegal, placebo pharmaceuticals, and she knows that we're the ones who are responsible for Michael Corinthos getting shot."

"Fine," Claudia agreed, sounding bored with the whole situation. "I'll do it. I'll send someone after the little fool…"

He didn't wait around to hear anything else. Suddenly sober, more sober than he had ever 

felt before in his entire life, Johnny could see things clearly. He could see who his sister really was. She wasn't some misunderstood, abused little girl anymore who only wanted to look after him; she was an angry, bitter, cold hearted woman who would do anything within her grasp to retain her power. While he knew that their business was not a pretty one, that it was dark and gritty and unforgiving, there were some lines he was not prepared to cross, and killing an innocent woman was one of them.

Grabbing a set of keys off the table in the entryway and not particularly caring about which car they belonged to, Johnny slipped out of his own house as quietly as he had arrived just moments before. If it was the last thing he did, he was going to make sure that Nadine survived his family, no matter what his actions cost him personally.