Greetings, everyone. I'm about to embark on another long-term fanfic experience with you all. I don't own Moonlight; never will, so therefore, cannot make any money off the show. However, I hope to receive payments in reviews, which will result in faster updates, and a happier writer. Don't be afraid to send in constructive criticism, or offer up suggestions for the story. I have a basic plan for the narrative, but it's not set in stone.
This story will follow the character Leni Hayes through her ordeal as a key witness, through her pregnancy, and beyond. You might ask: Why write a story about Leni, a one-shot character on the show? Don't ask me to understand how inspiration works, but something about that young woman captured my attention. Even though the show doesn't seem interested in reprising her character's role, Leni will continue to interact with Mick in this story. This story is not going to be completely faithful to canon, and if something from the show doesn't work for the tale I want to tell, I'll either ignore it or re-work it.
If you haven't seen episode 4, you can still read this. This is a very accurate adaptation of the episode, (from Leni's prospective, anyway) so you won't be lost in future chapters.
Hey, I'm Leni Hayes, nice to meet you. Pull up a chair; make yourself comfortable and all that jazz. Like no way are you ever gonna buy what I'm about to tell you, but I figure it's worth a shot. Even if you think it's bullshit, you won't be bored.
Where to start? Life's full of beginnings and endings, but unlike in books, chapters don't have headings. It all kind of blends in. And sometimes an episode just isn't a chapter; it's a whole friggin' book. Adventures with Mick St. John And Company definitely deserves its own book. Well, it wasn't no pleasure cruise, but I'd have to say it made me a better person, and I'm glad for my kid it happened.
The prologue would have to be hooking up with Jack. I wasn't looking for anything serious, believe me. I was 20 at the time; I just wanted to have fun. And having kids? Liked 'em, (well, duh since I'm a nanny, I shouldn't hate them) but forget it! This was 2007, not 1957! I wasn't in the market for popping out babies, that was for like when I was in my 30's. I wanted to travel, wanted to have affairs with hot Latin types, wanted to build up my career. The 'me, me, me' factor should go right out the window when you have kids, and I liked the 'me, me, me' factor.
I don't think Jack was looking for anything like that either, I think he just saw me as a kid at first. He was ten years older than me, and into some pretty heavy shit. I mean, it was all a little Godfather for me, (only my boss wasn't half as good looking as Al Pacino) and Jack Toland was the muscle in that creepy organization. I thought he was just another thug, you know? No way did I want to get mixed up in that. I don't think he was all that impressed with me either, not like I cared.
Oh, I guess I'm getting ahead of myself already, making mob movie references and talking about thugs when you don't even have a clue what I'm babbling about. How I even met Jack was a total fluke. Most nannies go to college for the biz, have some experience under their belt before they get the kind of job I did. I mean, I was working for a billionaire Arm's dealer Amir Fayed, watching his only daughter. He recruited me right out of high school, based on some baby sitting references. The fact he'd pick an eighteen-year-old to watch his baby girl should have been my first clue. He didn't want a professional adult; he wanted a kid he could push around.
At first, I didn't pick up on any bad vibes, and even if I had, I probably would have kicked them aside. Let's see, I got to live in a mansion rent free, got paid good money, got to use the gigantic pool on my free time, and got to hang out with the coolest kid, Mara. Not to mention, there's the fact that my parents are total losers, and I'd been crashing on friend's couches for my senior year.
Yeah, Mara and me, we clicked. I mean, she's this really old soul, but all innocent and bubbly, like a kid should be. Man, that girl could talk, and she's really smart too. She was kind of lonely, since her dad was a control freak, and didn't let her have any friends. Later, it'd make more sense, but it still isn't fun. Mara's mom was pretty high-strung, really into herself, and daddy was too busy to play dollies, so she was on her own, except for the maids. Then I came into the picture, and the rest was history. She was four then, and after that, we were the two musketeers.
Perks or no perks, I would have bailed after a while if it weren't for her. Believe me, I wasn't looking to snoop around, but it was all around me. Amir Fayed may try to come off like this do-gooder who wants to kiss little orphans and feed the homeless, but he's a real creep. No, he never made a pass at me, if that's what you're thinking; he's got a mistress for that. Yeah, like right in his house, under the wife's nose. Not that wifey would protest, she likes her credit cards too much, and she's probably just glad she doesn't have to bang him all the time. The whole 'other woman' thing, (and I'm sure there's others, she's just the main one) isn't what I mean by the creep factor.
No, I mean, he's up to his eyeballs in illegal activities. I don't know the details; I'd probably be dead by now if I did, but I know it involved racketeering, on a major level. He's also got a prostitution ring going, or at least he did for a while. Like I said, Jack Toland was his muscle; he 'helped get results.' Maybe I should've been scared of him, but I wasn't. I just didn't like him. I mean, he broke legs and who knows what else. What's to like?
Then one day we really just talked. It turns out we both have lousy parents, and Jack had it harder than me. His old man beat the crap out of him, until he got taken away at ten to foster care. According to Jack, some of the people were decent, but he was rebellious and went down a rough path. Fayed 'discovered' him at 17, and took him in. Don't get too choked up, it was hardly altruistic. He shined him up and put him to work. Jack felt like he owed him, and figured he was better off with a rich boss working the big leagues than some little punk nickel and diming it.
At first I wondered if Jack was feeding me some sob story to get into my pants, but the longer I got to know him, I realized he was a guy you could trust to be on the level. Maybe it was some of that 'bad boy' thing at work, but there was something about Jack himself that drew me in. You could tell he was into me too, even though he was a little wierded out about the age thing. But sometimes something's bigger than you, and you've got to go with the flow. We took it slow, since I was a virgin, and he didn't want to be the big bad wolf. But when it happened, it was worth the wait. I remembering cuddling with him afterwards, feeling like a kid in a candy store.
The next year and a half was awesome. As Mara put it, my happy face was on all the time. Well, almost all the time. There was a big, fat fly in the ointment. It was like Fayed owned Jack or something, and Jack was better than the crap he was doing. I mean, he was a good person, you know? This wasn't him anymore. It killed me watching him lose a little more of his soul every time his hands got dirtier. I never asked, but an idiot could tell I wanted him to get out. I mean, I all but drew him a picture with labels.
It took a lot of guts for him to go to the cops; I think it was the hardest thing he ever had to do. He did care about Fayed, since he felt like he'd be dead or in prison without our boss' 'help', but he knew that he had to do the right thing if he was ever going to be his own man. I never really thought about the risk. Stupid, huh? I mean, he was going to rat out a sociopath to the cops, and everything was gonna be peachy keen? I guess I just saw Jack as too tough to get into trouble he couldn't handle.
I don't know how Fayed figured out he was talking to the police, and I guess I never will. It was just a night like any other night. Mara was trying to stall bedtime, and wanted a glass of water. I went downstairs to get her one, and I heard the yelling. I didn't know what to think, don't remember being scared or not. I do remember not even connecting whatever Fayed was freaking out about to Jack being an informant. The guy had a temper; it could've been about anything.
I've never seen someone get killed before, never seen a dead body. It's not like on TV, it's not like anything I thought it was. One minute, Jack was standing on the living room carpet, the next he was lying on it. Fayed didn't see me, I didn't make any noise. I just stared, with that glass still in my hand.
The cops wanted to nail Fayed bad. The racketeering case went south, so they went after him for Jack's death. I knew Fayed probably had a team of fancy lawyers, that with his money, he could buy himself off the hook. I couldn't let that happen. I knew I was putting myself on the line, knew it would hurt Mara to lose me too, but Jack was somebody. He wasn't just some thug. He'd died because he was trying to start over, for me, for himself, for us. I couldn't let him down.
No one knew we were involved. Jack thought it would make me a target for the boss man, that he might think I knew too much. I wasn't ashamed I'd been with Jack, but people wouldn't take me as seriously if they knew the whole deal. I went to D.A. Josh Lindsay, and told him as much of the truth as I could. It was a classic 'wrong place at wrong time' scenario. It wasn't a lie, just the edited version.
He wanted to put me in a safe house, and I felt like I was in the Twilight zone. My boyfriend was dead, and I was going to be stuck in some rat hole with a bunch of strangers watching my every move. "You'll be safe," they kept telling me, and I bought it. I mean, I had to believe it or I'd go nuts. I was already climbing the walls, so it would have been a short trip into nutsville.
I mean, have you ever been in a safe house? Oh, it's great. You've got two cops with you all the time and they're as bored as you. Yeah, and there's helicopters flying around outside, so forget a good night's sleep. Nothing ever good's on cable and you can only read so many trashy tabloids before Paris Hilton and Britney Spears' crap gets real old. Sure, living in LA I've always kept up on celebrity dirt, but when you practically got your Masters degree on the stuff; you've really hit a low. You can't talk on the phone to anybody, and forget computer access. Seriously, I felt like the criminal, because I sure was in jail.
Don't get me wrong, the team was cool. It wasn't their fault this whole thing sucked. Officer Nagwa and Colden let me go into the stores once in a while, and that's where I bought the Home Pregnancy Kit. (Actually, I bought three, to be sure, you know?) I was late, plus I was puking my guts out, and the second month, I knew something was up. I stared at that little strip, wanting to scream. They heard me crying, but probably thought it was PMS or something, or maybe just the crappy situation.
I wanted to feel Jack's arms around me so bad, but he was dead and he'd never do anything again. I believe in heaven, so maybe he'd see his baby, but my baby would never know its daddy. I'd taken care of kids, and I'm pretty good with them, but that's not the same thing as being a mom. My mind went a million different places at once. Finally, I just had to block it out. I would have turned into a basket case otherwise. For now, I had to focus on getting Fayed behind bars.
By the time Mara's 8th birthday rolled around, it was almost over. I was going to testify soon. D.A. Lindsay kept telling me that I'd be his ace in the hole, that Jack's killer would go away for a very long time. It was something to hold on to, I guess. I wondered how I'd feel after. It's not like Jack be able to sweep me into his arms, and it'd all be a bad dream, even if Fayed did go down. Still, I couldn't live with knowing the smug bastard was free and clear, with Jack in the ground.
I twirled my foot in the boots Jack gave me, trying to figure out how to call Mara for her birthday. My babysitters would freak out if they knew I wanted to call the enemy's kid, so there was a no-go.
"Yeah, right," Officer Nagwa scoffed. "Let's tell the reporter all about the secret witness stashed away in a safe house." I guess the DA has this reporter girlfriend, and in the past, he slips her tidbits on cases, but this time, he's got to keep his mouth shut. Talk about a conflict of interest, but I guess even a lawyer's got to get laid.
"This place might be safe, but it's never quiet," I couldn't help but bitch. Nagwa ignores me, pretty into the card game they're playing, but at least Colden looks up for like a second. "What's up with all the helicopters?"
"Crime never sleeps," Colden retorts. Lame.
"So we can't either?" I shoot back, which get's a kind of smile out of Colden. Again, Nagwa spaces me out, like I'm room furniture or something. I remember the club down the street from last year, when Jack took me out dancing. Trying not to get sappy, I start joking around. "There's a good D.J. spinning down the street. Who wants to go clubbing?"
Colden's quick to be a kill-joy. "Let me just put my bling on." Yikes, I actually got a mental picture of that one.
I get an idea, and decide to put it in motion. "Fine. I'll just read my trashy tabloid…if someone remembered." Colden's got two teenage daughters, so he's usually the one to play step and fetch.
"Ye of little faith." He pulls out the folded up magazine, handing it over.
"Thank you, Officer Colden." Taking it, I lean over to kiss him on the cheek, discreetly slipping his cell phone out of the jacket pocket where he always keeps it. He really should mix it up once in a while; being a creature of habit can get you into trouble. I drop it in my pocket on my way to the bedroom, pausing in the doorway to make sure I'm not busted. "Night," I say innocently.
"Sleep well," Colden answers, both totally clueless.
Relieved, I dial Mara's number, sinking down onto the bed. Two rings and her sweet little voice is in my ear. "Hey, it's Leni. Can you talk?"
"Yeah," she squeals, on cloud nine. "You okay?"
"Bored stiff, but safe as can be," I reassure her. "Your birthday go okay?"
"I missed you. It's no fun without you." I can see her pouting, showing off that famous lip.
"Bet you got lot's of cool presents," I say, trying to cajole her into a better mood. "So, what'd you get?"
She rattles off a list about a mile long, but doesn't sound very excited. Her parents have been showering her with stuff since she was born, so I guess the appeal wore off at some point. She's a bright kid; she knows she's being bought, even if she doesn't understand what that means yet. And what she wants most is a little TLC, and they're fresh out of that. And now I'm gone. It was a rough deal.
I hear a knock at the front door, and stiffen. "Daddy was acting weird. He was running around, and yelling at the guys who work for him. He didn't even watch me open my presents." Yeah, he's too busy trying to get away with murder, I thought furiously, but held my tongue for her sake.
"I'm sorry, honey. I'll give you my present as soon as I see you," I promised. "I've got to go. I'm thinking of you, Mara."
"I'm thinking of you, too," she announced passionately, and I stifled a few stray tears. One thing that was a major bummer was that when this was all over, I wouldn't be able to watch her anymore. When she was older would she understand the reason I helped put her dad away?
I'd just picked up the magazine, when I heard the gunshots. I jumped off the bed, running on instinct just as the door got kicked open. I shoved my stuff into my old book bag from high school, every thought on the growing life in my womb. "Leni, take cover!" Colden shouted, barging in, pushing me out of the bedroom, and I knew what to do from the bazillion drills they'd made me do. "Go, go, go!"
Like in some movie, Colden exchanged gunshots with the assassin, (I think it was an assassin anyway) and I ran for the corner, protected by the walls. There was smoke in the air so thick it made my throat hurt, and Nagwa was dead on the floor, and I really didn't want to be next. When he got me some cover, Colden gestured for me to make a break for it. "Go, go, go!" You didn't have to tell me twice.
Please don't let me die, God. Please don't let my baby die, I thought as I ran for the stairs, not sure I was going to make it.