Author's Note: I have always wanted to do a story like this one and I hope it turns out as wonderful on paper as it has in my mind and outline. I'm sorry to put my other Red Eye story on hiatus for now but I will return to it. I realize there are many stories like this one out there but hopefully my slightly different take on it should set it apart from the others. I don't own Lisa, Jackson or anyone else from Red Eye and I'm not making any money off of this. And please, don't forget to review!
Chapter One: The Escape
He had watched doctors, orderlies and cops waltz in and out of the secure hospital room for the last three weeks. He could tell by their gait, mannerisms but most of all, their eye contact which ones were legit and which one's were on the Agency's payroll. So when the guard changed at midnight the beginning of the fourth week and the officer walked into the hospital room with a steady gait and direct eye contact, Jackson was ready for him.
Three surgeries and his voice was still nothing more than a raspy whisper so saying anything was pointless. Besides, actions always spoke louder than words. He had more than enough time to lay in bed and replay the events on that red eye flight in his mind. He picked out mistakes that were made, words that should have been said and not said but most of all he thought of Lisa. Literally, the one who got away. But he had learned from her. When one of the interns had been thrown into the room to check vitals the other morning, Jackson had deftly slipped the pen from the doctor's clipboard.
The assassin looked down at him, his face hidden in the shadows. Not that it really mattered if it was a person he had called friend at one time, the end result would be the same. The guy sent must have been young, he just stood there, not moving. Perhaps he knew what was coming and who was Jackson to make him wait? With as much force as he could manage, Jackson swung his arm in the direction of the assassin's leg. He felt grim satisfaction at feeling the pen sinking into the muscle and wondered if that was what Lisa felt when she stabbed him. Disconnecting his Ivs (the police deemed him too weak for the need of handcuffs), he jumped out of the bed, wrapping the thin tubing around the assassin's throat and pulling it tight. It didn't take long for the man to slump to the floor.
Jackson landed on top of the assassin, trying to catch his breath. Lisa's bullet had missed all vital organs but hurt like hell. Joe Reisert's bullet had collapsed a lung and having a damaged windpipe didn't help with his winded condition. He hoped the wheezing sound he was making didn't alert any of the other guards or doctor's notice. He laid half on the body and half on the floor for a few minutes until his breath came back and thankfully no one came to investigate the slight commotion.
He rolled the assassin over and started stripping the police uniform off of them. The last thing he took off was the shirt and was surprised to see a bra underneath the crisp white material. No wonder they chickened out when faced with him. Women and their emotions…when was the Agency going to learn to never send a woman to do a man's job. Afraid that the clothes might not fit, he was thankful he had lost some weight during his stay at Miami General. The shirt buttoned but was still slightly snug. The uniform fit the same as the shirt, tight but passable.
Dressing the dead body in the hospital gown, he put her in the hospital bed, turned her head away from the door and pulled the blankets over her. His hair had grown slightly in the last few weeks and it was just enough to wet down with the plastic cup of water by the bedside and slick back like the assassins. He found the gun with the silencer on it and just in case someone was listening, he fired one shot into the body.
Jackson tucked the gun into the waist band of his pants, pulling the jacket over it. Taking a deep breath, he walked towards the door and past the two guards that were keeping watch. Neither one stopped him as he passed them and headed straight for the elevators. He was too afraid to notice if the guards were Agency or not. He assumed they weren't but had been paid off considering the way they let him walk away. The elevator doors slid open, revealing it to be empty.
Perhaps luck was on his side tonight.
He couldn't believe it when the moist night arm hit him in the face. Miami in March…go figure. He would be so happy to leave this city behind but he had some unfinished business first. He pulled out the flash light that was on the belt of the uniform and started shining it into the cars in the dark parking lot. He looked like a security guard looking for teenagers making out in back seats but what he was focused on was an unlocked car. He finally found one, a decent looking Honda near the back of the lot. Opening the door, he checked under the seat and floor mat for the keys but couldn't find them. Reaching up, he pulled down the visor and the keys fell into his waiting hand.
I never lie, Leese, he thought with sadistic glee as he pulled out of the hospital parking lot. He told her he would steal her if they both came out of the situation alive and now he was going to make good on that promise. It was actually frightening just how familiar the streets of Miami had become to him. Eight weeks of surveillance will do that, which is why the Agency never allows that much time to pass for routine surveillance. Whoever wanted Keefe dead wanted it badly, a thing that Jackson hadn't fully comprehended during those weeks of mind numbingly boring stalking that took place. Lisa Reisert was not a very social person which made watching her extremely dull.
But he knew what obsession was now and felt the inhuman drive of force that always went behind it. He felt like he had a Florida thunderstorm raging in his chest, flashes of memories followed by the deep rumble of emotion. The intensity of feelings surprised him just as much as the range of emotions. Along with the hate for her resolute will, betrayal at the damn pen in his neck there was also the thrill of flirting with her at the Tex Mex bar, enjoyment at acting normal. The thunderstorm felt like it was turning into a hurricane and Jackson had to focus on the rage and anger. They were the only reliable emotions.
It didn't take long before he pulled onto a very familiar street, in front of a very familiar building. Lisa's condo was the one on the second floor, she thought it would deter criminals from breaking in. Well, it didn't stop him during the final part of those eight weeks and it wasn't going to stop him now. He sat in the car, staring up at the single light on in the condo and fingered the bandage on his throat. He thought about killing her tonight, nice and quick and then get out of Miami. But he wanted her to suffer, he wanted to see her iron will bend and snap while he watched the fight go out those green eyes. He wanted her to know he won. After weeks in a hospital, all the sudden excitement and activity was leaving him drained. He would have to incapacitate her quickly and take her with him.
Rifling through the jacket pockets of the uniform, he found a badge. Perfect. He got out of the car and walked up the stairs to her front door, knocking sharply on her door. He kept his head down, looking off to the side and held the badge up to the peep hole when he heard movement on the other side of the door. He tried to calm his rapidly beating heart and tensed his muscles to strike. The door unlocked, the deadbolt slid back and it cracked open just enough for her look out over the chain that was her last defense.
Before she said anything, he kicked the door in with all his strength. He was rewarded with the door flying open and the sound of Lisa's body hitting the foyer floor. Quickly, he stepped through the door and shut it. Not wanting to under estimate her again, he pulled the handcuffs off his belt and secured her hands behind her back. There was a coat rack by the door with a trench coat hanging on one of the hooks. He pulled off the belt and tied it around her ankles before collapsing on the bench that was next to the coat rack.
His breathing was erratic, a pounding headache was making itself known and he was completely exhausted. Of course, that was what the Agency was depending on, him being too weak to make a successful escape. He would just have to prove them wrong…as soon as he caught his breath. While he did that, he studied Lisa. She was still dressed in her work clothes which meant she must have just gotten off work. That worked in his favor as no one would be looking for her for a few hours. That would be more than enough time to get out of the state, let alone Miami.
Once his breathing returned to normal, he headed into the kitchen. He didn't want to take the time to make a pot of coffee but he had to have some stimulate to keep him alert enough to drive and watch his back when Lisa came to. Opening the refrigerator he was pleased to find almost a full case of Red Bull. That should keep him awake for the fourteen hour drive ahead of him. He started pulling food out of the cabinets and throwing it into a bag. He still hadn't decided if he would kill Lisa before he got to New Orleans or when he got there. Everglades, bayous, they all made good body dump sites.
The next thing he needed was clothes. He knew from a previous rummage through her things that she kept a box of men's clothes in the small attic space on the second floor of the condo. It was really just a closet off of the living room but it was still for storage. When he first found the box it threw him and pushed him into a deeper background search. Lisa had a brother that had been killed in a car accident his sophomore year in college. The knowledge explained the clothes, male themed bedroom in her father's house and the super over protectiveness of said father.
Jackson found a duffel bag and threw a couple shirts and pants into the bag. Shoes were more problematic. The ones he pulled off the dead assassin were too small and Lisa's brother's were too big. Well, he'd rather have too big than too small. He traded the uncomfortable uniform for a pair of well washed jeans, t-shirt and v-neck pullover. After much digging through the box, he was rewarded with a pair of worn Birkenstock sandals. Stowing the uniform in the bag and tucking the gun into the waistband of his jeans, Jackson headed back down to the first floor.
Lisa was still on the floor, completely unmoving. He remembered it took her thirty minutes to recover from the head butt on the plane. Working with that time line, he still had fifteen minutes of blessed peace from the slip of a woman on the floor. Not sure of how long he would have her on his hands, he headed into her bedroom and randomly grabbed clothes and added them to the bag. Slinging it over his shoulder, he went back to the kitchen and picked up the bag with all the food. He looked at Lisa's prone form and realized if anyone saw her tied up in the backseat of his car the cops would be on him in no time. Grabbing a throw from the living room, he made the first trip down to the car that brought him there.
Making his way back up the stairs, he had to rest again. Exhaustion was pulling on him incessantly now. He wasn't even sure he had the strength to carry her down the stairs now. But he hadn't escaped an assassin's clutches, over powered his mark and had a car with more supplies than he normally dealt with to give up. Taking a deep breath, he bent over Lisa, expecting any type of attack possible but she was still out cold. When he picked her up, it was like his chest exploded in pain and he could hear himself wheezing again.
Silently, he urged himself to carry this through. He tried to bring up the old feelings of resentment and revenge but the pain was too much. It seemed to take forever to get her down the stairs but once he saw her lying on her side, covered with the throw, a sense of pride came over him. She looked like a weary travelling sleeping in the back seat. It had been so long since he had felt that emotion it took him a few minutes to realize that was what pride felt like. Sliding behind the wheel and making sure the child proof locks were in place on the back doors, he pulled out of Lisa's parking lot for the last time.
Two hours into the drive, Miami was definitely behind him. He had finished two of the Red Bulls and was feeling unnaturally animated now. He had heard Lisa moving around in the back seat but she hadn't said anything yet. She was most likely plotting how to kill him once and for all. Well, he'd let her plot all she wanted. He had searched and removed anything from the backseat that could be a possible weapon and the way she was tied up made mobility nonexistent. For now, he was safe from her.
There was a phone booth at the street corner in some deep south poverty stricken town that he pulled over and parked next to. The sun was starting rise on the horizon, orange and hot. It was still early morning at the beginning of March but the humidity was still hanging in the air making it seem warmer than what it was. Thankfully the call he was going to make wouldn't take long. He didn't even acknowledge Lisa as he got out of the car, pocketed the keys and walked over to the phone booth. Using quarters he found in the console of the car, he dialed a very familiar number. Three rings and an equally familiar voice came over the line.
"This better be good."
Jackson had to smile. "Remy, it's Jackson." The smile quickly faded at the sound of
his voice. It was gravelly, raspy and all he could manage was a whisper.
"Jackson," he tried again, louder though his vocal cords rebelled. "Rippner."
There was a pause. "Jackson! How the hell are ya? They letting ya make calls from the hospital and ya call me. I'm touched."
"Not in the hospital, Remy."
"Ah, I got ya." The Cajun chuckled. "Need a place, huh?"
"Just for a couple nights."
"You picked a good time, bud. Mardi Gras is starting tomorrow, you'll be coming in with the crowd. I'll save a room for ya." There was a slight pause. "Ya bringin' any, uh, guest with ya?"
"Yeah, I am."
"I figured. I'll take care of it. See ya later today?"
"Don't mention it."
Jackson hung up the phone and rubbed his sore throat. He glanced at the car and saw Lisa was sitting up in the back seat now, looking around. The pain this time brought back those feelings that comforted him in that hospital. Hate, disgust at both himself and her, anger and of course, revenge. Her head turned and he could see her eyes focusing on him. He kept his hand at his throat for a few heartbeats as they stared at each other. A grim smile made it's way on his face and he started back to the car.
Let the games begin, Leese.