"It's creative! It happened to be a creative plan!" I yelled at my brother as we stood with Greenly and Duffy on the mechanical platform slowly lowering us down the outside of the Prudential building toward the fortieth floor.
"Fuckin' ridiculous! Probably based on some stupid shit ya saw in a movie. And here I am again, all tyin' myself up with fuckin' rope! What is the deal with you and the fuckin' rope? Honestly?" Murphy interrogated as we waved a bundled up coil of the rope in my face.
"It happened to be a very useful thing, so shut it!" I demanded, annoyance at my twin boiling inside me.
"You didn't get this from a movie, did you?" Duffy asked me with a worried tone. Murphy raised his eyebrows in a silent command for me to come clean.
Keeping one of my hands in my pocket, touching the lucky velvet box for reassurance, I finally admitted the truth. "The Eiger Sanction with Clint Eastwood. It worked like a charm fer him!"
Greenly and Duffy cussed and groaned at my response while Murphy pointed at me accusingly. "I fuckin' knew!"
Before I could retort back to him, the platform below our feet groaned along with a beeping sound coming from the controls. After it shook violently for a few seconds, it stopped moving entirely.
"What the fuck did ye do?" I turned in Greenly's direction, glaring at him.
"I don't know. It just stopped." The detective threw his hands up in surrender and defeat.
"Well, fuckin' get it goin' again!" Murphy yelled, aggravated at the situation.
"It won't come on! It just died!" Greenly shouted at both of us as he began messing around with the controls to get the platform reactivated. "Come on, you piece of shit!"
Murphy and I looked over the railing, down the long falling distance to the busy streets below us. "How much time? How much fuckin' time?!" I yelled to the detectives, desperate to know when we needed to get into Yakavetta's main room. Romeo's life depended on it.
"Sixty seconds." Duffy concluded, staring at a timer he pulled out of his pocket.
"No, we need to go right now!" Murphy argued, pointing both of his fingers in emphasis down to the long ways down below us.
"If we're even a few seconds late, Romeo's dead." I told them worriedly. We needed to improvise now… "Alright, we've got about thirteen floors."
"Eleven more. Ballpark it!" Murphy suggested, gathering up my black rope in his hands.
"That's about fifteen feet per floor. We need…one-sixty-five. Count it up in fives!" I started sending the end of my portion of rope hang over the edge of the platform, gesturing for Murphy to follow my lead. "Five, ten, fifteen…"
"This is retarded!" Greenly complained behind me.
"Fuckin' Eiger Sanction." Murphy growled at me as he sent his rope down the edge.
"Shut it and concentrate!" I ordered, letting my alpha male leader instincts take over. "Twenty-five…"
"You guys can't do this! Are you fuckin' crazy?" Greenly asked us, leaning on the controls of the platform.
"Time!" Murphy shouted as we positioned ourselves at the edge, preparing to jump.
"Jesus Christ! Seven seconds!" Duffy warned us. My brother and I locked eyes with each other and nodded, assuring one another that we'd make it through this alive. "Six…five…four…three…two…ONE!"
I took a deep breath and let my fingers lose their grip on the precious velvet box that lay securely in my pocket. I'll make it back to ya soon, Danielle…
With one final burst of internal faith, my brother and I braced ourselves and jumped…
It had now been three hours since Connor and Murphy left my house for the Prudential Building. Since I was unable to do much except pray for their safety, I kept the pleading words in my heart from the second they walked out my front door.
To me, it seemed that Connor and Murphy were out there for the hundredth time, risking their lives to kill evil men. My kids had just been through a car accident and I had just been informed about it through the hospital. If I had learned one thing from that horrible experience, it was that I wasn't going to take another day for granted again.
Now, I sat on my couch with the girls asleep on each side of me, watching the evening news tell of the crime scene on the fortieth floor of the Prudential. Apparently, the boys were successful and I was grateful for them to be able to make it back to the girls.
As I felt Delilah stir beside me, my cell phone vibrated in my pocket. Expecting to see the number of Connor's burner cell on the small screen, I was surprised and relieved to see Eunice's name instead. I answered immediately.
"Hello?" I asked in a soft voice, trying to keep quiet.
"Hey, Dani. Is this a bad time?" Her southern accent flowed through the speaker of my phone.
"No, what's up?" I sat up slowly, listening intently.
"I just wanted to tell you that I'm on my way over. There's something about Ottilio Panza that I think you need to know." A worried tone crept into her usually confident voice.
"Yeah…yeah. You're always welcome over." I answered, feeling that sick sensation of fear as I put my free arm around Delilah's sleeping form.
Eunice arrived at the house around twenty minutes later. When I opened the front door for her, she seemed frazzled, in some kind of baffled state I'd never seen her in before. The girls lay dead asleep on the couch, so we had to keep our voices to a whisper.
"Are you okay, Eunice? Did something go bad with the investigation?" I asked her, leading her into the dining room to make her some coffee.
"No, sweetie. The actual investigation went just dandy. But that bastard, Agent John Kuntsler, relieved me of all obligations to it." She took off her light brown pea-coat and set it onto one of the kitchen chairs at the dining table. "Didn't stop me from figuring it out, anyway. Those boys were successful, you can be damn sure of that." She smiled, her brown eyes twinkling with pride, before dimming out as if she remembered something else. "The strange thing is that one goon named Jimmy Green who survived the shoot-out told me of someone else involved, only it was Yakavetta who was working for him. Green called him the Old Man, or the Roman. I know it sounds weird, but it feels like our mystery ghost to me."
"So, you think Panza was working for this Roman guy the whole time?" I asked, trying to keep the shivers from going up my spine.
"Its possible, Dani, but I don't think its anything for you to be worrying about. The Saints have been cleared now."
"Well, what's the plan? Because Connor and Murphy aren't going anywhere until either the cops get Panza, or they do." I folded my arms across my chest in stress.
"There's nothing I can really do for the case, now that Kuntsler's kicked me off. But, trust me, Dani. You shouldn't trouble yourself with this. Neither me, the Saints, or Smecker's trio of detectives are gonna let anything happen to you or the girls." She placed her hand on my shoulder in a comforting sign. I mentally pushed my worried thoughts away and came up with a retort for Kunstler's actions towards my friend.
"Yeah, if I had been there, Eunice, I would've put Kuntsler in his place. Why would he suspend you? You're one of the most brilliant people I know."
"I don't know why, honey. Maybe he's jealous, or just plain chauvinistic. He doesn't think a woman should be so smart to comprehend all this complicated FBI crap."
"Well…all I can say is…fuck him. He doesn't know what the hell he's doing." I walked back into the room, expecting to see Eunice following me. When I turned around, I saw her staring at the vase of flowers at the center of the table.
"Well, I'll be damned. These are lovely, Dani. Where did these come from?" She gestured over to the centerpiece as she followed my lead into the living room.
"Umm…I'll just say that Connor and I have been making progress since he and Murphy have been staying here." I sat on the recliner while Eunice sat herself down gently on the couch next to my sleeping daughters.
"So…have you two…you know…" She trailed off at the end of her half-question.
"No, we've been very careful about that, especially with the girls around. In fact, Connor isn't even allowed in my room. He only went in once and was to carry me to bed when I passed out cold on the couch the other night. Connor hasn't asked for anything physical from me. He only wants to show how much he cares for me and the girls."
"I reckon he and Murphy adore these two angels." Eunice reached down and brushed a piece of light-brown hair off of Isabella's forehead.
I smiled, thinking about my obvious answer when my cell phone began vibrating. Reaching into my pocket, I answered eagerly when I recognized Connor's number. "Hello?"
"Dani…hey, is this a bad time, love?" His deep voice sounded from the other end of the line.
"No, are you guys okay?" I tried to keep the growing anxiety out of my response.
"Yeah, we're all fine, darlin'. I…I was wondrin' if ya could bring the girls over to Doc's in a bit. It's fer somethin' special." I could practically hear the smile growing on his face as he kept me wondering about what was going on.
"Okay, I'll be over there soon." I hung up after he said goodbye and promised that it was all over and Yakavetta was dead.
I gently woke up the girls and told them that their father had a surprise for us waiting and Grandpa Doc's. Eunice left shortly after, saying she needed to catch up on some updates on the Panza case at the precinct. They were nearly jumping up and down with excitement as we drove down the streets of Boston to witness what the Saints had planned for us.
About half an hour after I had called Dani, asking her to meet us at Doc's, she arrived with our daughters, her adorable Red Sox cap perched on her head. The girls immediately ran from their mother and right into mine and my brother's arms.
"Daddy!" Delilah smiled with a grin very much like Dani as I lifted her up to hold her close. "I missed you." She laid her head onto my shoulder as I sat down on a nearby barstool.
"Aye, we missed you girls, as well." Murphy held Izzy up and planted a raspberry kiss on her cheek. The little girl squealed and giggled.
"Uncle Muffy, that tickles!" She cried out in happiness as her uncle sat down on another barstool next to me.
"Oh, lass, ya haven't even seen me begin to tickle ya." Murphy growled playfully as he rose up his hand toward his niece and attacked her stomach with his curled fingers.
"Ahhh! Daddy, save me!" She was laughing so hard she could barely get her words out.
As she continued her laughter, Delilah slid down from my lap and went to unzip the backpack she had brought with her. From my peripheral vision, I saw Dani smile at me and head for the ladies bathroom.
"Daddy, did you know that Izzy's favorite toy is her jumpy wope?" She pulled out a long, purple jump-rope toy from the bag and held it up to show me.
"Dee, that's my toy!" Izzy scrambled out of Murphy's arms and leaped down to the ground, her blue eyes alight with disapproval. "You don't even like my wope!"
"I was showing it to Daddy, Izzy." Dee tried to defend herself, planting her feet on the ground. "Why do you like the dumb wope, anywho?"
Murphy and I turned to stare at one another in astonishment.
"'Cause I like it! Now give it back!" Izzy marched up to her sister and pulled at one end of the rope, trying to wring it out of her sister's grasp.
"Girls, now, now. Ya don't wanna upset yer ma before I give 'er me special surprise, would ya?" My tone of voice was gentle, but held some air of fatherly sternness, which felt completely new to me.
"No, we don't." They both answered at the same time, loosening their grips on the rope.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out the back velvet box. The girls dropped the rope to the floor and walked to me eagerly to see what I held in my hand. Their eyes widened in curiosity as I lifted up the lid and revealed the ring I picked out for their stunningly gorgeous mother. It was surely small enough to fit around her slender finger, with tiny pieces of green emeralds embedded in the center.
"I'm gonna ask yer ma to marry me." I smiled at my daughters as they grinned back at me in delight.
"Yay!" They both cheered, grabbing one another's hands and hopping around in a circle excitedly.
Murphy whistled in congratulations while Doc smiled quietly from his seat across from the bar, wiping some glasses with a cloth. The girls continued rejoicing when I noticed Doc starting to turn his head away and opened his mouth to release his two favorite involuntary words. My brother and I leaped down from our bar-stools and planted our hands over the girls' ears just in time before they could hear.
"FUCK! ASS!" He yelled out as we held our hands firmly over the girls' innocent ears. We all had a good laugh then, not even aware of the hell that was about to break loose around us.
AN: I know, this chapter is disappointing, but the action is about to start really soon. Please review, if you can. Also, does anyone have any actresses in mind who'd be able to portray Dani…?