Chapter 5: Got One Hand Feel (on the Steering Wheel)
As I drove back to the Masterson's house, I tried to get the images out of my head. And it's not just the pictures that I just saw that are running through my head. It's the images from when I killed my aunt that are mixed in there as well. As I pulled to a stop in front of the house, all that I can think about is the look that will be on Jo's face when she finds out just how similar the two cases are. I know that she said that she was on my side for as long as I allowed her to be, but there was still a small part of me that believed that there was still a small part of her that thought of me as the lunatic freak that she no longer knew. Killing the engine of my car I had to force myself to think of something other than this copy cat murder. The first thing that popped into my head was an image of Jo in a beautiful white dress, walking down the aisle towards me with her arm looped through her dad's. I really hoped that Chief Masterson wouldn't be too mad about what we were going to tell him tonight.
"Are you going to come inside Danny?" Chief Masterson asked as he knocked on my window.
"Yes Sir. I just got caught up in my thoughts." I admitted as I took the key out of the ignition and got out of the car.
"Were you thinking about anything in particular?" He asked.
"This copy cat case Sir, it's making me doubt feelings that I'm usually 100% certain about." I said as we walked up to the front door.
"Feelings, huh? Would those be your feelings or Jo's feelings?" He asked.
"More hers than mine, but mine are in there as well." I admit with a sigh.
"Danny, I might not have been very fond of your relationship with my daughter when you got back last year, but I see the way that she looks at you; I see the way her face lights up at the mere mention of your name and how she sits up just a little bit straighter when you walk into a room. There is no reason to doubt Jo's feelings for you Danny. She loves you; I'm not sure why, but she does." He said as he put a hand on my shoulder and I turn to him. "I also see the way that you look at her. Most teenage guys your age would look at a girl that they are dating like she is a piece of meat that they can trample on or use for sex; but not you. You look at Jo like she is a person and it's a look of adoration and love. I have grown to like you again Danny, so don't hurt my daughter by letting doubts question how you two feel about each other." He added.
"Sir, please know that my intention back then was never to hurt Jo, or Lacey. I was trying to protect them. My aunt… I overheard her muttering to herself the morning that I killed her. She mentioned not leaving any loose ends. That the three of us would be dealt with and that she wouldn't have to worry about us being witnesses. All I could think of was making sure that Jo and Lacey weren't hurt by her. I didn't stop to consider that what I was about to do would be me hurting them. I hate that I left them traumatized. And I am doing everything that I can to make sure that that doesn't happen to Jo again." I said.
"I know. I never said that you intentionally hurt her; just be over aware of how your let your doubts interrupt your life." He said.
"Is there a way that I can make them not interrupt my life?" I asked.
"Don't think about them. Hold on to what you know and don't give them the option of interrupting your life." He said after a minute as he opened the front door and we walked in.
"Dad? Danny? Is that you?" Jo called out from the top of the stairs as I closed the door behind me.
"Yes sweetheart, it's us." Chief Masterson replied.
"I just got this text." She said as she rushed down the stairs.
As I came down the stairs I tossed my phone to my dad before putting my face to Danny's chest. I felt his arms go around me in a protective way and I started to cry. As my dad read the text to himself, I clung to Danny's shirt and I felt him tense up.
"Sir, what does that text say?" Danny asked.
"You don't want to know Danny." My dad replied.
"Yes Sir, I do. After graduation, Jo and I are leaving Green Grove and if there is someone out there that is threatening her, I need to know so that I can protect her." Danny said and I gasped. That was not how we were planning on telling my dad at all.
"When were you two going to tell me about this plan, exactly?" My dad asked.
"Tonight at dinner. Dad, please, just tell him what the text said." I pleaded with him.
"It is a threat on Jo's life. Here, read it for yourself." My dad said with a sigh as he handed my phone to Danny. I stare at the phone because I'm afraid to see Danny's face.
I'm coming for you next.
"You are not leaving my sight." Danny said as he held me as close to him as he could.
"Not all of our classes are the same though." I said in a small voice.
"And those classes are the ones that you have with Rico. I'll call him later. We'll meet up in between classes and make sure that the other one has you before we leave. No one is going to hurt you again Jo. I promise." Danny said as he pulled me in for a kiss.
I was shocked. Danny had just kissed me fully with my dad standing not 5 feet away. I wanted to pull away because my dad was standing there and it was weird to have him watching us kiss, but I couldn't. Danny wouldn't let me. However, something did cause us to pull apart, and surprisingly, it wasn't my dad. There was a loud knocking on the front door that did it.
"You two back up." My dad said and we moved towards the kitchen. "Who is it?" He called.
"It's Rico Sir. It's really urgent that I come in." Rico said through the door.
I look up at Danny and give him a confused look. School wasn't supposed to be out for another hour and a half and Rico wouldn't skip class for anything. I clung ever harder to Danny's shirt.
"Jo, baby, its okay. It's just Rico." Danny whispered in my ear as he rubbed my back gently.
"That's the thing Danny, it is just Rico. But he doesn't skip class for anything and there's still another hour and thirty minutes before school is out. Rico shouldn't be here right now." I replied. Apparently he hadn't understood the look I had given him.
"Come on in Rico." My dad said as he opened the door just enough for Rico to slide in.
"Oh thank god you're okay." Rico said before he walked over to me and pulled me into a hug.
"I just blacked out Rico. No damage done." I said slowly as I pulled away.
"No, I got a text during passing period. Here look." He said as he pulled his phone and showed it to Danny and me.
Say goodbye to your little friend. She's a goner.
"Dad, you have to do something." I said quickly as I clung to Danny again as a fresh wave of tears started to fall.
"Okay, none of you are going anywhere without a protective detail. Until this murder is solved, you three are going to have two detectives with you at all times." My dad said as he pulled out his phone and started to call the station. "Jo, where's your mother?" He asked.
"When Danny dropped me off earlier she said that she was going to get some tea going and suggested that I go take a nap, but she never came up to either a) give me tea, or b) let me know that the tea was ready. The text was what woke me up." I explained.
"I want all of you to stay together for a couple minutes. Do not answer the door for anyone. I'll be right back." My dad said and we all sat down on the couch.
"I'm really freaking out right now Danny." I said in a small voice.
"I know Jo, I am too. But your dad is going to take care of everything and we will be out of Green Grove in 9 months time and this will all be behind us." Danny replied.
"Take me with you, will you?" Rico asked off handedly.
"You really want to come with us Rico?" I asked him.
"Even when your dad does figure this out, I will be constantly worried about both you, I might not be as prepared to protect you as Danny is, physically anyway, but by being with you guys, I would know that you were safe and I would be able to rest easier at night." Rico said.
"I KNOW THAT YOU'RE IN THERE DESAI! COME OUT AND FESS UP!"
"What the hell is Lacey doing here?" I asked.
"I have no idea." Danny replied.
"What should we do?" Rico asked.
"We are going to do exactly what Chief Masterson told us to do; we are going to stay here and not to open the door for anyone." Danny replied. "Even if that person is Lacey." He added.
"Come on Desai, I can hear you talking. Just come out here and fess up to what you did and let this town live in peace again." Lacey called out as she continued to pound on the door.
"That is not happening Lacey. Danny didn't do anything." I called back.
"Stop being blind Jo. He's a serial killer and he needs to pay for the crimes that he has committed." Lacey replied.
"He did pay for the CRIME that he committed. He didn't kill Regina; he didn't kill whoever ended up dead this time; so leave him alone." I yelled.
"Jo, calm down." Rico said softly.
"Oh, I am as calm as I can be Rico." I commented.
"What is going on in here?" My dad asked as he came into the living room followed by my mom.
"Lacey is outside and is trying to get Danny to go outside and confess to the murder." Rico said quickly as Danny pulled me onto his lap.
"Lacey, you need to go home." My mom said going over to the door.
"I'm not leaving until he confesses to what he did." Lacey said and I could just see her folding her arms across her chest.
"Let me try an approach." Rico said as he got up and walked over to the door. "Lacey, it's Rico. You need to understand that this whole thing has gotten a lot bigger than Danny having killed someone in the past. Yes, it's possible that Danny could have done this, but think about it. What motive would he have to kill someone random that he has no connection to? Danny didn't commit this murder, some else did. And now, whoever did commit it is threatening Jo's life. So you need to come down off of your high horse and stop living in the past." Rico said.
"Let me in." Lacey demanded.
"No. The only people are allowed in this house are the ones that actually care about Jo and Danny. And you are not one of them." Rico said.
"Danny, say something, please. You haven't really said anything since she got here." I muttered.
"I don't know what to say Jo. It hadn't even occurred to me that Lacey might suspect me of this. I was just worried about what you thought of me." Danny replied.
"Danny, I don't like the fact that you doubt my feelings for you. It makes me think that you are insecure about our relationship." I said.
"I know, and it's bothering me too that I doubt your feelings this much, but you have to admit, I have good reasons to doubt them. I scarred you, emotionally, for the rest of your life and when I came back last year, you thought that I was a lunatic freak. You didn't trust me then, and I have given you a lot of reasons since then not to trust me, so it is hard for me sometimes to believe that you have such strong feelings for me." Danny admitted.
"Danny, I love you. Do you really think I would have suggested leaving Green Grove after graduation if I didn't?" I questioned.
"I was surprised that you wanted to leave. I know that when I came back, I had my reasons for not wanting to be here, but those reasons went out the window as soon as I saw Scott trying to get your shirt off at Regina's party. I knew that I had to stay so that I could protect you. It just never really clicked that you needed to leave Green Grove too." Danny said.
"Okay, enough negative talking. Rico, would you like to stay for dinner?" My mom asked.
"Yes please Mrs. Masterson. I would love that." Rico said.
"Okay, why don't you kids go upstairs are relax while Kyle and I start making dinner." She said and we all nodded.
"We'll get through this together Jo. Don't worry." Danny muttered in my ear as we walked up the stairs to my room with Rico following behind us.