“Speak,” Will said, accepting his momentary hatred for life.
“There was an ambush.”
“What the hell? What’s your status?” Will had to keep himself from just yelling “I hate you,” into the phone.
“Fairly stable. We’re at my place. Multiple injuries.”
“We’ll be there soon.” Will hung up. He watched Kieran for a few more seconds before pushing himself off the bench. His feet felt heavy as he walked over to Kieran.
They arrived near the docks an hour later, after dropping off Lia and Lilly at the house. Will went first, to make sure everything was okay. Kieran and Murphy waited in the car. When Will walked up to the door, the guards stepped aside wordlessly to let him enter. One of them opened the door. Will noticed the blood immediately, and heard the yells of pain from the men. He was greeted by Riley first, with Brennan in close pursuit.
“What the hell happened?” Will asked.
“Rileyhired a rat, sir,” Brennan responded, squinting atRiley.
“What were the events that took place Brennan? Don’t waste my time,” Will said, thoroughly annoyed.
“We were on our way to meet a big buyer in town, when we were blocked off on 34th. Fire fight ensued, but we were beaten. They took the goods and met the buyer. I have no idea how they knew about anything,” Riley explained. Will thought about it. 34thstreet was a small block on the outskirts of town, so it made sense to block them off there. This heist was well planned. Someone was leaking information. Will rubbed the bridge of his nose.
“Hold on,” he told them. Will poked his head back outside and gave the signal.
“Kieran’s here?” Riley asked, recognizing the signal. Will nodded in response, lost in thought. This was going to take a while. He took off his coat.
“Let me get that,” one of the men said to Will, taking his coat for him.
Will looked up at Riley and Brennan again. He noticed Brennan was looking him over, staring at Will’s injuries from the crash. But Brennan said nothing about it.
The noise level in the room dropped. Will didn’t notice it at first, but then the sudden change grabbed his attention. More than half the men in the room were staring at something behind Will. He turned around. Kieran had entered with Murphy.
It was understandable to Will why many of the men were staring. Most of them had never seen Kieran before. Most of them probably didn’t know Kieran was handicapped. But most of all, Kieran’s presence seemed to demand attention anywhere he went… so Will wasn’t surprised.
Riley and Brennan shook hands with Kieran, and then Will quickly told Kieran what had happened.
“Let’s go to my office,” Brennan suggested, noticing his men were distracted by the boss. They nodded and followed Brennan into his room. Brennan closed the door while the other men sat down. Brennan sat behind his desk, sifting through some papers.
“I was telling Brennan how maybe we should consider the possibility that this was devised by the same person who sold out warehouse 7,” Riley told them.
“Seems a little far-fetched,” Brennan interjected.
“I agree with Riley,” Kieran spoke. Silence followed.
“Then we have to get to Martha Flannery immediately,” Will said.
“The people who carried this out, and the person who gave them the information are probably two different affiliations as well,” Riley said. “A double agent wouldn’t expose his identity to us and participate in this. You would’ve recognized him,” Riley said to Brennan.
“Maybe… There was a lot going on.”
“Can you tell us anything? Any details about the guys who did this?” Will asked.
“Let’s see…” Brennan said, frowning in concentration. “Some of them were masked. But there was one guy who had a tattoo on his face!” Brennan said loudly, the memory hitting him.
“What did it look like?”
“It was kind of swirly-looking. Looked like some weird symbol on his left cheek.”
Will’s stomach turned. He dropped his head onto Brennan’s desk in front of him. Murphy, Brennan and Riley looked at each other, confused. Kieran leaned over to one side of his chair and rested his head on his hand. Will was afraid of something like this.
“What is it?” Murphy asked softly.
“It’s Ad Hoc,” Will said. “One of the top men in Ad Hoc is named Trevor Dodson. He has the tattoo you describe.”
“Someone tipped off another gang?” Brennan asked.
“Yes. Someone wants us to engage,” Will said wearily.
“They must’ve known we would have to engage! They’re asking for it,” Brennan said. Will and Riley shot each other a look. Brennan was an idiot.
“It’s not them we’re worried about,” Will explained. “Think about it.Whywould someone want to start a gang war?”
“But what happens if we don’t retaliate?” Murphy asked. They were all silent.
“We can’t be broken that easily!” Will said, feeling the mood in the room shift towards violence. “We’ll just be giving them what they want.”
“But they should know better than to engage us. They must think we’re weak,” Riley said, thinking out loud.
“We’re not children! We can’t give them the reaction they want.”
“But we can’t ignore this, or we’ll be walked on.”
“You’re all correct,” Kieran said. “We have to send them a sign. We have to send them a warning.”
* * *
Monica was on the phone. Dan was nearby. They were both standing on the roof of Dan’s apartment building, and Monica was standing up against a wall to avoid the wind, while talking to Trevor Dodson. She was surveying her nails as she was speaking to him. Dan was standing near the edge of the building, overlooking the lights of the city. His hands were in his pockets, and he was trying not to listen to the ongoing conversation behind him. Dan didn’t want to give any more information about his brother’s whereabouts, since he didn’t want his brother to be physically hurt. Dan also didn’t know exactly where Will was, but he did know where Brennan’s hideout was, which was where Monica guessed he was, along with Kieran and some of the other high-standing men.
Monica was beginning to get angry at Trevor.
“You idiot! Do you have any idea how rare this opportunity is?” Monica yelled into the phone.
“I think one act of violence is enough for one day,” Trevor responded.
“No. It won’t be enough!”
“The man leading the operation looked pretty pissed, lady. The war will probably start tonight.”
“You are a weakling, you dumbass. If you want to win this war, which you expressed to me as an objective, than you must listen to me. It’s no wonder you aren’t higher in the ranks,” Monica said disdainfully.
“Shut up you b—h!” Trevor responded.
“No you shut up, you ball-less bastard. They won’t begin a war that easily. I know them better than that. You have to do this as well. Because right now it sounds to me like you want to start this war, but not win it… Have to be ruthless to win.”
“You wouldn’t understand. There’s a code to these things, chick.”
“F–k the code!” Monica yelled. “Do it. Or I’ll sell you out to your men and your boss. What will they think about this?” She heard him sigh on the other end of the phone line. Monica could sense he was beginning to break.
“It’s wrong, even for this business. But I have no choice I guess,” Trevor said. Monica smiled.
“Good. Do it. I already forwarded you the address. Call me when it’s over.”
Monica hung up the phone. Dan was now smoking a cigarette, the smoke being blown around by the wind. After he was done, they went down into his apartment.
“What’s going to happen, Monica?” Dan asked.
“They’re going to do it.”
“The shooting. It’ll start the war for sure.”
“You better watch out, girl. You’re walking a thin line. You might end up completely destroying the empire you want to take over.”
“It won’t be much, Dan. Just a little sign to the leaders.”
“And Will? He’s there?” Dan asked with a frown. Monica had been looking at herself in the mirror. She turned to face her lover.
“He won’t be harmed,” she said aggressively, trying to reassure Dan. It didn’t work.
“You can’t guarantee that! You have no control over them. I can’t let this happen to him, he’s still my brother!” Dan said, grabbing his coat and heading for the door.
“Dan, stop!” Monica yelled, running over to grab his arm. He shrugged her off.
“If you do this, I’ll have to take measures you won’t like,” Monica said sinisterly.
“Like what?” Dan said, finally stopping. Her tone had hooked his interest.
“You might give away my position by warning them. I’ll have to take measures accordingly. I might have to do something to your brother.”
“Don’t you dare!” Dan snarled, turning around and grabbing her shoulders. She was taken by surprise as he pushed her against a wall.
“Get off of me!” Monica yelled.
“Don’t hurt him.”
“Then don’t do anything stupid.” There was silence in the room for a long while. Dan was thinking things over.
“Fine,” he said eventually. “But I’m going to watch. I have to make sure he’s okay.”
“And if he’s injured?”
“If he lives, I’ll stay in the shadows. No one will ever know.”
“It’s risky, Dan.” Monica still didn’t like his plan.
“But I have to go. I just have to make sure.” The resolve in his eyes told Monica she was unable to stop him.
“If you do anything to jeopardize my mission…” She didn’t even have to finish her sentence. Dan pushed his lips against hers, still pinning her to the wall. Then he was gone. Monica still had hers eyes closed from the kiss. It had made her hot. She walked over and reapplied her lipstick, realizing it would really s–k if she had to punish Will. Monica had actually grown fond of Dan Reedus.
* * *