The hands held her throat tightly, squeezing the life out of her. She knew she was going to die, not that it mattered. The man who was killing her was medium height and chubby. At appearance, he looked like he was in his fifties or sixties, his head was balding and his dark brown hair had consistent strands of grey streaks. His face was wrinkled from what looked like worry or hard work. His eyes, the most surprising feature of his whole face, were a grey that stared deep into a persons heart or soul and transferred radiance and positivity. The man looked like a good person, like someone everyone would trust. Hard to believe he was a crazed killer.
A woman stood to the side of her. Her hair black and long, wicked but slick. Her eyes wild and crazed but seductively manipulative. Her skin was smooth and young. From her face, one would guess she was in her thirties or forties, but the woman's smooth and young skin would indicate early to middle twenties.
She knew the woman who was standing there, watching the killing, the sacrifice as they called it. But it was not a sacrifice, it was an act of revenge. Bittersweet revenge, which was as cold as Arctic ice. The woman showed no regret or remorse for the terrible act being committed by her partner in crime, the man with the innocent eyes. The woman was just as driven, if not more.
It was hard to tell who was actually calling the shots. Was it the man with his hands around her neck? Or was it the woman who stood watching, making sure that the job was done to her satisfaction. What she knew was that the man sitting on the bench was not calling the shots. He was simply hired help.
The man on the bench held his cell phone in hand. Though the ringing in her ears, do to the lack of blood circulation and oxygen in her head, had prevented her from hearing what he was saying. Not that it mattered. She knew what he was saying. He was reporting the crime. That was his job, to be the witness in a crime, or a frame, to be more accurate.
The witness probably didn't describe the killer the way she saw him. According to the witness, the killer was a little younger, a lot stronger, with dark eyes and hair, and a dangerous past.
She was the supposed killer's "fiancé", the woman he was to marry. Except the marriage will never come about. She will be dead and he will be in jail. No one would care that he was innocent of the terrible deed. The way the state of New York would see it, the man's nothing more then an ex-mob boss. The evidence will prove him guilty. He'd had no alibi, because that has been arranged. And he will have motive, which was also arranged by the real killers.
Why did the killers want to frame a man innocent of that crime? She truly didn't know. All she was informed off was that the reason was revenge. Revenge for what? What had the man done to piss off these people? In all honesty, the man's gangster past might be the reason, but she had her doubts. Her instincts told her otherwise. Her instincts told her the revenge was painted in blood, a brutal murder repaid with murder.
From what she had known, the ex-gangster hadn't killed anyone in over three years. He had avoided mob wars and he hadn't ratted on any of his rival mobs. And for a while now, the man has been involved only in legitimate businesses and had been crime free.
From what information she had gathered, this wasn't mob related. Lorenzo Alcas was being framed because of some other reason. Too bad the courts won't think of that. Too bad the courts will buy into the story that he killed his fiancé because she lied about her pregnancy to trap him into marriage. Too bad the truth will never come to the surface. Too bad that the only time that Lorenzo Alcas was actually innocent, he will be proven guilty.
The knocking got lauder and more aggressive.
Turning in his bed, Lorenzo Alcas was no longer able to ignore the pounding on his door. Groaning and moaning, he rubbed his eyes and got out of bed.
"Coming!" he shouted as he put on a robe. "Jo, get the door, please."
But Jo didn't answer. He glanced at the bed she realized she was gone.
Maybe she hadn't heard him? Or maybe he should get the door himself? Lorenzo walked out of the room and walked into the large living room. No sight of Jo, but he could see the coat rack which was near the front door, and Jo's leather jacket was gone. Maybe she locked herself out?
He walked across the room and opened the door. "Did you forget..." he cut himself off when he saw the faces on the other side.
Two young men stood there. One was Hispanic, and he was the one doing the talking, though Lorenzo wasn't paying any attention to what was being said.
"....under arrest for the murder of Joanna Monelli."
"Wait? What?" Shock spilled over him like an ocean wave over fishes in the waters. There had to be a mistake. Jo can't be dead. They had to have this all wrong.
"Hands behind your back." The other man said. Lorenzo didn't know either cop, but the one talking now he recognized as someone he knew. Not sure how he knew the man, he just knew he had seen that face before somewhere. The hair was black, same as the eyes. He looked Italian, young, and tall. He was lean and muscular and strong looking.
The medium high, dark curly haired Latino officer held a pair of handcuffs and was already behind Lorenzo. As he slapped on a cuff on one wrist, Lorenzo felt sudden fear. This was really happening. They really did come to arrest him. But why? Joanna's murder? Who would want to kill her?
"You have the right to remain silent..." the tall cop said and suddenly Lorenzo remembered where he knew the man from.
"What's you're name, again?" he asked to make sure.
"Officer Lucas Gallandges."
The same man, he realized. The man that had caused his family so much pain. The man who was semi-responsible for his and his wife's divorce. The man who was responsible for his daughters lack of trust in men. With his free hand, Lorenzo punched the guy in the jaw. He knew it was wrong, but boy it felt good.
"Hey," the Latino cop yelled as he grabbed Lorenzo's free hand and slapped the other half of the cuff on it.
The hot shower had relaxed her, the hair dryer had perfected her hair, and the tasteful make-up had made her into a beautiful mob princess.
She was beautiful. She was smart. She was strong. She was independent. But, she was also lonely. Ginger Alcas was damaged goods, a leftover meal, and a bird with broken wings. And those wings never healed, and probably never will. Though beautiful, smart, rich, and independent, she felt hollow inside.
She was wallowing in her misery when the phone rang.
Grabbing the black receiver, she plastered a fake smile on her face which was the only way she knew off to hide the misery from her voice. If she smiled, she could fake happiness even through her voice. After pressing the talk button and putting the receiver to her ear, she said, "Hello?"
"Hi, honey," her father's voice rang into her ear. He sounded tired, and sad. Maybe he had just woken up? She wanted to believe that, but a bell inside her heart rang and instinct told her something was wrong. Not that she ever listened to her instincts, that was her best friends M.O. Ginger was a true logics girl, not wasting any of her time on inner feelings and hunches. Maybe that was her scientific nature, at least that was the lie she had forced herself to believe, but the truth was her inner feelings consisted or pain and guilt. Guilt over something she had done, something no one knew about. Something that her instincts told her will bite her on the ass. Maybe that was the reason for not listening to her inner voice?
"What's up?" She lingered towards the sliding door to the terrace and opened to vertical blinds. The light shined into the spacious room. Mysterious shadows formed on the dark pillows on the couch.
"I need to see you right now."
Rather often her father had called her to ask for her arrival at his house. So it was no surprise to her. Automatically, she said, "I'm on my way."
There was a short pause, then he spoke, "I'm not home."
Her heart sank to her toes as she suspected trouble. He was always home at this hour in the morning. So if he wasn't home, something was up. Ginger remembered of Joanna's pregnancy and the pains she had been experiencing lately. "Is everything okey? Where are you?"
"I'm in the police station," he said as Ginger grabbed her purse. "I've been arrested."
Ginger Alcas walked into the small interrogation room where her father, Lorenzo Alcas, sat by a large steel table. The business man and ex-mob boss said, "They think they have something on me."
She walked over to his side and carefully sat down on the table, "What do they have?"
Lorenzo Alcas was a mob boss for some time, that was until the NYPD started moving in and took down two of his enemies. After multiple attacks and arrests, the New York mobs moved down to other states or vanished completely. For some time now, like a year or so, the Alcas family has been crime free and one hundred percent legitimate. He still had money from his crime days, and the money had kept him financially secure. Now that he was a crime-free citizen, there were no longer any attacks on his family and no more stressful interferences from different law enforcement agencies.
Twenty-four year old Ginger sat and thought of what could the cops possibly have. The Alcas mob was always good at what they did when they did it. They would never leave incriminating information. For more then twenty years, the police have tried to put Lorenzo and his right hand man, Lotus Juarez, away for life, but each time they were unsuccessful. Each time either the evidence would disappear or it would be concluded that the evidence was acquired illegally thus making it that Lorenzo was often arrested but never convicted.
"It's not mob related." Lorenzo looked down. His jet-black hair fell to his sides in waves caused by sleep and he raised his cuffed hands to hold his head. He was depressed and scared, and the man was never scared. The mob violence has made him stone hard, but his family made him into a soft puppy. Ginger was the same way. Normally, she has as hard and sparkly as a diamond, always spunky and sneaky. But the Ginger no one saw was as damaged as a rose, only strong while it was in the ground, but as soon as you pick it the bloom dries and dies never to be reborn again.
Ginger's green eyes narrowed. "What is it? What did you do?" she asked in disbelief.
"They think I killed someone," he said looking up at her, staring into her deep green eyes awaiting for a judgement. He had never really discussed the mob violence with his children, Brian and Ginger, but now it seemed like it was the time for a change. Though he knew very well that Ginger knew violence and pain firsthand. He tried to block off that knowledge and try not to remember that bloody night which he pretended he didn't know about but in truth he knew all too much, and it hurt him. It hurt him most to know that he didn't prevent what he could have, and it made him guilty to know that his family had suffered. And now it seemed like his family will suffer again. And once again he had found out the truth all too late. It was always too late.
"And did you?" Ginger hoped it would be a no but she still had to ask. She felt her wavy red hair raising off her head in a nervous gesture as she awaited his response.
"No!" He shouted looking at her. "But Joanna's dead."
Her right hand flew over her mouth as the shock sank in. "What?" She got up from the table and walked over to one of the chairs and sat down. She had to admit, Joanna and she didn't get off to a good start. It could have been because they were almost the same age. Ginger's soon to be stepmother was only a few years older then her, which didn't make her confident or happy to know that her father was fucking a bitch that young. But ever since Joanna announced her unexpected pregnancy, Ginger felt herself soften to the woman whom she had slapped and kicked a handful of times.
Ginger wasn't a violent person, but Joanna Monelli had always brought out the worst in her. It seemed like she purposely provoked the red head in order to cause a cat fight. But there was something else about Joanna that had triggered her hatred, something she could point out and therefore, Joanna died without Ginger ever finding out what had really caused her to hate the woman. Hate until Joanna showed a little piece of humanity that had seemed to make Ginger suddenly like her in a slight way.
"Someone called in saying they witnessed a murder. When the cops arrived and found Joanna's dead body, they took the witness down to the station, showed him a mug shot of me along with a few other mobsters, and he identified me," Lorenzo said in a low tone.
"Do you want me to defend you?"
Ginger had finished law school quite recently and had only been an employee of a law firm where she was pushed around and reduced to being the lunch lady. She was never called upon to appear in the courtroom or to get interviews or to represent someone. Everyone had seen her as an amateur and had never felt compelled to give her a chance. And she was dreaming about a day where she would be proving somebody innocent in a legal representation. Though she had never envisioned she would ever represent a family member, she did feel compelled to give it a try, if only she could convince her father that she's capable of the job.
Lorenzo was silent a moment and his eyes showed discouragement and a hint of pain. "I'd love to, but I don't think you're ready for a case like this."
Wasn't that a nice answer? It sounded nice, but Ginger knew that what he really meant was that he wanted somebody who knew what the hell they were doing.
She loved her family and would never deny that, but Ginger also hated the annoying distrust they had in her. They always tried to shield her from bad things. It seemed like they were unaware of that she's a grown up and that she had to be given a chance to succeed. "Please, give me a chance."
"It's a difficult case, Ginger. I don't think you can handle the drama of it. Besides, you're a part of a law firm, don't you get any cases there?"
"No," she snorted as she said it. "The only thing I'm good for is ordering lunch. They don't even let me go to interviews. They think I lack experience, just like you do."
"I didn't say that. I was just saying how this type of case would be hard and stressful for you. Besides, DA Morrison would eat you up and spit you out. He's nasty, and you're not ready for that type of treatment."
"So why did you call me here?" She asked impatiently. Obviously, if her father had not wanted her to represent him, he would have used his one phone call to call an attorney and then that attorney would have informed the family of the arrest. That way, nor she, nor Brian would feel that he was favoring one or the other for using his one phone call on that person. She had really hoped he would hire her for the case. It wasn't about the money she could earn, and it wasn't about representing family, it was about finally feeling like she was useful to some degree. And yes, it was about family.
"I called you so you could call the attorney I intend to hire."
"Why didn't you call him yourself?"
"I can't. It's a long distance call. That attorney lives in Chicago and she's represented a lot of mobsters, a few government officials, and even celebrities. She's brilliant. I think she might be the only one who could possibly win this case. You could find her phone number in my phone book. Her name's Constance Wilth."
Her father didn't see how smart she really was. While his request was that she go to his house and call that attorney, she intended to do something else. She would go to his house as asked, but she would do something else instead. She intended to go through Joanna's stuff to see if maybe she had someone who hated her enough to kill her. Or maybe her father had someone who hated him enough to get rid of him. What she was thinking was different from what she had been taught in law school. Normally, a person would think that someone killed Joanna for some reason and maybe Lorenzo was the accidental suspect. Or maybe, according to her mind, someone wanted him gone but killing him would have raised an investigation as for framing him would be a fool proof way to get rid of him without any stressful or life threatening consequences. She could be right, Ginger realized, but what if she's really as incapable as everyone seemed to think. Never the less, she had to do what she wanted to.
Slowly and nervously, she stood up and walked towards the door leading out. "I'm not gonna call that attorney. I'm representing you, and don't argue with me," she said as she opened the door.
"Oh, God. I'm gonna rot in jail," she heard her father murmur but ignored it as she knew it wasn't intended for her to hear. Instead, she walked out the door.
Out of the interrogation room, Ginger glanced around the police station at the familiar faces. She recognized most of the cops and disliked them all. But none of them were as bad as Lucas Gallandges, him, she hated. Luckily for her, Lucas was nowhere to be seen. She pulled herself together so the cops couldn't see her broken inside and scared for her family. She searched inside for her spunk and lingered over to the gray-haired and fat district attorney who always spend his time in the police department, he even had his own desk there. Luckily, the basted's office was in the court building.
"So Dick, you lazy ass, which of your little boys are you putting on this case?"
"It's Richard," District Attorney Richard "Dick" Morrison said. She hated him too.
Dick looked around the room in deep search and suddenly his grey eyes landed on a young cop who just walked into the station.
Ginger glanced in his direction and saw Lucas walking over to them. Lucas was over six feet tall and absolutely handsome. For most women, he was hard to resist but Ginger knew it would be better to stay away from him. "Not him," she moaned out.
"Hey Sexy," Lucas said with a small smile when he reached them. He knew she hated him and loved to piss her off.
Ginger's heart leaped as he called her Sexy. Why was this bothering her? Grabbing the collar of his shirt, Ginger dragged him closer to herself. "Don't you ever call me Sexy again," she argued while lifting her leg to the high it almost touched his priced area. "Or you'll loose something you don't want to loose." Anger spiked through her voice.
"Ouch, honey, you're losing your touch," Lucas said as he smiled, "You know not to threaten anyone in public."
Dick smiled from his desk as he realized Ginger's one weakness. Nothing can piss her off more then Lucas and for some reason, Dick enjoyed having her pissed. Maybe then she would be less sneaky and stay out of the way where she wasn't needed. Even as a little kid, Ginger would find her way into the police station and steal some files. Dick never knew how she did it but she always managed to get away. A memory resurfaced and he remembered something strange; Lucas and Ginger used to be friends when they were teens. Now there was nothing but hate and Dick was left wondering what happened.
"I talked to the witness again, no change," Lucas said, turned to face the DA, and placed a file on the DA's desk.
"Good, we're closer to getting Alcas for good," Richard said grinning at Ginger as if he said it to her more then to Lucas. The pigs best friend. All cops were pigs, and Dick was just like them, except his profession was different.
She needed to find out what the witness has said. The file was laying in full view and stealing it right now would be difficult, but there might not be a second change. Ginger cat-walked over to where the file was and sat on the desk, her butt landed on the file.
"What are you trying to do?" Lucas suspected something. He knew Ginger pretty well back when they were teens and even back then she always had a plan, he wandered what was her plan this time.
Looking into his brown eyes and licking her red lips, she started touching his lips with one hand while the other one was behind her. Feeling his soft skin on her finger tips, she knew how to handle the situation. She pulled her hand away and Lucas put one hand behind her causing her to slowly lifter her butt off the desk and Lucas grabbed the file.
"I know the way you work," Lucas said. He had the most delicious smile on his face, it was hard to walk away.
Ginger got off the desk and started walking backwards with her hands behind her. Quickly, she turned around and zoomed out of the station. Lucas looked at her with a smile, no matter how annoying she was she was also very sexy. Then he looked at the file he was holding, She's so predictable, he thought as he opened the file. To his surprise, the file was empty.
Ginger stood in the sunlit parking lot where her black Mercedes was parked. Placing her hand on the door handle, she lifted it up and opened the door. She placed her purse and the documents which she held on the passenger seat and got inside. Putting the key in the ignition, she though; Ginger-1, Lucas-0. I'm so ahead of the game.