Five grand killed me. Straight from the moment his lips spilt "I've got four," to the moment they pulled the trigger.
They don't burst into my house swathed in black leather and waving guns and bullets across the air. There was only one.
Gets me when my hand's on the door, you know? I pushed the door to the house and pulled the key out. My bags make it to the floor before I made it through the door and I pushed the door, dropping dead into the lounge and seeing him sitting there.
I looked at him in his clothes that weren't leather and his gang that aren't at the ready, and slumped into the sofa.
"Hey Danny," I said, kicking my shoes that barely made it on my feet when I changed in the locker-room off in front of me. "How you doing?"
He just kind of looked at me to say 'Get out of my house' - which was whacked - and then he said, "OK," and there was a pause. "You?" he said, but he didn't want to know. Me and Danny used to screw, date - be in love, if you want, and that was a while ago to say the least.
"Awesome." I slouched. Christ, it'd been a tiring day. "Tiring day," I said.
He nodded up like he knows these things.
I stood up and went to the kitchen. My hand on the fridge and my face in the cold air, my back was to him but he didn't shoot me. Coincidentally, there was nothing in the fridge much. I pulled out two of those girly sloppy yoghurts that my sister left and put them on the counter. The cupboards didn't have too much, but a plate of chocolate biscuit appears while Danny's still lingering in the doorway.
I pulled the foil lids and down the yoghurt and it didn't taste too bad. The dinky plastic bottles were too girly for me to honestly buy though. Becky brought them to make sure I survive. She said I worked too hard, which was bullshit. I just don't get enough sleep. I didn't really like my job enough to work too hard.
Me and my plate of biscuits arrange ourselves back in the sofa in the lounge, and Danny sits down again, having pulled the gun from the back of his jeans. I wondered about the accidents people've had with that.
"Man, sure you got the safety on? I don't want your ass across my floor." I smiled, but not to him.
He flicked safety off, safety on, and then off again. And it sat in his lap off with him watching me eat my biscuits. It was kinda quiet. I guess it usually is when someone's got a gun at you, but it probably wasn't meant to be me talking I figured, more so him. I stopped talking and ate.
I looked at my feet on the carpet, and the TV, and the wall, and the painting on the wall, and the window. And then I looked at him and he was just staring at the wall opposite him.
I polished my food off, and haven't offered him any because I'm starving, and went back into the kitchen, and put the plate in the sink. I go back in and he hasn't moved, but I noticed that when he hadn't moved. I flopped back onto the sofa on my back, shuffling and settling and sticking my hands behind my head and I looked at him.
"What do you want?" I asked.
He made a self-explanatory gesture with the hand holding the gun.
"Bang," I said to the silence. I figured the silence is good because when he gets all worked up, that's when he'll probably shoot me. Peak of anger shit and all; you've gotta have a cliff to climb.
"Shoot me then," I told him, simply.
"Bang," he said back. "Think this is all so fucking easy."
"Don't shoot me then," I said. "Why are you, anyway?"
He shrugged. "I thought we had something special, baby," I said lightly.
He just looked at me, stiffly. There was a pause. One of those pauses that meant that he was mentally glaring daggers and I hadn't noticed. I did that a lot. Tension goes past my head a lot. I guess that's why I wasn't bothered about the gun - but then, I did work with them. And I knew him, which helped. If I hadn't had, I might not have been the same - but then, I wouldn't have a gun at me either.
So anyway. The stiff pause went by. And he was still looking at me. Not much else to look at I guess - aside form the wall. My face turned oblivious. "You got no silencer," I pointed put, helpfully. He leant forward, holds the gun out on his hand. It was still pointed at me, but horizontal as if that made a difference.
"See there," he said, pointing at the barrel. I looked. "The holes," he was still pointing. "Drilled in and it stops the noise. If you get it wrong, it explodes, I think."
"You have a home-made silencer?" I said, sceptically. I know about these things, of course, but I couldn't see Danny drilling holes into guns for shit.
"I didn't make it," he defended, right on time for my trail of thought.
"You bought that?" I asked, "Paid money for it?" breathing out "Christ," under my breath.
He pulled the gun away from me, leant back in the chair and crossed his right leg over his left.
"So how's life?" I asked, changing the subject. I looked out the windows, thinking this was going nowhere. I just wanted to sleep. I was tired, understated.
The windows were huge - looked out onto the garden. Gorgeous garden, it was. Grass so cliché green I wouldn't have moved houses in case it became apparent it was none of my doing. I liked the house too - always a plus side to spending my money.
The garden looked like it should've had a dog on it. I'd thought about getting a dog but that'd seemed like a commitment.
I noticed he hadn't answered and looked up at him. We made eye contact and it didn't break, though we blinked - not cliché like the films where they just stare.
I shuffled, still leaning back on my hands, and took them from under me, stuffing a cushion under my head.
"I do love you, Danny," I said as the thought came back into my head.
"Yeah, love you too," he said, but not cheesy like films again how it sounds it should have been.
"Goddamn swinger," I told him, jokingly.
"Fuck off," and he laughed. Hadn't seen him do that for a while.
"Why do you want me dead?" I asked.
He looked down but didn't answer. "Good answer," I said, but I already knew. I was still tired and closed my eyes, pointing my thumb at my head. "Going to sleep," I said, and I did.
He wasn't there when I woke up, and I was still on the sofa.
Two days later after work, I was home, sprawled on the same sofa with the same brand biscuits clutched in my hands, barely out of the wrapper before they were in my mouth. I suffer from need of a sugar fix occasionally. Mostly following my working day.
I woke up, blink of an eye but didn't move. Habit I guess – or instinct. There was a rattle in the house and it was dark because I'd slept into the night. The hallway creaked and I played dead on my sofa. Ninth stair up, halfway up, creaked silently, which you can only do by walking on the outside of the steps. They knew. The vague rustling paused and only seconds later the floorboards above my head let out a shudder. I heard a double flick of a switch as the lights bolted on and off and the footsteps retracted. I wasn't upstairs, obviously.
My head spun as I stood up, and I figured the footsteps were at the top of the stairs. I walked silently like superman to the kitchen and reached down the side of the kitchen counter for a bat I kept there. I've always been like that. It's what comes of being a cop, I guess. I would have gone for my gun, but it's not in the house.
I pulled it out, and it made a slight scrap. My right hand was round the rubber and I held it goddamn tight.
The bat clattered to the floor and I dropped with it onto my knees. My shoulder was on fire and I pulled my hand up to where my collarbone is, a burning, agonising pain thick on my hands just below it.
My knee shattered and I couldn't think about anything but the pain. And I thought about Danny, and whether it was Danny who had the gun as the footsteps walk briskly off, and I decided that no, it couldn't have been Danny. And this is what I thought until my eyes closed and my vision went black as I dropped unconscious, rather than because the lights were off.
Danny was in the ambulance for some reason. I guess he heard the gunshots, thought I wouldn't know how. My eyes were thick but as I looked at him, I knew he didn't shoot me. He looked too fucking panicked. He was pushing in and out of my vision as I stared mostly at the ceiling and the paramedics.
My eyes opened again, back in the ambulance and he was there, muttering by my side with the medics on my other.
"Four fucking grand," he was saying. "How could I fucking do this?"
"Do what, Danny?" I asked, my tongue thick. It didn't come out right thought.
"Said two grand to hurt you, five to kill you," he said, ignoring or forgetting about the medics. Either way, he was talking.
"Four to do this?" I said.
"Four to do that," he said. "It was between."
"You bastard," I told him, not meaning it especially. I probably shouldn't have done what I did to him.
"I shouldn't have."
"I have a bullet in my chest," I told him. I guess they missed and he got a bit short changed.
"And your knee," he said. "Fuck," he sounds pained. I wanted to hug him so much in that ambulance.
"It's not that bad," I said. "Hurts like when I got stabbed." That was five years ago from the ambulance. Some goddamned robber.
He laughed, brokenly. "That's morphine," he said.
I smiled at this. "You have no idea," I told him.
"You have no idea," he said unflinchingly.
"Supercool." My tongue felt thick. The ambulance turned and we leant around the corner. I noticed the wailing; loud noise from the ambulance. Deafened from the inside but like a car horn muffled so you can still hear it.
"Where'd you get the money?" I asked.
"Savings," he said.
"That's so romantic," I told him. And I suppose it was. "Look them up in yellow pages?"
"Yeah. Under Gun Men."
"I am disbelieving," I confided.
"Me too," he admitted.
"Do you really still love me?" I asked. There was a pause. "It was a while ago," I said, explaining why I wanted to know.
"Yeah," he said.
It goes black.
I wake up. Blinded by the lights and the throbbing in my chest near my neck hits me followed shortly by the agony from the leg. A muscle got hit somewhere in the clash, I swear. There's a needle in my left arm under some tape and it feels weird and I try not to look at it. There's an IV liquid-y thing hanging on a hook by the bedside and on the other side is Danny, standing in a - what seems to be nervous - state.
He's still there twenty minutes later when I smile up at him and ask politely if the police have gone because I'm frankly sick of them.
"Yeah. And thanks," he says as to why I didn't dob him in.
I reach my arm up: "Hug." I command, and he does. His arms are soft and comfortable and I could stay here. They're what I know, and I don't give a fuck if he got me shot because I suppose that's my fault. I guess you can't do that and not expect something back.
And he pulls away and I lean up to kiss him on the lips - just a touch, and he stops to let me. I guess he doesn't know what I want. So I kiss him, but it's just a touch like I said, and I lean back.
"Stupid boy." There's a pause and he goes a bit red. "You are so fucking lucky," I tell him.
"How?" he asks.
"That you didn't have another grand." He looks up. "I love you."
"I love you too."