Disclaimer: This is a work of pure fiction. Any resemblance to anyone, living or dead is purely coincidental. The characters are fictional and of my own creation. The place, time, and incidents are purely fictional. Copyright © January 2004.
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Warning! This section contains some strong language.
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Inevitable Destiny 6
Samantha parked her car in what appeared to be the last space at the back of the parking lot at the pleasant little bar and grill that she and Phyllis had adopted as their favorite spot. The atmosphere was cozy, even homey in a way. The lighting was subdued but not dark and the sound level was low enough to carry on a conversation without having to shout. Best of all the people were friendly. They had even become friends with one of the owners. Phyllis had discovered the place on a date and after Phyllis took her there, Samantha had adopted it as her favorite spot to meet for dinner.
The entrance was crowded with people waiting for a table but she had called in and reserved a table and the woman she spoke to had known her so that helped. She waited patiently for a large group to confirm their reservation then stepped up to the counter.
The young hostess hardly looked old enough to be in here but she had a bright smile and a pleasant voice. "Can I help you?"
"I have a reservation for seven. Sam Coulter."
As the girl looked down at her chart a brunette in her late twenties waved at Sam as she came up to the counter. "Hi, Sam."
"You're a little early tonight."
"Caught the lights."
Debbie grinned. "Well, as usual your timing is perfect. Your favorite table is being cleared as we speak. Come on."
"Thanks, Deb." She followed the woman through the main room into one of the smaller rooms and to the table in the back corner of the room.
"Here you go, Sam. Phyllis coming tonight or have you got a date?" Debbie always asked her if she had a date even though she knew Sam never dated. At least not here.
"Nah, just Phyllis."
"I'll send her back when she gets here. You want a Marg. To start?"
"Boy, do I ever," she acknowledged.
"You okay, Sam? You look a little pale."
"Rough day, but I'm fine," she lied. Her stomach was unhappy, a product of nerves she was sure, and she still had the... torn feeling, as if something was very wrong. She couldn't shake it. She was hoping that a Margarita would help ease her fears and her nerves. She could tell that Debbie, a shrewd businesswoman and half owner of the place did not believe her, by the look on her face but she didn't push it.
"One Marg. coming up then. Sheila's got your table tonight."
"No problem. Let me know if you need anything."
"I will." She watched the woman walk from the room before delving into her purse for her cigarettes. She'd quit again but they seemed to help calm her some and she definitely needed that.
She jumped, becoming aware of her surroundings again.
"Oh, hi, Sheila."
"Here's your Marg. Phil coming tonight?"
"Yeah, probably late as usual."
Sheila smiled. Phyllis's penchant for being late was a standing joke. "What happened to her and Dick, uhm, Richard? I haven't seen them around lately.
Sam smiled back but the woman could see it was forced. Her boss had been right. Sam was upset about something. "You had it right the first time. He got a little too possessive and pushy. She dumped him."
"Too bad. He was definitely easy on the eye."
"Yeah. That was part of the problem. He knew it. Seemed to think he was doing her a favor by seeing her."
Sheila shook her head. "Never will understand guys."
"You're not alone there, Sheila."
"Good seeing you again, Sam."
Sam didn't see her look back at her in concern, already lost in her thoughts, her eyes downcast and not really seeing anything.
Samantha looked up as Phyllis sat down across from her, the intense curiosity plain for her friend to read, turning quickly to concern when she got a look at Samantha.
She glanced at her watch. It was just seven PM. "Evening, Phil," she acknowledged. "On time for a change, I see."
"Samantha, what in the world are you up to?" she asked, ignoring the jibe about her penchant for being late to their get-togethers. "I got jerked out of a business meeting and thrown in a room down in the snake pit with half the staff and more questions than I could field in a week. Now you call me away from there without explaining what's going on. What's happening?"
Samantha looked at her drink then back up to her friend.
"I'm in trouble, Phil."
"How bad?" she asked, her brow wrinkling in concern. She had never heard Samantha say that, except in that horrid room so long ago.
"I called Betty."
"Oh, my god, Samantha," she gasped. Samantha had told her about the mysterious 'Betty,' a story she had listened to with incredulity and even now only half believed.
Samantha pulled out her cigarettes and Phyllis's eyes nearly fell out of her head in shock. She felt a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Samantha lit her cigarette with shaking hands, and set the pack on the table, looking up into striking gray eyes, deeply tinged with concern and a hint of fear.
"I stepped into a big mess, Phil. Lester's little case blew up in my face today."
"How do you mean?"
"You know I found Angela in state, right?"
"Yeah. What's that about? I thought she hadn't gone to trial yet."
"Then we'll get her out." she replied.
Samantha nodded. "Lester's working it, but it may already be too late."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, she may already be dead, Phyllis." Her hands shook as she took a drag on the cigarette. "I had to pull a major bitch act with the prison guards. What I hope happened is that I scared the shit out of them and they will put Angela in solitary until Lester can get her out," she glanced at her watch again, "Which I hope to god has happened already."
Phyllis just shook with anger, even thinking about the damned woman, but she certainly didn't wish her any harm. Well, no serious harm anyway.
She could see that Samantha was really upset about this. "I'm sure she will be all right, Sam," she soothed, not at all sure of anything at the moment.
Sheila came back at that moment and Phyllis exchanged a couple of pleasantries with her, gave her standard order, then shooed her away.
Samantha lit another cigarette and Phyllis's worry meter climbed another peg. Sam had smoked heavily for her first month in San Diego, but when she finally came out of her room, she had quit and never looked back.
"No, I'm not sure she will be, Phil," she said, taking up right where they had left off. "There is a contract out on her and at least some of the guards are in on it. If I scared the wrong ones they'll kill her and try to blame it on a riot or something."
"Samantha...." She ground to a halt because she really didn't know what to say. Information was coming at her much to chaotically, making no sense. Sam was making no sense, and that scared the living crap out of her. Sam was always lucid, the ice queen.
They never got any further.
Samantha gasped, made a frightening strangling sound, and jerked violently, her eyes going wide. She paled. Her hands shook so hard her cigarette dropped to the table and Phyllis grabbed it before it rolled off the edge.
"Sammy!" Phyllis exclaimed, dropping the cigarette in the general direction of the ashtray and pushing up out of her seat. She slid in beside the blonde and grabbed her. "Samantha!"
Samantha's heart was racing and she couldn't breathe. She felt like her heart had been ripped from her chest. She felt a pain that seemed to grip her very soul. Her whole body was vibrating and she wanted to scream in agony but she couldn't, every muscle in her body seemed locked.
"Samantha!" Phyllis repeated with tears of fright running from her eyes. She shook her then slapped her; oblivious to the horrified stares she was getting from other patrons or the people rushing towards them.
Samantha felt a soul deep heaviness overwhelm her, and everything started to go dark then, just as suddenly as it had come, it was gone.
She took a deep breath, and the darkness faded. She stopped shaking and her heart began to slow.
"Samantha?" Phyllis repeated hopefully.
She managed to look up at her friend to see the fright and the tears.
"Wha... what the hell just happened?" she asked in confusion.
"You... I don't know, you just went white, then started to shake all over and you didn't seem to hear me, and-" Phyllis ran a shaking hand through her hair. "Jesus, Samantha, you just scared the crap out of me! Are you okay?" Phyllis was feeling her forehead and her cheek.
"Yeah. Yeah, I think so." And she was. Whatever had happened was just gone, but... it wasn't. She felt oddly like her very soul had been torn loose from its mounts, like part of it had been... ripped apart. She didn't know what had happened or what it meant but she was... it was like she was adrift... waiting.
She was scared.
Phyllis got shakily to her feet and returned to her place as the other patrons and Sheila moved away from the table, turning occasional glances in their direction.
"Damn it, Samantha you're a bad influence," she complained as she lit two cigarettes and handed Samantha one, her hands shaking worse than Sam's had been earlier.
"Yeah, I...." She paused as if in confusion "I'm sorry, Phil. I really don't know what just happened."
"Neither do I, and I saw the whole thing." She took a drag of the cigarette, the horribly acrid taste making her look at the thing like she wondered how it had gotten in her hand. The head rush made her dizzy and she made a face at the taste but somehow the combination of the bad taste and head rush seemed to calm her. "Maybe you better... what the hell?"
A thin dark eyed blonde seemed to just appear beside Samantha and a tall brunette unceremoniously crowded Phyllis over.
"Tan, what are you doing here?" Samantha asked in surprise and Phyllis thought for a second her heart had stopped. This was Betty? She was real? But she was so small. A second look and she suddenly decided she wasn't small at all. Phyllis shivered. Samantha had told her about the eyes, but just seeing the blonde's intense stare convinced her that this woman was.... She shivered again as the blonde turned to Samantha.
"Hi, Sam. Saving your sweet ass for another day," she said. "Tell your friend to do as we tell her, Sammy."
Samantha looked over at a plainly frightened Phyllis. "You know who this is, Phil?"
Phyllis could only nod.
"Do what she tells you to. Believe me, they are looking out for our best interests." She turned back to Tanya. "What's up?"
"Your number, sugar," Tanya said. "There's a contract on the street."
"Already?" Samantha squeaked, her heart sinking. Phyllis nearly fainted. A contract? On Samantha? What the hell was going on?
"You rattled some chains pretty hard, lady. Someone wants you dead. Word is; if I pop you, I pick up two hundred big ones, no questions asked. Good thing I like you or you'd be dead already."
"No time, sweetie. Someone's coming here and we need to not be here when they get here."
Tanya looked up and Phyllis was suddenly looking directly into the deadliest eyes she had ever seen. She felt frighteningly like a rabbet caught in the headlights of the car that was going to kill her. She seemed paralyzed by the intense stare. "You go with Lesha. Do exactly what she says, lady, no matter what, unless you want to wake up with a couple new holes in your face, got me?"
The color drained from Phyllis's face. She nodded mutely unable to take her eyes off of the frightening black eyes boring into her.
The big woman got up and pulled Phyllis out of the seat as if she was a child, and they were gone.
A man walked by the booth. "Out of time boss, they're here," he said and was gone.
Samantha was physically yanked out of the booth, just as she finished loading her purse, and shoved towards a back door. She stumbled but a strong arm grabbed her and hustled her along.
* * *
They had been riding in silence for some time when Samantha's phone rang; she jumped, Tanya didn't.
"She's out, Sam, but she might not make it. They got her. Shot her three times in the back, small caliber. That's the only thing that gives her a chance."
"Where is she?"
"Headed for county, we got people on the ambulance and escorting it."
"What?" Tanya asked.
"My client. They got her out but she'd already been shot. They're taking her to county."
"You want her alive?"
"Very," Samantha said.
"What's she look like?" Tanya asked as she flipped her cell phone open. "She won't last three hours in there, Sammy."
"Sam?" Lester interrupted.
"Lester, I'll have to get back to you." She hung up turning to Tanya. "Tall, kind of emaciated. Don't think they were feeding her much. Very short hacked up black hair, blue eyes."
"Who's watching her?"
"We have security. I'm assuming that's who Jonathan meant when he said they were guarding her, otherwise he would have said the cops had her, but I imagine the cops are there too."
Tanya spoke rapidly into the phone, then hung up.
"All right, we'll watch out for her, Sammy, now let's go."
* * *
"Tan, this isn't a good idea," Samantha said for the fifth time as Tanya held out her hand.
"Shut up, Sam. This is no time to argue." She took the reluctantly offered card and inserted it into the elevator panel. The door to the private elevator in the parking garage opened and they entered. Sam pushed twelve after the card was inserted in the inside reader and they waited until the door opened. No one saw them go to Sam's office.
The outer office was quiet, Grace having gone long ago.
Tanya opened the inner door and disappeared into the room. A moment later she pulled Sam into the room, motioning for her to be silent. She stopped her and made her stay put, while she checked out the room. She disappeared into the bathroom, then the small bedroom then, apparently satisfied, returned to the office.
"Didn't find anything, did you?" Samantha asked.
Tanya motioned her over to the bar, as she returned something to her pocket. She opened her hand and four tiny devices fell to the polished surface. They had plainly been disabled, looking like tiny pieces of crushed metal insects with crippled legs.
"Somebody likes to listen to you, sugar. You moan in your sleep?" Tanya grinned at the stupefied look on Samantha's face
Sam stared at the bugs in disbelief. She would have bet a year's salary that no one could get in here.
Tanya was cautiously poking around behind the bar. "You got anything to eat in here? I missed lunch and you were my dinner date."
"Hum? Oh, yeah, there should be something in the fridge, under there," she answered absently as she stared at the bugs. "How could.... How could they get these in here so fast?"
Tanya shrugged, the shrug unnoticed by Samantha. "Who knows." She came out with some Hot Pockets. "Where's the nuker?"
"To the left."
"Hey, this is pretty cute," Tanya remarked as she ducked down again and popped three of the little pockets into the microwave. "Not sure it was the new problem. Couple of those looked like they been here a while. Maybe left over from the last tenant, but the one attached to your desk was pretty new."
While the sandwiches were cooking she got back in the fridge and pulled out a two liter bottle of Diet Pepsi then took a couple of glasses off the back bar.
"Nice setup you got here, Sammy," she commented as she fished out some ice.
"You sleep here a lot?"
Samantha's cell phone rang. She fumbled it nervously out of her purse, with shaky hands. Tanya took a quick sip of the Pepsi, staring intently at the blonde.
"Thought you were getting back to me?" Lester growled.
"Oh, sorry sir, things got kind of hectic." Tanya was standing next to her suddenly and she lifted the phone away from her ear a little so she could hear.
"Hectic how? Where are you? Are you okay?"
Tanya held a warning finger near Samantha's lips and when Samantha looked her way she shook her head no.
"I'm fine, sir. I just had an unpleasant visitor during dinner but I got rid of him. Then I was almost in an accident. It's been hectic but I'm okay. Can't wait to get home though." She changed the subject. "Any word on the client?"
"She's in surgery. No word yet."
"Well, at least she's alive. I'll drop by and check on her when I can."
"Yeah, that's probably a good idea."
"Sir, I don't really have any other news right now but I'll keep you posted."
"All right, be careful, Sammy."
"Will do, sir."
Tanya returned to her Hot Pockets dinner, tossing them up on the small plates she had put out. She hesitated, a look of frustration crossing her face, then she flipped her phone open, listening but not saying anything.
"Got it," she said and hung up. "Damn, girl, you are popular tonight," she commented as she stuffed the still unopened Hot Pockets and the pop back into the fridge. "Dinner's delayed. Come on."
Samantha was a little surprised that they took the elevator, instead of the stairs.
"You sure it's safe to use the elevator, Tan?"
"Yeah. There's a couple guys in the stairwell. Mikey and Russell took care of the guys in the garage." She pushed Samantha into the corner of the elevator and stepped back into the other corner as the door opened, a gun suddenly appearing in her hand."
"Clear, boss," Mikey's familiar voice said.
Tanya quickly grabbed her hand and tugged her after Mikey at a fast pace. A moment later they were in a late model SUV, with darkened windows. She waited until they were safely away from the building before she said anything.
"Nah," Mikey said. Russell remained silent, just driving. "Cashed 'em, though. Sorry. Sent 'em for a swim."
Samantha realized Mikey had just casually said that they had killed the guys they'd taken out. She suddenly felt nauseous, the color draining from her face.
A hand gently squeezed her arm. She turned to surprisingly compassionate dark eyes. "Save if for someone that isn't trying to paint the walls with your brains, sweetie."
The graphic image nearly undid her, but it did have the desired effect. Why the hell should she feel bad for someone trying to kill her?
"Thanks, she whispered. I'm not sure I needed the image though."
Tanya chuckled. "Better the image than the reality."
Well, that was certainly true, from her point of view.
Tanya turned back to Mikey.
"We know 'em?"
"Yeah. Dapper Dan and Shive"
"Tanya snorted. "Danny boy always did have a knack for taking the wrong gig. Can't say I'll miss either of them, Shive especially."
"Yeah, he was a real piece of work."
"We got a lead on who hung the paper yet?"
"Not yet, boss. The gang's working overtime but it's turning into a real goat rope."
Hours passed as they continued to drive. Sam had no idea where they were. She didn't know if they were just driving randomly around one section of the city or had driven through several cities. Tanya had spent most of the time on the phone, making numerous calls that had been confusing because she was either speaking one of several different languages or speaking in street jargon that quickly lost Sam. Sam knew she spoke Belorussian and she caught a little Spanish a time or two, but she was too tired to try to make sense of any of it. Tanya did seem to get more and more frustrated but even that was failing to keep Samantha awake. She was fitfully dozing in the early hours of the morning when they turned down a quiet residential street and slowed.
The SUV turned into the driveway of an older but well-kept neat little single story home. Russell continued around to a garage in the back and pulled in through the open doors. Mikey got out and closed the big door as Russell turned off the engine.
Tanya reached behind Samantha and came up with a hooded sweatshirt "Put this on, baby face," she commented, holding it for Samantha. "We don't want to take any chances with you.
Sam slid into the sweatshirt, though she was much too warm as it was. Tanya pulled the hood up, tucking errant strands of blond hair in, while Sam zipped it.
"Good, let's go."
Tanya led her by the hand like a little child though Sam was only slightly shorter than she was. In the daylight she would have looked silly in a business suit, sweatshirt, and heels, but at night the sweatshirt hid her easily seen blonde hair and light complexion from prying eyes. Tanya was taking not chances that someone might see her. The SUV in the wee hours was odd enough, but probably went unnoticed.
They entered the back door and she was led down a dark hallway and into a room where a tiny light was turned on after the door was closed. She noticed right away that the window was sealed to prevent escaping light.
"Get naked, girl."
"What?" she asked startled.
Tanya pulled her down on the bed and looked earnestly into her eyes.
"Look, sweet pea, you got a real problem. Right now every pimp, whore, grifter, and hit man in seven states is looking to mess up that pretty face by blowing holes in it. You go out on the street and I guarantee that the last thing you will see, in a very short time, is someone putting a bullet between your pretty green eyes. You're dead, girl. This is much bigger than even I figured. So take your clothes off. If I'm gonna kill you I have to make it look good."
"Whoa, honey. Don't take that wrong. You live, but Samantha Coulter has to die, at least for a while."
Sam's eyes went wide. "You didn't...."
"No, Sammy. This Sheila's been dead for a while, a Jane Doe. I'm just using the empty package. She don't much look like you but my guys say she'll do for what we have in mind."
Samantha let out a shaky breath. "I couldn't live with that, Tan. I'd rather die."
"I know. Don't fret your pretty head about it. I'd never do that to you. Hey, you really think I want to tarnish my shiny Paladin?"
Samantha blushed and Tanya laughed. "Come on, get naked. I'm on a schedule."
"They'll know it isn't me pretty quickly, Tan," she stated.
"Mmmm, yeah, eventually, but it will take them a day or two if I get your death right. Give us time to figure out what's happening and hopefully keep you among the living a little longer."
"I don't like it, it's... dishonest and... and... It will kill my parents and...."
"Sam. We'll tell your parents. This has to happen honey. I'm not sure I can protect you if it doesn't. I'm serious, baby. Everyone is looking to cap you, the bad guys, the good guys, drunks, dopers, hell even the newspaper boy can't be trusted Sammy."
"But, I'm an attorney, Tan. If I do this and someone finds out I was in on it I'll be disbarred, probably even do time. I can't do it."
"Samantha, listen to me. A woman has already been mistaken for you. Fortunately for her they kept her alive, though they brutalized her. When they found out they had the wrong woman they tossed her out of a speeding car. She's lucky to be alive, Sam, and it'll get worse."
"Can't I just hide somewhere? You must have dozens of places."
"I do, but no matter where you go people are going to see you. Mostly trusted people but some not so trusted, and even some of the trusted will be tempted. The bounty is up to three hundred thousand. That's a lot of green. Some people only have one chance at ever seeing that much money and that's if they can hand over your head. Its open season, and whoever blows holes in you wins the grand prize, baby."
Sam continued to protest for quite some time, bringing up any other reason she could come up with, but Tanya always had an answer. In the end she reluctantly gave in.
As Tanya rummaged in a small bag, Samantha dropped her bra then stepped out of her panties and stood nervously waiting, her nipples standing out on her firm breasts, from the chill and her nervousness.
Tanya came up with a pair of white panties and a plain white T-shirt, turning to Sam. "Jesus Christ, Samantha!" she exclaimed, goggling at the naked blonde.
"What?" Samantha asked, startled, crossing her arms self-consciously.
Tanya tossed her the garments. "Here, put these on before I forget I'm your guardian angel."
Sam giggled as she stepped into the panties.
"It's not funny," Tanya remarked grumpily. "You could give a person a heart attack." She gathered up Samantha's things, making sure she had everything, then opened the door. Sam squeaked in embarrassment, pulling the bed covers over her scantily clad frame, still holding the T-shirt.
"Mikey," Tanya called softly.
"Right here, boss."
"Here, go kill Ms. Coulter like we planned. Make it good. I need as much time as you can give me. Give me a day and I'll love you forever. Two and I'll bear your children."
"Christ, boss, get serious will ya? You forgot this." Mikey had turned crimson at Tanya's remark.
Tanya grinned and patted his cheek. "Thanks."
"No problem. I'll be waiting."
Tanya turned back to Samantha with a very large needle in her hand.
"What the hell is that?" Sam goggled, unconsciously pulling the sheet higher and shrinking away from her."
"Relax, doll face, I just need a couple gallons of blood."
"Gallons!" she squeaked, and Tanya grinned. "Gotcha."
"Oh, Tan, no, please?" she whimpered. "I hate needles,"
"Come on, honey, I'm trying to keep your pelt off the wall. Be a big brave girl for mamma."
"You have such a vividly gruesome way of getting a girl's attention, Tan."
Tanya grinned, "It's my feminine charm; girls swoon, and guys cream their jeans. Now be a big girl and stick out you arm, then look away or close your eyes or something so you don't flinch."
"Ouch! That hurt, Tan!"
"Poor, baby. Just hold still so I don't have to stick you again."
Tanya filled two vials, then removed the syringe and put a cotton swab and bandage on the puncture. "There, all better now."
"Was that really necessary?"
Samantha's face clouded up as she prepared to rain all over Tanya.
Tanya chuckled. "Relax, Sammy. We just plan to spread a little around near your apartment parking stall and the elevator like you were getting beat up or something."
Samantha pouted and harrumphed.
"Now, Sammy, Don't be like that, baby." Tanya said soothingly as she handed the blood to Mikey. "Kill the bitch, sport."
"Hey!" Samantha groused.
* * *
Inevitable Destiny 8
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