Night blanketed the City by the time Jack and Dani arrived at the office. A cold, steady rain fell, turning the streets into black mirrors, much like Jack’s mood. The drive from Victor’s club had been a silent one, what with Jack’s blackened mood and Dani’s brush with Victor and Tito, neither said a word. Jack wanted to take Dani home and see her to bed, but she insisted on coming back to the office with him.
“You should get some rest, Dani,” Jack argued as they entered the reception room. It was an useless argument though. Dani lived by herself and Jack was sure she didn’t want to be alone tonight. Truth be known, neither did Jack.
Dani went around to her desk and sat down. She looked up at Jack and shook her head. “Me? What about you? That shoulder must be giving you quite a fit. Besides, I won’t rest until we nail Victor to the fence,” she replied as she moved papers around on the desk.
Jack looked over at his right shoulder. “I will be fine, Dani. Tough as steel,” he said with a chuckle. “And I agree. I won’t rest until then either.”
Jack loved Dani’s spunk. He also loved that sunshine was back in his office. He couldn’t imagine life without Dani in it. He walked into his office and placed his old fedora on the coat rack and went to his desk. He opened the bottom drawer, pulled out his bourbon and a glass. That drink he’d been wanting all day would finally be his. He poured the glass full and sat down in his chair. He lifted the glass to his lips, but before he could take a sip, the phone rang in the reception room. He sat the glass down and tried to listen to the call, but Dani’s voice was soft and muffled. He looked down at the bourbon and sighed. Maybe this was some unknown force telling him it was time to give up the drink. He stood up and wandered back to the reception room.
“Okay, I will let Jack know. Thanks, Officer Buxley,” Dani said as she hung up the phone.
Jack sighed again as he leaned against the doorway. “What was that about?”
Dani flashed Jack an annoyed look. “That was about you nearly being locked up for obstruction of justice!”
Jack grinned at her. “Nearly? I’m surprised Buxley hasn’t knocked down my door already.”
“He would have if Commissioner Morano hadn’t stepped in. I didn’t think you two were that close. Good to have friends in high places, Jack.”
Jack laughed as he walked in and sat down across the desk from Dani. “I don’t and we aren’t close at all. In fact, the man hates me. Always has.”
A puzzled look settled over Dani’s face. “Then why would he…”
“He’s Victor’s cousin,” Jack interrupted.
“He’s what? I should have known! No wonder the investigation over Mason’s murder went no where!” Dani shouted as her temper rose and her face reddened.
Jack reached across the desk, grabbed Dani’s hand and squeezed it. “We’ll get him, Dani. I promise you. Somehow we will get him.”
Dani glanced over at Jack and slowly nodded her head. “So you really aren’t ending the investigation?”
“Of course not. We’ve got too much at stake here, Dani. Victor has weaseled his way out of trouble for the last time,” Jack said with a smirk. “What else did Buxley say?”
Dani sighed as she slid her hand away from Jack’s. “You need to go down to the 5th in the morning and talk with Captain Morgan.”
Jack pushed back the chair and stood up. “I can only imagine what that conversation will be like. Probably nothing good,” he said as he walked back toward his office. “Take the sofa and get some sleep, Dani.”
“What about you?” she asked as she followed him into his office and sat down on the sofa.
“Sleep is the last thing I need right now,” Jack said with a grin and pointed to his bottle of bourbon. “That’s my comfort for the night.”
Dani stretched out across the sofa and pulled the blanket from the armrest over her. “That bourbon is going to be the death of you, Jack,” she commented with a yawn.
“Maybe, maybe not, Dani,” Jack replied. He took a sip of the bourbon and sat the glass down. “Oh, Bobby should be home tomorrow. Victor made me call him off the case. I just hope he found out something useful before he got whacked over the head.”
“He what? When were you going to tell me Bobby was hurt?” Dani said as she sat up and glared at Jack.
“I’m tell you now. He’s okay. Just a bump on the head.”
Dani stretched back out on the sofa and as she settled her head back down, she yelled, “I don’t know who is going to kill me faster, you or Bobby! I must be crazy to keep working for you, Jack!”
Jack laughed and lit a cigarette. “You’d be crazy without us, Dani. Now go to sleep!”
Dani let out a loud huff and rolled over. She wiggled and squirmed for a few more minutes and finally fell asleep.
Jack smiled as he watched her. When he saw the even rise and fall of her chest, he relaxed a bit. He sat his cigarette down in the ashtray, took another swig of his bourbon, and sat the glass back down. So many thoughts raced through his mind. What if he had lost Dani for good? No, Jack. She’s safe. What if he’s lost Ella? He wouldn’t blame her if she wanted nothing to do with him now. He sold her out. But he would keep his promise. Then one last thought lingered in his mind, would he ever put Victor away? He grabbed the cigarette and leaned back in his chair. As he sat there puffing away, he grappled with that question. Ten years ago, he’d gone toe to toe with Victor and lost. He hadn’t been able to prove that Victor was running a smuggling business nor that he was connected with Mason’s murder, and he couldn’t prove that Victor was involved in not one, but two murders this time. There was no evidence left on his gambling house and no proof of the porn racket either. As he inhaled, he watched the tip of his cigarette blaze red and fire snake upward along the stem. He was mesmerized by it for a moment. Finally, he leaned forward and snuffed the cigarette out.
“That’s what I am going to do to you, Victor Angelo. Snuff you out!” he whispered out loud and then leaned back in his chair again.
The Stacked Deck is a noir-style WhoDunIt serial which will appear as 31 parts, told every day in March. I hope you will join me again tomorrow for another exciting part of this story!
This serial is copyrighted ©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved. Permission must be granted to distribute or copy this serial (unless reblogging). Thank you.
Click the link to catch up on the other parts of this story:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20
Jump forward to Part 22