Casanova Boss by Lauren Wood
“You need to get the kids and get them in the closet.”
Kenny said it so casually, I kind of thought he was joking. He didn't seem alarmed, but I looked over at him and he told me that I had to go now. He said it loud and deep. It wasn’t hard to hear him, but my mind just wasn’t working right. He wasn’t usually loud because he wouldn’t have wanted to wake the kids up. Kenny yelled all the time, but he would always stay quiet if Audra and Rachel were sleeping.
Rachel and Audra were probably the only thing that Kenny cared about. He would never wake them up in the middle of the night to show his anger. He wanted them to think that he was perfect. He wasn't of course, but he liked to keep the lie going, so raising his voice was not usually something that he did.
“People are coming, and you need to get the hell out of here, Veronica. Take the girls and go!”
That was twice now he told me to go, and I didn't exactly know what to say about it. I guess, there was nothing to say. It was obvious that I needed to heed his warning, so I got up and started doing what he said to, hoping that he was wrong.
I got the girls up, half asleep and in that moment, I was thankful that they were still small. I went to the bedroom and then decided against the closet in there. I didn't know why, but if someone was coming, I felt like they would go there first. There was no telling what was about to happen or who was coming. Kenny was a scary guy, so it was hard to fathom who would make him sound so worried. Whoever it was that was coming, I did not want to meet them, and I didn't want them to meet my daughters.
The girls were not even alarmed, because they had no reason to be. I told them that we were going to play a game and we were going to sleep in the closet for a little bit. At seven and six, everything was a game, and they were so sleepy that going back to sleep sounded good. It was the best of both worlds, and I was thankful when they curled up on the bottom of the linen closet. It was in the back hallway, and I was hoping that it was out of the way enough that no one would find us. I hated to think of something happening to Kenny. Not really because he was such a great guy or anything, but he was the father of my children and even though he was a terrible husband, he was a good father.
It wasn't long, the kids had just settled down, before the front door was kicked open. We had a very thick door, extra insulated for situations just like this, so whoever had done it, had to have been prepared. I knew that if it was someone that worked with Marcus, they were coming to take him out by the sound of it. There was no telling what he had done. I wasn't even too concerned with if he deserved it or not. My children didn't deserve it.
There was a big need inside of me to go help him. He was a real shit husband, but my girls were going to be devastated. That's who I was thinking of. My hand was about to turn the knob on the closet door, when I heard the first gunshot and wrenched it back like I had been burnt.
The first one was followed by at least ten to twelve more, not going off in a pattern that showed there was more than one shooter. It sounded like there were three or four people shooting in there, everyone getting a few shots off. There was a sickening thud and the sound as more than one body hit the floor.
It was excruciating, because I did not know who was on the ground and who was still walking around. I didn’t know if Kenny was alive or dead. If it would have been my husband and he was alone, he would have called out to me. Nothing was said though.
That meant the unthinkable had happened. Kenny was one of the bodies that was on the floor and the footsteps that were moving through the house didn’t belong to him. It was the solitary foot fall of my husband’s killer. The sickening feeling in my stomach got worse.
I looked down at the girls, their blonde hair just like their father’s. I was thankful that they had slept through the loud noises. Lily said that they slept like the dead, but now it just seemed too close to the truth. They had slept through the murder of their father. It was a memory, a sound, the smell of the linen closet, that I was going to remember forever and the only consolation that I had, was that they wouldn't. They wouldn't remember any of it.
It wasn't much of a consolation, if we were found. The footsteps seemed to get closer and closer, and the murderer was still running through the house with a gun, going door by door checking everything.
As the sound got closer, I tried to tuck in and become as small as possible, but if he opened the closet door, there was no way that it was going to hide all three of us. I pulled a few extra sheets off the bottom cabinet and tried to drape it over the sleeping children and myself, but I thought it was a crappy disguise. They were going to be found out and my heart was beating harder than I think it ever had before.
“Hey, Justin, we need to get out of here. There is an alarm and we tripped it when we came in. There's probably cops already on the way.”
“What about the woman? You know that the wife is the one with the accounts. They’re all in her name and she's the only one with the password.”
“It doesn't look like she's here.”
“I'm telling you, she's here.”
It felt like they were talking right outside the linen closet, and they were just fucking with me, making motions to themselves and then they were going to jump out at any moment. That’s what I was thinking in my head, pretty much expecting it at this point.
It didn't happen though. The two men and their footsteps started going further and further away from me. With each step, the constriction on my neck was no longer as bad. I blew a deep breath out. I heard the door open, but it didn’t shut. It clanged a couple of times but didn’t close.
I dared not to go out. They were convinced that the cops were coming, and we did have an alarm system. Hopefully it worked, because I didn’t want to get out of the closet, until they were here, and I knew that me and the girls were safe.
The rest of it, talking about accounts, I really had no idea what they were talking about. We weren’t strapped for cash, but the only accounts we had didn't have a whole lot of money. Ten or twenty grand tops. It wasn’t enough to do all of this for it. I couldn't imagine that partners of Kenny’s would be interested in that sort of cash. I knew the deals that went down, but I also knew that Kenny put most of the money into growing the business bigger. He was all about investing in himself, so I couldn't even imagine him putting a bunch of money into an account just to sit there. Then I wondered, what if it wasn't his money?
All the talk of money must have taken up more time to think about, because the next thing I knew there was a loud bang at the door, cops yelling, most likely with their guns drawn, announcing that they were on the premise. Anybody that was there and didn’t identify themselves might be shot.
That's funny because through it all, the kids slept like a dream. As soon as the cops came in to save the day, they were up, asking questions and a little whiny. There was a mess in the living room that I was not going to let them see.
“We're in here! Me and my kids are in here!”
The second time I said it was a little softer. I just couldn't imagine how I had gotten into this situation. Whether I had accounts that they were looking for or not, some very bad people were looking for me. My husband, he was a bad person too. He did criminal things, hurt people, stole money. Nothing good came from what he did on a daily basis.
My mind was going a mile a minute and I had to slow it down. I needed to make sense, because I didn't want the cops to make a mistake. I told them I had children with me. They asked if there was anybody else in the house and I shook my head. “I don’t think so. My husband was in the living room, but I don’t think he is there anymore.”
“Ma’am, there is quite the scene in the living room. Maybe we should cover their eyes and get them out of this place? Is there anywhere else you can go?”
My girls were curious, and they started asking a million questions, and I didn't want any of them to be answered. I quickly told them that we were going to take a little trip, and I sent them to their bedrooms to pack their suitcase.
“We just have a few minutes, so just get what you really, really want, okay?”
The police officer looked at me sadly, solemnity in his expression. “Don’t rush. There are going to be people in and out of here for a while. Take all the time you need.”
“Really, we are going to be here for a while. There's no rush.”
I should have been saddened more with the idea that I could take my time, but as much as I was worried about my daughters seeing their father in such a way, there was an even bigger part of me that needed to get the hell away from here. Those guys thought I had their money. Or they thought I had money that they were going to get their hands on. However it was like that, it couldn't be considered anything good.
I tried to get over my trepidation and started packing quickly and grabbing the few valuables that I knew would fetch a good price. I didn't know how long any of this was going to last, and it was funny, because I wished I had all this money that I supposedly did. Then I wouldn't be debating which heirloom jewelry piece I was going to have to sell to find somewhere to live. I didn't even think about where we were going to live or how we were going to have to live. We wouldn't be able to stay in one place. It would be temporary places where we could take off as quickly as possible. How were my girls going to go to school?
All these thoughts were running through my head, and I was losing myself in them. Audra came to the doorway, and she had her backpack with a big grin on her face. She was ready for an adventure she said. It was cute, sure, but at the same time, I wanted to breakdown and cry. This was the sort of adventure that I never planned on taking and to be honest, it scared me to death.
At the end of the day though, it was also a move that had to be done. We were off on an adventure, and I had no idea where it was going to lead. Honestly, I was scared to death where it was going to lead.