Harry inched open the crawlspace door, revolver at the ready. Anika tumbled out, waving a knife. Harry managed to stifle the reflex to fire, sagging with relief. The next thought was overwhelming joy.
Anika was alive!
She was a wreck, but Harry didn’t care. They fell into each other’s arms, sobbing at their good fortune. Danger lay all around, but for this precious moment, they were both alive, together.
“I thought you were…” Both began. “And then you were…” They stopped again, flustered. Finally both burst out with, “I have so much to tell you!”
The stress of their ridiculous circumstances were too much. They collapsed in a fit of giggles.
Harry recovered first, pointing to the dead man on the floor. “That’s the man from the party last night.” Harry said, bending over the fellow to expertly rifle through his clothing. “Jack something…D’Antonio.” Harry finished, reading the New Jersey Driver’s License.
“Bob told everyone he drugged that girl last night, but the paper this morning said he was arrested for killing her!” He looked up at Anika to see how she would take this news.
“He didn’t kill Jane.” Anika said, taking a deep breath. “I did.” Harry just stared at her. “Jane was going to tell you…about my former life. I’m not who you think I am. My name’s not even Anika.”
“You mean about you being a prostitute?” Harry asked, not even remotely flustered.
Shock on Anika’s face. “You knew?”
Harry nodded. Well, you showed me yours, he thought ruefully to himself. I guess it’s time to show you mine. Aloud: “When I met you I was undercover, working a sting.”
“You’re G?” Anika asked incredulously.
“Something like that. It’s complicated. I want to tell you everything. I want no more secrets between us.”
They talked. Harry was precise, to the point, like bullets from a gun. Anika meandered in her version, like a pianist lovingly playing all the keys. The conversation wound down, “And when Jack showed up here, I thought I was a goner for sure…” She trailed off, exhausted by the tale.
Jack stroked Anika’s hair and kissed her forehead. “Darling I’m so sorry you had to go through all of this. I’m going to make things right, but right now I think we should get out of here, before any more visitors show up.”
Quickly they made preparations to leave, grabbing essentials. Harry retrieved his cache of weapons (two hand guns, a Mac 10, tear gas and a smoke grenade), and then asked Anika about the derringer.
Harry blinked. “What is it?” Anika asked.
“The paper.” Harry answered. They said Jack,” Harry nodded toward the body on the floor,” killed that girl…’Jane,’ with a derringer. I think you’re being set up.”
“But who would do that?” Anika wondered. They both looked at each other, and once more in unison, “Bob!”
Harry looked grim. I believe it’s time to pay that man a visit.”
As they were preparing to leave, Harry had a thought. “What is your real name?”
“That’s a beautif…” Harry stopped dead, suddenly remembering.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Gino…I mean Walt called you Anne.”
“The man from the alley that you…?”
The penny dropped for Harry. “I think my troubles and your troubles might be connected.”
Bob was the key. The got their coats and grabbed bags, ready to go. “Harry,” Anika asked, “What’s your real name.”
For the first time Harry no longer looked sure of himself. Looking down, he mumbled, “Orson.”
Anika suppressed a giggle. “That’s…nice.” Diplomatically she added, “To make matters easier, at least until this ordeal is over, how I think we should stick with Anika and Harry.” He nodded with relief.
As they headed out the door, Anika suddenly started. “Oh! I can’t believe I almost forgot the thing Sal wants. After all that, to almost leave it!”
“Where is it?” Harry asked.
“In the piano.”
“I’ll get it. Bring the car around front.”
As Harry opened the back of the piano he saw the small Crown Royal bag. Remembering when they’d bought it one Christmas, Harry smiled. How innocent they were both then, trying to start a new life together, each trying to run from their pasts. Harry was glad he had told Anika everything. Well, almost everything. Harry thought about his brother, and realized there are some secrets you can never tell.
But that was behind him. Time to deal with the here and now. Harry stepped into the hallway and heard music. It took him a minute to figure out it was the cell phone of that man he’d clubbed. Harry’d ignored it the first time, but now he pulled the phone out of this pocket. The LED gave enough light to see the Caller I.D.
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