"Lucky, wake up," Lizzie whispered as she roughly shook him.
"Lizzie, what's wrong?" Lucky asked as rose from his sleeping position on the floor.
"I heard noises downstairs," Lizzie said, frantically pulling on sweats and sneakers.
"Maybe Mrs. Hardy came home early."
"I heard voices. Two voices."
"Okay. I'll go see what's going on. You stay up here and lock the door until I come back," Lucky said, heading for the door.
"There is no way I'm staying up here alone. I'm coming with you," she said. "Here's one of Gramps' old bats. I'm taking the Swiss knife you gave me. Let's go."
Finally, Audrey broke the hug. She loved her grandson and missed him terribly, but she wanted answers. Simone took off with Tommy years ago, and Audrey hadn't heard a word from either of them in all that time. Sure, she and Simone had their ups and downs, but she knew how much she cared for Tommy. Audrey had been a lost when she made herself accept the fact that Simone had taken Tommy from her life. She didn't quite know how to react to seeing him after all this time and in the condition he was in, too.
"Come, sweetheart. Have a seat. I think you'd better tell me what's going on, hmm?"
"What do you want to know?" Tommy asked. His eyes glued to the floor.
"For starters, where is Simone? I haven't heard from either of you since you practically disappeared. And why are you so dirty?" Audrey queried.
Before Tommy could answer, his stomach growled. To hide his embarrassment, Tommy rubbed his stomach and swallowed hard.
My God, she's not feeding him either, Audrey thought. When Tom hears about this…
"When was the last time you've eaten? Nevermind. Don't answer that. Stay here while I get something for you."
Audrey gently caressed Tommy's dirt-stained cheek and headed for the kitchen. Maybe the answers to her questions would be more forthcoming on a full stomach.
Dara couldn't remember the last time she enjoyed a ride more. Alex had a charming personality. He was warm and considerate, and without a chip on his shoulder. She could relax with him unlike with another officer in particular.
Alex smoothly guided his black Ford Explorer onto Greene Avenue. He knew exactly where Dara lived. A few years ago, Leo Henry, a known drug dealer, made threats against everybody involved with his conviction. Since Dara was the prosecutor and the one Henry held chiefly responsible for his incarceration, Garcia made sure that she was protected at all times. Dara had no clue as to her guardian angel, but Alex didn't mind. It was his job as an officer of the law to protect her, and protect her did. Eventually, Henry told his boys to back off, but there were some things a trained cop never forgot. The address of a beautiful ADA was one of those things.
"Alex, I can't thank you enough. I really do appreciate this," she said as the Explorer parked in front of her building.
"You don't have to thank me, Dara. There is no way I would have left you out there alone. Consider it an act of friendship," he smiled at her.
She reached for his hand and held onto it. He had strong, manly hands, and the heat from them was electric. She quickly squeezed his hand and released it. She liked him and appreciated the ride, but she didn't want to complicate things. Something may or may not be happening with Marcus. She didn't want Alex to get the wrong impression.
Dara moved to let herself out of the Ford, but Alex was there in a flash. He opened the door for her and helped her down from the vehicle.
"You're pretty fast, officer," she laughed. "But seriously, I can make it upstairs on my own."
"I know you can, but I'd like to walk you up just the same."
"There's some dirty guy, sitting on your sofa," Lucky whispered. "Go back upstairs and call the police."
"What are you gonna do?" Lizzie asked.
"I'm gonna take care of this. He doesn't look too big. I'm gonna hold him until the cops get here."
"But what if he has a weapon?"
"I can handle myself. Now, go upstairs and do what I said."
Lizzie handed Lucky the Swiss knife and ran back upstairs.
Audrey had just placed the plate of sandwiches on the tray when she heard the crash in the living room. She quickly ran from the kitchen and was amazed at what she saw. One of Steve's bats and a switchblade were lying on the floor. Lucky was on the ground and Tommy was on top of him, holding his arms in an iron grip. Lucky was struggling wildly, but Tommy wasn't giving an inch. The look in Tommy's eyes was chilling.
"Let me go, man," Lucky screamed. "Get out of here, Audrey!"
Audrey quickly moved to Tommy and placed her hands on his shoulders. When he flinched, she removed her hands and began to speak to him in a soothing voice.
"Tommy. It's okay. Everything is okay. I want you to let Lucky go."
"He came after me with a bat and a knife." Tommy tightened his grip and Lucky winced in pain.
"Tommy, please listen to me. Listen to Grandmother, okay? Let him go. He didn't mean any harm. Really, he didn't."
Lucky continued to struggle and with each movement, the look in Tommy's eyes became wilder. Audrey could tell from Tommy's grip that if he applied any more pressure, Lucky's arm could be broken.
"Lucky, relax. Show Tommy that you didn't mean it. Relax."
Against his better judgment, Lucky stopped moving. Tommy quickly stood up, grabbing the bat and the Swiss knife as he stood.
Without taking her eyes off her grandson, Audrey asked, "Lucky, are you okay?"
"Good. Now, leave. We'll discuss your being here another time."
"But Lizzie…" Lucky began.
"I said go. Lizzie will be okay. Good-night, Lucky."
When she heard the door close, Audrey let out a slow breath. There was something terribly wrong with Tommy. Even as a child he never displayed any violent tendencies. But tonight, his eyes were wild and filled with hate. What on earth happened to him, she wondered. Simone had some serious explaining to do.