Jesus Saves, Chapter Fifty-Nine

Michael dreaded the drive to the condo complex where Misty now lived as a widow. He dreaded having to deliver the news he now bore. He had never been any good at this. It was why he had always left it to Reilly and Danforth.

Torkelsen had been brazen. He had called to mock them. He had known they were there. He had known his trap had worked. He had known it all. How?

Had he been watching all along? Had he watched as Morgan had turned the key and opened the door? He thought the madman must’ve. He had to have been close enough to see his suit.

He punched the dash. Damn. they needed to catch Ivan before he struck again. No telling what or who his next target would be. could be the precinct. Could be another precinct. Could be city hall. Or the courthouse. Or any number of other buildings.

And that didn’t take into consideration that he had begun targeting innocent bystanders now. Michael knew that they had to catch Ivan. And soon. Otherwise, there might not be a New Orleans to serve and protect.

He drove toward his destination, fighting back the tears. He had known Morgan. He may have been a millionaire, but he was a good man. An honest man.

He had been the one who had begun the revitalization of the city after Katrina. Single-handedly, he had fought to get the contractors working to rebuild the city. And at the time, he had been a lowly construction hand. Not the developer.

He had led the way. When none of the others showed an interest, he struck out on his own. He found many of his staff in the crews of those other contractors. He had sought them out personally.

Together, they built their company. TSNML. the company that would build the New Orleans of the future. Now, it was nothing more than a memory.

Turner, Shell, Night, and Martin had all been present for the meeting. Shelly Turner had been the first to join with Le Grue. She had been a single mother working construction to put her kids through school when the time came. Her eldest was probably just about ready to graduate from the university. The two after him were junior and sophomore, respectively. Her youngest, rumored to have been Morgan’s, was probably now a freshman.

Philip Shell had been second. Both of his sons were already in college when he joined. And both worked for the company. So why had they not been present? had they been away on business for the company?

Cory Night had been third partner. Her daughter had married one of Shell’s sons. She had nothing to do with the company. At least no personally. But now, she would become part of the board.

Finally, there was Martin. John Martin was a good man. He had been close to retirement age. all his children were involved in the business, but were either in accounting or acquisitions. The latter meant that they would have been traveling. Only senior accountant was expected to go to any of the mandatory meetings in the field. That would be reason enough for them to have been absent and their father to be present.

Michael had known all four. He would miss them all. Hell. Le Grue and his team had been good enough to give him his first job in this city. Long before he had decided to become a police officer. They had been the ones who’d taught him the rewards of honesty and punctuality. He would miss them all.

He came out of his thoughts as he pulled up outside the condos. He got out and headed to the apartment Misty had, only moments before, shared with Morgan. It was hers now. As was his wealth and other properties.

He knocked on the door and she answered. Before he could begin, she collapsed in his arms and began sobbing. “I’m so sorry, Misty. I’m so sorry.”

***

Torkelsen sat in The Lonely Hearts Pub, celebrating his latest achievement. Four hours ago, he had blown up a whole construction crew and ended the legacy of one of New Orleans’ legends. He was proud of himself.

He turned in time to see her enter. She was beautiful! He had no clue that she had gone by the name Misty just four hours ago. Nor did he know that she had been married to the very man whose legacy he’d ended. But none of that would have mattered.

He only saw her as a woman. A beautiful one at that. And one he might be able to harass into allowing him to take advantage of sexually. An easy target.

He watched her sit at an empty booth and order her drink. After waiting a few minutes to keep from seeming desperate, he got up from the bar. He was already quite drunk, but he didn’t care.

He stopped beside her table. Looking her over, he noticed the tattoo. Jesus Saves. Scratching his head, he paused for a moment then looked down at her.

He smiled drunkenly. “Mind if I sit here?”

She didn’t even look up at him. “Not at all.”

He was still grinning stupidly. “Wha’s your name, Missy?”

She looked away, somewhere in the corner. “Molly. and you?” Suddenly, her eyes met his. That seductive, almost narcotic charisma began creeping back into her voice.

He couldn’t quit smiling for some reason. He felt the charm of her voice taking him over. “My name is Ivan. Ivan Torkelsen.”

She smiled back at him. “glad to meet you, Ivan. Can you dance?”

He suddenly felt confused. “I dunno. I am drunk. Never danced when I was drunk. Can’tell you that until I have tried.”

She looked him in the eye. “Are you willing to try? If not, then we have nothing more in common.”

He looked at her, befuddled. “Why sure I am willing to try. Le’s go.”

He led her out on the dance floor, tripping over his feet as they went. She could tell that this was going to be a very short night of dancing. She only hoped he was better in bed than he was on the dance floor. He was why she never really cared much for men who were already drunk.

Men like him felt they had something to prove, even when drunk. They couldn’t just pass up a lady or wait until they had sobered up a little to go out on the floor. they were awkward fools. Oafs with no clue as to how stupid they looked. And most of the time, they couldn’t even dance.

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