Sweet Brutality
Author: Haven Stiel

Chapter 4
Four

“Alright, first victim is Marissa Justice, age 25. She was a nurse for the NYC free clinic, and was reported missing about two and a half weeks ago by mother Kimberly Justice and father Troy Justice.” The doctor moved to the next table and pulled back the cover revealing the little girl who had been found with Marissa, “And our second victim, Chloe Russell, age 7. Attended Hunter College Elementary School as a first grader. She was reported missing a little over one week ago by her aunt Erica Paige. Parents are both deceased. Both girls were reported on a Tuesday.”

“Which means that due to the forty eight hour rule, they were taken on a sunday. Any connection?” Danielle asked the two other agents in the room. Buster, the taller of the two pulled out a small flip, notebook for his dark brown leather jacket and handed it over.

“Yup. Erica and Marissa were college roommates and close friends.”

“What do you think happened?”

“Honestly...we don’t know. Maybe he kept Marissa alive and used her to draw in the little girl. I’m sure if Chloe saw Marissa at any point she wouldn’t have really been too worried about approaching her.”

“But how—”

“According to the aunt,” Samuel started as he placed his last signature on the transfer paperwork, “Chloe had been playing in the backyard, while she was cooking dinner on the grill. She had stepped inside to grab her drink and her phone, and when she came back outside she realized how quiet it was and realized her niece was gone. She made the call right away but an official case wasn’t put together until the forty eight hours were up.”

“I don’t think he used Marissa to get the kid,” Dani voiced as the M.E. covered up the bodies, “My guess is that he was probably stalking Marissa, waiting to strike, and then saw Chloe and made the decision to go after her too.”

Damien almost couldn’t believe what his sister was saying, “So you’re saying that the little girl just happened to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time?”

“Sadly, I think that’s exactly what happened. It’s like I told you yesterday Damien...he is a sick, sick, twisted man.”

“Which is exactly why we are working so hard to catch him.”

“Yeah, well we aren’t working hard enough!” Danielle snapped, “Michael should have never sent me on this stupid vacation—no offense Damien.”

“None taken.” He shrugged knowing how much the case was getting to his sister. He would never say it to her face, but from the way she’s been acting since she got to New York, Michael’s reason for sending his sister here was starting to make sense. She was too involved with the case, letting her emotions run the show versus her brain. For the Kensington’s, emotional control on a case could go both ways, and from the looks of his, his sister was letting that control take her down the wrong path.

“Listen Dani,” Samuel pulled her to the side, “I think that you should stay in New York for a bit longer…”

“Are you stupid—”

“No...but your anger is starting to get the best of you. You need to make sure you have full control over your emotions before you hop back onto this case.”

Damien took the opportunity to walk away from the feds. At least someone was being upfront with his sister. He felt bad for the guy, his little sister hated being told she couldn’t do something, but he was glad it was Samuel who was going to have to face her wrath and not him.

“Oh that is the largest pile of crap that I have ever heard—”

“Danielle! This case is literally running your whole life. Do you really think that everyone in the office doesn’t notice how you practically never leave the office. I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t for Michael and Jessica, you wouldn’t ever actually leave the office.”

“The bastard needs to be caught, Sam!”

“And you don’t think we know that? Do you really think that you are the only person who wants to man caught and thrown in jail? Quite frankly, I don’t even want the man to get the luxury of going to jail...I want his head on a platter to be paraded around the streets of D.C. Seriously Danielle! You are a smart woman, but sometimes you really do forget to use that brain of yours!”

“If you know me so well...then how can you expect me to actually stay here and do nothing?”

“I don’t expect you to just sit around...I know that you took information on the case with you, and I know that you’ve been working on it this whole entire time. We aren’t stupid Dani, but Michael wanted you to get a break away from all of this—”

“Well, I don’t want—”

“Stop fighting with her,” Buster stepped in between the two agents, “You’re not going to win against Dani, Sam, so just give up, and as for you,” he reached into his jacket and pulled out a manilla envelope, “Michael knew that you would want to come home after this, so he came up with an ultimatum. It’s like Sam said, you are one of our smartest and brightest in the office—there is no denying that—but you are getting too involved in this case...which doesn’t really surprise me—after all you are a Kensington.

Look, all that Michael wants you to do, is help Zack look into his case. I don’t know the contents of it, but Michael did tell me that this is the only way you can come back early. Take a few days to look over all the notes and then meet up with Zack on Monday. Does that work for you?”

“What if I choose to not work on the case?”

“He will blacklist you from the office.” Danielle stood her ground for a solid minute, thinking about the offers in front of her. She wanted to work on her case. She wanted to find the Tooth Fairy and throw him behind bars, but at the same time she knew that she wouldn’t be able to do anything if she was unable to get into the building.

Her decision was obvious, “Fine,” she ripped the folder from his hands making sure he felt her rage through the the pull, “Tell Michael I’ll work on the case.”

“Don’t seem so happy about it.”

“You two can leave now. The paperwork is signed, and you have your bodies...now get out of my sight before I decide to stab you both with a pen.” Danielle didn’t wait for them to respond as she walked out of the morgue and back up to the main floor. Her brother was already standing by his desk, slipping his gun into it’s holster as Aaron did the same.

When he looked up, he gave her a faint smile and tossed her the keys to his jeep, “We just got another call. Chinese for dinner?”

“Are you going to need me to pick you up?” She asked as she followed the two detectives outside.

“No, Aaron will give me a ride.”

“Alright, I’ll see you at home then.” Danielle slipped into her brothers jeep right as her brother slipped into the passenger seat of his partners car. She waited until they were on the street, rubber burning and sirens wailing, before she pulled onto the street herself and headed back to her brothers home. His house seemed cold and empty as she closed to door behind her, but her own place often felt that way whenever the case turned south. Now that she was alone, there was no stopping her thoughts as they started heading down the darker path.

Lauren.

Sweet, innocent, crazy Lauren.

What if she fell victims to the killer? What if she decided to go out on a saturday night, and while she was walking home early sunday morning, drunk and lost in her own world, he decided to grab her, beat her, and kill her and then dump her body for them to find.

Danielle knew Lauren would struggle, and do everything in her power to get free, but eventually she would break. Dani shuddered at the thought of her cousin breaking down, her spirit shattering as tears cascaded down her cheeks, begging for her life.  I have to catch this bastard! Not just for her own family either, but for all the families that have already lost someone they loved.

Danielle’s phone buzzed against her back pocket putting her thoughts on pause. Heading up the stairs to her room in search of a sweatshirt, she pulled her phone and checked her messages.

Hey… - Vance

Anger flickered in Danielle’s eyes as she read the name on her phone. She’d forgotten to delete and block the person, but it seemed a little late now. He knew he wasn’t blocked yet.

Biting her lip, Danielle responded.

What do you want? - Dani

To talk...please? - Vance

And what could you possibly want to talk about? - Dani

Can I call? I would really like to hear your voice again. - Vance

She thought about it, knowing that the conversation was only going to go two different ways. Either she was going to hang up on him or he was going to hang up on her. He lost his chances with her, and no matter how hard he begged, she didn’t ever plan on letting him back into her life, like he was before.

I guess I have a few minutes to spare. - Dani

Almost like he had been waiting to call, her phone started ringing. His name flashed across her screen and she almost didn’t answer. I did tell him I would listen… Sighing, Dani answered the phone. “So what do you want Vance?”

“To apologize.”

“You already did...five times if I remember quickly.” Dani rolled her eyes even though she knew he wouldn’t be able to see it.

“But clearly it’s not enough—”

“Or...,” she drew out the r, “It’s because no matter how many times you apologize, I am not going to forgive you.”

“Danielle.” He was using his usual husky tone with her name. The sound once pleased her, but now it reminded her of a cat running it’s claws against a chalkboard.

“I’m about to hang up.”

“Please don’t Dani. I screwed up, big time I know, but I’ve learned from my mistakes—”

“Oh you learned from your mistakes?” Danielle wanted to laugh in his face, “And what exactly made you learn? Was it when I threw your tv out the window? Or maybe it was when I left the apartment without telling you? Ooo...maybe it was when Eric came home and almost beat your face in when you decided to corner me in any ally while I was under the influence of alcohol.”

“I was lost and confused Dani. I’d just lost you and after I realized that you were actually gone, it broke me.”

“Were you really that shocked that I had left? After everything you had put me through...honesty you should be grateful that I didn’t tell my brothers everything that had happened that night! You and that other bastard should have been thrown in jail for what the two of you attempted to do!”

“We were doing nothing wrong Danielle-”

“Oh bull shit! Everything about that night was wrong!”

“You didn’t even say no—”

“First off, I did say no! Secondly...I. Was. Drunk!” She hissed into the phone, “I had just started my case! I was stressed, and angry, and in the process of consuming way more alcohol then I had ever drank before!”

“I think you really did want it Dani, but you only panicked because that bastard decided to stop by.” He sounded pissed, and that only added fuel to Danielle’s anger.

“Oh screw you Vance! If you call me again, I am personally kicking your door down and arresting you.” Her phone went flying the moment she ended the call. Worthless piece of crap.

Danielle still beat herself up over what had happened. Everything had been going smooth for them while they were in college, and she had even once considered starting a life with him after their first year together, but it didn’t take long before he started trying to control her. Luckily, she had been able to keep her free life, using her father and brothers as a threat, but then that night happened, and it was only after everything went south, that Danielle realized she needed to leave Vance.

Michael was the only one who knew about what had really happened that night, and it had taken everything in Danielle to convince him to take her back to her parent’s home and keep his mouth shut. It was the only secret he was keeping from his wife, and Danielle prayed every night that if the secret ever got out, that it wouldn’t cause any problems with his relationship with her best friend. She’d never forgive herself if she ruined their marriage.

With her best friend on her mind, Danielle picked up her phone from the floor and dialed her number.

She picked up on the fourth ring, “I hear your coming home early?” She asked right away.

“Y—yeah...you know that case…”

“Of course it’s the case. After all, that case is basically you’re entire life.”

“That’s not true.”

“Yes it is, but I’m okay with that because I love you, and I know that once the case is over with that you’ll come crawling back into my arms. Don’t worry, I’ll take you back.”

“Gee, thanks babe.”

“Oh it’s no problem...really it isn’t…”

“So guess who decided to text me...wanting to talk?” Danielle threw on her FBI dark gray sweatshirt and moved back to the first floor and into the living room.

“Nicole?”

“Let me give you a hint...we all hate him.”

“What the hell did that prick want?”

“To talk and apologize,” Danielle mocked as she kicked her feet onto the coffee table, “Which he does every time he tries to talk to me.”

“Why didn’t you block him.”

“I thought I did.” Danielle admitted, “I guess maybe I had been hoping his toss up with Eric had made the message loud and clear, but clearly I had been wrong.”

“Did he blame you again?”

“Nope...this time he was saying that I wanted it.”

“What girls wants to be hit by the man who is suppose to love her?” Guilt squeezed at Danielle’s chest hearing Jessica talking about the only part of the story that she knew of.

Vance had hit her—a swift punch to the face—but that had only been the beginning, and luckily it had been enough for both Jessica and all of Danielle’s brothers.

“H-he’s crazy Jessica. I know this, you know this...hell my whole family knows this.”

“So what did you say to him?”

“I said screw you and then ended the call and threw my phone across the room. It’s not dramatic unless I end up sending my phone flying.”

“And that is why you’ve gone through six phones, Danielle.”

“Number three was all you.”

“It wasn’t my fault then, and it still isn’t my fall to this day. So why did you call...besides wanting to hear my sweet voice?”

“Well I wanted to know if you wanted to get some wine and cheesy fries when I get back. As much as I want to get back to the office, I know your husband will have a fit if I show up the first day back.”

“Wow,” Jessica fake gasped, “Danielle Kensington is willinging avoiding the office her first day back in town!? I think I just saw a piece of the sky fall to the ground.”

“Ha ha...no. I just can’t risk that crappy husband of yours kicking me off the case.”

“Hey! Michael is not a crappy husband! He is the best husband in the world...spoils me all the time!”

“He may be happy to you...but he’s crappy towards me.”

“You’re like a little sister to him. He just wants to make sure your safe and sane.”

“I don’t really think that’s true, but I’m not going to argue with you. Michael is an...unwinnable topic when it comes to you.” It really was. No matter what you told her, she never believed a word that was said about her husband.

Danielle could tell her that Michael had burned her favorite dress, and in return Jessica would throw her drink in Dani’s face and say something that basically told her that she thought she was a liar and rude. The only thing she would really look into was cheating, but not even Danielle ever believed Michael would cheat on her. The way he looked at her made every woman jealous.

“I’m glad you’ve finally learned your lesson. Now is there anything else you want to talk about or am I allowed to get back to my dead body?”

“You get too excited about your job...you know that right?”

“Don’t worry...he isn’t a victim of any sort...died due to brain cancer. Dr. Ospher managed to convince his wife to let him have the body so I can visually see how the brain is destroyed by cancer.”

“Okay...well have fun looking at rotting brain. I am going to start Chicago Fire and try to keep myself entertained until Damien gets home.”

“Alright...call me later if you get bored again!”

“Bye Jessica.” Danielle ended the call, blocked Vance’s number, and then plugged her phone into her brother’s charger before she turned on the tv and started the first episode of her next addiction.

 

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