Sweet Brutality
Author: Haven Stiel

Chapter 5
Five

Damien dropped his keys onto the coffee table and collapsed onto the couch next to his sister. Her eyes were glued to the tv, a fire raging through an apartment building as multiple firefighters fought against the towering flames. On the other side of her, a manilla folder sat folded and waited to be read. Damien reached over and grabbed it, only getting half way before she ripped it back and tossed it back to where it had been sitting before.

Danielle muted the tv and snapped her head to the side towards her brother, “What do you think you’re doing?”

“I was curious.”

“It’s a case.”   

Your case?”

“A different case,” Dani growled as she stood to her feet and headed into the kitchen for something to drink, “Michael is still trying to make me take a break from the case.”

“He’s a smart man.”

“I don’t need a break. If dad never needed a break, then neither do I.”

“That’s funny because if I remember correctly, mom and dad did almost go through a divorce when we were younger due to dad being so focused on his cases.”

“Mom was just as busy in the beginning. You and I both know that we had spent more time with Aunt Heather and Uncle Jim then our own parents. We were lucky that mom’s younger sister decided to stay in New York for as long as she did. She was just mad that when she finally had the time for her family that Dad decided to keep working and not do that same thing as her. Do you really think that we got our craziness just from dad?”

“Don’t let her hear you say that.” Damien laughed as he grabbed a beer from his fridge.

“Not to mention, sure dad focused a lot of his time on the job, but do you really think he would have made it as far as he did, if he would have given almost all of his time to mom like she wanted?”

“Probably not, but he would have had more time with us.”

“He had plenty of time with us,” the sound of the door bell pulled them back into the front of the house, “The station was practically my home.”

“You maybe,” Damien opened the door revealing a small chinese woman with two plastic bags in her hand. She smiled towards him politely, waiting patiently as he pulled out his wallet and handing her a twenty and one ten dollar bill, “Keep the change.”

The lady took his money with a slight bow of her head, “Thank you.”

Damien waited until she turned and started walking before he closed the door and headed back into the kitchen.

“Unlike your older brothers, you were young enough where you didn’t have to worry about schools and sports.” he continued as he sat the food down onto the table, “Kind of sucked when you were shooting winning baskets and your father was no where around to tell you what a great job you did.”

“So you’re telling me that mom, Uncle Richard, Aunt Jocelyn, Uncle Jim, and Aunt Heather weren’t enough for you?”

“No one replaces a boys father.”

“At least he was there to tuck you guys in at night.”

“That happened like once a month,” Damien laughed dryly, “Usually we were all already asleep by the time he got home.”

“You know what Damien, you’re right, dad did focus a lot of his time on his job, but how many times did we catch him up at night, fixing our essays and problems for our homework when he should have been sleeping? How many times did you, Eric, and William get front row seats to your favorite sports team events with your friends next to you? How many times did we wake up to fresh breakfast on the table, with our lunches already packed when we knew mom was asleep in her room? Sure he didn’t go to all of our sporting events, but he definitely looked out for us. Not to mention, he always got mom the best anniversary gift. She was his whole world, and everything he was doing was for her and for us.”

Damien took a bite of his sesame chicken right as he rolled his eyes, “You’re such a daddy's girl.”

“Oh eat your chicken and be quiet.” Damien’s smirk was the ending point of the conversation. The rest of the meal was spent in silence.

Danielle finished her food without any kind of remark towards her brother, threw away her trash, and then headed up to the guest room to change her sweater into something more suitable for the bar. After finding the victims from earlier, and having the conversation with her ex, she realized she needed a break.

Seeing that it was a thursday, she knew that the bars shouldn’t be as crowded as they would on a weekend. There was only one bar that Danielle had in mind, and she was hoping the owner would be working. It’d been too long since she’d last showed her face to the family owned bar hidden on the outskirts of the inner city, and just thinking of the possibility of seeing some of the familiar faces created a slight pep in her step.

Even with her now being a full grown adult, Damien wouldn’t let her leave without an inspection, and knowing this, Danielle decided that it would be best to go for something simple. She traded her gray sweater for a plain, loose, black, tank top—the center, front, seam tucked behind the button on her skinny jeans—and her Spares for a pair of black, heeled, ankle boots. As she left her room, she grabbed a leather jacket from her suitcase, threw it on, and headed into the living room to let her brother know what was going on.

His eyes found her the moment she hit the last step. He glared at her from his spot on the couch before he decided to wave her over. Danielle complied with her own disapproving glare. Twenty three years old and he still treats me like i’m 15. As she stopped a few inches away from the coffee table, he asked the question Danielle had been expecting, “Where are you going?”

“Nessie’s.”

“Who are you meeting up with?”

“No one. I just wanted a few drinks and take some time to myself. I do kind of hope that Oscar is there, but I won’t be upset if he isn’t.”

“Are you going to need a ride?”

“I should be fine, but if I’m too drunk to walk, I’ll find the nearest cop and flash my I.D. in their face,” She laughed dryly, “I’m sure I’ll get a ride free of charge, back here.”

“I’ll keep my phone on ring in case you need me. We can get your car in the morning.”

“Thanks Dad,” she snarked, “Would you also like to implant a tracker in my arm while I’m at it so you can watch my every move?”

“Be careful what you wish for Dani.”

“You’re such a brat.” Danielle left the living room and walked out of the house before her brother could muster up a response. It wouldn’t have felt right if he would have been able to get the last word in.

The drive to the bar was as expected. Traffic wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t as good as she would have preferred it. Only one parking spot was open, and Danielle didn’t hesitate to take it. With her car parked, and everything that could draw unwanted attention safely stowed away, Dani stepped out of her car, locked all the doors, and then headed to the main sidewalk and up to the first door to her left.

As soon as she stepped inside, Danielle knews that things had changed. Oscar had expanded the place. It was once a small, home style bar with a small walking space in between the bar and the booths that lined that right hand wall, but now the booths were gone, and the wall was pushed back by a good thirty feet. Single, wrap around booths filled the main area, while filling the front area stood high top tables with four steel stools. There also seemed to be what looked like a small stage directly in front of the right side window.

Danielle smiled ,thinking back to all the amature bands that would swing by and play their songs for everyone on friday and saturday nights, a round of drinks for every member for every two hours that they played. Her uncle Richard had once given the band life a try, but needless to say, her own father never let him live it down. It had been tragic.

The sound of shattering glass quickly stole Danielle’s attention, the teetering sound causing her to break her train of thought and swing her gaze across the sitting area and directly onto the bar. Bright, green eyes stared at her from the other side, a single hand frozen in the air as the six foot three, tattooed covered, bald headed man practically lost all of his color from the sight in front of him. Laughing, Danielle walked over towards the bar and took a seat directly in front of the Italian giant.

“Hello Oscar...I think you dropped something.”

“D-Danielle?”

“The one and only!” Dani grinned.

Oscar took a good minute to gather himself before he finally realized that he was staring at the young Kensington like a complete fool. Sighing, the bar owner quickly cleaned up the broken glass from the cup he had dropped and then gave his attention back to the girl sitting directly across from him.

“I didn’t think I’d ever see you again. What’s going on little lady?”

“Visiting Damien. Boss said I had to take a break.”

“Yeah, I had heard a while back that you had managed to get the job you wanted.” He said as he started mixing a drink together, “I’ll make you a drink, on the house, what would you like?”

“Hmm,” Danielle suddenly smiled, “My usual.”

“One Blue Frost coming up.” Oscar moved around behind the bar like he was floating, moving around his other two bartenders like they weren’t even there. Three minutes later and a lowball glass with white and blue liquids swirling together peacefully was sitting in front of Danielle ready to be consumed.

Dani took one sip and squirmed in her seat with joy. Oscar had given her the recipe before she made her official move to D.C, but no matter how many times she had made it, it never tasted as good as when it was made by the master. “So how has everything been Danielle?”

“Oh you know...solving crimes, throwing people in jail, trying not to piss off Jessica...the usual Kensington fun.”

“Not all Kensington’s apparently...Richard was in here not that long ago while visiting the Old Crab, and after he got enough whiskey in him all he was talking about was how his little girl was straying from the path and what he did to deserve his punishment.”

“Punishment?” Dani laughed thinking of her uncle, “He did seem pretty hurt when Lauren turned down his job offer.”

“I don’t see why the man was so upset...from the sound of it Lauren is going to be having a bright future.”

“Yes...apparently she already has an internship set up for the summer.”

“Really?”

“Some young politician is expected to be making Senator within the next few years. They say he’s going to be the youngest one yet...Lauren’s been told that her resume is going to be put at the top of the stack. The way everyone sees it, the prodigy politician deserves a prodigy PR. Though my brothers and I think it’s because she’s a Kensington. I bet ten dollars on it.”

Oscar laughed, the laugh deep in his chest, “You guys are horrible people.”

“Just towards our own…”

“So how long are you in town from?”

“A day or two more. My case is pulling me back to D.C. Things are starting to go south.”

“You Kensington’s are all the same.” It was a compliment.

“It’s in my blood, but enough about me...let’s hear about you. What have I missed?”

“Well,” Oscar pulled out his phone and pulled up a picture of a little boy with bright green eyes and a head full of messy brown hair. Danielle would have asked who he was, but the smile the small boy was sporting as he held two different flavored ice cream cones gave it all away. Danielle had seen the smile too many times before, “The little dude is now seven. He asks about you every now and then.”

“How sweet of him.”

“Still tells everyone your his girlfriend.” Danielle laughed and slightly blushed out of embarrassment. The kid was clearly never going to let her live their little deal down.

“How is he going to feel when I get a real boyfriend?” She joked.

“See, this is why I told my boy that you were no good,” Oscar grinned as he made Danielle a second drink, “You’re going to break his little heart.”

“If he’s anything like you...then he’ll move on pretty quickly.”

“Ouch...you make me sound like a such a bad guy Dani.”

“Eric did always talk about how much of a player you were in high school. Once—after you two had moved onto the next chapter of your lives—he even told me that if you were to try anything with me that I had to tell him about it so that he could hunt you down and break both your hands.” Eric and Oscar had been best friends growing up, but while Eric had been much nicer, Oscar was more of the bad boy in high school and often never had a girlfriend for more then one month at a time.

His longest relationship for those four years had only lasted five months. While Eric let Oscar just do his thing most of the time, Danielle had been completely off limits, especially once she hit highschool and really started to grow into her body.

Danielle never really understood why Eric had made the threat that he did, but from what she got from Will, apparently Oscar had made a comment about how nice she had been turning out and Eric had taken it the wrong way. A few months after that, Oscar’s ex-girlfriend from college broke the news of her pregnancy. The two only lasted three months after the birth of his son, but Oscar fought for custody for little Jacob, and after he won full rights, he offered Danielle a babysitting job. Out of everyone in New York City, he trusted her the most to watch his son while he took over the bar for his father.

Of course this only led to another threat.

Danielle had been watching over Jacob her junior year when Oscar and Eric both came by after a late night at the bar. Oscar made a sly comment towards Dani and before she could even blush Eric had him in a choke hold telling him that Oscar was going to get his tongue ripped out if he made one more comment. After that, Oscar was the perfect gentleman towards her, and still was to the very day.

 

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