I woke to an empty bed. It took me a moment to get it together enough to realize why. It wasn't that it hadn't happened before. Until a week ago when Ricky moved in, we hadn't spent every night together. Not by a long shot. But now… I guess I'm getting spoiled.
I got up and hit the bathroom to shower, shave and get ready to face the day. After putting on jeans and a tee, I was headed downstairs to make coffee when my cell rang.
"Ricky's safely stored away," Tom said when I answered. "The man I'm putting on you should be at your place in ten minutes."
"What's he look like?"
Tom described him then said, "He'll act like he's a friend who was in the neighborhood and decided to drop by to say hello. You can take it from there."
"No. That's too obvious. Have him go to Annie's Kitchen. It's a restaurant a couple of blocks from me. He can follow me from there."
"To a couple of stores and then back home. That should give Ben enough options about when and where to make his move if he watching me."
"Okay. You're driving?"
"Yeah. I don't think he'll just come up to me on the street if I walk, but he might decide to wait for me at, or even in, my car."
"Or get into your house while you're gone."
"He's already had a run-in with my alarm system so I doubt it."
"Does it cover your garage?"
"Nope. So yeah, he might try that. Okay, let your guy know the plan. I should get moving."
"Let's hope this works."
"Tell me about it."
I hung up, decided to forego making coffee as much as I wanted some, and went to get my keys and wallet. Then, after arming the system, I locked the front door and headed to the garage. I used the side door as always, since I kept the remote for opening the overhead door on my car's dash.
I realized when I got into the garage that I had company.
Yeah, I should have been more aware but in my defense I wasn't expecting them—and it was them, Carlo and I presumed Ben—to show up so soon.
Carlo was leaning against my car, holding a small gun, pointed at me. I didn't see Ben, but I felt his arm snake around my throat. He had a knife in his free hand.
"If you don't want another scar to match this one"—the tip of the knife touched the scar that ran from my left eyebrow to my cheek—"give me what you found."
Carlo added, "We don't intend to hurt you, if you do as he says."
"Uh-huh." I snorted in disbelief even as I tried to figure a way out of the problem I was facing. "I can't give it to you if you don't let me go back to the house."
"Tell my dad where it is, and the security code. He can get it while you keep me company here," Ben replied, not moving his arm or the knife even a fraction of an inch.
"It's in the safe in my study," I lied, "and no way am I giving you the combination."
I tried to move and Ben pulled his arm tighter around my throat. "Is it worth your life?" He pressed the tip of the knife to my throat now, just below the arm around my throat. I felt it pierce the skin and then dampness from a small trickle of blood.
I gave them the numbers they needed because Ben was right; not doing so wasn't worth dying for. Besides, with Carlo out of the picture I might have a chance to deal with Ben.