BLOOD DIAMONDS Chapters 31 – 32

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BLOOD DIAMONDS Chapters 31 – 32Chapter 30Willy’s Island House…”So? Do we play Tiddly-Winks or something before you shoot me?””Jim, your flair for the melodramatic is a bit c***dish. I’m not gonna kill you,” Genevieve huffed. “There’s no reason to. We’re just going to sit for a bit until Grandfather has a decent head start.””And then?””And then I hit you with more happy juice,” I told him. Pulling a small metal tube from my back pocket, I unscrewed the top and let what looked like an Epi-Pen hit the table. After lighting another cigarette I pointed to the syringe. “One touch and when you wake up I’ll be gone. By the time you find someone to tell your story to, well… In all the confusion I’ll be miles away before a manhunt can be organized.””What confusion?””Believe me. There will be confusion,” Genevieve laughed.”Well, your plan is about to fall apart,” Jim informed me while folding his arms over his chest with a satisfied smile. “There’s no way you’ll get close enough to use that syringe without me having a great deal of say in how gets stuck. I’m stronger than you are, Genevieve. I believe I demonstrated that a few times on my boat.””Ahh, those were good times,” I replied. “At least we’ll both have happy memories of this shit fest.” I sounded cocky and confident but Jim had scored a point. He was stronger than me. If I got close enough to use the syringe, I was also close enough for him to grab my arm.”C’mon, Jim. All you have to do is lie face down on the couch. One little ‘owie’ in the butt and all of this is over.””Or what,” Jim asked. “You’ll shoot me? I don’t think so.””Ah, Jim? You may want to look at the bodies on the floor. I think I’ve demonstrated my ability to shoot people.””Yea, but they deserved it. Those two double-crossed your buyer and that guy,” Jim nodded towards Rambo. “He double-crossed you. But you still gave him a chance to go for a gun. I don’t have a gun and I haven’t double-crossed anyone. Can you really pull the trigger on an innocent? I don’t think you can.””You’re really willing to bet on I don’t have the balls to shoot you? What kind’a sick, Boy Scout code do you live by?””I guess the same sick code I’m betting you live by. You don’t back out of a deal and you don’t just kill someone unless you decide they deserve it. By the way, I was very glad you didn’t have balls while we were on my boat.”Damn. Jim had scored another point. But I still had an ace up my sleeve. I pulled my phone from my back pocket and swiped across the face to bring it to life. “You’re willing to bet on my shooting you or not, but are you willing to bet on your boat not exploding,” I asked and pointed to my phone. “One touch of that re-dial button and your boat goes bye-bye.””You wouldn’t! Not my boat,” Jim stared at me in horror. “I would and I will. I had a lot of C-4 left over when I finished leaving surprises all over the place. Enough to make a great big hole in that marsh out there. I planned on blowing up your boat to remove fingerprints and DNA but I’ll make you a deal. All you have to do is just turn over like a good boy, let me stick you and we both walk out of this with what we want. Me with my freedom and a shit-load of money and you with your boat intact.””But, there’s no reason to destroy my boat! There’s gotta be plenty of DNA and fingerprints in my room you slept in.””Doubtful. I was very careful about what I touched and wiped everything down the night I left. The sheets and pillow cases from the bed are in my luggage on your boat. But, hell, this is my last job so I’m willing to trade all that and your boat for you just lying still for five seconds. You make up a story on how I got the drop on you with another dose of happy juice and no one will ever know the difference.””I’ll know. I’ll know I sold out. Can’t do it,” Jim said. “No deal.””Are you really that stupid? For something as dumb as honor you’d lose your boat?””Honor isn’t stupid. Sometimes it’s all we have left.””Okay, don’t say I didn’t try,” I replied and hit the screen. A few seconds later the connection was made to the trigger phone. The blast was pretty spectacular but in all the lightning and thunder from the storm raging outside I doubted anyone but the two of us gave it much thought.Jim couldn’t help himself and jumped up from the couch. Running to the window he stared in horror as pieces from his boat rained down all over the marsh. Some pieces even blown so far they were thudding down on the roof of the house.Jim turned from the window and looked at me in disbelief. “You did it. You actually blew up my boat.””I told you I would, you idiot. Maybe you’ll believe me now when I tell you to lie face down and just let me stick you or I’ll shoot ya.””No. I still don’t think you’ll just kill someone. There’s a big difference between blowing up a boat and murder.” Jim began walking towards me with purpose in his eyes. Holding out his hand in anticipation on my giving him my gun, he started, “Genevieve, you’re under…”And that’s when I shot the stupid son-of-a-bitch…I think it’s best to skip the next couple of minutes. There was a lot of rolling about on the floor with screaming and swear words and things I’m sure a more rational Jim would never have said. It had taken me three shots with Jim’s snub nose revolver to hit his lower leg but it had been enough to put him down.”You shot me,” Jim said to me in disbelief when the first shock at taking a bullet in the leg had worn off. “Oh, damn that hurts!””I told you over and over I would you dumb bastard! Why the hell did you keep thinking I’d shoot to kill you?” I took a long look from where I was. “It really isn’t bleeding that much, Jim. I think this puny .32 revolver didn’t have the power to punch through. Your bone probably caused the bullet to swerve to the side instead of hitting any major blood thingies.””Well thank you very much for the exam, Doctor Bitch! Oh, God it hurts!””It’s your own damn fault,” I told Jim as I walked behind the small bar. Looking, I found several folded cloths and grabbed several. I held up the revolver and let Jim watch me set it down way out of his reach. “Listen to me, Jim. I’ll come over and bandage the leg, but… Listen close now! If you try and grab me, I’ll start hitting and kicking your leg until you pass out from the pain. Don’t grab and I’ll do what I can for your leg. We got a deal?”Jim seemed to give it some thought but he finally admitted we had a deal through clenched teeth. I guess getting shot had satisfied his sense of honor about not cooperating. I put two cloths on top of the wound and tied them tightly in place with a third while Jim tried hard not to yell. He was soaked with sweat when I was done but he admitted the pain seemed to be less.”That’s good because you need to move. I need you to go lie down in the backseat of one of those cars out there.”Jim didn’t seem to like the prospect of having to move on his leg. A threat to shoot his other leg gave him the incentive to let me haul him up. Listening to him moan and groan was becoming annoying. I told him to show some of the balls he accused me of not having. “Humans have two bones in the lower leg. I left you one bone intact so suck it up, Jim. God, you’re such a cry baby.””Here’s an idea. Let me shoot you and we’ll see who handles the pain better.”I caught him eyeing the gun and knew he was measuring the distance. I told him he’d never make it before I kicked his wound. After that warning, Jim put his arm around my shoulders and let me guide him well away from the gun. More groans and moans and sucking in of breaths as sudden pain hit later I had Jim laid out in the back seat of Willy’s nice, big car. I got into the front and hit the c***d safety locks so Jim wouldn’t try wondering away while doped up.Holding up the Epi-Pen I told Jim, “Okay, I’m going to set the house on fire so the fire department should be here sooner or later. You just wait for them. Before I stick ya, I just wanna tell you that you’re a pretty great guy. Sorry you went stupid and made me shoot you.”I stuck Jim and waited. A few seconds later he was in La-La-Land and telling me I was pretty. In the house I sloshed the gasoline Gi had brought me around. Grabbing my Berretta and the cigarettes Willy no longer had a use for, after a flick of the Bic lighter, by the time I reached to end of Willy’s pier the house was pretty well on its way to becoming a charred heap even in the rain. Strong winds were fanning the blaze as I started the motor boat’s engine up. Taking my phone out I hit another re-dial button and when I lost connection knew the cell phone tower on the island was off the air permanently thanks to the explosive power of C-4. Heading north, I made connection with the tower on the mainland and once past the causeway hit the next button and blew up the electrical and phone lines to the island. Another button ignited gasoline at my North Carolina house and barn. With no further need of any phone connections I hit the last button and the tower on the mainland came crashing down.By the time anyone made sense out of all the confusion I’d be long gone. Revving the engine up a bit for more speed, I tossed my phone and the guns into the water. I had a long way to go before reaching my destination…Chapter 31After all was said and done… Wassamassaw Island…I spent almost two months in the hospital. My leg elevated in a sling with pins and plates holding my bones together while bone grafts knit my leg back together. Had a little infection problem so I got to amuse myself with one antibiotic after another giving me the worst case of explosive diarrhea in history. When the thrill of that wore off I got to amuse myself listening to doctors talk about the possibility of amputation. I had so much fun in the hospital.Thankfully the antibiotic soup they were shooting into me with needles large enough to be used only on horses began kicking in just in time for me to keep my leg. Two operations later with my leg held together with screws and plates while bones knit together I got to leave. Yep, I got to leave the hospital in time to learn I was the biggest joke on the island. I really thought Lt. Dan and I were going to be fired. But that was before The New York Times ran an article on how we redneck, Southern hicks had been duped and fooled by a slick talkin’ city slicker. Made our island sound like a breeding ground for idiots.Now, there were probably lots of people on our island who did think I was a fool. But to have the Damnyankees say it out loud was to much! People rallied behind me and Lt. Dan in opposition to the Damnyankees. Lt. Dan will never be elected sheriff and it will be a cold day güvenilir bahis in hell before I get promoted but at least we weren’t fired and after two months of physical therapy I was back on limited duty. I got out of the hospital in time to make a whole lot of court appearances. Both in the county and up in New York City there were a lot of folks interested in bringing indictments against a certain female fugitive. I gave the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth in a series of Federal and State Grand Jury appearances. The only thing I never mentioned was that bastard Giancarlo.Turned out that Don Carlos was right. It was my word against his that he was involved and he had an entire crew of a yacht to testify that he was no where even near North America at the time in question. As he said, lawyers would fight it out for years.But, against one WANTED: UNKOWN SUBJECT (AKA: GENEVIEVE BUJOLD) WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN, the Grand Juries brought a list of charges a mile long. It started with three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder (Me), Terrorist Destruction Of Infrastructure (That was from Homeland Security) and ended with arson. Apparently she’d set fire to a trash dumpster up north. The camera Genevieve bought had been found on Willy’s island. It had been tossed there by the explosion when she’d blown the hell out of my boat. One picture from the SIM Card was able to be retrieved. Genevieve’s FBI Wanted Picture was a head shot of a smiling, beautiful Genevieve I’d taken on my boat. It was one of the internets most visited sites for days. Genevieve made it to Number Seven on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. A few days later she made it to Number Five when she somehow got the drop on an agent in Delaware. She left him knocked out and handcuffed to a toilet in a gay bar. Somehow I think Genevieve will think of it as a challenge to see if she can make it to the Number One spot.Things finally began to settle down by the time I was fit enough to go back to limited duty. I took the jokes from my fellow police officers in as good a spirit as I could, but it flat out galled me to see Sam drive up to work everyday in a damned Ferrari. I get shot and made a fool of and HE gets Magnum’s Ferrari. A bill of sale from Genevieve had been found in the glove compartment with Sam’s name on it. There was some debate back and forth between lawyers, but since no one could prove that the car had been bought with stolen money and since Lt. Dan and I could swear that Sam didn’t know anything about what was going on, then the car could be considered a gift and not a bribe. In the end, Sam got to keep the damned car!I did take great pleasure in telling K’deesha how much the insurance was going to be on the damned thing. Sam now has until the next insurance bill comes due to sell it. He’ll still get enough money from selling it to pay his k**s way through a good deal of college but at least I won’t have to see him driving that damned Ferrari with the top down and the theme from Magnum, P.I. blaring from the speakers. Sam looks ridiculous in flowered Hawaiian shirts anyway.In six months I was back to full duty status even though I still limped a bit on damp days. Even collared Billy again on the same corner near the high school. Billy took one look at me limping towards him and said, “Ya know, I could runs away from you real easy, Mr. Police Detective.” Then he just shook his head and waited for me to frisk him. I found the weed and pills he had in his pocket and considered his politeness. I tore the bags open, tossed the contents down a nearby sewer opening and handcuffed him.“Come on, Billy. I’ll bust ya for vagrancy or something. You’ll pay a fine, but you’ll get a good meal from Miz Judy out’a it. And from now on stay the hell away from the high school, any school, with sell weight, you idiot!” Call it professional courtesy from one idiot to another.One year to the day that Genevieve walked into my life I was sitting at my desk in charge of answering phones and doing dispatch duty. The guy who walked into the precinct looked the worse for wear. Clothes rumpled and his tired eyes cried out for sleep. Looking at the jingling bell above the door, a holdover from when our precinct had been a shoe store, he asked, “You Jim Kershaw?”I nodded and then reached quickly for the gun I’d placed in a desk drawer when he reached inside his jacket. Going very still, he slowly raised the hand not in his jacket and told me, “Buddy, I got no beef wit’ you. I’m just here at the request of a friend of a friend. I’m gonna open my jacket so you can see I got no gun. Okay?”When I nodded he used his free hand to open the jacket far enough for me to see he only had a letter in his other hand. When I relaxed he approached my desk to give me the letter. “That’s it, Buddy. That’s all I was told to do.””You look like you’ve been driving a long way.””I have. Told to get that to you today so I had to drive like crazy. Probably have to drive all the way back to Charleston to find an empty hotel room cause of this damned vacation shit.”He was turning to leave when I felt charitable. “Hey, there’s a shower in the back and…” I nodded to the cell and its bunk, “It ain’t a Hilton but the sheets are clean and the door won’t be locked.””Thanks, Buddy. Won’t be the first time I slept in a cell but it’ll be the first time I can leave when I want.”While my new friend got a suitcase from his car and disappeared to shower, I sat and looked at the envelope. All that was on the outside was my name in wide, sweeping cursive handwriting. Tearing the envelope open I found a business card from a charter plane company in Charleston. On the back of the card was a short handwritten note.Jim,Please come.GenevieveI called the charter company and the lady there informed me that whenever I wished to leave, they had been paid to fly me to my destination. I felt silly asking if they knew where my destination was. The lady gave me the name of a country I’d never even heard of. All I needed to do was give them a departure time and show up with a passport. I said I’d get back in touch and hung up.Sam was off today but he agreed to come in when I called. When he showed up in that damned Ferrari I resisted my urge to tell him that large, black men looked ridiculous in flowered Hawaiian shirts. When he jerked a thumb at my now sleeping friend in the cell I told him the story.Sam held the envelope under his nose, “It’s her perfume.””I noticed.” “I’ll let Lt. Dan know.”“I don’t know if I’ll go or not, Sam.”“Hell, you know you’re going. Why spend a day or so trying to decide. If you hurry you can be out’a the country before Lt. Dan even knows you’re gone.”Sam sat at his desk to call K’deesha to ask her to bring him a uniform as I got my things together. The last thing Sam said as I headed out the door was to inform me that he was starting a betting pool for where Genevieve would shoot me next.With a best friend like that, who needs enemies?Mom and Dad weren’t home when I swung by to pack a suitcase. I left a note saying I’d be gone a few days and then called the charter company back. A pretty nice jet was waiting for me at Charleston airport when I arrived. Damned thing took off like a rocket and in no time I was over the Atlantic speeding east and south.I had not one but two gorgeous ladies to look after me. One to hand me a cold glass of my favorite beer and the other to place a delicious meal in front of me. Everything, right down to the butter pecan ice cream for dessert, was exactly what I’d told Genevieve was my favorite meal while we ate cold Vienna sausages on my boat. I could only shake my head at her attention to detail and incredible memory.As soon as I landed and cleared customs another person was waiting in a much smaller prop plane to fly me out to an island. I guess the charter company had had instructions to call ahead to let Genevieve know I was coming. I didn’t understand a damn word the pilot or the guy who was waiting for me at the island airstrip was saying. Just got in the car they were pointing at and away we went.The car was well maintained, the road was pot hole free with beautiful scenic vistas of the ocean. The people all looked healthy and friendly. A regular tropical island paradise. As we swung around one turn, across a small bay I could see a very nice house with immaculate lawns stretching out to low rock walls. It reminded me of something. I knew of what when we drove through a gate and I saw another red Ferrari parked by the front door. Somebody had a real thing for all things Magnum. The house looked like a copy of Robin’s Nest from the show.I wouldn’t have been surprised to be greeted by Higgins at the door but instead I was met by the largest black woman I’d ever seen in my life. My height and she easily outweighed me by a hundred pounds. I think all of it was muscle. Her look and attitude as she led me through the house made it clear that I wasn’t her favorite person.Genevieve was out on a patio surrounding a swimming pool that was the size of my parents house. She was sitting with her back to me and wearing a wide brimmed sun hat. I walked across the patio to sit across from her at the table and… Almost missed the chair, “Genevieve! What the hell? Are you sick?”Genevieve’s face reminded me of that painting The Scream. Paper thin skin with no fat underneath. Just skin and bones with large, dark circles under her eyes. While Genevieve had been thin on my boat, now her arms and legs looked skeletal. I’d had hours to think of what I’d say once we were face to face. I’d start with ‘You bitch’ and go from there. Now that we were face to face, all I managed was a concerned, “Were you in an accident? Are you gonna be okay?””I’m fine, Jim. Still a long way from being a hundred percent but I’m getting better. I like to sit out here in the sun for a few minutes a day. It’s all I can manage before I sunburn.” Genevieve laughed weakly, “And I thought the sun in South Carolina was hot.”“Genevieve, what’s wrong? Are you sick? Have you caught some kind’a virus down here or something?” I thought of Ebola, but even Ebola doesn’t waste somebody this fast, does it?Genevieve laughed again. “I guess you could say I’ve been sick. Lost the fifth of my nine lives. But I’m better now. Getting stronger every day.” Genevieve cocked her head in a way that reminded me of better days and smiled. “You surprised me. I thought your first words to me would’ve been, You bitch!”I tried not to look guilty. “Nah. I would never… Well, maybe a few choice words if you didn’t look like death warmed over.” I sighed and admitted what I’d known for a long time. “Hell, Genevieve. türkçe bahis I really tried to get a good hate going against you. I really tried. But then I’d remember you on my boat and… I just couldn’t make the hate stick. Even when I had to testify in front of the grand juries.”“Would have made it much easier on me if you hadn’t testified,” Genevieve replied in a rueful voice.I let some of the frustration I’d kept bottled up for a year show. “You blew up my boat! You shot me! You weren’t exactly my favorite person in the world, Genevieve.”“I am sorry about your boat, Jim.” When I stayed quiet, Genevieve showed some of her old spark for the first time. “If you’re waiting for me to apologize for shooting you, you’ll be waiting until Hell freezes over! What the fuck was wrong with you? Trying to arrest me when I was the only one with a gun? Sheesh… How stupid are you?”“I didn’t think you’d shoot me!”“WELL, DUH!! What was I supposed to do? Stand there like an idiot mesmerized with puppy love and let you arrest me? Or shoot you and get away with the money? God, you are such a Boy Scout!”I stood up and leaned over the table. I was finally getting my mad on. Stabbing the table top with my finger I told her, “I spent two months in the hospital. The doctors were talking about amputation for a couple of days!”Genevieve stood up and leaned over the table, too. “I tried to miss the bone, but you were walking towards me and… Don’t you dare blame me for your stupidity! You should be thanking me instead. Grandfather wanted to take you out and chuck you overboard with an anchor tied to your ankles! I saved your fucking life!”Genevieve met me stare for stare and decibel for decibel. We were so close our noses were almost touching as we shouted.“You blew up my boat!”“And I said I was sorry for that!””You shot me!” “You went stupid and tried to arrest me!””You…” I couldn’t say it.”I what? Say it!””All right! You used sex just to keep me happy and unsuspecting. Leaving your phone behind… My phone not working… The radio… Nothing on my boat between us was real.”There. I’d said it. The one thing, even more than my boat, that I couldn’t forget. Or forgive. I felt empty as I pushed myself upright and away from her. I wasn’t mad anymore. Just empty.”Everything we had on the boat was just an act. Even the sex was just a part of your plan. I can’t believe I started to think we… But it was just… Dammit, Genevieve! You used sex to get what you wanted and that just makes you a whore! God, I was such a fool.” I let my words trail off. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. I’d come and said my piece. I turned and walked back towards the house. If the car and driver weren’t still out front I’d walk to town and see about getting home from there.“Jim! Wait a second, dammit!” Genevieve ran up behind me and grabbed my arm. “Is that what’s bugging you? You’re precious male pride! Then chew on this. Yes, I used you to cover why I was on the island. But not for sex. The sex was just something that happened. Something I wanted to happen. I did not plan on seducing you and fucking you into stupid exhaustion. Jesus Christ! We’d make love and I’d fall asleep. I’d wake up and, yes, I got up while you slept to sabotage your phone and the radio, but I didn’t need to fuck you to do that. You had to sleep sometime!”Genevieve let go of my arm and in a calmer tone said, “Jim, I didn’t fuck you for some evil reason. I had sex with you because I wanted to, not to keep you stupid about my nefarious schemes. Think about it, were you ever suspicious of me? I didn’t need to use sex to distract you from something you never even thought about. Jim, I know what it’s like to be a whore and I wasn’t one on your boat!”I didn’t answer. I didn’t want to admit she had a point. Just then whatever strength Genevieve had called upon to argue with me disappeared. She would have fallen if I hadn’t moved in to gather her to me and hold her tight. She was feather light as I picked her up and walked her back to her chair. Seating her, I waited on my knees beside the chair until she managed to breath easily and smile.”Thanks. I guess I’m not a strong as I thought I was.””Genevieve, what’s wrong,” I asked still on my knees. “How can I help?””You can help by stop being such a Boy Scout. I didn’t ask you to come to help me, Jim.””Well, I can’t arrest you since I’m kind’a out of my jurisdiction so all I can do is help if I can before I go.”“Look, I know you hate me. But, before you go I’ve got a couple of things you need to know about,” Genevieve told me. Pointing to a manila envelope on the table, she asked me to open it. Inside was a 8×10 color, glossy photograph of a beautiful sailboat cutting through some light waves.“It’s probably being delivered to your dock right about now by the crew I hired,” Genevieve told me. “It’s 15 or 20 feet longer than your old boat, but it has all the latest gadgets and gizmos that will let you sail her by yourself.”Damn, she was beautiful. At least a 60 footer as opposed to my old 40. Also in there was a bill of sale in my name for one dollar.“Got a dollar, Sailor Man? Sorry. That was in poor taste considering…” Genevieve let her voice trail off. “The boat place I bought it from says it has a reinforced fiberglass hull, radar and navigation controls and self-steering doohickey’s and electric thingies to raise and lower the sails with just a push of a button and… Hell! I don’t know what all it has. I just told ’em I wanted everything that a guy would need to sail it by himself. And it’s not new. They sc****d the hull clean and painted her and got it ready so that you can take it out as soon as you get home, but there’s still plenty of things that I’m sure your dad can keep busy puttering around fixing to his hearts content.”Genevieve looked at me and smiled. “It had three staterooms but I had them rip one out so your cabin is larger with a much nicer bathroom, too. And I told them I wanted an extra large bed placed in the Captain’s Cabin. Who knows? Maybe someday you’ll park her off my beach. We never did get to sleep in a real bed aboard your last boat.”I was touched. Really, I was, but… “She’s a beautiful boat, Genevieve. Thank you. Dad hasn’t had a place to go and putter for the last year. He’s been driving my Mom crazy. But, I can’t keep her. It would look too much like a bribe. Like you’re trying to bribe me to change my testimony at your trial. And I can’t afford to buy her. Not for what she’s worth. Call your crew and ask them to sail her back to where they came from.”“ARRGGHH!” Genevieve tossed her arms in the air and screamed. “You are such a fucking Boy Scout! So what if it looks like a bribe? You’ve already testified at the Grand Juries. And do ya think for one second I’d have been stupid enough to move here if this country had an extradition treaty with the U.S.? You can’t even arrest me, no one can here! There will never even be a trial.”“Maybe not, but I still can’t keep the boat.” I handed Genevieve the envelope. “Just wouldn’t be right somehow.”“God, you are the most aggravating man I have ever met!” Genevieve tossed the papers on the table and shook her head. “All right. I won’t argue. But I can show you something you can’t give back.”When Genevieve stood up she wobbled again like she was about to fall over. I quickly grabbed her arms and held her upright as she got her balance. “I think I stood up too quickly,” Genevieve told me with a weak smile.”Go lie down, Genevieve. I’ll wait until you’re feeling better before I go,” I said. I let her lean on my arm as she led inside the much cooler interior of her sprawling house.”Oh, I don’t think you’ll be in any hurry to leave after I take you on a tour of my house.”The house was pretty spectacular. The Higgins’ study was so true to the show that I even looked for the Bridge Over the River Kwai made of toothpicks. It wasn’t there. My only comment though was, “Nice house. Can I blow it up?” That made Genevieve laugh. I guess she thought I was k**ding.We were standing beside a closed door when she answered quietly, “I hope you won’t since…” Genevieve opened the door and inside was a nursery complete with crib. “It has your daughter in it.”The room was all pink and soft. Small play toys lined the shelves. Teddy Bears and other stuffed a****ls were aligned in perfect rows like soldiers waiting for a command. But I only had eyes for the crib and the small bundle inside it as I walked into the room. There was a woman in a rocking chair beside the crib. She looked like a younger, smaller version of the housekeeper. She got up and left without a word as I stood next to the crib and looked at the tiny, sleeping person there.Face all scrunched up. Hardly any hair. Blotchy red skin… “She’s perfect,” was all I could say.“Yea. She is.” Genevieve moved to stand next to me. I put my arm around her shoulders without thinking and she snuggled up to my side. “I’m a little prejudiced, of course. But I think she’s gonna be a real heartbreaker when she grows up.”I nodded and watched as the baby began sucking on her closed fist in her sleep.“She’s about to wake up,” Genevieve told me. “She always sucks on her fist before she wakes up hungry. I’ve spent hours since I got out of the hospital sitting in that rocking chair, just watching her sleep.”“But how, Genevieve? We only had that time on the boat and you said you were on the pill.”“I lied. In case you haven’t noticed I’m pretty damned good at lying. And we may have only had that time on the boat, but we sure managed to have a lot of sex. Like they say, it only takes once.” Genevieve’s arm was around my waist now and she gave me a squeeze. “But I know exactly when we made her. It was during the storm. Her name is Katherine for your mom, Alicia for your aunt, Kershaw for your family. But I just call her Stormie because I know she was made during that storm. I girlie it up with an ‘ie’ at the end instead of a ‘y’.“She’s a miracle baby in every way. I won’t go into details, Jim. I’ve been to specialists who’ve all said the same thing. I’m messed up inside because of… Well, just because… It was a million to one shot for me to even get pregnant. Another million to one shot for me to carry a baby to term.”“And she’s mine?” I realized how that question must have hurt Genevieve as soon as the words were out of my mouth. “Oh, God, Genevieve. I didn’t mean it like that…”But Genevieve had already pulled away from me. Sitting down with a sigh of relief, she reached over to the small table next to her chair. Picking up another envelope she handed it to me with a tired smile. “It’s okay, Jim. After everything I’ve done I kind’a expected that question.” güvenilir bahis siteleri I could tell that I’d hurt her though she was trying not to show it.“In there are the results of DNA tests on me and on the baby. I included a list of clinics around Charleston that can do your DNA for a paternity test. But, I wasn’t with a man for a long time before you. And, there hasn’t been another man since you. I know you’re the father.”I tossed the envelope into a small, pink waste bin beside the table. “Then that’s all I need to know.” I closed the distance between us and leaned down to kiss her. With masterful timing, a thin wail sounded from the crib. We broke the kiss and both of us laughed just like we were back on my boat and nothing had happened in the year since. Well, nothing except…Ignoring the thin cries from the crib for now, I rubbed noses with Genevieve. “Puppy love? So you were in puppy love with me?””I never said tha…””Yes, you did,” I interrupted. “You said puppy love and you weren’t going to let that stop you from getting away.””I didn’t mean it like that. Dammit! Will you pick up your daughter and leave me alone?”I have nephews and cousins with babies so I knew how to pick up a baby. I wasn’t a total newbie. Stormie quieted a bit as soon as I picked her up. “Hey there. I’m your dad,” I told her. “And your mom said she has a bad case of puppy love for me.””I did not!”“Stormie. What a perfect name,” I observed, ignoring Genevieve while gazing down at a baby trying to put both her hands into a tiny mouth. “She’s hungry alright,” Genevieve observed as Stormie continued to fuss around her fists.“Okay, here… You take her and I’ll step out while…”“No, no. You don’t need to step out. There’s plenty of milk in bottles. Lord knows I make enough,” Genevieve laughed while gesturing towards her large breasts.Just then the young woman who’d been in the room walked back in holding a bottle. “Jim, this is Mama Esmeralda’s niece, Kakuma. Mama Esmeralda is the woman who met you at the door. She and her family have adopted me and Stormie. I don’t know what I would have done without their help the last few months.Kakuma and I nodded and smiled at each other and then she handed the bottle to Genevieve and left again.Genevieve rose and gestured to the rocking chair. “Why don’t you sit down and feed Stormie? Do a little bonding while I lie down for a while. I’m okay, Jim. Really,” Genevieve continued hurriedly at my look of concern. “I just get a little tired from time to time. I’m like Stormie. I like my naps.”While Genevieve napped, Stormie and I bonded. I did all the expected things. Counted eyes, ears, fingers and toes. Introduced myself and talked baby talk while Stormie ignored me as she sucked enthusiastically on the nipple of the bottle. Somewhere during all of that, I fell hopelessly in love.I waited until AJ was fed and burped before going in search of Genevieve. I found her asleep on top of the covers of her bed. I sat down beside her on the side of the bed and bonded some more.“I was flat on my back the last five months. Doctors wouldn’t even let me walk to the bathroom.” I knew Genevieve had been awake and watching us for a while before she spoke. “Mama Esmerelda and Kakuma were with me the whole time. I know I owe Mama Es for Stormie’s life. You have no idea what it’s like to wake up and wonder if this will be the day I’ll go into early labor and abort the baby. But Stormie’s a fighter. I went crazy but she hung in there and every day she stayed inside was another day closer that she could survive outside of me.”Genevieve stretched out a thin arm and tickled AJ’s foot. “I thought about calling you, Jim. Letting you know. I argued with myself for hours. But I didn’t want you to have to worry like me that she wouldn’t last long enough to live. Jim, I’m not k**ding you. I went crazy for a while. And then I had a little trouble with the delivery and… I did make sure that Mama Es had all the info on how to contact you.”“Are you alright now, Genevieve?”“Yes. Something inside me tore and I started bleeding during the delivery, When the afterbirth passed I really started bleeding. It got a bit dicey there for a while. The docs said that they were about to do an emergency hysterectomy when the bleeding lessened and then finally stopped. I think every person on the island with my blood type donated. I’m sure they consider me one of them now because every drop of my blood is theirs. The docs kept me in a medicated c*** for ten days so I wouldn’t move and maybe tear something open again. It’s just gonna take me a while to regain my strength.”“You’d better get better fast. Once Mom learns she finally has a granddaughter to spoil she’s gonna be here if she has to swim the ocean.” Mom had four sons and three of those sons had given her five grandsons. I had finally given Mom what she’d wanted most. A granddaughter she could have pretend tea parties with and to whom she could bequeth the huge doll house she’d had as a c***d.Genevieve smiled and pointed to yet another envelope that was on the bedside table. “The number of the charter company is in there with a list of all the people they have instructions to fly anywhere at anytime. Your mom’s name is first on the list. All she has to do is call them anytime she wants and they’ll fly her here. We can add other names to the list later.”I looked at the envelope. “Dammit, Genevieve. Is there anything you haven’t planned out in advance? How about this? Marry me. Will you marry me, Genevieve?”That surprised her but then she just smiled tiredly and looked up at me from the pillow. “Come on, Jim. I didn’t ask you to fly here so that you’d have to do the ‘right thing’ for the poor, un-wed mother. Look around, I hardly need financial support.”“I don’t care about any of that! I love you. I don’t understand it, but I do. And it’s not because of Stormie. My daughter will always know who her dad is no matter what. This is just between you and me. Marry me. Get the lawyers to fuss with a pre-nuptial agreement so you know I’m not after your damned money and marry me.”“You better be sure, Jim. I take ‘till death we do part’ very seriously. And I’m a better shot than you are, bucko.” I think she was joking. But with Genevieve, who could tell?“Then I’ll make sure your promise not to shoot me again is somewhere in our wedding vows. I’m sure, Genevieve. Marry me. We’ll make it work. I love you, Genevieve. Or whatever your name is.”Genevieve took her time in answering. Looking at me with her large eyes from under strands of her tousled ‘sleep hair’. Damn, she looked so cute even looking like death warmed over. “Okay. Yes, I’ll marry you. You poor bastard, you have no idea what you’re getting into. I’ve sown all the wild oats I need to. You’re my only guy now.”“And you’re my only gal. You and Stormie here, that is.” I leaned down and kissed Genevieve. Then we both took the time to smooch on Stormie. She seemed a happy baby and took the stupidity of her parents well.Genevieve was quiet and I gave her time to think about whatever she was thinking about. Finally she said, “So, being married is like us making a deal?””I hadn’t thought of it like that but, yea, we’re making a deal.””So, everything I have is yours and everything you have is mine?””Yes.””So, I’m your only girl and your my only guy?””Yes.””So, you’re sure about this? You know what I did to the last guy who broke a deal with me.””I know and I’m sure.”Genevieve nodded thoughtfully then stretched out her hand. “Okay. It’s a deal.”I knew… I knew beyond any doubt that as soon as I reached over to shake Genevieve’s hand that the deal was done and as far as she was concerned we were now married.Genevieve smiled at me over our daughter. “I think what we just said is as good as any marriage vows, but ask your Mom to bring along her Pastor and we’ll make it all legal for Stormie’s sake. On one condition though and it’s a deal breaker… You gotta keep the boat as my wedding present to you.”I had to wrestle with my conscious but it was a short fight. “Okay. But that’s it. I don’t want anything else that’s bought with stolen money.”“Shit,” Genevieve laughed. “You dumbass, it all spends the same and I’ve got a great diamond that can be mounted as my engagement ring.”“No!” This was something I didn’t have to wrestle with my conscious about for even a second. “No. I can buy my wife her engagement ring. And any other jewelry you need! I’ll buy it from what I make at my job. And that is not negotiable, Genevieve. Deal breaker, Genevieve. I’ll buy you any jewelry from my salary. I don’t want my wife wearing jewelry or diamonds that are stolen.”Genevieve just rested her head onto the pillow and looked at me as if I were crazy. “Ya know? I kind’a like the sound of ‘my wife’ when you’re being all manly possessive.” Then her look went pensive. She pulled on a chain around her neck and brought out a dull red stone from under her shirt. It was in a cage made of thin metal wires. Genevieve asked quietly, “Jim, I’d really like to keep this, though. It’s more my good luck charm than jewelry. I wore it all the way through the pregnancy. I think it even saved my life once.”I reached out and ran a fingertip over it. It wasn’t even all that pretty. “Of course you can keep it. God knows, we’ll need all the luck we can get. But that’s all, Genevieve.”Genevieve didn’t raise her voice, just said ‘Mama Es’ and the huge woman who’d greeted me at the door appeared beside me like she’d been teleported. Scared the hell out’a me. Jumping up in surprise I said, “Jesus! You could teach a cat how to move quietly!”Advancing while I retreated until I was backed up against a wall, she put her face inches from mine and warned, “Do not say that Name in that way in my house.”Moving away she went next to the bed and helped Genevieve sit up before handing her a glass half filled with some bilious looking green liquid.”No, Mama Es. I had your tonic earlier today,” Genevieve whined. I never would have thought Genevieve even knew how to whine.”That was morning. That man,” Esmeralda looked at me and sniffed. “That man has tired you. You drink.””Okay, I’ll drink it later,” Genevieve said. Moving to place the glass on the bed table, she ran into Esmeralda’s large hand blocking hers.”No, you drink now so I see. No more pouring into flower pot.””Okay, okay…” Taking a deep breath and holding it, Genevieve drank quickly. Her body shaking as she coughed, Genevieve made a face and exclaimed, “That’s even nastier than usual! Did you add something?”After one last, full body shake and grimace Genevieve handed the glass back and continued, “Mama Es, take the jewelry box from my dresser and all the jewelry and gems in the safe. It’s all yours now.”Smiling at me, Genevieve added, “My husband will buy me any diamonds I need from now on.”Further rampages of Genevieve will be continued in A GEM OF AN OFFER…

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