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This is the third section of the continuing saga “Starting Over”. In Part I, LTC (Retired) John Jackson had moved to Seattle after being widowed. He ran into some trouble and some decent people (okay, and a few strippers), while working towards getting his private investigator license. That took place between Sep and Dec 2012.
In Part II, he got involved in a ring trafficking in young women. The main perpetrators were captured, but the hired gun/enforcer slipped away. That took place in Apr and May 2013.
In Part III, John managed to find the enforcer in Key West and was planning to kill him, but changed his mind. He really didn’t know if he could kill someone in cold blood, but the man was living with a woman and had decided that he was retiring. John let him go and returned to Seattle where Maggie gave indications that she wanted a serious relationship.
LTC (Retired) John Jackson, 5’11”, 180, 47 years old.
Marie Jackson, John’s dead wife, 5’8″, 140, 44 years old, died 15 Jan 2012
Angelica Jackson (Angel), John and Marie’s daughter, 5’5″, 125, 20 years old.
Elizabeth Huntington (Beth), Angelica’s roommate, 5’6″ 130, 20 years old.
Mary Bradford, bartender, 5’5″, 120, 35 years old.
Margaret (Maggie) Bradford, Mary’s sister, 5’6″, 115, 38 years old, and John’s love interest.
Madeleine (Maddie) Bradford, Maggie’s daughter, 8 years old.
Juliet Margolin, waitress, 5’4″, 145, 25 years old, Mary’s cousin.
Samantha (Sam) Walker, 5’6″, 130 pounds, 40 years old, John’s neighbor.
Joyce Walker, Sam’s daughter, 5’4″, 120 pounds, 21 years old, and now an exotic dancer using the name Lily
Marion Walker, Sam’s daughter, 5’4″, 115 pounds, 19 years old.
SFC (Retired) Craig Smithson, 6′, 190, 48 years old, NCO from John’s Army unit.
Captain Jeff Smithson, 5’11’, 185, 45 years old, SFC Smithson’s brother and a captain in the Seattle Police Department.
Jeanne (aka Jasmine) Welch, 5’5″, 110, 22 years old, exotic dancer.
George Watkins, 6’4″, 280, 36 years old, bouncer.
Olivia, 5’4″, 120 pounds, 22 years old, called Livy, exotic dancer.
Luke Cole, 5’10”, 180, detective in the Seattle Police Department.
Marcus Candiotti, strip club manager.
Mark Vilmer, CIO of his third start-up and human trafficker
Melissa Vilmer, Mark’s wife
Max Meridian (real name Harold Johnson), Mark’s lead kidnapper and enforcer. Now changed his name to Bob Thomas.
Susan Thomas, Bob’s new wife.
————– Saturday, 1 March, 2014, John’s apartment, Seattle, Washington
Maggie faced him, put her arms around his neck and looked up as she spoke, “I want you in my life. I don’t know what is going on in your life right now, but if you want to see me, I’d love to have you in my life. Well, our life. I think I was wrong before when I pushed you away and said that I didn’t want to date you. I was trying to be independent, but that means that I am free to chose to be with you, if I want, right?”
“Sure.” John was smiling now, and extremely happy.
“I was listening to too many other voices, and not my own. Do you want to be in our lives?”
“Absolutely. I really want nothing more.”
“You think you can quit seeing my cousin, Juliet, now?” Fortunately, for John she was smiling.
John wrapped his arms more tightly around Maggie. “Well, I suppose I could be persuaded to do that.”
Maggie laid her head on his shoulder. “Good. I really do want to be with you.”
John slid his hands down over Maggie’s ass and squeezed. He gave her a sly grin. “Mmmm. That sounds good to me. I can’t wait to get my hands on this world class ass.”
Maggie chuckled. “I can’t wait either.”
Maddie came back in at that moment. “Hey! Mom, are you and Mr. Jackson kissing?”
Maggie laughed and turned toward Maddie. “Not yet, honey, but I plan on doing that a lot.”
Maddie smiled. “Can I come over here more now?”
“Yes, dear. You can come over here a lot. I want to be here a lot, too.” Maggie turned and looked back up at John. “At least for now we will be living separately. Right, John?”
John stared at Maggie for a couple of seconds, amazed that she broached that subject. “Yes, for now.”
Maggie untangled herself from John and went to Maddie. They gathered their things and left. Maggie kissed John good-bye and Maddie wanted one, too. John smiled and gave her one and they left.
John walked over and sat down on his couch. He smiled and leaned back to look at the ceiling. Was it finally happening? Was Maggie finally coming around? He had felt strongly about her very quickly and felt like a yoyo with the way their relationship had gone. But now things were looking up. They were back to dating and maybe more. And the way she looked at him and the things she said made him think that they would finally be together. Thank god.
————– Saturday, 29 March, 2014, John’s apartment, Seattle, Washington
John was watching basketball again. He and Maggie had been out several times in the last two ataşehir escort weeks, and had ended up in bed three of those times. He was relaxed and happy, enjoying life and watching a game, when his phone rang.
John saw that it was Angel. “Hey, cutie, how’s school?” There was a little pause, so John sat up. “Angelica?”
“Hey, Dad. How are things out in Seattle?”
John thought she might be stalling, but he answered anyway. “Maggie and I are dating regular,” he looked outside, “And it’s raining… still.”
Angel laughed. “That figures. Listen, Dad, I hate to call, but my roommate has a little problem.”
John’s mind went racing in all the wrong directions. “Like what?”
“There’s this guy who she dated a couple of times and now it seems like he’s following her. She keeps seeing him everywhere she goes lately. He doesn’t do anything, but always seems to be watching her.”
“Did you go to the administration?”
“Yes, but it’s been a couple of weeks and Beth says they haven’t been much help.”
“Do you want me to come out there?”
“Well, I’m leaving next Wednesday to go to that location dig in South Dakota and I’m scared because as long as we stuck together, I think he stayed away. But once he sees me leave, he may become bolder.”
John thought about that. Bob was closer and his daughter would be out of town. Maybe he was perfect for this job. Someone just needed to warn this asshole to stay away. “Roger. I got it. I’ll get someone I know to come around and make him understand that he can’t do that.”
“Dad, we don’t want him hurt. We just want him to move on.”
“We will try not to hurt him, honey, but if he doesn’t cooperate, then we may have to make sure he REALLY understands.”
There was silence for a short time before Angel answered. “Okay. Just don’t make it bad.”
“Honey, he’s harassing and stalking Beth. It will only be as bad as he makes it.”
“Okay. I’ll text you a picture and name.”
“Good. Now, how’s it going in school?”
“Fine, Dad. I text and email you enough about that that you know you don’t have to worry.”
“I know. I just miss you.”
“Me, too. I’ll be done in mid-May and come home for a couple of months in the summer. Okay?”
“That’s great, honey. You can still visit your friends, if you want, just spend a little time with the old man.”
“Daaaddd! I got it. I’ll see you soon. I’ll let you know as soon as I make my plane reservations, okay?”
“I know. Let me get my contact working on this and I’ll let you know when he’ll be there to take care of your problem.”
“Okay. Bye, Dad, love you.”
“Love you, too, munchkin.” John was glad that she said that now. Before her mother died, she seemed a little uncomfortable saying those words out loud. Not anymore.
After John hung up, he wondered if he was making trouble by contacting Bob, but he was the best bet. He had had some long discussions with him the last few weeks as Bob learned to be a good husband and partner. His daughter would not be there, so she was out of the equation. He would talk to Bob and feel him out about this.
John dialed Bob’s number.
“Hey, Bob. How’s wedded bliss?”
“Well, it’s interesting.”
“That’s good. You won’t get bored that way.”
“Susan is making sure of that. She’s keeping me busy.”
“So, is this just a hello or something else?”
“It’s something else. How would you feel about a job?”
“A job? What do you have that I am qualified for?”
“It’s kind of in your old line of work.”
“Uh-oh. I thought I was going to stay out of that business. I’m too old for that shit, and it might make my new identity visible. I’m trying to go straight here, John. I like having someone to come home to every night.”
“Well, I would like you to stay away, too. But in this case, my daughter’s roommate has immediate need of someone to send a warning to a stalker. They are going to college at Elon in North Carolina, and you are closer than I am. It would also be a chance for a kind of honeymoon for you and Susan, if she can get off. I know you had just a quick one after your wedding. Interested?”
John could almost hear the wheels turning in Bob’s head. Finally, he came back on the line. “Okay, I’ll do it. What do you want me to do?”
“Okay. I’ll text you a picture and name of the guy, then I’ll text you a shot of my daughter’s roommate and her address. What I want you to do is the minimum force necessary. You can scare him all you want, but don’t hurt him unless he’s a complete ass. Then just do only what you have to do. I’m going to send you a $5,000 check to cover travel, expenses, and fees. You guys can go and have a good time except for when you are taking care of this creep. Is that good?”
“$5,000? Wow! I’ll do any work you ever need at those prices.”
“Well, I have to make sure of this and I want to keep you on my side, so consider this also a retainer for any further services.”
“Sounds good. That will keep me out of further trouble.”
John could hear kadıköy escort his teasing humor in that comment. “Good. I’ll overnight the check and you guys can get there any time after next Wednesday. Just give me a heads-up once you get Susan to confirm she can get off.”
“Well, if she can’t, for the rates you’re paying, I can do it alone.”
“It would be better if you were a couple, but I understand.”
“Got it. I’ll let you know. Gonna be good working with you, John.”
“We’ll see.” John hung up.
————– Monday, 31 March, 2014, John’s apartment, Seattle, Washington
On Monday Bob called back and said that he and Susan would be ready to go on Thursday. Apparently, Susan had a friend in Greensboro, just down the road, that they would stop and visit.
“We’ll stay in a hotel in Greensboro and visit with her.”
“I’ve been there,” John said, “and they have an older section of town that has been restored that would be a great place to stay. It’s not large, but has some nice places.”
“Okay, I’ll check that out. Thanks. Oh, and I got your check. I signed it over to Susan to put into the bank. It’s one more level of separation.”
“Good. Okay, if you have all the information, just call me when you get there and tell me how the situation looks to you.”
“Got it. Anything else?”
“Not until you see the guy.”
John hung up and thought some more about this. Angelica would not be there and the girls were moving at the end of this year, so he felt it would be okay for Bob to be at Elon. If he felt Bob would not honor his agreement or felt the girls might be threatened, he could always drop a dime on him and the police would love to pick him up. Well, we’ll see.
————– Tuesday, 1 April, 2014, John’s apartment, Seattle, Washington
John woke up at about 7am on Thursday, still at Maggie’s house, and hit the bathroom. After showering, he came out and saw that she was still sleeping. He lay on the bed next to her and watched her as she slept. She looked peaceful and relaxed. He wanted her to stay that way, but she suddenly stirred and opened her eyes, looking at him. He smiled.
Maggie put her arms over her head and stretched. “Good morning.”
John grinned. The sheet had slipped down below her tits and they were calling to him. “Good morning,” he said as he ran his right hand over her tits, stimulating her nipples.
Maggie slapped his hand away. “Hey! Didn’t you get enough last night? You’re insatiable.” She laughed as she pulled the sheet up to her neck.
“Well, it was such a good view.” He gave her his best grin.
“I have to get up and get Maddie going, so keep your hands to yourself, pervert.”
“I’ll really try, but it ain’t easy being around you.”
Maggie got up and headed to the bathroom. John stared at her ass as she headed that way. He chuckled. It was a really nice one, that’s for sure.
John had just stood up from the bed when his phone rang. He looked at the number. It was Bob.
“Good morning, Bob. You in Greensboro?”
“Hey. Yes, we are in Greensboro. We arrived late last night and I was going to head over to Elon and check out the situation with this guy, but I have something else.”
John frowned. What now? “Yeah?”
“I still have an email address that I keep hidden and I’ve been checking it every so often. I used it so that I could receive notifications when postings were made to a kind of encoded job board for people in my old line of work. We would receive the email and it would give us the daily key whenever new postings were listed. I thought I would keep an eye out for a contract on me, if anyone ever found me.”
“And you got a notification?”
“Yes. I have not checked any out since I retired and got together with Susan, but I checked this one because the location was Seattle.”
“Yes. Seattle. I checked out the notification and it was a hit put out on you and Detective Cole.”
“What?!” John was suddenly extremely alert.
“Yes. You and Cole. It was posted by someone who was angry about you guys breaking up his human trafficking pipeline. Now, when an individual takes the job, his alias is posted as having accepted it. It’s a first come, first serve thing. And this one was taken by someone I know. His name, last I knew the one he was using, was Hank Hole.”
John shook his head. “Great. That’s probably a take off on Harry Hole, the detective in the Jo Nesbo novels. So, what are we expecting?”
“Hank is a small, studious sort. He is very meticulous and won’t move until he has the situation he wants. He also has no qualms about hurting or using family members. The posting said he would be free this Saturday to travel to Seattle and would report back on success in a week. That means you have a little while. He is white, about 5′ 9” tall, only weighs about 170, and is not a physical sort of guy. He likes to set everything up and then execute it up close. He’s a small handgun or quick knife thrust sort of guy. He’s known in the community because he doesn’t snipe bostancı escort bayan or try anything long distance, even though he’s small and looks like a nerd. He also has a birthmark just below his left eye that looks like a tear. It’s similar to some tattoos I’ve seen in the movies.”
“Okay, got it. I’ll get started on this right away. I owe you, Bob.”
“No, you don’t. This job, the pay, and allowing me to retire with someone who has finally made me feel like life wasn’t just shit, is definitely enough. And not looking over my shoulder is letting me relax a little.”
“Roger. I’ve got to run and get ready here.”
“Okay. I’ll text or email you information on what I find out here.”
John disconnected the call and sat there until Maggie came out of the bathroom. “Uh, Maggie, I have to talk to you about something.”
Maggie looked at him quizzically, seeing the phone in his hand. “What happened? Who called?”
“Okay, remain calm while I explain. I just got a call from someone who gave me a tip that a hit man has been hired to kill me and Luke Cole. It’s because of the human trafficking pipeline that we broke up. The guy will probably get here on Saturday and will most likely study us and determine how to do it. Because of that, we’re going to have to stay apart for a while. I don’t want to have something happen again like with the kidnapping of Maddie.”
Maggie sat down next to John, slightly perturbed. “Okay. I’ll try to deal with this. We’ll just tell Maddie that you have to go away on business for a couple of weeks. However, I’m really scared that this is going to be a normal thing in our life as long as you are a private detective. I can’t live like that.”
“I know. I’m sorry. Let’s discuss this after this episode is over, okay?”
Maggie leaned in and kissed him. “Okay. Please be careful. I was just starting to think about a life with you. And Maddie is definitely thinking of you as daddy material. Can you do that? Can you think about making it past this for us?”
“It’s one of the two reasons, along with my daughter, I have for living. I’ll call you later once I have a burner. I don’t know what this guy’s capability is, but we should not do normal communication, okay?”
John could see the unease in Maggie’s eyes. He pulled her close. “Don’t worry. I’m going to get this guy, okay?”
Her eyes brimmed with tears, her anger and determination fading. “Okay.”
John released her and hurriedly got dressed. Maggie just sat there. John went and told Maddie good-bye, too, saying that he had to leave town for a couple of weeks for work. She took it well and said that John had better come over as soon as he got back.
John left and called Luke first. Luke had recovered from being hit in the head and had returned to work. He answered quickly.
“Hey, John. How goes it?”
“Not good, Luke.” He explained the situation and Luke immediately got the others in his office looking for what they could on this. Although, they didn’t have much to go on. The guy was probably not using the name that Bob knew and they had no idea how he was to arrive.
John went home to start getting his apartment more ready.
At about the same time, Harry Hole, or Jon Winston as he was going by now, was making arrangements with some other folks in Seattle. He contacted a few lower-level thugs that he had used before through an acquaintance. He asked for two of them and contacted them to give them a quick assignment.
By the end of the day, John and Luke had come up with an approach to use. If the intel they had was to be believed, the hit man would arrive on Saturday. They assumed he would go immediately to work. The initial approach was for John to wear a lightweight vest for security and walk across the street to his favorite local bar. One cop would be stationed in the bar, supposedly watching the sports that were on, and another cop or FBI agent would be in John’s second apartment, watching and waiting. They would also have two people stationed outside the Bradford residence and one each inside and outside the house of Luke’s mother-in-law, where his family would be ensconced. They wanted to cover all the bases and keep people safe.
If the guy was spotted at any time, they would immediately move to capture him. There was no desire to catch him in the act of trying to kill Luke or John. Luke had found that the FBI had DNA evidence of some of attacks that they thought were attributable to him. He had never been captured, but evidence had been collected at a couple of scenes that had never been matched to an individual. The FBI thought that these might be attributed to this man, but he had never been actually photographed, printed, or captured that they knew. So, they would just capture him and hope that something matched up so he could be arrested.
————– Friday, 4 April, 2014, John’s apartment, Seattle, Washington
Luke had sent his family to his mother-in-law’s house. They lived a little further north in the city of Kenmore, not far from the northern part of Lake Washington.
Maggie Bradford had moved back into her father’s big house in Queen Anne. She and Maddie should be safe there. The Bradford house put a personal security guard in the house along with the two law enforcement officers outside.
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