This is a sequel to Cupids Revenge co-authored by DG Hear and myself. Please read that story first for background. Again I want to thank Techsan for editing this story.
The death dealer stood in the doorway, rocking back and forth on his feet. A hard man of no conscience, he mused once again what a great business selling drugs had become: you just had to get them hooked and they were forever customers ... until they died. And they always died.
Lighting up a smelly black cheroot he thought he saw a ghost of movement on the rooftop across the street. Being in a chancy business he was always cautious, and blowing out the match, he backed deeper in the doorway. He stared hard at the roofline, seeing nothing, but ... a glimpse of streetlight reflecting from something in the air and ... pain. A sudden intense, choking pain in his throat brought him to his knees and his last fleeting thought was a realization that he had been hit with an arrow. An arrow, by God, when his enemies were loaded with enough arms to start a revolution in a small third world country.
His death leaked to the ground in rapid red pulses. This dealer of death was out of business and lying in the gutter in a pool of what had been his blood.
This was Cupid's first revenge and occurred in the early morning hours of Valentines Day.
Crispen O'Driscoll stood on the high cliff overlooking the vast ocean of water before him. At fifteen he had the hunger in him: hunger for adventure, hunger from the strange yearnings in his body and real hunger. Ireland, and particularly the area around Baltimore, eight miles down the Ilen River from Skibbereen, was particularly hard hit. It was a time of death — it was a time of famine.
He looked back at the small herd of sheep and knew he was going to have to take his uncle's offer to take him to America. There were just too many mouths to feed and not enough food. As the oldest in his family he hated the long nights of listening to the rumbling, growling noises coming from the stomachs of his brothers and sisters.
Watching the surf batter the broken, rocky shore with a violence seemingly aimed at his home country, it was with a heavy heart he said goodbye to the hard life his people had fallen upon. As he shouted commands to his loyal dog, he followed the decimated herd back to the overcrowded farm.
Late that night, wide awake as he awaited the early call from his father's brother, he wondered if there was a lass across the wide water that could love a homely lad such as him ... with his angry red hair and profusion of freckles, he knew with a bitter self-awareness that he would never be the lad the young lasses pined over.
As he finally drifted off to a land of dreams he had a vision of the lovely Maire Kinsella and the hesitant smile she had given him at the mass on Sunday morn. His dream was of going back to the dark eyed beauty with her pert nose with the light scattering of freckles. He would come back with a gold ring, good clothes and driving a fine carriage pulled by a flashy pair of blacks. Ah, the great life he and Maire would live with their stout lads to work the land and their pretty lasses to please the eyes of a man in his age.
Charlie sat at her make-up mirror, musing over the stories Grandpa Driscoll had told her about Crispen O'Driscoll, the first of the family to move from Ireland during the great potato famine. He had settled in the small town of Baconsburg, Ohio and found a job as an assistant to the town smithy. Later, a few years before the railroad came and the town was renamed Courtland, Crispen had been able to take over the shop and now was the blacksmith for a wide area around the town.
After Crispen settled in he started writing to the fair lass Kinsella and to his great pleasure she was receptive to his hints of coming to America to be his wife. Six months later she arrived and the long love affair between Crispen and Maire was the talk of that part of Ohio.
Through the years the Driscolls, losing the O somewhere around the emerging twentieth century, were known for three things: their athleticism, the carroty red hair and a surfeit of freckles. Charlie, along with her younger sister had inherited all three traits. Her mom was named after the fair maiden Maire and she had intended to pass this name down to her youngest. Due to a mix-up in the records, Maire became Marie, and as her husband told her, "'Tis a fair name for such a lovely girl." And her name was left Marie.
Thinking of her upcoming date with Jim, she knew she had to tell Jim that night what had happened in Germany with Major Tomlinson. It wasn't rape but it sure as hell wasn't from his trying. She could see her green eyes flashing in the mirror and she knew she had to get her anger under control before Jim arrived.
She was twenty minutes early and wondered if Jim would think her too anxious if he knew she had been ready so early. With a wry smile she wondered with some awe how quickly she had fallen for him. It had been six months since the Cupid killer was caught and she and Jim had been dating regularly. Sometimes she had to nudge him a little ... a typical cop, he would get wrapped up in a case and not call her for a week or so.
But she knew something that Jim himself didn't know — he loved her as much as she loved him. No, he didn't exactly wear his heart on his sleeve but it was in his eyes, his gentle touches and certainly in his kisses. Memories of their increasingly lusty petting brought a tinge of sweat to her upper lip and a redness on her cheeks not from rouge.
That's why she had to tell him about the damn Major. She couldn't give herself to him until he knew all about her ... well, almost all. There were things she just couldn't tell him. Looking in the mirror of her compact she saw the glow on her face that came from even thinking about consummating her relationship with Jim brought to her. And she was ready to make love with him. Men, and especially men who were cops, could be so damn dense sometimes.
As she heard his car drive up she mused on what it would be like to live with him. Hopefully there would be marriage and at some point kids. She liked being a detective but she would drop it in a minute for a child, maybe a red-haired imp to replace her sister. This time she would get the name right, Maire.
Jim picked her up, attentive, as always, in the little things, like opening the door, that she cherished so much. Working as a cop she had to suppress her femininity and on her off time wanted to be treated like a lady.
They were back at Cote Sud, which had become their favorite restaurant.
"It's nice to see you, Charlie. I have to say that black dress makes those green eyes of yours shine. I was thinking, while I was driving over, how much I missed you."
She hit his arm, "Jim, we were at the courthouse all morning for Murphy's sentencing. You couldn't possibly have missed me in that short of time."
He smugly smiled, "Well, I did!" He took a sip of his wine and continued, "Damn, I'm glad he copped a plea bargain. I'm always afraid some dickhead on the jury will let him off."
"Gee, Jim, you don't have any hard feelings against jurors, do you?"
Looking abashed, he responded, "No, not really. It's just that sometimes we work so hard to catch someone and it really grates on me when they walk away.
"Anyway, it's a shame that we couldn't get him for the first Cupid murder. I guess that will go to the cold case file. We just don't have anything to go on."
They looked up as the waiter delivered their dinner and the conversation turned to more intimate things.
As Jim was driving her home, she asked him, "I need to talk to you about something. Can you stay for a while?"
When they got to her small home, Charlie went to her bedroom to slip into something 'more comfortable, ' then fixed a drink for them.
"Jim, we haven't really talked about where we want this relationship to go. I think it's time we sat down and had that discussion, but not tonight."
"No, I need to tell you something. I've pulled away from you a couple of times when you wanted to become more intimate and I know that it has hurt and even confused you. A relationship is hard enough without me sending you mixed signals. I don't like doing that ... I don't want to do that.
"When I was stationed in Germany, I was involved in a sexual harassment case. It was eventually dismissed for lack of evidence — CID said it was just a situation of 'he said, she said'. The key part was there were two other women that came forward but they said it was too late for their cases.
"This is what led to me leaving the Army. I was just fed up with the bureaucratic bullshit.
"I'd had several dates with Gary Tomlinson, a Major in the Division Public Affairs Office. I'd fixed him dinner in my apartment and afterwards we sat down to talk, both of us on the sofa. We were having a glass of German wine. He put his arm around me and drew me in for a kiss. I was okay with that but I wasn't ready — and didn't want — anything more. I tried to jerk away from him but he was too strong for me.
"He started ripping at my clothes — he tore off my blouse and bra and slapped me, hard, when I tried to push him away. He was trying to get my skirt off and I was able to grab the bottle and hit him hard on the back of his head.
.... There is more of this story ...