In the Running (Dee Lloyd) – Chapter Nineteen

On their way home after discovering Wilson at the cabin, Matt tries to calm Reenie.

“I’ll call Walt and make sure his people pick up Wilson and whoever he has with him at the same time as they pounce on Casen and Gerardo,” Matt assured her. “By this time tomorrow, sweetheart, it will be all over.”
The last words echoed hollowly in his ears. He had tried not to wonder what Reenie was going to do when it was all over. He did know that he wasn’t going to allow what they had together to end with the arrest of Jon Casen. [Even if she wanted it to end? Hypothetically, I mean.] She couldn’t possibly believe he thought this was a temporary fling. Could she? When she’d confessed her love, he’d been so overwhelmed that he hadn’t been capable of uttering a word in reply. But she must know he loved her. [Well, yes, because she’s able to read his mind. Just like all women are mind readers.]
My God! He did. [Duh…]

But Matt decides not to tell her right away that he loves her but to wait till the whole Jon Casen thing was over and done with.

They arrive at the marina to find Gus waiting for them, knowing everything about Reenie being Maura and being pissed. He heard through Sandra Field. Gus believes the news stories about Reenie being unbalanced and Jon desperately searching for her. [Why would he believe the news rather than his best friend? I don’t get it. I seriously don’t.]

Anyway, together, Matt, Pete and Reenie manage to convince Gus to at least hear them out. Matt goes to the apartment with Gus to check something –

“I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Matt said softly. “Why don’t you make Dad some of your awful herbal tea and see if you can’t get him calmed down?” [Pete is not that fucking fragile. He really isn’t. And I think an adult is usually able to calm himself down and doesn’t need awful herbal tea to do so…]
She and Pete were halfway to the kitchen when Pete stopped in his tracks. “Did Matt call me ‘Dad’?” he demanded. [Yeah, the first sign that things are better between two people is the terms of endearment they use. And things had to become better between the two, because no issue can be left unresolved by the ending of this book.]
A shrill screech from the sensors warned them that some kind of vehicle had passed the gate. They hurried to the window.
“Just somebody using the driveway to turn around,” Pete said.
Reenie’s heart leapt to her throat. A distinctive dark blue sedan with wide chrome trim took off out the gates, its tires spitting gravel. [Aw… are the big bad bullies scared of the alarm?]

Gus and Matt come running back. And they all go to the apartment together, telling the herbal tea to go fuck itself.
They call Walt, who’s been trying to reach them all day to warn them about the newsletter, that Jon saw it and is gone now. [Surprisingly enough nobody else recognised Reenie yet.] Unfortunately, Walt can’t bring the raid forward, so they have to sit tight until the next day at 4.00.

Then Walt talks to Gus, who doesn’t have a problem believing him, although his world was just so shaken that he wouldn’t believe his best friend.
Gus agrees to keep Reenie safe for the time being, together with Matt.

The moment he hung up, Matt began to lay down his own ground rules. “You have every right to question Reenie, Gus, but you aren’t going to browbeat her. And I want to be present. [Is he her lawyer now, too? And why doesn’t he trust Gus to treat Reenie okay? I might be repeating myself, but the two of them are best friends. Or at least really good ones. I trust my friends to behave themselves.] Before we get started, Reenie and I need a couple of minutes of privacy.”
Reenie could see that Gus had put up with about all he was going to. Before his hackles rose any higher, she decided to lay down a few ground rules of her own. [Because that is obviously going to calm Gus. Some more rules that are not his usual procedure.]
“Listen to me, Mattias Hanson,” she told him. “You will not stay with me. You have more important business of your own to finish.” She turned to Gus. “You have no idea how relieved I am to finally be able to tell you about what happened, Gus. I want you to know the whole story. I won’t hold anything back.” [Huh? Those are supposed to be rules?]

Anyway, they get their time alone, just as they asked for. Reenie tells Matt again that she loves him. Matt doesn’t tell her that he loves her, though. (Probably still waiting for the right moment.)

Matt lifted her chin and kissed her. She tried not to read too much into the earnestness of his kiss. [Can a kiss be earnest?]
“To business, woman,” [Asshole. Do I need to explain why?] Matt said when he raised his lips from hers. “You think we should let Gus see the copies of the photos and the memos.”

They decide that they will stay at the house for the time being (Reenie has to be embarassed for a short moment because she will share the bed with Matt in the same house, where his father will be). But right now, Matt will continue working in the apartment, while Gus interviews Reenie with Pete.

Gus asks a lot of questions, wanting to know every detail.

Matt returns in the evening, being closer than ever to perfectly nail Jon.

The picture of Pete and Gus having an evening snack at the kitchen table looked normal, if you didn’t look at the shotgun that leaned against Pete’s chair and the business-like shoulder holster that Gus was wearing. [Is there a non-business-like shoulder holster?]

Matts armed to and we have a perfect little gun party, because Reenie also still has the gun from the lodge.

“It shouldn’t take Ryan more than two or three hours to get access to the new data I need.” Matt changed the subject abruptly. “I told him I’d log in at four A.M. so I’d better get some sleep now. Come on, Reenie. Time for bed.” [No questions asked, whether Reenie wants to sleep or not. Matt goes to bed, and so has his little wifey.]

Before they can reach the bed, though, the alarm sounds again, and again, the bad guys run off scared. [They are very bad guys.]
After that little excitement, Matt, Reenie and Pete head for bed and Gus takes over the watch.

Matt’s mental alarm clock worked fine at three-thirty that morning. He awoke, alert and refreshed, with a warm [well, hopefully she’s warm. If she wasn’t, I’d be afraid that she died in her sleep], sleeping Reenie snuggled against him. After today, he swore, he would have long mornings waking beside her. He would waken her with lingering kisses and slow caresses. He couldn’t imagine waking up without her ever again. Tonight, he would tell her so. [If the time is right.]

He goes over to the apartment to work on the last missing bank account, shortly stopping to talk with Gus. [The night was calm, the dogs still excited.]

Finally, as night turns to day, Matt finds the last missing information on Jon, which he faxes to Walt right away. Still, Walt didn’t want to move more quickly with the raid.

Matt walks back to the house, when Jeff arrives. Jeff, who doesn’t know anything about anything, tells Matt excitedly about some new contract he made for the winter business.

The new business made his plan to hire extra winter staff so that he could leave Jeff in charge sound more practical. Suddenly, he realized he hadn’t thought of his need for an escape from the tedium of his life at the marina for weeks – not since Reenie had come into his life. Even after this crisis was over, he couldn’t imagine finding his life dull if Reenie was part of it. [And again, love comes to the rescue and it only needs the right woman to change a man… *sigh*]

Jeff goes to lock up the dogs and Matt jogs back to the house to tell Reenie the good news about him finding the last missing infos about Jon.
Before he can get to his room and to Reenie, he talks with Gus for a little bit and then –

Matt gave a mighty yawn and started up the stairs. As he hit the third step, every light in the house went out. He looked back over his shoulder at the window. The compound lights were gone too. This outage couldn’t be solved by simply pulling a breaker.
Matt cursed the Michigan power authority earnestly and long. [I don’t know how common shortages are in Michigan, so that this may be his first thought, but HELLOOOOO BAD GUYS AROUND! They ran from the alarm, which is now off, because also alarms need power. So maybe, it’s not a normal shortage? And anyway, it’s day, they want to sleep, what do they need the power for now anyway?]

Well. As we’re not reading the Neverending Story (although sometimes it seems that this book will never end) (btw, this is the second to last chapter), they can’t hear my good advice and Gus and Matt go out to get the power back (Matt), and to calm the dogs (Gus). [Leaving Reenie alone with a sleeping old man with a bad hip, who will have trouble to move quickly, or to get up.]

Matt takes to the generator, where Jeff’s already doing his share. Matt tells Jeff to check on Gus, because the dogs’ barking is quite frantic.

He barely had time to pull out the choke and give cord one pull when he heard Jeff bellow his name. What now?
Matt dropped the cord and tore out of the shed. When he turned the corner to the dog run, he saw Gus lying, apparently lifeless, on the ground. Jeff was kneeling at his side.
“He’s alive,” Jeff told him. “But he’s out cold.”
Matt bent over his friend. “No wonder,” he said, feeling the large lump that was rapidly rising at the base of Gus’ skull.
Oh, Lord! Reenie! Reenie was unprotected. [Now you think of the woman you love so much?]

Matt runs off to save his girl, but has to make stupid bad-TV-shows-of-the-nineties-stunt on his way.

He was not half way to the house when Gus’s pick-up came screaming up the driveway towards him. In the misty half-light, he thought he could make out two men in the cab. Matt raised his revolver and aimed at the cab when the pickup veered directly at him. He got off one shot but had to make a flying leap out of the truck’s path. His shot went wide of the target. He rose to his knees and fired two more shots at the rear tires as the pickup careered out of the lot. It lurched as if a bullet had nicked one.

He comes to the house and finds the back door opened. He runs upstairs.

He saw Pete standing startled and bleary-eyed at the doorway of his room as he tore by him. Matt threw open the door to his bedroom and looked at the rumpled bedclothes on the empty bed.
Reenie was gone. [Well, I would run too, if my protection was that good.]

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