In the Running (Dee Lloyd) – Chapter Twenty

The last chapter left me with the impression that Reenie had run off. I was wrong. I actually assumed that Reenie would wake up through the shooting, barking and screaming going on outside. But she didn’t and therefore, she had been kidnapped.
She wakes up in her cabin, tied to her bed and Jon’s cologne in her nose.

What had happened? She remembered Matt entering the room where she was sleeping as the first grey streaks of dawn were penetrating the blackness of the night. No. That was wrong. Her brain was so fuzzy. She’d assumed it was Matt at first. But he’d stood there instead of coming to bed. She’d started to ask him what the matter was when she’d caught a glint of light off the slim needle of the syringe in his hand.
Then she’d seen his face. [So, she’s close enough to recognise some glimmering thing in his hand as a syringe, but not close enough to see who it is?] That flash of recognition was the last thing she remembered. Wilson Foster had somehow got past Gus. Had he killed Gus? And what had happened to Matt?

She hears Jon and Wilson and someone else talking in the next room. Jon tells Wilson to get the row boat ready so they can dump Maura and have it look like suicide.

Didn’t Jon think the people at the marina would wonder where she was? What had he done to Matt? Wait a minute. [She does this Wait a minute thing a lot. It’s okay. I say anyway a lot. Everybody has those kind of hang-ups. But if you write Wait a minute, I would put some paragraphs there, so you really pause a bit, when you’re reading it.] If Jon was going to pass off her death as suicide, he couldn’t afford to kill Matt or anyone else. Jon didn’t know that anyone at the marina knew who she was or that Matt knew he was using her cabin. Jon probably thought he had all the time in the world. His meeting in Lansing wasn’t until late this afternoon. She felt a grim satisfaction at the surprise he was in for when he got there.

Now that Reenie is sure that Matt’s still alive, she can lean back and let him save her. That’s a good girl. She just decides to stall Jon for more time.

Wilson leaves to take care of the boat and Jon comes in to talk to Reenie.

He stepped suddenly into her field of view, looking exactly the same as he always did. [Why wouldn’t he? Just because she cut her hair?] His thick blond hair was carefully trimmed, the lines of his face fell naturally into his professional smile. His pale blue eyes, however, were unsmiling. He leaned against the doorframe looking like a magazine photograph of himself [Well, I do hope that he looks like a foto of himself. It would be extremely weird if he looked like a foto of Matt or Dick Cheney or whoever… Although, I have to admit, I like the first part of this analogy. Though I would change it to “he looked like a magazine cover”] except for the chrome-plated gun dangling from his hand.

Reenie goes for the “I can’t talk unless I’m comfortable”-strategy and Jon, of course, goes for it [I don’t know, why that one works. As long as you aren’t gagged and still able to breathe, I don’t know what being comfortable has to do with anything. If I interrogated someone, I’d want them to be uncomfortable (I probably would be the bad cop to someone else’s good cop. But maybe, there would only be bad cops around *evilgrin*)]. At least, Jon doesn’t untie her hands. They talk.

“I don’t have the negatives any more,” she told him.
“I don’t believe you,” [and rightly so] he said. “They’re your insurance.”
“I hated those pictures,” she muttered. “Those other women.” [Why would he believe that? He knows that her Gran insisted on the marriage and that she doesn’t love him.]
Jon’s pale eyes searched her face. She had him wondering.
“I didn’t want anyone else to see the women you preferred to me.” She tried to look like a woman scorned. [What those a scorned woman look like?]
“I burned them all,” she said defiantly. Then looked up at him with what she hoped was just enough challenge in her eyes. If he believed this, she might take up a career on the stage.
His eyes narrowed.
“And the papers Danny said he had?”
“Everything was in the same envelope. I burned the whole envelope – negatives, printouts, memos … everything – in the fireplace at the marina.” [Why would she tell him this? Now, believing that all the evidence is destroyed, he can just kill her, without worrying. As Jon said, those pictures and papers are her insurance. You don’t just throw it out like that.]

Reenie suggests that they could get back together, stilly marry each other and pretend the whole thing never happened. Jon declines. So she asks him if she could use the outhouse. At first he declines, but when she threatens to have an accident, he gives in.

When they reached the outhouse, Reenie turned her back to Jon and muttered self- consciously, “I’ll need my hands.”
Without a word, he ripped off the tape [of course he does, of course] that Wilson had used to bind her wrists. With a mock bow, he opened the outhouse door, all the while carefully keeping his revolver aimed at her.
She shut the door and reached for the rubber gloves that sat on the narrow shelf above the bucket of quicklime. She slipped on one glove, filled the dipper with the caustic powder and steeled herself for what she was about to do. [I bet she’s never been happier that she doesn’t have a real toilet.] Her father had told her tales of people being badly burned by outhouse lime. She cringed at the thought of what the lime could do to a person’s face, but she had to do something to save her own life.
Concealing the dipper behind a fold of her over-sized T-shirt, she took a deep breath and opened the door. Jon gestured with his gun hand.
“Hurry up!” he said.
She took one step and, with a sidearm motion, hurled the lime at Jon’s throat. He howled with pain and clutched at his face. His revolver fired once but the shot was nowhere near her. Reenie ran for the woods. She could hear Jon cursing as he stumbled towards the lake. Even as she fled for her life, she hoped the lime had missed his eyes. [Why? I mean, I’m a really nice and peaceful person but for all Jon did, I would have loved to see the fucker hurt his eyes.] As she ran, she could hear him splashing into the water.

Reenie runs through the woods, heading for a small cave which can only be reached by swimming or abseiling. She throws herself in the lake and starts to swim. When she’s a bit away from the shore she can see the cabin.

One man – she was sure it was Jon – was lying on the dock. Bending over him, was a large redheaded man wearing the same kind of red plaid shirt that Gus had been wearing last night. Gus was all right! Another man, she thought it was Wilson, was standing on the shore by the dock with his hands secured behind his back. Where was Matt?
At that moment, she saw Matt explode out the cabin door.
“She’s not there,” he shouted. Then he said something to Wilson that she couldn’t hear.
“Matt,” she yelled, waving one hand above her head. “Here. I’m here”

She submerges and swims in his direction. Matt only sees her disappear and thinks she’s drowning or something – he runs and swims towards the spot where she disappeared.

When he stopped to get his bearings, he heard her voice again. She was a few feet behind him now, treading water, smiling and reaching out to him. She was all right! [Jon’s blistered face might have been an indication that not all went according to his plan. And that she didn’t struggle when she went under might have been another indication. But okay, he’s distressed. He’s allowed to worry unnecessarily.]
The next thing he knew, she was in his arms and their mouths were joined in a desperate kiss. As they sank under the water again, Matt realized how cold her lips were. And how frigid the lake water was. [Surprise! It’s sometime between October and November. That would be autumn, in this case, and pretty cold.]
As they rose sputtering to the surface, Matt turned onto his back and holding her back against his chest, he struck out for shore. That Reenie allowed him to take command like that told its own story of how cold and exhausted she must be. [She doesn’t even have energy left to throw a tantrum and then do what he says anyway. And also, sometimes it’s okay to be saved, especially when you need it. Then it’s really not good to throw a tantrum anyway.] 

Matt carries her inside the cabin and tries to warm her up. And because now is the perfect opportunity, he tells her that he loves her.

“Are you all right, sweetheart?” He didn’t wait for a reply. [Because it’s such an unimportant question that he doesn’t need to hear the answer.] He had to tell her what she meant to him. “I thought Casen had killed you. My life wouldn’t be worth living without you. Oh, Lord, Reenie. I need you.”
He took her face between his hands. “I love you. Stay with me, Reenie?” he asked as he lowered his head to kiss her.
He put all his hopes for the future in his kiss. They were both breathless when it ended.
“As long as you want me,” Reenie promised.
“That’s as long as we live,” he vowed. “Marry me, Reenie. Now. Today.” [Just to get a sense of perspective here: They’ve known each other for two weeks. Two fucking weeks.]
“Don’t you think we should get into some dry clothes first,” Reenie said with a laugh.

This, of course, leads to sex, completely ignoring Gus, the deputies running around and Jon, Wilson being arrested. How romantic!


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