Chapter 7: Good Timing
November 5, 1984: 2200
“So, what did you expect?” Sonny muttered to himself. “You risk your life every day, work so much overtime that your marriage falls apart! And what ends up happening? You get yourself investigated by a bunch of idiots whose job depends on finding dirty cops!”
He stopped for a red light, the Ferrari’s engine purring as if to calm him. The red light changed and he pushed hard on the accelerator, rubber wheels squealing in protest as the car catapulted through the intersection.
“Damn DeMarco! When I get finished with him, he’s gonna wish he’d never been born!”
Lost in thought, he turned into the marina parking lot and pulled abruptly into an empty parking spot. It was late. All he could think of now was a hot shower and hitting the sack early for a change. One more drag on his cigarette and he flicked the butt angrily into the water.
Some of the boats had lights on, laughter from his partying neighbors floating on the air. But the St. Vitus should have been shrouded in darkness and the unexpected glare that greeted him made his body stiffen with apprehension.
As he hurried down the dock, he heard the clatter of dishes. Someone was aboard the Vitus, rummaging around in the galley! He boarded quietly and peered down the hatch. Gina came climbing up the galley stairs holding a bottle of champagne in her hands.
“Hi there!” she said cheerfully when she saw him. Her smile was confidant, unconcerned. She handed him the bottle and a corkscrew. “Here, open that for me, will ya?”
Sonny looked down at the label on the bottle, wondering for a moment if he’d let another birthday go by without getting her a present.
“Great. So… what’s the occasion?”
Curiously, he watched as Gina struck a match and lit the hurricane lamp she had set up on the snack table. A small white tablecloth had been draped over it and two champagne goblets were waiting.
“Oh, I just thought you might be in the mood for a little company tonight.”
Wasn’t that just like Gina, no doubt worried about his bruised and battered ego? He walked over to her, his eyes sparkling with affection as he gathered her up his arms.
“Good timin’,” he said to her gratefully.
Their bodies touched. He bent down to kiss her, and lingered for a moment, enjoying the sweet softness of her lips and her tongue like a feather on his mouth. He felt her trembling and pulled away to look at her.
“Forget the champagne,” she whispered breathlessly, her hands clinging to his jacket.
“I’m with you, darlin’,” he chuckled and bent over to kiss her again
Gina stood at the foot of the bed, taking off her clothing slowly, allowing him to watch her in the moonlight. Slowly, she lifted her arms and pulled her shirt over her head. Her skirt slipped to the floor and she stepped out of it, her dreamy eyes watching his reaction.
Dreamy eyes… eyes that a man could get lost in.
He breathed out slowly.
Her white skin seemed to glow almost ghost-like; her rich dark hair fell in waves around her shoulders. Her bare breasts rose and fell with every breath, and the slender curve of her waist delighted him with its perfect symmetry.
He ran his hands over her shoulders down her arms, feeling her softness on the tips of his fingers. Then, he reached over and eased her panties down over her hips, watching as the silky fabric slid sensuously down her legs and pooled to the floor around her ankles.
Gina toyed with the button on the waistband of his linen pants and after a few good tugs it popped it open. Then, her fingers began working on the zipper.
“I need you, you know,” he said, quietly watching her.
She smiled and reached up with a finger to trace his lips. “That’s why I’m here,” she answered playfully.
He pulled her against him and they began to kiss again, gently at first and then the kiss deepened, becoming hungry, more demanding. Breaking away, he picked her up in his arms and carried her over to the bed. Then he lay her down gently.
He stood there for a moment, feeling her eyes explore his body as he peeled off his shirt. He finished the job she had started with the zipper, finally getting the pants down around his ankles and kicking them off into a corner.
“Come on, Crockett,” she whispered impatiently.
Touched by her restlessness, he smiled as he lay down beside her, and taking her face into his hands, quickly covered her mouth with his own.
Hours later, they lay together, Gina’s head resting lightly on his bare chest. Sighing contentedly, she shifted to her side and Sonny molded his body, and held her, spoon-like, as she slipped softly into sleep. For a while, he was satisfied to listen to her rhythmic breathing. He dozed fitfully, until an hour later, he found himself wide awake, listening to the water slap gently against the dock.
Getting up quietly so as not to wake Gina, he pulled on his shorts and padding barefoot to the galley stairs, climbed up onto the deck. Now, he took the time to really sort out his feelings.
The IAD investigation still worried him, but more than that, he was worried about Barbara Carroll. After Schroeder’s little display at OCB, he and Rico had gone over to the Carroll house to speak to her and her husband Jerry told him he didn’t know where she was.
“Got a phone call from a girlfriend. Said she’d be right back.”
When Sonny checked with Jerry a second time, he could tell that Jerry was getting frantic.
“Take it easy, Jerry,” he had said to him. “She’s probably caught up in some gabbing session with her friend or something.”
“Listen, if you need me, if you need anything, call me. Okay?”
“Okay, thanks. And Sonny?”
“You’re gonna take care of things, right?”
“I’ll do everything I can, Jerry. Do like I tell you and just take it easy. Make sure you call me when she returns.”
Now a channel marker clanged mournfully in the distance and Sonny glanced at his watch. It was three a.m. and Jerry still hadn’t called. Rico had put out an APB on Barbara, but no sighting of the woman had been reported.
His stomach churned as he wondered if she was out there somewhere, in trouble and alone. Doing it his way and pushing DeMarco hard may have been a mistake.
Maybe it would have been a good idea to insist she have some protection.
The sting of guilt made him restless, uneasy. He fingered the keys to his car, fighting the impulse to go out on a search of his own. He knew that would only be a waste of effort, since he had no idea where he would start. Better to wait for Jerry’s call.
Or else the dreaded results of the APB
He shoved the keys back into the pocket of his shorts and picking up a pack of cigarettes from the
ledge, he lit one up, pulling the smoke deeply into his chest.