Jose’s jaw clenched as he stared down Nick.
Nick shrugged his shoulders. “No hard feelings. It’s just the cost of business.”
Jose flinched as Nick pressed the gun to his temple. His eyes darted to Elaine as she trembled on the floor. “Elaine, don’t give him anything. If you do he will kill you after he gets what he wants.”
Elaine shook her head, tears streaming down her face. “Jose, I don’t care I would give it to him if I knew but I really don’t. I don’t know what to do!”
Nick sighed. “You have ten seconds Ms. Ramos. TEN!”
Elaine began furiously typing anything she could think of. Still the computer showed “Incorrect password, access denied”. “I really don’t know what it is! Please don’t do this!”
“Elaine, don’t give it to him.”
“Please don’t do this Nick! Mr. Durnstram didn’t tell me anything!”
“TWO! I will shoot him Ms. Ramos.”
“Elaine, it’s ok, I would gladly give my life for you.”
“ONE! Time’s up again Ms. Ramos.”
“WAIT! Jose what did you say?”
Jose looked at her closely. “I would gladly give my life for you.”
Nick’s gun clicked. “Say goodbye to your boyfriend Ms. Ramos.” But Elaine wasn’t listening. She leaned over typing each letter carefully. S-O-N-N-Y. Sonny. The dog that Tommy loved, that got her hired on this case but that saved them by giving up his life when he attacked his original owner Nick. A new pop up flashed “Access granted. What would you like to do with these files?”
“Sonny.” She whispered. She jumped up excitedly. “I got it!”
Jose groaned as Nick lowered the gun. “I knew you could help me. Now I really have no use for you.” Nick pointed the gun at Elaine.
“NO!” Jose leaped toward Nick knocking him over as a shot rang out through the warehouse. Elaine threw herself on the floor as she heard a yell from one of Nick’s henchmen who fell to the floor clutching his stomach, a pool of bright red blood formed on the cement floor around his body. The other henchman ran to his friend. Nick and Jose struggled on the floor, grunting and trying to take the gun from the other. Elaine jumped up and with all her might kicked the unaware henchmen in the head knocking him unconscious to the floor. She snatched the guns away from the two men and turned to the men still tumbling around on the ground.
Nick groaned in pain as Jose kneed him. He rolled over onto this side clutching his stomach. Jose stood and pointed the gun down at him. He looked at Elaine triumphantly. She was so relieved and opened her mouth to congratulate him when the door burst opened and a swarm of Federal Officers surrounded them.
One jogged over to her. “Ms. Ramos are you ok?”
“Yes, thank you.” She looked over to Jose as officers surrounded him, removing his gun and patting him down before they put cuffs on him. They led him over to a side area to question him. The man who jogged up to her gently held her elbow as he steered her in the opposite direction.
“Let’s check you over Ms. Ramos before we ask you some questions.” Elaine nodded as she allowed the medics to take over.
An hour and a half later Elaine sat in a roped off section of the warehouse being treated for dehydration and malnutrition. She gave her statement, denying anything she knew about Jose helping Nick. Jose was still cuffed on the other side of the warehouse talking to officers. The laptop and flash drive sat in evidence bags on a makeshift table in the center of the warehouse.
Elaine caught Jose looking at her as he was talking to the officer. The officer looked to her and nodded to Jose before leading him toward her. Elaine stood, taking her makeshift IV with her and met Jose next to the evidence table.
“Hey.” Elaine downcast her eyes. “Thank you for rescuing me.” When she looked up Jose smiled at her.
“It was my fault that you were captured to begin with. Plus I made you a promise, I would always keep you safe.”
“So, what’s going to happen to you now?” Elaine gestured to his handcuffs.
Jose shrugged. “I don’t know yet. I need to talk to my superiors. Don’t worry about me, Elaine, I can take care of myself.” He flashed his dimple as he smiled and leaned over kissing her gently next to her mouth. “Take care of yourself Elaine. Maybe we will meet again someday.” He whispered in her ear. Elaine touched the area of her face where he kissed her. He was quickly led away and placed in a car. She followed it to the door and watched it drive off into the falling snowy night.
Sadness overwhelmed her as she walked back to the medic area. Suddenly the officers’ radios began to buzz. They all sprang into action, yelling and jumping into nearby cars, wheels squealing. She grabbed an officer running past. “What’s going on? Is everything ok?”
“One of the arrested men has escaped.”
Elaine gasped. “Nick?”
“No, Jose Sanchez.”
A swirl of emotions overcame her. She felt guilty for feeling elated. Then a thought struck her and she ran to the evidence table. The evidence bag with the flash drive was missing. Her cheeks flushed as she realized Jose had used her again for his own agenda. He had stolen the flash drive. She shoved her hands in her coat pocket to keep them from shaking when she felt a piece of paper touch her fingers. She pulled it out and stared at the sprawled words written on it. “Come find me. I would enjoy sipping a drink on the beach instead of hot cocoa in the cold.”
Elaine smirked. Challenge accepted, she thought to herself.
Conclusion of Detective Ramos Archives – Nicholas Platnokiv.
Documentation for Case #3 to be uploaded soon.