Last week, we left Icarus remembering his past with Cassie as they go out for a ride. Today, we’re moving into someone else’s POV. If you’ve read Into the Sun, you’ll recognize him.
Henry Kearns stepped out of his cruiser and headed for the front of the store. He still walked with a limp, and his knee ached like a bitch almost constantly, but he’d tossed away the cane he’d been using. His doctor had suggested he keep it, but fuck that. As long as he used it, the department would keep him on a medical leave. He couldn’t take that anymore.
He wasn’t going to let that bastard Hartson keep on winning.
He was off duty now and should be in his recliner already, taking his weight off this knee. But, he’d remembered on the way there, he wouldn’t have anything to eat as soon as he walked in the door. After a year, he should damn well be used to it. But, sometimes he still forgot Cassandra wouldn’t be waiting for him, putting a hot dinner on the table as soon as he came inside.
He’d taught her that lesson well.
And she’d still left him. For fucking Hartson. He thought she’d learned how that would go for her twenty years ago. Should never have let the little punk out of a cell. But Sheriff Vallis had been sure he’d stay away. And, well, he had. Just not long enough. If Henry ever got his hands on Trace again, he’d certainly pay for ever bringing Grady Hartson back into their lives.
He walked through the store to the prepared foods section. Several people lifted their hands to him in a wave as he passed. People around here respected him. Just as they damn well should. He picked up a small roasted chicken from the warmer and a small cup of fried potatoes. That would work. If he hadn’t already passed the diner, he would have just stopped there like he had most nights.
“It’s good to see you up and about, Deputy Kearns,” the cashier said.
He just nodded back at her, not bothering with a thanks or even a glance at her name tag. What did any of that matter to him?
“It’s a shame they never caught the men who broke into your place and shot you.”
Henry barely held back a snort. He couldn’t believe everyone had bought that shit he’d shoveled out a year ago. He’d waited for that little punk to follow through with his threat to expose what he knew about Henry’s dealings for months. But, nothing had ever come of it. Little fucker had probably only been bluffing. He couldn’t really have known any of that.
He walked back out into the parking lot and heard the roar of a motorcycle. That sound always made a chill flash over him. And he couldn’t help looking for the source of it. It was never Grady, though. Or any of his accomplices. He so wanted to take at least one of them down, haul them in, get whatever he could from them before he found a way to lock them up for the rest of their miserable lives.
Then, go on and do it to the next one. Until they were all gone. Then, he could finally have his wife back. He’d think about taking Trace back, too, if they begged good enough. But, he was already enmeshed in that lifestyle too much. Henry would just have to lock him up, too. Then, he’d see what real punishment was like.
When he finally spotted the bike, it was just coming to a stop a couple aisles over from him. Still, he noticed the woman first as she slid off the back of the bike. She pulled off the helmet, and Henry felt like someone had socked him right in the stomach. Possibly with a sledgehammer. The sunglasses came off too, and he couldn’t convince himself he was seeing things.
His sweet quiet, demure Cassandra was riding bitch on a motorcycle. She never would have done that. Not unless they’d brainwashed her somehow. She knew better than to do something dangerous like that. And she was laughing about it, too.
He hadn’t heard her really laugh in years.
Then, the man took off his helmet too and smiled up at her. Even from this distance, that smile was nearly blinding. And it infuriated Henry.
“Fucking Hartson,” he muttered, then he set his food on the back of his car and strode toward them.
He hated that his stride was still more of a hobble, despite the months of physical therapy. And all because of this man. And he still had what belonged to Henry.
Not for much longer.
Cassandra was the one who saw him first. Her face went bleach white, and she reached out to grip the bastard’s arm. He turned toward her then instantly shifted so she was behind him, even while he reached a hand into his vest. His gaze landed on Henry, and the man’s jaw tightened. He didn’t pull his hand back out of his vest, but that also meant his gun was still in his hidden pocket.
Henry wasn’t going to let him use it on him again. “You shoot me this time, and you can bet I won’t tell some fiction about burglars. You will rot in a cell. I’ll make sure of it.”
“You were threatening my son. I’d do it all over again and risk the jail time to save his life. Don’t think I wouldn’t do what it takes to keep Cassie safe as well.”
He sneered at the way he shortened her name, made it less than. “I’m not the one putting them in danger. The longer they’re around you, the more hurt they’ll be in the end.”
Grady snarled as he lunged toward Henry. “You come near them and I’ll make sure it’s known just what you did to Trace. He told us everything. If it was up to me-”
Before he could finish whatever threat he would have come up with, Cassandra stepped forward and put a hand on Grady’s arm. “Come on,” she said softly. “He’s not going to do anything to us. We’ve done nothing wrong.”
“Don’t be so sure, Cassandra. I’m going to take that gang down.”
Hartson looked about ready to snarl something at him again, but Cassandra gave his arm a little tug. Grady turned toward her, and Henry was taken by surprise at the warmth in his eyes. “Come on,” she said again. “We’ll go. He’s not worth it.”
Those words had the air rushing from his lungs. Then, a fire started to build inside him. But, the two of them were already climbing back on the bike. They might be getting away today, but he would find a way to take them down. All of them.
Henry certainly is a piece of work, isn’t he? What he going to do next? Will he find a way to get Cassie back(let’s keep our fingers crossed that’s a no)?