The Great Escape - Chapter 8
Jon grabbed Stacy's shoulder just outside the door. "What do you mean this isn't your cabin? What are you doing here?"
"The same thing you are. Hiding!" she hissed as she tried to pull away.
"Hiding from who? Are you in some kind of trouble with the law?"
"I will be if that's the people who own this cabin. This isn't the time for my life story! Shut up and hide before whoever's coming hears us!" She reached a tree at the edge of the clearing and was starting to climb it.
Jon scrambled up the tree behind her. *As if the whole mess was Neal wasn't enough. What have I gotten myself into NOW?* he wondered silently.
He motioned for Stacy to move over so he could sit on the branch beside her. Just as he got situated, a figure came around the side of the cabin. They were about 75 yards away, so all Jon could see was that the man was about Neal's size, with dark hair. He couldn't tell whether it was actually Neal, or Guido. Stacy sucked a breath in sharply beside him. He turned to look at her, and was surprised to see that she had turned completely white. She had not taken her eyes off the other guy. Jon looked back toward the cabin. The guy moved like Neal, but then again, when Guido had had a gun drawn on him, Jon hadn't really been paying attention to how Guido moved.
The guy reached the front door of the cabin, which was still partially open. He stood to one side of the door, pulled a gun from the back of his waistband, crouched low, shoved open she door, and leaned in, waving his gun around like someone from a cop show on tv. He waited a moment, until he was apparently satisfied that no one was inside, before going in.
Jon turned back to Stacy, who was still incredibly pale. "Calm down," he whispered. "It may be Neal. I can't tell for sure yet."
She slipped her backpack around in front of her as quietly as possible, never taking her eyes off the front of the cabin. She pulled out a gun worthy of Dirty Harry and handed it to Jon. "If it's not Neal, shoot him."
Jon stared at the huge silver revolver in his hands. *What the hell am I supposed to do with THIS?*
He really didn't want to shoot anyone, even if it was Guido. He wasn't sure that he COULD if he had to. He was on the verge of handing the gun back to Stacy and telling her to shoot him herself when the figure stepped back out of the cabin.
They saw the glint of sunlight off a small object in his hand, but couldn't tell what the item was from here. He looked around the clearing, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, as if trying to make a decision. Finally, in a voice not quite a shout, but loud enough to be heard, he called "Jon?"
"It's Neal," Jon sighed in relief. He put Stacy's gun in his pocket as best it would fit and climbed down out of the tree. "I'm over here."
Neal hesitated for a moment. "There were two plates in there. Is Guido here?"
"No," Jon shook his head. "I lost him last night."
Neal visibly sagged in relief. "I'm glad you're okay." He then looked back at the tree and laughed. "You're getting pretty good at this hiding in trees shit." Neal's eyes widened at the sight of Stacy climbing warily down from the tree. He dropped his jaw open in mock horror. "Jonathan Cain! You're shacked up in the woods with a woman!"
Stacy walked over to the two of them, trying to appear wide-eyed and innocent. "But he wouldn't sleep with me. I even offered."
Neal froze for a moment, looking first at Jon, who was looking at the ground and shaking his head, then at Stacy, who was now trying not to laugh. He raised one eyebrow at her. "I would. Is the offer still open?"
"No," Stacy gave an exaggerated sigh and threw her hands in the air. "The initial Journey representative broke my heart. No, I probably won't even buy your next album, assuming that you two are able to find a recording studio in the woods, and they don't have to shoot Steve Perry like a horse over his broken hip."
"How long have you been stuck with her?" Neal asked Jon, handing Jon's watch to him. That was the object Neal had been holding when he came out of the cabin.
Stacy put her hands on her hips. "Hey, I could have not let him in. Or shot him."
"Neal, meet Stacy." Jon rounded on her. "What are you doing here if this isn't your cabin?"
"Let's go inside and I'll tell you about it." she answered.
"Okay, but I'm keeping the gun." Jon motioned for Neal to go into the cabin, and followed behind him.
Jon and Neal sat on the couch and Stacy sat on the hearth across from them. "This is going to sound like the oldest story in the book, but I swear it's true," she began. "My ex-boyfriend tried to kill me."
"Why didn't you go to the police?" Neal asked. Jon and Stacy both looked at him. He grinned. "Yeah, okay, the pot just called the kettle black."
"He IS a cop. They really kind of look the other way when it's one of their own. Besides, I'm a paramedic, and I've seen too many times what happens when the police don't get there in time."
"Why did you come here? What were you going to do beyond that?" Jon leaned forward, all trace of anger gone.
Neal sneaked a look at him. *Aw, man. Jay's gone into his 'Protector of the Innocent, Defender of the Weak, All Around Good Guy, George of the Jungle' mode.*
"I was just trying to stay alive. I mean, there was the guy who had been telling me he loved me the week before shooting at me. He's got a cabin up here at this park. He brought me up here once, and it was really a lousy weekend. It wasn't that I didn't like camping in general, but that's what he convinced himself was the case. I figured he wouldn't look for me up here. I just came and found a cabin that had a spare key laying around. Beyond this, I don't know what I'm going to do. I've been trying to come up with something, but I guess I'm paranoid. I'm afraid that he'll find me no matter what. The whole situation is crazy. He was never the jealous type, and he's the last person you'd ever suspect of trying to kill someone. I mean, when people first meet him, they have a hard time believing he's a police officer, because he's so mild-mannered and polite."
"Why'd you dump him?" Neal asked.
"He was running around." she stretched her legs out and looked at her nails before continuing. "He denied it, of course, but it was so obvious. Half the time, if I answered the phone at his apartment, the person would hang up on me. His pager would go off, and he'd suddenly have to drop whatever we were doing and leave. This even happened on his days off from the department. I asked his captain, who said that they weren't the ones calling, so it wasn't police business. And he had a lot of time that he refused to account for."
Jon snorted "Sounds like a real winner."
She shrugged "Like I said, no one would ever suspect him of any kind of wrong-doing. I tried to tell my sister about it, but she swore there had to be some other explanation. Tim would never do anything like that. Of course, she usually took his side whenever we had a disagreement. He really had her charmed and she thought he was cute. He kinda looks like Neal. That's why I freaked when he showed up. I thought Tim had found me."
Jon's brain suddenly made a couple of connections, and a cold, sick feeling washed over him. "Does Tim have a small scar on the left side of his chin?"
"Yeah, do you mean to tell me you know him?" Stacy was astonished.
Jon looked at Neal. "You don't mean..." Neal started. Jon nodded. "He doesn't really look like me."
"What are you two babbling about?"
Jon sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "Tim is Guido."
"No way!" Stacy jumped up and then froze suddenly. "Oh, my gosh," she said slowly. "That would make a lot of things make sense." She went to her backpack and pulled out her wallet. She flipped through a number of credit cards, business cards, and receipts before pulling out a picture. "Is this the guy?"
Jon and Neal only needed a moment before they both answered "Yeah."
"Wonderful," she sighed. "We're all on the run from the same idiot. So what do we do now?"
"We need some way to tie him to Leroy's murder. If he's a cop, he would have been smart enough not to leave much evidence at the scene. And if we just show up at the police station and claim he's a professional hitman, they'll lock us up in the nut house." Jon had got up and started prowling around the room, which was Neal's signal that he was coming up with a plan.
"What are you thinking? Are we going breaking and entering again?" Neal asked.
"That's the most logical thing to do. If he is dumb enough to have any kind of records or something we could use for evidence, it would be at his apartment." The other two could see by the expression on Jon's face that the little wheels were turning in his head.
"He's on vacation this week from the department." Stacy volunteered.
"So we really don't know what his schedule of being home is going to be like. Damn." Jon chewed on his lower lip.
"So if he come in unexpectedly, I'll shoot him," Neal joked, pulling out his gun.
Jon grinned and pulled Stacy's gun out of his pocket. "Mine's bigger."
"Yeah, but mine probably has more notches on it," Neal retorted.
Stacy smiled innocently. "I hope you two are still talking about guns."
Jon blushed but chuckled.
Neal groaned. "Oh, God, Ross had a kid."
"Okay, so how are we going to get Tim out of the house?" Stacy asked.
"He's supposed to call me at noon. Maybe I could make arrangements to meet him or something."
"You get him out of there, and I'll take care of the rest," she answered.
"How?" Jon asked.
"It's not breaking and entering if you have a key."