Once the seat belt lights went off, Butch called the flight attendant, asking for a bourbon on the rocks. He leaned his seat back, and finally took a deep breath.
It was easier than he expected. The reunion between Pauley and Gail was awkward at first, but they slowly warmed to each other. Perhaps since Pauley understood the nature of being in The Family, she didn’t hold a grudge. She simply wanted answers.
Sitting close together, the women talked quietly. Sometimes Pauley simply stared at her mother, as if trying to remember their life together all those years ago. Gail answered all her questions, often with brutal honesty. Pauley learned it wasn’t her mother’s choice to leave her behind. Knowing how possessive Paul was toward Pauley, she understood the implied threat to Gail… lose the girl, or lose your life.
Gail brought a photo album that she shared with her daughter. In it, mementos from her life - school awards, sporting events, photos from her high school prom and college graduation. Gail explained that Butch clandestinely kept her updated.
Butch gave the women their privacy, sitting across the empty restaurant at a table with Stanley. The men watched the exchange, ready to step in if needed.
While Gail and Pauley chatted, the waitress kept their iced tea filled. The first glass, highly sugared, hid the taint of the compound Millicent provided Butch. Pauley, the smaller of the two women, was the first to fall, followed within seconds by her mother.
Stanley and Butch carried them to the waiting Town Car, and then the plane when they arrived at the airstrip. Butch shook Stanley’s hand, passing his reins to the new boss, then boarded the private Gulfstream too.
The tinkle of ice in a glass brought Butch out of his reverie, but before he could take the first sip, Pauley began to rouse. Cursing Millicent, Butch knew she shorted him on potency, making sure they would wake early.
“Butch! You miserable son of a bitch, what the hell did you do!” Pauley slurred her words, but there was no mistaking her fury. Still groggy from the sleeping draught he slipped into her tea, she could barely move, other than turning her head. Looking out the airplane window, Pauley saw only water, the vast Atlantic spreading out to the horizon.
Handing his glass back to the flight attendant, Butch moved over to the seat across the aisle from Pauley.
“Hey Sleeping Beauty,” was all he said.
“Don’t screw with me Butch, where are we?” Pauley was trying to shift her weight to face him.
“Just settle in, we have a long flight,” Butch stood to get a blanket from the overhead bin. “We have at least another five hours before we land.”
Pauley tried to bite Butch as he tucked the blanket around her shoulders.
“You drugged us! Gawddamn you! Why?” Pauley’s arms began to thaw, but she still couldn’t move her legs.
“Just shaddup for a second, okay.” Butch snapped his fingers and the bourbon was back in his hand.
Over the next hour Butch laid out his plan to extricate Gail and Pauley from the states, taking them away from The Family and the police, to give them all a chance at a new life.
The more Butch talked that more Pauley believed he had lost his mind.
“You had no right to make that decision for me,” Pauley’s voice getting louder. “I have contacts in the police department. The investigation into Nile’s death wasn’t a problem. I had a handle on It. I don’t want to hide out with you and Gail.”
“It’s not hiding out, we can be a family.,” Butch said, patting her head like she was ten again. “A real family. You and Gail can get re-acquainted. You’ll see, it’ll be perfect.”
Pauley’s mind was a whirl. She knew she wouldn’t be able to reason with him. Her only choice was to wait until they arrived at their destination, then she could formulate a plan to get back to the U.S.
“Butch, you’re crazy if you think I’m going along with this ,” Pauley’s body was finally free from the drugs. Pulling off the blanket, she stumbled out of her seat, trying to move away from him. “This won’t end well for you. I’ll kill you myself if you try to force me to stay. I’ll be gone as soon as I can.”
Gail groaned, coming around at the sound of Pauley’s raised, angry voice.
“Paulette, sit down and don’t argue with your father.”
Today’s chapters are the final installments of the Summer Series, “Dead Money.” Written with Lance, the muscle behind “My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog.” He presents the series epilogue, “You Found Me.” If you need to catch up with the story, or start at the beginning, here are the previous chapters:
Part 1 – Let it go to voice mail
Part 2 – Remedy
Part 3 – Dressed to Kill
Part 4 – She’s in Fashion
Part 5 – Keep your enemies closer
Part 6 – Hustle and Cuss
Part 7 – Clothes make the woman
Part 8 – Divine Thing
Part 9 – Girls night out
Part 10 – All the plans
Part 11 – Family obligations
Part 12 – The Jack
Part 13 – All in
Part 14 – She’s So Mean
Part 15 – Criminal
Part 16 – Big blind
Part 17 – Name Dropping
Part 18 – The Quiet Things
Part 19 – Lies people tell
Part 20 – Runaways
Part 21 – Return to the scene
Part 22 – This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen
Part 23 – When it hits the fan
Part 24 – Getting Even
Part 25 – Flight plan
Part 26 – Go To Sleep