Despite her fathers influence Chloe was having to spend a night in prison after her most recent offence. It drove her crazy that her monster of an ex married another woman. She used to have him beaten and put in place but then some stupid bitch came and stole her sex toy. All Max had ever been was a sex toy. When she left him she knew she could come back anytime for a good fuck until Penelope entered his life and built confidence he didn’t even deserve. He looked like a freak and should be hiding away like he used to. She sat in her cell brooding while she waited for her father to bail her out yet again.
She knew the man was loosing patience with her since she had been acting out and embaresing him more and more freuqently as Penelope pissed her off even more. She was sleeping when they threw a durnk man into her cell. “Oh god you stink! Get to the other side of the cell!”
“shut the fuck up bitch!”
“excuse me! Who do you think you are!?”
“I’m Leo, who are you miss priss?”
“don’t make me slap you!”
“do it and I’ll punch the teeth out of your mouth! You are almost as annoying as fucking Penny!”
“Penelope is such an aweful name isn’t it? One plagues my life too.” Leo chuckled “She left me and is now with some freak. It’s embaressing that she would rather be with some cut up loser than with me.”
“Excuse me? what’s this losers name?”
“Yeah, they just had babies not long ago. You know my Penelope?”
“Why would you claim her as yours? Regardless yes we obviously know the same Penny.”
“Because she is mine and she always will be. She needs to realize that I own her but her little monster pet wont let me near her to reclaim whats mine.” Chloe smiled “are you sober enough to remember stuff? I only have tonight to talk because my dad will have me out by tomorrow.”
“Yeah, what is it?”
“I think we should give them a little payback. I have been paying someone to spy on Max and Penelope so I can know what they are doing. Wednesdays she and one of her gal pals takes their toddlers to a park out in Westborro. It’s really nice and large which is why they are willing to travel half an hour to get there. They don’t like the bigger kids pushing their toddlers down so they go during school hours so they are mostly alone in the park. If you’d be willing to distract Penelope and her friend I would hire three men to take the three children a state away to my little house in Lunar Bay.
We’ve just met so they don’t know we know each other. I’m sure Max doesnt even believe I’m smart enough for something like this but those two need to be punished. Those kids shouldn’t be alive. She should be carrying your babies right?”
“Right” Leo growled then asked “what will we do with the kids?”
“I don’t know, we’ll think of that later. The only sure thing is they aren’t getting them back” Leo smiled “what day is it today?”
“Sunday so be ready when Wednesday comes. Already be at the park when they get there in the morning and my guys will show.”
Max leaned against the door frame of his a children’s room as Penelope finished reading Stellaluna. It was a night time ritual that he enjoyed very much and no matter how many times Penelope read the story, Bettina and Aldo still listened with rapt attention. He expected them cry in the middle of the story, but they never made a sound. She finished and closed the book then kissed them both on the tops of their heads. Max did the same before switching of their light and pulling his wife out of the room. He pulled her into a kiss the minute the door was closed and she smiled against his lips.
“I wish I could go with you guys.” He said softly as he lifted her in his arms and carried her to their room.
“I do too, but someone procrastinated getting his photographs for the next gallery auction. I already had my paintings shipped over.” She replied as he lay her on their bed.
“Well when you walk around naked it’s kind of hard to concentrate.”
“It’s more comfortable to paint in the nude. Besides I don’t here you complaining when you get to wash all the paint off of me.”
“True, I guess I’ll just have to live with it. How horrible for me.” He kissed her again as he hooked his fingers in her night pants and pulled them off. He slipped his hands under her shirt and pushed it off, leaning forward and licking his way from her belly button up to her neck. He sucked at her skin and she pushed against his chest.
“No hickeys, I don’t need Francesca pointing them out.” He kissed her neck before standing and pulling off his sweats. “You act like I’m going to be gone forever.” She whispered as he pulled her legs around him and thrust into her.
“It always feels like forever when you leave.” He pressed his forehead against hers, making love to her hard and fast, leaving her limp and gasping. He finished then kissed her forehead and moved to lay next to her. “I don’t want Wednesday to come. I want it to stay Sunday forever.”
“Work extra hard and promise to get your work done on time then you can come with us next time. You still have to take the pictures and filter through them and get them blown up and then shipped to the gallery.” She kissed his chest.
“I love you. I’ll be sure to stay on top of work next time, I promise.”
“I love you too, now get some sleep because you have a busy couple of days.”
“what fun is sleep when I could make love to you?”
“We just did that” She giggled with a warm smile. Max pulled Penelope into his arms and sighed contentedly. “I’m so blessed to have you and our children.”
“I know, you say it almost every night”
“It’s because that’s what I always think about when I come in and get to sleep next to you. You and our kids are the best thing to ever happen to me.”
“Go to sleep, you aren’t getting seconds no matter how romantic you get” He chuckled then kissed her head “I love you so much, always remember that”
“You make it imporssible for me, Bettina and Aldo to forget.”
“Good” They slowly and very happily drifted to sleep. The dancing morning rays of the beaming sun were met with a glare from Max. He had work to do when he would rather spend the day with Bettina and Aldo. He got up anyway hoping that maybe if he threw himself into working these next few days he might be able to go with his family to the park. It was a girls trip if you didn’t count their son Aldo but Max was getting tired of it. He hated that he was rarely invited. He never pushed it though because they did spend almost all their time together so he understood his wife wanting one thing to just be her and one of her close girlfriends.
He was almost dressed when he heard the twins crying for someone to come into their room. They had toddler beds now but hadn’t quite figured out working the doorknob so when they shut the door for the night they couldn’t leave the room until their parents let them out. He woke Penelope, she instantly knew why and jumped out of bed. She pulled on her night pants and one of his shirts so she could make her children breakfast. He kissed her cheek before going to do his own work.
The children ran out of their room like they were escaping a rabid beast and both hugged their mom. She smiled and them and kissed their heads “pancakes or waffles?”
“kin waffles” Bettina said and Penelope smiled “Pumpkin waffles, you can say pumpkin” Bettina shook her head and Penelope laugh. Aldo spoke “pumpkin waffles”
“see? you going to let your brother show you up?”
“Pumpkin” Bettina said softly.
“See how easy that was.” She grabbed each of their hands and walked with them into the kitchen where Max was getting a pot of coffee ready. He lifted Aldo to put him in his high chair and he started kicking.
“Whoa calm down little man. What’s wrong?”
“Big boy chair.” Aldo said, giving his dad a serious look. Max laughed and sat him in one of the regular chairs. He wasn’ quite tall enough so Max retrieved a couple of pillows and out them under Aldo.
“There you go big boy. What about you Bettina, do want a big girl chair?” She nodded and he did the same for her. “Make sure you stay really still, no rocking okay.” They both nodded and he went to help Penelope make breakfast. He made sure he was still able to see them, not wanting them to fall. Penelope gave a soft laugh as she heated and buttered the waffle iron while he made the mix. “What’s so funny?” He asked.
“It’s cute the way you constantly dote over our children. You are such an amazing father.”
“It was always my dream to be one and I’m going to be the best dad I can possibly be. I don’t want them to grow up hating me or thinking I don’t care. I love them very much. I want to be a good role model for both of them.”
“You are doing amazing love.” He handed her the bowl of batter and poured himself a cup of coffee. Penelope started singing and he leaned against the counter, basking in the warmth coming from his family. He helped her carry plates to the kitchen and quickly cut up the kids’s food before giving them their forks. They ate happily, chattering back and forth in that language that only siblings know. Max found himself smiling again and Penelope had to remind him to eat so he could get to work. They heard scratching at the back door and Max got up, letting both Molly and their wolfhound Chester in. The dog went straight for the kids who tossed pieces of waffle into the air and laughed when he caught it. “Not to much junk.” Penelope said and they stopped.
“Alright, I’m off to work.” Max said and Bettina bounced excitedly. She loved watching her daddy take pictures. “Are you all done Bettina?” He asked and she nodded. “Want to come out with daddy to find some plants and animals to photograph?”
“Yes.” She said, holding out her arms when he stood.
Chloe was finally home and immediately went to her room to skim her phone book for men she thought would help her with this. She decided on Thadeus, Chad and Joey. They were real bastards and were all in a gang so she was sure they would have no problem kidnapping three toddlers at her request. She wanted Penelopes friends kid too just so it wouldn’t seem like Penelopes was the target. t would make it even less likely for it to be figured out who was behind this. She called the men and they all agreed to do it for ten million each. That was easy money to get for Chloe. She kept twenty million in a piggy bank in her room so would only have to withdrawal ten of the three million.
She ran to her dads office and told him goodbye before hopping into one of her cars and heading to the bank. When she came up on a red light she thought more about Leos question. She needed to figure out what to do with their children. She decided to ponder until after the men were paid to take them to her house in Lunar Bay. It hit her that she needed car seats aswell. A cop would stop the men if they had three toddlers in a car without carseats. She had watched too many crime shows to let herself be caught on camera buying carseats before Max’s kids went missing so placed another call to a guy that loved to fuck her. She offered sex if he purchased three carseats and brought them to her condo tonight. He didn’t even need persuading which made her glow. Everything seemed perfect, Max would soon be suffering like she felt he deserved.
Max came home with a very excited Bettima an hour before dinner. Aldo was in their room playing with blocks while Penelope cooked dinner. When Bettima ran into their bedroom to join her brother Max went into the kitchen and wrapped Penelope in a hug. “did you two have fun?”
“Yeah, I didn’t get much done but it was very fun. I ahve a lot of pictures of our daughter” Penelope giggled and kissed him. Once dinner was prepared and eaten they did their normal nightly routine with their children then headed for their bedroom. Penelops almost instantly took off her clothes and pushed Max on the bed. He smiled happily “hm, I wonder what you want?” She smiled back “You think I just want sex but what I really want is another baby. I want atleast one more child and I don’t want a bigger age difference that what they will have now. Please?”
“I’ll do anything to make you happy. We’ll have as many babies as you want.” She smiled happily and he tangled his fingers in her hair, pulling her down into a hungry kiss. “I only want your happiness Penny, especially after all you have given me.” He rolled her beneath him, quickly pushing his jeans down and sliding into her. She gasped, clinging to his shirt as his hips took on a slow gentle pace. “You drive me absolutely crazy Penny.” He whispered in her ear. “That’s why I make love to you so much. I want you to know what you do to me.” He thrust a little harder, sinking deeper in her warmth. She whimpered as she orgasmed, tears sliding into her hair.
“I love you so much Max.” Her words drove him over the edge and he released into her with a loud cry. He felt tears in his eyes and kissed her softly before rolling onto his back and holding her tightly to him. She had brought him so far out of the darkness that nothing could pull him back. He owed her everything. “You okay baby?” She asked when she caught her breath.
“More than okay, I’m extremely satisfied and very happy.” He answered and kissed the top of her head.
“I’m sorry you never get to come with us. I can tell you feel left out.”
“It’s okay, you want some girl time. I understand. I mean, you spend the rest of the week with me.”
“You are always welcome to come with us. The kids would love it and so would I.”
“Hopefully I’ll finish everything by Wednesday. If I have to I’ll just drive up after I have everything delivered to the gallery.”
“Aldo and Bettina would be so surprised.” She felt herself getting drowsy and tried as hard as she could to stay awake and talk to him. “Please come if you can, take lots of pictures of the kids at the park.”
He chuckled and moved her so she lay next to him. He faced her, his forehead pressed against hers. “Go to sleep love. We’ll talk more tomorrow after I finish taking pictures.” She finally dozed off and he slowly got up to take his clothes off. He got back in, holding her close as he relaxed and followed her into sleep.
Around five am the following morning Leo got a call from a number he didn’t recognize. He answered his phone to a deep male voice. “Chloe says you are the guy that will be distracting the women as we steal their children. We have never been to that park so we want to check it out. When we pull something off we like to get familiar with the place before hand. It ensures fewer screw ups when it’s time to do the job. We have already figured out your address so we will be picking you up in a fifteen minuets. We wont be kept waiting so your ass better be outside when we pull up” They hung up without a response from Leo. The fact they knew his number and where he lived scared him. The voice on the phone hadn’t sounded friendly in the slightest and he didn’t like a man like that knew where he lived.
Leo didn’t want to make them angry so he just threw on a shirt and put on some jeans then ran outside. He wondered if he had just signed a deal with the devil as the men pulled up looking just as gruesome as they sounded. When he jumpe din the back the man next to him seemed normal, unlike the two in front but he was still wary since he kept their company. Leo rode in silence as they left town to go to the next one over. He got more and more nervous around these men. When they arrived at the park nobody was there aside from them which was to be expected at this hour which is no doubt why they chose so early in the morning.
They walked around a bit and planned out where they could park the car to make the cleanest getaway possible and insturcted Leo on how to distract the women. Leo didn’t like being ordered around by these men but somthing about them told Leo to obey their comands. The guy he had been sitting in the back with didn’t really seem to belong with them somehow. He couldn’t really figure it out. He was one of them, wore the same type of things but he just didn’t seem like he was honestly one of them.
“Are you going to help me with the kids in the morning?” Penelope’s asked as she folded clothes.
“Of course and I’ll make sure they get ready as slow as possible so you have to spend more time with me.” He replied as he sat in the middle of the floor, tinkering with his camera.
“Oh really? I guess I’ll just have to cut you off from sex then.” He looked up at her opened mouthed and she started laughing. “Like that would ever be possible, one look from you and I just melt.” She said and bent down to kiss him. He slipped his fingers in her hair to hold her in place. It took all his strength to let her go. “Get to work okay.”
“Okay.” He stood and headed outside to take more pictures. Their dual exhibit was about nature. Penelope had painted some wonderful masterpieces in no time and he wanted to be able to go to the park so he took as many pictures as he could. He spotted a deer roaming through the field behind their house and snapped a couple of it. Chester came up next to him and he scratched the dog on the head. He loved that he could have pets with Penelope. Chloe had taken that away from him and he knew it was simply because his dog at the time had brought him a bit of peace in his hours of darkness. “Try to stay quiet, okay boy.” He said and the dog huffed as if to say he understood.
Penelope watched Max from the front porch. He looked so confident and carefree it made her smile. He smiled all the time now and had not had a single nightmare since they had been married. It was as if the accident had not happened. She had made him get in contact with the family of the girl he had saved to see how she was doing. Her family had been very happy to hear from him after many failed attempts at contacting him to thank him. It was another thing Chloe had managed to intervene in. The girl’s family wanted to see Max to thank him in person and both he and Penelope had promised to find the time in their schedules to invite them over.
“Mommy.” Aldo said from the open screen door. “Can we play in the paint?”
“Of course we can sweety. Lets see if your sister wants to play too.” She smiled and went back inside, taking her two beautiful children to her studio. She loved watching them run paint over canvas, getting completely covered from head to toe in bright colors as they giggled. She felt so blessed to have them. They both had their father’s deep green eyes that seemed to brighten in color when they were happy. She pulled out two blank canvases and sat them flat on the floor then squeezed some paint onto her palette and sat it in between them. She handed Aldo and Bettina their brushes and then sat down next to them, just enjoying them creating their own works of art.
When Max came in he heard his family laughing and he stumbled as his heart skipped with happiness. He laughed at himself then went into his wifes studio. The three were having so much fun splashing paint on eachother they didn’t notice Max who began taking a steady stream of photos of his wife playing with their two children. Finally Penelope noticed him and it all came to a halt. Max smiled at them as he lowered his camera. “You all need a bath. I’ll go run it while you two wait here with your mother.” When he came back the two toddlers took off with Penelope following behind. “I’ll wash them then you” Max said with a grin. Penelope giggled and helped Max undress their twins. Once they were clean and in pajamas Max laid the two into bed and asked if they would excuse their mother just for tonight since she was so messy.
They agreed as long as she read two stories tomorrow night. Max came into the bathroom and stripped down then joined his wife in the shower. “Am I reading to them after?”
“No, but they require two stories tomorrow” Penelope smiled “I can do that.” Max began to slowly move his hands over Penelope, his shaft growing hard. Penelope giggled “You insatiable man”
“well you want more children dont you? Maybe we’ll have twins again and be blessed with four”
“Maybe” Penelope said in a hopeful voice. She wasn’t even clean yet and he began to lick and nibble at her neck. Max wrapped an arm tightly around Penelope then used his free hand to rub her. He caught her moan in his mouth as he continued to move his fingers in her increasingly wet crevice. When he coudln’t resist her another second he turned her around so she could press her hands against the wall. Max thrust inside of her, needing to feel her squuezing him. Once his seed was spent he held her a few moments then they finished getting clean.
They forgot to bring pajamas so quickly ran to their bedroom so their children wouldnt see them in their towels. Once they were in their sleep wear Penelope had to check on her babies. She always felt guilty the rare nights she didn’t read to them. They were already sound asleep so Penelope just quietly went in and kissed their heads and told them how much she loved them even though they couldn’t hear it. Max just watched her adoringly. She was such an amazing mother and wife. When she shut the door he kissed her sweetly, pouring his love into her. She smiled brightly when he pulled back and they got lost in one anothers eyes. The silence was broken when Max whispered “lets go to bed my love”
He grabbed his wifes hand then slowly guided her to their bedroom. They cuddled up to eachother then drifted into a peaceful rest even though Max was dissapointed he wouldn’t be going with them tomorrow morning. His heart always ached when they did things without him but he knew it would be incredibly selfish to try and stop his family from having fun. All Max really wanted was their happiness.
The alarm going off on Penelope’s cell had Max groaning and glaring. Penelope laughed and kissed his cheek then jumped out of bed to shower. He got up and headed downstairs to start breakfast. He made bacon and eggs and had them on the table as Penelope came down with a child on each hip. He took Aldo and put him a big boy chair, much to his son’s delight. They ate then Max helped dress the kids and put Bettina’s hair in pig tails. He couldn’t help but worry at how cute she was. He knew she was going to be beautiful and it would be a nightmare. Penelope checked to make sure the diaper bag had everything in it while Max read a Clifford book to Aldo and Bettina. They loved the gian goofy dog and often compared him to Chester.
“Okay, you two ready?” Penelope asked and the kids jumped up with an excited yes. Max frowned as he got to his feet and pulled his wife into a hug. He felt like he should be with him, his stomach twisted into knots when he thought of just them going. He did his best to shake off the feeling before pulling back and kissing her.
“You be careful.” He said softly and she smiled warmly up at him.
“I’m always careful, don’t worry.”
“I can’t help it, you three are so precious to me. If I lost you, I would be devastated. I love you.”
“I love you too.” He lifted Bettina and Aldo into his arms and kissed their cheeks as he carried them out to the car. He helped buckle them into their car seats, double checking them.
“I’ll try to make it if I can, but if I can’t I promise to have dinner ready.” She kissed him again, brushing her fingers tenderly over his cheek.
“Just get your work done. If you do then you’ll get a reward when I get home.”
“Mmmm then I’ll work twice as hard as usual.” They grinned at each other and she got in the car before she became distracted. If he kept looking at her like that, she would never leave. She switched on the ignition and he leaned into the car to give her one more quick kiss before letting her go. She had to pick up Francesca and her son then they could get to the park.
Penelope picked up Francesca and Basile then drove to the park where they let their children play daily. One woman was there with two other small children. As soon as the three kids were unbuckled they took off running into the playground. Bettina was almost there when she tripped because she untied one of her shoes in the car. Her lower lip quivered as Basile sharply turned around to help her up. Once she was standing the four year old asked “are you ok Bettina?” She nodded and he held her hand as they ran to play. Francesca and Penelope smiled and sat down on the bench to watch them. The two kids that were there first seemed to get shy but after awhile they were all playing together. Not long after that the mother that had been there before them came to share a bench “Hey, I figured since our children are playing we could get to know eachother. I’m Sandra”
Penelope and Francesca introduced themselves and told her their kids names and how old they were. Sandra responded “My oldest son is five and the younger is two”
“Not as adorable as Basile turning so quickly to help Bettina” They chattered until Leo started crossing the grass. Penelope moaned and Francesca rolled her eyes “who’s that?” Sandra asked. “her crazy ex” Francesca answered. “you aren’t allowed near me or my children! We have a restraining order!”
“fuck the god damn order you’re mine and those children should be mine!” The kids all stopped and looked afraid. Bettina hid behind her brother and Basile. “Don’t curse infront of children!” Francesca yelled. The other woman felt uneasy and told her children to come. The woman and her children left quickly which frustrated Penelope more because she wanted the womans number. When Sandra made it to her car she dialed the police and informed them of what was going on. They told her they would come and that she needed to stay away from the situation.
The three fought until Bettina screamed behind the two boys. Men in masks had jerked the children off the playset and were running off. Max had bought her a tasor for Leo a few months back and she ran after them with Francesca as Leo did nothing but watch with a smug grin. Penelope jumped on the back of the man running behind the other two. He wasn’t as fast and Penelope was an amazing runner. She jabbed the taser into his neck and they fell to the ground as Francesca pulled Aldo out of his arms. When Penelope got up to try and get the other two children the men were already at their car.
Penelope ran anyway as Francesca fell to the ground bawling while she held Aldo. Aldo was screaming for Bettima. The two men drove off leaving Penelope with her hands on her head wailing and screaming for Bettima and Basil. She immediately turned, running for Leo. He froze at the rage he saw in Penelopes face. She tackled him to the ground and started punching him “you didn’t do anything! Not a fucking thing but watch those men! I would’ve been looking if it werent for you! You bastard! Why didn’t you help!” Aldo covered his ears and cried harder. Francesca set Aldo down “you’re scaring your son Penelope. We still have Aldo. Stop.” Francescas makeup ran down her cheeks as she cried with worry over her little boy and friends daughter.
She pushed herself off of Leonard and kicked him in the balls for good measure before turning and grabbing Aldo. “Bettina.” He said through his tears. “I want Bettina.”
“I know baby, I know.” Penelope replied as police cruisers pulled into the parking lot. She picked up her son and ran to the officer, tears streaming down her face. She told them what had happened. Leonard had made himself scarce and she told them the there was a restraining order against him and that he had violated it. Two of the officers lifted the kidnapper off the ground and tore his mask off. To Penelope he didn’t look like someone who went around stealing children. He looked young and out of place.
“Do you have someone you can call to pick you up? You probably shouldn’t be driving in your state.” One of the officers asked and she nodded. She didn’t want to tell Max, but she knew she had no choice. She pulled out her phone and found his number, shaking as she pressed send.
Max knew there was something wrong the minute he touched his phone. It was as if something dark and sinister had crawled out of it and up his arm. He answered and pressed the phone to his ear. “Penelope?” He heard her sobbing and came to his feet. “What happened?”
“They took the Bettina and Basil, the men just dragged them away and. Leonard was here. I’m so sorry.” His heart nearly stopped, everything seemed to come to a halt. He could hear his heart beating loudly in his chest, his breathing was labored and panicky. Suddenly everything sped up again and he felt an uncontrollable rage move through him.
“I’m coming right now. Go to the police station and wait for me.” He replied, trying to keep the anger out of his voice and failing.
“I’m sorry.” She said again.
“Please just go baby. I love you.” He hung up and grabbed his keys. He wasn’t mad at her, it wasn’t her fault and she would make sure she knew that when he saw her. He jumped in his car and sped away, not caring if he got a ticket or not. The men who took his daughter and Basil were going to pay. He called his friend Clyde and asked him to check in on Molly and Chester since he didn’t know how long they would be away from home. Clyde readily agreed and Max hung up. He could only imagine was. Penelope and Francesca were going through.
Bettinas sobbing annoyed the two men “shut the fuck up” their yelling only made it worse. They were already mad enough that Thadeus had failed yet again. Basil held Bettinas hand trying to comfort her but it did little good. Suddenly Chad pulled out a gun and pointed it at Bettina “you will stop the fucking whining little girl! We have a long god damn ride and i refuse to listen to it. If I pull this trigger you will die do you understand?” Her lip quivered and she nodded. She did her best to remain silent out of fear she might not see her mom and dad again. She knew that death meant going to another place and she wanted to be on earth with her parents. Basil would be crying but he was too angry at the situation and unwilling to make Bettina even more upset.
Twenty minuets later Bettina had wept herself into sleep. Basil put her head on his shoulder and cried a little himself. Chad mocked him “so you’re actually a baby too then huh? Men don’t cry you sissy” Basil acted as though he didn’t hear the man. Chad didn’t mind. He was just happy the little brat was sleeping and the other kid was silent. “Can’t believe Thadeus fucked up on us again. Our leader should be embarrassed to call him his son”
“Cut him some slack. He’s only twenty one”
“He’s been doing business for his father since he was fifteen. The time for slack is well over. He should do like those japanese freaks and kill himself out of shame. That or the boss should kill him.”
“Maybe the boss will once he finds out Thadeus has gotten himself locked up again. It makes us look weak”
“Fuck yes it does, did you see that tiny girl take his ass down? Pathetic! Chloe wont be pleased”
“who the fuck cares, I dont see why you do so much for her damn used pussy”
“It’s some good used pussy”
“This is the last time I help this bitch”
“Fine then all the more pussy for me”
“Thin she’ll really put out even though we’re missing a kid”
“She will or I’ll make her” Basil just listened trying to figure out what they were talking about. To a four year old none of this made any sense. Without even realizing it Basil too fell asleep. Thadeus neck burned painfully as the cops interrogated him. Not a word passed his lips except the fact he wanted a lawyer. Thadeus knew the best thing to do was be silent until one of the family lawyers came and told him what to say. That way whatever happened would be blamed on them and they would get his fathers wrath instead of him having to endure it.
He knew there would be hell to pay for this regardless so he just wanted to ease the load. As he tuned out the angry officers a smirk crossed his face. He was thinking about how bravely Penelope had jumped on him and fought to save the one child she had any chance of saving. He wondered what it would have been like if his father hadn’t beaten his mother to death. He only thought of it more because Aldo was the same age he was when his mother was taken from him by his father.
Max’s heart was still beating quickly in his chest when he walked into the Westboro Police Department. He grabbed the first officer who passed him and asked to be taken to his wife. Penelope ran into his arms when she saw him, sobbing uncontrollably into his chest. “I’m sorry, so sorry. I tried so hard.” She choked out.
“Hush now baby, I know. I’m not mad at you.” He kissed her forehead then wiped her tears away.
“I got one of them and saved Aldo. He’s asleep in the chief’s office. He wants Bettina back so bad and I can’t do anything.”
“How is Francesca?”
“She’s devastated. I tried to comfort her, but she just cries and cries.”
He crushed Penelope to him, feeling a lump forming in his throat. He took a deep breath, wanting to be strong for her. “Where is the guy you stopped?”
“He’s being interrogated. He won’t say anything.”
“I bet I could make him talk.” He moved past her and she grabbed his arm.
“Max you can’t go barreling into an interrogation room and beat a young man senseless. You’ll be arrested. Please calm down, please.” She begged, fresh tears sliding down her cheeks.
They went into the chief’s office so Max could see that Aldo was okay. Their son was still sleeping, his face sad. There was a soft knock on the office door and the chief slowly opened it and asked them to come out. “He still won’t talk. He’s stubborn.”
“Let me talk to him.” Max said and the chief shook his head.
“The look in your eyes says that you would kill him before he spoke a single word. I can’t have that, no matter how bad he might deserve a beating.”
“Then what do we do?” Max was becoming more and more frustrated.
“I think your wife should talk to him. Sometimes the teary eyed face of a child’s mother can get someone like him to talk.”
“I’ll do anything to get my daughter and Basil back, anything.” Penelope said.
“Follow me.” He said. He lead them down a hall where there were two rooms. He stopped on front of the door of the occupied one. “You should watch from the other room. I don’t want you snapping.” He said and Max huffed angrily.
“Please baby, it’ll be fine.” His heart broke at the sorrowful look in his wife’s eyes. He nodded and went in the small room next door, staring through the window at the young man who had helped kidnap innocent children.
Penelope walked in, silent tears slowly tumbling down her cheeks. The second she was in the door Thadeus looked at her and his heart felt heavy but she still threatened to make him smile at the thought of how she tackled him. Penelope sat down and she could see the smile threatening to appear. It pissed her off “what is there to smile about you asshole.” He pulled on the collar of his hoody to show her the burn he had from how hard she had shoved the taser into his throat. “you deserved it” Penelopes voice a mixture of sadness and anger. She kept asking him questions until she was sobbing from lack of answers. “you cant leave her in there like that” Max said as he tried to go to the door of the room but the cop grabbed him “just let this play out. Thaddeus has a heart, we all know he does. Most times he’s in here it’s almost like he wants to get caught. He does these things to appease his father. Her tears are bound to make him talk.”
“He is in here a lot?”
“He is the son of a gang head. He is expected to take over for his father like any other business” Penelopes tears jerked water from his own eyes. If he would have just done his work he would have gone this time but he always got distracted by his family because he preferred to be with them. He felt guilty for not being at the park to protect his children. If the men hurt Bettima Max didn’t know what he would do. They needed to get her back before anything that would scar her for the rest of her life happened. He held on to the fact that she was only two and a half. There was hope she could forget all about this in time as long as they got her back soon.
The two kids woke up to being jerked out of their seats. Bettima began to cry again while Basil just looked frustrated. They took the children into a small house and threw them into a bedroom that could lock from the outside. There wasn’t much in the room. Just a bed, dresser, window and random items that neither of them were sure what they were. Basil hugged Bettina now that he could. “shh, crying wont help. I know you’re sad but it only makes them angry and more likely to hurt you.” Bettina wiped her face on his shirt then did her best to stiffle herself “I want my mommy”
“I want mine too, we’ll have them. Our mommies will get us just like they got Aldo”
“why didn’t they save us too?”
“They couldn’t I dont think. I know they would have if they could” Bettina nodded. Basil walked over to the window and tried to push it open but it was locked. He sighed and sat down on the floor with Bettina who was still struggling to not cry for her mom and brother. Basil saw Bettinas shoe was still untied so he fixed it for her. It would come loose like his knots always did but he could do it again for her. “Thank you” she said in a tone barely audible. “you’re welcome, I’m still having trouble so it will come undone but I’ll tie it again when it comes loose.”
Penelope’s sobs tore at Thadeus, making his heart feel as if it were being crushed. “Do you want me to beg on my knees?” She asked and went to his side of the table. She dropped down on her knees and he nearly screamed for her to get back up. “Please, please just tell us where you took our babies, please. I’ll stay here forever if I have to, I’ll do whatever it takes.”
“Please get up.” Thadeus said as he grabbed her by her shoulders and pulled her off the floor. He couldn’t see her like that, her eyes looking up at him with all the sorrow in the world. They reminded him once again of his mother. She had been so beautiful and always smiled until that day. She had begged his father to just let her go, to let her take him and disappear, but his father was having none of it. In his eyes disobedience was punishable by death, his wife had been no exception. Thadeus’s one bright light in that world of violence had been extinguished in minutes. Never again would he see that smile, would he hear that laugh. “Don’t beg me for things, please stop crying.”
Penelope was shocked by the look of sadness on Thadeus’s face. He looked like his heart was breaking, like he was in pain. “I just want my daughter and Basil back.” She replied. “They are probably so scared and hungry. Please just give them back.”
“They sent you in here to make me feel bad didn’t they?” He asked.
“Yes.” She answered honestly.
“Low blow old man.” He said louder so the police chief would know he was talking to him. “I don’t blame him though. I would use every underhanded tactic in the world if it was my child.”
“Do you have children?” Penelope asked as she pulled her chair around to sit next to him.
“No and I don’t want any. They don’t need to grow up with an abusive piece of shit father who helps kidnap babies.” She ran his fingers through his hair and adjusted the collar of his sweater to keep it from brushing the burn on his neck. “I’d be a shitty father.”
“Did you know my husband was in pain once? His heart had been crushed by someone who should have supported and cared for him. He thought he was a monster, but all he needed was a push in the right direction. See, he has these scars covering the right side of his face and he’s blind in that eye. He really thought he wasn’t worthy of love. You have scars too, just more on the inside than on the outside.”
“I have them on the outside to, bad ones from where my dad beat me with a wire hanger.” He covered his face with his hands, not wanting to look at her anymore. “He’s the biggest bastard in the universe, just ask the old geezer on the other side of that mirror. You have no idea how lucky your children are to have such an amazing mom. You were willing to fight three men just to save your children without any regard for your own safety. The truth is, I wasn’t given any specific details. I was just told to help and keep my mouth shut. If you want real answers, talk to that man Leonard. He was there to distract you, so ask him and find your daughter and that little boy.”
“Thank you.” She said and hugged him. Her tender touch drove him to tears.
Chloe arrived at the house and quickly went inside when she saw Chads car. When she walked in Chad and Joey were watching her TV and eating some candy they found. “where’s the brats?”
“We locked them in the bedroom you told us too. Smart thinking getting a room that locks from the outside.”
“I had it installed the day I got out of jail.” The two men chuckled “what?” she asked crossly. Chad answered “It’s just funny thinking of miss priss in jail. You’ve become so bad. It’s incredibly sexy even though you really dont do that bad of things. You’ve just been a princess throwing tantrums. Chloe growled and clenched her fists wanting to slap him but she knew if she hit him he would hit her back. She also knew he was expecting sex for his help so she told him to come on. The anger would help her get through sex with him. “what about me” Joey asked. Chad glared “don’t be a queer. I don’t have threesomes with men. You can have her when I’m done”
“Fuck it, I dont want her fishy pussy anyway. I’ll be happy with the money.” Joey sat down, wondering how upset she would be when she realized there were only two children in that bedroom. He turned up the TV when Chad began to groan while Chloe moaned. Neither of the children liked that sound and covered their ears. Bettina buried her face in Basils chest. He took his hands off his own ears to hold her. They were both incredibly hungry and the sun was setting so they knew they missed lunch and dinner. He wondered if they planned to feed them atall.
When Chad was done she got her purse and paid each man their money then asked “where’s Thadues?” Chad wolfishly grinned since he had alreayd gotten all he wanted “He failed so we only have two brats. He’s in police custody”Chloe slapped him without thinking she was so angry and he punched her “dont fucking hit me. I did my part so i deserved my money and sex. Bitches dont have the right to slap me you understand. You’re lucky I like you so much.” She shoved him then pulled clothes on. Chloe unlocked the room to see which two. She hoped it was both Max’s children but to her disspaointment she saw Bettina and Basil.
Basil quickly asked “are you going to feed us?”
“If you promise to keep your mouth shut all night long. I dont want to hear I’m scared or I want my mommy.” Basil and Bettina nodded and she slammed the door before locking it again. She hated cooking and wasnt going to do it for these two. She grabbed a box of cherrios she had in her pantry then opened the door long enough to throw the box at the two children huddled on the floor. Bettina hated cherrios but she was really hungry so ate with Basil anyway.
“How the fuck did you only get those two. I wanted both of Max’s children.” She snapped.
“That little bitch your buddy was supposed to be distracting attacked us. She didn’t even hesitate.”
“You and your friends are useless. I wanted Max to suffer.”
“You have his precious little princess so I’m sure he is.”
“Just leave so I can figure something out.”
The police started their search for Leonard at the park. They didn’t think he would have gone far since he was probably panicking and Thadeus had told them that he didn’t have a car. Max had gone out to help find him while Penelope sat with Aldo and Francesca. Aldo had woken crying for Bettina, his face the epitome of anguish at being separated from his twin. “Bettina’s so scared mommy.” He said and Penelope comforted him as best as she could.
“It’s okay baby, we’ll get her back and then she won’t be scared anymore.”
“Stay with Francesca and I’ll see what I can find.” She found and officer and explained that Aldo needed food and wondered if they had vending machines.
“I won’t be letting that little boy eat out of a vending machine ma’am. How about I go pick you three up some clam chowder.”
“If you don’t mind. I can give you money.” The officer shook his head.
“No, it’s okay. I don’t mind paying.”
“Thank you so much.” She thought about Thadeus for a second. He looked hungry too. “That man I was talking to earlier! could you get him some too. He looks like he hasn’t eaten in a couple of days.”
“Thank you so much.” She went back to her son and pulled him onto her lap. He clung to her tightly, his face pressed against her shirt. She wished she could make the pain and sorrow go away. She didn’t want her children to be traumatized for the rest of their lives. Going to the park was supposed to be fun, but now she feared taking them out would only scare them. She blamed herself for taking her eyes off her children to deal with the biggest mistake of her life. She had even hurt Francesca, had drawn her friend into this horrorifying day. She kissed the top of her son’s head and prayed they would forget this trauma.
When the officer returned he handed the women and little boy their food first then said went to give Thaddeus food before putting him in a cell to await trial on the attempted kidnapping. Officer Millway didn’t understand why this mother would want a man who tried to steal her child to have food but he semi knew her even though she didn’t know him. He worked a couple events she took her children to and saw what a warm and loving woman she was. It’s why he didn’t want her or her son to eat out of a vending machine. He certainly didn’t want her little girl to be off with some gang members. He practically slammed Thaddeus’s bowl down and said “this isn’t really from me. Penelope wanted you to have somthing to eat.”
“Could you tell her thank you…and I’m sorry” Millway nodded then exited the room, pulling the door shut. Millway walked up tot he two women and Aldo saying “he says thanks for sending food his way and sorry” Penelope forced a smile, it laid dull and limp on her face. Millway smiled back then went back to work. Aldo ate slowly even though the soup wasn’t that hot. He could feel his sisters terro. He couldn’t see or hear her but he could feel how scared she was and it killed him. When his bowl was empty he asked “why aren’t we waiting at home for my sister and Basil?”
“Here daddy knows we’re safe. They will bring Bettina straight here when they save her.”
“How do you know they can save her?”
“You should ahve faith in the police force here. They are smart and are looking as hard as they can for Battina and Basil. Your dads out looking too, once they know where she is there isn’t anything that will stop him from getting her. Your father loves the two of you so much baby. He will bring your sister home.” Another officer walked over and handed Aldo a yoyo. “I know it isn’t the best toy but it’s all I have in my desk.” Aldo wordlessly grabbed it. “say thank you Aldo” Penelope asked him softly. “He doesn’t need to mam” Officer Pritcher said before returning to what he was doing.
Max spotted Leonard walking down the street and took off after him. Leonard heard footsteps and looked behind him. He nearly jumped out of his skin and took off running. He knew that look, it was the kind of look that someone gave you when they were going to kill you. He didn’t want to be caught by Max. “Sto running or you’ll just make it worse for yourself.” Max yelled. There was no way he was letting Penelope’s deformed freak of a husband get his hands on him. The man would tear him apart. he turned down an alley knocking over a garbage can in hopes of slowing the enraged man down.
Max jumped over the garbage can and reached out for Leonard, catching him by the collar of his short. Leonard turned on him, swinging wildly. Max punched him in the face, adding to the bruises that were already there from Penelope. She had got him good. He hit him again, knocking him down. He was on top of Leonard! punching him over and over again, his rage pushing him to extreme violence. He felt someone grab him from behind and haul him off of Leonard who was groaning in agony.
“Calm down.” It was Chief Sanders’s voice. “I’m sorry, but I can’t let you kill him.”
“I want to press charges for him attacking me.” Leonard said as he pushed himself onto his hands and knees.
“Attacking you? To me it looks like you tripped over this garbage can and fell on your face.” Sanders let Max go and handcuffed Leonard.
“Fuck you pig.”
“Say one more negative thing and I’ll make sure you trip over something else.” He made sure the handcuffs were latched painfully tight. He dragged Leonard out of the alley and and Max stopped to pick up the cell phone that had fallen out of Leonard’s pocket. He was sure the cops would want it for evidence. He wanted to look through it, but figured the cops would do that too. He followed them, trying to calm down. He didn’t want to be angry when he went back to Penelope and Aldo.
“Is it okay if I speak to Thadeus?” Penelope asked Officer Millway.
“I just want to check on him.”
“Uh sure, I guess. His lawyer hasn’t showed yet so I guess it would be okay.” He took her to the holding cells and Thadeus was shocked to see her.
“Hey, how are you holding up?” She asked.
“I’m fine, thank you again for the food. Is your boy okay?”
“Yeah, he’s napping with Francesca. She’s the other woman that was in the park.”
“I’m glad, I hope I didn’t scare him to bad.”
“He’s only scared for his sister. They wont do anything too horrible to her will they?”
“I’ll be straight with you mam, they’ll hit her if she doesn’t listen to them or if she annoys them too much. Neither one of those two will rape her though if thats a concern. As far as I know they have only raped grown women. Only Timone likes little”
“sh” Penelope said briskly, unable to listen to the fact anybody would rape a little girl. She hadn’t thought about them hurting her in that way but was glad he was confident they wouldn’t “thanks for being honest”
“Do not say thanks to me. I helped”
“You didn’t want to though, you look much more fit than those other two men so you should have been able to run faster. Your heart wasn’t in this kidnapping”
“I just do as I’m told. You either listen to my father or you die. It’s that simple”
“You don’t have to, the police would protect you”
“The police hate me and belive me Penelope, when my father wants someone dead they die. He has lots of connections. One of which is in this police force.” His tone growing softer. Penelope leaned into the bars “really, who?”
“Pritcher, all the rest are decent though.”
“But he gave my son a yoyo”
“Just appearances, don’t let him near your boy any more than you have to. I can give you no proof he isn’t straight but I promise you he isn’t. He has dinner with my dad sometimes.”
“what did I say about thanking me Penelope. I’m sorry and deserve no thanks from you”
“You’re a victim too Thaddeus” suddenly a man grabbed her shoulder and pulled her away “don’t speak to my client without me present. I’m now his lawyer.” The man said firmly with cold, menacing eyes. Thaddeus’s father was there too. He said nothing but his eyes were telling her to leave. She obeyed not wanting to make the situation harder. “Your heart is far too forgiving Penelope” Francesca said softly. “He’s a victim too. He didn’t want to hurt the children”
“still…he was taking off with your little boy. I wont be able to forgive whichever took my son no matter what his life has been like…he stole my baby.”
“Thaddeus sayd they wont hurt the children as long as they are quite and obedient. I just worry about Bettina. She’s so sensitive and I’m sure she’s having trouble not crying”
“Lets just pray my son is able to comfort her enough to where she doesn’t make the men angry” Penelope nodded sadly. “I’m so sorry my ex caused this, I’m sorry I’m the reason your son is gone” Penelope said near tears. Francesca grabbed Penelopes hand “YOU aren’t to blame for a thing Penelope. I’m not angry at you I’m angry at the people who did this. You can’t help you dated a crazy person. You don’t have any control over what nutty thigns he does. We are still best friends and always will be Penelope.” Tears slid down both girls cheeks as they sat there with the sleeping Aldo.
In the small cottage Chloe owned Bettina and Basil were laying in bed “I’m so thirsty” she said in despairing voice. “I know, I am too but we didn’t ask when she brought us food. We promised we would keep quite if she fed us.” Then it hit him that there was a bathroom in the room. He sat up and told Bettina to follow him. She did and he turned the sink on then helped her drink from it. He had never been so grateful that he was abnormally tall for his age. His father was even taller than Bettinas father so it didn’t shock his mother the rate he was growing.
“Thank you Basil.” Bettina said and he gave her a hug before taking her back into the bedroom. “I want to go home.” She said quietly.
“I know, me too.” He looked out the window. He could easily lower Bettina out and then himself. He didn’t know where they were, but being lost outside had to be better than being in this cottage. Those men still had not left even though the woman had told them to. Basil pushing at the top of the window, but it didn’t budge. He looked it over and realized it was locked. He flipped the lock and pushed up again. The window budged and he kept pushing. It suddenly stuck, leaving very little space. “Come on.” He lifted her up and had her stick her feet out the window. He slowly pushed her out and lowered her down. He listened for any sounds coming from the other room and then squeezed himself out. They were in the middle of the woods, far from other adults.
“What now?” Bettina asked.
“It’s like a game of hide and seek. Come on.” He grabbed her hand and moved around the house. They came across a small door in the wall that opened to the crawl space under the house. He pulled it open and let Bettina go in forst then followed. “We have to stay really quiet okay. When they see we’re gone, they’re going to look for us. Remember it’s like hide and seek.” She nodded and he wrapped her on a hug. She was shivering with fear.
When Max walked into the Sanders’s office, Penelope jumped up and hugged him. She pulled back and he grabbed her face in his hands, kissing her. “Are you okay?” She asked and he shook his head. “What’s wrong?”
“I caught Leonard and beat him senseless. I almost killed him Penny and would have if the police chief had not been there.” He answered,pressing his forehead against hers. She looked down at his hands. The knuckles on his right hand were bruised and skinned. She wondered just how hard he had hit Leonard.
“I was told by Thadeus that there is a dirty cop here. His name is Pritcher. He gave Aldo a yoyo, but Thadeus warned me not to trust him. He said Pritcher works for his father.”
“How can you be so forgiving?” He said softly.
“He wanted me to catch him Max, he didn’t want to take Aldo, Bettina, or Basil. He’s remorseful, but now his piece of shit father and their dirty lawyer are in the holding area talking to him. He won’t be safe if he leaves here with them and he won’t be safe in prison. He deserves a fresh start.”
“We can talk to the police chief after Leonard is questioned.”
“Okay, thank you. Lets get your hand cleaned up.”
Leonard was only being questioned for an hour when he cracked. He told them about meeting Chloe here and their plan. He told them she took the two children to the next state over to Lunar Bay. He couldn’t give them an address since he didn’t know it but the cops got to work looking into what all property Chloe owned. Leonard asked if he could go home but they informed him he was under arrest as an accessory. If either child died he would be accountable for it. Pritcher took Leonard to a cell and threw him in. When he passed by Thaddeus’s cell he made a motion with his left hand that informed them that Leonard was a snitch before going back into his work area. Dimitri went back to talking angrily with his son. Before getting up to leave Dimitri said “This is getting old son, you are a twenty one year old man. You are no longer a child and I will not tolerate these games any longer. Not only did you fail me but you let two women beat you up. How am I supposed to meet the men later tonight with my head high?”
“I’m sorry dad”
“Your sorrys dont cut it. You have one more time to fail me before you’re seeing your mother again. Don’t you remember what happened to her? Don’t you remember her screams? One more time boy” Thaddeus sighed, even though it wasnt a direct job from his father Dimitri was still just as angry as if it had been. He knew his father meant it when he said that he had one last chance. Part of him felt a little happy that his miserable life might be ending within the next year or however long it took his father to ask him to do somthing else. Bettina lay still in Basils arms. It was so dark under the house he didn’t know for a fact that she was sleeping but he was pretty sure she was since she wasn’t whimpering or shaking any longer.
Basil was tired too but wanted to be alert if the men came outside. He felt bad knowing Bettina needed a diaper change and was probably rashing really badly. He wished they would have grabbed a diaper bag if they were taking her too but he knew they didnt so she would just have to sit in it until their parents came. He wondered if his dad knew he was missing. His parents talked so little he was almost positive his dad didn’t know. Basil took comfort in the fact that Max probably knew right after the incident happened and was helping their mothers search. He was jealous of what a great and loving dad Bettina and Aldo had. Their family was so happy while he pretty much only had his mother. She was a wonderful mom but he longed for a dad too that actually had any interest in him.
“Here you little shits, I got you some water.” Joey said as he pushed the door open. He dropped the glass when he saw the room was empty and the window was open. He ran back into the living room. “The kids are gone.”
“What?” Chloe screeched, both her and Chad came to their feet. Chad pulled out his gun and ran outside. “How the fuck did they get out?” She snapped at Joey.
“The fucking window you stupid whore.” He yelled and followed Chad outside.
Basil could hear them running around and cursing. It woke Bettina and he quickly clamped his hand over her mouth to keep her silent. She shook and tears slid down her cheeks. He wanted to comfort her, but could make a sound so he just kissed the top of her head and held her as close as he could. He starting moving further back, pulling her with him and hiding behind a piece of wood.
“How the fuck did they just slip away?” Chloe screamed.
“Maybe if you had actually payed attention they wouldn’t have.” Joey yelled at her. She raised her hand and he slapped her then shoved her to the ground. “What if they made it to the road? The cops could be on their way right now.”
“Just shut up and let me think.” Chad commanded. “You search the woods in the back and I’ll search up the road. They’re little so they will get tired easy. Chloe you keep your dumb ass here.” The men took off and Chloe went back inside, fuming.
Aldo woke up wet. Max said he would take him to the bathroom and lead his son down a hall and into the men’s restroom. They went in one of the stalls and just as he had closed and locked the door, the bathroom door opened. “What are we going to do about your son Dimitri?” Max covered Aldo’s mouth and gestured for him to be quiet.
“If the little shit wants to get back in my good graces, he’ll kill that snitch and make it look like suicide.” Dimitri answered angrily.
“We could always put Pritcher on watch to say that’s what happened. You know he’ll do anything for a couple thousand.”
“Fine, tell my son and Pritcher then.” They left the restroom and Max finally breathed. He had to tell the chief and save both Thadeus and even though he didn’t want to, Leonard. He quickly changed Aldo then lifted him into his arms and hurried out of the bathroom.
Max gave Aldo to his mother then approached teh cheif “I need to speak with you privately sir.”
“follow me to my office then.” When the door was shut tight Max told the chief what he heard in the bathroom. The chief sighed “I had a feeling but I didn’t want to believe it. Pritchers father was such a good cop, it’s a shame that it’s now confirmed he’s nothing but a crook. He brings shame to such a long line of good cops. I only had the pleasure of knowing his father personally. Nobody will die on our watch Max.” There was a wrap at the door. Max opened it and the officer said “Her father owns a couple homes there but Chloe herself only own one. It’s on Plimoth drive at the very end. It’s the only house for miles once the dirt road starts so there will be no mistaking which house it is. Who all is going and who is staying to watch the prisoners?”
‘come in and shut the door” Officer Millway complied and the chief asked him to pretend to leave too but to stay and keep an eye what was going on. The cheif closed the blinds of his office and quickly put a small camera on him that wouldn’t be detected but would pick up anything incriminating on Pritcher. “Can i trust you not to let a soul die while we’re saving those babies?”
“I’ll make you proud”
“I know you will, follow me out so he thinks you’re leaving.” Max told his wife they knew where the kids were and he was going but she needed to stay here with Aldo. She couldn’t deny that Aldo didn’t need to go out there and Francesca wasn’t handling things as well as she was so Penelope knew it was smarter for her to stay put. Max gave his wife a quick kiss before running out to jump in the chiefs car with him. “I’m letting you come along because I trust you not to be stupid. You listen to what you’re told sir or you might cost your child or your friends child their life.” Max nodded as he just looked ahead wishing where his daughter was wasn’t so far away.
Penelope texted Max asking him to tell her the second he had their daighter and Basil. He texted back how much he loved her and that he would. The recieving message sound woke Aldo. “go back to sleep baby, it’s still late”
“where are all the cops?”
“They know where your sister and Basil are. They are all going to save them” Aldos face lit up and he cried again. Penelope held him close. “I’m so sorry baby, daddy is going to bring them back to us.”
“If anybody can save Bettina and my friend it’s daddy” Penelope kissed her sons head “I’m glad you know that son” Chad and Joey got more and more furious as they searched. They were going to give the kids a beating they would never forget for doing this. “come out you fucking brats before i beat you to death!.” Joey screamed and Chad stomped on his foot “don’t SAY that while we’re looking for them. They wont fucking come out!”
“Well they aren’t coming out now anyway!”
Basil decided it was a good idea to move again. He pushed getting ahead of him! making sure she stayed quiet. The space became smaller and they hid behind another piece of wood. Even if the men came in after them, they would be to big to fit in where they were. Bettina started shaking and crying again, her face pressed into his short to muffle her whimpers. He wasn’t going to let anything happen to her.
“Did you check under the house?” Chloe’s voice asked from the front porch.
Basil’s heart gave a lurch and he clung tightly to Bettina when he heard the door to the crawls pace open. “I don’t see anything.” Joey said.
“You have to go in you idiot. Just move.” Chase said and crawled inside. “You guys in here? Come on out and nothing will happen, I promise.” He lied.
“Close your eyes Bettina.” Basil said as he put his hand over her mouth and closed his own. He could hear the man moving toward them. Basil knew he couldn’t see them, but it was still terrifying. The crawling soon turned to sliding as Chad had to get on his belly to keep going. Basil knew he was close, could hear the sound of his loud breathing. Chad stopped and cursed angrily. He couldn’t go any further. Basil opened one eye and peeked around the piece of wood. He was right there within arms reach.
“I don’t see them.” He finally said and started back. Bettina made a whimpering sound and Chad froze. Basil and Bettina became very still, the silence was scaring them more than anything. Chad suddenly latched onto Bettina’s leg and she screamed. Basil pulled as hard as he could, getting her out of his grasp.
“Go Bettina.” He said and pushed her to where Chad couldn’t fit. He felt fingers wrap around his leg and was pulled back. He kicked and screamed the whole way, busting Chad’s lip and almost breaking his nose.
“Shut up you fucking brat.” Chad ordered. He finally made it to the door and lifted Basil by his leg so he was upside down.
“Let me go, let me go now.” He screamed and swung at Chad who hit him in the face. He just screamed louder and struggled harder.
“Where is the girl?” Chloe asked.
“She’s under there, if you want her then go get her.” Chloe’s nose wrinkled in disgust at the idea of crawling through mud. “Just take this little brat inside and gag him and tie him up before I strangle him.”
Thadeus sat staring at Leonard. He didn’t want to kill another man. His father’s lawyer had said he had no choice if he wanted to live and they had left Pritcher to watch him and make sure he did the job right. He shook his head. He was no killer, he was not his father. Penelope’s eyes kept flashing in his head, those tear filled orbs that reminded him so much of his mother. “What are you looking at?” Leonard asked.
“A very lucky man.” Thadeus replied cooly, making Leonard swallow nervously.
Chloe tried and tried to reach the cowering Bettina but even she was too big to get the girl. She could have if she wasn’t so grossed out by the mud but she ended up whimpering and getting from under the porch “fuck her, she can freeze in the mud for all I fucking care. If you men want you can kill her when she finally comes out. I dont want Max to have her. He doesn’t deserve children! I don’t know why he ever wanted them. I’m glad I never gave him any.” The men were already inside and had Basil tied up. Chad punched Basil four very hard and unforgiving times finally making the boy cry. The pain added to his tears but he was terrified of them getting Bettina. Especially after Chloe screamed that they could kill her if they wanted.
“You’re lucky your only four and I don’t know how easy it is to kill a little guy or you would’ve gotten worse” Chad growled. He liked to stay in Chloes good graces since he liked being around her so much and liked when she called him even though it was always for help. He was excited to be able to kill Bettina. It gave him new drive to get the little girl from under the house. Chloe was still out fuming and talking to herself angrily. Chad set a hand on her shoulder “go inside, I’ll get the tiny bitch” Chloe didn’t have to be asked twice. Chad slipped back under the house. “Do you want Basil and your family to die. If you don’t come out right now I’ll kill your whole family. I know where you live, you aren’t safe anywhere from me little girl.” Chad growled knowing how easy it is to deceive a child of only two and a half.
The part of the house they were under was near the room they had Basil so he could hear. Basil screamed “don’t listen Bettina! Don’t move! Don’t let him get you!” Joey grabbed the boys forehead and slammed it backwards intending to knock him out but his attempt failed. It just left Basil crying again. Bettina was shaking in fear but listened to Basil rather than this horrible man. Chad growled “fine” he said seething and he got out to go grab his gun he had left in the house. He’d spend every round to make sure he killed Bettina.
Max wanted the chief to go faster. He wanted his daughter back, he wanted to give Basil back to his mother. He hoped and prayed that they were alive. He would give anything to have them back. He couldn’t even imagine having to go home and tell Penelope that they had lost a child. Aldo would probably be the most devastated. He had an incredibly strong bond with his sister and if it broke he knew his son would not grow up half a person. “How close are we?” He asked impatiently.
“Not far, please try and stay calm. I know that this is scary for you, but losing your cool will not get the kids back.” The chief said.
“I’ll try. I just want them safe.”
Penelope left Aldo with Francesca so she could check on Thadeus. Max and Sanders had seemed very tense and she wondered if it had had anything to do with him. She froze and ducked into another office when she saw Pritcher. She waited and watched as he walked into the holding area and closed the door. You had to go through two doors to get there. She moved to the first door and felt a hand on her shoulder. She spun around, shocked to see Officer Millway. He pressed his finger to his lips then leaned into and whispered, “I was told to spy on Pritcher that’s why I’m still here.”
“Then lets go.” She whispered back. “I’m not hiding in the office. Aldo is safe with Francesca.” He sighed but pulled the first door slowly open. They moved down the hall to the second door and stopped to listen.
“Your father wants this one dead Thadeus.” Pritcher said and Leonard looked panicked.
“You can’t just kill me on here, people will find out.” Leonard said.
“Shut up. The cameras for this room are off due to a malfunction in the system. Just strangle him then use his belt to hang him on the bars.”
“No,” Thadeus said with a glare, “I’m not my dad’s pawn.”
“You’ll do as you’re told or I’ll kill both of you.”
“Go ahead, it’s better than working for my dad.” Penelope thought she heard the sound of a gun being cocked and shoved the door open.
“Leave him alone you bastard.” She yelled, startling everyone in the room.
“Penelope get out of here, this doesn’t concern you.” Thadeus said.
“Sure it does. Your father is a piece of shit who likes to victimize people and I won’t stand for it.” Pritcher leveled his gun at her and she placed her hands defiantly on her hips.
“When I tell you to move, get out of the way.” Millway whispered from the hall. Pritcher had not seen him yet.
“Move” Millway said and what seemed like the very same instant Pritcher laid dead on the ground. Leonard was pale while Thaddeus seemed unaffected either way. He knew his time was coming up. He would probably die within the week for defying his father. He stood “That was really dumb Penelope, extreamly”
“I wasn’t going to let him kill you. I can see in your heart you are a good person. We just need to get you somwhere your bastard father can’t reach you.”
“He can go anywhere”
“we can send you to another country, how does Germany sound?”
“Who’s going to pay for me to go to Germany.”
“we’ll see, whatever it takes you are getting away from your father so you can live the life you want and deserve” Thaddeus hugged Penelope “Thank you for caring”
“I’m a mother, it’s what we do best”
“He’s still a criminal for now Penelope.”
“what if I dont press charges against him?”
“well then he wouldn’t be any longer”
“I’m not pressing charges”
“Then help me move this body so we can lock Leonard back up” Thaddeus nodded and helped Millway move Pritcher then walked with Penelope and Millway back to the offices. “Mind my son, he is still afraid of you I’m sure so it would be best to stay away until he has his sister and can calm down.”
“I understand, I can only imagine how badly I spooked the little guy.” Millway pointed to an empty office and told him to wait in there since that officer was on vacation with his family so wouldn’t be coming back to use it for another week. Chad came back outside angrily gripping his loaded gun as he approached where he could go back under the house. “Bettina!” he yelled then listened for her labored breathing. There was absolutely no sound so he went under to make sure she was still there. He crawled and listened but absolutely no sound came from the little girl.
With how whiney she was he was sure that if she was there she would whimper or be breathing heavy like before so he got out to search the woods again. As soon as she couldn’t hear his steps any longer she allowed herself to cry a little again. She had scooted as far back as she could go and clamped her hands tightly over her own mouth. Chad cursed when he saw the lights of the cop cars. He decided to ditch Chloe and Joey to run as far as he could. He wasn’t slippery enough for that because one of the cruisers saw him in his lights and stopped to give chase “stop! police!” he yelled then chased after the man.
Joey wasn’t willing to get shot. He wasn’t stupid enough to lose his life over Chad’s bullshit with Chloe. “What are you doing?” Chloe yelled.
“Not getting shot.” He dropped his gun and headed out the front door with his hands up. He walked slowly down the steps and laid face down in the dirt, putting his head behind his head. Chloe picked up his gun and opened the window. She saw Max standing there and fired at him. She missed and he ducked behind the car. Bullets sprayed the side of the house. She dropped onto hands and knees and crawled over to Basil. She grabbed him and held him on front of her as she moved towards the front door. The bullets had stopped and she pushed open the door.
“Put the gun down and hand the boy over.” Sanders said calmly.
“Fuck you, I’m not giving you shit until I get Max.” She snapped.
Max stood up, raising his hands to show her he didn’t have a weapon. “Get back down.” Sanders commanded and Max shook his head.
“I’ll come inside if you give them Basil.” He said as he moved slowly forward.
“Fine.” She hissed and Sander’s motioned for one of the officers to get Basil. Max went up the steps, very aware of the gun pointed at his chest. “Get inside.” She ordered and he backed through the door. She followed, closing and locking it behind her. She hit him in the face with the gun then shoved him back onto the couch.
“You’re going to prison this time.” Max said.
“It’s all your fault for thinking you could get away from me. You hideous monster. You went off and married that stupid little bitch. You should know your place. You’re nothing but a damn toy, my toy and I don’t give my toys away.”
“You can’t use my face against me anymore. Penny has made me see who I really am. Where is Bettina?”
“You mean that little bitch who looks just like that wife of yours? She freezing under the house.” Max could see her hand was shaking. She was unsteady and unstable. Her arm lowered a little and he made his move, lunging at her and wrestling her to the ground.she squeezed the trigger and a bullet hit the TV. He ripped the gun out of her hand and pinned her hands above her head. He yelled for the chief and he and two other officers came running it. They grabbed Chloe and Max got up then handed Sanders the gun.
“I’m going to get my daughter now. Put this psychotic bitch away for a long time.”
Max walked out the house and found where he could go under it. He got in a little bit and said softly but loud enough to make sure his frightened daughter could hear him. “Bettina, it’s daddy. Nobody’s going to hurt you anymore. Come to me please.” Bettina started to sob again as she crawled quickly to her dad. When they could stand Max lifted her up and she wrapped her arms around him as tightly as she could. Basil was relieved when he saw Max coming with Bettina. Aldo jerked up from his sleep. It startled Penelope “what’s wrong baby? Bad dreams?”
“daddy has Bettina” He said as he began to cry. Penelope hugged her son knowing if that’s what he felt it was correct. Francesca woke to the sound of her friend and Aldo crying “what is it?”
“They are on teh way back with the children” Francesca joined the hug, needing it as she began to join them in tears. When they arrived at the station Basil couldn’t get to his mother fast enough. They embraced tightly as she cried harder with relief and sadness when she saw his little face. Penelope wanted to hug her daughter but all Bettina wanted was Aldo. She wiggled and asked to be set down then the two children locked eachother in a warm embrace. It ended when Aldo said ‘go let mom change you so you dont hurt” Bettina nodded then held her arms up to her mother.
Penelope lifted her into a hug then Francesca handed Penelope the diaper bag and they went to the bathroom. The officers got Chloe and Joey locked up as fast as they could so the children wouldn’t have to be around them a second longer than what was needed. When Max saw Penelope coming back with Bettina he lifted Aldo so they could all have a group hug. He had been wanting that the second he walked in but knew the twins just needed a moment after being separated so long.
Millway met with the chief to explain what happened here while he was away and to take his camera off so they would have it as proof of the events. When Francesca was ready to go home an officier offered to escort her which she greatly appreciated. Basil gave Bettina a very long hug then kiss on the cheek. “Thank you for taking care of me” Bettina said softly and he smiled even though his face was still a little sad. “I’d never let anything happen to you if I can help it” was all he said before his mother lifted him up to carry him to the car.
“I need to talk to you about Thadeus.” Penelope said and Max arched an eyebrow.
“You two go ahead and use my office, me and Millway can watch these two.” Sanders said.
Max followed her into the chief’s office and closed the door. “What about him?”
“I want to use the commission from our exhibit to send him to Germany for awhile. He wants to be free of his father and now that he has refused to kill Leonard and Pritcher is dead, he’s got a target on his back. We could be the only ones with his new address and make sure he’s safe.”
Max ran his fingers through his hair. Penelope’s eyes, so full of compassion, stared up at him expectantly. “Alright, if it’s what you want then we will send him away. If you say he deserves a second chance then he deserves a second chance. Leonard, Chloe and those other bastards are going away for a long time though. There is no forgiving them no matter what you say.”
“I know baby, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Where did the third guy go?”
“He took off like a bat out of hell when we came up. They’re probably still looking for him. It’s not like he had anywhere to go and I’m sure they’ll get the dogs if they can’t find him.”
“I hope they do. He shouldn’t be left to roam around.” She sighed and hugged him. She felt a sudden lump rising in her throat and before she knew it she was crying again.
“It’s okay now love, everything is okay.”
“I was so scared for the kids, for you. It was really hard to hold it together. Basil’s poor face.”
“He took a beating for Bettina. By what she said, he wouldn’t let her come out from under the house.”
“He really loves our little angel.”
Max smiled. “He is the only boy I won’t chase away from Bettina if he decides to date her in the future. I’ll make sure Aldo helps me put the fear of god into anyone else.”
“You will not, not unless they’re bad news. Piercings and tattoos do not count as bad news.” She reprimanded softly.
“We’ll just do it when you’re at the gallery.”
“Then I will take you all with me.”
Max laughed “I love you so much honey”
“I love you too, we need to get the kids home and clean. Especially little Bettina. She can’t be comfortable with all that mud on her” They walked out and the chief insisted on taking them home. Thaddeus galnced at them then darted his eyes away. Penelope got down to talk to her children “Aldo, I know that man snatched you at the park but I promise he wont hurt you again. He’s very nice and was being forced to by a really bad man. Is it ok if he comes home with us or are you afraid of him?” Aldo seemed to think then looked at his sister “If mommy says he’s ok I’m ok. Will he scare you Bettina?”
“as long as we can sleep with you and dad” Bettina said looking at her mother “Of course you two can” Penelope lifted Bettina whiel Max lifted Aldo then motioned for Thaddeus to come. They got into the car and drove home. Thaddeus didn’t feel he deserved to be coming with them but was grateful he was invited since he couldn’t go home now. He wondered how quickly Leonard and Chloe would die in jail. Chad may try to stop Chloe from being killed but he knew Leonard wasn’t going to live a week in prison.
Max pointed Thaddeus to their guest room then walked with his wife to the bathroom to wash their children. When they were dried and in pajamas they all went into the bedroom. The children slept in the middle while Penelope and Max were at either side. The four slept as close as they could. Penelop, Aldo and Bettina fell asleep almost instantly but Max was left awake. He could have lost his family, his happiness today. He didn’t but it weighed on him all the same. His wife and children were what made his world go round. It was now four in the morning so he just decided to stay awake and watch over them to make sure nothing else threatened what he held most precious in the world.
When Penelope woke she smiled at Max who looked exhausted. She reached over and rubbed his cheek. He slipped his hand over hers and held it there, enjoying the peace her touch brought. “Let’s go downstairs.” Max whispered and Penelope nodded. The kids still needed sleep. They left the room, closing the door quietly and were immediately met by music and the smell of something delicious. They went downstairs and Thaddeus was in the kitchen listening to her Zedd CD cooking breakfast.
“Having fun?” Penelope asked andThaddeus jumped, spinning around and pressing his hand to his chest as if his heart might escape if he didn’t.
“Holy shit.” He snapped his mouth shut and looked behind them to make sure they didn’t have Aldo and Bettina with them. When he didn’t see them he said, “You scared the shit out of me. I was just making everyone breakfast. I hope that’s okay.”
“Of course it is. How did you sleep?”
“Alroght I guess. I woke to a very big dog sitting at the bedroom door. I didn’t know if he would eat me or not, but he just wagged his tail so I trusted he was nice.”
“That’s Chester, he’s an Irish Wolfhound and he is very sweet. I’m surprised Molly wasn’t with him.” Max replied.
“If you mean the cat then she kept getting on the counter. Everytime I put her on the floor she just got back up and gave me a look like she didn’t care how displeased I was, all she wanted was bacon. I didn’t give her any and she finally left. I think she’s been watching me from under the couch.”
“She’s trying to menace you into giving her some bacon. She knows she’s not supposed to have any, but you’re new so she figured she could get something out of you. Molly cut it out.” Penelope went and opened the back door. Chester who had been laying on the couch came running and went out. Molly followed slowly, giving them a look of displeasure. “Out Molly.”
“It wont be much longer until all the food is done.”
“This was very thoughtful Thaddeus. I talked to my husband and we’re going to pay for you to move ourselves with the commission we’re about to receive.” Thaddeus stood there wanting to say somthing but he couldn’t find words. Penelope could see that so she just hugged him “you’re welcome but you can’t let anybody know where you are. We need to be the only people that know so if you facebook or anything you need to stop”
“I don’t use Facebook, Myspace or anything like that so I’ll be fine. My lips are sealed. I’m good at hard labor too so I’m sure I’ll find a job quickly once I arrive”
“Write us and tell us how you’re doing as frequently as you can.”
“Of course, thank you both. Were your children ok last night?”
“They slept very well. Our twins are very strong as long as they have eachother.”
“I’m just glad they didn’t hurt your little girl. I hate Basil got hurt.”
“He’ll be ok. It wasn’t your fault so don’t worry about it”
“easier said than done, I’ve been apart of a lot of fucked up things just doing ym fathers bidding…I was so spineless”
“You were a child and are barely an adult now Thaddeus. You had a horrible father who threatened to kill you if you didn’t do what he said. You weren’t spinelss.”
“You’re an amazing woman Penelope. You are very lucky Max”
“Believe me, I know” Max said pulling Penelops close to him. When breakfast was ready Penelope and Max went upstairs to wake the children so they could eat somthing. Max set them up in their bid kid seats and they all ate. The children ate in silence which wasn’t normal for them but she could definitely understand them not being back to normal just yet, especially with Thaddeus there. Thaddeus cooked all the meals for them up until they were sending him on his way to Germany. The kids had grown to like him since he played with them during his time there. They all took turns giving Thaddeus warm hugs that he hadn’t experienced since his mothers passing. Tears threatened to come out but he didn’t allow it.
Thaddeus turned to board the plane while Max and his family went to the window to watch his airplane fly by. “will we see him again mommy?” Bettina asked her mother. “We can go visit him after awhile. We’ll see princess” Penelope wanted to wait for a visit atleast a year to make sure Thaddeus’s father wasn’t watching them to figure out where his son had gone. She prayed he would honestly get the second chance at life he deserved.
~ The End ~