I leave Ava Lord later that night, following the unexpected telephone call from Cardinal Roark. She was rather vocal about not leaving her alone, saying she was scared for her life when I wasn't around to protect her from 'that maniac' she'd gotten involved with. Took me about forty-five minutes to even get dressed 'cause she kept stealing my clothes and refused to give 'em back. I finally had to put my foot down and threaten to throw her out on the curb like an unwanted mutt. She slams the door as I leave.
From there I go directly to the police station and wrap up a case of two dead guys found in the alleyway a few blocks up the road from Kadie's. Just a matter of putting the finishing touches on the report, gathering the files together and getting them in the mail to the DA's office and I just gotta wait for the court date. Done and done. After that, I go to the secretary and request a three hour block of time for me to be off-duty tomorrow night. The reason? "Oh, wife's parents are in town -- going to show 'em a nice time," I lie with finesse and a wink. Secretary (name's Fiona) smiles at me demurely and puts down that I need the whole day off. Nice girl. I'll have to thank her sometime.
Whatever Roark has to talk to me about certainly has me curious.
The rest of my night's spent in and out of saloons, talkin' to dames and running into pals from the precinct. Finally come across a bachelor party swingin' on the fringes of Old Town for one of the guys in sex crimes and I end up passing out on the floor tangled up with a couple Asian women brought in for entertainment purposes.
Next day I don't get up until something like 4:00 in the afternoon and everyone's cleaning up from the mess we left in the hotel party suite. I give the groom my warmest regards and stumble outside, climb into my car and try to figure out what to do in the interim I have remaining before my 6 o'clock appointment with the Cardinal.
So I go home (probably not the wisest choice) and there's the wife, sittin' on the front porch with a glass of scotch and a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. She never smokes, and rarely drinks, only socially.
"Don't you fuckin' 'hey baby' me," she shot back, then threw down the remainder of her drink. She coughs, and I feel sorry for her. This could get ugly.
I sigh and drop my keys into my pocket. "Dinner ready?"
"Get your own fucking dinner."
"You're supposed to have dinner ready when I get home," I retort through my teeth.
"YOU NEVER ARE HOME, JACK!"
In a flash I'm in front of her, shaking her by the shoulders and gettin' up in her face. "Do NOT raise your goddamned voice at me, Jennifer, I swear to God..."
"What?" she snaps, challenging me. "What're ya gonna do? Hit me? Bring home your dime-a-dozen hooker girlfriends and introduce 'em to the family?"
"You're really pushin' it..."
"No, Jack, you're pushing it! In fact you've pushed too far now!" A disgusting sob interrupts her stream of drivel. "I want a divorce," she finishes quietly, neutrally.
"Not gettin' it," I say evenly. "You need me too much."
"Like hell I--!"
"Jennifer, shut up and listen. You and me get divorced, you got shit. Where would you go? To that fuckin' whelp next door? He's still living with his parents, Jenn. I own everything. You would have nothing. Do you understand me?"
Her look says she does but her voicebox doesn't want to admit that I'm right. I loosen my grip on her shoulders and straighten to my full height. My fingers pick up one of her wavy black locks and I run my thumb through the strands. A tear rolls down her cheek. "I'm gonna order pizza."
I open the front door just as Angela is stomping downstairs, dressed head to toe in black. She stops on the second to last step and gives me a glare. "Are you and mom getting a divorce?" she asks.
Unfazed, I reply "No, we're getting pizza. Where's your sister?"
"Down for a nap. So who was she?"
"Who?" I shrug my jacket off and hang it on the hook by the door.
"The woman you brought home," Angie throws back, enjoying her interrogation way too much.
"Angie, get me the delivery guy's number, willya?" I say as I thumb through my wallet for some cash to pay the man with. I'm purposely ignoring her question, she's got no right to inquire about what I do.
She thumps down the last couple steps and breezes past me, sighing melodramatically and muttering something that I don't quite catch. "Hey, and we're gonna go out driving this weekend, you gotta get your hours logged," I call after her.
We don't eat at the table tonight, and around quarter of 6:00 I slip outside and under cover of the falling dusk drive off in the direction of his compound.
It's not far from my house in Sacred Oaks so I'm there a few minutes before the set time. The place is guarded like Fort fuckin' Knox and I have to undergo a bodily search and declare any weapons. What a joy that is. I tell them who I am and that the man himself asked for me to meet him here, and so after a couple phone calls I've infiltrated the security barrier.
My boots crunch on the gravel roundabount as I make my way over to the only entrance in sight, and two guards armed with AK-47s halt me and I have to go through my schpiel again.
One mumbles something into a walkie-talkie and then they motion for me to follow them, and we begin our ascent up a spiral staircase which I can only assume leads to the Cardinal's private apartment.