I figured she would know so at least that was a relief.
She had her dog in one hand, the Polaroid of me and Hawk in the other one and she was studying it.
“Ginger, we need a plan,” I told her. “And I think the best plan we have is taking you straight to the police station. You can say you got a craving for Mustard’s and I’ll say I was just in the neighborhood having my annual nervous breakdown.”
Her eyes slid to me and, again with her mouth full, she asked, “Are you high?”
Okay, clearly that wasn’t a choice.
“How about I rent you a car, get you some money, we go to my house and get you some clothes and then you drive to Canada,” I suggested.
“Gwen, your clothes…” she trailed off and shook her head.
“Okay, then we’ll go to the nearest biker babe and stripper shops and we’ll stock you up.”
She glared at me then she stated, “It’s cold in Canada.”
“It’s cold here,” I reminded her.
“Yes, for a few months, it’s cold there all the time.”
“It is not.”
“It is too.”
“I’m not going to Canada,” she snapped, took another bite and shoved the photo in my purse.
“Don’t hurt my Polaroid!” I cried, my hand darting out to it to make sure she didn’t bend or scratch it. I pulled it out and inspected it, taking in a huge breath through my nostrils when I saw it was fine and then taking in another one when I saw the picture of Hawk laughing.
“Gwennie,” Ginger whispered and I carefully slid the picture safe into my purse and looked at her.
“How about we go to Dad? Dad’ll have an idea.”
“I can’t go to Mom and Dad. I shouldn’t be here with you and they’ve got your old man. This shit needs contained. It isn’t spreading any further.”
Wow. It seemed like Ginger had spent her time in protective custody reflecting.
“We’re going to Tack,” she announced and I stared at her.
“Ginger, honey, I hate to remind you of this but you owe the Chaos MC over two million dollars.”
“Yeah, well, my partners on that job were Fresh and Skeet and they got their stupid jackasses caught kidnapping you before they were able to move that shit. It was hot. Tack and his boys were all over it. We couldn’t move it until it got cold, not custom built cars and a bike, no way and none of his shit either. That stuff surfaced, it would lead back to them, no one knew they were in on it and they’d be f**ked. Fresh and Skeet share a brain cell so neither of them could open a safe even though they told me they could. I don’t know how to do that shit so all of it is sittin’ in one of Skeet’s sister’s storage units on Evans.”
This was good news.
“This is good news,” I told her.
She shoved in the last bite of dog and then crumpled the messy wrapper and napkin, speaking again with mouth full. “I give you the location, you call it in to Tack, he sends boys out, they find that shit, I’m cool with Tack. Then we meet with him and you text Roarke. You tell them Tack is makin’ the switch.” I sucked in breath as she swallowed but before I could say anything, she kept talking. “If he can take my back after the switch is made, good. If he can’t…” she trailed off and shrugged.
I stared at her.
Then I asked, “Are you nuts?”
“No, Gwen, I’m not nuts. You aren’t gettin’ anywhere near Roarke.”
“Neither are you!” I fired back and her body jerked toward me.
“Call Tack, set up the deal,” she ordered.
“No, Ginger, I like the Canada plan,” I returned. “If you won’t do the police station plan, we should explore the Canada plan.”
“Bitch, they got your old man,” she reminded me and my throat started burning again as tears stung my eyes.
“I know,” I whispered, “and they’re not going to get you.”
“They got your old man,” she repeated.
“Stop it, Ginger, I know, okay? And they are not going to get you.”
She slipped her hand in my purse and then the Polaroid was in my face. “Gwen, for f**k’s sake, they’ve got –”
I snatched the picture from her and screamed, “I know!”
Then I closed my eyes tight and looked away.
Ginger was silent as I struggled with tears.
Then I heard her whisper, “Gwennie, call Tack.”
“No,” I whispered back.
Then she did something she hadn’t done in years. So long, I forgot she used to do it but she did it all the time when we were young. She just added a new, sweet, sister nuance.
I felt her hand curl around my neck and then I felt her forehead against the side of my hair as she sang a silly, nonsensical song she made up when she was three, “Gwennie, Gwennie, hennie, fennie, Gwennie, Gwennie, lennie, bennie, love my sissy… Gwennie.”
A sob tore up my throat.
I felt the Polaroid move gently in my hand before Ginger whispered, “You aren’t losin’ that because of me.”
My neck twisted and our eyes, an inch apart, locked.
“I love you, baby,” I whispered.
“I know you do,” she whispered back. “Call Tack.”
I sucked in breath. Then I asked, “You have to do this, don’t you?”
“I’m not supposed to look out the windows, Gwen, they’ve been watchin’ me like…” she closed her eyes then opened them but didn’t finish what she was going to say, “The shift was about to change, they got a guy, he gets sloppy around shift change so I looked. I been lookin’ awhile to find my shot and I couldn’t believe I saw you. So I took it. And I took it because they can’t…” she shook her head. “They’ll get me, Gwen. Eventually, they’ll get me. They can’t keep me safe because, obviously, they can’t keep you safe. I started this and it’s gotta be me who ends it.”
I stared at her. She was right.
“I’ll call –” I started but both Ginger and my doors were yanked open.
We separated and my head shot around to see a very good-looking Native American man lean in front of me and nab the keys out of the ignition. He had long hair pulled back into a ponytail and I knew exactly who he was. Vance Crowe, one of Lee Nightingale’s men.