COME AS YOU ARE - PART 16
Sykes jumped out of his chair, “Freddie you punk!”
Rae stood up and got between Sykes and Freddie, “John, don’t. Despite Freddie’s manners…we’re friends.”
Freddie smiled at Sykes.
Sykes looked aghast.
The phone rang.
Rae rushed to answer it, “Herb?!”
Freddie’s mouth dropped, “Sophia’s father!”
A few days later,
Freddie Pelligrino sat down on the docks, his feet hanging over the edge and he looked out onto the water. He pulled a piece of ripped paper out of his pocket and looked at it. One of his old friends who had just gotten out of Statesville, wanted to look him up and well, honestly, Freddie wasn’t looking forward to it. Now that his sister Sophia had a rich mother, who seemed to like him, he had managed to stay out of trouble for a bit and he liked it. Well, he was going to court for assaulting the police commissioner but Rae had hired him a high priced fancy lawyer and he was confident he would get off. He looked around suddenly, as a strong feeling that someone was watching him overcame him, but he saw no one. He went back to his business.
John Sykes was surprised to see Freddie Pelligrino on the docks and stuck to the shadows just watching, wondering what Freddie was up to next. He had just been relieved from his stakeout position by Det. Lisa West and was on his way to meet his friend, Rae Cummings. John saw Freddie meet with someone. A man who looked familiar. Someone he had sent to Statesville about a year ago, Eddie Carrera. They seemed involved in a heated discussion but he couldn’t make out the words. All Sykes knew was that Carrera was bad news. He watched Carrera and Freddie leave separately but he did manage to overhear that they were planning to meet later on in the day at Carlotta’s diner. Something was brewing thought John, something that wasn’t good.
Rae nervously paced in front of the counter. Carlotta had offered her some flan but Rae couldn’t eat it. Her stomach was in knots. She hoped John would get there soon. Maybe he could help with Sophia. The door to the diner opened and Rae turned around. A million emotions flooded Rae’s body and a look of apprehension turned into a great big smile.
“Herb Callison!” exclaimed Rae.
“Gretal Cummings!!” exclaimed Herb overwhelmed himself. He walked over to her and gave her a warm hug. She pulled away to look at him. He looked older but still sophisticated, with a long man’s overcoat draped off his shoulders.
“I go by Rae now,” said Rae a bit awkwardly.
“Well, I’m glad you called. I haven’t been in Llanview in years. I’m looking forward to visiting some of my old haunts…” said Herb standing in front of her grinning, “But I can’t stay long…”
“Oh,” said Rae.
“Hey Lady! I just came from…” said John Sykes loudly as he roughly sauntered into Carlotta’s diner. He was startled to see Rae with another attractive man.
“Hi John,” grinned Rae, “I’m happy to see you.”
“Yeah…” he jealously said.
Herb looked at Sykes with an amused grin on his face.
“Det. John Sykes, this is my friend, Herb Callison,” said Rae politely making introductions.
Herb extended his hand, “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Yeah. Same here,” said Sykes studying his competition, sizing him up.
Just then Freddie walked in and looked at Rae. They exchanged a look and Freddie decided not to interrupt. He walked over to a corner booth and sat down, sulking in it.
“Do you know that young man?” asked Herb intrigued by Freddie and Rae’s look.
“I do,” said Rae almost proudly.
John crossed his arms, “Freddie Pelligrino is a punk.”
“Freddie Pelligrino is a troubled young man…” Rae paused and looked into Herb’s eyes, “And my daughter’s brother.”
Herb looked genuinely shocked, “Your daughter?! I didn’t know you had a daughter.”
“Herb, there’s something…” started Rae but she was interrupted by Sophia waltzing into the diner with a big grin on her face.
“Rae! John! Guess what!” she exclaimed.
Rae, John, and Herb turned to face her. She was wearing her trademark leather pants and leather jacket. Her hair was brushed back and she had a lollypop in her mouth. Herb was mildly amused by the young girl and she seemed…familiar in a sense. She reminded him of…Dorian.
“What?” asked Rae nervously running her hands through her hair.
“I take the written test for the police department tomorrow!!” she gushed.
“Sophia, that’s great. I’m proud of you. I’m really glad you made that decision,” said Sykes relaxing a bit.
“I am too,” said Rae. She reached out to hug Sophia. Sophia awkwardly smiled at Rae.
“So, this young ambitious woman is your daughter?” questioned Herb.
Sophia looked at Herb with a curious expression on her face. Before Rae could reply, Freddie walked up.
“What’s wrong with you Sophie? Why do you wanna’ be a cop?! Huh?! You know I don’t like cops…” fussed Freddie crossing his arms.
Sophia gave him a look of disapproval, “Right Freddie. I’m not gonna’ be a cop because you don’t want me too. You’re like Dad.”
Freddie’s eyes grew wide, “I am nothing like our father and you know it!”
“Then don’t act like him Freddie by disapproving of something I want just because,” spat Sophia. They glared at each other.
Sykes protectively stepped up to Sophia but Herb spoke up.
“It’s nothing Det. Can’t you see it’s a brother-sister disagreement?” Herb said.
Both Freddie and Sophia looked at Herb.
“Herb’s right,” said Rae.
“And who is Herb?!” said Sophia and Freddie in unison.
Just then the diner door flung open and the man Freddie had been talking to earlier, Eddie Carrera walked in and he was upset.
“Yo Freddie! What’s this? Dimming me out to the cops all ready? This pig was the one that arrested me!” shouted Eddie getting in Freddie’s face.
“I didn’t say shit to the cops!!” yelled Freddie.
“He’s a cop!!” said Eddie pointing to Sykes.
Sykes frowned, “Look Carrera, you do something I should know about?”
Sykes words set Carrera off, “You bastard Freddie!” Carrera reached into his pocket and began to pull a metal object out.
Sophia’s eyes grew wide as she recognized a gun.
“Freddie!” yelled Sophia.
Carrera stuck the gun out at Freddie. Before Sykes could react Sophia stepped in-between them. Carrera fired one bullet at point blank range before Sykes tackled him and Sophia took the bullet meant for Freddie. She collapsed onto the floor and Freddie was immediately at her side, clutching her hand, “Sophie!! Oh my God!! Sophie!! Don’t die!! Don’t die for me!!” he cried.
Rae and Herb joined him. Herb grabbed some nearby towels and began applying direct pressure to Sophia’s bleeding wound.
TO BE CONTINUED...