The el ride back to the North End was bad. Luther had never seen Danny in so dark a mood. It covered him like a cloak. He sat beside Luther and offered hard eyes to the other passengers who gave him a funny look. Nora sat beside him and rubbed his hand nervous ly, as if to calm him, but it was really to calm herself, Luther knew.
Luther had known Danny long enough to know you'd have to be insane to take the guy on in a fair fight. He was too big, too fearless, too impervious to pain. So he'd never be dumb enough to question Danny's strength, but he'd never been close enough before to feel this capacity for violence that lived in the man like a second, deeper soul.
The other men on the car stopped giving them funny looks. Stopped giving them any looks at all. Danny just sat there, staring out at the rest of the car, never seeming to blink, those eyes of his gone dark, just waiting for an excuse to let the rest of him erupt.
They got off in the North End and walked up Hanover toward Salem Street. Night had come on while they rode the el, but the streets were near empty due to the State Guard presence. About halfway along Hanover, as they were passing the Prado, someone called Danny's name. It was a hoarse, weak voice. They turned and Nora let out a small yelp as a man stepped out of the shadows of the Prado with a hole in his coat that expelled smoke.
"Jesus, Steve," Danny said and caught the man as he fell into his arms. "Nora, honey, can you find a guardsman, tell him a cop's been shot?"
"I'm not a cop," Steve said.
"You're a cop, you're a cop."
He lowered Steve to the ground as Nora went running up the street.
Steve opened his eyes as the smoke continued to flow from the hole in his chest. "All this time asking around? And I just ran into her. Turned into the alley between Stillman and Cooper? Just looked up and there she was. Tessa. Pop."
His eyelids fluttered. Danny pulled up his shirt and tore off a length of it, wadded it up and pressed it to the hole.
Steve opened his eyes. "She's gotta be . . . moving now, Dan. Right now."
A guardsman's whistle blew and Danny saw Nora running back down the street toward them. He turned to Luther. "Put your hand on this. Press hard."
Luther followed his instructions, pressed the heel of his palm against the wadded-up shirt, watched it redden.
"Wait! Where you going?"
"Get the person who did this. You tell the guardsmen it was a woman named Tessa Ficara. You got that name?"
"Yeah, yeah. Tessa Ficara."
Danny ran through the Prado.
He caught her coming down the fire escape. He was in the rear doorway of a haberdashery on the other side of the alley and she came out of a window on the third floor onto the fire escape and walked down to the landing below. She lifted the ladder until its hooks disengaged from the housing and then latched onto the iron again as she lowered it to the pavement. When she turned her body to begin the climb down, he drew his revolver and crossed the alley. When she reached the last rung and stepped to the pavement, he placed the gun to the side of her neck.
"Keep your hands on the ladder and do not turn around."
"Officer Danny," she said. She started to turn and he slapped the side of her face with his free hand.
"What did I say? Hands on the ladder and don't turn around." "As you wish."
He ran his hands through the pockets of her coat and then the folds of her clothing.
"You like that?" she said. "You like feeling me?"
"You want to get hit again?" he said.
"If you must hit," she said, "hit harder."
His hand bumped a hard bulge by her groin and he felt her body stiffen.
"I'll assume you didn't grow a dick, Tessa."
He reached down her leg, then ran his hands up under her dress and chemise. He pulled the Derringer from the waistband of her underwear and pocketed it.
"Satisfied?" she said.
"Not by a fair sight."
"What about your dick, Danny?" she said, the word coming out "deke," as if she were trying it out for the first time. Although, from experience, he knew she wasn't.
"Raise your right leg," he said.
She complied. "Is it hard?"
She wore a gunmetal-lace boot with a Cuban heel and black velveteen top. He ran his hand up and around it.
"Now the other one."
She lowered her right leg. As she raised the left, she bumped her ass back against him. "Oh, it is. Very hard."
He found the knife in her left boot. It was small and thin but, he had little doubt, very sharp. He pulled it out with the crude scabbard attached and pocketed it beside the gun.
"Would you like me to lower my leg or do you want to fuck me where I stand?"
He could see his breath in the cold. "Fucking you ain't in my plans tonight, bitch."
He ran his hand up her body again and heard her take slow even breaths. Her hat was a broad-brimmed crepe sailor with a red ribbon across the brim tied off into a bow at the front. He removed it and stepped back from her and ran his hand over the trim. He found two razor blades tucked beneath the silk and he tossed them to the alley along with the hat.
"You dirtied my hat," she said. "Poor, poor hat."
He placed a hand on her back and removed all the pins from her hair until it spilled down her neck and back and then he threw the pins away and stepped back again.
She turned and leaned back against the ladder and crossed her hands at the waist. She smiled and it made him want to slap her again. "You think you will arrest me now?"
He produced a pair of handcuffs from his pocket and dangled them from his fi nger.
She nodded and the smile remained. "You are no longer a police officer, Danny. I know these things."
"Citizen's arrest," he said.
"If you arrest me, I'll hang myself."
It was his turn to shrug. "Okay."
"And the baby in my belly will die as well."
He said, "Knocked up again, are we?"
She stared at him, her eyes wide and dark as always. She ran a hand over her belly. "A life lives in me."
"Uh-uh," Danny said. "Try another one, honey."
"I don't have to. Bring me to jail and the jail doctor will confi rm that I am pregnant. I promise you, I will hang myself. And a child will die in my womb."
He locked the cuffs over her wrists and then yanked on them so that her body slammed into his and their faces almost touched.