“That’s the message we need to send,” Daniel presses. “What are they going to do? We don’t leave evidence. They’ll know, but they can’t do anything about it.”
“Just like they can’t do anything about Tyler,” I say and my statement is the nail in the coffin for me. Romano murdered our brother and left him on the street to die. “This is justice.”
He’ll do the same.
“No one knew about Tyler; how could they have done anything?” That’s the problem, isn’t it? With so many lies and secrets, no one could do anything for Tyler. It was just a tragedy.
Just like Jenny. I think about how many times Bethany went to the cops and filed a missing persons report for her sister. How they told her they were sorry, and they didn’t know what happened when the trunk was found.
“We need to do this, Carter,” I say and look him dead in the eyes, feeling a numbing prick flow over my skin. “No accident, no dynamite. We give him the death he earned.”
Time ticks slowly, with Seth shifting behind me and Declan staring at Daniel, who’s waiting for Carter’s final decision. Tick, tick, tick. It’s too slow.
“Take the cash, leave the safe empty and open. Wipe for prints.” Carter gives the order and I walk from the open window to Daniel, feeling the cold gust of wind at my back carrying Romano’s muffled screams.
“You all right?” I ask him lowly so it’s just between the two of us, and he nods although he can’t look me in the eyes, he can’t look away from Romano.
“Who gets to do it?” he asks me although his voice is coarse and he has to clear it. “Who gets to do the honors?”
“You can if you want.” I give it to him. I’ll suffer the rest of my life, hating that Tyler died in my place. Whether Romano breathes again, whether I kill him, none of it will change that. But at least now everyone will know. And that’s something.
“It was supposed to be you,” he reminds me, as if there’s any way I could forget.
“I know, but doing this isn’t going to bring Tyler back.” Daniel’s expression wavers, the hardness falls for a moment and he nods again. I watch as the cords in his neck tense.
“If we’re doing this, it has to be done clean,” Declan speaks up. I’m not sure if he disagrees and thinks we should go the safe route, or if he’s simply covering our bases.
“We’re always clean,” Seth answers him.
“Let the feds see,” I tell Declan. “Let everyone know.” I pat Daniel on the back and then look Carter in the eyes as I say, “No one takes from us and gets away with it.”
“It’s settled then,” Carter agrees. “And the men that came back with him? What about them?”
“Make it clean,” Declan repeats to Carter, the undertone of his voice harsh. Romano’s cries can still be heard and I kick the chair just slightly, sending him rolling backward again.
“There’s no deal to offer any of Romano’s men, no loose ends,” Seth says and nods.
I wait until Seth lifts his eyes to mine. “Go through every part of this town. Every asshole who ever got a paycheck from him. Find them in their homes, at the bar. I don’t care if they’re balls deep in the back room of a strip joint. Find them, kill them.”
“They die tonight,” Carter talks as he walks to where I was, no doubt judging what it’ll take to make sure Romano’s impaled. It won’t take much at all. It’s just outside the window. “There aren’t many left. We already have locations on most of them.”
“They’ll scatter like roaches if we wait until tomorrow and the FBI doesn’t know yet, but the moment they find Romano, they’ll be everywhere. So we end it tonight,” Daniel agrees, walking to Romano and turning the chair. He has to crouch down to be at his eye level. “Wipe them all out.”
“Start with him,” I speak to Daniel, and he looks over his shoulder at me. His lips are pressed in a straight line, with a grim look covering his face.
“End it,” I tell him. Carter steps to the side, and we all wait.
Pushing the gagged, screaming man with a bright red face to the window, Daniel looks out onto the road – a backroad that will be empty until the morning.
The gag comes off first, bringing a stream of Italian profanity from the dried throat of this dead fuck. Romano pulls on the ropes, fighting as best he can against them. It’s foolish really, he should wait until we untie him for his best chance, but he doesn’t, knowing his end is coming.
Seth’s the one to cut the rope at his feet; one quick swipe and the nylon threads are released. Romano attempts to run, still bound to the back of the heavy leather chair and he falls hard on his side, seething in pain. The crack of his skull hitting the floor ricochets in the room.