AVIA IV: Depravity and Detainment
The cousins are at odds when Brian leaves Texas with Avia and drives her home to Sarasota where a medical team is ready to help her kick her heroin habit for good. While he's there, he plans to convince Avia that he's a better choice than Benton.
Panicked that he's going to lose Avia, Benton tries to convince the rest of his family to check him out of the hospital and drive him to Sarasota so that he can woo Avia back. Unfortunately, he's been brought up on charges in Texas and may not get bail so that he can leave the hospital and illegally travel to Florida.
To complicate matters, Locke is now in Sarasota working with the FBI in order to take the Company down for good. All they have to do is convict them of murdering a boat captain.
The Sanchez? They're still in hot water, and it's just getting hotter. In order to avoid being killed by John, they've fled to a compound deep in the swampy woods, but in order to stay, they have to agree to work for the man who owns it.
Avia and Brian
Sunday in Sarasota
Brian snuck out of bed at five in the morning and quickly dressed in sweatpants and a t-shirt. Not that he thought anyone would mind if he walked downstairs in his boxers. He was more comfortable dressed, even if it was just a version of his gym clothes.
He still felt hungover from the previous night, but he needed to get some work done before Avia woke up. After tucking her in and making sure she was warm enough without him, he walked down to the office he used when he was at her house. It always amazed him how much Avia’s house felt like his. Brian didn’t own a separate house apart from his room at the McAllen ranch. Occasionally, he went out to an empty cabin he had claimed years ago when he needed to escape L. He was glad Avia didn’t hold his lack of a house against him.
At 36 years old, he should have owned a house, but every time he thought about it, he couldn’t decide where he wanted it. For work purposes, he needed one in Texas, specifically between McAllen and LaPryor. For his personal happiness, he wanted a house close to Avia’s. Either way he sliced it, he was still undecided.
Brian booted his laptop and started looking through his emails. By the time he got to the fifth one, Charles brought in a large mug of coffee.
“Black coffee,” Charles said.
“Thanks.” Brian picked up the mug and took a drink. “Didn’t think you’d be up this early.”
“We’re awake when you’re awake,” Charles said.
“I’m the only one up. Avia is still asleep. I’m just trying to get a jump on today. Feel free to go back to bed.”
“The pot of coffee is in the kitchen,” Charles said.
“Appreciate it.” Brian turned his attention back to his emails. Not five minutes later, there was a knock on the door. “Come in.”
“Cops at the gate. They want our security footage for the cameras facing Avia’s pier,” Charles said.
“Do they have any legal documentation for it?” Brian asked.
“They do not,” Charles said.
“No,” Brian said. “We can’t turn that over.”
“What should I tell them?” Charles asked.
Brian took another drink of his coffee. “Tell them we cannot turn that footage over at this time. Once you do that, ask the security team to make sure I’m not on the footage for the overnight hours. Not me. Not my car.”
“It will be done,” Charles said.
Brian spent another hour working before he shut his laptop down and walked upstairs to the master bedroom. He was thankful Avia was still asleep. Brian took off his sweatpants and t-shirt and slid into the bed next to her. When she rolled onto him, he wrapped his arms around her.
Brian drifted into a light sleep. When Avia moved, Brian could have sworn he’d been in bed less than 30 minutes. He kept his eyes closed. He wanted to see if she was just changing positions or awake.
Avia inhaled and opened her eyes to view Brian's chest. She could feel his arms around her. She stretched and leaned over the bed to open the nightstand.
Brian tightened his grip around her. "What are you after?”
Avia turned her head. “My case. Were you awake?”
"Not really," Brian said. “And you don’t need your case.”
“Like hell, I don’t.” She reached into the drawer. When she felt nothing, she leaned further over the bed to view the inside. All she saw was the bottom. It was empty. “Shit. It’s not here.” She was not in the mood to tear apart the bedroom, trying to figure out where she left it.
Brian pulled her back onto the bed. “Avia, you’re still asleep. It’s not supposed to be there.”
“Where the hell is it?” Avia asked.
Brian could feel the tenseness in her muscles, and her expression was one he knew well. She wanted her heroin and couldn't find it. Unfortunately, he didn't have good news for her. “In a landfill somewhere. They went through the entire house and removed everything before the cops raided it last month.”
"Fuck!" She started to get up but felt Brian holding her in place. "We have to go. I have to..."
"Avy, stop." Brian kept a firm grip on her. "You're fine. We don't have to go anywhere." When she frowned, he continued. “You are on medication.” He turned his head to view the clock. “You get your next dose in about an hour.”
She groaned. “Seriously?”
Brian wrapped his arms around her. “You’re still asleep. Just relax for a minute. Does your head hurt?”
She shook her head.
“Does your stomach hurt?” Brian asked.
“I don’t think so,” Avia said.
“Your next dose of medication is in an hour,” Brian said as he silently hoped she’d wake up enough to understand what he was telling her.
Avia frowned and blinked. “Oh shit.” She sat up, straddling him. “I forgot.”
“It’s all right,” Brian said, relieved that he didn’t have to explain this to her six more times and thankful that he’d been here with her. “All it means is that it was part of your morning routine, but humor me and tell me what you were thinking.”
“I was thinking I needed to hurry up and get out to the pier. My plane is scheduled to arrive, and the sooner I got a hit, the sooner I could take a shower."
“It’s not going to be here for hours, but we do need to get your medicine and take a shower,” Brian said as he sat with his back against the headboard and pulled her against his body.
Avia inhaled and settled against him. "Too bad we don't have that shipment."
“I wish we had it too. That would have been some easy money.”
"What are we going to do about that?" Avia asked.
"I was thinking about taking it directly from the cops," Brian said. “They owe us four million.”
"That is too risky,” Avia said.
"I'll call our contact in the SPD. Get some information, and we’ll make a plan."
"They are not going to have four million dollars, not even between them," Avia said. "I don't think the risk is going to be worth the reward."
Brian pulled the blanket around her shoulders. "What do you want to do?"
"You're asking me?" Avia asked as she relaxed with her head on his shoulder. "You feel good."
Brian chuckled. "Are you starting to calm down?"
"I want your opinion because you seem extremely uncomfortable with the idea," Brian said. "Tell me your thoughts." He kissed the side of her face. He needed to call for her medicine. She was starting to tense, which was a sure sign that she was going into withdrawal.
"I want the stuff they stole from me," Avia said.
"What was that? Drugs? Guns?" Brian asked.
"Drugs, guns, equipment," Avia said.
Brian contemplated. "Are you sure they took it all out of your warehouse before they burned it?"
"None of it was there when I went into the site after the fire was out. Not even the damned ash," Avia said.
"I have to think about that. That's not going to be in the evidence locker downtown. I have to find whatever second or third storage facilities they have."
"Can you do it?" Avia asked.
"Maybe. I’m going to have to think about this and get a serious amount of information."
Avia kissed him.
Brian slid his hands through her hair. "Of course, if we can pull it off, it won't just be your stuff in that warehouse, and cleaning out the entire thing, means the hammer will come down on this entire precinct.”
Avia grinned. "That'll teach them."
“And I’ll fence it through the Vitalis,” Brian said. “Not that I’m happy with them right now.”
“Why can’t we sell it?” Avia asked. “The profit would be much higher.”
“We’ll keep some of it, but the vast majority of it can’t be in our hands.” He slid a hand down her back. “You’re really tense. Do you need your medicine?"
"Is it an injection day?"
"I think it's a pill day. Can you wait, or do you need it now?” He doubted she could wait, but he wanted to give her the choice.
“Now,” Avia said.
Brian picked up the phone and called the medical wing. "I need Avia's medicine up here." He put the phone back on the receiver. "They'll be up here in two minutes.”
"I'll be glad when this is over," Avia said.
"Give it a year. Mornings like this will be a thing of the past."
"I hope it’s sooner than a year," Avia said just as there was a knock on the bedroom door. “That was fast.”
"Come in," Brian said.
"I have Avia's pill," the nurse said.
Avia turned to grab it and the glass of water. She’d felt like shit since she’d opened her eyes. Now, it was really setting in, and Avia wasn’t sure this pill was going to help. However, she swallowed it with the water.
The nurse waited. "That should take about thirty minutes before it starts working."
"She hasn't eaten," Brian said.
"Twenty minutes," the nurse said. "If you don't feel any better after breakfast, let us know."
"Thanks," Avia said.
Brian didn't move until the nurse was out of the bedroom, and the door was shut. He helped Avia off his body and out of the bed. Then, he walked into the bathroom and turned on the hot water. "You’ll feel better after this shower."
"Because the shower takes twenty minutes," Avia said.
"I was trying to be positive. I know you're having a rough morning." He waited a few minutes before testing the water. "It's ready.”
Avia stepped behind Brian and wrapped her arms around him. “I appreciate it.”
Brian turned around and kissed her. "I bet there's coffee downstairs."
"I need a gallon," Avia said.
“If you want a gallon, they’ll make it for you.” Brian grabbed a washcloth and lathered it. He slowly washed her body as if he were giving her a massage. He wanted to take his time so that her medicine kicked in by the time they were finished. Brian tossed the washcloth on the shower floor and grabbed the shampoo. He washed her hair and massaged her scalp. Once he was finished, he nudged her under the water so he could wash his body and hair.
“I may squeak once I get out of here,” Avia said.
Brian laughed. “But how do you feel?”
“Better.” Avia stepped out of the shower and dried her body. She walked over to the sink and brushed her teeth.
By the time she finished rinsing her mouth, Brian was out of the shower.
He wrapped his arms around her and kissed the side of her neck. "We'll put some Bailey's in your coffee."
Avia turned around in his arms and kissed him. "We need to get to the pier."
Brian stepped over to the sink so he could brush his teeth. "We'll do that first thing after breakfast. How are the mechanics getting back to Texas?"
"I have no idea," Avia said as she walked into the bedroom. She threw her towels on the floor and walked into her closet.
"Are they staying here?" Brian walked into the bedroom and located a pair of boxers, undershirt and socks.
"They can," Avia said. "They may want a break from L, and there's nothing for them to do when the Seneca’s not there." She slid a dark green summer dress over her head.
"You're going to become the next Company headquarters." Brian put on his underclothes then searched his closet for a pair of jeans. Charles was notorious for ironing all the jeans and hanging them up.
Avia walked out of the closet. "That doesn't bother me."
Brian slid his jeans on and fastened them. "It doesn't bother me either, but you don't have a maintenance shop or much storage. If this goes on for any length of time, we’ll need to add both.”
"I can build a maintenance shop if I buy the block next to mine on the pier," Avia said. “And I had storage until they burned down my warehouse.”
"You’re gonna make me do math, aren’t you?" Brian located a long-sleeved button shirt and put it on.
"If you want those things, I need more property,” Avia said.
“I’ll run the numbers.” Brian finished dressing and walked downstairs to the kitchen with Avia. Their coffee mugs were already filled and on the table. Brian grabbed the Baileys out of the cabinet and poured a hefty amount into his and Avia’s cups.
Avia took a long drink before sitting down at the table across from Brian.
"Are they landing your Seneca on the water?" Brian asked.
"It has a pontoon conversion. That’s why I want to be there."
"Can you land it on the ground after they do that?" he asked.
"I can. The pontoons have wheels on the bottom. The increased drag is a bitch though."
"What about the landing gear?" Brian asked as the chef placed their plates on the table.
"Locked in the up position," Avia said. She picked up her fork and started eating the hashbrowns and scrambled eggs.
“How do they do that?”
“Steel bar over the controls, and I think they pull the fuse,” Avia said.
“I’m not sure I like that.” Brian drained his coffee while he watched Avia eat. It was obvious to him that she felt better. He sat his cup on the table so it could be refilled and started eating his pile of food. Brian easily had twice as much as her, but he was two and a half times her weight. As he glanced across the table, he realized Breck was missing. “Where’s Breck?”
“Haven’t seen him this morning,” the chef said.
“When he makes an appearance, tell him we’re going to the pier,” Brian said.
Brian speared a sausage link and waved it in front of Avia. “Sausage link.” When she started to tell him she didn’t like them, he stuck it in her mouth.
Avia chewed and swallowed it. “What are you doing?”
“Seeing if you’d eat that.” He speared another link and held it in front of her.
“There’s no ketchup,” Avia said.
Brian dunked it in ketchup.
Avia ate it. “I feel better than I did earlier.”
“Just making sure.” Brian leaned over and kissed the side of her face before he dove into the remaining food on his plate.
Avia laughed. “You act like you haven’t eaten for a week.”
“I love the food here,” Brian said. “It’s a thousand times better than the shit served at L’s ranch.”
“I don’t like the food there either.” Avia picked up her toast and took a bite.
Brian finished his food and coffee then stood. He turned his gaze toward Avia. "You ready to go?"
Avia glanced at her toast.
“Bring your toast. I want to get a jump on something while we’re at the pier.”
Avia looked him up and down and realized he had adjusted himself. She grinned, grabbed her toast and stood. “I’m ready.”
"Did you want to take my car or one of yours?" Brian asked.
"I don't want to drive," Avia said.
"I'll drive," Brian said.
Avia turned to see Charles walking into the kitchen. "Can you get the Mercedes out of the garage?"
"Of course." Charles grabbed the keys off the hook and walked outside.
Brian waited while Charles drove the dark red Mercedes out of the garage.
Avia slid in on the passenger's side and closed the door. By the time she finished her toast, Brian had the engine started.
He drove out of the estate. Instead of turning toward the pier, Brian drove straight.
Avia positioned herself fully onto the seat, turned and wrapped her arms around him. “Where are you going?”
"To get some security cameras," Brian said. "And a better motion detector. And a computer to run all of it." He cast a sideways glance at her when he reached a stoplight. “Did you want something?”
"The mechanics to hurry up with my plane," Avia said. “And to know where you hid it?”
Brian laughed. He knew exactly the ‘it’ she meant. “You can find ‘it’ later, and even if they took off an hour ago, we'll still be stuck there most of the day. I might as well get this done. Your security at the pier is non-existent.”
“It’s been non-existent since it was built. Why is it a problem now?”
“It’s always been a problem. I meant to do it last time I was here, but shit got in the way. Now, with the potential for snooping cops, I need to get it done,” Brian said.
"Shit.” Avia flopped back in the seat. “What about that guy last night? Is my pier going to be a crime scene?"
“Yes, it is.” Brian stepped on the gas when the light changed. "They wanted the security camera footage from our house last night. Specifically, the cameras that face the pier.”
“I don’t think they see that far. That’s three blocks down the road,” Avia said.
“They were probably looking for any cameras in the area,” Brian said. “That road would be an escape route.”
“Did you give it to them?” Avia asked.
“Hell no,” Brian said. “If they want it, they can get a warrant. I’m not in the business of helping the police.”
“Is that why we took my car?” Avia asked.
"The rifle I used is in my trunk. It’s rather expensive, so I’d prefer it not confiscated.”
"I don't know what's in this car," Avia said.
"You're going to look while I get the new security system," Brian said. "You need to throw away any drugs."
"What about guns?" Avia asked.
"Put those away," Brian said.
"I don't know if this car has been modified," Avia said.
"I'm sure it has. I wouldn't be surprised if I did this one myself," Brian said as he turned into the parking lot of a large electronics' store. He turned off the engine and triggered the button to open the trunk.
Avia stepped out of the car and walked around to the trunk.
Brian triggered a button on the underside of the latching bar. A panel in the back of the trunk popped out. "That's your hole. It pushes back into place. You'll feel it latch." When Avia looked at him, he kissed her. "I need to get this crap."
Avia grabbed his shirt and pulled him closer. “Now I remember. You drove off with this car and called me later.”
“Don’t even insinuate that I stole it with as many times as you’ve driven off with my car.” Brian kissed up her neck to her ear. "We will continue this after I install the security cameras."
Avia let go of his shirt. “Oh yeah?"
"If your airplane doesn't arrive by then." Brian turned and walked toward the retail store’s electronic doors.
Avia dug through the glove box, side pockets, backseat and under the seats for any drugs or guns that might have been left in the car from the last time she used it. She found two medicine bottles and a revolver. She tossed the revolver in the trunk compartment and closed it. Then, she closed all the doors and the trunk before walking up to the nearest trash can and throwing the pill bottles away. She hated doing it. There were several grams of heroin in those bottles, but even she had to admit that she wouldn't use heroin that was more than a year old, especially when it was stored in a car.
Avia turned to walk back to the Mercedes when she felt a hand on her arm. She jerked around to view Locke. "What the fuck!"
"You were about to walk in front of a car," Locke said and motioned as a sedan drove past them.
Avia glared at him. "Can you let go of me now?"
Locke released her arm.
"What's going on?" Brian asked as he walked out of the store with a shopping cart full of electronics.
Locke turned to view Brian. "Saving your girlfriend from getting hit by a car." He held up a bag with two two-liters. "Aside from that, I was getting Cokes."
"Thank you," Brian said. He looked at Locke. "And what the hell are you doing here? You’re a little far from home."
"Visiting Josephine," Locke said. "By now, you've probably heard I've been fired."
"I heard you're off our case. I didn’t ask why,” Brian said.
"Fired, pending the conclusion of an investigation," Locke said as he looked at them both.
“Don’t look at me. I don’t have time to make your life a living hell. As you just saw, I have my hands full.” Brian motioned to Avia before guiding her toward the Mercedes.
He put the packages in the trunk then opened Avia’s door. Once she was inside, he closed her door, walked around the car and stepped in on the driver's side. He started the engine and backed out of the parking space.
Avia nudged him with her elbow.
"I know this is your escape city, but he’s not staying at your house. He’s probably staying with Josephine," Brian said.
"I still think he's planning something," Avia said.
"I wouldn’t put it past him." Brian kept his eyes out the windshield as they approached Avia's pier. “But he’s probably here to get fucked, and we have bigger things to tackle.”
“Shit,” Avia said as she counted ten cops and six cop cars on and around her pier. “It’s a crime scene.”
"Hang tight. Let me see if they’ll let us through," Brian said.
“Should we just turn around?” Avia asked.
“Nope. They’ve already seen us.” He turned into the small lot in front of Avia's warehouse and stepped on the brakes when two cops started running for the car. Brian grabbed Avia’s arm when she reached for the door handle. “Don’t. Let me handle this.”
"What are you doing here?" an officer asked as he approached their car.
"This is our warehouse," Brian said.
"That building?" He motioned.
"Yes," Brian said.
"Can you prove that?" the officer asked.
"The deed is in the building," Avia said.
"Is there something going on here?" another officer asked as he approached the car.
"He says he owns that warehouse," the first officer said.
"And the pier you're standing on. What the fuck happened?" Avia asked.
"Someone was shot on that boat last night," the second officer said. "Have you ever seen that boat, and were you expecting a boat at your pier?"
"I've never seen that boat, and it did not have permission to dock here," Avia said. "That's where my airplane docks, and it's due here later today."
"The seaplane may have to wait. We’ll be done when we’re done," the second officer said. "The warehouse is fine. We've already checked around it, but don't go near the pier."
“We have to search them,” the first officer said.
“Let me see your IDs,” the second officer said.
Brian pulled out his ID and Avia’s and handed them to the officer.
“Brian Colcort and Avia Bays,” the second officer said.
“Avia is listed on the deed,” the first officer said.
The second officer handed the IDs back. “Go on. Stay around the building. Don’t go out to the pier.”
"Thank you." He pulled forward in front of the overhead door. “Wait a minute.” Brian checked all the mirrors and around the car. The cops were walking away. “Now open it.”
Avia stepped out of the car and closed the door. She walked up to the overhead door and input the code before pressing the button to open it. She walked inside ahead of the Mercedes and turned on the lights. Once Brian had parked and turned off the engine, she hit the button to close the overhead door.
"That was interesting," Brian said. He was a little miffed that Avia interjected, but since it had worked out well, he decided to let it go.
“That shit makes me nervous,” Avia said.
“They’re just trying to do a job. They don’t want any bullshit. The worst they would have done was tell us to turn around and come back tomorrow.”
"They don't have a clue what happened last night," Avia said.
"They know what happened. Some dumbfuck got shot, but they’ll never put it together enough to arrest anyone.” Brian grabbed the equipment out of the trunk.
“Why do you not dispose of the bodies?” Avia asked.
“Like in the movies?” Brian asked as he waited for Avia to open the door between the garage and living area.
“Yes.” She held the door open for Brian.
“You don’t want to do that these days.” He walked into the kitchen.
Avia closed the door. “Why?”
Brian unboxed the pieces while he talked. “Because the minute you step into a crime scene, you’re going to leave something behind. It could be a fingerprint, a bootprint, hair. Even blood if you happen to get injured while committing the crime. Rich police departments will even look for clothing fibers, like say if my shirt rubbed up against the guy’s jeans and left the equivalent of dryer lint behind. This is why I’ll cut brake lines. I’ll shoot through a window. I don’t want to be in the area if I don’t have to be there.”
Avia grabbed two beers out of the fridge and set both on the kitchen counter. She pushed one toward Brian and opened the other one.
Brian picked a box up off the counter and handed it to her. "Before you get excited, it’s just your new phone.”
“So, it’s not a present.” Avia opened the box and pulled it out.
“It was the nicest one they had in the store. It should be ready to go. That's your regular number. I cleared your messages. It was nothing important." Brian picked up his beer and took a long drink.
"How do you know they weren't important?" Avia asked.
"It was six messages of Benton begging you to answer the phone, and ten from your dealers, or people asking about product that you don’t have.”
"Let me get these cameras setup. Then, hopefully, your plane will be here." Brian said as he resumed pulling out several cameras, wires, a DVD recorder and a few other pieces of equipment. He skimmed the directions for the CCTV system. Once he was certain he knew how to install it, he picked up a camera. "I have eight of these. Where do you want them?"
"Around the doors and focused on the pier," Avia said.
"What about the road?" Brian asked.
"One on the road to see who comes in." Avia took a drink of her beer. "There is a bedroom here, and a full bathroom.”
Brian dug through the drawers for a power drill. He eventually found one under the sink. “Why is there an apartment in here, and are the rest of the tools in the warehouse?"
"They should be," Avia said. “And it’s here in case the delivery is extremely late at night. I’ll hear the buzzer on the back door from the bedroom.”
“Did you want to stay here tonight?” Brian asked then motioned to a door at the far side of the room. "That door?"
"I’d really like a distraction-free night," Avia said. "The light switch is next to the door on the other side."
“Then, that’s what we’ll do.” Brian walked through the door and turned on the light to the warehouse. "Damn. This is empty."
"The giant toolbox thing is along the far wall," Avia said. "I haven't had any shipments here in a long time."
Brian walked back into the living area and grabbed the boxes of equipment. “This may take a while. Stay inside.” He carried the equipment outside.
Avia finished her beer and grabbed another one out of the fridge before making herself comfortable on the couch. She flipped through her new phone for the better part of an hour. It was similar to her old phone, but the screen was bigger. Eventually, she set it on the coffee table and turned the TV to a random movie.
It took Brian two hours to setup the camera system outside. Then, he walked inside and setup the computer system in the large bedroom closet. By the time he finished, it was almost one. “It’s done and operating.”
Avia finished her fourth beer just as Brian walked out of the bedroom. “Does it record?”
"I thought you'd be laying naked on the bed when I walked out of the closet," Brian said. “It does record. There are two drives in the computer. One of them is entirely for video storage.”
"I thought about laying on the bed naked, but my plane radioed. They're an hour out." Avia walked over to the fridge and grabbed another beer.
"How many are in there?" Brian asked.
Avia pulled one out and handed it to him. "Plenty and several cases in the garage. The bar is also fully stocked."
Brian opened his beer and took a drink. "How many people are on that plane?"
"I think it’s just Joe," Avia said.
"Who's that other one you like?"
"Mike, and I don't like him," Avia said.
"I thought you fucked him.”
"He has a cock.”
Avia grabbed her beer and walked over to the couch and sprawled across it. "Are you going to call that cop?"
"Eventually,” Brian said before taking another drink of his beer. "What made you redo the warehouse? This seems like overkill since your house is three blocks away."
"In case they raid the house again," Avia said.
"Is this in your name?" Brian asked.
"That's not going to help you for very long," Brian said. "They could search both."
"Damn," Avia said.
Brian walked into the living area. “It’s still beneficial. It’ll hold excess cargo. The garage helps ensure people don't realize you're here, and you were complaining about all the people you've been around for the last eight months." He leaned down and kissed her. "You have a view of the water, and you can get some private time without your staff if you really need it."