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May 25, 2012
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Chapter 16

The next morning, after turning on his coffee maker, Chet called Brianna.  When he heard her voice answer, he asked.  "How about you and Misty meeting me for breakfast at the Apollo?  After we eat, I'll take her off your hands and see about finding a place for her to stay."
"I'm going to have to pass", she responded.  "I have to be in court first thing this morning on an old murder case.  However, I could drop her off at the Apollo on my way, and save you a trip over here."
"That would be great," he answered.  I'll be there in an hour."
When he arrived at the Apollo, the restaurant was filled with customers.  The waitress that met him as he came thru the door, was a familiar face from the past.  Nancy was if anything, better looking than she had been when they met four years earlier.  She gave him a genuinely warm smile.  "The bad penny always seems to turn up doesn't it?" she asked.  "How is it that I recognized you right away even tho the extent of our relationship was one week-end at a Bed and Breakfast in Vermont?"
Chet smiled and answered.  "Probably the same reason I spotted you right off.  It was just one week-end, but, it was most certainly a very memorable one."
She blushed just a little, then winked.  "So are you here for breakfast, or did you come to ask me to join you for another week-end?"
"Actually, I did come for breakfast, but perhaps I should pursue the other angle too."
Nancy laughed, and said, "Follow me.  The place is packed as you can see, but I have a couple of tables in reserve for big wheels, and to me, you qualify."  After seating him at a large table in the rear of the restaurant, she returned with coffee, and took his order.  Before she left to head for the kitchen, Nancy said.  "By the way, I guess I'm going to have to pass on that week-end offer.  When she held up her hand, the ring caught his eye.  "Yes, I've been engaged for two weeks now.  He's a grand guy, but, I don't think I will be introducing you to him.  As she started for the kitchen, she stopped and looked back over her shoulder.  "Still, feel free to continue asking.  I won't accept, but it's really good for my ego to be reminded that you are still interested."
"Oh, I'll certainly ask again.  Who knows?  I might catch you on a weak day and you will agree."  After taking a sip of coffee, he looked at Nancy.  "By the way, there will be two women coming in soon looking for me.  Please send them back."
"Two women?" she asked.  "Candidates for a week-end?"
"No," Chet answered.  "This is just business.  One's a detective I'm working with, the other is a eighteen year old kid that I'm trying to protect."
Nancy nodded and said, "Sure I'll send them right back.  One thing I'm curious about tho.  Who is going to protect her from you?"
When she followed her question with a teasing smile, he responded.  "I'd like to have my breakfast before the place closes, if you don't mind."  She waved and took off for the kitchen.
Five minutes later, Nancy brought Brianna and Misty to his table.  She motioned for them to sit down.  "Well, here he is ladies.  If you are familiar with Chet, I suppose I don't need to remind you to keep your guard up at all times."
Brianna laughed and replied.  "Well said, but I'm not staying.  I'm just dropping Misty off on my way to court."  Her communicator buzzed, and as she answered the call, she waved, and headed for the door.
As Nancy poured her coffee, Misty asked.  "How long have you known Chet?"
Nancy replied.  "We met about four years ago.  Had a great week-end.  Today is the first time I've seen or heard from him since then."  She looked at Chet.  "Come to think of it, I wasn't much older than she is now, was I Chet?"
Misty's eyes focused on Nancy.  "Was that supposed to mean something?"
"No," she answered.  "I was just saying.  Chet's food should be ready, I'll get your order when I bring it."
When breakfast was over, Chet took Misty into the nearby park and found a bench by a fountain.  After a couple of minutes, he turned to face her.  "Misty, I've got an idea.  It's dangerous, especially for you.  Make no mistake, my bosses know nothing of this.  They would not allow it under any circumstances.  But, I think it's the quickest way to get the Knight.  With luck, we can nail him before he kills anybody else."
"I want to help get him.  Tell me about it."
"Well, here's the way I see it.  You and I are probably number one on his list of people he wants to kill.  Me, because I embarrassed him in the press conference.  You, because he's obsessed with you.  My thinking is that if we present him a combined target of the two of us, it will be more than he can stand.  I'm proposing that we wander together in isolated areas, like parks, alleyways, side roads, etc.  We will stroll hand in hand, stop every once in awhile and embrace, maybe even share a kiss or two.  Anything to make him think that we are involved.  This guy is not wrapped too tight anyway.  I think he will be compelled to come after us.  I think I can get him before he can hurt you, but there is no guarantee.  It's your decision, and I urge you to think carefully before accepting."
She looked into his eyes and answered.  "As I said before, I'm a target anyway.  If he's going to kill me, I'd rather it happen while I'm trying to stop him, rather than just be a helpless victim.  So, yes.  Count me in, and no matter what happens, I accept total responsibility for my own life."
"Well, I'll say this.  You may be young, but you've got more than your share of guts.  I tend to agree with you, in that you are going to be a target no matter what.  If that wasn't the case, I would never have presented this idea to you.  Last chance to change your mind."
"I'm not changing my mind."
Chet smiled and said.  "All right then.  Just in case our little psycho is watching, let's start the act right now and stroll to the other side of the park.  Then we will go to my apartment and go over exactly how this is going to work, and the steps we are going to take in order to try and stay alive."
As they started walking down the path, Chet put his arm around Misty as she lay her head against his shoulder.  Her eyes looked up at him, then she said, "We want to make this look real don't we?  Better hold me a little tighter, kind of like you would be doing it that waitress was in my place.  We may be acting, but there's no reason why we can't enjoy it."
Chet chuckled.  "You're first priority should be paying attention to what's going on around you."
"Yes sir," she answered.  "Whatever you say."

Following her testimony in court, Brianna returned to the station.  When she walked into the break room to get some coffee, there were several officers in the room.  Before long, she told the story of how Misty came to stay with her the night before.
Fred Hallifer stared at her like she had just told him that that the Moon had just turned to gold.  "Are you serious?"  Chet Garner makes a pretty girl leave his apartment and brings him to your place instead?  Brianna, you've never lied to me, so I guess I have to believe it, but wow..."
She laughed and said, "Yes, it's certainly out of character from all the stories we've heard over the years.  I'll say this tho.  That girl has some substance to her.  She's got guts, and she's not an empty head.  We talked for quite awhile last night, long enough for me to know when she was being serious or not.  She says that she intends to marry Chet someday.  I told her flat out that her chances are slim and none, but she just looked at me, and said "I don't care.  I'm going to marry him."
Donna Bond sat her coffee cup down and said.  "Must be nice to be so young and so certain of the future."

That night, the Knight stood in the shadows between two trees.  His body was quivering with anger in reaction to the spectacle he was observing.  For two hours, he had followed Chet Garner and Misty Riley as they went from shop to shop, and then strolled in the park.  They never walked very far before stopping to embrace or kiss.
The Knight's hands were trembling.  Misty Riley was HIS!  He could not, would not, allow someone else to have the love of his life.  She was going to find out what it was like to be loved by him, then he would kill her to make sure she never loved another man ever.
The Knight's fist clenched tightly as He watched Misty whisper something in Chet's ear, then saw Chet roar with laughter in response.
Now they had stopped at a park bench.  Garner sat down, and Misty quickly sat down on his lap.  She put her arms around his neck, and began to kiss him deeply.  A blinding stab of pain ran thru the Knight's body.  So absorbed in the performance before him, that it took a minute  before he realized that he had almost bitten his bottom lip off.
He knew he was losing control, but didn't know what to do about it.  The woman that he depended upon for guidance and support, was not home, and he was under orders not to try to reach her.
The entire evening had reduced his ability to think to a minimum.  Basically, he was now reacting on emotions.  Thus, he left his spot between the trees, and moved closer.  A closer view of what was going on between Chet and Misty could only make things worse for him, but his emotions drove him to move in and get a better view.  There was no other option.
Twice more, he waited as long as he could stand it, before moving even closer, desperate to get closer to the girl of his dreams.

Breaking off a kiss, Chet began to nibble on Misty's ear.  Then he whispered.  "Just keep acting as  you have been.  He's out there.  I've had my eye on him for a bit.  He's moved to the very edge of the shadows.  I think he's reached the end of his rope.  If you are willing to push the envelope, I think we can send him off the deep end."
"I'm game," she whispered back.
"All right.  I'm going to start unbuttoning your blouse.  I don't think he's going to stand by and let that happen.  You ready?"
She laughed softly.  "The idea just came to me, that he might not be out there at all.  Maybe you are just using him as an excuse to get my blouse off."
Chet nibbled hard enough on her ear to make her yell quietly.  "Yes indeed.  There is always that possibility."
Misty returned his bite, and whispered.  "Well, in either case, go for it."
As Chet's fingers fumbled with the third button, he heard a sound like an animal roaring in pain.  As he shoved Misty down behind the bench, he saw the Knight storming out of the shadows with his phazer pointed in his direction.
Chet quickly dropped and rolled to his right, then, quickly rolled back to his left.  The Knight's first shot missed.  He never got another chance, for Chet's shot was right on target.
He had no doubt that the maniac was dead, but still, he approached his body with a great deal of care, ready to fire if any movement was spotted.  It was prudent caution, but unnecessary.  The Knight would terrorize nobody else.
"Is he dead?", Misty asked as she slowly approached.
Chet reached out and hugged her close.  "Yes Misty.  He's dead, and you helped stop him."
Chet bent down and removed the clown mask from the corpse's face.  The face he saw was remarkable in it's lack of significant features.  This guy needed no mask.  He could have killed a dozen people in front of five hundred witnesses, and nobody would have been able to describe him well enough to be of any use to the authorities.
After calling the station to report the death of the Knight, Chet offered Misty the key to his apartment.  "Look, I'm probably going to be tied up here for an hour or two.  Why don't you go ahead to my apartment and get some sleep.  I'll wake you for breakfast in the morning."
"Are you kidding me?" she replied.  "How am I supposed to sleep now.  My system is running wide open.  I may not be able to sleep for two days.  I'll just wait for you."
"I can understand that," he answered.  "Well, while we are waiting, how about running to the closest place and bring us back a couple of hot coffees?"
"I will, if you give me a kiss first," she answered.
Chet reached out and slapped her rear end just hard enough to sting a bit.  "Get going.  Game's over.  Back to reality."
Chapter 16 of my novel, A Knight of Murder.
Chet and Misty decide to force the Knight to make his move.
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