I wondered why she was so mad at me as we had been getting along so famously before I made my move. Most likely she was starting to think that we were bonding or some ridiculous shit like that and took my escape as a rejection. Which was ridiculous, really, considering that she was going to kill me. Talk about the ultimate rejection. Then again, I didn’t think she was wrapped too tightly right now as evidenced by the high-speed chase. I had a feeling that the only thing on her mind was removing me from this earth, and it didn’t matter whom else she hurt while attempting to do so. I had a hunch she wouldn’t even care if she died as long as she took me with her. I pressed on the gas and sped up to ninety miles an hour. I was thankful that I was in my mother’s car and not mine because mine would never had withstood the pressure.
“Where are the fucking cops when you need them?” I screamed in frustration. I would take any cops right about now, not just Bradley and Sands. Hell, I would kiss whatever cop came to my rescue, but the problem was that I couldn’t stop. If I did, Antoinette would shoot me for sure. So how would I get the message across to my would-be saviors? I pushed the thought away and concentrated on driving. “Please get the fuck out of my way,” I pleaded with the other drivers. Most of them moved willingly as I careened by them, but a few refused to budge. I didn’t know if it was stubbornness or ignorance, but I had to get by. Sometimes I would weave through cars, nicking one here and there. “Sorry!” I yelled at the top of my lungs as I passed them. I was sure they were cursing me as they should, but I had to get by. I only prayed that some of them were whipping out their cell phones and indignantly calling the cops.
A thought struck me. What was I supposed to do once I reached home? I couldn’t lead Antoinette back to my parents’ house, and I couldn’t shake her. I glanced at the gas tank and saw that I had half a tank. To my great relief, I heard sirens behind me. Antoinette must have heard them, too, but she didn’t care. By this time, we were going well over ninety miles an hour, and she was still on my tail. Now I had a dilemma. What to do? I had to exit. 694 was coming up, but I had to slow down to exit. If I did that, Antoinette would catch me for sure. Not to mention I had to move over two lanes as I was in the left lane again. Shit. I had to risk it.
“I’m exiting 694 west,” I shouted. I still heard noises from my phone, so I assumed the operator was still there. “There are cops behind us, but I don’t know how they can help since this bitch is trying to run me off the road. If you hear a big boom, then I’ve crashed.” More squawking which I ignored. I had more important things on my mind, damn it!
I eyed the situation and noticed a small gap between two cars just to the right of me. I waited until the last second then I squeezed between them and then sailed to the right lane, barely missing a Subaru. I started braking as gently as I could as I watched Antoinette shoot ahead, screaming in frustration. There was no room for her to move over, not without smashing into a car. I kept braking until I was down to fifty miles an hour and the exit was approaching. I wished I could slow down more, but there was nothing I could do about it. I exited. I was just thankful that no one was trying to enter onto 35W as there was no way I could have let someone in. I zoomed into the exit and clung to the curve. I remembered everything my father and brothers ever told me about driving, and I managed to make it up to 694 with the cops on my tail, but no Antoinette. I exited Long Lake Road then pulled over to the side.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” Detective Sands screamed at me as she approached my car. She did not look pleased to be out of her jurisdiction and chasing a crazy woman to boot. “Do you know what kind of trouble you’re in? What kind of stunt were you pulling?” The vein in her neck was throbbing as she steamed. All the adrenalin that had been rushing through my body suddenly left, and I started to giggle. The look on Detective Sands’ face warned me that I better stop, but I couldn’t.
“I’m sorry,” I gasped, then doubled over again. I was just so damn relieved to be alive and in one piece.
“This better be good, Ms. Chen,” Detective Bradley said, looming over his partner. Both of them looked grim, though Detective Sands looked more pissed than concerned.
“Can we go to my parents? I’ll explain everything there. But first, you better send someone to the park.” I briefly explained about the evidence, and Detective Bradley agreed to dispatch someone right away.
“We’ll meet you at your parents’ house,” Detective Bradley said while Detective Sands just glowered at me before they both walked back to their cars.
I sagged in relief and picked up my phone. I thanked the operator profusely before hanging up. I drove to my parents’ house, keeping an eyes on my rearview mirror. I didn’t want any unpleasant surprises popping out to greet me. Like Antoinette with murder on her mind. By the time I made it to my parents’ house, I was feeling pretty good about myself. Until I stepped out of the car.
“There you are, you bitch.” Antoinette slid out of the shadows, and she looked far more menacing than the cops had. She looked pissed off, which was not a good sign. “Thought you could escape me, did you?” I cursed my stupidity. The few minutes I had stopped to chat with the cops had given her enough time to reach the house before I did. She had even told me that she’d been following me the past few days, so of course she knew where they lived.
“The cops are coming, Antoinette,” I said, not sure it would set her off, but I had to try. “I called them, and they’re on their way.”
“You lie,” Antoinette said emphatically. Her back was to the house as she faced me which meant that she had a clear view of the street. I didn’t dare turn around to see if the cops were coming. “I’m going to blast you right here,” Antoinette said, pointing the gun at my chest.
“That’s not a good idea, Antoinette. The cops will get you for sure.”
“I’ll be long gone by the time anyone figures out anything is wrong.” Antoinette’s eyes were burning as she spat the words out. Obviously, she didn’t believe that I had called the cops. I didn’t know if that was a good sign or a bad one.
“They are on their way, Antoinette. I called them from the car. With my cell phone,” I stared at her eyes, trying not to focus on the gun. I didn’t want to call undue attention to the weapon in her hand as she didn’t seemed to notice it was there. I wondered if she had taken something because she was acting spacey. It didn’t really matter as she was close enough to shoot me without much problem. Again, I inwardly cursed myself for letting down my guard. A tremor of fear passed though me followed quickly by a stab of white-hot anger. I didn’t make it this far only to die on the front steps of my parents’ house. Besides, I envisioned my father’s face as he found me on the front lawn, covered in blood. It was not a pretty picture.
“Shut the fuck up, Bea. You always were a mouthy bitch.” Antoinette started waving her gun around. “You always had your nose in the air, thinking you were better than the rest of us. Well, look at you now.” Antoinette’s tone was maliciously triumphant as she trained the gun upon my chest once again. Where the fuck were Bradley and Sands? They should have reached the house by now. Behind Antoinette, there was a flicker of movement in the living room window. The curtain. It moved. I tried not to stare at it as I didn’t want to give the person away. I sent mental messages to whomever it was to hurry the fuck up and do something.
“You won’t get away with this, Antoinette. The cops are closing in.” I kept my voice on an even keel, not wanting to enrage her any further.
“I said shut up!” Antoinette screeched, her tone shrill. “Me and Phillip were doing just fine until that fucking bitch caught me. Then Eddie. Now you. Phillip said we had to lie low because of the heat. Once you’re gone, he’ll come back to me. I know he will.”
I felt a flash of pity for her, but it quickly dried up. I didn’t care how delusional she was and how much she was going to hurt when she discovered that Phillip was playing her—she was going to kill me, the bitch. Just as I was contemplating doing something drastic, two things happened simultaneously. The front door flung open causing Antoinette to turn towards the door and a siren began to wail, causing Antoinette to jump. Once her attention was diverted off me, I lunged at her, knocking her to the ground. She began shouting invectives at me, but I paid her no mind. My attention was focused on getting the gun away from her which was no easy task. She was a strong woman despite her fragile appearance, and she was hopping mad. She wasn’t going to give the gun up without a fight. Amidst a racket surrounding us, we struggled.
“Freeze!” There was a shot in the air, but I paid it no attention. I wasn’t going to make the mistake of quitting and having Antoinette continued. I had the feeling that she would shoot me dead no matter who was around. “I said freeze!” The shot sounded much closer and this time, Antoinette froze. I grabbed the gun from her and heaved it aside. Once that was done, I got off her and carefully placed myself on the ground next to her, face up. There were Detectives Bradley and Sands with their guns in hand. This time, Detective Sands didn’t look as pissed as usual.
“Fucking bitch! I hate you!” Antoinette howled as Detective Sands snapped cuffs on her wrist. “If it weren’t for you, I’d be home free with Phillip besides me!”
“You have the right to remain silent,” Detective Sands hurriedly said, giving Antoinette the Miranda before Antoinette could spill her guts.
“Mi querida, are you all right?” Rafe’s face loomed over mind, a study of concern.
“Hi, Rafe,” I said weakly, waving at him. “What are you doing here?”
“Oh my God, Beezus! Are you ok?” My mother appeared like magic with my father right besides her.
“Shouldn’t you be in bed, Ba?” I asked my father. I glanced at my watch and was surprised to see that it was only nine o’clock. It felt like it was much later. “I think I’ll take a nap.” I lay on the grass and shut my eyes.
“Oh, no you don’t,” my mother said, hauling me to my feet. She turned to the detectives who were still trying to subdue Antoinette and added, “We’ll be inside the house.” Without waiting for an answer, she marched me inside and plopped me down on the living room couch. “Nobody says a thing before I return,” she said, glaring impartially at each of us before disappearing into the kitchen. My father and Rafe hovered awkwardly next to me before sitting down, Rafe next to me and my father in his recliner. True to my mother’s edict, no one said a word until my mother returned with a tray laden with tea and food.
“Ok, go,” my mother said to me once she had served everybody. Three faces turned towards me.
Taking a deep breath, I told them everything that had happened that evening, starting with my little spot of B & E. My mother frowned disapprovingly at that information, but let it slide. I told them what I had found which caused them to gape in astonishment. I went into great detail about the emails and what they meant, partly to stall from continuing the story. I went on in that vein for a good ten minutes before the natives started getting restive.
“What happened with that crazy girl?” My mother asked, cutting to the heart of the matter. I didn’t want to tell them partly because I was still shaking over the ordeal, but mostly because I knew they would have a negative reaction.
“It’s complicated,” I said, my voice faltering. Three steely glares met my own gaze which forced me to come clean. They listened as I told them about Antoinette threatening to kill me, each of them wearing his/her own unique look of disbelief and horror. Just as I was almost through telling the tale, the front door burst open and in flew my siblings. I groaned to myself because this was quickly becoming a big ordeal. I just wanted to find out what happened and go to bed, but now I had to deal with the whole family.