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“You did this,” he said, hate in his voice. “You could’ve saved him, but you didn’t. Why the hell did you let him die like that?”

I took a slow, deep breath, keeping at bay the anger boiling inside of me at the accusation.

“The only way he was going to be saved would’ve been if I’d gotten here sooner, if I’d been able to give him the care he needed. Why the fuck did you tell us he was fine when he clearly wasn’t?”

“You should’ve known better!” Johnny shot back, sticking a stubby finger in my direction that reminded me of a sausage with a gold ring wrapped around it. “You’re the doctor! You should’ve known what to do!”

I opened my mouth to speak, to put the prick in his place.

“Enough.” A single word from Nico ended the fight. “My nephew is dead and you two are fighting. Enough.”

He rose, letting David’s head gently fall back onto the desk. Slowly, without a trace of hurry, he wiped his hands on a nearby rag and sighed.

“Boss,” Johnny said. “There’s something I didn’t tell you.”

“What is it?”

“We thought David had killed the other two pricks. But… just come with me.”

Nico shot him a look of curiosity.

“You too, doc,” Johnny said. “Maybe this’ll be your chance to make up for this failure.”

As we made our way out of the office and down the hall, however, I considered something. Johnny had had it out for me for a good, long while.

The whole thing had me wondering… was this a set-up? Did Johnny know that David wasn’t going to make it? Had he planned on delaying me from getting to him in the hopes that the kid would die, that Nico would view my inability to save his nephew as a reason to get rid of me?

Johnny glanced back over his shoulder as we walked, shooting me a hard look. Before I had too much time to think about what he knew, what he was up to, we reached a door on the far end of the hall. I heard sobbing on the other side, followed by moans of pain.

“What the hell is this?” I asked.

Johnny grinned. “Boss, I told you that David killed the guys who he was tussling with. Turns out, he only killed oneof them. The other, well, he got winged.”

Nico grinned. “Is that so?”

Johnny chuckled, opening the door. The room on the other side was stark white, bright, fluorescent light filling the space. The purpose of the room was for interrogations, where Johnny and his guys roughed up people who were dumb or unlucky enough to get on his bad side.

Tied to a chair in the middle of the room was a kid. I stepped inside, immediately noting that the guy was bleeding from a wound to his shoulder. The shot wasn’t bad, unlike David’s. Left untreated, he’d die of blood loss or sepsis, but given the chance, I’d be able to take care of him just fine, even there on the spot.

Getting closer to the skinny, blonde kid, I could see that there was no way he was older than eighteen. He was terrified, his face and hair soaked in sweat as he struggled against his restraints.

“Please!” he shouted. “Let me go!”

“This is him?” Nico asked. “This is the man who shot my nephew?”

Johnny chuckled. “Yep.”

“No!” the kid said. “It wasn’t me! And… and… he threatened us, said that he was going to kill us for fun. He shot me, then my friend shot him back in self-defense! I swear!”

Another laugh from Johnny. “Pricks like this say whatever they need to save their own skins, huh?”

As far as I was concerned, the kid’s story tracked. David, while young, had long proven himself to be a sadistic little shit. More than a few times I’d been called in to tend to the wounds he’d given to the trafficked girls he’d had his “fun” with. I didn’t like to speak ill of the dead, but I couldn’t help but feel the world would be a better place without him.

I glanced over at Nico, waiting for his reaction. He stepped slowly over to the kid, squatting just enough to get to his eye level.

“You killed my nephew, my blood. You can’t even imagine the pain that you’ve caused me. I can give you a taste of it. And that’s what I’ll be doing until you beg for me to send you to join my sweet David.”