“Let her go, Johnny,” I said. “The cops are on their way.”
Johnny narrowed his eyes. “Yeah, you’re the type to call the law, aren’t you, prick? I know you’re the one who sold us out to the police back in New York.”
“That doesn’t matter. Whatdoesmatter is that if you leave now, you might have a chance to get away before they get here. You really want to get busted in Evergreen, Colorado, end up in some county jail with the locals?”
His eyes flashed, as if he were considering the idea. “No. Doesn’t matter anyway. I get out of here without killing you, I’m as good as dead.”
The intensity in his eyes made it obvious that he meant his words. I turned to Georgia. Over her shoulder, I could see a sliver of the nursery, the Greek design on the walls. Then I glanced down at the knife.
It gave me an idea.
“Hey, Georgia,” I said.
They were my last words in English.
“Do you understand me?”I asked in Greek.
Her eyes lit up.
I grinned. Though Greek himself, Johnny had been born in New York and was too lazy to learn to speak in his family’s native tongue.
It’d take some luck, but I saw a way out of this mess. I could only hope that neither of our lives would be lost in the process.
Fear had me in its grips. When Alex spoke in Greek, however, I saw a way out.
“Here’s what’s going to happen,” Alex said. “When I give the signal, grab the knife on the ground and jam it into his leg.”
“What the hell are you two talking about?” Johnny asked. The worry in his voice suggested that he knew he was out of his depth, that he could feel the situation slipping from his control.
“And then what?” I asked.
“Run into the nursery and shut the door.”
Alex was cool and calm and totally in control. If he was as freaked out as I was about the safety of the girls, he sure didn’t show it.
Johnny took the gun from my temple and raised it toward Alex. “If either of you says another goddamn word in Greek, you’re not going to like what happens. Got it?”
Alex and I shared a look that suggested we knew that the time for talk was over, that we needed to act.
I was ready.
“Alright,” Johnny said. “Here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to shut her up in the nursery, and then you and me are going to have a talk. Got it? No more of bullshit. I came here to sort things out with you, Alex, and that’s what’s going to-”
The Greek word for “now” blasted through the air.
I dropped to my knees, pain screaming from my scalp where Johnny still had my hair. Fortunately, the surprise meant he lost his grip when I fell. Once down, I grabbed the knife and swung it toward Johnny’s leg.
I’d never stabbed anyone before. The sensation was strange. Though it all happened so fast, I could feel the fabric of his suit pants tear, followed by the give of his flesh as I sank the blade in deep.
Johnny let out a yowl of pain as he let go of me. I took my hand from the knife, the blade still stuck into his leg.