Paige Kennedy & Milo Ventri
Paige swifty stepped into the front seat tossing her bag and pulling the door closed firmly behind her while Milo likewise did the same in the passenger cabin. She had rode in a helicopter before and paid little attention to Marlin’s safety briefing as she first fastened her restraints and adjusted the headset mic as if she owned the helicopter. The Daedalus fleet was significantly more posh than the smaller, utilitarian ones used by the Florida Highway Patrol. The heat was running nicely and felt good against her exposed legs that were chilled after crossing the open air of the football field. The English girl was at least prompt as she continued to speak and the rotors quickly picked up overhead pulling them off the manicured turf before they were easily clearing the cheap seats of the stadium and the high nightlights.
God she likes to talk…Paige thought sorting through her bag and still listening passively in the background as Marlin mentioned something about “flying low” and “unofficial training” which seemed more than a little unprofessional, but her regular stoic expression remained unchanged. Finding her phone, she looked for a saved link from the FAA that displayed air traffic around Sol City and over the coast towards their filed destination. Turning the phone in her hand as the cityscape moved outside the windscreen, she flipped and zoomed the map adjusting the settings until she found what she was looking for: a single flight, departing from the river moving west. The tail number was registered to an amphibious aircraft and a private owner. She screenshot the information and glanced up briefly.
There was no novelty in flight to Paige, it was strictly transportation, just a faster and more convenient method. It seemed like Marlin really enjoyed it and had probably seen a few too many movies the way she spoke so dramatically and assumed there was going to be some element of imminent danger where they were going. Catalina Island was still publicly accessible, though rarely visited and Paige was confident the people they were after would have no idea they were coming. What happened after that could go several different ways, but Marlin would be long gone by then. Her eyes scanned the city as it passed by and they picked up some altitude against a light jostle of turbulence. She couldn’t care less about bridesmaids dresses or English weddings. The faster Marlin was gone, the better.
What was a surprise was the girl’s sudden question about Bob. Paige looked ahead considering her words as Marlin spoke. In all honesty, with the Giancana case in full-swing, she hadn’t gone back to Bob’s file in several days to catch up on what Lupe and his band of delinquents were up to since their handler was behind bars. “Yes…” She said as some of the memories of the night played in her mind. “He was holed up downtown,” She turned and her expression lightened some at the comedy of it all knowing she couldn’t tell everything. “...In the Ritz” She added with some sarcastic amusement and a slight flair of her eyebrows. “I checked a few leads and we got a good tip on when we could grab him and it worked out. Things usually don’t go that smooth, but it was a good catch.” She thought about the others. Bob had spilled on a certain ill-fated soiree the posse had been involved in around the town of Cabo San Lucas. “The rest of them have been laying low for a while, you may not ever see them again.” Her momentary eye-to-eye glance with Marlin carried the full weight of the information she held back. “...but even if you do, they’re in some deep shit either way.”
Milo observed casually from the back. He had nothing to say to Marlin. He was done with their family, but what was amusing was watching Paige use them for her schemes. For all the years that he had known her, he knew she could be the most cold and calculating woman on the planet one moment and the next turn on her southern charms with a wink and a country-girl accent. Whatever it took to get what she wanted. She made acquaintance with Marlin for her own convenience, not from any sense of friendship. If some other pilot just happened to have been on the field, she would have talked her way into it all the same.
As he watched the city go by beneath them, he thought about what it was he had gotten himself into, about Paige and about Ana as well. Feeling the weight of his partially disassembled rifle in the bag at his feet he let his mind wonder. The two of them were so different. Only a few months ago he never would have dreamed in his wildest imaginations that he would be with Paige. Maybe it was his own sense of adventure that lured him. She was always into something exciting and it was like watching a wildfire blaze out of control across a dry forest, mesmerizing; while Ana had been the image of class: quiet, beautiful and unpretentious like a sunset over the ocean and equally as captivating. If for some reason he didn’t come back from the island he felt lucky for having known both of them.
He crossed his leg over for a moment as if he were on a regular flight watching Paige talking from the cockpit in silence as the mic was off. She assured him that if things went badly, he only needed to worry about shooting straight and she would handle the details. His own sense of justice was starving for closure. He remembered how they had nearly killed her and it was only luck that she survived. The memories of the night passed behind his eyes as the tide fell on the beach below them.