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"So how is my sick wife?" Phillip asked through the screen door.  He reached drunkenly for the door handle, but it was locked.  "Let me in, Kim," he growled.

Marlena stood up.  "Why don't you go upstairs, Kim, and take that nap?"  She walked toward the entryway.  "I'll deal with this."

"No, Marlena, I'll bloody well deal with him."  Andrew came racing down the stairs three at a time.  "Get Mum upstairs," he said as he pushed past her into the entryway.

Marlena looked at Kim, who was watching wide-eyed.  She was shaking her head nervously.  Marlena stepped back into the living room, put her hands on Kim's shoulders and tried to steer her toward the stairs.  "It'll be better if you're not here.  Phillip might calm down."

"Get out of here, Phillip," Andrew said from the entryway.

"Oh, if it isn't Little Lord Fauntleroy."  Phillip's mocking tone came through clearly, even though his words were slurred.

Kim had begun walking with Marlena, but froze.  "Stop them," she whispered.  "Stop them before they do something crazy."

"Okay, but only if you go upstairs."  Marlena pushed Kim toward the staircase and waited for her to start going up before her attention returned to Andrew and Phillip.

She had not seen Phillip in several years, as he typically avoided coming to Salem with Kim and usually was on location when she and John had visited Kim in Los Angeles.  He was in shirt-sleeves rolled up to his elbows, probably after removing his coat and tie after the funeral.  His eyes were red and she could see a bunch of red spots near his eyes from burst capillaries – probably the result of something other than the alcohol.  Phillip also had aged, his hair growing gray and his hairline receding significantly, but he still seemed to be in relatively good physical shape.

One thing she had forgotten was how large a man Phillip was.  Andrew was probably the same height, but where Andrew was lean, Phillip was burly.  He probably had 40-50 pounds on his former stepson.

Marlena looked at Andrew.  She could see the same tension in him that she had observed earlier and worried that this confrontation would end badly.  "Phillip, please.  She doesn't want to see you."

"I'm her husband," he snapped.  "I've got a right to see my wife."

"Your ex-wife," Andrew said, his jaw tight.  Right now, he reminded her so much of John when facing danger.  "You lost any right to see her when you started shagging that tart on your movie set."

"I’m sick of your mouth, kid.  Should have shut it long ago."  Phillip glared through the screen.  Marlena tried to figure out what had set him off.  Her experiences with him had always been cordial, even though she knew that he and Kim often argued, but she did not understand the vitriol he was spewing at Andrew.  Phillip seemed out-of-control, almost paranoid.  "You always think you’re so superior with that accent and attitude and spy-daddy to bail you out."

"That’s enough from you."  Andrew's voice betrayed no emotion.  He sounded so cold.  "Get the hell off this property now.  I won’t tell you again."

That seemed to set Phillip off.  "I don’t think so, you little prick.  I’m here to see Kim and I’m not leaving until I do."  With surprising speed, he thrust his hand forward, ripping open the screen and knocking it off the top hinge.  He began to reach for the handle of the door.

Andrew responded.  He jerked the door open, pulling it free from the lower hinge, eliciting a cry of pain from Phillip, as he pulled his arm free.  Marlena saw angry red lines on his forearm from where the wire mesh had scraped the skin.

"I told you to leave, you tosser."  Andrew stepped forward and shoved Phillip away from the door.  His fists were clenched, and Marlena feared that he would hit Phillip.

"So the pup thinks he can play with the big dogs?"  Phillip’s continued mocking was not going to help the situation.

Marlena followed them through the door.  "Phillip, stop it.  Just go before someone gets hurt."

Andrew’s eyes had narrowed as he studied Phillip’s position.  He had turned slightly, his legs slightly bent, his left arm ready to ward off a blow, and his right hand ready to strike.  So like John during a fight.  He was ready for any type of attack or, if necessary, to duck or sidestep a blow.  She had seen it so many times before.

"Get out of here," Andrew said.  "Like she said, get out before you get hurt."

"I don’t think so, kid."  Phillip followed that with another drunken laugh.  "You know, it’s pretty funny you’re here now.  I always figured you’d be just like your old man and run away from your responsibilities."

"What the bloody hell are you talking about?"  Andrew's mask slipped a bit.  He sounded surprised and seemed to hesitate.

Phillip laughed.  "So daddy never told you.  That's classic.  I’ll let you ask him.  Maybe he’ll even tell you the truth."

Andrew fell for the bait and stepped closer to Phillip.  "Shut your bloody mouth.  You’re not half the man my father is."

Phillip’s punch came faster than Marlena expected from a man his age, but Andrew moved faster, easily sidestepping the punch.  His responsive strike did not miss.  Two quick, short punches to the solar plexus and Phillip staggered backward, clutching his stomach.

Andrew followed, almost like a cat stalking its prey.  The mask was back in place.  Even as he eyed Phillip, his face showed nothing.  No anger.  No fear.  Northing.  "Get out of here, you miserable old git."

Phillip grinned and lunged forward.  He caught Andrew’s wrist and tried to pull him off-balance.  Andrew seemed to stumble slightly, but quickly righted himself and moved behind Phillip.  With his free hand, he slammed the older man in the lower back.  The blow sent Phillip forward and Andrew wrenched his arm free.  Before Phillip could recover, Andrew grabbed him from behind and wrapped an arm around his neck in a chokehold.

"I could kill you easily," Andrew said in that same low, cold tone of voice.  "One quick snap and it’s a broken neck.  Or I could tighten this hold and crush your windpipe."

Marlena started forward, desperate to intercede, but she saw Andrew release the hold and shove Phillip toward the open gate that led to the road.  Phillip fell to his hands and knees, gasping for breath.

"But I won't, so why don't you consider this your lucky day?"  Andrew waited.  "Get out of here, Phillip, and don’t return.  You won’t be so lucky next time."

Phillip stayed on the ground for a minute before he rose back up to his feet, his back to Andrew.  He spun around and Marlena thought she saw something flash in his hand – a gun.  He pointed it at Andrew.

Phillip's arm was shaking, but the barrel remained aimed at Andrew’s chest.  "I've got nothing to lose now, kid.  Nothing."  Phillip's arm steadied and he gritted his teeth.  "Not so tough now, pup, are you?"

Andrew moved so fast that Marlena only caught a blur as his leg swung around and connected with Phillip’s arm.  The gun fired once – a deafening blast – and then a second time as it went sailing out of Phillip’s hand.  Instinct born of years of living with John sent Marlena diving to the ground even as she heard the pinging of ricocheting bullets overhead.  From her position on the ground, she looked back at Andrew and Phillip.

Andrew had rushed Phillip and they were wrestling.  For a second, Phillip seemed to have the upper hand, but Andrew broke free and kneed the older man in the midsection, doubling him over.  Andrew followed with a punch to the jaw that knocked Phillip flat on his back.  Without hesitating, Andrew jumped on top and braced one of Phillip’s arms under a knee, so he could not move.  Then Andrew began peppering Phillip's face with sharp punches.  Phillip cried out in pain after the first few strikes, but his screams died down after a moment.

"Andy, stop it!"  Marlena got to her feet and raced forward.  She reached the pair and caught sight of Phillip’s rapidly swelling face.  Blood was everywhere, flowing from numerous cuts and a clearly broken nose.  Andrew let go of Phillip and stepped back, still watching the man impassively.

Marlena rushed forward.  Phillip’s eyes were closed and she heard a gurgling breath.  She rolled him to his side, then onto his front to prevent him from choking on the blood.  A hand touched her shoulder and she looked up to see Andrew.

"I’ll get rid of him," he said.

"Don’t--"

He cut her off.  "I won’t hit him again.  He's done."  He reached down and grasped the back of Phillip’s collar and began dragging him toward the gate.  For the first time, Marlena realized there was a black car on the other side.  Andrew pushed open the gate and pulled Phillip through.  He motioned to someone that Marlena could not see.

"Get him to a hospital," Andrew said as a dark suited man came into sight and took Phillip, pulling him toward the car.

"Wait . . ."  He turned and walked over to the gun that lay on the ceramic tile that covered the courtyard.  Andrew picked up the gun and ejected the magazine and a bullet in the chamber.  Marlena heard a ping as the bullet hit the tile.  He tossed the empty gun to the driver.  "Tell him when he wakes up that if he ever comes back here or ever pulls a gun on me, he’ll be lucky to be able to drink his Jack Daniels through a tube."

Andrew turned back and walked through the gate, shutting it closed behind him.  She realized his arms and grey t-shirt were covered in blood.  Without hesitating, and his face betraying nothing, he walked past Marlena and into the house.

From inside, she heard Kim cry out, but Andrew answered in that same unemotional voice.  "It’s taken care of," he said.  "He won’t come back."

Marlena realized she was still kneeling where Phillip had fallen.  She stood up and walked nervously into the house.  Entering the living room, she saw Andrew in the kitchen.  He first washed the blood from his hands and arms, then picked up a towel.  He turned, opened the freezer, and began filling the towel with ice.  Once the towel was filled, he wrapped it around his right hand.  The whole time she watched, his expression never changed.  If his hand hurt, it didn't show.  His shoulders and back remained rigid, and she saw him glance furtively from side to side -- a tense wariness as if he expected to be attacked -- yet his head never seemed to move.  Andrew came back into the living room and headed toward the staircase.  "I’ll be upstairs," he said simply to Kim who was standing at the base of the stairs.  "I’ll look into replacing the screen later."

Neither Marlena or Kim said anything, but Marlena felt her entire body grow cold and she shivered.  This was a side of Andrew neither of them had ever seen, but Marlena had seen it before -- in her husband at his most dangerous.  Like John, Marlena realized, Andrew Donovan was a very dangerous man.

Deadly dangerous.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Myrthala Miranda-Guzman
Apr. 4th, 2011 03:50 am (UTC)
Ch 75
Love this-
(Anonymous)
Jun. 27th, 2011 01:40 am (UTC)
Damn. Shane 2.0!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )