Late night swim with Reese Witherspoon, as the mystery of who wants Dean dead continues

The light was very dim inside, the only illumination
coming from the streetlight that seemed miles away down
the street. The older, decrepit building had indeed been
an apartment at some point, although since then had
fallen into great disrepair. The front door inside was
off it’s hinges and lay against the wall at an angle, the
wood of it long since rotted through by termites and was
dotted in what appeared to be bullet holes. Heading
towards the shaky looking stairs, I noticed the graffiti
along the walls, some old and some new. Though it had
been uninhabited, this place had seen it’s fair share of
activity in recent years.

I knew silence was key here, so I carefully took one step
at a time, watching where I was going to make sure I
planted my feet on the firmest looking portion of the
board. Cigarette butts, crack vials and empty beer
bottles dotted the stairwell like the way a child’s toys
fill a normal household. Each item seemed to say volumes
about the history of the building and what had taken
place there.

I ascended the stairs at a slow but firm pace, the only
sound in the hallway coming from my own thudding heart
and the occasional car driving by on the street outside.
I cleared the first floor with no problem and was almost
through the second floors steps when my foot suddenly
came down on a rickety step and plunged right through the
rotted wood, the splintering of it sounding like an
explosion in the silence. Carefully I pulled my foot back
out – it had hurt like hell but I was ok – and tried not
to make any more noise than needed as the wood groaned
upward as my foot came out. On firmer ground, I paused
for what seemed like an eternity and listened to see if
Warren upstairs had heard anything. When no noise came, I
continued upward.

Reaching the third floor, I again paused and surveyed the
scene. Up here, not even the light of the street shone,
essentially putting me in complete darkness. If it had
not been for the blue glow of what had to be a television
down at the very end of the hall, Aiello’s room, I
probably wouldn’t have been able to see even a foot out
in front of me. The building reeked like piss and death
up here, all the smells from the other floors
accumulating and rising upward like some kind of
grotesque crescendo. Covering my nose with my shirt, I
removed the gun from my pants and slid slowly along the
inside of the right wall, taking things as slow as
possible. Sweat dripped down my face in rivets, soaking
my clothes and seeming to give the air an even more
pungent odor.

My back now leaning against the wall, I stopped by
Aiello’s door and listened. It had indeed been a
television that was on – I could hear Wheel of Fortune
blaring at a semi-loud level – and things were much
brighter in the hallway now. He must have had a light on
overhead, because the blue glow was now overcome by a
competing yellow dullness that spilled out onto the floor
of the hallway. I had been expecting him to be locked
inside of this room, doors bolted and firearms all around
just in case of the inevitable, but to my surprise there
WAS no door and, from my quick glance inside, I saw
nothing but the bare floor, a threadbare chair and a
television set in the room at all.

I at first though Aiello wasn’t even there, that I had
gotten the wrong building. But when something happened on
the show, when one of the contestants solved the puzzle,
I heard Aiello say “Finally bitch, only took you four
spins,” and I knew I had the right place. My heart
thudded even louder now as I wiped the sweat off my head
with the back of my hand, and instinct took over. Leaning
slowly, inch by inch into the room, I turned and stood in
the doorway, the gun raised out in front of me.

It took me a moment to adjust to the sudden brightness of
light in the room, no matter how dull it had seemed from
outside the room, but when I got my vision back I
assessed the scene. Aiello sat hunched in the chair,
leaning forward, his eyes no more than six inches from
the screen. His massive back was stretching the fabric of
his white cotton t-shirt and I saw a bag of empty potato
chips on the floor beside him. What worried me more
though was the double barrel shotgun that leaned up
against the chair, just a few inches from his hand. I
knew that if I made a move first, I had to make it good.
Otherwise, I didn’t stand a chance.

Taking a tentative step into the room, I held the gun
steady out in front of me. Aiello was only a few paces in
front of me now, his makeshift stuff sitting in the
middle of the room, a giant (and cracked) glass window
giving a view onto the street below.

He didn’t seem to hear me approach behind him, lost in
the show he was watching. However, when I clicked the
safety off of my gun as I held it a few feet away from
the back of his head, it was obvious that his body had
tensed up. Very slowly, his hand reached down to the
remote and flicked off the television. I moved the gun
along his arm as he did this, just to make sure that he
didn’t try anything. With the TV off, we were left in
silence in the room.

His body still tense, Aiello said “Alright man, whoever
you are, let’s just talk about this ok? Don’t do anything
rash and we can both walk away from this in one piece,”

I took a step closer, pushing the barrel into the back of
his head “Ok, I’m listening. You probably don’t even know
who I am,” I said.

“You got that wrong Simonds. I know exactly who you are.
I KNEW I should have blown up your car, rather than sink
it. But life is full of lots of should haves. You aren’t
dead, that much is obvious. That doesn’t mean you won’t
be before I get done with you though,” Aiello said. The
coolness in his voice as he spoke showed me that he had
obviously been in situations like this before.

“You’re forgetting that I’m the one with the gun to your
head, not the other way around. Now you are going to
answer my questions and then I’ll be out of here, letting
you finish watching your show,” I said.

“I ain’t answering shit,” Aiello said toughly, rocking a
little in the chair. I pushed the gun harder into his
head.

“No, you will. Don’t think I won’t hesitate to blow you
away, not after what you tried to do to me. Now answer my
question and let’s, as you said, both walk away. Who
hired you to kill me?” I asked.

“Fuck you,” he replied. I was growing angry, but didn’t
want this to last any longer than it had to. Acting out
of this anger (and the adrenaline pumping through me), I
reared my hand back a few inches and pistol whipped him
on the side of his head hard, violently enough to rock
his head to the side and for him to cry out in pain.

“Aghh! Fuck, alright. I’m too old to be dealing with this
stupid rich-guy-with-an-attitude bullshit. Who hired me?
I was hired by a woman, she said her name was Betty
Rubble. So, as you can guess, it’s an alias. I spoke to
her only once, she wanted to keep our connection as
distant as possible. Which is something I run into a lot
in this business, I’m sure you understand,” Aiello said.

“What did she look like? How else did you communicate
with her, was it through other people?” I asked.

“Like I said, I only talked to her once. And it was over
the phone. The rest of our dealings were done through
mutual friends and middle men. Look Simonds, I know you
think you are some big dignitary or big wig whose brush
with death should be headline news, but to me you were
just another paycheck. And a small one too. Fucking woman
didn’t even give me the bonus she wanted because there
wasn’t a body,” he replied.

“So then someone paid you pretty shittily. What else can
you tell me that would convince me not to shoot you in
the name of self-defense?” I said.

“Self-defense? Shit! You’re the one with the gun to my
head, I’M the one who should be entitled to self-
defense,” Aiello said smugly.

“See, that’s where your wrong. All I have to say is that
my car broke down, you jumped me and I shot you in
defense. That puts me here, at this time, with an
airtight alibi whose only dissenting voice would be dead.
So get off your fucking high horse and cooperate with me
so that I don’t have to use this reasoning, alright?” I
said as coldly as possible. The truth was, I had hoped it
wouldn’t come to killing him – I wasn’t the type of
person who could do that. But for a killer like Aiello, I
had to put on as solid and cold a front as possible.

My comment seemed to make him hesitate now, a little
uneasy about his situation.

“Now,” I continued. “I just have one last question before
I back out of here and we never see each other again. Can
you give me a way to contact this woman who hired you?”

Aiello sighed for a moment, thinking it over. He must
have realized that I was serious about killing him, and
replied “Yeah. I got her number over there with my
stuff,” he said, pointing towards a duffel bag in the
corner. “Lemme go get it,”

Now it was my turn to think. Things were happening so
quickly now, and I knew that if I let him get up from the
chair, I would be in serious trouble. Then again, if I
went to the bag myself, I’d have to turn my back on him
and who knew what kind of weapon he had hidden in some
place around the room.

“Fine. Get it. But move slowly and take one step at a
time with your hands in the air,” I said. He stood from
the chair with his hands raised above his head like I had
asked. I moved behind him, keeping the gun just a few
inches from his head. He took the steps one at a time,
following my instructions. When he reached the bag, he
bent down slowly.

“I’m just going to get out my address book and get the
number, alright?” he said as he slowly bent forward.

“Fine, but the address book and nothing more,” I replied.

His hand inside the bag, I was too preoccupied watching
his hand to notice that he was watching me from the
corner of his eye. He took the address book from the bag
and moved to stand up, but then suddenly his left leg
flew out behind him in a roundhouse style kick, hitting
me right behind my knees and causing me to have my legs
knocked from under me as I fell to the ground. Before
landing though, I acted on reflex and pulled the trigger,
causing the gun to fire a wild shot high above both of
our heads. It slipped from my hand and skidded across the
hardwood floor, out of my immediate reach. The bullet
buried itself in the ceiling and dust floated down slowly
as I hit the floor with a thump.

Aiello wasted no time moving towards the gun as I
scrambled to grab it before him. I got to it first, but
he promptly planted his foot hard on my hand, crushing my
fingers. I recoiled in pain as the gun slipped from my
grasp again. He bent down to grab it, but now it was my
turn to knock his legs out from under him and he fell to
the floor.

We wrestled around on the floor with each other for a few
minutes, both of us fighting as hard as we could to get
away from the other and grab the gun. With a firm
headbutt that caused me to almost black out in dizziness,
he managed to debilitate me for just long enough to get
the gun and scramble to his feet.

Before he could regain his balance, I ran at him with
head down like a football tackler and shoved him with all
my might back against the wall of the building. The whole
structure seemed to shake around us and I couldn’t help
but wonder if the place might fall apart completely. The
gun slipped from his hand and hit the floor on it’s butt,
discharging another shot into the opposite wall, whizzing
by me no more than a three feet away.

With neither of us holding the gun, Aiello began to
circle around me like a boxer. He crouched down into a
firm stance and began to throw a few punches at me, to
which I did the same. I knew that any blows I landed on
him would have to be in the face, as his hulking body
would hardly feel a thing if I hit him in the chest.
Aiello managed to sucker punch me in the side of my
chest, which hurt like hell, but I managed to stay on my
feet.

Throwing another punch, I caught him off step and hit him
as hard as I could on the nose. His head rocked back
violently on his massive neck and he took a step back or
so, obviously a little dazed from the punch. I hardly
compared to him in size, as he probably had 60 pounds or
more on me, but my adrenaline was pumping completely now
and I could probably hit just as hard as he.

Aiello didn’t see it, but where he was standing in
relation to the room was only a few feet back or so from
the large, paneless window I had first seen from the
street. If only I could get him near it…

It turned out that he did it for me. Having refocused, I
saw him reach into his boot and pull out a long, 7 inch
knife. His mouth was dripping in blood as he advanced
towards me, the knife in hand. I knew I had to act
quickly.

“End of the line Simonds. I’m going to enjoy cutting you
like a fish,” he growled, diving for me. This was my one
chance – I moved to meet him and, rather than try to hit
him with a punch, I kicked my leg out forward like a
kicker on a punt and managed to introduce his groin to my
foot.

A wave of pain rushed over him as he dropped the knife
and grabbed himself. His face turned pale and he was
gasping for air like a fish, crippled by the kick. I
stood only a few feet from him, but he was lined up
perfectly with the window now, and so I ran at him.
Putting my head down again, I hit him like a battering
ram right in the soloplex of his massive gut. His arms
flew out wildly around him as they landed on my back, but
he was too weak to do anything to me. My head still
buried in his chest, I pushed him forward as hard as I
could, the feet on the floor disappearing as I headed
towards the window.

With one final thrust, I pushed my arms into his
shoulders and flung him backward. He lost his footing and
bent slightly at the waist, just as his massive back
slammed into the glass of the window. It was old and not
sturdy and broke like glass does in the movies. At first
I thought he was going to catch himself, his hands long
enough to reach the windows edge, but he instead just
simply fell through. His legs fell out from under him now
and he rocketed out the window. I saw the look of pain,
surprise and astonishment on his face as he flew out the
window, falling out of my site. I rushed to the window
just in time to see his body slam into the concrete below
with a thud.

His arms twitched a little by his sides, but judging from
the pool of blood around him, it was probably
involuntary. He was dead.

I stepped from the window cautiously, my legs shaking.
There was no one else around so no one had seen it. I
surveyed the room and grabbed the address book and gun
that lay on opposite ends of the floor. Putting the gun
in my waistband, I leafed through the address book,
searching for the name I needed. The names inside of it
were laid out like this – a name on the top, crossed
through with a red pen and then a name underneath it,
some with a phone number- the victim and the hirer.

It felt creepy knowing that all the names that had been
crossed out were people who were dead. And judging by the
sheer volume of them, Aiello had been busy. I leafed
through the pages quickly, looking for my name. Towards
the back, I finally spotted my name. It had been crossed
through like all the others, but the name below it was
simply a pair of initials: R.M. And there was indeed a
phone number, which made me feel, knowing that I had not
come up here in vain.

Closing the book, I tucked it under my arm and quickly
left the room, turning off the overhanging light on my
way out so as not to raise much suspicion. Heading out of
the building, I pulled the gun from my waist and held it
calmly down by my side, even though calmness was the
furthest thing from my mind. The streets were still
deserted as I headed back to my car.

Glancing over my shoulder, I could see Aiello’s leg
sticking out behind a dumpster. This was good – that
meant no one would find him till morning and even then,
I’d be long gone. It was strange knowing I had just
killed a man, but if it hadn’t been him it would have
been me lying motionless on the concrete out there.

Climbing into my car, I sped off as quickly as possible,
trying to put as much distance from what had happened as
I could. Aiello’s death wouldn’t be in the papers and
since he was just a hired goon, no one would seem to mind
him being gone. My body was filled with excitement as I
drove, the adrenaline coursing through my veins like
liquid fire. I could hardly keep still in my seat as I
left the ghetto and entered into more populated areas.
Had a car backfired somewhere on the street, I probably
would have jumped out of my skin.

*

After all the stress I had just been through, not to
mention the night’s previous events, you’d figure that I
was exhausted and wanted to sleep. But my body was wound
up tight, and I knew that if I went home I wouldn’t be
able to sleep.

Driving back, I passed the Get Buff Health Spa. The
agency had an account there, complimentary for all of our
stars, where they could go to unwind a little when they
were still in town. It was considered to be one of the
best fitness clubs in all of Los Angeles and I knew that
only the elite few could afford to use it. It catered to
the wealthy and the on the go, for the type of clientele
who wanted to stay in shape but couldn’t afford to spend
hours on end waiting in line for equipment to become
available, not to mention the gawkers of the general
public who would doubtlessly nag the stars for an
autograph. Coming to a stop light, I checked my wallet to
see if I had the company membership card with me – yes, I
did. It was made out of a thick, gold colored paper that
sparkled and glittered in the dim light of the car. My
name was hand stenciled on it, so I knew that I could get
in.

Turning around, I headed back towards the club. The
parking lot was gated and guarded by a night security
staff to only allow members in. Being 24 hours, I knew
that the place would be practically deserted and just the
place to go to burn off my energy so that I could get
some solid sleep.

I pulled to the gate and idled out front while a security
guard, a humongous Asian man with a tightlipped face and
a sparse mustache, came over to my vehicle.

“Member card please,” he said gruffly. I had disturbed
him from his nightly nap and I’m sure he didn’t want to
be dealing with anyone, let alone me, at this late hour.

I handed him the card. Pulling an electronic scanner of
some sort, similar to a bar code scanner, he zapped the
card with a red laser. I heard a “beep” come from the
back of the gun like device and he handed me the card
again.

“Thanks Mr. Simonds. Have a safe workout,” he said,
walking back to his booth. The gate opened a moment later
and I drove in, pulling into one of the many empty
parking spots. Getting out of my car, there was only ten
or so other cars in the lot as I approached the brightly
lit entrance. The building was quite large from the
outside, although it was striking that there were no
windows to be found on the front or the sides. As I
passed inside, I checked in with the front staff.

They were incredibly perky and helpful as I explained
that I had a membership but this was my first time here,
as if this were 9 in the morning rather than pushing 3AM.
Handing me a soft, navy blue towel with the words GET
BUFF! embroidered in bright yellow on the bottom and a
pair of workout clothes with the same labeling, they
opened the door into the fitness center.

My original thoughts of the place being very large when I
went inside. The main floor area was filled with the top-
of the line exercise equipment, the seats and benches and
pads of it all – rowing machines, dumbbells, everything
you could think of and a few that looked foreign to me –
all shone cleanly and neatly in the light of the room. I
walked around each piece, inspecting it as I tried to
decide what suited me that night.

Settling on a full body Soloflex, I followed the arrows
along the walls towards the changing room way at the end
of the floor. Inside the locker room, things were just as
perfect – they spared no expense in meeting their
client’s needs. Changing into the shorts and simple white
t-shirt they had given me, I laced up a pair of sneakers
(yes, these were provided too) and walked out towards the
main area.

However, a sign caught my eye – POOL, 2nd Floor. I
changed my mind then, deciding that a few laps in a pool,
not to mention the comforting warmth of the water – would
be just what I needed to burn off this energy. Plus, I’d
avoid the physical strain of working out, not to mention
the inevitable sweat. I followed the sign to an elevator
down the hall and took it up to the second floor.

Here there was more facilities, including things that
didn’t seem to make sense to be on a second floor –
racket ball courts and a full length tennis court, a
basketball floor and four nets, two on each side of the
court.

All seemed inviting, but I was set now on swimming so I
walked to the pool at the far end. I passed a few other
patrons as I went, a couple who were playing racquetball
in the middle court and a guy hitting balls out of a
machine on the tennis court. The pool (again, an unlikely
thing for the second floor of any building) however was
empty. It was a full length, Olympic sized pool that was
set deep into the floor. It was fairly shallow, probably
no more than three feet, and was fenced off around it’s
perimeter with an aluminum fence that kept people from
seeing inside.

I entered into the pool area, setting down my towel on
the deck chair nearest to the entrance and sat down to
take off my shoes and shirt. Wading into the pool slowly,
the water was just as warm as I expected and felt like
being inside of a nice, relaxing bath. I dove underwater
to get myself completely wet and then came up at the
pool’s edge, glancing down the length of it to guess to
myself how long it would take to swim a lap.

I started out by doing a slow, simple breast stroke and
in no time had already done ten or fifteen laps. My
muscles seemed at ease now, my body totally relaxed as I
enjoyed the pleasant strenuousness of the swim. Back and
forth I went for roughly twenty minutes or so, pausing
every now and then to catch my breath and simply float
around on my back. Diving underwater again, I raced
through underneath it, the water parting around me as I
swam the length of the pool in one breath.

Coming up for air, I was startled to find that I wasn’t
alone in the pool anymore. Moving around slowly in the
water as she adjusted to it, I recognized the girl
immediately – Reese Witherspoon. She was only a few feet
from me and had apparently not seen me yet, so I dove
back under and swam towards her until I was just a foot
or two behind her back, her legs treading water gently in
the pool. I slowly lifted myself up out of the water as
quietly as possible and took a step behind her, intending
to scare her.

When I was just a few inches away, I thrust my arms out
around her shapely waist and locked my fingers on her
stomach, lifting her out of the water suddenly.

“ROOWWRRRR!” I roared in a playful manner as I picked her
up and then set her down again. Reese screamed in fright
for a moment, then spun around to look at me as I let her
go. Her face turned to one of laughter as she recognized
me.

“Jesus Dean, don’t do that! I thought I was going to be
raped by the Creature from the Black Lagoon!” she said,
splashing me lightly with water.

Reese was a long time client of the firm, whose asking
price had went through the roof with the astounding
success of “Legally Blonde”. Not bitchy in the slightest
and already married and with a kid, she was hardly a
client that I had to worry about getting in trouble. As
she calmed down a bit from my surprising her, I got a
look at what she was wearing: her short blond hair clung
in one thick strand behind her head and draped over just
onto her shoulders. She had apparently brought her own
swimsuit to the club, as all it consisted of was a two-
piece bikini, the top of which barely covered the front
of her breasts, while the bottom did just as poor a job
at holding her ass. She looked like an angel in the
eerie light of the pool’s light from the far side, like a
Greek nymph emerging from a crystal clear stream.

“Sorry, just having some fun. What might I ask, are you
doing here at 3:00 AM? I thought you were in Paris
filming?”

“I was. But I have three weeks off because the director
is filming principal shots out along the Rhine and the
studio isn’t going to pay me to just sit down on my ass
and do nothing,” she said, giggling. “So I came home for
a bit, to spend time with Ryan [Phillipe, her husband]
and visit the rest of my family. But I haven’t gone home
yet because I’m still on Paris time and knew I wouldn’t
be able to sleep,” she said.

“I know the feeling. That’s why I’m out here tonight.
Let’s just say I’ve had a rough few days and needed to
come unwind by tiring myself out,” I replied.

A smile crossed Reese’s face. “Been chasing the women too
hard again?” she said coyly. I laughed.

“No, not at all. It’s just…well, never mind it’s not
important. I was pretty jacked up but I’m feeling better
since I got here. This is my first time using this place,
even though I’m the one whose footing the bill for all
you stars,” I said.

“Really? Oh, I love this place. Especially now when there
isn’t anyone else around. Even when it’s just a bunch of
other stars using the equipment, I still have to make the
cordial hellos. It’s exhausting,” Reese said, leaning
back into the pool and swimming around a little bit.

“Hey, welcome to my every day world,” I said, following
her by swimming along her. We both moved down the length
of the pool slowly. We talked for a few minutes, the
useless mindless gossip about what the latest buzz in
Hollywood these days is.

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