“You look different,” Vanni uttered as his eyes stayed transfixed on me.
I could see in his eyes that he was trying to find the word to describe my new look, but after two hours this is what he came up with.
I raised my brow with a frown, regarding him with a look of disappointment.
“That’s the word you came up with since eleven o’ clock this morning?”
I diverted my eyes from his form, taking up my Margarita and taking a sip.
After our horrid scolding, DJ came to our rooms distributing our next mission and course of action.
Giovanni thought since the media had a vague image of my appearance that it’d be smart for me to get a makeover.
Lea, their gang ‘stylist’ had taken up my case and did her best to make me not look like myself.
Gone was my straight brown hair with red highlights, replacing that was black kinky curls with gold highlights - which I had to fight really hard to get added in. Bangs ended above my eyebrows and my hair stopped at my shoulders, the shortest it had ever been.
I literally cried in that chair as pieces of my cut hair fell to the ground. I kept it a constant length all these years because that’s how my mother liked it and now even that was taken away from me.
As much as I hated that she cut my hair, Lea wasn’t as bad as the other gang members were. She was down to earth and by the way she spoke you could tell she wasn’t voluntarily here.
Her dark eyes screamed hardships, her short frizzy mane showed signs of repeated cutting, something she most likely did to cope with everything around her... and her body, her scars, the distortion around her gang tattoo showed abuse, forceful actions.
We talked and bonded as she worked her magic on my hair. Lea was beautifully flawed, a woman who didn’t deserve all that was forced on her but continued on believing that freedom is near.
Faith like that was hard to come by but there was something, someone driving her belief. Seeing that person again was her only reason for carrying on...
“I wanted to say beautiful but that’d imply that you didn’t always look beautiful so I refrained from using it and different just seemed ideal,” Vanni explained and I drifted from my thoughts back to the present.
A cool wind blew pass our table, taking my beach hat with it. Reaching outwards, Vanni caught it before it got lost in the crowd beside us. I took it from Vanni thanking him before fixing the hat on my head.
I looked at him, a dark brown tint covering the image before me. Sighing, I took off the sunglasses staring out at the busy Atlanta street. The cars honked around us as people rushed about, trying to make it to their destination on time.
We were on a scouting mission at Café de la Rey. We’d been issued the task of watching Mr. Wedderburn’s assistant, Molly Jackson.
There was word on the street that Molly and Wedderburn were having an affair, something that could end any future mayor’s chances of seeing that seat.
She was currently in a building opposite the Café, she had been there for almost an hour now.
“When do you think she’ll make an appearance?” Vanni asked as he stared at the old, brick building with distaste.
“It’s hard to say... It’s been an hour and no movement inside the building and no one has left or entered. Plus the place looks abandoned,” I said sipping my drink.
He leaded back in a black jacket covering a black, muscle shirt and dark blue jeans covering his lower half.
“Should we enter or continue to watch?”
“I’m not sure,” I replied fiddling with the gun beneath my yellow sundress. “We were told to watch her.”
“Who’s to say she didn’t take a back exit?” He asked and I stared at the building thinking long and hard.
A few minutes later, my eyes locked with his and I nod in affirmative. Leaving enough money to cover our bill and for a tip, we made our way onto the busy street. Hastily, we crossed the road and discretely entered the building.
The dust and the stench of dead mice invaded my nostrils and I covered my nose and mouth before the urge to vomit took over. I grabbed my gun from its holster and walked down the rundown hall into a broken living room.
Why the hell is the future mayor’s secretary in a dump like this?
Venturing further into the broken building, the stench seemed to become fainter, leading me to believe that people have been here regularly.
Vanni stuck close to me watching my back and scouting the area for threats.
Panting and sharp cries caught my ears and I looked at Vanni who nodded and pointed up the creaky stairs.
Slowly, we made our way up the brittle staircase minding each step we take. The cries and laboured breaths got louder and I wondered if it was truly Mr. Wedderburn in there.
“Ah... More! Harder!” A woman cried as the floor creaked beneath the rustling bodies.
Making my way closer with Vanni behind me, I peeked into the room. Molly was the first person I recognized and her naked back was to me and below her an African American man with thick muscular thighs... not Mr. Wedderburn.
They both hit their crescendo on the sturdy mattress below them and I unconsciously closed my eyes as she crawled off his naked body.
“Who is he?” Vanni whispered from behind me and I shrugged in reply.
“How’s our little Mayor-to-be, Allison?” A deep, rich voice questions from inside the room and Vanni and I shared a look of confusion.
“He’s gliding up the poles effortlessly, almost like me on your dick,” she joked kissing his shoulder. “He’s also playing into my palm, his wife has been seeing their campaign manager and it’s taking its toll on him. He’ll be in my bed by the end of the week.”
“Good work Princess,” he praised caressing her jaw. “Soon, we’ll have him.”
I studied his profile as his face came to light. A stubborn jawline, goatee, piercing brown eyes, full lips and short relatively curly hair. His eyes were green and his body was inked all over.
Who was he? It wasn’t everyday an average person seeks to get a Mayor in their pocket, unless he was from another gang.
Allison draped her leg across him brandishing a tattoo and my breath left me instantly. My theory was proven correct. The Silver Sword Gang.
I looked over at Vanni and we seemed to be on the same wavelength. The Poison Daggers, had competition. Two gangs after the same pawn, this wouldn’t end well.
Allison and her mystery lover continued to whisper and fuck, oblivious to our presence and I motioned to Vanni while I started to back away from the room.
“We need to report this to Padre," he states leading me back the direction we came from, Allison’s moans serenading us.
“This is bad, Vanni,” I whisper taking the stairs cautiously and he nods.
Everything was going good with our retreat until a stair came lose. Instantly, I fell through the staircase with a groan and as I landed a board ripped through my flesh.
“Shit!” I cried out with tears in my eyes, unable to hold it back.
My back hit the ground really hard, causing immediate pain when I move and my leg was busted up, dripping blood everywhere. When I thought this couldn’t get any worse, shouts and gunshots sounded from above me.
Vanni. I needed to help or at least be able to protect myself.
Quickly, I searched for my gun beneath the rumble and as I had it in my grasp, Vanni reached me with worry eyes. He looked at me and his forehead creased in thought. We needed to move but I was in no condition to, I’d only slow him down. Finally, Vanni picked me up bridal style and carried me into a less filthy kitchen placing me on the counter.
Swiftly he ripped my dress, placing the cloth in my hands before looking over his shoulder.
“Bandage your leg, stop the bleeding,” he stated looking between the threshold and me. “I need to-”
“Go, I’ll be fine,” I said sternly, noticing his internal conflict. “Just don’t die.”
He paused for a moment before nodding; he broke into a sprint and disappeared from my field of vision. Gunshots rang out against the walls above me and I grunt tying my leg with the cloth. The shouts and fighting get fainter and I suspect they were trying to escape.
My hand slipped hitting my wound and my lip trembles. Pain shot through my being with each knot I make but I bit it down focusing on the task. I needed to help myself and get out of here... I needed to help Va-
Floorboards creaking from my left alert me and I grabbed my gun, scanning the room. A shadow casted itself on the floor boards leading to the kitchen and I mentally cursed, a Silver Sword. Slowly I eased myself off the counter, despite my back’s and leg’s protests. I stumble towards the wall, back flat and I glanced to my left watching the kitchen entrance.
The creaking got louder and I bit my lip fighting the pain pulsing through my body. A gun was pushed through the opening followed by hands and as the person’s head came into view, I placed my gun at their temple.
“Drop the gun,” I said sternly, fighting the whimpers wanting to escape.
The man held up his hand in protest, but I saw the assault before it came. He knocked my hands to the wall tilting his body out of the gun’s range but I kicked my foot out, striking him in his stomach.
The force of the kick threw him back, freeing my hands but I buckled against the wall as pain shot through my spine. Gripping the gun, I emerged from the kitchen gun pointed forward only for him to slap it out of my hand.
He grabbed my shoulders slamming me against the wall and I grunted, eyes wide as pain flared up my spine. My brain kicked into autopilot and my knee shot up, striking his crotch. His hold slackened on me and I threw my fist at his face sending him down. I slumped forward unable to stand straight and he swept my feet before rolling on top of me.
I kicked and thrashed trying to get him off but he held me down. I started to scream and cry out only for his hand to cover my mouth.
“Shaneil, stop!” he yelled and my eyes widened.
How did he know my name?
I continued to thrash and he groaned holding me down. “I’m not your enemy!”
I thrashed not believing him, my knee stroke his thigh hard and he yelped.
“Fuck! Shaneil I’m your father!”
My body froze at his words. My widened eyes stared into his brown eyes. He had relatively long brown hair with a hint of grey, his face was stern with wrinkles here and there.
The more I looked at him the more I saw the similarities between us. This couldn’t be happening...
He removed his hand from my mouth noticing I’d stopped fighting him and I stared at him, all rational thoughts lost.
“Dad,” I uttered in shock and he smiled, a cluster of emotions overtaking him.
“My Sha- fuck!” he cried as he was shot in the shoulder.
Something pricked my neck but I barely took notice as my father rolls off me. My eyes flew to a sweaty, busted lip Vanni as he shot after my father.
My anxiety rose and I looked towards my dad in fright but saw that he evaded the shots, quickly scurrying into the kitchen. Vanni sprint after him before I can even utter a word and I lay there staring at where they disappeared.
“-Shaneil I’m your father!”
The man’s words repeat in my head and I stare at the ceiling in turmoil.