The bar was mostly empty except for a few people. Soft jazz played in the background, mingled with the sharp sound of glass clinking. The clientele were all obviously high end and it occurred to me right at that moment that I was only eighteen.
I cannot order anything stronger than a soda.
I tentatively stepped toward the counter between two young men who’s eyes lingered on me in appreciation. I smiled, feeling more confident. I waited for the bartender to turn around. He was busy making a couple of cocktails and I wasn’t going to push my luck. Out of the corner of my eye I spied Parker enter from what I assumed was the same back entrance that I was instructed to exit from.
I could feel Parker’s smug confidence more than anything else. He was only a seat away now. I heard him mutter something under his breath about the time and I cleared my throat to get the bartender’s attention. The bartender still didn’t turn around and I huffed angrily just before a voice sounded at my back.
“You’re new,” it said.
I turned my head slightly as a young Ricky Martin look alike stepped up to the stool on my right. He eyed me up and down, something I was becoming more than familiar with.
Confidence.... confidence... confidence.
“Define new,” I said easily
Define new? What the fuck did I just say?
I marveled at the hint of sophistication I heard in my voice. I guess it’s like they say, dress for the job you want. I felt like somebody else in the dress I was wearing. Somebody high class, somebody older.
I giggled softly as he bit his lip then grinned at me.
“Are you here alone? Or..?” He asked while signaling the bartender. Much to my dismay he gave this man his immediate attention. “Two shots of Patron please. One for me and one for the lady.”
A felt my pulse speed up as I glanced at the bartender as slyly as I could. I fully expected him to deny me or as for identification, but he didn’t even look at me.
“Right away Mister Taliman,” was all he said.
I batted my eyelashes for a second. This was Edgar. I was sure of it.
“So, you were about to tell me that you were here alone and incredibly thrilled to meet me. Am I correct?,” he purred at me and I heard Parker snort in laughter behind me. Thankfully, Mister Taliman didn’t seem to notice.
“I’m actually here with a friend,” I replied as the bartender set our drinks in front of us. I eyed mine with uncertainty. I had never tasted liquor before and I was... scared of it. “I came inside to find someone for her.” I went on as he downed his drink, “I’m looking for Edgar.”
I was surprised how easily the lie came out of my mouth. I have never been known as a liar, but the little bit of bullshit sounded so terribly true that I was shocked at myself.
He gestured for me to take my shot and I smiled. I took a deep breath and did my best to mimic exactly what I saw him do. I threw the entire glass to the back of my throat and swallowed.
Dear God. It was smoother than I thought it would be, but I still fought the urge to cough. My entire throat lit on fore and my face flushed with heat.
“You didn’t even flinch,” he said, impressed. “I can think of nothing sexier than a beautiful woman who can swallow like that.”
“So you say you’re here with a friend? A girlfriend? And that you are looking for an Edgar?” He reached out and traced his hand down my arm softly. “Is that a fact? Who is your friend?
I stared at him and leaned a bit closer. “Dale,” I said and watched his eyes light up like a Christmas tree.
“Well then look no further my dove,” he cooed. “You have found him... and he..has found you.” He winked at me before speaking again. “Take me to her, then maybe after she and I have conducted business,” he smiled at me suggestively. “You and I can become better acquainted.”
“The back entrance. Follow me,” I whispered throatily. Dear God that shot was hitting me just as I stepped away from the bar. I could feel it in my hips, they seemed to be swaying with more life than they ever had.
Before we even made it all the way out the exit, Edgar snatched both of my hips in his hands and he spun me around. I laughed playfully, stepping away.
“You are mesmerizing my pet,” he said and I turned back around, barely escaping his grasp.
The back entrance gave way to a cold, dimly lit alley. To the left and toward the street, I could see the care waiting.
“Right this way handsome,” I said, taking his hand and leading him toward the vehicle.
When the two of us reached the car, Kilo stepped out of the shadows, his gun in his hand.
What? Oh my God no!
“Hello Edgar. Remember me?” Kilo said as he raised his weapon.
I felt Edgar tense behind me and I’m sure the look of shock I wore on my face was real enough because the poor guy tried to push me behind him.
"Get in the car Doll Face," Kilo said coldly.
I didn't know what to do so I shook Edgar off and screamed at Kilo. "You used me for this? You just said you wanted to talk to him!"
Kilo wouldn't look at me so I spun around and started to push Edgar back toward the hotel when...
"Fuck it," was all he said before pulling the trigger.
The gunshot sounded in unison with my scream as Edgar instantly went down.
No! No! What have I done?
I could smell fire behind me. I could feel the heat from the barrel at my neck.
"I said get in the car doll face." Kilo's voice, full of anger behind me.
I began to cry watching the blood running from underneath Edgar's body.
Then in a more defeated voice he said, "Please." He put a hand on my arm and opened the door.
"Okay," I replied and retreated into the darkness of the vehicle.
Kilo climbed in behind me and I continued to cry as we sped off. Away from the beautiful city, away from the mirrored hotel, and away from the scene of the crime.
I couldn’t believe I had just witnessed a murder.
Oh my God.
I glanced around me quickly. Parker was laughing about something that Derren was telling him in the front seat. Kilo was doing something to his gun. The three of them aren’t even phased.
Kilo noticed me staring and glared at me angrily, "You and Edgar were pretty chummy back there. So nice of you to try and save him."
What? Is he serious?
I continued crying and his face softened slightly. "Doll face. I told you not to look," he said simply.
I wiped my tears and raised my eyes to his. I gave him the coldest look I was capable of. I hoped that all my disappointment could be seen in my eyes.
He clenched his jaw but his eyes fell sadly on mine.
"Are you taking me home now?" I asked.
He took a deep breath and looked away. "Not yet."
"W-What?" I gasped, feeling desperate.
He glared at me. "I told you I’d let you go and I will," he snapped. "But it would be a big mistake for me to do so here."
"Okay," I said quietly trying to keep my calm. "So then where?"
He stretched his arm back on the seat and said, "Canada."
I burst into tears. "You-you lied to me. Twice," I said. "I don’t believe you."
He removed his arm as I scooted away from him, my tears falling more swiftly now.
He cleared his throat and I caught what looked like regret in his eyes. He started to say something to me, but I shook my head and his coldness returned.
"To the strip Derren. Our plane is waiting," he commanded and proceeded to stare out the window.
I tried to calm myself and dry my tears. I tried to look on the bright side.
Okay, maybe it makes sense for them to leave me in another country, I thought. Maybe he is going to let me go, but...
...I wanted to go home today. I had my heart set on it.
I took a deep breath and stopped sobbing.
It was time for me to start thinking smarter. I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did. I have to think of a way through this.
I will get home.