Lorenzo: “Alright Laini. You want the money then you have to meet me at this location. I’m in an ally, And come alone, as I will.”
Laini: “How do I know you have the money on you?”
Lorenzo: “I’ll send you a picture of it right now.” I snap a picture of the money in a briefcase and send it to her.
Laini: “Great. I hope you know, if you try anything stupid, you’ll regret it.”
Lorenzo: “You have my word.”
Laini: “I’m on my way.” Then she hangs up and I look towards Doctor Kipper who is holding a tranquilizer injection ready to use it on her. He is dressed casually but he’s clearly nervous.
“Are you good?” I ask him and he shrugs.
“I deal with mentally ill people all day, but I usually know what to expect, and I get a rundown on what is wrong with the patient.”
“If you do it quickly I’m sure it will be fine. If she tries to attack you just leave. I don’t want you getting hurt.” I tell him and he nods.
“So how are we doing this?”
“You will causally stand by the side of this building, and wait for her to approach me, then you will quickly inject her arm from behind.” He looks determined as he listens.
“Okay, so the mental hospital is about 5 minutes away from here, and the tranquilizer should keep her immobile for about ten minutes. That gives us five minutes to get her to the hospital and five minutes to get her into her padded room. Sounds doable.”
“Great, now go take your position because she should be here soon.” He walks to the side of the building as I stand in the ally waiting for her.
My hands are sweaty with nerves. But then a familiar car pulls up by the ally, and Laini gets out. She sees me and gives me her resting bitch face, and I smile back.
She walks towards me in stilettos and a small black dress.
“Laini,” I say her name gently right before Dr. Kipper does his part and injects her with the fluid that will knock her out for ten minutes.
“Enzo... what... what have you...” then her eyes shut and I catch her in my arms.
“Let’s go Doc. Well done.”
We get Laini into the car quickly and peel off towards the mental hospital. Yes, what were are doing is technically illegal but she’s way better off here than in prison.
Once we have her in a wheelchair the doc tells me he will take it from here.
“Thank you for your help. I didn’t want her to end up in prison.”
“I understand, but I don’t understand why you took her to the most expensive mental hospital.”
“I want her to get the best care she could get. She wasn’t always like this doc. You wouldn’t even recognize her before.” I admit and he sighs.
“Yeah, it’s a shame. My son James got a stroke when he was younger and he isn’t the same either. However he’s definitely not trying to threaten people’s lives, but if we can find out what’s wrong with her. We may be able to bring her old self back. But no promises.”
I give him my hand to shake in appreciation.
“We’ll keep in touch,” I tell him before heading home.
I’m sitting on the bed nervously looking around as Wanda braids my hair. Lorenzo told me to invite a friend over to ease my anxiety and keep me company while he’s gone.
He walked me through his plan and he made it seem like it was fail-proof but my mind kept creating scenarios where things went terribly wrong.
“Nala, stop moving your head before I bite your ear the way grandma used to.”
My eyes go wide.
“Okay maybe I wouldn’t, but you do need to relax. You are putting me on edge, and you don’t like me on edge.”
“Yikes, you're right,” I say keeping my head still as she finishes up her box braids.
“This makes me miss my hair salon. I just loved styling hair as women told me a bunch of juicy gossip.”
I remember how much pride she had in her hair salon business. She, unfortunately, lost it when she was sued for giving a woman a hair product that made her hair fall out. Even though it wasn’t her fault she lost the case because the woman hired a more expensive lawyer.
“Maybe someday you open up a new salon, you just have to start saving money.”
She shrugs with a sigh.
“Your man is going to love these braids. Not only do they make you look like a Caribbean warrior princess, but it will be something sturdy for him to pull on.”
Then I hear his deep elegant voice as he peeks his head through the bedroom door. And my body lights up like a match.
“That’s a wonderful idea, Wanda.” He says as he walks over and gives her a kiss on the cheek. I don’t feel jealous because it’s just a Hispanic/ Latino thing. That’s just how we greet other people. Then he looks at me in awe, but the only thing I care about is the fact that he’s alive.
“Lorenzo! You did it! Wait... did you actually do it?”
He nods slowly with a smirk and I pull away from Wanda’s hands as I jump into his arms and he spins me happily.
“It was surprisingly easy. Now I have to tell you how beautiful you look Nala, because Wow. Wanda wasn’t kidding about the whole Caribbean princess thing.”
“Um, she said, Caribbean warrior, princess.” I correct him and he chuckles.
“Of course beautiful. I’m buying pizza if you two are hungry.” Wanda and I both nod happily. I haven’t been able to eat worrying so much about him.
“Got to keep our little one fed.” He says with a wink and Wanda gasps.
“What the hell is he talking about Nala?” I sigh as I face her and her eyes drop to my belly, that’s not even showing yet.
“I’m pregnant Wanda.”
“OHHHH, SHIT!” she yells as she paces back and forth in the bedroom. looking between us excitedly.
“And you were planning on telling me this when?...” she asks and I groan.
“I was planning on telling you today but with all the stress going on I forgot. Also... I would love for you to be the godmother if you wish.” I tell her and she looks at me with a venerability I rarely see from Wanda.
“You really mean it?”
I nod and she crushes me in a hug.