Anna Harden watched the man enter the restaurant as her heart rate increased. She had planned, even rehearsed how she would react when she saw him but nothing could compare to the feel of actually having him in front of her.
Not much had changed about him over the years, only hair that was black now shined with a hint of silver. His eyes were still dark, triggered to manipulate but not her anymore. The time that she had been waiting for was here and she was so anxious, but she couldn’t ignore the slight hesitation.
She had to remember who and why she was doing this. That removed any doubt she had about turning away. Victor Versota would not make this easy for her, and she didn’t want easy. In the end, it’ll be worth anything he could and would put her through.
Anna tightened her grip on the coffee pot and moved for his table. He sat alone with two of his hired hands tucked at the table behind him. Research showed that he would meet someone there for a “business proportion” but she was going to shake up this meeting and that brought a smile to her face.
“Sorry about your wait, sir. May I start you off with a cup of co...?” She cut her sentence short to act as if she just recognized him and he did actually what she thought he would do.
“Honey.” A slight smiled touched his lips as he called her the pet name he had given her.
“Vic please, my name is Anna.” She said breathlessly. “What are you doing here?” She looked around nervously. God, she wanted to give herself an award for her performance.
“I can’t. I’m working.”
“You must know how sad I was when I lost my best girl.” He grabbed her hand, massaging her wrist as he talked. “I looked high and low for you and wasn’t able to find you. Sit, Honey and tell me why you hid from me?” He tightened his hold on her wrist silently demanding she sit.
Anna pulled out of his grasp to ease into the chair in front of him. She sat the pot down before rubbing her hand over where he squeezed. This was what she trained for. She rubbed her wrist to give him the illusion that he had hurt her. She wasn’t the same girl he’d first known seven years ago.
“Where’ve you been?” He mumbled as he picked up the pot and poured the fiery liquid into his cup.
“I didn’t know you where looking for me. I thought you had forgotten all about me. It’s been four years since that happen.” She said in a quiet voice.
His eyes grew cold once they moved behind her, then quickly back to her face. “Go finish your job. I shall take you away from this place when I am finished with my meeting.”
She knew better than to look over her shoulder to see what caught his attention, but she was sure it was the man he was meeting. She eased from the chair, but before she could move away, he grabbed her wrist tighter than before.
“Don’t think about running. I won’t like that very much.” He hadn’t even bothered to look at her as he spoke. He released her wrist, and she moved to the back of the restaurant.
She wouldn’t be running at all. He had played right into her hand and all she had to do was wait.
Anna let her boss know she was going on break and she went outside to smoke. She pulled a lighter and a pack of cigarettes from her apron before taking one and lighten it up. She took a pull of the tobacco and stared off into space. Anna remembered when she met Vic, and that was the first time she had known what genuine hatred felt like.
Her long-time friend and foster sister, Nia had invited her to come see her in Miami for the summer and she was more than happy to escape. Nia had moved from their home with their foster parents when she said she wanted to pursue a modeling career. They kicked her out saying that she would either go to college or leave and Nia left, but Anna had played it safe and went to school to become a lawyer.
It had been awhile since she had seen Nia since their parents didn’t want her to have anything to do with her, but she would always call and check on her. Nia had little luck in mainstream modeling, but she was a social media model and bottle girl at a popular nightclub.
As soon as she made it to Nia’s apartment, she was blown away by how well she was living. She couldn’t help but re-imagine how it would be if she had the courage to stand up to their parents and do the thing she really wanted to do. Sing.
Nia took her to a string of nightclubs and one had actually had an open mic night and she sang her heart out. She had actually won the thousand dollar prize, and she had never felt so amazing in her entire life. When they were leaving was when they had bumped into Vic...
“You were amazing.” Vic said as she came off the stage.
“Thanks.” Anna beamed, squeezing Nia’s hand. She was on a high and never wanted to come down.
“You ladies are simply beautiful.” She went still as he moved to touch the strands of her hair. “Is this your natural color?”
“Yes.” She blushed. It wasn’t like it was the first time someone was curious about her hair. It was more of a light chestnut in the winter, but in the summer it was more the color of...
“Honey.” He smiled. “It brings out your eyes.” She didn’t think her cheeks could heat more than they already were, but he proved her wrong. His eyes were dark, almost stealing her breath. He was attractive with dark hair and handsome features, and she could tell he had money by his expensive suit and jewelry that sparkled with each moment. She tried to calm her nerves as she sucked in some air and then she thanked him before he spoke again. “Where are you ladies headed?”
“Where do you suggest?” Nia spoke up.
“Let’s go a few blocks down the street to this place that has nice food and music. I can feed you two and show you a good time, especially after a performance like that.” He looked down at Anna before he grabbed her hand and kissed it. Then he did the same to Nia’s. “I’m Victor, but my friends call me Vic. Shall we go?”
Nia calculated quickly how much they could get out of him and decided why not. Anna was hesitant, but she didn’t want the fun to stop. They moved down the street and before she realized it they were in the club’s VIP section.
A server popped up to ask what they wanted to drink. She looked around waiting for Nia to order their drinks like always, but she disappeared unto the dance floor. Slightly embarrassed that she didn’t have experience in ordering a drink, but before Vic could say anything the server spoke up.
“I’ll bring our special for tonight. I’m sure you’ll like it.” She winked at her before she looked at Vic, who shook his head in refusal of a drink.
“Loosen up, Honey.” He gave her one of those killer smiles before pulling her to a table marked reserved. She only assume that Vic was a big deal in this club to have a table reserved and a server take their order before they even sat at the table.
“I’m fine.” She was assuring herself more than him, but he didn’t have to know that.
“Here you go.” The server handed her a pink drink garnish with a strawberry.
“Thanks. Um...” She searched for a nametag and came up short.
“Crystal.” She winked once more before heading back to the bar.
Anna noticed Vic called over a security guard, and he stood to whisper something in the guy’s ear, and she was thankful that he wasn’t watching as she observed her drink. She took a hesitant sip of it and found that it taste like juice. She would have to hug Crystal for that. She hated strong drinks, but she didn’t want to seem any more out of place than she felt.
As Vic moved back to her, she glimpsed Nia dancing with the two guys who Vic had introduced them to once inside the club. She admired how free willed Nia was and she hope this was just the beginning of her easing out of her shell.
“Let’s join them.” Vic held his hand out for her.
She swallowed more of her drink before grabbing his hand, following behind as he pulled her to the dance floor. The music blaring around them sped up and Anna pressed against Vic moving her hips to the beat. His hands gripped her waist and hips and she couldn’t breathe from the rush of it all. The liquor had moved fast through her system as she held nothing back on the dance floor. It was the only excuse she could come up with for letting all her inhibitions go.
She felt liberated. To finally be from under her parent’s microscope and just being able to enjoy life was amazing, even if it was only for one night. The DJ slowed the music down for the transition to a live band that would perform next. Vic took that time to lean in close and whisper in her ear.
“Let’s get out of here.”