She 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 was not going to 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.
She 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 be meeting someone here 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 breathless. "What are you doing here?" She looked around nervously. God, she wanted to give herself an award for her performance thus far.
"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 weren'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.
She 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. She was trained for this. She rubbed her wrist to give him the allusion that he had hurt her. She wasn't the same girl he'd first known seven years ago.
"Where've you been?" He said softly as he picked up the pot and poured the hot 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 and they moved behind her then quickly back to her. "Go finish your job. I shall take you away from this place when I am finish 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 suppose to be meeting. She eased from the chair and before she could move away her grabbed her wrist again, tighter than before.
"Don't think about running. I won't like that very much." He hadn't even bothered to look at her but he did release her wrist and she moved to the back of the restaurant.
She wouldn't be running anytime soon. He had played right into her hand and all she had to do was wait. She let her boss know that she was going on break and she went outside to smoke. She pulled a lighter and a pack of cigarettes from here apron before taking one and lighten it up. She took a pull of the tobacco and stared off into space. She remembered when she met Vic and that was the first time she known what real 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 chose to leave 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 didn't have much 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. She was doing great and 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 up 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 by the way but my friends call me Vic. Shall we go?"
Nia had 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 knew it they were in the club's VIP section. A waitress popped up to ask what they wanted to drink. She looked around waiting for Nia to order their drinks like always but she had disappeared unto the dance floor. Slightly embarrassed that she didn't know how to order a drink but before Vic could say anything the waitress 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 could only assume that Vic was a big deal in this club to have a table reserved and a waitress 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 waitress 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 whispered 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 look any more out of place than she felt. As Vic moved back to her she caught a glimpse of 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 around them sped up and Anna was 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 fully 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 be performing next. Vic took that time to lean in close and whisper in her ear.
"Let's get out of here."
Surprise lit in her eyes as she stared up at him for a long moment. She couldn't image a man like this would actually want her but the look in his eyes only reassured her that he did.
"Want to take Nia and freshen up before we leave?" He said once Nia approached with the two guys. Anna grabbed Nia's hand as they maneuvered their way through the crowd towards the bathroom. They could see the line was out the door and she felt a tug on her hand.
"Maybe we should just go back." Nia said.
"Yeah, let’s go." She really had to use the bathroom but she didn't want to keep the guys waiting longer than they had to.
"Hey." Crystal called out to them. "Leaving already?"
"Yes. We were going to freshen up first but you see this line." She stretched her hand out towards the line of women propped against the wall anxiously waiting for more women to exit so they could have their turn.
"I can let you use the private bathrooms in the back." Words couldn't describe how Crystal had been a life savor tonight.
"Thanks!" They followed behind her as she led them down a hallway. She pushed through swinging doors to a smaller hallway that held four more doors and two had restroom signs.
"Just come back through the swinging doors and down the hall on your left. I have to head back to the bar." She smiled. "It was nice to meet you." She called over her shoulder as she pushed pass the swinging doors.
"Making friends?" Nia teased as they eased into the bathroom. Anna rushed into the only stall the bathroom had and handled her business quickly before coming out to wash her hands.
"Or something." she said as she check her make-up that was slightly smudged but she pulled paper towels from the holder to clean it up. "You know where we're going next?"
"Someone is eager to get under the hot money man?" Nia was behind the stall but she could hear the smile in her voice.
"Oh my God, Nia! Why would you say that?" He cheeks warmed as she reapplied her lipstick.
"You better decide now if you want Mr. Hottie or not because if we walk out of here with them, you are definitely spreading those pretty little legs for him tonight." Nia came out the stall with a knowing smile on her face as she moved to wash her hands. "He can't keep his eyes off of you."
"Oh stop it." She rolled her eyes as she moved to spray herself with perfume.
"Come on, Anna." Nia called out as she moved out the door.
"I'm coming. I'm coming." She stuffed all her items back in her bag then tossed the paper towels in the trash before coming through the door. She paused. "Nia?"
The swinging doors were swaying and she called out to Nia again. Why Nia hadn't waited was beyond her but she rushed to catch up with her. She pushed through the swinging doors and that's when a wide hand clamped over her mouth. She tried to fight, to twist out of the hold he had her in but he only tighten his grip as he pushed through the door that lead outside that she hadn't paid attention to when they were coming through with Crystal.
Awaiting them was a van that door was open and she finally saw Nia laid on the floor at the feet of two masked men. Hot tears burned her eyes as she continued to struggle against the man. She had to get out of his hold....
"Son of a-"
She bit his hand as hard as she could and cause a momentary slip in his hold.
"Help!" She screamed as she scrambled to free herself completely but he had a hard grip on her dress as he tried to grab her completely. "Somebody help!"
A tight grip on her hair caused her to tumble back against the man as he clamped his hand over her mouth again, mindful of his fingers this time. Another man grabbed her feet as he pushed her into the van and the door slammed behind them and sped off. Only then did he throw her to the floor where she reached for Nia who was out like a light.
"Nia!" She pushed the hair from her face to see a knot forming on her head. "What did you do to her?"
"Let's just say she gave us a harder time than you did." a masked man laughed.
"You bastard!" She reached for the man fist flying but he blocked her shots, laughing at her efforts before grabbing her by the neck and throwing her to the floor again.
"I wouldn't try that again." The one who held her feet earlier warned . She was in the fight of her life but she would wait for a better opportunity then a moving van with three big strong men against one measly woman.
Shortly, the van came to a stop and the guys made quick work of grabbing them and moving them into the house. Nia had yet to wake up and one of the men carried her inside a house as she followed behind. She hadn't seen much but trees and the house that was white not much to it. From the ride over she knew it couldn't be far from the club.
She tried to retain as much information as possible just in case they had to make a run for it but she needed Nia to wake up. She followed as the moved into the dark house down the stairs to what she assumed would be a basement. She felt her chances of getting out alive slipping away more and more as they walked down the stairs. She paused at the final step. There were four beds, two empty and the other two occupied by two nude women chained and huddled up close to the headboard.
"Keep moving." One man commanded as he pushed her.
She felled to the floor but bounced back up quicker than anyone of them were expecting but he still manage to catch her as she moved for the steps. "You'll have to kill me first!" She said as she fought his hold.
"How about we kill your friend first?"
Nia was starting to wake as one man tossed her to the bed, pointing a gun at her. She barely heard the cries of the two women as her heart thumped loudly in her chest. Nia was stirring, trying to gain conciseness and she couldn't help but pray they were both able to walk away from this alive.
She breathed a sigh of relief as the hold on her eased and she ran into his arms. "Those men have Nia! Don't let them take her. Please! I was so scared. Don't..." She sobbed in his shirt as he pulled her face to look up at him.
"Be a good girl and go upstairs."
"I-I, I don't understand." She looked back at the men. They didn't look frighten by Vic's presence only then did she notice the one who had held the gun on Nia was now securing her arms to cuff the hung from the bed post.
"We have to get out of here." She tried to get Vic to move but the look he gave her sent a chilling feeling down her spine.
"He's in on it, Anna" She heard Nia wheeze out.
He was in on it.
How could she have been so stupid to believe he was there to save them? She turned to look at Nia and she had no idea how she could save them.
"What is this?"
A smile broke out on his face. "This, my honey girl,” He caressed her cheek. “, is the beginning of a great business endeavor." She snatched away from him as if he'd slapped her. "I have many friends who would love the four of you."
"I won't do it."
He grabbed her hair in a tight fist before slamming his mouth against her. She felt bile rise in her throat and before she could bit at his lips he pulled away.
"You're a monster, Vic. You keep your damn hands off of her!" Nia yelled as she pulled at the cuff.
"Shut her up for me, Mike." Vic smiled as he pulled Anna along as he sat in a chair and sat with her in his lap. He forced her to look at Nia as the man approached her unzipping his pants.
"Stop this, Vic." She said in a shaky voice. He wouldn't do this. She tried to turn away but he held on to her chin, forcing her to watch helplessly. She closed her eyes and pressed her hands to her ears. She wanted to close out everything around her. This all had to be a bad dream.
"Honey.” He stroked her hair. “My sweet, sweet honey."
Any minute she thought she would wake up from this nightmare but all she could hear was Nia's voice yelling for the man not to come any closer; then for him to stop touching her. A moment later she heard a hard smack and she bit her lip as tears slid down her face...
She snapped out of her trance when she caught the moving of someone in the alley. Tears blurred her vision but she wiped them away to see the men who sat behind Vic earlier. They were now posted up on the siding of the building watching her. Her trigger finger itched and she was thankful her gun was nowhere around because she would end both of their lives before they knew what had hit them. She should’ve known he would send someone out back to make sure she didn't run but the fight hadn't even started.
She tossed the cigarette, wiping away any remaining tears before she turned and secured her game face. She dedicated her life to one little girl to protect her at all cost and with a man like Vic in the world she could never be safe. She had one shot to take Victor Versota down and this was it.