J O H N
He was amused.
John was amused. This girl had amused him. And excited him. She had done something that was almost impossible. She had escaped him. And all it took was a simple kiss.
John wasn’t too much of a prideful man, thus he could see the ingenuity in her move. It was a last-minute flight situation, but he was impressed in how quickly she thought of it. She knew he would be, in no way, prepared for it, instead prepared for the complete opposite. It was a move so unpredictable that it barely damaged his ego.
It was reinvigorating. He found no entertainment the menial jobs he was taking as he once did before the novelty of the job wore off, but now he knew this was no ordinary case. She was the daughter of Alessandro De Luca. She was a mafia princess with her father’s wits. She would prove to be more of a challenge than he originally thought.
And secretly, he had hoped that.
He needed someone like her to test him.
He wondered if the little girl knew who he was. Or what he did. He wondered if knowing would panic her more right into his clutches. But he loved the thrill of the chase. That was the reason he went into the business anyway. So, he wouldn’t tell her. He’d let her find out in due course.
It was something he had felt ashamed of originally, but his heart had turned cold since then. Seeing her sparked the discarded emotions, surfacing them. And whilst she excited him, he feared she would awaken something else, more dangerous to him than a mere bullet to the head.
People were predictable. That made them boring. That made his job boring, as unpredictable as everyone else thought it was. He wanted someone to fight, to challenge him, to escape him. And she did.
But no one could match him. Perhaps she could.
In their limited interaction with each other, he had learnt a few things, as he was sure she had too.
One, she was quick on her feet. He had to learn to be prepared for the unexpected. She would know her move was comprised, and she would surprise him a different way next time. He had to be ready for anything.
Two, Milo Caldwell and Lucia Rossi were her loyal friends, which told him she had secrets from her father. There was clearly a lot she had kept from Alessandro and she would further have more shady contacts that she would turn to for help. Specifically, someone that could tell her who he was.
Three, her running away wasn’t some off the cuff decision. She desired to leave more than anything. She was willing to just kiss the guy chasing her for the chance to escape. He didn’t know how far she was willing to go just yet, but he feared it would be further than he was. And that thought exhilarated him too.
She was a mafia princess. Brought up in a world full of ruthless mobsters and homicidal, trigger-happy assholes. Perhaps that had rubbed off on her. He wasn’t prepared to kill her, in fact, he couldn’t, but she could. She couldn’t be hurt. She knew that. Alessandro would kill John himself for hurting his daughter.
His next move was Rossi’s apartment. He scoured the place and the laptop Marcella had clearly used to search for her next step. But it gave him exactly no clues as to where she was. She had hidden her true journey with dummy ones, so that by the time he checked them all out, she wouldn’t be there anymore.
It did tell him that her plans weren’t complete. If she still needed to search locations and map out what to do next, it meant she was scrambling. Perhaps she wasn’t as prepared as he originally thought. Or… she had left before she could finish. Something must have pushed her to leave early.
He knew Alessandro hadn’t been completely honest about the relationship he had with his daughter. He could see that in her eyes, the fear, not of him, but of going back there. He could see that something had triggered her, and she would be kicking and screaming once John had caught her again.
And he would catch her again.
She couldn’t have gotten far on foot or even by some mode of transport. He mapped a radius in which she could have travelled in a car in the time she had left him, and he matched that up with bus, train and major road routes.
He wondered whether curiosity would get the better of her. Maybe she had tried to find out who he was. That would have slowed her down. He knew she had a set goal, somewhere she was heading to. She had planned this; she would have planned for some way to get as far from New York City as possible, preferably over to the west coast. Philly was way too close.
She must have organized transport, maybe a car. The trick was to stay ahead of the bounty. And many bounties were stupid predictable assholes.
But not Marcella.
But she clearly wasn’t as good as she thought she was. John had almost got her so easily. He knew she would be kicking herself about it, and he relished in that fact. But she should have been in his mustang right now, sobbing or screaming or kicking up a fuss, but inside the car, nonetheless.
She would have to get to that car, so presumably, she was on foot. That narrowed down his search. He had a list of contacts Milo Caldwell had that could have come in handy. He had stolen them from his phone, and a list like that was valuable right now.
Caldwell was her contact away from Alessandro. Rossi was too, but he was certain this plan was conceived with the help of Caldwell alone. He would have organized transport for her. Although he didn’t have the exact plans, where he would find the car or who it was, he crossed referenced every contact Caldwell had, until he found a few different guys who worked at garages, junk yards, and anything associated with cars.
When a call rang out on his personal phone, he noted that it was his baby sister on the caller ID. Marcella reminded him of her, the youth in their eyes. Even though he wasn’t too old himself, he had seen wars that he had worked tirelessly to keep his sister, Sara, from.
“John, hey,” she greeted as he reluctantly answered.
Whilst he was on the job, he had to keep his emotions in check and cast them to the side. Sara brought out the most troublesome of them: protectiveness, loyalty and fear. He had a fear of losing her, and if one of his enemies caught on to that fact, or even the fact that she existed, his sister would be in danger. And he would then continue to act irrationally, and it would be his demise too.
“Hey, Sara. Is it something important? I’m working,” he grumbled, attempting to clue his sister in on his mood.
He might provide child support, but he wasn’t her confidant. She wasn’t his responsibility. He kept out of her life for her own good, and he wanted to keep it that way. He regretted not having a close relationship with her. Her safety was much more important.
He had always felt close to her, even when they were miles away. As she grew up, he grew up too, and was in his teens, getting into the life he didn’t want her to have. It was best he stayed away. And she rarely saw him. Perhaps they saw each other face to face twice a year, on a good year. But he couldn’t subject her to his rotten heart and corrupted mind.
“Mom didn’t come home last night and dad’s not doing anything about it.”
He knew what this was. An attempt to get closer to him. She had recently learned that the money was coming from him, and she wanted a better relationship with him. And as many times as he stated he didn’t want one, she was incredibly persistent. She was in that stage where she looked up to him, that he was somewhat of a role model for her. That fact alone had made him distraught, that her only role model was a criminal heartless bounty hunter who she had no personal relationship with. He only remained her role model because she didn’t know the true nature of her brother.
“Mom is never home. I’ve told you before, don’t worry. I have to go. Bye,” he said rapidly, hanging up before she could get anymore words out that would convince him to carry on the conversation.
He remembered a girl, only a few years older than his own sister, who lost a parent thanks to him.