|1| Locked on Molasses
Start writing he”Have you ever?” I wail along with Fantasia’s Lose to Win American Idol video, “needed someone so bad!”
Tears pour down my face as I take another bite of my rice and chicken stew, feeding myself like a baby learning how to swallow solids. I almost choke on the food.
“Sometimes you got to lose!” I croak through the tears, “to win again!” Korey walks into my apartment living room and grimaces. Of course, I am a sight for sore eyes. There I lay in the same pyjamas I have been wearing for the past three days, with my silk bonnet, wailing at my TV screen with papers, empty containers and clothes strewn across the living room floor.
“Tora,” he grimaces, wrinkling his nose up at the smell, “all this for a man who couldn’t even grow a full beard.” He begins to tidy up the mess I had created in my living room.
“Look at that lip wobble,” I cry, pointing my spoon at the scream, “I feel your pain, Fantasia! Men ain’t shit!” Korey rolls his eyes at my outburst.
“If only your enemies could see you now,” he mumbles, “crying over some loser.” He throws my takeaway containers into the bin, dusting his hands off.
“Tora, you can’t continue like this,” he scolds, “you’re an arms dealer and you’re crying over a guy who didn’t even know that you were supposed to peel an onion before chopping.” I guffaw at his comment before taking another bite of my food.
“He said it’s more efficient,” I explain.
“It was as efficient as a turtle trying to reach his own ass,” he replies. I chuckle at his words. Korey never liked Mustafa, my ex, always thought I was dating below me.
“You know what’s even more charming? A shower, go take one.” I begrudgingly crawl off my sofa, dragging my heartbroken body to the shower. How could Mustafa cheat on me? I contemplate as I scrubbed my skin. How could he cheat on me with the damn cleaner? Talk about a cliché.
I wipe the steam off my mirror screen and sigh, my heart aching slightly as I look at my morose face. I was cute; sharp sexy eyes, fully pouty lips. I was petite, yes, but I still had body. I open the towel and stare and my slim but curvaceous body from the intense workouts I had to undergo to stay alive in my job. Yes, I was darker than the girls he went for, blacker even but -
“Stop thinking about him!” Korey’s voice rings into the bathroom. I roll my eyes and rip off the shower cap.
After I have showered, I walk in to see Korey standing there with a dress bag. I glare at him and snatch the clothes out of his hand.
“I’m not going anywhere,” I grumble as I look for more pyjamas. I am not in the right frame of mind to be hijacking shipments, charming political elites nor am I in the mood to be monitoring whatever nonsense my team has done.
“Tora, you know the business needs you to be on job this evening,” Korey reminds me, “you can’t lose your business because of a man!”
Korey and I had gone into arms trafficking a few years back. It was just me, him and a small number of others. We met in the military and after being disillusioned decided, instead of being the little men, we’d work with the big bosses. This had led us to selling multiple military grade weapons to various buyers and making a lot of money at the age of 24.
“I know,” I sigh, “I’m just not in the mood, can’t you go without me?”
Korey looks at me incredulously, “I’ve never wanted to comfort and slap you so bad,” he whispers to himself.
“Slap me then,” I dare him, may the slap would knock sense into me. The sense that left along with Mustafa.
Mustafa. My eyes burn slightly as I hastily rub them. I gasp for air; I cannot believe I wasted three years of my life on this guy. I shared so many intimate details. I shared fears. I shared worries. He made me feel less alone. I broke down walls for this wasteman.
“Hey hey hey,” Korey calls as he wraps his arms around me into a bear hug, “it will get easier.”
“I’m not ready to work,” I cry, I feel my face getting wet as the tears drip down, “I’m not ready to do this.” Korey unpeels himself from and bends down till we are eye level, and I am met with the harsh steel of his eyes.
“Tora,” his no nonsense attitude is coming, “you cannot destroy all you have worked for just because that piece of shit has gone.”
“I know but -,”
“No buts! You know there is a lot at stake this evening, you know we need at least TWO if not THREE contracts, tonight. So, if you don’t start getting ready, I will drag you to the ball in that damn towel!”
I look at Korey in surprise.
“This is what you hired me for. Snap out of it! Get into business mode! We have money to make! Weapons to sell. Where is that bad b you’re always talking about? At the moment, you’re just a sad b.”
“I am not a sad b.”
“Good get fucking dressed then.” Get you a best friend like Korey, ladies and gentlemen.
I twirl in the evening gowning admiring how the fabric hugs me. I had decided to undo the African threading and had sleeked my hair into a low bun. I look fine if I do say so myself.
“You look hot,” Korey affirms, “no one would suspect that a few hours ago you had been wearing the same pyjamas for 3 days.”
I roll my eyes, “he said because I wouldn’t put out and he was tired of waiting.” My heart cracks a little. I guess years is a long time to make someone wait, but there was something off about him and eventually I became comfortable with how the relationship was.
“Uh huh, I mean I still find it weird that you’re a virgin but doesn’t give the dickhead the right to cheat,” Korey explains as we leave the bedroom.
I sigh, attaching the taser to my thigh that was covered by the dress.
“That’s it, no more relationships,” I declared, “just work and men bringing me food. That’s what you guys are good for anyway.”
Korey looks at me in disbelief, “you didn’t think that way with Mustafa.” I wince at his words.
“What do you think?” I respond sarcastically.
The driver notifies that we are about 30 minutes away from the event and I mentally prepare myself for work mode.
“So, we have three targets,” Korey explains handing me the folder, “Amir Khan, minister of defence; Tristan Dubois and Leila Jackson.” I look at the files taking in the images and information. Leila Prince, Queen of a Colombian drug cartel; Tristan Dubois, leader of a French criminal organization and the Amir Khan minister of defence for Pakistan. I think over how I will approach and pitch.
“I know we’re short on time, but I didn’t know how to approach you while you were not that well.”
“It’s ok,” I respond, reviewing Leila’s file, my heart aching slightly, “but who is running the event?”
“Big guy, important guy: Jairo Abrami, he also dabbles in a lot of questionable things.” Jairo Abrami, his name sounded familiar.
“Hold on, isn’t he the guy that massacred that family?” I ask, the news headline flashes in my mind. Of course, the police could not ‘find’ the perpetrator but everyone in the underworld knew it was him. However, he had the law so deep in his pocket that he easily got away with it.
“Yup, that’s the guy,” Korey responded, “and so it’s best if we just stay away from the psychopath.” I could feel his protective instincts kicking in. Ever since we’d both lost our parents just before we joined the military, it has been just me and Korey. I smile at him. He was always quick to protect and defend me.
“Don’t worry, Korey, I’ll avoid him like the bubonic plague,” I respond as we got out of the car.
The event rolls on painstakingly slow as I get down to work. Having already charmed, Leila and Tristan, I have been invited to France and Colombia to finalise plans. I graciously accept slipping away when I see Amir Khan. There have been rumours he had been secretly arming rebels in the area bordering India and Pakistan. Now all I have to do is be the source of the weaponry. As usual he had a gorgeous South Asian lady by his side, she was young enough to be his grandchild.
“Minister Khan,” I greeted, inwardly rolling my eyes as I felt him leer at my body, “my name is Tora Hayes, how are you this evening?”
“A lot better now you’re here,” he jokes, “dear why don’t you go get us a drink.” His lady of the night obediently walks away as I feel his eyes train on me.
“How can I help you, Mrs Hayes?”
“Miss,” I correct, “well it’s more how I can help you.” A perverted smile spreads across his face at my response. I pitch the business watching as his smile shrinka then grow again.
“Very interesting,” a rough voice responds from behind me, his voice sounded like it came from just above my head. It was deep and gravelly, yet it washed over my skin like velvet, soft but not as comforting.
I turn around to be met with a chest, which isn’t difficult given my height. I stepped back to create space, noticing how tall the man is. I look up to see the face of the most gorgeous man who had ever graced my life.
“Ah Mr Abrami,” Amir greets, “how have you been?” I feel my heart jump at the words, this is the face of the man that has killed all those innocent people.
I feel my neck and face grow warm from his gaze as he scans my body. His eyes are very dark brown, so dark it reminds me of the purest of molasses.
“Jairo Abrami,” he introduces as his lips kiss the back of my hand. They’re soft but heated, searing my skin. Korey’s voice rang in the back of my mind.
“Nice to meet you,” I respond, slightly intimidated by the power that emanates off this man and the look he is giving me. My heart thuds against my ribcage as I try to reign in my emotions.
“Nice to meet you, Mr Abrami -.”
“Call me Jairo.”
“Oh, ok,” I respond, my mind feels a mess, “nice to meet you, Jairo. I’m Taro Hanes,” I manage to lie coolly. Mr Amir Khan looks confused at the new name. Don’t snake me, I mentally plea.
“Oh, I thought your name was Tora,” he responds in confusion
“Oh, you may have misheard,” I lie again, my body well aware of Jairo’s presence, every hair standing on end.
“Taro.” The way my fake name rolls off his tongue causes a tingle in my spine. It was almost as if he knew I was lying.
He is really close now, his finger touches my chin and he inspects me. They say eyes are the windows to the soul and from his own, it felt as if nothing resides in him. Just darkness. Darkness, with which, I’d be consumed by. He frowns when I take another step back.
“Yes, Miss Hanes, I would like to continue this in Pakistan if it would be of interest to you.” He hands me his card and I take it gratefully. Three out of three, I celebrate internally. I feel my heart hammer against my chest as I am left face to face with the gorgeous soulless man. I admire his face, beautifully sculpted and freshly shaved. He has really long lashes I think to myself as he continues to stare. His hair is long too but he has tied it back.
I clear my throat, “how can I help you, Jairo?” I silently pray for Korey to find me.
“There’s nothing you can help me with...yet.” My mind goes blank at the words as I feel his hand stroke my neck and dance around my collar bone.
I take in a harsh breath of air at the intrusion. I gently brush his hand away and see him frown at my actions. He makes me uncomfortable.
“I’d be happy to take your business card, Jairo, and I could give you a call and we could discuss what you would like,” I offer respectively. I see Korey rushing towards us and thank whatever God is out there.
“How about over dinner?”
“Ummm I’m not sure my boyfriend would like that.” I didn’t think it was any more possible but I inwardly recoil as I see his eyes grow even dark as he glares at me.
Korey walks towards us in haste.
“Is this him?” Jairo growls.
“No,” I respond, fearing the worst. He looks ready to put a bullet through Korey, “this is my business partner, Adam.”
“Good evening, Mr Abrami,” Korey greets, he looks at his watch and feigns surprise, “I am very sorry but we have to go, as there seems to be an issue at the office.” I glance over at Jairo who continues to watch me, his body unmoving. His hand reached over as he rubbed a thick thumb over my bottom lip. I lean my head back, not wanting the contact.
“If you know what’s good for you, you’ll get rid of whatever boyfriend you have, princess.” His stare pins me down, speechless.
“Have a good evening, Mr Abrami.” Korey grabs my hand and pulls me towards the entrance. I’m afraid to turn around, feeling his stare singing my skin. Korey does look behind, his lips pressing into a thin line as we run out of the building.re…