Chapter 9: Dealing & Breaking Loyalty
Corridors that smelled of piss, alcohol and vomit quickly open up into a flashy back room with a dark red theme. Old fashioned chairs are lined up around a pool table where guests all play poker.
Men and women sit around, flirting, smirking and feeling up their hands of cards like they’re the strippers that were no doubt occupying and entertaining the main part of the club.
An older blonde woman in a gold dress oversees everything, her eyes pink and watery. She looks shocked as Dale and his men walk in boldly, taking seats. She looks breathless as she eyes Dale, while I watch as Serge is left without a seat.
Not for long, though, he simply grabs a guy’s shoulder and throws him out of the chair, taking the now ‘conveniently’ empty spot.
“A hush,” Ace speaks into the sudden quiet between everyone here, and he picks up some cards, “Let’s start again, Paige, you grab the clients, alright?”
“Gage is dead,” she whispers, refusing to do as Ace has just commanded.
“And my dick is dead after all the times Serge ran his bolts over it,” Ace raises a brow, uncaring, “Get the clients or get a bullet in your head – what would you prefer?”
“Have some respect for your elders,” one younger woman on an older man’s lap, caress’ her sugar daddies face while glaring at Ace, “You’re guests here and she owns the club.”
“On the contrary,” Dale speaks easily, as I stand by his chair and his sly hand reaches out and snakes around my waist, pulling me down onto his lap, “Everyone is a guest in my city, sweet thing,” he compliments the woman, oddly sending a shiver of jealousy right through my spine. I glare up at him and he is smirking, I know he notices my reaction even when he doesn’t bother to meet my gaze. Instead he dominates everyone around the table with his slow blinking eyes and powerful words, “Paige, your loss is my loss… but the show must go on… everyone dies,” he pretends to sound empathetic but the more I seemed to get to know about Dale, the less I seem to understand.
And the more I wanted to find out.
Paige gulps and eventually submits, leaving the room while Ace gets the game started.
“Wise old years… wise old lying eyes,” the sugar daddy with his young woman on his lap gives everyone a wink as he glances at the deck Ace has started to shuffle.
“It’s called the wise old man tries, to succeed the other guys, hoping to impress his cutie pie,” Ace sounds so damn lame as he winks at the girl on the old man’s lap and she smiles happily from the attention, followed with giving me a greasy glare.
“Oh I can do better,” Ace winks again, “Some say –”
“Shut the fuck up and deal already, you stupid shit,” Jose thumps a fist onto the pool table, impatiently hissing at Ace.
“Not until I shuffle the kerfuffle of cards, my lady,” Ace nods at Jose and I sit back. Just as I’m about to get comfortable, Jose makes his move.
He grabs down into his belt, and he literally throws a knife across the pool table straight for Ace’s shocked face. The ex-military sniper, however, holds the deck of cards up quickly, and the knife slices through the middle before falling into his lap.
“A new deck, then,” Ace growls, throwing the old ruined cards over his shoulder. Serge passes him a spare pack from the corner of the table, wrapped in plastic.
“You could have lost a finger,” the other girl says in awe of Ace’s quick reaction.
“Don’t tempt me to break all yours,” Jose directs to the girl, “Don’t encourage him again, whore, or I’ll find out how far your legs really bend back,” Jose decides to chuckle and I gasp.
“Don’t be so rude,” I snap out, feeling a need to stick up for her even though she was being a bitch before. However, Dale quickly lifts a finger to my lips.
“Don’t speak, kitten,” Dale growls in my ear.
He continues to keep his finger pressed to my lips so I can’t talk further and only lowers his hand when Ace finally hands out the cards.
I watch while Dale keeps a firm hand on the inside of my thigh, occasionally rubbing his emerald ring into my wet panties, which have now been allowed to stay where they should be.
I choose to stay silent as Dale has advised. More people soon enter the room, whom Paige escorts in. She orders them to sit on couches or watch if they wish.
I’m confused who the young and rough looking people are that have been brought here, but I quickly forget about their presence.
I am consumed within the game, the laughter being thrown about with the banter. I have no idea how to play poker but I quickly learn as people bluff about what cards they are holding.
As the night rolls on, for the last round, interesting things are being thrown onto the table for people to win.
The girl on the sugar daddies lap eventually takes off her panties and places them neatly on the table as a prize. Jose puts in his knife, Serge puts in the keys for STRIKE, Ace cuts off a lock of his gold hair, while winking at Dale… and Dale puts in his green emerald ring.
Other things on the table are phones, jewellery from Paige and a bottle of 200yr old wine.
Everyone is crowded around, so interested in who is going to win the final round.
Most of the time I had been trying to judge everyone’s poker faces. Now, my eye was on the ring in the middle.
I literally lick my lips seeing it this close, this vulnerable. This was the best opportunity yet because I knew Dale had a winning hand, somehow he had pulled it off.
I knew he was going to take the jackpot. I was just waiting for everyone else to put down their cards. Once it was over, the only way for Dale to reach over for his winnings, was if I moved off his lap… or if I gathered the winnings for him. Which is why I was so excited.
“Cheater,” someone growls under their breath near Dale’s back and I hear a loud yelp and a large crash as Serge simply flicks a bolt of lightening at the whisperer, and they fall off their feet.
Everyone either laughs or gasps and no one around the table showing their cards is phased by the interruption.
I watch tensely as it is now Dale’s time to put down his hand.
He wins without a word.
“Lean forward, kitten,” he caresses my hip as I go with outstretched arms to encase his prizes, grinning.
I pull everything over and my hands pretend to trail over everything lightly, heading towards the ring, slowly, rolling it towards the –
“Game over!” Ace yells out, scaring me and making me jerk, but only for a moment.
I quickly put my hand on my lap, ring in hand.
“It’s time to leave,” Dale holds me back against him and I also lean back to look at him.
“Can I go to the ladies room?” I ask politely. I worry when I can tell he is instantly about to deny my request , so I quickly decide to add, “Or shall I piss myself on your lap? I’d rather be doing... other things... on your lap,” I reach up to whisper that threat in his ear with a seductive kiss on his neck on the way down.
“Alright, kitten,” he approves and clasps my ass as he palms me off his legs, “Show her the way for me, Paige.”
“Certainly,” the older lady motions me towards her and I smile and walk, bare foot, in her direction.
“Thank you,” I smile at her and glance over my shoulder to see Dale eyeing all the young roughed up kids around him. He begins to speak, like a teacher of some kind. I can’t hear the words but he sounds encouraging.
I find myself smiling at Dale’s talk, however, as I begin to look away I spot Serge keeping a close eye on me. He has a hand on his chin, watching me, unblinking, his eyes serious and slightly narrowed.
I nervously lick my lips again and follow Paige out of the room.
Paige is still teary eyed after all this time and shows me to the bathroom just outside the door. I nod at her and go towards it, opening the door slowly.
I hear her tap off down the hall back to the room.
Gulping, I wait for her to return to Dale.
Once the second door opens and shuts, I already hear a masculine voice scold her for not waiting for me.
Adrenaline spikes through my veins as I suck in a breath – and I now turn to run down the hall.
A door is at the end and I slam it open to find myself instantly incased in men and women dancing.
The whole place is packed, reeks and is hard to breathe.
I shove my way through everyone, not even caring when hands run over my curves or between my legs. I was too happy that the emerald ring was in my tightly closed fist and I had my clutch in my other hand.
When I reach the entrance, I slow down and try to walk out, barefoot but calmly.
I try not to make a scene as I pass bouncers.
I’m so nervous as I step onto the footpath outside, paranoid that I’ll see Serge or any other members from the Gang of Shadows. However, it is only drunken men, women, boys and girls.
I see just one taxi, where two girls, clutching on to each other, are hoping in the back.
I look for any other hopes of escape but this is literally my only chance.
“Wait!” I scream out, sprinting towards the taxi, I watch as one girl slips in and the second one starts to.
Just as the second one closer to the door is about to pull it shut, she sees me running like a maniac towards them and she pauses. I reach out and grab the corner of the door before they can be on their way.
“Please, wait,” I beg, “Someone tried to assault me, please, please let me come; I have money.”
The two girls are shocked for a moment but they eventually shuffle over and make room for me.
“Thank you,” I slide in, shaking with adrenaline.
My plan – had actually worked.
One kiss to Dale’s ear, a seductive tone and a playful smile… and I had escaped.
“Are you okay?” One girl asks me, her eyes fully white, the other girls eyes fully black.
“Um, yes, I am now,” I nod, opening my clutch I chuck in the emerald ring and snap the purse shut, “I thought I was going to die.”
A half-truth and a white lie.
“We’re going to the GB side, you?” they ask.
“Oh my god, I live there,” I exclaim, so suddenly excited that my luck has really pulled through, “This is perfect. Thank you for letting me in, I’m happy to pay for the full fare.”
The girls are happy with this and so is the taxi driver.
We head off.
Eventually when they are dropped off, I stay in the car, and I request for my destination, around the corner.
“Take me to the Five Reds Headquarters please,” I ask politely. My work was open 24 hours; secretly.
“Yes, miss,” the drivers agrees and we start the one minute journey.
I lean my head on the taxi window, adrenaline now wearing off and exhaustion settling in.
I should be excited I had completed the mission.
Why did I feel sick to my stomach that I had to return to the headquarters?
I guess because even now, I felt like I had no place I truly belonged.
The one place I felt semi happy, was with the Gang of Shadows. They were funny, they were so united and accepting of each other’s faults. The Five Reds were judgmental, stuck up, highly ranked in organisation; which caused a lot of the discrimination. But the Gang of Shadows was still too dangerous. Those guys might make me laugh, but the threat of rape, murder… torture… god knows what else… it couldn’t be worth it.
My eyes, which had started to droop, light up with curiosity when I see the Five Reds hanging outside the headquarters. Still dressed in pyjamas from James the Brain’s party, they are now gathered out front, looking distressed.
The taxi rolls to a stop, I pay the money and slip out of the car.
“How much longer?” Kyle whines loudly, “I want to go, now.”
“Not until we get the address of her tracked phone, the signal was fucking up – wait, there she is!” James calls out as he sees me slip out of the taxi.
I narrow my eyes and storm my way for the Red Headquarter’s entrance, opening my clutch, I take out the ring and look at it’s glint as I head for safety.
“She got the ring,” I hear Coal whisper, in awe and clearly impressed.
“Holy shit, she did it,” James replies, also extremely impressed, “Where the fuck were you, Alysa?”
“It’s Alyssa,” I snarl at him, coming to a halt.
My eyes narrow when I see Kyle grinning at me like an extremely excited child.
“Mine,” he whispers.
One moment he is twenty meters away, I blink, and he has teleported before me.
His hand snatches the ring from my fingers and he teleports away.
“No!” James roars out, “Bad, Kyle.”
I wait for him, breathless, hoping he fucking teleports back somewhere within my vision, very damn soon, or I was going to scream.
A few seconds pass.
“Where the fuck is he?” I storm towards James and the other hero-squad of Frankincense city. Clearly they had never had a member from their own headquarters, confront them so violently. They all stand back, shocked.
“Watch the language, Diamond Spy,” James tut tuts me, moving his finger from side to side.
“You have no idea what I’ve been through to get that ring,” I hiss, seething, “I was nearly killed, I was nearly –”
I can’t finish when James’ phone rings loudly, cutting me off.
We all wait patiently as he answers it, while I just stand with closed fists and my most infuriated glare. Eventually James smiles and hangs up the phone. Coal has been standing next to him and she overheard the conversation. She instantly rolls her eyes and exhales in a loud rush, frustrated. She gives me a sympathetic once-over.
“This is too good… too good,” James shakes his head, laughing, “Kyle. Kyle is being congratulated with recovering the ring… the fucking hilarious little gem went straight to the recovery team with it… I swear, that boy is a little legend,” James explains to us, grinning and gloating, rubbing in how ‘funny’ it was to me.
“Fuck, no! How is that funny? He stole it from me!” I’m honestly about to start raging, I want to punch James in the face and my hands are still curled into fists. In fact I wanted to punch that fucking straw hat still covering his damn genitals. I glare at all the members of the Five Reds who are shrugging or pretending to look like they couldn’t do anything about it…
…until I hear a loud, familiar grumble of an engine all too distinctly spine chilling, in the not too far distance.
Not able to breathe, I glance down the road as I see STRIKE swiftly roar it’s way across an intersection, heading straight for my GB block.
Gasping, I forget about the Five Reds and I turn and run into the Red Headquarters.
“Don’t be a coward, Alysa,” James is still consumed with laughter, which has worsened after he has witnessed my reaction to seeing the black car drive by.
I’m too shocked for tears even to form as I head into the safety of the building.
My ring was in Kyle’s hands and I had the Gang of Shadows out wanting to kill me, or worse.
Whatever little trust I had gained with them – even as an amusing toy, a ‘kitten’ – was now completely destroyed.
I had foolishly thought my troubles were over.
Instead, my troubles had just begun.