True Memoirs of A Liar 2: Sacrifice
Author: C Lawson

Chapter 18
Reunion Tango

Over the next five months I worked to make the ‘industry’ that Mr. Stone had built a better place.  Well, as good as an assassin business can be.  And I took the job seriously.  I was in control of every assassin that was hired, but I was in charge of everything else.  I was even in charge of the distractions, or the heartbreakers.   I had arranged a meeting with Lexi after she’d finished with her current assignment.  Mr. Stone strictly forbid it.  So I did it anyway.  She was going to bring Benjamin and Juliana with her.

            The five months went by so quickly.  I missed Alex.  I cried more than I was used to; a total of five times.  It was crazy.  I kept the ring on a thin silver chain and wore it every day, to remind me of what I was doing there.

            Lena was with me almost everywhere I went; the Goon Squad as I came to call them, rotated shifts robotically.  Samuel, Jed, Joey, Othello, Giovanni, and Terrence of course, drove my limo.  I came to know and if not like, respect them all.  I wished I could do more, like make the entire business come to a halt.  But until I could find an efficient and swift way to do it, I had to only do what I could.

            Then, I was sent to Paris.  It was a test of loyalty.  Like I was loyal by choice.  Psh.  I had to go on one last assignment.  I had to get the ‘l’ word from Peter and Donald.  I refused to take Donald on as an assignment.  It didn’t matter.  It was already assigned.

            I was shipped off to Paris on the night of my wedding date that I would have kept had I not taken the job.  The Rainey’s were visiting family in France and I was supposed to surprisingly ‘bump into them’ on accident of course.  They were planning to keep the tradition of visiting the Eiffel Tower from sundown to midnight on the first Saturday of the month.  That family had weird traditions.

           

            I arrived on a Thursday and went straight to the hotel.  I didn’t care to look out the window.  I wasn’t in the mood to sightsee.  Lena stayed behind in New York, and I missed her now bright and bubbly personality.  Samuel noticed my mood and wrapped an arm around my shoulders.  We had also become close friends.  I leaned my head on his shoulder and let out a sigh.  I absently fingered the ring on my chain and closed my eyes.

            “Terrence?” I called.  My driver had traveled with me as well. “Depressing music, please,” I requested in a pouty voice.  I wasn’t happy.  I missed Serenity and Alex.  My Goon Squad and Lena were trying to be a family to me.  And it was touching, it really was.  But no one made me feel the way Alex did.  No one ever would.

            Terrence clicked on Mozart and I let the movement of the limousine soothe me. “What about The Den tonight?”

            “The what?” I asked, disoriented from my thoughts of Alex which had been increasing lately.  The dreams were really starting to get on my nerves.  Or rather, nightmares.

            “The Den,” Samuel repeated. “It’s a restaurant, really good food and they’ve even American-ized it.  There are a few of them in the upstate New York and other northern states.  I know you’ve at least heard of it.” I faintly remembered something familiar to it.

            “Yes, I think.”

            “Well, how about to take the edge off, we go there tonight.  Before you have to start work tomorrow.”  I groaned at the thought of work. “Come on, it’ll be fun.” He gave my arm a little shake. “Please?  I want to.”

            “Fine,” I agreed as we pulled up to the hotel.  It was extremely nice.  Thanks, Mr. Stone, I remember grumbling sarcastically in my mind.  I was not looking forward to tonight.   Then again, I was never looking forward to anything lately.


            I thought deeply about what I was doing here.  I couldn’t come up with any answers.  Samuel had gone off to do something and he had promised he would be right back.  I didn’t mind being alone.  I was alone even when a goon was with me, so it didn’t matter.  A small gust of wind fanned my right side and I tilted my head to get a better look.  A handsome black man had come up to me and was eyeing me predatorily.

            “How are you doing?” he asked.  I was not in the mood for that.

            “No,” I said, turning my head back to the bar.  I looked down at my red dress.  It was mid-thigh length, it wasn’t in layers.  It had a simple cut and my hair was down and shadowing my face.  I didn’t really want anyone to see my face.

            “No?  I’m sorry, I was just asking—”

            “No,” I repeated, getting bored.

            “One dance wouldn’t hurt—”

            “No,” I stated once more, tired already.

            “So I should just go, huh?” he asked.  I smiled without showing my teeth, glad he had gotten something right.  The man soon left easily enough and I listened as the song changed into a slower melody.

            “Still breaking hearts, I see.” I tensed immediately.  I knew that voice.  My heart had committed it to memory long ago.  Shock took over and I couldn’t breathe. “We’ve got to stop meeting like this, don’t you think?” I could literally feel every muscle in my body lock and freeze. “Why so tense, Bright Eyes?”

            I couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t move.  I just wished Samuel would hurry up and take me back to where I belonged now.  Alex spoke again and I nearly crumbled.

            “Care to dance?” Care to dance?  I could barely breathe!  I turned as quickly as I could and rushed past him.  The exit/entrance was across from the dance floor.  I charged out onto it but halfway across, Alex had grabbed my hand from behind and whirled me around into his arms.  His other arm quickly and securely circled my waist.  Then he was swaying with me.  I looked down.  I still hadn’t looked at his eyes.  The slow song wasn’t calming me at all; I was actually shaking.  My hair shadowed my face as I stared at the floor.  I kept a professional distance between us; I hadn’t seen Alex in five months and I wasn’t sure I was ready for a lovers’ reunion.

            “No ‘hi’ or ‘how’ve you been, Alex’, no nothing?” he asked in a raw, rough voice.  I tried to jerk out of his hold but he just pulled me closer swaying more deeply, more intently.

            “I’ve said all I needed to say to you, Alex,” I informed him, making sure my eyes were trained on the suit jacket he was wearing.

            “So, how’s married life?”

            My head snapped up and I found myself staring at his lips, confused. “Excuse me?” I mused, not knowing what he was talking about.  Then it hit me; he hadn’t known I was going to take the job. “I’m not married, Alex,” I said in a tired tone.

            “Seeing someone, then,” he corrected in a hopeful tone.  I finally raised my eyes to meet his and the intensity hit me hard. He must have read my expression. “You’re not seeing anyone.” I shook my head. “Did he hurt you?”

            Alex still didn’t understand.  I debated whether to tell him or not about what exactly I had been doing. “Alex—”

            “You never were with anyone else, were you?” I cast my eyes downward again.  Then his posture hardened against mine. “You took that job,” he stated more than asked.  I didn’t answer.  I didn’t have to. “I guess then, I should ask you how the murder thing is going.”

            “You don’t get to judge me.” I was quivering against him.  The song was coming to a close. Maybe then I could make a clean escape.

            “Oh, I’m not surprised.  I didn’t get to have a say in your decision.  I didn’t get to marry you.  And now I don’t get to judge?  Camille, does this seem fair at all?” The music came to an end and I pulled out of his arms.  I hadn’t missed the way my heart jumped when he said my name.  I had been pulled in two different directions, torn at the limb before I could even blink.  I had had to leave my home and my love because it was the only way to protect him and now he wanted to discuss fair?

            “No, Alex, it’s not fair.” I began to back away from him, but a new song started up and Alex had soon pulled me into our original position.  The song was a tango.  I nearly groaned out loud.  The dance of passion, I remember complaining in my mind.  The freaking dance of passion!

            The small orchestra soon followed with the seductive music and Alex laid his lips close to my ear.  I wasn’t used to having him so near me anymore.

            “You know how to tango, don’t you?” he whispered harshly.  I was vaguely aware of the dance crowd clearing so that we could have the floor.  But Alex’s proximity made it hard to notice anything.

            “Actually, I don’t, so I think—” I didn’t get to finish my sentence because the music drowned me out.  Alex led and I had to follow or else my feet would have gotten trampled.  He was amazingly light on his feet and I realized I had never seen him dance before.  Alex spun me out and I saw an opportunity to bolt.  I made an attempt to free my hand, but he just clung tighter and whirled me back into his arms.  Now my back was against his chest and he wasn’t allowing an inch of space between us.  His hips moved against mine dominantly and I held back shudders of excitement.

            “Not even halfway through the song and you’re trying to run away from me?” I turned to face Alex and he moved his hand to the lowest point of my back.  I shivered.

            “I thought you romantics loved it when a girl plays hard to get?” I asked sarcastically.  Alex lifted my leg at the thigh so it was flush against his waist; which in turn yanked the rest of my body even closer to him.  If we were any closer, our bodies would have to have been surgically fused together.  My arms were thrown around his neck and I clung to him, absently running my fingers through his hair.

            Alex’s lips pressed seductively on my ear. “We do,” he growled, sending waves of unexpected heat searing through my body.

            The music’s rhythm pumped through my veins and while our feet moved I kept trying to find ways to leave.  I saw Samuel and tried to convey with my eyes that I needed out.  He nodded and swiftly glided across the dance floor.  Alex spun me out again and this time, Samuel was there to catch me.  He gathered me into his arms and twirled me around twice.  The crowd around us gasped with delight as the new partner entered the tango.  Samuel rested his left hand on my lower back and his right hand intertwined with mine.  We both spun around together and then, somehow, Alex was there, and he had my hand.  The only problem was that Samuel was still holding onto my other hand.  I kept my feet moving so that no one would see that there was a problem.  Oh boy, but was there a problem.

            The music began to end and I was spun into Samuel’s hold by a quick and powerful jerk of his arm. “Get me out of here, Samuel,” I whispered in a pleading tone.  I couldn’t stand being around Alex.  Not when I knew I couldn’t keep him.

            “Of course, miss.” He whirled us around in dizzying circles so that Alex wouldn’t be able to make a grab for my hand and spun us right off of the dance floor.  Then he held onto my hand, and began running out of the restaurant dragging me behind.  We burst through a side door and ended up in an alley.  I hated alleys, ever since Serenity and Alex…

            I snapped my mind back into focus as a draft swallowed me briefly.  I turned my head and before I could open my mouth to scream, Alex had run into me, tackling me out of Samuel’s grip.  I saw the opposite brick wall coming at us extremely fast; I just closed my eyes and turned my head, waiting for the impact and eventually the pain.  But I felt Alex whirl us around, switching our positions so that he would take all of the impact.  The collision was quick, and I heard Alex groan and then hiss on an inhale.  That was going to hurt in the morning; hold the ‘in the morning.’

            Instead of sinking to the ground, with Alex’s arms wrapped around me he stood up straight and used me as a human shield in front of Samuel.  Samuel was aiming a gun straight at me.  Or was it Alex?

 

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