The Fall of Sky: Part One (4 page)

BOOK: The Fall of Sky: Part One
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Chapter Seven

 

 

 

 

Liv

I WAS GOING
to kill him. I watched as the swirling water tinged with red and pink spun down the drain. Spitting out more blood, I peeked into the mirror and assessed my teeth. They were thankfully intact; my only injury being a very swollen lip with a nice gash on it and a cut inside my mouth where my teeth had slit it open. I frowned. The blackening eye wasn’t a good look for me either.

Who was I going to kill? Jonas Esperanza, one of Ruben’s henchmen. I’d been stupid enough to fall for one of his old tricks of paying off some good looking tramp man in a cowboy get up to pretend to like me, dance with me, and then proceed to get me as intoxicated as possible before slipping me a fucking roofie in the last shot so I would be less likely to notice. Well, I’d taken a sip of it when I saw the fizz at the bottom of the cup, but it was a tad bit too late. I’d drunk enough to fog up my mental capacity, slur up my words, and leave me at Jonas’ mercy. He’d stepped in after Mr. Cowboy had waltzed me out of the club and handed me right into the jaws of the tiger.

What a gentlemen.

I’d fought with all I’d had, but Jonas had managed to stuff me into his car beside him while his thousand pound driver Javier drove us around town.

“I’m a generous man.”

The world outside was swimming, and I pressed my eyelids together, attempting to focus as I let the world speed by. Not only that, but I had to concentrate to keep his words from blurring in my ears.

“But Ruben, now he’s not so willing to part with his money as I’d be, even for a beautiful woman such as yourself.” His voice was electric, like standing too close to a buzzing fly trap. “Of course, if it’d been me you’d taken money from like that, you’d never have slipped through my fingers so easily.”

I scratched at the door, the handle missing and only his side of the car had a working one. I pondered how I’d get myself out of this predicament. I was sure Audrey had assumed I’d still be dancing til dawn or at least had spent the night with some small town cowboy in desperate need of a lay. Hell, I was game for that, but this…this was definitely a precarious predicament I had walked right into. Great.

“Liv, Liv, Liv. Do you know I paid him off for you? Did you know how many times I graced his shitty bar just to get a glance at your pretty face? He didn’t deserve to have such beauty working for him. He was a fool.” I caught the flick of a cigarette lighter and wrinkled my nose at the pungent scent of cigarettes. I hated smoke, even when I spent a lot of nights dancing away in smoke filled bars lacking ventilation. It smelled horrible, and I immediately started to cough.

“Now now, 
Bonita
. Sorry about the smoke. I’ll open the window for you. I only smoke when I have a lot of thinking to do.” The squeak of the window lowering made me want to push him aside and dive out of it, but he only opened it a couple of inches. “The question is…” His thick Latino accent caused his voice to purr as he continued to suck on the cancer stick. “What do I do with you now? I’m not one to like lacking money either, and I was hoping you’d have some sort of payment plan I could consider. What do you say, Liv?”

I spat on his shiny, expensive Louis Vuitton shoes and dark beige slacks. By the looks of his well-bred threads, he wasn’t too happy about me messing up his sleek outfit. I couldn’t care less if it was Armani or Versace; I wanted the hell out of this metal coffin on wheels.

“Fuck you, Jonas.”

“I wouldn’t mind. I’ve had many whores.”

“You wish.”

Sparks flew across my vision, and I landed partly on the floor of his Lincoln Town Car. I paused as my vision slowly returned and glared up at him before hoisting myself back up onto the leather seat. Iron tinged taste and warmth spilled onto my tongue, and I licked the blood off my lips. It stung and dripped down onto my blouse. Instead of wiping it off, I continued to drill my stare into him, narrowing my eyes, even if my left one was now throbbing with an awful pain.

“Now, I have a proposition. I’ve been watching how you and your sister do your thing on the stage. I want you to record a demo for me, and I can get it to my cousin, who partly owns a recording studio. If he likes it, I get forty percent of the proceeds you and your sister make off your album. If he hates it, well, you can just run around the state doing dive bar shows, and I take fifty percent of the pennies you make. What do you say? Deal?

The car hit a massive bump in the road and shook us about, making my head jolt with a worse, stabbing ache, and my hands flew up, pressing my skull between them. I needed to get out of here—one way or the other.

“Until the debt’s paid?”

Jonas’ cocky smirk made me want to wipe it off his face with a cheese grater, while I crushed his skull in with a mallet. “With some interest, of course. I like investments.”

I swallowed the dry, cottony lump in my throat and reached up to touch the warmth oozing from my mouth and drying on my chin.

“Here. I apologize for that, but I must have you understand how serious I am.” He handed me a pure white handkerchief, embroidered with two initials: J.E. I did a fine job of staining that sucker down to the cross threads.

“Fine.”

His face brightened, and he snapped his fingers twice, signaling to his massive driver of the change of plans. “Now, where can I drop you off at?”

“The Motel 6 on Railways Ave.”

“You heard the lady, Marco. Turn the car around.” He turned back toward me, eyeing me as I slowly wiped the mess of blood from my face. “And don’t think you can change your mind. I’ll be watching you, even when you think I’m not.”

“Sending your little rats to chase me?”

He laughed, a haughty dry kind of chuckle, while his face screwed up into a cruel smile. “Something like that, 
Preciosa.
Don’t forget what I said. I’ll be collecting in a couple weeks.”

The car pulled up in front of the motel, and I spotted Audrey leaving with Saul. Might as well let them go; it would give me some time to fix my face. It was already early morning, and my fatigue was hitting me hard. I paused as Jonas got out of his side and waited for me to slip out, offering his hand out to me. I dodged it, and he curled his fingers into his palm, an angry look gracing his features before he managed to compose himself once more.

Turning toward the motel, his words dug into me. “I will be back, so don’t forget me.”

I kept walking away and ended up running around the corner until I watched the black car leave. My heart was racing, and I felt the prickle of tears behind my eyes begging to be let out. I’d stood there for what felt like hours before I dared to peek around the corner and hit the ice machine. Grabbing one of the plastic bags from the dispenser next to it, I filled it with ice and pressed it to my left eye. The cooling sensation felt good against the throb and heat of his blow. I was pretty sure his fingers were imprinted onto my skin.

Now my blood boiled in my veins as I stared at my face in the mirror, purpled and reddened from his one hit. I vowed I’d make him pay. I slammed the water off and slid to the floor of the bathroom, leaning my head against my knees and hugging my legs tight to my chest.

I’d never thought Ruben would’ve given up on finding us so easily and offer the bounty to someone like Jonas. Ruben was so much easier to dodge. But, Jonas? He was the devil himself. Every time he had entered Ruben’s bar to chat it up with him, I had felt the air go cold by a dozen degrees. One icy stare from him could send my hair standing on end. He was a demon disguised as flesh and blood, a Latino stud at that—a dangerous man, but I had known better then. It was a damn shame he was on my tail now.

 Wiping the spill of tears away, I let the minutes tick by as I leaned on the edge of the tub, still feeling the after effects of the roofie. Closing my eyes, I hoped I could imagine a way out of this infernal mess.

 

Chapter Eight

 

 

 

 

Audrey

“WHAT THE HELL
, Liv!” I yanked her off the edge of the tub. The water was running, the spray still warm and steamy while she lay sprawled, slouching at the bottom, clothes and all. She moaned and slapped at me with her skinny fingers as I sat her up, wiping the tangled snakes of hair from her face. “Liv, wake up!
LIV!

Reaching over, I turned the water to cold and blasted her with it. Her eyes widened as she jolted to the far side of the tub, desperately trying to get away from the frigid water. “Fuck!”

My breath let out, a wave of relief relaxing me momentarily as I sunk to the floor and pushed on her forehead, her droopy eyes rolling to find mine, one of them nearly swollen shut and purpling. I didn’t want to ask. I already knew some abusive boyfriend or a one night stand had gotten to her, but she didn’t really reek of alcohol at all, so I wondered why she was so out of it.

“Liv, what’d you do?”

She huffed, slapping my arm away again as she reached over to turn off the shower. I dropped a towel onto her lap, and she began to rub the beads of water away aggressively. “Me? I didn’t do anything. Why do you always assume it’s my fault every time?” She glared at me with her one good brown eye. It shimmered under the dim bathroom light. I realized she really meant what she said.

“Who did this?” I asked. She sighed once more and got to her feet, cursing under her breath as she swayed a bit. “Did you take something, Liv?”

“What if I did? My face is killing me…”

“What’d you take?” I waited impatiently and even helped her step over the ledge of the tub. Her clothes clung to her tooth pick frame, sopping wet, and sent her body into a shivering mess. I pulled the towel around her and motioned her to start stripping.

“Everything okay?” We both looked up to find Saul standing silently at the doorway. I felt Liv shrug under my hands sitting on her shoulders, and she unzipped her pants disregarding the intrusion. I turned back to her and threw her a stinging glare.

“What? He can’t see anything. Not like he has some X-men vision.” She kicked off her sopping wet pants and smacked them against Saul’s leg. “Oops, sorry ‘bout that…” Wavering, she grabbed the wall to steady herself. “Oh…one too many Dilaudids, I think…”

“What? What the hell? Where did you get those? Is that all you took, Liv? Liv…I swear I’m going to smother you…”

“Yeah, geez, okay, okay. I got a few more in my bag. Got ‘em from the stash piles in Ruben’s safe. He was loaded…I only took one, maybe two… hell if I know. If not for that damn roofie, I’d be fine…”

“Say that again?”

“A roo-fee,” she enunciated, slurring her words as she tossed the last of the dripping clothes down and wrapped the towel tighter around her body before shoving her curly locks away from her face. They hung partly wet and already drying in spirals of deep obsidian.

“Who gave you that, and what happened to your face?” My impatience was leaking into my voice, my nose flaring at her.

“Jonas Esperanza.”

I wrinkled my face at the name, knowing full well who she was talking about. “Ruben’s sidekick…” I answered, my voice fading as I slumped, a pocket of dire fear growing inside my guts.

She nodded and dug through her crumpled clothes in the duffle bag at the foot of the bed. Saul was relaxing on his bed, playing soft classical music on his iPod through a small boost speaker. I was sure he could still hear our discussion, but it didn’t really bother me, and he didn’t appear to be eavesdropping.

“What does he have to do in all this? He doesn’t work for Ruben, not directly at least.” I was afraid to hear her answer. Jonas was not one to mess with, at least from the extreme rumors surrounding his reputation. He was highly connected to the Mexican Cartel and did frequent shipments across the border, both ways. Trafficking women was one of them, so I’d heard. What would happen now with his demon eyes set upon us?

“He said he’d paid Ruben the amount we took from him, so now we owe Jonas. He kept blabbing on about some cousin and a music company that he partly owned and wanted us to record a demo for him. If the company liked it, they’d produce our album and he’d get forty percent of our profits. If they didn’t, we could just perform our little ho-dum, dive bar shows and pay him off slowly—fifty percent of each show until our debt is paid, with interest, might I add.”

My blood was boiling. I could feel my face flushing from the coronary I was about to have. “What? You told him no,
right
?”

“Pffft!” She plopped onto the bed, wet towel and all, with her dry clothes still clutched tightly to her chest. Yawning, she continued her rant, half her words coming out incoherently. “Duh…of course I did. Why the fuck do you think I got my face all screwed up? He didn’t like that answer though, so guess who our new boss is? Latin Stalker…what fun!” She gave a tiny, morose laugh and yanked the bed covers over her tiny body. “Sorry, Sissy. I tried…” Her words faded as her soft snores filled the empty space around us, hovering along with the rhythmic flow of piano music ebbing from the speaker on Saul’s nightstand.

I felt his gaze on me before I sank down onto the edge of his bed. Liv was lying diagonally across our entire bed.

“Hey,” his voice calmly pulled at my thoughts, and I waited for him to continue. “Don’t worry, we’ll figure this out.”

“You shouldn’t get involved, you know. This is our problem.”

He shrugged as my eyes met his icy-blue, blind ones. “Maybe I need a little excitement too. Don’t be selfish now. Share the wealth.” He winked before settling back to his music. His joke brought out a weak laugh from my throat, but I wanted to break down and cry more than anything else. He patted the other side of his bed, and after a moment of hesitation, I slipped down next to him.  Exhaustion filled me up all of sudden, even after a good night’s sleep. Saul moved over to one side of the bed as I leaned back onto one of his pillows. It smelled like him, manly musk with a sweet aftershave scent.

It was divine.

We’d been running so fast, so far, for all our lives, just to end up tripping precariously over our own feet, ending up in a whole pile of shit—knee deep, thick, and sinking fast in every which way. We were like the colors flapping in the wind, steadfast, proud—even while beaten by the breeze and dressed in frayed corners.

 

BOOK: The Fall of Sky: Part One
6.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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