Monday, March 1, 2010

Nick woke blinking trying to focus his eyes. Every part of his body ached and throbbed. Angel was snuggled up against him. She sucked in her breath when he touched the bruises on her wrists. He was all too familiar with the marks handcuffs left behind.
“I don’t listen,” she said lowering her eyes.
“Bastard.” Nick brought her wrist up to his lips and kissed it.”
“Have you been doing this along time?” she asked
“Too long,” Nick replied.
The day was spent with Carlos, coke, booze and more coke. There was no faking it like he had so many times before. Carlos watched Nick like a hawk. Nick tested the coke and got the color he wanted.
Screw Ramos Carlos thought he would kill this asshole and take the money and the drugs, make it look like the gringo double crossed him. Angel would make a nice diversion.
“Pure, eh,”
“Righteously pure.” Nick nodded the buzz already told him that.
“We decided to call you Tre in honor of the three men you killed. My cousin wasn‘t so upset he was cheating on her so his days were numbered anyway.”
Nick didn’t need a nickname to remind him of what he’d done. He looked at the girl perched on the ottoman and thought about the night before. He’d have to make sure she escaped the mess that was to come. These guys were heavily armed and it would no doubt be a blood bath. He was wondering how he was going to survive this, now he had to worry about her.
“I want you to have her. I see the way you two look at each other.”
“No, I meant no disrespect Carlos, lo siento.”
Angel hurried to his side and crouched at his feet like a puppy. He felt her body shaking as she leaned against his leg.
“She’s very beautiful but I’m bored with her if you don’t want her I’ll sell her. I’m sure she’ll bring a fine price. Consider her a gift in honor of our deal.”
Things were going from bad to worse in Nick’s mind. Nick pulled her head up gently by the hair her eyes were wide with fear.
“I hope you haven’t beaten the life out of her I like my women with some fight in them.”
“Why do you think she has so many bruises. You enjoy, hasta manana”
“What the hell am I going to do with you?” He said looking down at her. She crawled into the big leather chair with him.
“That’s what I was afraid of,” he whispered.
Angel unbuttoned his shirt, the wound at his side had been weeping.
“I should change that,” she said.
“Later.” Nick carried her into the bedroom. What he was about to do was stupid and wrong but sometimes what the mind wants takes a back seat to what the body demands.
“Jesus,” Nick groaned sinking back onto bed. He touched his side and his hand came back red with blood. “It’s all your fault,” Nick said jokingly.
Angel hurried to the bathroom for a towel and pressed it to his side. She jumped back as he reached out for her. She sat at the corner of the bed quivering.
Nick grabbed her wrist and pulled her close. “Let’s get one thing straight. I don’t hit women, never have never will.” He stroked her gently. “What happened can never happen again. Being distracted now could get us killed. Do you understand me?”
Angel nodded. “I’m sorry I didn’t please you.” She hung her head and pulled away.
“Angel, you were very, very good. It’s just…complicated.” Nick stroked her face trying to reassure her. He wasn’t thinking clearly and wanted to kick himself for getting involved with her. She could either be an asset to him or a liability.
Nick could tell by the look in his eyes Carlos was doing a double cross. Nick’s instincts told him this was going to end badly and they were usually right. Carlos grinned as he pulled the gun from his waist band.
“This time I won’t miss,”
Nick’s heart thundered in his ears.
“I hope you enjoyed her as much as I’m going to enjoy killing you. When I’m done with you our little Angel she’s going to wish she was dead.”
Carlos was close enough to take out but Nick didn’t think he could do it without getting shot. Carlos had seen Nick in action and would no doubt be expecting it. Angel walked out of the bedroom distracting Carlos long enough for Nick to make his move. Nick kicked the gun from his hand it slid across the tile floor and landed not to far from Angel. Carlos pulled out a knife he had sheathed on his belt he slashed out at Nick and the tip of his blade sliced Nick’s cheek. The two men mad a lunge for the gun but Angel got to it first. She held it with two hands trying to steady her shaking hands. Nick thought if she fired now it could hit either one of them.
“Angel, chica you don’t want to hurt Carlos,” he said slowly inching his way towards her.
“Stay away I heard what you said.”
“I wasn’t serious. I’d never hurt my Angel.” He moved his hands apart in a non threatening gesture. Nick moved in on Carlos hoping to disarm him before someone died. Carlos turned and lunged at Nick. The gun shot echoed in the room and Carlos slumped to the floor. Things had just gone from bad to worse any hopes of reasoning with Carlos died with him. 18 months of undercover work shot to hell. Tears streamed down Angels face and the shaking got worse. She raised the gun back up as Nick approached her.
“Give me the gun Angel honey we don’t have much time. If they heard it they‘ll be here soon.” Nick took another step forward and put his hand on her gun, Angel let it slip from her grasp. He took her by the shoulders and shook her. “Listen you didn’t do this, I did. If they think you did it they’ll kill you. If I killed him it was a drug deal gone bad and maybe I’ll get through this. Do you understand?”
Angel nodded, what had she done? She had killed to protect this man.
Nick scrambled for paper and pen he wrote and address and fished keys from his pocket. “You wait until dark and get out of here. If you can’t get to my car head to the highway. You stay at this address until someone comes for you.” He put his father’s cross around her neck. “They’ll know what this means if I don’t get out of this.” Nick felt his luck had run out maybe it would bring her good luck now and she would escape this life with Carlos. She touched the bloody cut on his cheek her eyes wide with fear.
“Go now hide and don’t come out no matter what you hear.” Her life had gone from bad dream to nightmare. She’d escaped her abusive father only to become Carlos’ sex slave, now she had killed a man she wasn’t sure if her life was worth saving. All she knew was she didn’t want this man to die. Nick took her and kissed in a way that sent shivers down to her toes.
“Please, go. I‘ll come for you if I can,” he whispered.
Angel heard the shouts of Carlos’ men as she ran out the back door and knew he was going to die.
Nick threw the gun on the floor when the men ran through the guest house door and raised in hands. They checked Carlos on the floor and found he was dead. One of them hit Nick with the rifle butt and the lights went out.
Angel watched from the garage as they dragged him into the main house. She couldn’t tell if he was alive or dead. She looked down at his blood on her hands and she cried until she had no tears left. She headed for the highway at nightfall and prayed he’d come for her.

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