“Have a cup of tea and we can discuss the part of the deal that you weren’t able to carry in a bag,” he said to me.
“I’m sorry, I really don’t like tea,” I told him knowing I had just committed what amounted to heresy. Russians liked tea, a lot. My mom had an old-fashioned tea thing that she had brought from Russia. She had left almost everything behind except that tea maker.
“I can have them make it cold for you, if that would help, I know Americans often drink their tea cold.”
“I don’t even like tea cold.” I told him. I paused for a moment, thinking. I had about half a million dollars in a duffle bag, five Russian mobsters, and a bomb, it seemed like I had made some strange life choices. The same could be said of Zeke, who knew how to smuggle half a million dollars in American currency on a commercial flight to first France and then Russia. In theory, we would all walk away from this for just half a million dollars and a serial killer profile. If it worked, it would be the best half a million dollars I ever spent. Alex, Tatyana, and myself would be free of Russian mobsters for at least a little while. I wasn’t naive enough to believe this would permanently sever the connection between myself and the Russian mob. After all, I was giving them money, and they knew I had more of it, which meant at some point they would show back up intending to get more money from the scared American golden goose girl. What they didn’t realize was that I wasn’t a terrified little American girl. Yes, the mob scared me, there were a lot of crazies in this world, but they didn’t bring me to my knees quivering and shaking in fear.
Something I had pointed out to Zeke in France was that the money wasn’t exactly about buying freedom, it was about buying time. Time to rebuild my world to some degree. Things had gone a bit sideways for me in the last two years or so. I needed time to regroup, collect the pieces of my life, and start rebuilding it, so that when the mob decided to show back up, I would be readier for them.
The Compound as I was calling it was just the start. I needed better security systems in place, more physical guards located near me and my cousins who had lives that were just as screwed up as mine, because if I didn’t get these things in order, then one day, Kenzie’s daughter would be sitting outside on the porch steps and some strange man would walk up to her and start a conversation before putting a bullet in her brain. I didn’t believe the mob would screw up and send another killer like Anthony to visit my family and now that Kenzie was married to Anthony and the mob knew she played a large role in the lives of the Zeitzev women, she had a target on her too. Which meant her infant daughter also had a target.
Furthermore, I was about to expand my business into cartel country. I wasn’t sure who was more dangerous, Russian mobsters or Mexican cartels, they were both pretty violent and vicious. I’d make enemies in Mexico and I’d make a few new ones in Russia when I took steps to open an actual office here.
I tried to push these thoughts aside and focus on the task at hand. Being polite, without being forced to slug down a cup of nasty tea with a mobster who was trying to be civilized.
“You’ve got more men entering, at least three of them are men in charge types,” Apex said into my ear. Zeke gave me a look. It wasn’t exactly unexpected. Some part of me had figured we’d end up dealing with all of them at once, because who ever got the bag of cash and took out the serial killer that was hunting them, would end up being the guy in charge of the Russian mob. I was essentially, financing someone to take control of all the factions of the Russian mob in an effort to be left alone. I had placed my bet on this one, with information given to me by Nikolai.
Here was hoping my uncle had backed the right horse. Because I was about to give this guy money to start a war and find a serial killer. If Nikolai was wrong, I was basically paying them to come kill me, which was a fun thought.
This was had said we’d be left alone, if he took control and that was a plus in my opinion. Like I said, I knew it wouldn’t be forever, but for now, was good enough. After all, we had a baby to think about.
“Want me to put them down?” Apex asked. I considered it, however, it would give away the fact that I had a sniper in place. I shook my head no as gently as I could. It wasn’t for their benefit, but my own, I didn’t want to reveal too many of my cards too soon.
A metal folding chair was brought in and set up with a small table. I stared at them like they were poisonous fruit. I did not want to sit down, but I wasn’t sure I had any other choice. It might give me time to figure out what had been slipped into my boot.
One of the goons suddenly began to speak Russian very fast in nearly a whisper while holding his ear. Obviously, he was wearing a communications unit as well. Probably talking to my aunt or some other guy I hadn’t seen downstairs when we came in.
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This book is a work of fiction. Any names, places, characters, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination and are purely fictitious. Any resemblances to any persons, living or dead, are completely coincidental.
Copyright © Hadena James 2016
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