We’ve reached the truck, out of sight from the rest of the crowd, and Adam hasn’t noticed.
“Will do, sir.” I reach out and jab him with my sedative syringe.
“What the fuck?” he cries and slaps a hand over his arm.
“Must’ve been a bug bite,” I say and punch him in the chin. That and the drug knock him out cold. I stuff him in a gun box in the back and close the lid. I rejoin the fire squad and stay with them until the all clear is given. Back at my truck, I pull on my delivery clothes again and drive north.
At the outskirts of Aidon Kasteros’ territory, I’m stopped by one of his crew. “You got business in the area?” The young man leans his head inside the window to peer in the back.
I show him the medallion that Kasteros gave me a few years back. It’s good for one safe passage. The kid takes it from me and bites into it. “Real,” he grunts and hands it over to his partner. “Where you headed?”
“Warehouse. I’ve got some trash that needs to be taken care of.”
“We doing it?”
“No. I’m just borrowing the facility.”
“You’ve got an hour.”
The warehouse isn’t a warehouse but a mundane-looking house with a row of pine trees blocking the east and south sides. There’s enough of a barrier that if you park at the right spot in the back, no one can see what you’re unloading from the back of the truck. A curtain flicks above me as I’m tugging the gun case out from the back, but no one comes to bother me. I enter a code hidden behind some bricks, and the cellar doors slide open. I shove the case down the steps and close the doors behind me.
It smells like smoke and ash down here along with an underlying acidic tone. The furnace in here never goes out. I flip open the lid of the gun trunk and lift a still dazed Adam out. I place him on the floor and pull out my gun. “You can do it yourself in the next ten minutes or I’ll do it for you.”
I leave the gun on the floor and exit. Aidon’s waiting for me. “Turner. It’s been a while,” he greets me, pushing away from a cement post.
“How’s married life?” The famous criminal boss got married last year to a Vieth Orphan although I heard she wasn’t really an orphan but the actual daughter of Karen Vieth, the head of the Vieth organization.
Aidon’s hard face lights up. “Good. You should get one of your own.”
“Trying. Had to clean up a few loose ends.”
“I didn’t think you’d ever use the favor.”
“It’s a valuable marker. Didn’t want to waste it.”
“But this was worth it?” He tips his head toward the steel door. We hear a bang. Neither of us flinch.
I debate if I’m crossing the line or not. On one hand I’d snuck into Sebastian’s phone and stole a phone number, but on the other I was trying to show him that I’m really in this relationship. I thought this was the perfect way to do that. If we’re going to be together, this is going to have to happen one way or another.
Knowing that if I stare at the number too long I’ll chicken out, I hit send on the call. It rings three times before someone picks up.
“Hello,” the woman answers.
“Hi, Mrs. Turner. This is Violet.” The line goes quiet for a long moment. I start to get nervous and want to hang up, but I don’t.
“Sebastian’s Violet?” she asks. Oh wow. I really love the sound of that.
“That’s me. I was calling to invite you over for dinner. I know you all normally have one on Sunday so I was hoping you’d like to come over here so we can finally meet each other.” I close my eyes and hope she says yes.
“Dinner is always at our house.”
“I’m aware of that, but I was hoping being here would allow you to get to know me better.”
“And you don’t leave your home. Correct?” I can’t read her tone, but if she was trying to be friendly she wouldn’t have said anything at all about it.
“I’m working on that. Sebastian has been helping me. Your son is a bit of a hero in my life. I was kidnapped a while back, and he saved me. He does that a lot. Save me.” I tell her the truth. Sebastian is my hero in more ways than one.
“Oh dear. I didn’t know all that.” Her tone softens. “Sebastian doesn’t talk much about his work.”
I try to latch on to that. “I might be able to pull some stuff out of him over dinner for you.”
“Well, let me talk to my husband, and I’ll get back to you.” I want to tell her to give me a chance, but I refrain, not wanting to sound desperate.