I don’t appreciate the secrets. Nor the sudden company. I don’t like being at the bottom and not knowing shit. Not controlling shit. But I have to remind myself that I’m in a tight spot. I need to take it easy and make myself valuable. I’m not valuable to anyone right now, and that’s not good for my chances of survival.
The Valettis park and get out quickly. I want to walk to them and meet them halfway, but Abram’s feet are planted. I take notice; I stand and act appropriately. It’s a rude gesture if you ask me. But what the fuck do I know? If I’m going to be working for him, I’ll have to put up with this shit. Regret is already pumping through my blood. I grit my teeth and wish I could take out this anger on something. On someone. I fucking hate the position I’m in.
“Abram Petrov,” Vince says, as he stops in front of us. I recognize him immediately. He’s the new Don of his famila. His father retired and word got around fast that Vince had taken his place. Three more men come up behind him and then two more exit the second vehicle.
“Vincent Valetti. Nice to finally meet you.” Abram smiles and extends his hand in greeting. Vince is calm and collected as he accepts the gesture, but he doesn't return the smile.
“It’s quite a drive to get out here, Abram. I’ve heard you’re a man who gets these sorts of business arrangements done quickly. Is that so?” An asymmetric grin pulls at my lips. I like how quickly Vince gets to the point. I would also like to get this shit done promptly. The two men standing behind Vince and the others from his famila are armed and showing it. Which isn’t that big of a deal since the men behind me, the two I’ve yet to be introduced to, each have a hand on their guns, too. It’s not a display of a threat, or of violence. It’s simply business. It’s how things are done in this life.
I’ll still feel better when it’s over. I don’t particularly enjoy being surrounded by men I don’t know who are all armed. I have to start somewhere, though.
Abram laughs from deep within his chest and nods his head. “Quick works for me, Vince.” He walks forward with a smile and gestures with his arm to a plane that landed an hour or so ago.
The pilot stands outside of the cargo hold smoking a cigarette. He’s in jeans and a black tee shirt. Tattoos cover both of his arms and his brow is pierced. He’s got a Mexican look to him. I imagine he was the contact Abram must’ve had in Javier’s cartel. Someone was a traitor. But no one knows for sure who it was. Maybe it’s wrong of me to assume. Not that it matters anyway.
“I’m ready to do business, and I’d like for things to go smoothly. So, the prices are exactly what they were for you before. Everything the same. The only difference is you’ll be going through me, rather than your former contact.” Abram talks as we walk closer to the plane. Sickness churns in my gut. I don’t know why, but I know I’m not going to like what I see.
“That makes me a very happy business partner,” Vince says, but there’s hesitation in his voice. He’s skeptical. And so am I. There are reasons for meets. But keeping terms the same is not one of them.
“We need your docks for other business ventures. So I’d like to add more to our arrangement,” Abram says, as we stop in front of the plane.
“What are you looking to export?” Vince asks, with his eyes narrowed.
“Felipe, bring it out here,” Marco says to the pilot. Felipe tosses the cigarette on the ground and walks to the very back of the plane.
I watch with wide eyes as a woman is dragged out from the cargo hold. She’s quiet the entire time. Not fighting, simply moving as fast and as best she can to keep up with the man. I’d like to kill that fucker. I struggle to keep my exhalation even. There’s a metal collar with a chain around her throat, but he’s pulling her along by her hair.
Blood rushes loud in my ears and my body heats with anger. Sex slave trafficking. I had no fucking idea they were into this shit. And judging by Vince’s face and the matching looks on his crew’s faces, neither did they. When I made contact with Marco, I knew what I was getting into. This wasn’t it. This is new, and I don’t fucking like it.
The woman doesn’t make a sound as she's forced out. Her blue eyes stare at the ground. Her wrists are bound. She isn't wearing shoes, just a filthy and tattered dress. Her pale skin is bruised, but clean. Her brunette hair is a mess around her face, but I can see a red mark from recently being slapped. She walks with her lips firmly pressed together as though she's trying to remain expressionless, although she’s showing a hint of pain. The man pushes her onto her knees in front of us and she doesn’t react. I know it fucking hurt, and I want to break his fucking kneecaps for pushing her around like that. But she doesn’t make a sound, doesn’t show that hurt. Instead she maintains the pose he put her in.