Dying wasn't something I was scared of anymore but I vowed a year ago, if I did die it would be on my own accord and I would go down fighting.
"You owe me," Lucille leaned into the man who had yet to tell me his name. "I mean big time."
"You know I got you," he replied. "I always come through."
"What?" Lucille called herself whispering. "She yours or something?"
My mom used to say the first reaction is the real reaction, so when that handsome guy pulled his head back and turned his upper lip, even higher in disgust; I almost turned to leave. Not that I was interested in him but it made sense what he thought of me. He wasn't doing it for anything sexual in return or that he thought I was nice looking. Shit, I wasn't nice looking. I used to be but now, I was a bum.
"No, it's not like that," the man shook his head. "She just needs help."
"Yeah, okay." She nodded, then turned to me. "You'll have to sleep in the back near the kitchen. There's a cot and everything but you'll be safe."
"Thank you." I nodded my head. "I appreciate it."
"Thank him," she said. "Report in before ten and it's yours."
"Okay, I can do that." My head nodded since I was grateful, I didn't have to sleep on the church steps again.
It was Saturday, so most of the regulars would be in front of the stores trying to get money and food from people who were feeling happy that they just got paid. I usually hit the back of the restaurants because people always threw away food when they felt they had an abundance of it and they were under the influence of spirts. If they were high, they ate a lot. Well, that depended on what type of high.
"Lucille will also get you started with one of the work programs." He walked towards me. "Here."
He held out a wad of cash but folded it, so no one could see it but me. My head shook in the negative.
"Here," he repeated.
"It's okay." I waved my hand back and forth. "You've done enough. I'll work with her and go from there."
"Look," he whispered. "Let me do this. Please."
"It's really fine," I said a little sharper. "I don't need your money."
"Well, there's your first lie." The man said to me in a sharper voice. "You do."
This time with no permission, he took my hand, put the money in my palm and closed it with his large hands.
"Keep it safe." He turned towards Lucille and said, "I owe you big time for this. Thank you again."
"Yeah, yeah." She nodded. "Come on, let me show you your quarters."
I nodded towards him and followed Lucille with the hopes of never seeing the man again. What were the odds we'd meet again?
Slim to none.
I did not want to see him again, I had my share of controlling men in my life.
Enough was enough.
Going undercover was one way to end the war on drugs. It was also a way to do what needed to be done without all the rules. What going undercover wasn’t supposed to do was bring her into my life. I wasn’t supposed to find the one at her lowest point, help her rise, only for her to bring me to my own knees. That wasn’t supposed to happen at all.
Teenagers don’t always make the right decisions and I was a classic one, which landed me with one too many black eyes and eventually homeless. Almost two years later, eating from out of dumpsters and stealing from bodegas, I run into this guy twice. He helps me the first time and gives me money the second. Then he acts like I was disgusting to him, so it took everything in me not to throw the money back at him. He was right — I needed it. But I surely didn’t plan to see him again. Not as a cop and not with eyes that said he wanted to do more than help. Yeah, that wasn’t happening, either.
Third book in the Line of Duty Series
See the others and prepare for the next series.