After they got back to the house, he made her tell him the whole story about her relationship with Dominique and how they got to the point they were now. He reassured her that he couldn’t help her unless she told him the facts. Feeling as though she bared her soul she felt even more helpless and wanted to sink into a hole and disappear.
He tried to hand her a shot of jack, saying it would calm her nerves but she refused. When he said it would help her relax, she asked catching them both off guard, “Does it help you?”
“This isn’t about me.” He clipped off closing off any further conversation concerning his life or lack thereof.
“Why not you know everything about me?”
“Out of necessity, my life has no bearing in this situation.”
“It does if you are suggesting helping me and risking your life. The people who care about you may feel a little differently than you do.”
“It’s just me and my alcohol. Satisfied?” he growled
Silence greeted him but the look in her eyes spoke volumes. Pity
He refused to comment on his wife or anything about his life, it didn’t matter.
Shaking her head realizing he wasn’t to give an inch unless he wanted to she stood up and began gathering her things.
“What the hell are you doing?”
“I’m leaving, I don’t know anything about you and I refuse to drag you further into my mess. I’m going to go to the airport and book a flight to nowhere and leave. You asked me what kind of woman would leave her child. The kind that has no choice but to save their life because hers is on borrowed time. I will do anything for my baby and that includes giving her to a complete stranger just so he can’t get her. He won’t hesitate to kill me or anyone for that matter he only wants her.”
Chico looked at her, really looked at her and realized that she was dead serious. She wasn’t afraid to die, she was just afraid for her child. She loved her enough to give up her life in exchange for hers. And all she was asking was a little assurance and he couldn’t even offer that to her.
He walked away from her not knowing what he wanted to say and why he wanted to say anything at all. She looked so helpless yet resigned to her fate to live her life without her child the only thing in this world that meant anything to her or die to save her.
“My wife is dead, three years ago of cancer. The only person who maybe cares a fig about my existence is my brother in law Drew and his wife Connie. So in short it’s just me. Happy?” He asked when he noticed she stopped packing and stood perfectly still listening to every word.
“Why are you helping me?”
“I don’t know. Do you have to have an answer to everything?” he said getting annoyed.
“Yes I do. There has to be some motive behind your generosity. You said it’s just you, then why care about me.
“Damn just let me help you!”
She looked at him for a minute, weighing the cost of her decision. “Just take me to the airport, that’s all the help I need”
“What if they find you there, then what?”
“I’ll deal with it.” She mumbled refusing to acknowledge the fear pushing its way to the surface.
“No I got a better idea.”
“I can’t do that” she said shaking her head at the three people looking at her.
Chico stood up and walked to her blocking her body from their audience. “What other choice do you have? Let them take her and then we can figure this out and then you can come and get her without losing your rights to her. I told you I will help you, let me.”
“Suppose they find her” she whispered fiercely. “I told you they are killers they will not hesitate to take their lives just to get to her and I can’t live with that.”
“How will they find her? They think you have nobody and that she will be with you. Come on let them help and before you know it you will have her and your life back.”
“If something happens to them I will never forgive myself”
“It won’t, trust me!”
After a moment of getting lost in the sea of his eyes she nodded her head.
“OK, Drew man I owe you big.”
The next three days went by in whirlwind for Malaya. She didn’t know if she was coming or going and she saw no end in sight. Chico and Drew spent more time together talking on the phone with this person or that person trying to tie together lose strings while Connie kept her company easing her fears that all would be well. Meesha’s constant babbling and smiles gave her escapes to happy places for even brief moments. She obviously knew her mommy needed it. She was introduced to Detective Jake Morrison that was a friend of the family, he was working with them to catch Dominique and his flunkies corresponding with other jurisdictions and he had a file stacked to the brim on Dominique Marcos ranging from drug trafficking to capital murder. The only thing he was as slippery as fish straight out of water and as clever as a chameleon. The only reasonable way to get him to come out of hiding and show his true side was to use Malaya as a lure. Chico agreed but didn’t really seem to like the idea that much if the coolness in his eyes and set of his jaw was any indication. She would have to come out from hiding and make herself available to be seen and possibly caught. The thought brought a wave of sickness to her but she knew short of a miracle which of course never happened to her since the day she met Dominique she was resigned to her fate.
“Let’s do it”
After the decision was made the days melted away and she felt again overwhelmed by the task and wait before her. Chico had been in a brooding mood every since she agreed to the plan. After they got back to his house he refused to say anything just kept staring at her like he wanted to say something or better yet do something which forced her to retreat to his bedroom. The desire banked behind the anger in his eyes fueled something inside of her that wanted to break free yet she knew it was a mistake and would create even more problems to her already complicated situation. Alone in the bedroom she took her borrowed hat off and truly got a look at herself in the mirror. Her long braid dangling in the middle of her back, she silently began unbraiding it allowing the thick waves to surround her. She never wore her hair down anymore form fear of recognition but now it was required. She picked up her brush and began to brush trying to tell herself it was almost over. Just a little while longer and she would be free. She heard the knock on the door but didn’t bother to answer. He would come in anyway if he wanted to, and he did.
“Malaya---“ he began when he came in the room but the vision of her stopped his words. A curtain of black curls surrounding her made his mouth go dry and his permanent hard on to increase in size. She was even more beautiful than he first thought and his want for her was reaching dangerous levels. He had been on edge since he finished talking to Jake and deciding with a certainty that she would be using herself to entice Dominique to come out of hiding. The thought of something going wrong and harm coming to her made his stomach clench and his anger to increase to fatal levels. There is no telling how he would react if the worst happened and he didn’t even want to think about it. All he could see was her sitting on his bed looking at him with trust and want in her eyes and he wasn’t sure if he was strong enough to walk away this time.
Malaya wasn’t sure what he saw when he looked at her but she knew this was a bad idea. She made a move to put her hair back up when he finally moved from his spot on the floor.
“Don’t” he said hoarsely feeling as though he was losing touch with reality and was in the presence of an angel. As she dropped the holding her hair she dropped her head also. He couldn’t take it, just one kiss and he would leave. But that one kiss was definitely going to happen.