Even a prison cell can feel safe.
Lily sat on the bed, staring at the door. Waiting, wondering if he would come for her. She'd locked the door as soon as she had gotten back to her room, the lock sliding home with a satisfying thud. She'd even allowed herself a brief smile of satisfaction.
The panic had return a mere instant later and she had backed away from the door, her hand going instinctively to her mouth. Ryan had the keys for every door in the hostel.
That door wouldn't stop him.
Fear gave her strength and she pushed the chair against the door, tipping of it underneath the handle, then retreated as far from the door as she could get.
She wrapped her arms around her legs, making herself as small as possible, resting her forehead against her knees.
Another tremor raced through her body as she remembered the ease with which he'd trapped her, his breath against her neck, his hands on her body.
How could she stop him, if he came for her?
Weariness coursed through her, and she shook her head, trying to fight through the accompanying yawn. She didn't want to fall asleep.
He would be waiting for her in her dreams.
Darnell ate quickly, tearing into his breakfast like he had never seen food before.
"It's all set for tomorrow night, boss."
Joe toyed idly with his coffee cup, trying to keep his mind on the job. "How many?"
"About five." Darnell paused, chewing a piece of bacon he washed down with a mouthful of coffee. "Michael wasn't real clear on the numbers. I got the feeling there were a few more people he wanted to speak to."
"Do you know what crates the stuff is in yet?"
"Not yet." Darnell shook his head. "Sam knows which ones we're to move. What do you want me to do?"
"Go to work. Do the overtime. Find out what crates and where they're moving them to." Joe patted absently at his shirt, looking for his cigars. "I want this closed down as quickly as possible."
"Before they can get the stuff underground?"
"Yeah. I'll have the LAPD standing by. Don't worry, they'll be well back." Joe grinned, producing a cigar which he clamped between his teeth. "You'll be home soon."
"Good." Darnell finished his breakfast, pushing the plate across the table away from him. "Have you heard from her yet?"
Joe's smile slipped away. "No."
Heather slipped into Frank Mulholland's office, taking care to close the door after her. The rest of the office was out for lunch, but she didn't want to run the risk of anyone seeing her. Just a quick search, a quick look through his desk.
They had to find out who the girl was to put pressure on Mulholland, force him out of the race, force him to expose his criminal connections. Blackmail him with the threat of exposure.
It was a good plan. Quick, effective, tried and trusted. Provided of course, she could get some leverage to use against Frank Mulholland.
She had to find the girl.
Heather lifted one of the files, flipping quickly through the neatly typed pages.
Time ticking by as she read through the reports, opening the drawers in his desk, looking through them.
She sank into his chair, resting her head in her hands in frustration. "Nothing. There's nothing here." She sat back, shaking her head. "He's trying to keep this girl separate from the rest of his life and he's managing to do it!"
She drummed her fingers on the desk, looking around the office. The drumming slowed, then stopped, a smile spreading across her face, staring at it.
"Stupid, Heather. You're getting sloppy."
His private rolodex.
"Tim." His superior fixed him with a piercing glance above his fine rimmed glasses. "Where are we on the Repentant Sinner investigation?"
He swallowed briefly, caught off guard by the question. "We have an agent undercover within the organisation. We're just waiting on her report."
The supervising agent lifted his eyebrows. "You haven't heard from her yet?"
"No sir. We're still waiting on her making contact."
"I expect to be kept informed at every stage of this investigation, Tim. I want a report on my desk, first thing in the morning."
"Yes sir." Tom stood up, lifting his portfolio and papers walking out of the briefing room with his cheeks burning. 'Damn you, Joe. You'd better not be holding out on me.'
She found him in a basement bar, sitting alone, his hat on the bar next to him, smoking a cigar, a number of empty glasses arranged in front of him. She sighed and walked over to him, her heels echoing around the mostly empty bar.
He signalled at the barman as she drew closer. "Drink for the lady."
She sighed heavily. "What are you doing, Joe?"
"Having a drink."
"It's not going to make Lily get in touch any quicker…."
"Lily? Why would this have anything to do with Lily? This has nothing to do with Lily." He stubbed out his cigar, careful to not meet her eyes. "I just wanted a drink, it's not a crime."
"At three in the afternoon?" Marcy grinned bitterly, sitting down on the stool next to him. "That's not like you, Joe." She lifted the beer, taking a drink.
"Yeah, well there's a few changes I needed to make anyway." He tossed back another drink and signalled at the barman. "Line em up."
"And for me."
He grinned at her, swaying slightly on his stool. "I thought you didn't approve of afternoon drinking."
Marcy shrugged, lifting up the shot glass. "I don't. But someone's gotta make sure you get home in one piece."
"Well, now. Isn't that interesting?"
Heather lifted the card out of the rolodex, staring at the number printed carefully on it. And at the handwritten name and number scribbled below it, in Frank Mulholland's own messy hand.
"Joe's gonna want to see this."
This might just be the leverage they were looking for.
She put the card inside her purse, carefully rearranging his desk so it looked untouched. Then stood up, taking one last look around, making sure that the office looked undisturbed.
She nodded to herself, satisfied and walked towards the door.
Then froze, her hand stretched out towards the door handle.
There was someone else, outside Frank Mulholland's office.
Darnell lit the cigarette hanging out of the side of his mouth, making a show of smoking it. Looking around at the other workers, still hanging around the docks.
Sam. Mark. Jim. Tony. And him.
He stood by himself, waiting on Sam, the other three standing close together, passing around a hip flask.
Sam came out of Michael's office, holding a manifest in his hand. Darnell took another drag of his cigarette and threw away the dog end. "We ready, boss?"
Sam nodded, still reading through the manifest. "Yeah."
He looked up, checking the numbers against the manifest. "That one. We need crates 2, 6, 7 and 21." He folded up the piece of paper and tucked it into his back pocket. "Lets get started."
Mark took a last nip from his hip flask and tucked it back inside his jacket and they all walked towards the container Sam had indicated.
Darnell trailed after them, fighting against the urge to look around the docks.
He wondered how close the police were.
The End of Chapter Four.