Where does the time go...

Ch 10 - Keeping What Was There's

Inside of club was smokey and dim, women were being modestly attractive, and beer was overpriced. Of course there was being two drink minimum, so I was drinking overpriced shitty beer.

"You're makin' a name for yourself in the Saints," Johnny said, taking drink from longneck bottle. "Dex is a little jealous you ain't helpin' with the Carnales, yet."

"Poor babushka," I replied, sarcastic. No one was telling me I was having to be choosing who to be helping or when. It was being my choice.

Johnny shrugged, leaning back in his chair and raising bottle. "Hey, I don't care who does what as long as the Saints are the gang left standin' at the end of the night, right?"

I clinked my bottle to his, nodding. "Damn right."

"Shit," Johnny said quickly, turning to be facing me more. "Don't look, but ah, your girlfriend is over there on the other side of the room."

I looked past him to be seeing Lin taking body shot off blonde stripper.

"You looked," Johnny grumbled.

I shrugged. "We just kissed. Is not big deal."

"She's just playin' the part of 'that bad ass racer chick the Rollerz think is awesome' I bet," he said, taking drink from his beer and going back to watching ladies.

"Da, I'm sure is all it is," I agreed, though my voice was betraying my disappointment.

"I thought it wasn't no big deal?" he asked, corner of his mouth tugging up into smirk.

"Fuck you, Johnny Gat."

"There ain't no 'E' in my name," he teased. "Joony Get? Who the fuck's that?"

I frowned at him, darkly. "Pissing off your ride is not good way to be starting night, asshole."

Johnny laughed. Because I as trying to be comedian for him. I stood up to be leaving.

"Hey, sit down Ivana, I was laughin' with ya, not at ya!" he urged, looking over his glasses at me.

I sat down. He was being right, I was still on edge from earlier, it would usually not be getting to me so easily. It had been long time since I was this angry, and for so long. But I felt powerful, too, strong again.

"What the hell are you two doin' here?" Lin hissed as she slid into seat next to me, Johnny blocking her view from Rollerz.

"Lin, you might not wanna be seen sittin' with Saints," Johnny advised. "Not good for your health, if you know what I mean."

"And if those guys I'm sitting at that table with see you two, there's gonna be trouble," Lin shot back. I was smelling alcohol on her breath. "I'm this close to findin' out who really runs shit for the Rollerz. Don't blow this for me."

"Is small world," I said to her, failing at keeping annoyance out of my voice.

"I didn't know this is where they wanted to come when I bailed," Lin said gently.

"I am not being angry," I told her. "Not even over stripper body shots, you are being big girl, da?"

"You saw that, huh," Lin said, smirking. "Guess I've had a little too much vodka tonight, honey."

I shrugged at her. There was being no such thing as too much vodka. There was being such thing as controlling your actions even while drunk. But it was not like she was sleeping with them, or us even really dating. Right?

"I gotta go," Lin went on, getting up and looking around. "They're gonna wonder why I'm takin' so long in the bathroom. But get outta here you two, ok?"

Lin left, and I looked to Johnny. "So much for free lap dance."

"Part of me wants to stay anyway," Johnny admitted. "But that part of me also ain't too bright and has had a few beers. Let's bail, I got somethin' else for us to do."

#

Johnny kicked in door to Friendly Fire, and alarm went off. He rushed inside, shouting over shoulder. "Come on, we gotta hurry before the cops show up!"

Laughing and shaking my head, I ran in after him and followed him to back room where there was safe. I frowned.

"Johnny, safe is being very heavy to be carrying..."

"That's why we crack it," he shot back, kneeling and pressing ear next to dial.

"Would explosives not be better to be cracking with?" I asked.

"You got C4 handy?" he shot back. "'Cuz I sure don't! Now shut up while I do this. Christ you get chatty when you're drunk."

I frowned, deciding to be keeping watch instead of arguing, peering head out door and wincing at loudness of alarm's cacophony. So far no police were showing up, so I turned back to him. "How's it coming?"

"Almost there…"

"Police, come out with your hands up!" someone shouted from hallway over shrill alarm bell. Fuck and shit, and so clichéd.

"We are having company, Johnny…"

"Well tell them we ain't interested in whatever they're sellin'," he grumbled, finally jerking safe open.

I smirked, pulling my VICE 9 from waistband. Using doorframe for cover, I snapped out and fired three times. Blood spurted from officer's chest and he crumpled to floor.

Johnny was carrying large box of guns when I turned. "We can pawn these off for some quick cash, come on."

We ran out of back door and around to front where my Nelson was being parked. I quickly opened driver's door and popped trunk, getting into car while Johnny tossed loot into back. He jerked door open and flopped into passenger seat, grinning.

"Go go go!" he cried, slapping dashboard.

I punched gas, engine backfiring before roaring to life and hurtling us down street.

#

I stumbled up church steps, weary and bleary eyed. It was being six in morning, I was groggy, cranky, and wanting to be sleeping. Glowing ember of cigarette in shadows of church made me stiffen, and instinctively I reached for my pistol.

"Easy, Ivana," Lin said lowly, stepping into light and looking around. She dropped her smoke and stubbed it out. "Been waitin' here an hour for you, Samson let me park my car in his garage to keep it outta sight."

I nodded. By now Rollerz would be knowing her car pretty well, I imagined.

"I just wanted to see you before headin' home," she explained, seeming uncertain.

I smiled. "Well, is nice to be seeing you." I didn't tell her I was exhausted and could barely be seeing her. Alcohol had worn off at least, but other than nap earlier I had not had any sleep for far too long.

"You hungry?" she asked. "Freckle Bitch's is servin' breakfast, now."

My stomach grumbled, but if I was not getting sleep soon I might be passing out on pile of syrupy flapper cakes.

"Starving," I admitted. "But also I am being very exhausted, Lin. Been up since…" I trailed off, having trouble remembering when I had last slept. "Shit."

Lin smiled faintly, shrugging. She was sounding disappointed, though, when she spoke. "You get some rest then, huh?"

I walked up to her, gazing into her eyes. She met mine stare evenly, no hint of fear, but corner of her mouth was tugging up into faint smirk. We were same height, and at this distance was very intimate to so easily be making eye contact.

My phone rang, Tupac's 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted. "Damn it all…" Was ring tone for Johnny, we had just parted ways, why was he calling?

I reached into my back pocket, but Lin pinned wrist to my side as I pulled phone free. Being restrained, flash of fear danced through me, and my breath quickened and I swallowed. Trust issues, who me? "Lin, b-be letting go…"

I saw her eyes widen ever-so-slightly. Something flashed in them, but she was letting go of me. "Sorry, honey… I…"

I shook my head, waiving her off and flipping phone open. Fear was already subsiding. "Da?"

'I don't know if it's quota time or what, but the cops are leaning hard on us,' his voice said. 'Shit's too hot right now, I want you off the street.'

"I see-…"

Johnny was interrupting me. 'Hold on… what!? You're kiddin' me… Those fuckin' cocksuckers! Change of plans, it looks like the Kings are tryin' to get back Tanya's old digs as we speak. Get your ass over there and help our boys. You're the only backup they're gettin'.'

Then he hung up.

"Čert voz'mi v ad!" I spat, snapping phone close with harsh clack and shoving it back into pocket.

"Ivana, what's wrong?" Lin asked, frowning.

"Vice King assholes are trying to be undoing what I just did, trying to be taking brothel back for their suka Tanya."

Lin reached up and pulled out her hair sticks, letting her hair fall down around her shoulders. "I'm comin' with you."

"Lin, you are being in Rollerz blue right now…"

"You have noticed we're the same height pretty much, right?" she shot back, smirking. "Just lemme borrow some of your clothes. Come on, it'll be fun."

I was not having time to be arguing, so I nodded. "Fine. Come on, we need to be hurrying."

#

Nelson backfired as I sped away from church. Grimacing and hoping Lin was not noticing, I shifted gears and screamed past traffic. Saints were needing me, and I would not be letting them down.

"You should lemme take a look at that," Lin offered. "Probably spark plugs or maybe the timin' is off."

I ignored her. She was wearing black halter top and purple track pants, now, hair pulled back into pony tail with mirrored aviators covering her eyes against growing light of day. My SKR-7 Spree was in her lap, and she was checking it over.

"I don't wanna know about that outfit these sunglasses were part of," she said absent-mindedly, pushing magazine into SMG. "Well… just not wearin' it for me. I'm not really into all that freaky shit."

I felt my cheeks coloring. I'd kept something from my past, was silly thing to be keeping, but my time spent in Amsterdam was being fonder memory than where I came from. Lin had found old costume in box of clothes, but said nothing about it until now.

As we neared Prawn Court, I could be hearing gunfire over racing of Nelson's engine, and soon were seeing Saints and VKs facing off on street corners. I cut wheel, sliding to stop and shoving door open.

"Saints, be making them your bitches!" I shouted, jacking slide on VICE 9 and firing quickly into nearest King. He crumpled into bloody heap and fell to ground.

"Nice shootin' Ivana," Lin purred, spraying bullets at yellow Compton two VKs were hiding behind. Flames erupted from under hood, and they scattered to winds, diving for cover. I shot one in back, and Lin took out other one. Their car exploded, shards of twisted metal and glass flying in every direction.

"Teamwork at it's finest," she added, swapping to fresh magazine and looking for targets. "I think we're done here."

I grinned. But there were gunshots further east, and so we made our way through back alleys, getting closer to action. Lin peered around corner of building, ducking back quickly.

"Five guys have some of our boys pinned down," she said lowly. "But we got the element of surprise, should be no sweat. I'll spray 'em down, you pick off stragglers, got it?"

Nodding, I got ready. Part of me bristled at being ordered about, but she was Lieutenant and I was… I was not knowing, actually, but I was knowing she was in charge, so fuck it.

Lin snapped out from cover, stalking forward and Spree rattling as it spat lead at assholes in yellow. I crouched and shuffled out into open, firing several times as one Vice King finally started turning to be facing us. Two 9mm rounds punched into his collar bone, third one hitting him in throat, blood washing down his chest as he fell to his knees. He was still gurgling after falling over onto side.

Caught between two sides, they fell quickly. I changed out empty magazine for full one, racking slide. I was ready to be going again.

"Looks like we won," Lin commented coolly, looking around and resting SKR-7 on shoulder.

More gunshots sounded from north. "Not yet," I said, grinning. We started jogging in the direction of gunfire, soon coming across Saints and Kings exchanging fire across street. I hit one in back three times before others were noticing, and Lin's withering barrage of fire was taking them out, bodies falling bloodied and full of holes to concrete.

It was being very silent, then.

"Now we are being done," I quipped, smirking at her.

"Yeah, yeah," she shot back. "Get me back to the church so I can change."

My phone rang again. I sighed, how was Johnny knowing I was being done already? We started walking back to car as I answered.

"Da…"

'I hope you're not cashed, we got more work to do,' his voice said. For fucking's sake, I was never going to be getting sleep. 'Troy just got a tip that Tanya's settin' up shop in the old Sunnyvale police station. I talked to Julius, and he gave me the okay to go in with a crew. Now, I'm headin' back to the church to get strapped; head over when you're ready. But don't wait too long, we got some murderin' to do."

Johnny hung up, and I groaned. Who was needing sleep anyway?

"What is it?" Lin asked.

"Tanya is setting up shop in old police station, and Johnny is going in with crew to be cleaning her out. Naturally he is wanting me to be helping him."

"You've got me all day if you need me," Lin purred, though her tone was hinting strongly at other things.

I felt faint color, heat, creeping up my cheeks, and chuckled. "I am not needing you, but wanting you, oh da."

Lin smirked. "Then let's get goin' honey."

#

Lin and I walked into back room that was serving as Johnny's office, and his table was being covered in all sorts of weapons.

"Good thing you're here," he said, idly wielding bat and taking light swing. "I was about to leave without ya. Now, I don' think I'm feelin' the bat today… who's your friend, she single?"

"Like a kid in a candy store," Lin said, chuckling low before glancing to me. "No, I guess I'm not."

"Lin?" Johnny asked loudly, finally realizing who she was. "Decent disguise, but what the fuck you doin' here?"

"Just a little bonding with my girl," she replied, looking over weapons on table and taking several SKR-7 magazines from it. "You gotta problem with it?"

Johnny shrugged. "Ain't my gang to run, it'll be just like old times," he said, turning back to table. "This is always the hardest part for me, ya know?" he added, picking up large chrome GDHC. "Balancin' stoppin' power with personal enjoyment."

Johnny racked slide, tucking pistol in waistband at small of his back. He grabbed switchblade next, snapping it open once before closing it and putting it into pocket.

I laughed lightly, shaking my head as I grabbed couple extra VICE 9 magazines and then hefted big, black Tombstone. "Kid in candy store indeed."

"Oooooh yeah," Johnny drawled, gaze lingering on another Tombstone. "I'm feelin' this." He picked it up almost lovingly, caressing pump tenderly.

Lin rolled her eyes, eyeing our twin weapons. "You two are somethin' else."

Johnny and I glanced at each other, and I grinned.

"I can't help Ivana's got fine taste in weaponry," he quipped, pumping round into chamber. "It ain't gonna be easy clearin' all those VKs outta the station, so I told my crew to meet us there. Let's ride."

#

"So my car's a two seater," Johnny said as we walked out to parking lot. "Wasn't expectin' a third wheel."

Lin frowned, but I spoke up before she could be saying anything angry. "We can be taking my car."

Johnny shrugged. "Whatever. Shotgun!"

"I get the front seat, girlfriend rules, remember Johnny?" Lin said, smirking. "Or did you forget? You made it up, ya know."

Johnny chuckled, climbing into back seat and cradling shotgun to his chest. Lin and I got into front and I hoped Nelson would be starting as I turned key.

Car struggled for few seconds, but it came to life and I revved once or twice before pulling out into traffic. I made right turn at end of street, changing station to 92.2 The Kronic. Aisha's Bounce Like My Checks was in middle of chorus.

"Tanya lucked out the last time you took out her brothel," Johnny growled, sounding angry. "This time the bitch is gonna get what's comin' to her."

"We will be bringing her down, Johnny," I told him darkly. I was not big fan of prostitution, especially Tanya's style which was being more like sexual slavery. If woman was having choice, fine, is being her choice and I am in no position to be throwing stones about such choices. "Sexual slavery that she is calling prostitution sickens me like nothing else."

I felt Lin put hand on my leg, and when I glanced over her usually hard eyes were softened somewhat. She offered me faint smile, which I returned, but then I paid attention to road again, swinging around slow moving truck. I was talking to much.

"After we're through with this whore, I wanna find Big Tony," Johnny purred, but then his voice grew louder, more excitable. "You listen to Julius talk about the guy, he makes it seem like he's built like a fuckin' APC!"

Lin chuckled.

Johnny sounded more composed, darker when he was finishing his thought. "Well I'm lookin' forward to takin' him apart."

"Until he rips you a new asshole," Lin retorted.

"Fuck you, Lin," Johnny shot back, but his tone was light and in rear view mirror I was he was grinning. "I got a good feelin' about this. I think it'll be a good bondin' experience."

As we entered Prawn Court, I turned off radio, turning down street where I remembered old police station being. Ahead I saw purple cars parked on street and flashes of gunfire. I stopped car behind Saints' Bootlegger convertible.

"There's our boys," Johnny said as we piled out. "Let's drop some Vice Queens!"

I sighted on porch, shooting Vice Queen three times in chest before he fell to ground. There was explosion from nearby, rocking ground and sending shrapnel into air. Saints fired from the street, clearing way to door, and I rushed in with Lin and Johnny close behind. Tanya was running through exit on other side of room as we entered.

Johnny shot one VK from point blank range with Tombstone and just laughed darkly, Lin spraying down range at King behind barrier. A bullet took him in forehead, and he fell back out of sight.

"I love it when they play hard to get," Johnny purred, raising sotgun to shoulder and turning corner. His weapon discharged twice before he called over his shoulder. "Clear!"

Lin and I were right behind him, fanning out and scanning for enemy.

"Somebody pop these chumps!" someone called from other room. Johnny went in first, silencing them with bark from his gauge. When Lin and I followed, he was already moving to next room and did not see Vice King raising SMG at his back.

"Johnny!" I called, raising my VICE 9, but Lin was already sending burst from Spree downrange, and banger in yellow collapsed against wall, trailing streak of blood as he fell, dead.

"I'm always savin' your ass," she said with smirk, bending over and picking up spare magazine from dead asshole. Not like he would be needing it.

Johnny leered at her backside, and I frowned, squeezing off shot into doorframe by his head.

"Jesus Ivana!" he cried.

"Sorry, I thought I was seeing another mudak behind you."

Johnny was not looking convinced, but I shrugged, raising eyebrows at him. Lin looked liked she was trying not to be laughing. We ran down hall, entering what was looking like old court hearing room, walls covered in graffiti. There was doorway on other side, and this time I was taking point, snapping around corner and firing into Vice Queen that was waiting for us. As we neared next doorway, three VKs attacked.

"You ain't gonna make it through all of us!" one of them shouted.

We all opened fire, decorating wall behind them with blood and gore. I rolled my eyes, but it was Lin that was speaking.

"This is almost too fuckin' easy," she purred, dropping magazine and swapping to fresh one.

Next room was having old file cabinets, and lone King made his stand using one for cover. I popped off three shots at him, finally hitting him in face. His jaw shattered, spray of blood splashing wall behind him as he fell.

"Take it to 'em, Ivana!" Lin called.

Another hallway, this one empty, but turning around corner was stairwell, and Tanya stood at top of landing to next set of stairs. "Don't let them get through!" she called, dashing up next flight.

"I ain't droppin' like that sucker!" someone shouted from stairs below, and three VKs rushed up stairs at us.

I shot one three times in chest, Lin sprayed another with bullets, and Johnny's shotgun barked into chest of one nearing top, sending him crashing into other two bodies as they tumbled back down.

"She ain't gettin' away," Lin hissed, leading charge up stairwell. I tucked VICE 9 into waist band and unslung shotgun.

As she turned corner, Vice King on stairs pistol whipped her, and Lin fell back into me, both of us falling into tangled heap. Johnny put himself between us, firing point blank into asshole and knocking him onto ass, dead with pulped and burnt chest.

Lin grinned, kissing me quickly, but with much passion. She pulled back, too soon if you are asking me, and eyes twinkling. "If this is a typical date with you, sign me up for another one."

"If you two are finished…" Johnny quipped as we were getting up. Lin rolled her eyes and picked up my Spree from floor, and three of us made our way to top of stairs and into upper level.

"We're not losing any more ground to the Saints!" I heard Tanya call, but was not seeing her. She must be in room at end of walkway.

Two more Vice Kings tried to stop us, but we made quick work of them, and Johnny took moment to be reloading his shotty. We jogged down hall to last room.

Tanya had run out of room to be running.

We rushed through door, turning corner and there she was, staring out window. Three of us raised our weapons, and yet, she was not seeming worried. Why…?

Pain exploded in back of my skull, vision going white as legs collapsed under me and I went down. I rolled over onto back, grimacing and groaning.

"Ivana!" Lin cried, then turned to large black man holding Tombstone of his own.

"I'd stay right the fuck there, bitch."

"How about you drop the gun, honey," Tanya said. "Both of you."

"If I were you, I'd listen to the lady," man that had to be Anthony 'Big Tony' Green added, cocking shotgun.

Lin clenched her fist, setting her jaw defiantly.

Johnny glanced over his shoulder. "Well of course you would, you bein' her bitch."

"Watch your fuckin' mouth," Tony growled.

Fuck. This had gone bad really fast. Lin, she would not be taking orders, and if they thought she would fight back…

"Hey, no reason to be hostile," Johnny retorted, letting Tombstone flip out of his hand and fall to ground.

And shit.

"You, too, baby," Tony growled, pressing weapon barrel to Lin's face.

Lin narrowed her eyes, and for moment I thought she would try something. Her body language was screaming violence. But she glanced to me, then threw down my Spree, glaring at Vice King enforcer. If was not such bad situation I'd have been breathing sigh of relief. But at least she would not be getting shot in face.

Big Tony found GDHC at small of Johnny's back and tossed it to Tanya.

"You packin' anything else?" she asked, catching pistol almost casually.

"Just some rubbers," Johnny shot back. "I was hopin' I could get some of Williams' sloppy seconds."

Tony hit Johnny with butt of gun, and he fell to ground next to me, but had not cried out. We glanced at each other, and he just smirked. "Guess I hit a nerve…"

Oh, Johnny.

"Do yourself a favor," Green growled. "Stay down and shut the fuck up. You 3rd Street muthafuckas think you so smart, well check this out, we ain't impressed! Hell, the only reason you got as far as you did was 'cause King let you. We led you right to where we wanted you, and now the police gonna finish yo' ass for good, just the way we planned."

Johnny looked up at Tony. "Well that explains how your bitch lost Prawn Court."

"Stupid whore," Lin added, slouching on her hip. She was being oddly cool-headed during all this.

"Are you gonna let them talk about me like that!?" Tanya whined. I glowered at her. If either Lin or Johnny moved, I was ready to act, taking that suka down.

"Don't worry, baby, I got this," Tony assured her. He cracked butt of his shotgun across Lin's cheek, and she stumbled, but did not fall. Murder was in her eyes as she glared at Tony Green.

"Yeah Tanya, shut the fuck up," Johnny quipped, getting up and facing Tony. "You gonna hit me like that, tough guy?"

"I thought I told you to be quiet," Tony growled.

"I got shitty hearin'," Johnny retorted.

Tony shot him, jacking another ground into chamber, and Johnny cried out in agony, collapsing to ground and cradling injured, bloody knee.

"Now you got a shitty leg!" Tony barked.

Lin tensed, suddenly ready to attack him, but Green aimed his Tombstone at her. "Do somethin' bitch. Please…"

Lin bought Johnny distraction he was needing, though. He suddenly was having switch blade in hand, blade flashing out as he stabbed Tony in foot and enforcer screamed in pain. "So do you!"

Johnny managed to tackle him to ground, and men started to scuffle. Go now!" Johnny shouted hoarsely.

Lin helped me to feet, and we rushed past Tanya. I knocked her to ground as we passed, then leapt through air, twisting and smashing through window shoulder first. Lin and I landed on dumpster, clambering down and running through alley as someone fired heavy caliber pistol at us, bullets smashing concrete as we ran. But we were not hit, and made it out to street. I felt like shit leaving Johnny, but he bought us escape with his sacrifice.

We would be coming back for him.

#

My phone rang as we hit street. My Nelson was fucking nowhere to be seen, of course, probably stolen by some asshole. I ran toward abandoned Bootlegger convertible, and Lin slid on her butt over hood and hopped over driver's door onto seat.

As Lin sped down road, tires screeching and engine racing to redline, I answered. "Da, Julius?"

'Hey, playa. One of Johnny's crew got outta there in time and told me what went down. If the cops are workin' for the Kings, you gotta get off street fast. Hurry up and get back to the church. We'll figure out a way to get Johnny back home.'

Then he hung up.

"VKs are having cops after us," I said.

"Great," Lin growled. She downshifted and floored it, large v8 engine roaring in response. "And here I am drivin' this pig of a car."

"At least is seeming fast," I offered.

Lin rolled her eyes, shaking her head. She got quiet as she focused, weaving intricate line through traffic. Cop car appeared in distance, sliding sideways to be blocking road, but she slipped past.

I grabbed my Spree from her lap.

"Buy a girl dinner first," Lin purred, dodging around SWAT van blockading road.

I felt color creeping up my cheeks, but racked bolt on Spree and leaned over edge of door, firing into police cruiser about to enter intersection to block us. Driver cop's blood and brains splattered over interior of car, and we raced past.

Then we were slammed into from behind, jostling us and I dropped SKR-7 into floorboard.

"Drive you piece of shit!" Lin snarled, slapping steering wheel. "I told you it was a pig!"

I bent down to be retrieving SMG, and another hit to rear slammed my head into dash. I saw stars, groaning, but managed to finally be snatching up my weapon and I turned to rear, squeezing off burst of bullets. Front tire of car ruptured, and cop swerved into other lane, hitting red Mockingbird and flipping over onto back.

"Good, keep 'em off me!" Lin called, jerking wheel and sliding around ninety degree turn, back end fishtailing before we surged ahead as tires were catching. "Ugh! My kingdom for a Voxel!"

I shook my head, chuckling. Finally we entered Mission Beach, and no more cops were on our tail; Lin had lost them all, and I felt pride for her. I hoped one day to be as skilled behind wheel.

"We're here," she said, pulling up to church. "Mind if I walk you in?"

I bit my lower lip, mind racing with possibilities. I nodded. "Da, Lin. I would be liking that very much."

Lin grinned. "Come on, then, let's see what trouble I can get you into."

#

"The fuck were you thinkin' Lin!" Julius all-but-shouted, and I involuntarily winced. So much for alone time.

"Julius, I-…" Lin began, but he cut her off. Troy was looking pleased with himself, though.

Too pleased.

"I thought you would have more a sense of responsibility at your age," he growled. "It's why I tapped you for the Rollerz!"

How old was she? I knew she was being older than me, but not by how much.

"I had time off from them," Lin shot back. "I chose to spend it with my girl."

"And you risked gettin' exposed completely and ruinin' your chances with the Rollerz!"

"The Kings don't talk with the Rollerz," Lin growled back heatedly. She never was shouting, thought. "I thought that was obvious. And I was in a disguise."

"You don't know that," Troy interjected, his tone betraying to me he had been one to rat her out. At that moment, I wanted to be hurting Troy, badly. Ever since Lin and I were hanging out, he was acting jealous.

Shit. It was all making sense, now. Troy was wanting me, and Lin was being in his way. Fuck. I needed to be telling him there was being no chance for him with me, and soon. Before he did something to damage Lin permanently.

"You think they got moles, too?" Lin asked.

"Dunno," Troy replied. "But it was stupid of you to risk yourself like that. We oughta have you demoted."

"You wouldn't dare," Lin retorted, glowering. She took out cigarette, lighting up and exhaling cloud of smoke.

"I'm considerin' it after such a lapse of judgement," Julius was admitting. "But I ain't gonna do it. You're in too deep and we ain't got time to replace you."

Lin seemed relieved. Rebellious, but relieved

"But you do anything like this again," Julius told her, narrowing his eyes. "And I'll strip you of rank and pull you out, you feel me?"

Lin nodded, but was looking defiant. "Yeah, I feel you, Julius."

"Good."

Lin's phone rang, and she looked to Julius, who nodded. She glanced at me, face apologetic, but took call.

Troy looked angry, and I sighed. So much for fun alone time, da? I stumbled suddenly, wave of exhaustion overwhelming me. When had I last been having sleep?

"You ok, playa?" Julius asked.

I nodded, but ground was looking so inviting. I blinked, realizing some unknown amount of time had passed.

"Ivana?" Troy asked, concerned. "Julius, she needs rest."

I shook my head. Johnny was needing me, fuck sleep. "I am being fine."

"You don't look fine," Julius told me. "But if you think you can handle it…"

I nodded quickly. "I can be handling anything."

"Okay then," Julius said, shrugging. "Dex is on his way with information on where Johnny's bein' held. Catch a quick nap if you want until then. When he gets here, we're discussin' how to get him back."

I nodded faintly, slumping onto pew. I looked up as Lin was leaving church. Fuck. I closed my eyes, willing sleep to be taking me finally. Surely someone would be waking me up when Dex was arriving.