Rogue(3)By: Katy Evans
I head down with Eric as the fights are under way, my eyes scanning the crowd, gauging the number of spectators, the location of security cameras, the exits.
We access a small dark hallway and then stop at the final door before Eric jerks it open. “I take your presence here tonight as acceptance of my offer?” my father asks the moment the door swings open and I step inside. I check the room for the exits, windows, the number of people.
He laughs, but it’s not a strong sound.
“When you’re done wondering if I have a sniper around ready to hit you, maybe you’d come closer. One would think my mere presence offends you.”
I smile coldly at him. Julian Slater is called “Slaughter” among his enemies; he’s been suspected as a man who silences his problems the old way. Even weak and in a wheelchair, I will never underestimate the damage my father can do. In a world measuring one’s destructive capabilities, my father would be the nuclear bomb, and wouldn’t you know it? Bastard’s already throwing verbal vomit my way. “You look fit as a bull, Greyson. I bet you still turn tires for fun and do a couple of cunts in your sleep. I’d give more than a penny to know what your thoughts are right now, and you know how stingy I can be. Hell, you know what I do if a single penny is stolen from me.”
“I remember clearly. Being I’ve done the dirty work for you. So let’s spare you that penny. I’m thinking, why bother to wait for you to die? I could smash your oxygen tank right now and take care of you nicely.” Slowly, I hold his gaze with a cold smile, pull out my black leather gloves from the back pocket of my jeans, and start sliding one hand inside.
He glares at me for a quiet moment. “When you’re done disrespecting, go and clean up, Greyson.”
One of the guys steps forward with a suit.
I calmly slip my hand into my other leather glove.
“As before, no one will know your name,” my father begins in a softer tone. “You can have money and the life you want as my son—in fact, I demand you live like a prince. But I need your head and heart in this. The job comes first, and I’ll have your word on that.”
“I have no heart, but you can have my head. The job is all there is and all that’s ever been. I AM my job.”
We survey each other.
I can see the respect in his eyes, even, maybe, a little fear. I’m no longer a thirteen-year-old, easily bullied by him.
“For the past five years of your absence, my clients . . .” he begins, “. . . they’ve seen no weakness from us at the Underground. We can’t forgive a single cent owed or we’ll be seen as weak—and right now there are many collections left to be done.”
“Why not have your minions do it?”
“Because there’s no one as clean as you. Not even the fighters know who you are. Zero trace. You’re in, you’re out, no casualties, and a hundred percent success rate.”
Eric pulls out my father’s old Beretta and offers it to me as some peace symbol, and when I find it in my hand, slightly over two pounds of steel, I find myself flipping it around and aiming it at my father’s forehead. “How about instead I take your Beretta Storm and encourage you to start telling me where my mother is first?”
He looks at me icily. “When you get the job done, I’ll reveal your mother’s location.”
I cock the gun instead. “You can die first, old man. You’re well on your way already and I want to see her.”
My father’s eyes flick to Eric, and then to me. I wonder if Eric will really be “loyal” to me while my father sits there, pretty as you please.
“If I die,” my father begins, “her location will be safely revealed in an envelope, already in a secure location. But I won’t reveal shit until you prove to me, through the collection of what every name on this list owes me, that you are—even after these years apart—loyal to me. You do that, Greyson, and the Underground is yours.”
Eric walks over to a nearby chest and produces a long list.
“We won’t be using your real name,” Eric whispers as he hands it over. “You’re the Enforcer now, our Collector; you go by your old alias.”