Chapter 2  |  Part 3

“Where you staying at?” Luca asked.

“I was living on a herb garden balcony,” he replied. “I’m getting sick of mint leaves and baby tomatoes.”

“If I get a girl in this shirt, you can eat tomatoes for another month, my friend.”

“You can stay at my place for a little while, Riley,” Sassy told him.

“Thanks, I’d love a couch.”

“I’m assuming Luca has already recruited you to the Cat’s Catch.”

Riley looked puzzled.

“If you recall, Sassy, I met him while stealing his pants. I wasn’t about to ask him to join a bunch of seamen while butt-naked. I’m not that charming. Although, that does remind me of another bet I won.”

Sassy cut him off before he could start. “Well, I’d love to hang out with you boys, but I have a job hunt to pursue.”

They all stopped at a popular square with a fountain in the center of the area. It appeared Sassy wanted to go a different direction.

“You got fired?” Luca assumed.

She looked at Riley. “Would you mind giving us a moment, Riley?” she flashed her signature sweet smile and Riley obeyed.

While walking away, Riley realized that was probably the same smile she used to trick men into bringing her home with them. He had chosen to sit at the fountain and looked away from them in respect for privacy.

“You aren’t going to tell him the rest of that story are you? About Vin?” Sassy asked urgently.

“Of course not, I just met the guy. He could be a spy for all I know.” He looked over his shoulder at Riley. “Though I’m sure he’s not. I found him. I really like the guy so far.”

She watched Riley as she spoke. “I don’t think so either. You can stay the night with him at my place, keep an eye on him, see what his story is.” She then looked back at Luca with complete seriousness. “But you can’t come until Jimmy leaves tonight. Wait by the phone and I’ll tell you when to come home.”

Luca rolled his eyes. “I don’t know why you put up with that guy. He’s such a bad-ass prude. Thinks he’s better than everyone and doesn’t put out from someone as smoken’ as you.”

“He is a respectable man and a little old-fashioned,” she said proudly. “You are the complete opposite. It’s only natural that you two hate each other.”

“Whatever, now about the bar? You couldn’t stick it out for another month? We were so close.”

Sassy lowered her voice and took a step closer to Luca, her face hard and fearful. “Vin pulled a gun on me, Luca. He suspected something.”

“Oh, sorry,” he said concerned. “He didn’t hurt you did he?”

Sassy looked away. Trying to push away a flash of memories with Vin pressing himself against Sassy with a gun to her head.

Suddenly, her eyes drifted toward Riley. She found him crouched down, stalking a pigeon a few feet away from him on the fountain ledge. She laughed and forgot all about her worries. “I don’t think he’s a spy, Luca.” She pointed to Riley.

Luca had a half grin watching Riley ease toward the bird. He touched Sassy on the shoulder. “I’m sorry about Vin.” He looked deep into her eyes. “We can find another way.”

“Maybe we should stop, Luca.”

“We can talk about it another time,” he leaned in and kissed her on the forehead. “I’m just glad your okay.” He set a hand on her head and brushed it lightly.

“Thanks, Luca.” She gave a weak smile. “I’ll see you later.”

Luca took off toward Riley, scaring the pigeon while attacking Riley from behind. They both started shoving each other while walking away and Riley waved good-bye with a boyish grin.

Sassy waved back. She then lingered and watched them disappear around a corner. Just yesterday, she took Luca’s name in vain, hours before the attempt on her life. If things went differently, she might not have met Riley, or ever seen Luca or Jimmy again. She regretted not kissing Jimmy a little harder before leaving him again. Though Jimmy and Luca both assumed she would eventually tell them what happened last night, she had no intention what-so-ever to tell the truth of it to anyone.

Instead of fallowing through looking for a job, she doubled back to her apartment on the other side of the Cobble District between there and up-town. Locking her doors and closing the curtains in her bedroom, she laid down and gave in to exhaustion.  It was true when she told Jimmy she had cleaned the place. She couldn’t sleep after what had happened to her and vented through a massive cleaning session. It was only then she finally let go as tears weld up and she fell asleep.

What really happened to Sassy?

That’s all for now! If you email me and ask me nicely for more chapters, I’ll stop playing with my cats and get to writing.