Quinn stepped back from the trunk like I had slapped him with a mighty force. In fact, his face held much the same kind of expression as if I had. His hands went up in mock surrender.
“Whoa. I don’t know what is happening here but now it has gone too far.” He continued to step back until he came up hard against the vehicle parked behind him.
“Quinn, listen. Dean is coming and he plans on hurting you. He won’t ...”
He stepped forward and interrupted my words with force. “I want to know how you know all this! Do you work for him, or something?” All the decency and gentleness drained from his eyes as he demanded my answers.
“No” was all I could muster to say under his intense scrutiny.
He articulated each word with great force as he stepped into my space. “How do you know he is coming here? Or that he has a gun? Or that he plans to hurt me?”
Just before any words could squeak their way out a red truck pulled up right beside us blocking any escape Quinn might have planned. The truck came so close that even Stacie was unable to open her car door. She squealed out the window demanding they move their truck.
“Well, well, well. Look what we have here. The Boss will be delighted to know that you both were waiting here patiently for us to arrive.” The man’s voice was thick and taunting. His long, black hair was pulled back into a tight pony-tail that hung slightly over his shoulder. Quinn shuddered slightly as he turned to greet the man leaning from his pimped-up truck window.
“Evening, Mate” came Quinn’s strained welcome. “We were just discussing Dean. Is he with you?”
The man winked at Quinn and then pulled a small pistol up from his lap far enough that we could see. “Dean was hoping you would join him tonight for a night cap.” The sarcastic drip to his French voice sent shivers up my spine.
Quinn must have sensed it because he instinctively pulled me close in behind him. I leaned into his back and felt his strength and his courage roll over me like an ocean wave.
Quinn spoke in a hushed voice. “Where would that be?”
“Once you and Cathie get into the truck then I will feel at liberty to share those details.” Now his once smirking face morphed into a tight growl. “So, get in!”
My mind was reeling. How does he know my name when Quinn doesn’t? ‘Lord I need help sorting all this out tonight. Where are you?’
Then like a silent answer to my prayer came the words, ‘blue satchel’. Immediately I dove into the trunk to retrieve it and was accosted by armed men that appeared out of the darkness like thieves. Quinn jumped to protect me and was thumped on the back of the head with the butt of a gun. I retreated with my hands in the air.
“Stop! Wait! I have a bag in the trunk for Dean. It is blue.” I gasped for a breath. “It is the twenty-three Grand that Quinn still owes.” Everybody froze in their position until the man at the truck window nodded for one of his men to grab the bag.
A tall, slender man on my right pushed me aside and retrieved the bag. He cautiously opened the rope tied top and grinned from ear to ear as some money toppled out. “Ohhh”, he said with a slight warble, “the Boss is going like this.” Then he cinched it up tight and tossed it to the truck in one swift movement.
“Get in, Lovebirds!” The pony-tailed man shouted and motioned towards the back door of the truck cab.
Quinn tightened everything and pulled me snug to his side again. “No thanks, Mate. Dean has his money now and I expect that means he'll be leaving me alone. This isn’t a mob movie were in.”
My heart skipped a beat as the words rolled off his tongue without a hint of fear. He has always been a gallant man.
Next I felt Quinn’s body pressed against mine as he took a step backwards, moving me along like his puppet. He walked slow and precise until we were both on the sidewalk beside Stacie’s car.
He opened the door without taking his eyes off the man in the truck and then slid me into the car before he scooted in beside me. Stacie’s car was still boxed in by the large red truck but Quinn directed her to start her engine anyway. We all held our breath waiting for ‘Pony-tail’s’ next move. Thankfully, the red truck revved loudly and sped off down the dark road.
There was a moment of stillness in the car until a small sniffle came from the front seat. I reached over the seat back and hugged my sister to comfort her.
“Sorry”, she sniffled again, “I am really scared.” Her sobs came stronger as her body rocked in my arms.
“It’s okay Stac, I’m really scared too. Thank God no one was hurt.” I fought back my own tears and turned my head slightly to be sure Quinn was still there. He had been perfectly quiet since he crawled into the car behind me. His eyes were misty and his face was ashen white. Without a moment’s hesitation I released one of my arms from around Stacie and clasped Quinn’s hand in mine.
He turned his face away from me and stared out of the car window. Finally Stacie started up the engine and slowly entered the flow of traffic away from the pub. There wasn’t a single word spoken the whole way to my hotel.
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