After several attempts to reach Rio by phone, I run to the guest room where Kevin had taken refuge, phone, wallet and box in hand. The door was locked, no surprise there so I break the knob clean off and push the door open. He jumps off of the bed in shock and disbelief. “Ay man, what the fuck are you doing?” I hand him his wallet, and his phone, and shove the box in his hands. I am not sure if I have enough energy to do this (and I pray that I can bring this man out in one piece), and grab him by his shoulders and dematerialize without a second thought. He screams his lungs as I drag him through the molecules, and because I am traveling with more than just myself I struggle to maintain that form as we move at almost light speed back to California. The fact that this man is nearly twice my size in weight, not to mention the stress of knowing that someone has located us and was bold enough to flex a move, mixed with Kevin just acting like a straight up pussy, I barely manage to poof us to back to Rio’s townhome in Baldwin Hills.
We collapse in a heap on the manicured lawn, and I can feel the slight tingle and burn of the sun’s rays cresting over the horizon. I have less than forty minutes to find Rio and get myself to safety. There was also the slight complication that I need to feed. I tried to be patient and give the man a minute to orient himself, but as he blinked several times at me like a blind man given his sight for the first time, I picked him up the collar and drug him to the front door, where we were greeted by his personal guard. With the sun’s rays less than an hour from burning me to a crisp and knock both men down, and force my way through, dragging Kevin with me. The house goes into an uproar, I find myself and Kevin surrounded with guns drawn, and with the surge of adrenaline building, I eye the thick blue-green vein pulsating in the broad neck of the white body guard that was built like a brick house. He will definitely do. Just as the shit is about to get real with every last one of the men (except for Kevin) becoming a part of my breakfast, Rio comes strutting down the stairs, dressed in a black silk robe followed by a woman who was a least ten years his junior following behind in a similar garb. His face is beet red, and his nostrils flare and as I watch every muscle in jaw flinch in anger, I wonder if he will ever have enough nerve to drive a stake through my heart.
“What the fuck are you doing here?!” He roars, bypassing his men and leaving his plaything for the night at the base of the stairs. “Are you fucking insane? He is supposed to be In Miami! He has a show tonight and two nights from now, he has a meeting with the press!” “Well if you had not been so concerned with getting your dick sucked you would have answered my calls,” I retort sharply. I turn towards Kevin, whom was standing a little too close for comfort next to me, and ask for the box. “Someone was kind enough to send us not only his cell phone and his wallet, but the eye of his road manager.” Kevin inhales sharply upon receiving word of his manager and what I could assume long time friend’s demise. His sudden grief saturated the air, with a heavy, dewy scent and although not much moves me anymore I motioned for Rio to let Kevin pass and find solace in another area of the house while we discussed what needed to be discussed.
Once Kevin was out of sight, I hand the box over to Rio and he reluctantly accepts it. Once he opens it, the smell of the decaying contents was enough to make him toss it to the side, nearest the stairwell. He smoothed his broad hands over his bald head, his shoulders slumped in defeat. He motioned for his guards to take refuge elsewhere and then beckoned for me to follow. His little play thing decided that she should come too, but was quickly reprimanded and sent right back to where she belonged: the bedroom. He led me to his office where most, if not all of our arguments have taken place, and closing the door behind me, he plopped down on the cream colored sofa, his robe sliding up his thighs and bunching into his more “private regions”. I really wish the man had put some pants on at least. We are close, but we are not that close.
“What happened?” He finally said through clenched teeth, and once I gave him the rundown, his expression grew more serious by the minute. When I was done, he got up and punched a hole in the wall facing the sofa. “This is all the way around fucked up.” He said with a hint of exhaustion. “I know.” I say nodding my head. “I don’t have many options left Viper.” He adds softly. “I know.” He sighs and moves over to his desk, and reaches into the bottom drawer and pulls out a .45 and several hallow points and took a seat on the leather office chair, and stares at me intently from behind the desk. “This could be the work of C Dollas. I have not spoken to him, haven’t been able to reach him…” “C Dollas works for Lucas,” I anxiously reply as I march over closer to his desk. He looks at me in disbelief, and to be honest, I could not believe it myself. But whatever Lucas was up to, it was something big because C Dollas was no rookie in the industry or in the streets. “I found out that one of the promoters from the Kevin’s former record label invited Kevin and his crew to the mansion. C Dollas doesn’t deal with anybody that he is not in cahoots with.” “Maaaaaaaan Viper…goddamn!” He groans, massaging his temples. “Cancel the press conference,” I say firmly. “Send out a statement stating that it did not work out between you two professionally and you are hereby releasing him from his contract. Therefore, to most of the other record labels would see him as a free agent…or better yet tell the media that Kevin has opted to go independent, and in the mean time we can quickly stage a dummy record label under his name to give the world the impression that he is in fact independent.” I hold my breath as I let my suggestion sink in. “I don’t know Viper,” he said warily. “Neither Lucas nor C Dollas is gonna buy that. When I found Kevin he was completely broke and on the brink of eviction from his landlord.” “For all they know Kevin could have been stashing whatever money he was paid…” “And what exactly is that going to do?” “Buy us, better yet ME some time.” He stares at me with a mixture of defeat, regret, confusion and something else I cannot exactly pinpoint. “You know what Viper,” he begins slowly. “I told you that I wanted to retire. I am tired of all this street shit and even when I was really at the top of my game, I ran my organization with a plan: to leave it for the next man hungry for a come up and start my label and go legit. I think I have done more than my fair share of making good on my word: I gave you Lucas’ brother. I fucking handed him to you on a silver fucking platter and you still bring this bullshit to my door. Look, I tried to convince you to just in some shape or form to move on, but since you insist on embarking on this suicidal plan that is going to not only get you killed, but Kevin killed too, I don’t want any more parts of it.” The long silence that followed as I processed every single word that this selfish and greedy former Brazilian kingpin had to say and if it wasn’t for the that blasted sun I would have- “I have to go Rio,” I say urgently. “The sun is rising which means you have 12 hours to figure out what the hell you are going to do. You are in this shit as deeply as I am and for all of the bodies that I have drained, murders I have cleaned up, men whose lives I have ended on your behalf, I would have thought that your balls would have been a bit bigger at least on the strength of loyalty. But I see, loyalties like people change. Good day Rio.” With that I dematerialized myself back to my Hollywood apartment, unfortunately leaving Kevin alone with Rio to sort out the mess.
If Rio is thinking what I know he is thinking, then he will have more than one reason to fear the night.