Leaning against the railing, I watch the Cubans as they toy with the kidnapped woman. She’s in her fifties, a dark-haired beauty, dressed in a classy suit, torn now, the expensive high-heeled shoes long gone.
Swinging her between them, they dangle her over the water, just long enough to get high off her terror, then yank her back to the illusion of safety with empty promises in her ear. Then they do it all over again.
Growing tired of the game, I pull out my Colt and put a bullet between her eyes. She’s dead anyway, it’s a mercy kill. The sound of the shot is deafening, the screaming stops, and I have four AR-15s pointed at me. I tuck away the gun and shrug.
“Stop fucking around. Let’s get to work.”
The men glance at each other and come to a decision, tossing the body overboard, before they disappear into the depths of the boat. I light a cigarette and watch the final moments before the woman vanishes beneath the surface. The ocean glitters cheerfully in the sun, seagulls shrieking high above us. Nature, as always, uncaring about human struggles. I close my eyes, fight down my frustration, and take a few more deep pulls. Enjoying the warm gusts of wind and the absence of the screams and hoots, I flip the butt over the railing, turn, and walk down the stairs into the cabin.
I never toy with my targets. Death is a serious matter, personal, the last moments of a human life. It is to be met with some amount of respect.
The Manhattan skyline grows in the distance, partially obscured by the morning fog. Only the top of the Chrysler building glitters in the first rays of the sun. It’s a promise of home, of getting some well-deserved rest. I like the anonymity of New York, the melting pot, how easy it is to meet and discard a person. There are all kinds here. Good people, bad people, lost people, broken people. Very few normal people. I fit right in.
My phone buzzes.
“Nate.” Christian Russo, my larger-than-life brother, greets me cheerily.
“Chris. What’s up?”
“Tell me you’re in the big apple.”
“I’m in a cab. Just left JFK. Got a foggy view of Manhattan across the river. Why?”
“I’m passing through. Need a place to crash.”
“What’s wrong with hotels, mate?”
“I’m just kidding. Of course you can come by. Wanna go out?”
“A’right. Gimme a call when you get to town. I’m not picking you up. I’m fucking beat. Cuba was Hell on earth.”
“Wanna talk about it?”
“You’re funny. I don’t talk. Let’s go out for a drink instead.”
Christian barks out a laugh. “Talk later.”
The taxi dives into Queens Midtown Tunnel. Dark turns to light as we resurface, and the well-known streets surround us. It makes me breathe easier. Even early in the day, it’s noisy and buzzing with cars and people. I roll down my window and inhale the scents of freshly baked bread, garbage, car exhaust.
I lean forward and hand my credit card to the driver.
“Thanks, Mr. Russo,” he says, giving me back the card before opening his door.
“I got it.” I grab my bag and hop out. The air is chilly, and white fog comes out of my mouth with every breath. Tribeca is waking up, a few are on their way to work, not much going on yet.
I jerk off in a scorching shower. It doesn’t help one fucking bit. I’m still edgy, still frustrated. Cuba was technically a success, but I’m not feeling it. I need to go out, I need to vent. As I unpack and wake up my loft again after a few weeks of hibernation, I ponder where to go tonight. I’ll see what mood Christian is in, but me, I don’t want to think; I just want to blow my mind clear from all the shit that’s gathered there.
A call announces the arrival of my big brother, my friend, protector, and partner in crime. Quite literally.
I pick up and tell the door man to let him up and a few moments later come three signature loud bangs on the door, making me jump.
“Fuck’s sake.” I stride over and turn the lock. He gives me a slap on the back and looks around the large bright space that is my loft.
“Still no woman’s hand, I see.”
I scoff and jerk my head toward the kitchen. “Beer, bro. Talk soon. Women later, all right?”
Christian grins. “Sounds good to me.” He trails behind me and I hand him an ice-cold Corona.
Grabbing it in his large paw, he regards it. “Still with these Mexican beers, Nate? Got anything more to my taste?”
I pop one open for myself and sink down on a stool by the bar. “Nope. I love all things Mexican. Now what brings New York the honor of your presence?”
“Salvatore wants me to deliver something personally.”
“Doesn’t sound good for the receiver.”
Our uncle is known for sending not too subtle messages to people who fault him or meddle in his business.
Christian cocks his head and shrugs. He’s an imposing man. Dark and tall. My brother has an inch on me, and that’s saying a lot because I’m six feet two. It was always a contest between us, growing up. I thought I’d catch up, but he won big time. I wouldn’t want to be at the receiving end of whatever he doles out.
He takes a few swigs from his bottle. “Can I use your shower?”
“Take what you need. My home is your home.”
“I don’t wanna smell like you, though.”
“What the fuck?” I sniff my armpit. “What’s wrong with my smell?”
“You smell like a sissy.”
He dodges my punch and disappears laughing.
Coming from the bathroom, Christian brings with him a cloud of cologne and dons a dark gray suit that looks like it’s never been worn before. I’m on my couch, a second beer in my hand, with my feet propped up on the table, flipping through TV channels. Old reruns of comedies with canned laughs. I turn it off, drop the remote on the table and turn to him, tossing him a spare key to my place. He pockets it with a knowing grin.
“Just not in my bed, you fuck.”
He barks out a laugh and lays his hand over his heart.
I sigh. “Cuba was shit. It went well technically, I guess, but these guys… No finesse, I felt disaster looming around every corner. It’s not often my stomach is in knots throughout a whole fucking op.”
“What are you doing now?”
“Tonight, I wanna forget about everything. I want booze, women, and songs. Tomorrow, I’m off to the Dominican Republic.”
“Really? Again? Same people?”
I nod. “Yeah. They were apparently pleased with the outcome last time. But fuck that. I don’t wanna think about that tonight.”
Christian raises an eyebrow. “Booze and women, then.”
“That’s my man.” He nudges my shoulder. “Where’s the place to go?”
“Le Bain. It’s walking distance from here, unless you feel lazy. I need to walk off some steam, because I’m still fucking riled up.”
Christian shrugs. “Let’s do it. I want to fuck an upper-class bitch who’s never been tied up in her life.”
I laugh. “They’re all pretty hardcore here. Good luck with that.”
“Oh, I’m game with hardcore.”
“Yeah, I know.” I rise and grab my phone, wallet and keys.
“Nate, I’m a wuss next to you. You’re insatiable. Leave them alive at least.”
I scoff as I lock the door behind us. “I don’t hurt chicks. Much. At least not permanently.”
Le Bain is hot, filled to the boiling point, heavy music pounding through the loudspeakers. It’s the go-to club at the moment. Christian disappears into the depths of the venue within a few seconds. He’s on the prowl. I’ll be surprised if I even see him again tonight.
I haven’t been here even five minutes when I see her by the bar, standing alone, trying to get the attention of the bartender. Young. Long, beautiful brown hair with a hint of red that catches the playful lights from the dance floor. Tiny frame, a perfect round ass in a snug dress. I picture wrapping my fist around that lush mane, pulling hard, hearing her scream as I fuck her.
“You can keep those on,” I say, coming up from behind, pressing against her back.
She spins around. “What?” Taking me in, her face turns from a snarky frown to interested in a second.
“Those.” I nod at her high-heeled shoes. “When we fuck.”
She has big, round doe-like eyes. I can’t discern the color, but the intensity in them makes something stir in the pit of my belly. She crosses her arms over her chest and stares me down, narrowing her eyes.
“What makes you think we’re gonna fuck?”
I move in on her, putting a hand on the bar next to her, cornering her between my arm and the girl on the other side. “That heavy sensation in your pussy right now,” I whisper in her ear.
Her pupils dilate and her breath quickens. Then she scoffs. “You’ve got some nerve. I’m not screwing some random stranger.”
“I’m Nathan,” I say and give her my hand. When she takes it, her face guarded, I add, “Now we’re not strangers anymore.”
She laughs. “Right. In your mind, maybe. Who am I, then? If you know me so well.”
I eye her, letting my gaze travel along her body, fighting down an urge to just whisk her away. “You’re from out of town. Not used to this—” I tilt my head, indicating the rest of the club. “Single, though I can’t understand why.” I cock my head and narrow my eyes. “You’re also interested, but you’re gonna fight it and I’m not getting anywhere with this, am I?”
Widening her eyes, she squirms, glances over my shoulder as if searching for someone, then she bites her lip and meets my gaze.
“You trapped me good. I can’t say ‘you’re wrong’, because then you’d take it as an invite. I can’t say ‘you’re right’, because then you’d think you are getting somewhere.”
She shifts and pulls her hand out of my grip. I take a step back. I’m not stupid. I won’t be getting anywhere, and I’ve made her uncomfortable. Sometimes that’s what gets me my highs, but it wasn’t my intention tonight.
“You never told me your name.”
“Yeah, look Nathan… Forget it. You’re not my type.”
The disappointment strikes me hard. What is it with this girl? The stupid fucking feeling that I could have taken her home and enjoyed waking up next to her tomorrow strikes me, and it’s a bitter surprise. It’s probably because she rejected me. I never take anyone home.
“You’re a lovely lady,” I say. “Take care.”
I turn and sneak through the crowd, frustration building, the need for a body, any-fucking-one mounting.
Long, platinum blonde hair catches my attention and I smirk. A well-known face. Hello Vanessa. Our on and off fling has been mostly off the last few months, but she’ll definitely do.
I snake an arm around her waist.
“Come.” She jerks and cries out, but when she sees it’s me, she doesn’t object as I steer us through the throng of people on the dance floor. I pull her flush against my body, wedging a thigh between hers. We move with the music, sweaty bodies surrounding us. She rocks her hips against mine, leans back in my hold, her arms above her head, exposing her chest and her throat.
“What a nice surprise, Nate,” she says huskily in my ear. “I didn’t know you were back in town.”
I don’t answer and start pushing her in front of me, maneuvering her through the crowd, through a curtain-covered doorway into an abandoned corridor. I try a couple of doors until I find an open one. The room is empty and dark. I already have a hand shoved up between her ass cheeks, pressing into her heat and feeling her soaked against my fingers. She moans as I back her up against a wall and nuzzle her neck. She smells fresh. Soap, a light flowery scent. I appreciate that.
In one rough move, I jerk her dress up to her waist.
“Hey!” she cries.
“No talking.” I push her panties to the side and caress the smooth, wet flesh, circling her clit, her entrance, teasing, but never entering. Then I stop. She buckles in my hold and groans. I chuckle.
“On your knees. Be a good girl and pull down my pants.”
She turns out to be a really good girl. All thoughts of Cubans, late night raids, rattling machine guns, and people screaming, blissfully fade. I pull her up by her arm.
“You got protection?”
“Yes, I’ve got protection. Now turn the fuck around and bend over.”
I tear open the little package and roll on a condom, then I move her panties to the side and push inside her, reveling in the feeling of her warm softness hugging my cock. She cries out and supports herself against the wall. I cup her breasts in my hands and find her nipples, making her gasp as I thrust, pinching her peaks until they’re stiff. Then I wrap a thick length of blonde hair around my fist and pull her head back until she arches up. My other hand follows a taut belly down the front of white lacy panties. I push inside and caress her clit as I fuck her harder and harder.
She tenses, her breathing erratic. “I’m coming,” she cries. I fuck her through her orgasm and feel her shudder on me.
“Turn around.” I pull out of her pussy and toss the condom. “On your knees.”
She obeys and takes me in her mouth again. It isn’t long before her skills make me come hard, all my pent-up energy finally released.
When I zip up and walk out the door, she’s still kneeling. “You’re such a dick, Nate,” she yells behind me.
Yeah. I know.
Physically, I’m sated, but all I feel is emptiness. In a club stock full of people, I’m still lonely.
On my way toward the exit, I see the little brunette again. She has a bottle of beer in one hand and a wide grin on her face. Her petite body sways with the music, squeezed in between two huge guys who clearly only have eyes for each other. I stalk half a lap around the dance floor, taking her in, forgetting about my misery. She has a shyness to her, and still there’s a heat underneath. I admire her curves, her toned, slender body. She’s dressed with more class than most chicks here. A thin sheen of sweat covers her skin as she dances with abandon. My cock twitches to life again and I find my feet almost moving on their own accord.
I’m an arm’s length away when I realize I have nothing to say. She’s not the kind of woman you grab by the hair and fuck behind a dumpster.
I’m clearly not the man she’d ever look at twice.
Something dark in me flares up, and I turn away, disgusted with myself.
I push through the crowd, glancing behind me once more, and at that moment she turns, and our eyes meet briefly before she averts her gaze. It’s like a bolt of disappointment shoots through me. An empty shell of a man is what I am, but I don’t know how to live any other life. Not anymore.