Chapter 2

Jo marched into one of the most reputable diners in Ganghaven, Jacob's. The place was near empty, with only a few couples at various tables.

The proprietor, Jacob came forward to greet her.

“Jo, you're welcome! You need a table?” The burly man asked, wiping his greasy hands on his stained apron and offering Jo a handshake.

“Yes. I need a table for three. My friends will be here soon.” Jo replied, declining to shake hands.

“Well, you can sit at any table of your choice.” Jacob said.

Jo thanked him and plopped herself down at the farthest table in the diner.

“Except that one.” Jacob murmured. 

“Did you say something?” Jo asked.

He shook his head, deciding not to tell her about his regular customer who always came at the same time each day, and sat on that chair. He prayed his customer wouldn't come that day. Instead, he changed the topic “What would you like?”

“A BLT, with lotsa extra cheese, a huge pack of fries, and a bottle of bud light.” Jo said joyously. Jacob's burgers were greasy and chock filled with cholesterol, but they were the best in Ganghaven, which was why the gangs never bothered him. What if he decided to leave for Gulden?

“Ok. That's coming right up.” Jacob smiled.

“How's Junior?” Jo asked.

“He's doing well. He's studying to be a mechanic, and is planning to open his own workshop, right here in Odton.” Jacob replied with paternal pride.

Junior, his only child had been a gangster before. During a fight, he'd been stabbed in the stomach, and Jo had gotten her doctor friend to tend to him. After that, she'd had a chat with him, telling him to do better with the second chance he'd been given.

Junior then cut all ties with his gang and decided to become a mechanic.

“That's great.” Jo beamed.

“It is. Once again, thank you, Jo.” Jacob said as he left to prepare her order.

Jo waited for her friends impatiently. She loved hanging out with her girlfriends, as infrequent as it happened. It was the only time she let her guard down. With them, she didn't have to be a tough-as-nails gang leader with about twenty testosterone filled humans to keep in check, with them, she could be the fun-loving young woman who liked to horse around and gossip about the latest happenings.

Some minutes later, two beautiful women rushed into the diner, smiling when they saw Jo. She returned their smiles and waved them over.

The two women were Sia Stone and Andrea Levi, her two BFFs in the world.

Sia was petite, about five feet two inches, with lustrous brown hair that reached the middle of her back, and a highly voluptuous figure. She was an ER surgeon, who ran a charity clinic in Ganghaven which was perpetually swamped with patients who couldn't afford exorbitant hospital bills.

Sia wasn't from Ganghaven, but she'd seen how the people of the block lived from hand to mouth and had decided to help.

Jo's other friend was Andrea Levi, a rookie in the police force. Andrea had black hair which she always kept in a braid, and had good facial features. She was considered pretty when she smiled, which she didn't do often, except when she was with her friends. 

Like Jo, Andrea had lost her father to gangsters, but unlike Jo, she'd decided to join the police to stop that from happening to some innocent child out there.

Andrea was a blonde tonight, with blue eyes. Her disguise was necessary to avoid people discovering who she was. If it was ever found out that she was a cop, it would be disastrous for her. There were many gangs out there who would like to have their pound of flesh from the cops in any way they could.

Jo trusted these two women with her life. They were the only people in the world, apart from her mother who knew her secret; that she was a gang leader whose objective was to rid the block from other gangsters.

Jo didn't think there was a group of people she hated more than the other gang leaders. According to her, they were heartless and soulless creatures who destroyed many lives, both young and old, just in a bid to make money.

At first, Jo hadn't wanted to start her own gang, but people from Ganghaven were weary of most charity organizations and social workers because they had been fooled one too many times by people who had professed their willingness to help, only to find out that they were exploiters.

As a last resort, she'd started the Street Hawks, and had recruited like-minded men as members. The Street Hawks served as a charity organization, giving money, food and clothing to people who needed it, and sending those who needed immediate medical attention to Sia. They also gave the police, through Andrea, confidential information on many illegal activities taking place, not that the police ever did much about it. But sometimes, they raided the block and carted away the suspects.

“So, what's up with you two?” Jo asked.

“Nothing much. I'm just stressed out. Some woman was brought to the clinic. A victim of domestic abuse. She was pregnant and her husband hit her, forcing her to go into labour. Had to perform a C-section.” Sia said, before hollering to Jacob to give her whatever Jo was having.

Jo and Andrea winced, “I hope it was successful.” Andrea said, before giving Jacob the same order as Sia.

“Thankfully, yes. But the problem is, she wants to go back to him. She keeps saying it was a one time thing, but the fading bruises on the various parts of her body speak otherwise.” Sia sighed, massaging her temple.

“That's sad. Sia, you must be really tired. It was selfish of me to call you out here, without considering the shit you have to go through.” Jo said.

“Nonsense. I need this. This is my fix of happiness in my otherwise bleak existence.” Sia said.

Jo and Andrea rolled their eyes. Sia was known for her melodrama. “So what 'bout you?” Jo asked Andrea.

“My day was frustrating too. I couldn't get the lieutenant to sanction a raid on the arms dealers.” Andrea replied angrily, “I wonder if he's waiting for people to die first.”

At that moment, Jacob arrived with two trays of food. His smile widened when he saw Sia. He placed the trays on their table, left and returned with a third one.

“The food is on the house.” He said.

“Jacob, stop. We'll pay.” Sia said.

“No. You three have been a huge source of help to the block in various ways. It's the least I could do.” He said in a voice that booked no argument.

The women thanked him profusely and dug in, laughing as Jo told them in full detail what she'd done to Lenny's massage parlor. 

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