The next morning, Jo awakened to a text message from Andrea that read; Call me ASAP.
Jo did as the message said and called Andrea as she went to brush her teeth.
Andrea answered, all hyped up, “Good morning Jo.”
Jo, who wasn't a morning person groaned at Andrea's perkiness. How could someone be cheerful at such an ungodly hour, she thought, “You asked me to call you.”
“That I did. Yesterday, after you told me about Ash being at the bust too, I looked him up in our records, and I must say he looks good both in pictures and in real life.”
Jo put the phone on speaker and squirted some toothpaste on her toothbrush, “Is that what you called to tell me?” She feigned disinterest outwardly but she was actually eager to hear about Ash.
“No. Funny thing about Ash is that he's not from Ganghaven,” Andrea said.
Jo, who had been brushing her teeth vigorously stopped as Andrea's words perm
Jo looked on with barely suppressed anger as the teenage boy and his family thanked Ash profusely. It wasn't that Jo was jealous over the attention and thanks he was getting, but why had he shown up? She'd had everything under control.Ash had showed up at the last minute and cajoled the officers who'd been super friendly to him, to let her and the boy go. Surprisingly, the two grouches had given in after Ash had sworn on his life that they didn't know anything.Jo admitted to herself that Ash's way was better for the boy. Now, he'd be saved the trauma of having to visit an interrogation room.Some minutes later, Ash stopped the family from groveling and walked up to Jo.Jo regarded him with a withering glance, “What do you want? A vote of thanks?”Ash shook his head. Why did her belligerence look hot to him?“No, I only came to ask if you're okay,” he replied with genuine concern.Jo saw the concern in his eye
Lieutenant Ted Baines was beside himself with pleasure at the prospect of having found the murderers.He invited everyone into the conference room and began to brief them eagerly,“We managed to find a camera on the premises, and it's footage revealed these two people leaving the crime scene right after the time of the murder to us,” he said, switching on a huge TV that was beside him.He surveyed his audience to see if they would recognize them and was not surprised when he saw Lester's eyes widen.“Lester, do you know these people?” Baines asked.Lester gulped and shook his head vehemently, “But I've seen them in Ganghaven a few times.” There was no way he was telling his boss that he'd met those two the day before, and that he was even friendly with the man.Baines ignored Lester and continued, “Yesterday, we were able to identify them. The male is Asher Mason, the leader of a street gang known as
* * *Ash was dumbfounded when he received a text message from Pascal that read: There's trouble. Stay sharp.He was about to call Pascal and ask him to elucidate on the text he'd sent when he received several notifications. Clicking on one, he saw that a bounty had been placed on him and Jo for the death of Matteo Salvador. He pinched him to make sure he wasn't dreaming.Other notifications were comments on the post by people who were interested in getting the sixty thousand dollar award.“This must be the trouble Pascal's talking about.” Ash mused. He knew that if he stayed in his apartment, he'd be french toast.All of a sudden, his door burst open and three men in green jackets, cut-off jean shorts and green baseball hats.Ash groaned. Just what he needed, to be taken in by the Green gang. From the
Ash cursed his vivid green eyes and his superstar looks. They made him too noticeable. He'd long since raked his hand through his hair, pulling locks forward to shield his eyes. He kept his head low, and stuck to the alleys.After a while, he became tired and sat beside a puddle like a homeless person. He shielded his face with a piece of cardboard that had been lying around and closed his eyes, intent on getting some rest.Ash was on the verge of falling asleep when he heard cautious footsteps coming towards him. After his encounter with the Green gang, he'd developed a healthy dose of paranoia, thinking that everyone was out to get him.He clenched his fists in the dark and waited.Seconds later, the footsteps sounded nearer and he tensed.When the person was directly in front of him, he lashed out and pulled the person's legs, causing the person to fall on him.He immediately, rolled the person over and straddled him, holding
“Lenny, what you did was wrong. Those girls are underage. They shouldn't have been working at your sleazy massage parlor.” Jo said.“There you have it,” Lenny said to Ash, “She destroyed my massage parlor and took my stash of cash with righteous fury just because of a little misunderstanding. Now, I need money to renovate. Just bear in mind that this is happening to you because of her.”Ash pushed Jo behind him, “I'm sorry, Lenny. But we aren't going to hand ourselves over. Now get out of our way.”To Jo, he whispered, “I'm going to draw their focus on me by engaging them. When I do so, run.”Before Jo could reply, Ash attacked one of Lenny's men. This one was actually the least muscular, but Ash still looked like a matchstick when compared to him.He hit the man in his groin and he went down one knee.The other four descended on him, kicking and punching him.Jo was about to
Ash and Jo got to the doorstep of a bungalow. Ash knocked on the door and they waited for a response.Jo took that time to scrutinize the house. Although it had seen better days, it was cleaner and sturdier than other houses in the neighborhood. Their lawn was freshly mown too. Jo nodded, anyone who'd try to preserve their house as well as they could despite living in such a dismal place, was commendable.The door opened, and a matronly woman wearing an apron opened the door.When she saw Ash, she looked happy. Upon seeing the bruises on his face, her happiness turned to alarm, “Good God! What happened to you, Ash?” she asked as she let them in, she gave Jo the once over and obviously decided Ash's injuries were in need of very urgent attention, because she didn't say anything to Jo.“Some thugs came after us. I know you've seen the bounty on our heads.” Ash said, as without waiting for an invitation, he plopped onto one of the thr
Kiss him! Kiss him! Kiss him! An inner voice chanted to Jo, but for the life of her, she couldn't break the spell of his gaze, even to kiss him.Ash was about to lean in and take Jo's sweet lips when Masha burst in, “My boys are home and food's ready. Come to the kitchen and eat.”Ash and Jo jerked apart as though they'd been shot at.Masha was oblivious to what she'd interrupted, and led them to her kitchen with pride, humming happily under her breath.The kitchen was small but cozy and when they entered, two males were already seated at the table awaiting their own share of food.“Umberto, David, how do you do?” Ash asked as he sat down.Umberto, who was Masha's husband replied, “Very well, Ash. Too bad I can't say the same for you.”“Umberto!” Masha admonished as she dished out spicy hot pasta on various plates, “Don't be rude to our guest.”“What can I
Early the next day, Jo and Ash were awakened by Masha. She told them to have breakfast and a bath before they left.Jo agreed and left the room without talking to Ash. Ash knew she was angry with him, and he actually deserved it for how rude he'd been to her the night before. He could still remember how surprised he'd been, when she'd said he had Gulden tastes. Although she'd meant it as a joke, it didn't make it nothing less than the truth.First, she'd seen his tattooless torso, and then she'd found out about his tastes. What else would she be privy to if he let her?It actually wasn't her fault that he couldn't keep his mouth shut when he was around her. Not Capo or Pascal, his most trusted men, knew most of the things he'd told her, but for some reason, he'd wanted to spill all his secrets to her. He knew that would not bode well for him.* * *Jo looked at herself as she put on the shirt Masha lent her. The shirt was loose