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
“Get out of the way, Ash!” Jo growled.“I won't until you start talking to me again!” Ash said.Jo sighed, “I tried to talk to you, and you gave me the cold shoulder. I'm just giving you a taste of your own medicine.”Ash replied, “I know. I'm sorry for the cold shoulder. It won't happen again. I swear.”Jo nodded and kept on walking.“Hey! I just apologized! Why are you still angry at me?” Ash asked.“I'm not.” Jo replied.“Yes, you are.”“Honestly, I'm not angry at you. I just get angry thinking about the mess Masha and Umberto could be in at the moment.” Jo said.“Don't worry, Umberto is pretty smart. He has to be, to have lived this long.” Ash assured Jo.“This long? Umberto is probably in his late forties.” Jo said.“Exactly.” Ash said, “Umberto and Masha were
Ash and Jo walked until they got to a convenience store. They entered, startling the geriatric sales lady who was taking a nap.“What can I get you young couple?” The woman asked as she sluggishly adjusted her glasses and smiled at them.“We'd like to see Jean.” Jo said, not looking at the woman, but rather at the security camera behind the woman.The woman scowled and fixed her with a stern look, “Look, I sell a lot of things, but I don't sell jeans. If you're not interested in buying anything, you better leave.”Ash felt like a child who'd had been caught stealing from the cookie jar, “We're quite sorry, Ma'am. We'll just be on our way.”“No.” Jo said intractably, “I'm not leaving until I see Jean.”“Are you crazy?” Ash whispered to Jo, “She doesn't know what you're talking about.”The old woman was about to wag her finger at Jo, when the
Jo and Ash argued over how to get J-Cane to talk to them.“I say we get to his lair and hide so whenever he comes in, we'll question him.” Ash said.“It's that easy, isn't it? We just waltz into his lair? Do you know how many men he has? How armed they are? We might just be walking to our deaths.” Jo said.“Then what do you recommend?” Ash asked, hands akimbo.“I don't know.” Jo said, and pulled out her phone. She opened a social media app and began to scroll through her feed.“Oh sure! There's always time for the gram.” Ash said sarcastically.Jo ignored him and continued scrolling until she got to a video clip.She clicked on it and showed it to Ash, “See. He went live a few minutes ago. At Sassy's. He's probably still there.”Ash was skeptical, “How is this any different from the plan I hatched?”“Sassy's a strip club. What are t
"Tall and Caucasian. He just described more than half the population of Ganghaven.” Jo grumbled. They had left J-Cane at Sassy's, with a warning not to tell anyone that he'd seen them. If he told, they promised to show the cops the footage they had of him leaving the crime scene.J-Cane had hastily agreed. Now, they were in the dark alley behind the club, discussing their next step.“Yeah. I think we should just hand the camera over to the police and let them handle finding out who the Hatter is.” Ash said with resignation.“So you want us to walk up to the precinct and throw the camera at their doorstep.” Jo said, cocking an eyebrow.“No. I have a man on board.” Ash said. When Jo raised her eyebrows in surprise, Ash rushed to continue, “It's not like his an inside man or anything like that, actually it's the other way around. Whenever I come across dirty people, I usually tell him so the cops can take care
Jo was about to withdraw from his hard kiss, when Ash changed tactics and softened his lips against hers.Jo's hands on his chest slackened before they gripped him.Ash sought to deepen the kiss and gently ran his tongue over her lips, an unspoken plea for her to let him in.When it seemed like Jo wasn't getting his message, he nipped her lower lip gently.Jo let out a gasp as bolt of pleasure that shot straight to her core, and Ash pushed his tongue in, groaning with pleasure as his tongue made contact with hers.Jo ran her fingers through his hair as his hands slid down her body to cup her derriere.“I'm not letting you go on a date with Pascal.” He said when they came up for air.Jo looked into his eyes. They were filled with lust and possessiveness, or so she hoped.“I wasn't going to anyway.” She replied.“Good,” Ash said with savage satisfaction, a scant moment before he captured
Some minutes later, Ash forced himself to get up from the sofa. Yes, he told himself, he was going to comfort Jo. He knew how hard it was, not to have anyone to comfort you when you needed it.He steeled his shoulders as he walked into the tiny kitchen and found Jo leaning on the tiny counter, with her head in her hands.He took a deep breath and went to her. Worst case scenario, she'd tell him to fuck off.It wouldn't be the first time that would happen, he thought ruefully.When Jo noticed he was around, she turned and stared at him with eyes swollen from crying, “I want to be alone.”“No, you don't.” Ash said, trying to take her in his arms.“Yes, I do. Who do you think you are, telling me what I want and don't want?” Jo asked belligerently.“A friend, I hope.” Ash said sincerely.Jo looked up at him and saw that he meant his statement.A dam she didn't kno