I wanted to be normal for once.
“Did I tell you how beautiful you look, Trina?” Blackfoot said his eyes darting back and forth from the road to the passenger seat.
“Well, let me see. Once when I walked in the room right after you stopped mid-sentence talking with my sister, which was pretty rude, I must say,” she said laughing. “Then you turned and said “wow, Trina you look absolutely beautiful,” as we were walking to the door to go to your car, then I believe you wolf whistled at me for a good minute when I was getting into the car.”
“Wolf whistled,” he laughed.
“Yeah, like the cartoons,” she said before demonstrating. “Then about five minutes ago again, and two minutes after that, and then just now. So yeah, you’ve said it plenty.”
“Good because I meant it,” Blackfoot said.
Traffic was heavy, but the weather was clear so they made good time getting to the venue. When they pulled up to the Coliseum there were a few police cars outside but it was to be expected. This was a high-profile event for the city.
“That would be me probably if I wasn’t with you,” Blackfoot smiled looking out the window at the black and white cars.
“Making a few extra bucks, huh? Handsome and thrifty.”
“Yup that’s me,” Blackfoot said, “Pretty and cheap.”
“Not too cheap I hope,”
“Hah,” he laughed as he parked the car next to one of the cruisers. Blackfoot wore a black suit but a few men had gone for the full tuxedos. Regardless they were sure to cause a scene walking in together: the bad girl gone good and the good cop gone bad.
Tonight, she just wanted to enjoy being a girl going out with a boy who liked her just as much as she liked him. She wanted to dance, and drink and enjoy tonight. She wanted to be normal for once.
“Are you having a good time,” Blackfoot said as they took their first spin on the dance floor.
“More than you know,” she said, “more than I thought possible.”
“Good,” Blackfoot said his smile sparkling beneath the white lights. “I was told if I didn’t show you a good time tonight, then I better not show my face again in the Davenport household.”
“Tell me who, and I will take them down myself.”
“My lips are sealed,” he said. Laughing he added, “Hey, I need my shins and I think that’s the highest the little munchkin can reach. At least I hope.”
“Well you don’t have to worry as long as you show me a good time.”
“Oh, yeah,” Blackfoot whispered.
“Yeah,” Blackfoot said softly. They stared into each other’s eyes gliding across the floor to the music. Blackfoot was surprisingly light on his feet and kept good time.
“What is that for?” he asked, catching her smile.
“That smirk,” he said.
“Just happy, I guess,” she said as the song ended and the crowd started clapping their appreciation for the live band. She looked to Blackfoot, but he was just staring at her. “What?”
“There’s something different about you,” Blackfoot said. “I don’t know.” Staring at her lips for a second he caught himself. “I like it,” he added finally. They walked back to their table they were sharing with another couple.
“I’ll get us some drinks,” Blackfoot asked before heading for the crowded bar.
A face in the crowd caught her attention. It was a man, dark skinned with shortly cropped hair. She didn’t recognize him, but his bold stare made her alert.
When he beckoned with a nod of his head towards the exit door, she knew she hadn’t imagined it. This was her sign. She hadn’t expected contact so soon, but she knew better than to ignore it.
Looking towards the bar Blackfoot was standing in line for drinks, but there were several people in front of him.
“I have to run to the restroom,” she said to the woman sitting across from her. “Can you tell him?” the woman waved her off with a smile before she could finish.
Thanking her, she rose from her seat quickly making her way across the floor towards the stranger.
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You are my best creation
“Bring her to me,” the Mastermind said from the backseat of the black Escalade. “Now,” he said when the driver didn’t move.
A second later he was sitting in the vehicle alone. Looking up from his phone for the first time he glanced out at the quiet street lined with buildings leading away from the venue behind him.
Once again, he was back in the hellhole named Mississippi. The same place rescued Liza from almost thirty years ago.
He could hardly believe that after all these years he was back. When he’d found her she was fighting cockroaches for food. Covered in bites from rats and ticks her rebellious nature was fully intact despite the squalor she’d been living in.
She barely spoke and had numerous medical problems as a result of her mother’s inability or lack of desire to take care of her children. He’d rescued both girls, but that hadn’t been his plan.
His plan was to kill the man her mother had been seeing and he’d done his job.
The girl’s mother was collateral damage which he figured no one would ever see as a loss. The girls by all means should have died with their mother that day, but something had stopped him.
He’d been standing over Liza the barrel of his gun pressed to her temple but he hadn’t pulled the trigger.
Her eyes never flinched from his never wavered. In fact, she’d reached up grabbed the barrel and pushed it away. Nothing was said, but he knew instantly there was something special about her- something different. She had spirit, one that even he couldn’t snuff out.
He’d been on the fast track for years at Central. He knew his trajectory what he was meant for. He’d work a few more years in the field, but he always knew he would move up the ranks and eventually run it all.
It was inevitable, but he had to wait his turn. However, in her eyes that hot summer night he saw something- something that reminded him of his self.
He couldn’t extinguish something with all that potential. So he’d scooped her up wanting to make sure she got the medical attention she needed.
The only time she made a sound was when he attempted to leave without her sister. He went back for Trina and took both girls to the closest hospital. He dropped them at the ER door then left.
That was supposed to be the end, but he’d waited a distance a way to make sure the two girls didn’t wander away without first getting help. Once they were ushered inside by a couple of nurses he’d left, but he couldn’t leave well enough alone.
For a year he checked back on her making sure she was being taken care of, being fed, and clothed. He followed her trail when she was taken in along with her sister by the Davenports at his request. He followed them closely after that.
By then she was healthy and was for all intent and purposes a very bright little girl. That spirit he’d recognized in her those years before was still there.
That was when he made his decision. By then he’d moved into the Mastermind position. He had the capabilities to make anything happen so adopting the little girl with the golden eyes with no fear wasn’t very difficult. The only difficult part of it was getting her to forget her former life.
The past few months showed him he’d failed.
Tonight, he planned to rectify that. She would return to him. She would leave this life behind for good.
She would realize that this was not her world. She was like him, and it was something she’d have to accept. There was no choice. If she didn’t then he had no choice but to destroy everything she was trying to hold onto. She had no choice. She would obey.
Her skills, her ability were too valuable to lose. He’d put years into training her to be the best of the best. He’d already made his decision. She would be his successor. It might take some time, but it was a fact that she would accept- eventually.
The vibration of his phone forced his attention from the past. “Sir, we have her,” the voice on the other end of the phone said.
“We’re coming to you,” the Mastermind said, as the door opened and his driver climbed in.
“Ten minutes, sir,” the driver said.
“We’ll meet you in ten minutes,” the Mastermind said before ending the call. “They’re holding her at the venue. Go to the loading dock.”
“Yes, sir,” the driver said starting the car and putting it in drive. Within seconds they were on the highway in holiday traffic heading towards the town square. Traffic was light.
Inside the warmth of the luxury car the Mastermind took his phone out. Absentmindedly he keyed in his code then looked through his email. He pulled up pictures sent earlier in the night of Liza in her gown. She was with the police officer, her date for the evening.
Picture after picture showed her smiling. Happier than he’d ever seen her. There were several, but on one picture in particular caught his attention. He’d seen her in all kinds of disguises.
He’d watched her transform herself time and time again. Liza knew how to immerse herself into a part so deep that it was hard to imagine her as anyone else.
She truly was a chameleon. However, no matter what the role, he prided himself on being able to pick her out. It might take some time, it might take some digging, but the pictures never lied. He was always able to see her- his girl.
Looking at the picture closer he found himself searching for that glimmer he always noticed in her eye. In her latest role of her sister, Trina, she hadn’t had to go too far to assume her sister’s identity yet that something wasn’t there. They were nearly identical, so it was the most like her natural self he’d seen her yet something was off.
When she started the role of Trina, she assumed the girl’s look, fake hair, garish makeup, too tight clothing. But gradually over several weeks she’d molded the girl more into her image. The pictures showed that. The picture was of a beautiful, young woman confident in her looks and her body. She wore little to no makeup and an appropriate dress classy, yet memorable which was exactly who his Liza was. Yet, he knew without a doubt that this wasn’t her.
He pressed the phone button on his phone but before he could hit the call button the car swerved to the right and came to a sudden stop.
“Give me the phone,” the driver said turned in the seat gun pointed at the Mastermind’s head. He stared back stunned for a second before blinking several times. When he opened his eyes, he wore his usual calm demeanor once again.
“Very well done,” he said. “I’d say I was impressed if I thought you’d care.”
“The phone,” she said again. The gun never lowered even when he handed the phone over to her.
“You are my best creation,” the Mastermind said leaning back in the leather seat. “You are everything I hoped you would become. I made you.”
“No, you didn’t.” The look of surprise that came over his face warmed Liza’s cold heart, but it was short lived.
“I found you in a crack house your mother was about to sell you and your sister to the next highest bidder. I picked you up and gave you the life you have. You exist because of me,” he said quietly.
“How dare you!” he bellowed. For the first time in months she remembered what it felt like to smile, but her face remained impassive. “You are who I say you are. You belong to me.”
“I belong to no one,” she said raising her chin.
“You know you don’t stand a chance,” he said. “There’s a car behind us and they’ll be here any second.”
“Well, I guess I better make this quick, huh,” she said her stare as chilly as her heart. The Mastermind smiled, but before he could open his mouth to speak, she fired two shots through his skull.
His body slumped in the seat. A second later she was out of the vehicle. She hadn’t taken a step before being surrounded by agents their guns drawn. The woman looked each agent in the eye nodding at the ones she recognized until each gun was lowered.
“Take care of him,” she said, “dump the vehicle. I don’t want to see it or him again,” she said walking towards the waiting car.
“Yes, ma’am,” an agent said entering the vehicle she’d just exited. Seconds later the scene was clear with her heading in the opposite direction away from downtown and the life that might have been.
Quickly she connected her phone to her newly acquired one, to transfer his files and the address book. Within a couple of minutes, she had the Mastermind’s entire playbook.
Disassembling the phone once she was through, she took the memory chip out and snapped it in two. She tossed the whole mess in her purse to be destroyed later.
“Where to, Ms. Waters,” the driver asked through the intercom.
“Central,” she said.