KILLING ME SOFTLY - Teenage Assassin - Chapter 41

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CHAPTER 41:

ANNABELLE’S  POV:

God, I so feel like blowing someone’s brains out right now. 

Preferably whoever put the hit out on Gabriel.  But really, at this moment, any average piece of shit criminal would do.  The messenger is so lucky that he’s my brother, otherwise I’d shoot his ass.  Of course, I may not be able to shoot the messenger, but I sure as hell can beat the crap out of him. 

Taking Jackson off guard, I propel my body into his and we go tumbling into the living room.  He lands with a thud and a groan on his back, with me on top of him.  I get one good punch in before he’s flipping me over onto my back.  Grabbing both my wrists in one hand and pinning them over my head, he uses his free hand to give me little slaps on both cheeks.  He knows it pisses me off when he does this. 

From nearby, I hear Max ask Gabriel, “Shouldn’t we help her?” 

Without glancing their way, Jackson says, “Don’t even try it loverboy and loverboy’s cousin.  This is between me and my sister.  If she’s gonna throw a tantrum, I’m going to treat her like the child she’s acting like.”

Twisting my body under his, I know the situation is useless.  “Get your fat ass off me, Jackson.”  Out of the corner of my eye, I see a big black boot coming at Jackson.  Kicking him in the chest, Gabriel quickly backs up, taking up a defensive position common to most martial arts. 

Jackson, who was thrown off of me from the kick, is now glaring at Gabriel, looking ready to kill, or kick some major ass.  “Oh loverboy, I’ve been waiting a long time for this moment.”

Gabriel gives Jackson a ‘come hither’ gesture with one hand, which is totally cheesy and cliché, “Bring it on, Jackie.  I’m a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a black belt in Taekwondo.”

Taking off his jacket, Jackson gives an evil grin.  “Oh yeah, well I’m a black belt in everything.  Black and red belt in Jiu-Jitsu, if you wanna get specific.”  Gabriel’s eyes go wide for a split second, but I gotta give him props, he doesn’t take off out the door. 

I’m contemplating tackling Jackson again, before he goes all Bruce Lee on my ex-boyfriend, leaving me to clean up the blood, when Max surprises me and beats me to it.  Very brave of him.  And stupid.  Luckily for him, Gabriel decides to join in and tag team Jackson. 

Feeling both physically and mentally exhausted, I take a seat at the far end of my big, comfy couch and watch the rumble unfold.  Gabriel does have some good moves, he’s a little too technical in his fighting though.  However, with a little real world experience, he’d improve.  Max obviously doesn’t have Gabriel’s skills, but is doing straight-up street fighting moves, which are successful half of the time. 

Sinking back into the cushions, I decide to enjoy the show.  Max and Gabriel have the upper hand until Jackson lands an uppercut to Max’s chin, taking him out for the moment as he falls to the floor.  While my brother is preoccupied with Max, Gabriel kicks Jackson in the thigh.  Jackson get a couple good hits on Gabriel, but then Max is back in the game. 

Seeing that this fight is not going to have a real winner, I decide it’s time to break it up.  Coming up behind Jackson, I grab hold of his neck in a chokehold and hook my legs on the inside of his, causing us both to fall to the floor.  Straining to keep him in place, I say in his ear, “Rear naked choke, big bro.”  Then smiling up at a panting Gabriel and Max, I say, “He forgets that I’m a black and red belt too.”  Finally letting go of Jackson and rolling to my knees, then standing up, I add, “And, by the way, I win suckas.”

Trying to catch his breath, Jackson laughs, “God damn cheater.”

Putting my hands on my hips, I stand in a don’t-mess-with-me position.  “Back to business.  What the hell do you mean, Gabriel’s the target?”

Straightening his twisted clothing, Jackson gives me a frown, “What I mean, Anna, is that we’re finally getting rid of him for good.”

“Is the contract yours?” I ask, not sure what I’d do in a situation where my brother and ex were trying to kill each other for real.  Probably knock them both out and tie them up. 

“If it was, he’d already be dead.”  Well, it’s not like Jackson’s confidence is misplaced.  After all, he’s almost as good at killing as me.  Poor guy, always living in my shadow.

“How do you even know it’s me they’re after?” Gabriel asks Jackson suspiciously, plopping down next to Max on the couch, using the sleeve of Max’s sweater to wipe his forehead.  “And why?”  Max yanks his arm back and uses the hood of Gabriel’s sweatshirt to wipe at his own forehead.  I’m not even gonna comment.

Jackson shrugs nonchalantly, “Don’t know, don’t care.  Good luck and all though.  The door’s that way.”  I reach out to smack at Jackson’s hand that’s pointing to the door.

Max looks as white as a ghost.  Still and silent.  Oh wait, now he’s starting to turn green.  “Is this for real?  People are really trying to kill Gabriel?”

“Yep,” Jackson says cheerfully, obviously back to his good mood.  Mockingly, Jackson asks Max, “Is it such a surprise?’

Looking at Gabriel like he’s some sort of freak, Max asks, “Why would anyone want to kill my cousin?  He’s practically a hermit.  He doesn’t even screw any of the easy chicks I throw at him.”

Yeah, Max is so not getting a present from me this Christmas.   

Gabriel hits Max on the face with one of my pillows.  “Half of those chicks were your leftovers.  No thanks, man.”  Smiling all lovey-dovey at me, he adds, “Besides, none of them were the love of my life.”

“Douche,” Jackson mutters, loudly, then laughs, “I can think of three people who’d like to see Gabriel in a casket, but none of us took out the hit on him.”  With a smug look, he adds, “Course, all three of us would just do the deed ourselves.”

Shoving Jackson, I say, “I don’t want him dead.”

He rolls his eyes, “Not you.  Me, Simon and Brent.”

“Oh, yeah, I guess that makes sense.”  After Gabriel shot me in Stockholm and Jackson opened his big mouth about it, I had to creatively threaten Brent to prevent him from going after Gabriel.

Gabriel’s expression is petulant, “I can take care of myself.”

“Like I said, door’s that way.” Jackson’s obvious amusement is starting to grate on my nerves.  However, I hold myself back from pouncing on him again.  I tend to lose our brawls when I attack him in anger. 

Sighing dramatically, as if I’m feeling put out, I look at Gabriel, “I guess I’ll have to protect you.  Find out who wants you dead.”  Gabriel looks like he has something to say to that, so I quickly turn to Jackson, “Spill.  What do you know and how’d you find out?”

“Simon. And not much else besides the fact that there’s a large sum on his head.  Simon turned down the contract, knowing it may upset you a bit, but probably not that much.  From there, the client put out word that there’s an open contract out on Gabriel Pablo Sanchez, age 20.  Word gets around fast.”

Still annoyed by the attack at the hotel, I tell Jackson, “Yeah, well the amateurs are already making their move.  The group that attacked us at the hotel were pathetic, but if the money’s good, professionals will be on the hunt too.”

Gabriel stands up and walks over to stand at my side, wrapping an arm around me, “I need to get my cousin home, but after that, we can take my dad’s plane wherever we want.  Lay low, until this can be figured out.  I haven’t touched much of my parents’ money, but if I have to, I’ll take a retaliation hit out on whoever wants me dead.”

“That could work,” Jackson says thoughtfully, and I can tell from his easy compliance that he always meant to back me up in protecting Gabriel, if that was my decision.  Not that I should ever doubt him, Jackson is the one person I know I can always count on.  “Course, it could backfire.  It’d be more efficient to find out who it is and take them out ourselves.”

“And fun,” I add, really starting to get into the idea.  “What information does Simon have through the contact?”

Jackson bites his lip, “Not much.  The client contacted Simon through email.  From an untraceable location.”

“Shit,” I mutter.  That’s not much to go on.  “That means we’ll have to lure him in.”  Nudging Gabriel with my shoulder, I give him a bratty smile, “Good thing I hunted you down at your hotel room earlier, huh?”

“I’ll be staying with my cousin,” Max says stubbornly from where he’s sitting on the couch. 

Gabriel gives him a hard look, “You’d be safer back in Miami with your mom.”

Jackson raises one hand, “I volunteer to knock him out and put him on a plane.”

Gabriel grimaces, obviously remembering when Jackson did something similar to him.  “No need for that.  My cousin will get on a plane, or I’ll call his mom.”

“Aw, man, why you gotta bring my mom into this?”  Max whines. 

Clapping his hands together, Gabriel, surprisingly, looks excited.  The gleam in his eye doesn’t bode well for me.  “It’s all settled.  We’ll take my dad’s plane to drop Max off in Miami, then we’ll go somewhere to lay low and figure things out.”  Whispering in my ear, just for me to hear, Gabriel says, “Somewhere that I can see you in a bikini.”

Am I supposed to giggle?  I stomp hard on his foot.  “I don’t think you’re taking this seriously, Gabriel.  Where would I hide my weapons in a bikini?”

“Ow,“ he laughs, “I should have thought of this myself.  Whoever took this contract out on me is doing me a favor.  Now you can’t leave me, baby.”  He darts out of the way before I can stomp on his foot again. 

Jackson does it for me and Gabriel’s grunt sounds much more sincere this time.  “Fine.  Let’s get out of here before they track you here and Annabelle has to clean up the blood.”

Grabbing my backpack, I throw in a change of clothes, weapons, some money and a fake passport.  Jackson grabs the carryon bag he came home with, leaving the suitcase by the door.  Locking up the apartment and following the three guys down the stairs, I pull on the other strap to my backpack. 

“Jackson, Gabriel can’t travel with his real passport anymore.  We’re gonna need Porky to send him some fake ids and passports to once we’re holed up somewhere for a few days”

Being in a residential area, we have to wait awhile for a taxi to show, asking him to meet us at a grocer a few blocks down.  Jackson sits in front with the driver and directs him the airport Gabriel says his small jet  is waiting at.  Jackson turns around to look back at us, “So, how much is it costing you to store your plane here in Paris, with pilots on standby?”

“A shitload,” Gabriel grumbles.  “But, I wanted it near in case I needed it.”

“To chase after my sister?” Jackson’s grin is as smart-aleck as they come.  He’s quite perfected the look over the years.

Gabriel ignores him and leans his head against my shoulder, saying pathetically, “I’m scared, Anna.  Hold me.”

I push him off me, laughing, “Have Max hold you.  As a matter of fact, why don’t you hold him, he looks like he’s about to puke again.”

Jackson interrupts, “Max would be better off flying commercially.  The sooner he can get away from us, the better off he’ll be.  Cause, really, I don’t think that one would be very helpful in a fight.”

“Asshole,” Max mumbles.  “I got in a couple good hits.”

Grudgingly, Gabriel agrees with Jackson, “I suppose.”

Still turned around in his seat, Jackson eyes Gabriel and Max, “Are those my clothes?”

Rubbing his hand down the front of his hoodie, Gabriel says, “Oh yeah, they are.  A little too small for me, though.  Maybe you should think about working out, Jackie.”

“From where I’m sitting, they look too big on you.  Especially on the crotch.”  Jackson says arrogantly. 

Laughing, I ask Jackson, “Why are you looking at his crotch?”

That shuts Jackson up.  With a dirty look in my direction, he turns back around.  But I hear him muttering darkly under his breath. 

At the airport, we get Max a ticket to Miami.  We also buy Gabriel a ticket, hoping to trick any assassins on our tail, that may be checking his passport.  To get past security checkpoints, Jackson and I both buy tickets to Madrid. 

The wait is six hours and Gabriel insists on sitting with Max until his flight boards.  Probably good thinking, considering the amateurs after Gabriel.  We kill a couple hours at an airport restaurant.  Max gets drunk, which isn’t a bad thing considering his now calmed nerves. 

We had to leave my backpack and Jackson’s bag in a locker near one of the entrances to the airport.  I don’t like being without a weapon, but am keeping an eye out for potential contract killers, stupid enough to start something in a public place.  By Jackson’s tense expression, I can tell he’s doing the same. 

When we put a drunk Max on the plane, it reminds me of kids I’ve seen at airports who are being flown from one divorced parent to another.  Funny, we are sending Max home to his mama in Miami.  Jackson was right, Max would be more of a liability in a fight than an asset. 

On the way out of Terminal 2, we pick up hats and sunglasses at a shop and our bags at the lockers.  The day is gloomy outside, so we probably look retarded in our sunglasses.  Following Gabriel to a terminal for private planes, I ask, “So, you’re pilots are ready?”

He glances back, “They should be.  Said they would be when I called earlier.”

When we enter the building, it’s chaos.  People in various uniforms, from the flight attendant kind to the law enforcement kind are running around shouting.  Through the large glass windows, we can see the reason.  Gabriel’s jaw drops open.  I’ve seen too much to even be surprised. 

Jackson states the obvious, “I’m assuming that plane on fire would be yours, Gabriel?”

Gabriel turns to look at me, “What now?”

“Anyone up for a road trip?” I ask with false enthusiasm.  And that fast, Plan B is formed.

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