KILLING ME SOFTLY - Teenage Assassin - Chapter 42

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CHAPTER 42:

GABRIEL’S  POV:

“There they are,” Anna says softly.  

“Spotted them about two seconds before you did, Annie.” Jackson says a superior tone.  

“Actually, I spotted them thirty seconds before I said anything, which means I spotted them first.”  Anna shoots back.  “But really, Jacks, you don’t have to prove yourself to me.  I know that you try your hardest.”  She pats his back as we’re walking in a condescending gesture.   

It’s a good thing that I have my own gun, otherwise I’d be a dead man with all this sibling rivalry going on.  

I have to admit, I didn’t spot the two men walking parallel to us, on the other side of the baggage claim after both Anna and Jackson did, but I see them now.  One guy is much shorter than the other, but makes up for it in bulk.  Both look to be in their thirties.  Can’t tell their exact nationality, but they seem to be Caucasian.  

They’re pretending to not even notice us, but they look, dress and walk like cliché criminals.  Black slacks, black leather jackets, black sunglasses.  Not like my criminal friends here, Anna and Jackson, who follow the criminal school of thought of blending in.  

We’re nearing a car rental counter when I ask, “What should we do about them?”

“Nada,” Jackson answers, obviously unconcerned.  Well, if he’s not worried, I’m not gonna worry about it.  

We get to the counter and Anna starts speaking French, so I tune her out.  Jackson leans his back against the counter, keeping his eyes outward, covertly watching the men in black.  While waiting for Anna, he holds out his hand to me, “Give me your cell.”

Handing it over, I watch him scroll through it, “What are you looking for?”

“What do you have your aunt listed under?”

“Tía Lucy,” I say in a duh tone.  

I read over his shoulder the message he sends her, “Just put Max on plane to Miami.  People trying to kill him.  Protect your baby boy.”  He hits ‘send’.

Sucking on the inside of my cheek, I manage to hold back my laughter, “Man, he is going to be so pissed.”

Jackson’s smile is wicked, “I know.  But that‘s what he gets for trying to throw down with the big boys.”  Reaching into his coat pocket, he hands a different phone to me, “Take this.”

“Why?’

“Cause I’m about to get rid of your phone and you‘ll need a new untraceable one.  I almost forgot that you know nothing.  First thing you should have done was dump this thing.”  He throws my old phone over his shoulder and I hear it land somewhere behind the car rental counter at the same time that I glance at Anna to see her taking a set of keys from the clerk.  

She smiles at the woman behind the counter, “Merci.”  Hey, I actually know what that means.

Walking away from the counter, I tug at the crotch of the jeans I’m wearing, “Guys, when we get a chance, can we stop to buy me some more clothes?  These are a little tight on the crotch.”  I make sure to smirk at Jackson while saying that last part.  

Besides rolling her eyes, Anna ignores my remark.  But the girl remembers . . .

Glancing behind my shoulder, yep, we’re still being followed.  I’m guessing my future wife and brother-in-law have a plan.  The clerk must have told Anna where to find the car, cause she goes straight to a small blue Mercedes.  I hold out my hand for the keys and she shakes her head, getting behind the wheel herself.  I call out, “Shotgun!”, but my future douche-in-law is already slipping in my spot.  Disgruntled, I get in the backseat.  At least I’ve got lots of leg room.  

Anna zips the car out of the space and through the parking lot.  I turn my head this way and that, but see no sign of our shadows.  Instead of taking the turn out of the airport, Anna pulls into a parking garage, going straight to the top level, four stories up.  Slipping my new cell out of my hoodie pocket, the time says that it’s just after ten in the morning.  Damn, I never even went to sleep last night.  Maybe the backseat is a blessing, since I need a nap.  

Anna stops the car and puts it in park.  “You thinking what I’m thinking?”

From where I’m sitting, I can see the profile of Jackson’s smile when he turns his face towards Annabelle.  “Dibs.”

Her palm whips out to push against his chest, “I’m the one who came up with the idea years ago!  I get to do it!”

“I get to do it,” Jackson says slowly, “Or I won’t help you protect loverboy.”

“Hey!” I say indignantly.  Jackson ignores my outburst, Anna barely gives me a glance.  

“Fine,” she says through clenched teeth, then adds, “Even though I’ve been waiting forever for the opportunity to do it.”

Jackson obviously doesn’t give a damn about her whining or woes because he quickly opens his door, while I watch Anna click the button to open the trunk.  Taking the opportunity to steal the seat next to my girl, I awkwardly climb over the console to plop down in the passenger seat, reaching out to close the door that Jackson left open.  Before we take off again, I lean over to give Anna a peck on the cheek.  She’s so cute when she’s mad about something.

Almost six hours of straight driving later, I’m glad that I ate a big breakfast at the airport this morning, while waiting for Max’s flight.  As much as I wanted to sleep, I thought it’d be rude of me to nod off, leaving Anna to drive without company.  Besides, the past six hours have been great.  Anna and I have finally had the chance to really talk.  Not about anything deep, just superficial topics, but it was enough to show me that we still click like we used to, maybe even better.  

She still laughs at my jokes, that’s gotta count for something.  I’m in the middle of telling her about my classes last term when, she excitedly declares, “It’s showtime!”

Turning around to see what she’s looking at in the rearview mirror, I see a gray BMW following closely behind us.  And what do you know?  Two guys wearing black are in it.  Figures they’d show up just as we’re nearing Italy’s border.  

My god, Anna actually snickers as she pushes the button to pop the trunk again.  What goes down in the next instant, in a matter of less than a minute, will go down in my personal history as one of the craziest things I’ve witnessed.

From our vantage point, we don’t get the best view, but I see the trunk lid fly open and hear a stream of shots.  With the loud sound of skidding tires, the vehicle behind us swerves over to the shoulder of the road and rolls over twice.  We speed away with the totaled BMW getting smaller in the distance.

The trunk slowly closes again.  

I have to admit, just watching Jackson pull that off has me feel exhilarated.  From Anna’s big grin, I can tell she’s feeling much the same way, even though he beat her out on the chance execute it.  After five more minutes of driving, I clear my throat, “Aren’t we going to pull over and let Jackson in?”

Shaking her head, she laughs, “Nope.  He wanted to do it even though it was my idea, so he can just wait until we stop to eat in Genoa.”

Jackson isn’t so patient, so when we’re stopped in a line of cars, waiting to cross into Italy, he uses the trunk release to let himself out.  Getting into the backseat, he says, “I think I’ll take a nap now.”

 Once in Genoa, we ditch the Mercedes and buy bus tickets to Florence.  I hate riding the bus, but for the sake of staying alive, I suck it up.  Waiting for the bus, we have plenty of time to find a decent restaurant to fuel up at.  Damn, I’ve never had real Italian before.  It makes Olive Garden look like the McDonald’s of Italian food.  

The bus ride from Genoa to Florence is blessedly short.  Anna and Jackson admit that Florence is a place they’ve actually never been to, so we ask the cab driver to recommend a nice hotel.  I tell Jackson to get two hotel rooms, one for him and another for me and Anna, but since I don’t speak Italian, he gets one.  I suppose that makes sense, considering people trying to kill us, me in particular, and all.  Safety in numbers.  

But I’m not sharing a bed with Jackson.  

And I don’t have to, since Anna has decided to take the couch.  Fine, if she’s gonna play hard to get, let her ass sleep on the couch.  Five minutes after the lights are out, I call out, “Anna, I can’t go to sleep when I’m feeling like a bastard for taking the bed.”

“Shut your loud mouth, Gabriel,” Jackson grumbles, “She’s already asleep.  Could you quit with all the angst and let me do the same?”

Oh.  Well I could carry to her my bed, but she’d probably wake up mid-karate chop to my throat.  The couch actually did looked kind of comfy.  After stumbling through the dark room to lay another blanket over Anna, I drift off to sleep myself.

In the morning, I open my eyes to see Anna sitting up on the couch, cleaning her gun.  The sound of the shower lets me know where Jackson is.  So does his singing.  Oh my god, the douche is singing Whitesnake’s ‘Here I Go Again’.  I am officially one hundred times cooler than him.  If I had to pick a song from that era, it so would be Guns N’ Roses.  I don’t care how many times he pops out of a trunk with guns blazing, his douchehood is now complete.

“Morning beautiful,” I greet Anna.

Even though she doesn’t look up from her task, I see her mouth twitch from trying to hold back a smile.  “I already ordered breakfast.  Should be here any minute.”

Sitting up, I throw off the covers and scoot to the end of the bed, “Breakfast in bed, honey?  I feel so loved.”

This time she does smile, “Nah, I was hungry.  You were an afterthought.”

“Admit it.  You got up early to watch me sleep.”

Finally looking up at me, with a curious look on her face, she asks, “Huh?  Did you just say something?”

“Denial,” I simply say and reach out with both hands to latch onto her arm and drag her over to me.  Yanking her off the couch, she drops the gun, thankfully not loaded at the moment, and lands against me.  I’m sure that elbow to my gut was an accident.  

Right when I finally get my arms wrapped around her, there’s a knock on the door.  Damn.  Food or sex?  Isn’t that some sort of age old question?

Anna answers that question for me by pulling away and skipping over to the door, grabbing Jackson’s weapon to hold behind her back as she opens it.  When she opens the door wide to let the hotel employee wheel the cart in, I realize that she’s still wearing pajama shorts and a tank top, giving him a view of her legs that he should be tipping her for.

Jackson finally quits hogging the bathroom, giving me the opportunity to take a piss and wash my hands before eating.  I hate eating when I have to pee.  Makes me feel rushed.  When I get out, they’re both chowing down, so I quickly pile some food on a plate before it’s all gone.  “So, what’s the plan for today?  Do we get to blow anything up?”

Anna swallows her bite of toast, “Always a possibility, but actually we’re just going to rent a car to drive south, then take a ferry from Southern Italy to Greece.”

“Hmm,” I say in a relfective tone.  “Any good cities along the way to elope in?”

Anna smiles, which makes my heart skip a beat.  She quickly ruins it by looking back and forth between me and Jackson, then saying, “I dunno.  Does Italy allow same-sex marriages?”  Then raising her hand halfway in the air, she shouts, “Flower girl!”

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