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''You won't have to worry about a thing Lucas.'' Mason said.
'' You can count on me to keep an eye on your kids for the night.'' I said.
I put my arms through the sleeves of my stripped leather grey hooded jacket.''What time will they be in bed?'' I exclaimed.
''Lucas! I can handle this.'' He assured.
''I know, I know. Sorry. I'm just a little bit nervous about this test this semester. I have to go now or I'll be late to my study group.'' I lie to him.
''I'll be back in as early as possible in the morning. I also have to go see how Grace is doing.''
''I'm sorry about your wife Lucas. I know for a fact she'll be fine. Now you go on. I can take care of things here.'' He promised.
His face was as more authentic than mine. He didn't fake his every encounter with everyone he met, like me. Most importantly, he's nothing like me. There's nothing I need to worry about. Grace's children would be safe for the night and I'll be with Melissa on a late night out.
I left the minivan at home. I couldn't show up to a club in a piece of shit like that. Who would? I was in desperate need of something more adequate for going to an expensive night club with a beautiful girl.
To be exact, a night club called the ''Moon Palace.'' I heard Rob Kardasian celebrated his birthday there before. It's a very ritzy place. Not my scene, but I'm young and attractive and have the looks to fit in.
After I left, I called a taxi to take me to a local bar where my brother, Eric, would be waiting there with a surprise. He arranged a meeting for the two of us. He had mentioned something to me before but he never mentioned an exact time. He never does during these kinds of meetings. Confidentiality, I suppose.
''Heard you got a date tonight, little brother.''
Eric meets me outside in the parking lot leaning against a sports car. ''Wow. You've out down yourself, brother.'' I folded my arms and took in the power of what money could buy. he was leaning against the tail of a silver Porsche parked in the small and empty parking lot of the bar.
''Ha-ha. Nice one, Lucas.'' His face turns serious again. ''But it's not for me, little brother.''
I looked at him knowing exactly what he meant and smirked.
''Are you sure you're up for this?'' Eric says.
''Of course I am. I got nothing to worry about.'' I look at him with hidden guilt in my eyes. I know this hit is gonna be personal. These jobs weren't suppose to get this close to home.
If Erick finds out she's the girl from our past, he'd try to kill her himself. Without second thought. ''Leave no witnesses,'' Eric always said. I know this is true. But even though she is a witness she hasn't told anyone or recognized my face. Yet.
We go inside the bar, Eric leading the way.
No cars outside and the closed sign is up. What kind of meeting is this?
All the lights are on and everything is running like it was as if open. Except there is no one around but the owner and us.
The place had all the signs of a closed bar. The chairs were up on the tables and the shades were pulled down. But the logo of a woman in a red dress making a capital R using her body was lit along with six other letters, A, P, T, U, R, E. And written in slightly less bold font was the word ''bar.''
Among entering the bar, there were still a mist of drunken rage and nightly garbage. There were two employees working trying to up the left behind trash and beer stains from the stools and counter tops. The bar wasn't so spacious. It was just wide in width with tables lined up against the walls and evenly separated stools in front of the see through counter of the main bar that was made out of glass you could see through. Under the counter was rows of beers and other drinks. The wine was places in an old fashion stockade behind the counter in pockets for each bottle.
Erick patted my shoulder and walked to the counter and I followed. We pulled out a stool and sat. As soon as we caught balance and folded our hands on the see through counter, two glasses of wine were placed in front of us the very instant.
My eyes looked up at the glasses gripped by two hairy hands. The hair traveled up the arm and covered at the elbow with a white scuffled sleeve. Past the sleeves, under the arm pits of the shirt were yellowish stains that had a foul odor to it coming from underneath the shirt. At the collar bone was a loose unbuttoned collar that was in the shape of a V. Curly hair extruded from it rooting out from olive skin.
To the lips that open and the tongue that rolls, he speaks. ''what can I do ya' for lads?''
''Two beers please,'' Eric says.
The bartender's eyes looked hardly awake. He's been working long hours.
In a few seconds our glasses are full to a foamy brim.
The sweet smell of hops.
Eric and I take the full glasses in front of us and take a sip and start discussing the more important matters in life.
He swirls around the cold drink in his hand rattling the two ice cubes in his glass. Then waves to the bar tender to come fourth with his free hand. Maybe for another drink? But it's not. ''Give it to me,'' he says to him.
The bartender looked at him like he knew exactly what he wanted.
And I'm sure he did
''Just wait here.''
He reached for something very slowly under the bar. A yellow envelope arose and he put in front of Eric . Eric did a signal with a flick of his head for him to go about his business again. But the only business he had was to tend to used dishes.
There were no customers to serve or to worry about getting drunk and causing a disturbance.
Eric grabbed the envelope and tore the top off. He pulled out a bundle of money. A stack of all hundreds. This kinda money doesn't come easy.
I suspect this had been another one of my brothers rackets.
''Don't worry. Take the money.''