Lila Banks is a financial spy for the F.B.I. Her target, Andrey Jones, is a young Wall Street broker who was ahead of Lila’s moves, and maneuvered her for his own purposes. In episode 2 they met again at a conference, and Lila realized she had a crush on him. She was wired, but the Chief’s warning came too late – two men in black flanked her from the elevator as she tried to leave, Andrey Jones blocking her way back. Enjoy the suspense in Episode 3, and a twist that will surprise you.
The two men in black suits drag me from the elevator to one of the rooms, and throw me inside. They haven’t said a word after I’ve given them my wire and everything I had on me besides the dress and my underwear. My heart pounds like crazy, and my mind is frozen on one thought alone – I should’ve taken the fighting training when I joined the F.B.I. I refused back then, arguing that it was my financial tracker skills that got them interested, and that I’d hold on to my femininity. Now I’m at the mercy of Mr. Bad and Mr. Worse.
They take position by the door, one on each side.
“Take off your dress,” Mr. Bad says – shaved head and goatee, neck tattoo right above the shirt collar. I don’t react, looking at him with an open mouth, trying to process what he said. He repeats and approaches, and I automatically crawl out of his way. He gets me between one of the beds and the heating.
I barely understand what’s happening as he pulls me up and tears off my dress. Before I know it I’m standing in my bra, panties and stockings, no shoes, each of the men keeping me in place by one arm, crammed in the space between the bed and the heater. I scream and wriggle, desperate. I throw a look at the window, seeking the smallest chance at salvation. Beyond the reflection of a blond woman in black underwear struggling with the perspective of rape I see it’s bricked up. Panic spikes.
“This isn’t helping your situation,” Mr. Worse says, his grin somehow reptilian. With his free hand he grabs my jaw, and I’m even afraid he might shoot out a split tongue, but what he does is force my head to look in the direction of the door as I hear it open.
The room is L-shaped, and I’m at the end of the long line. It takes a few seconds of heart-hammering suspense until the visitors reveal themselves as Andrey Jones and the Vogue cover Monique Maurette. The woman wears a self-satisfied expression to go with her seductive powder-blue eyes. Andrey Jones is the same unnervingly attractive young man, but his gaze is different than I’ve ever seen it before, in pictures or in person. It’s wicked and even hateful as he and his companion approach me, looking me up and down and clearly relishing the sight.
“Well, well, well, nice package,” he says. His voice makes the finest hairs stand on my arms. “You’ll do well in the business.”
My mind doesn’t even try to dodge the meaning of his words. Prostitution screams out in my head, but I can’t believe Andrey Jones would risk that with an F.B.I. agent unless he’s mad.
“There must be better use you can put me to.” I hear myself as if I’m outside my body, merely a witness. It must be the shock.
“A power-negotiator even under the circumstances. I’m impressed.”
“You say that a lot,” I spit.
“You’re starting to resent me.” He approaches slowly, his eyes now fixed on mine.
“Would you love yourself in my situation?”
“I’d like to know what I have planned. So I’d ask.”
“I have a feeling you’ll tell me anyway.”
“Your sixth sense fails you.” He walks very close, I now feel his cologne and his breath on my face. Against all odds, blood rushes to my cheeks. The crush is still there. For a second I doubt my sanity, then I persuade myself it must be the shock again.
“Why are you doing this?” I manage, my voice faint, my skin numb to the two thugs’ grip on my arms. But not to Andrey Jones’ as he lets his long fine fingers run down my neck and my chest, now stroking my breasts above the bra line, electrifying me. His eyes are deep and dark.
“I could say because the likes of you support the likes of Jinx. I could say because people get sold and slaughtered as lab mice due to the likes of you supporting psychos obsessed with yachts, icy champagne and wanting a new whore every night. I could say that because people die like ants squashed under a brutish boot supported by the likes of you, but it would be a waste of words. You know all this. No, don’t be quick to talk.” His finger stops my opening lips in a hushing gesture. “You’re not paying for anyone’s actions now but your own. Before the F.B.I. you worked for one of these people. And you knew damn well what you were doing.”
“I never . . .” But he doesn’t let me finish. His eyes are narrow and angry as his hand turns from caress to a hard grip on my cheeks. My lips swell outward from the squeeze. I frown and whine at the pain.
“Don’t lie to me, Lila. I have your record. Chief Schwarz fished you out of an office where you found ways to cover financial payments to flesh dealers.”
“They billed for something very different,” I pitch, growing desperate. “When I found out . . .” But he doesn’t let me make my point. I went to the authorities, that’s how Chief Schwarz discovered me, I scream in my mind. But before the idea can make it to my lips Andrey Jones covers them in a vicious kiss. It stuns me. His mouth latches on mine, soon turning invasive. Seconds feel long, and my head spins.
As Andrey’s lips leave mine I must look like a dumbfounded sheep. This time I can see more in the darkness of his eyes – a spark of desire. For a moment there he looks taken aback himself, and he retreats fast to Monique’s side, who I now notice stares daggers at me. She seems not only mad, but surprised too.
“You were successful, Lila,” Andrey says, gathering himself. “You gave me the Jinx. Now I’m greedy. I want more. But you can’t give me more from the custody of the F.B.I. So I need you exclusively in mine.”
With these words he grabs Monique’s hand and retreats a few more steps. I hear the door open again, and people stomping in. Two men carry what looks like a stretcher with a covered body and place it on the floor at Andrey’s and Monique’s feet. They shuffle the cellophane off to reveal the corpse of Dr. Boyd, my direct boss at the Jinx. I release a scream, shocked and scared.
There’s blood coming out of his nostrils. His chest is bared – shirt open – tie soaked over his hairy stomach. There’s a still gurgling hole in his throat. I keep screaming as Mr. Bad – or Mr. Worse – push something in one of my hands, cuffing the other to the heater. Faster than I can register they all leave the room, while I scream myself numb. Andrey is the last to exit, looking at me over his shoulder for a moment. I see a trace of pity in his gaze, but it must be just desperate wishful thinking.
The door slams shut and I fall apart hanging by the cuff, eyes on Boyd’s dead body sprawled on the floor, gun by my side, with my prints all over it.
There’s soon more screaming from the corridor, as if there’s a massacre taking place. Just minutes later policemen storm in.
Liked this? Share your thoughts and feelings in a comment. Lila’s whole story will be published in a Christmas Story Book for Adults between the 15th and 18th of December, so stay tuned for Gift Promotions and other Goodies.
UPDATE – Lila’s whole story has been released in the Christmas Story Book for Adults.