“Now do you want to tell me what’s happening?” Aye asks as soon as we’re in the car and heading towards downtown.
“Fuck!” I roar, pounding the steering wheel as a fresh wave of rage begins to pump throughout my body. “What I’m going to tell you is never to fucking leave this car. Got me?” I say through clenched teeth.
“You got it,” Aye says softly.
I see Pika nod out of the corner of my eye.
“I know that each of you has been around when Thad’s been brought up, and I know you have seen Myla’s reaction to even his fucking name,” I start, trying to take a calming breath as I feel my hands grab the steering wheel so hard that the rubber compresses under my touch. “He raped her.”
I hear my voice crack, and I know I’m on the edge of losing it. Knowing that my wife—the woman I love, the mother of my child—suffered at the hands of someone like him causes my chest to crack open.
“You cannot be fucking serious!” Aye yells, punching the back of my seat so hard that I jerk forward from the blow.
“He’s dead,” Pika grits out.
I stop the car in the middle of the road and turn so that I can look at both of them. “He’s mine. The only way you guys get a shot at him is if something goes wrong and I can’t finish him myself.”
“We both care about her,” Aye says, but I shake my head.
“He’s mine,” I reiterate, and they both nod reluctantly.
I put the car in drive and head towards the warehouse we were at when I saw Thad earlier. The parking lot is empty except for a large, white van, and I know instantly that they are just here for cleanup. I pull my phone out and send a message to Kenton to tell him that I’m cashing in my marker. His man Justin will be able to get me whatever information I need almost instantly. It takes less than a minute for me to get a message back from Kenton, and less than three for Justin to send me everything I need to know about Thad.
I send a reply message, letting him know that the offer I gave him a year ago still stands. I tried to have the kid come work for me, but he wouldn’t budge.
His reply of, Sorry, Charlie, almost makes me laugh. I have to respect that, because loyalty is rare these days. I put the car in drive and head towards the Strip. Thad used his credit card there twenty minutes ago, and based on the amount he withdrew, he was sitting at a table.
“He’s at Bellagio,” I say then look in the rearview mirror. “Aye, he doesn’t know you, so I need you to get close to him once we’re inside.”
“What’s the plan?” he asks, cracking his knuckles.
“I’m going to find a woman who will help me get him outside.”
“Where do you want me?” Pika asks.
“I need you in the car,” I tell him, and he nods.
We drive the rest of the way in silence. Every scenario is playing out in my head. It’s not going to be easy to get him out alone, but I know men like him, and if I can make the offer sweet enough, he won’t be able to resist.
When we pull up outside of the hotel, Pika comes around and hops behind the wheel as Aye and I make our way inside.
“Message me when you spot him,” I tell Aye as I head in the direction of the bar.
It takes me less than ten minutes to find two women who are more than happy to take me up on my offer. I tell them that one of my frat buddies is in town and we’re going to play a little joke on him. At first, they are slightly unsure, but after I pull out a wad of cash, they’re more than willing to play along.
It takes another ten minutes to get a message from Aye about where Thad is, and just like I guessed, he’s sitting at one of the blackjack tables. I send the two girls over to him, and they do just what I asked, both of them flirting and whispering in his ear. Even from across the room, I can see that he’s eating that shit up.
Eventually, they convince him to go outside with them, and I know the exact moment it happens, ‘cause he pulls one of the girls into his lap and grabs the other by the back of her head, kissing her then forcing her mouth to her friend’s. They all stumble their way out of the casino as Aye and I follow behind them and make sure they stay on course.
Once we’re outside, the girls do just as I said and get him into the back of the SUV, closing the doors. After a few seconds, I make my way over and open the back door, getting inside.
“What the fuck?” Thad shouts as both girls scramble out the other door.
Aye climbs inside to sit on the other side of Thad, who’s in the process of pulling up his pants.
“Where to?” Pika asks as he pulls away from the curb.
“Dino’s,” I tell him, and he nods as we pull out onto the main road.
“I asked you what the fuck?” Thad shouts.
Aye puts his arm around his shoulders and pulls him back into him.
“Take off your shirt,” I tell him.
He looks at me like I’m crazy as the weight of the situation finally begins settling in.
“I said…take off your shirt!” I roar.
He holds his hands up in front of him, unbuttons his shirt, and slips it off, handing it to me. I set the shirt in my lap and begin taking my cufflinks off. Then I roll up the sleeves of my own.
“I don’t have a wire,” he tells me.
I laugh in his face. Then I pull my knife out, stabbing him in the gut twice before pressing his shirt to his stomach to staunch the blood flow.
“You just stabbed me,” he whispers.
I lift his face so that he’s looking at me and not at the blood that’s now turning his shirt red.
“I’m going to kill you tonight. I’m going to hurt you until you eventually pass out from blood loss, but then I’m going to wake you up and feed you your own fucking cock until you choke on it before taking your dead, lifeless body into the desert, where the fucking wild animals will fight over what’s left of you!” I roar as my hand on his jaw tightens to the point that both pain and understanding fill his eyes.
“She told you,” he says.
I lean forward until our noses are touching. “Yeah, she told me,” I say, and I then lean back enough to elbow him in the face.
His body slumps forward, and I wipe my hands off before turning away from him to look out the window. I was raised to do this. Every cell in my body knows exactly what needs to be done, all of them preparing for what’s to come, and when it’s over, I know I’ll go home to my wife and tell her that she never has to be afraid again because I slaughtered her demon.