The second floor has the same panels, but these are blue and techno music is loudly pumping. The first floor is a large bar that goes around the whole perimeter of the room, with a dance floor in the middle.
“Let’s head up and see the layout,” I say.
We walk towards the stairs that will take us up a level. We know where Paulie would be hanging out, but seeing it on paper and being here in person are two different things.
“Sven?” a woman says halfway up the first flight of stairs.
“Hey, babe. I don’t have time right now.” He removes her hands from him then jogs to catch up with me.
“Sven,” another woman says.
I look over at him and frown when he says the same thing he just said to the last one.
“Hey, stranger,” a blonde says, stepping in front of him.
I shake my head. I have had my fair share of partners, but this is fucking ridiculous. No wonder Maggie is running away from him.
“It’s not normally this bad,” he tells me once he’s free from yet another woman.
“I should have had you stay home with Frank,” I mutter, looking around the second level.
“Fuck off,” he grumbles then points toward VIP, where there is another set of stairs, this one blocked off by a red, velvet rope and a woman standing there with a clipboard in her hand.
“We need to get up there,” I tell Sven.
He smiles and walks towards the rope. The woman’s face lifts and she smiles as he gets near. I follow close behind him and hear her say his name. His hand goes to her waist, and he dips his head close to her ear. She looks over at me then nods and pulls the rope. He kisses her cheek then says something else before we make our way up the last set of stairs.
We walk up to VIP and look around. There’s a bar off to the side with steam rising up out of the glass behind the bar. Sven taps my shoulder and nods to the right. I see the guy from the photo, the one I swear is undercover. He’s standing off to the side, his head lowered as he talks on the phone.
“Where’s Paulie?” I question, knowing he has to be close.
I hear someone yell, “Fucker!” and I start toward the commotion while staying in the shadows.
Paulie is standing over some kid, who is lying on top of a busted-up glass table. His hands are in front of his face, and I can see that he’s bleeding from open wounds on his arms. Paulie leans over him and spits, and then he starts to laugh before looking around at the people who have formed a circle, making sure they’re laughing too.
“Get up and get out of here,” Paulie says, kicking the guy, who rolls to his stomach before scrambling to his feet and taking off.
“That guy is a fucking dick,” Sven says, and I can’t agree more. He is a fucking egomaniac.
“We need to find our opening. You watch Ivan, and I’ll keep an eye on Paulie.”
He nods and walks off to the bar while I stay in the background. Every once in a while, a woman stumbles over, but as soon as they’re in my space, I give them a look that has them turning around and finding another man to fuck with.
I still don’t even understand how being with Myla came so easily. It’s like the gods sent me everything I could have ever asked for in a wife, qualities I didn’t even know I was looking for.
I watch as Paulie stands, pulls the blonde who’s been all over him to her feet, and leads her towards the bar. My pulse starts to quicken as extra adrenaline begins pumping through my system. My eyes zero in on him as he leads the girl behind the bar and down a hall that is almost dark with strobe lights that flash every few seconds. I follow behind them; this is it—the opportunity I have been waiting for.
I watch as he picks the girl up. Her legs go around his waist, and one of his hands works between them. I get closer and pause when I feel a whiz slice through the sleeve of my shirt. I turn my head to see where it came from, and when I turn back around, Paulie is down on the ground. The blonde he was about to fuck up against the wall is screaming at the top of her lugs as she tries to stop the blood that is pooling out of his shirt.
I scan the area again, and then my eyes land on Sven. I have no idea what just happened, but we need to get out of here. Commotion begins to build around us as the crowd moves in on Paulie, who is still lying there, only blood is now bubbling out of his mouth. I lift my chin to Sven, and we both make our way outside. I see him moving quickly ahead of me. Just as I get to the club exit, the lights turn on. I step out onto the sidewalk and through the crowd that has begun to spill out of the club, and then I head towards the street we parked on. When I get there, I spot Sven.
“What the fuck happened?” he asks as we both get into the truck.
I ignore him, pull my off shirt, and look at the sleeve. There is a small tear in the fabric where the bullet that hit Paulie tore through.
“There was a sniper in there,” I tell him as he stops at the stop light.
“Fuck. Do you know who it was?”
“No clue.” I think, trying to pull up anyone I know with that kind of background.
“Where was Ivan?” Sven asks.
“He was still on the phone, and when Paulie went down, I saw him take off.”
“I go home,” I mutter, not knowing if I’m pissed or relieved.
“This isn’t over,” he reminds me.
“No, it’s not, but now, we have to wait for his dad to make his move.”
“How long will that take?” he sighs.
“No idea. The first thing he’s going to want to do is figure out who took out his son…even if he knew the fucker was trying to take his seat.”
“That does not make me feel better.”
“Did you ever play with blocks when you were a kid?” I ask him.
He looks at me and shrugs. “Sure,” he mutters, obviously wondering where I’m going with my question.
“What happens when you take out the block at the bottom of the building?”
“No, it gets weak, and then, when you take another, and another, the structure continues to weaken until it eventually falls to pieces.”
“How many more pieces until this is done?”
“One,” I tell him, and the rest of the car ride is silent.
Once we arrive back at the house, we tell Uncle Frank what went down, and he has the same questions we do, but I have no answers.
Sven offers for us to stay, but there is no reason for me to stay in Vegas another night, so I decline his offer but do take him up on using his plane to get back to Hawaii. While we’re getting out of his car at the airport, he gets a text and starts laughing. I don’t expect him to share it, but he tilts his phone towards me and I can’t help but grin.