The dream started out sensual, Angus lavishing me with his love in a dark room. Don't ask me how I knew it was him, but I was sure it was him and that was what made me sink into the dream with a wanton neediness. Wave after wave of pleasure enveloped my body as he worked his magic on me with lips, hands, and finally claiming me as his own. All the while I simply luxuriated in the pleasure he wrought with that magnificent body of his. When he was done, he collapsed over me, somehow managing not to crush me beneath his colossal form, his heart pounding over me as my ear pressed into his chest. It was as the wave of fluids began pooling beneath us that I recalled I was not on any birth control. Even as that thought came to me another washed it away: he had claimed me, called me his love, and if he meant it I didn't care if he knocked me up with triplets. Maybe it was the hormones still fogging my brain, but it was a warm thought that had me cuddling into him even more.
"Interesting," a sexless, inflection-less voice suddenly said in my mind, making me remember that this was a dream. Or was it? "Very interesting."
I sat up in bed, covered in sweat and other things, my body still pulsing with orgasmic aftershocks and shivering in fear and lust. My room smelled like a used room at a brothel, minus the male contributions to the smell. I groped for the bedside lamp and flicked it on, blinking in the soft light. My bed was in disarray, as if I had spent the night writhing around in it. Which is probably what I had done. I slid out of bed, noticing that my roommate never came home.
The alarm said 5:43 AM, meaning I had about two minutes before the damn thing went off anyway. I stripped the bedding off, opening up the window on the chill end of the night as the birds began to announce their own waking. They wouldn't be around many more mornings before they headed south for the winter. Stripping myself, I walked into the bathroom and turned the shower on. Performing my usual morning ablution, I then adjusted the water and began vigorously washing the sex-stink off of me. I was sore as I ran the suds over myself. My breasts, my stomach were all aching in that came-too-much sort of way. I was kind of ashamed of myself. I had not had a wet dream like that in my life, not even when I was a confused teenager trying to figure out what the hell was going on with my body and I went from a short and scrawny kid to a short and curvy young woman.
Shower finished, I dressed in a faded pair of jeans, white t-shirt, and black knit sweater. My black combat boots were in need of cleaning after last night's festivities at Sal's, so I slipped on a pair of sneakers and gathered up the sheets and nightclothes for the washer in the basement. After starting the load, I went in search of breakfast. Tea with a ham, cheese, and spinach omelet later and I was feeling human again. I walked back to the dorm and changed out the laundry. I spent a good half hour washing the blood off the bottom of my boots and giving them a good buff. The worn leather was glowing by the time I was done and they were good to go for the day. My first class was at 8:00 AM so after grabbing my sheets out of the dryer and making my bed, I grabbed my bag and took off for class.
By the time my two classes were over, I was dragging ass. Lunch at the cafeteria didn't even put a dint in my weariness. I was going to go to the library to wrap up my paper due later this month but my brain was mush. I dragged myself back to the dorms and fell into bed again, inhaling the clean sheet smell while vaguely noticing my roommate was asleep in her bed.
My eyes popped open on a dark room, the glowing alarm clock face telling me it was 7:01 PM. "Shit! Shit, shit, shit, shit!" I hissed as I fell out of bed, turned on the lights, and started grabbing the things I would need for work tonight. Spinning around like a dervish, trying to see if I was forgetting anything, I grabbed my keys and left. Zooming through the streets of New York at the tail-end of rush hour is a good way to get killed. Cabbies and bike messengers are insane and the truckers drive like they were the gods of the road, making us little peons watch out for them.
My Ducati rolled into the parking lot of Exposé about five minutes after my first set was supposed to start. Hopping off my bike, I noticed a squad car ghost by on the street. The NYPD never patrols around the club. It was bad for business. I watched it as I walked to the side door. Lou, one of the guys Sal uses as fill-ins for Angus on the very rare occasion that he doesn't come in, opened up the door at my knock with a scowl on his ugly face. Lou was Italian and looked like someone smushed his face in around his broken nose. His eyes, nose, and mouth were all in the center of his face with a wide forehead, fleshy cheeks, and a broad chin making his head look larger than it really was.
"Yer late," he groused as I slipped by him with my bag between my ass and him. He was also always in a bad mood and was handsy with the dancers, as if it was simply one of the perks of the job that he got to fondle the girls he was supposed to protect. "Sal wants you in his office, bitch."
When Lou was filling in for Angus, I always danced angry because I fantasized about stomping him into blood-colored mud with my boots.
I knew Rochelle was on the stage before I even saw the stage because Beyoncé was throbbing through the club. She was the only black girl who danced at Sal's and none of the other girls would dare dance to "her" music. Rochelle had DD boobs and a triple D ass and all of it was shaking and jiggling up on the main stage. As I walked through the practically empty club, she flashed me a middle finger, staring daggers at me. She hated to dance because it meant she wasn't down the block with one of her clients at the hotel. Jack flashed me an encouraging smile and nodded towards Sal's office.
"I know I'm late, but I had a rough night last night, classes this morning, and I forgot to set my alarm when I fell into bed after class," I blurted out as soon as I opened the door. "And where is Ang-oh!" I stuttered to a stop. Sitting in the office with Sal were Detectives Reynolds and Jones, both with frowns on their faces as they turned to look at me.
"As I told you, gentlemen. There she is and she doesn't know where Mr. FitzKiern is any more than I do," Sal said with a worried smile flashed in my direction.
Reynolds stood and looked down at me, trying to use his height to intimidate. It might work on someone who wasn't used to having to look up at him, but I have been short all my life and two years in the Marines teaches you to deal with it better than anything in the world could. "Is that right, Ms. Kilpatrick? You don't know where your boyfriend is?"
"Angus isn't me boyfriend, fer yaer information," I snapped, my dratted accent thickening with anger and worry. "I do nae even know where his flat is. Hae yae checked his place, Sal? He could hae baen more hurt than he let on. Yae know how he is!"
"I sent Jack over when he didn't show up at opening," Sal replied, his tone controlled but his eyes giving him away. He was very worried about his hulking friend. "Jack got the super to let him into the apartment but it didn't look like anyone had been there since before last night. No used dishes, no mussed bed, no bloody bandages in the trash, no bloody clothes in the hamper or trash. Nothing to say he made it home last night."
"We found the same thing," Detective Jones said grimly. "So we followed the route someone who was walking would follow home from this place and we found a stretch of pristine sidewalk almost halfway between here and his building. Concrete so clean you could eat off of it outside of a brownstone with a section of wall just as clean."
"So we put two and two together and figure something bad happened there," Reynolds told us, his eyes flicking back and forth between our faces, as if watching for red flags saying "LIAR" waving in our eyes. "Just as we are getting worried about Mr. FitzKiern's health, some of our wire taps come up with very angry capos and sub bosses screaming about someone they call 'The Bloody Hand' arranging for some of their men to turn up very dead in a warehouse over in Brooklyn. Given what happened last night to your friend, he wasn't in any condition to take out ten experienced enforcers on his own, especially if they ambushed him. So we looked into Mr. FitzKiern very closely and found him to be what you called him last night: a hero. But we also found out who his father was and 'Bloody Hand' describes him very well. So, is your Mr. FitzKiern in his father's business and he's just better at hiding it?"
Sal looked confused, but I knew him well enough to see the flicker in his eyes. "Who's his father?"
"Stop playing games with me, damn it!" Reynolds roared, slamming a fist down on Sal's desk, making us both jump. Apparently Reynolds saw it too. He loomed over Sal, practically spitting in his face, "I know Angus Michael FitzKiern is the son of Angus Michael Cavanaugh!"
I could feel the blood rush from my face and my mouth drop open. "I take it you know the name, miss," Jones said gently, peering at me with concern. He stood and touched my elbow, guiding me to his chair before sitting in the seat vacated by his partner, making Reynolds move a few steps to the side. "You didn't know, that's plain as day. Get her some water, Sal. Quickly, before she faints!" he barked when my boss hesitated.
Sal hit a button on his phone. "Yeah, boss?" Jack said a little too eagerly, probably stroking his shotgun as he spoke.
"Bring me a bottle of water and a whiskey neat," Sal growled.
A minute later there was a thump-thump low on the door and Reynolds opened it for Jack, who had apparently kicked the door since his hands were full of three bottles of water and a glass. He put them on the desk, let his eyes rove around the room, paused on me, then nodded to Sal and left, closing the door behind him. Jones handed me a bottle of water and watched me drink it before opening one for himself and tossing the other to his partner.
"How do you know the name Angus Cavanaugh, Ms. Kilpatrick?"
I snorted before I could help myself. "Lived in Boston before I joined the Marines," I retorted, glaring at him. "And Marines do nae faint!"
Reynolds surprised me by muttering, "oo-rah," under his breath, nodding at me with approval when I glanced at him. "So, you don't know where Mr. FitzKiern is and you didn't know his family connections to the Irish mob in Boston, but I would bet my paycheck your boss did. Unfortunately, I believe he doesn't know what happened to his bouncer either," he said reluctantly, his face screwing into a grimace as he tore the water bottle open with enough force to slop some of it on the floor. He sent a piercing look at Sal and threw two cards down on his desk. "You call me the second you lay eyes on or hear from Mr. FitzKiern, you hear me Conigliari? That goes for you, too, Ms. Kilpatrick."
When they were gone, I turned a glare of my own on Sal. "Angus is a Cavanaugh? I thought his name was FitzKiern, Sal," I growled with more than a little rage. I hated the mob back in Boston ever since my cousin Brion was killed by them for getting mixed up with some Italians from Philadelphia. "Did yae lie to mae when yae introduced us? And has he baen lying to mae all this time?"
Sal snorted, shaking his head. "FitzKiern is his mother's name and, from what I gather, Mike couldn't pick his father out of a line-up if he wanted to. He never met the man. He was the younger of two sons Angus Cavanaugh had with Mike's mother. His older brother is dead and, as far as I know, so is his mother," the suddenly weary-looking club owner retorted. "Mike grew up in Jersey and everyone knew exactly who his father is but him. Mike figured out when he was younger who his father was but he never cared to meet him. Shit, Candy! You know the man. Can you see him doing the shit his father has been accused of?"
I could feel the heat of my blush as it flooded my face. "But what he did last night..."
Sal flapped a hand at me. "Bullshit! He would never do that crap unless someone was f•©king with you girls or the club and you know it," he snapped angrily. "Mike is a very big, very powerful guard dog and that was exactly what I was looking for when my last head bouncer got himself knifed in the back during a brawl here five or six years ago. That bullet to the arm is the closest anyone has come to taking him down because he heads trouble off before it happens and he is big enough and scary-looking enough for most people to heed him. What happened last night was a once-in-a-blue-moon sort of deal. The reason you and the rest of the girls are so gooey over him is because he hits your cavewoman instincts as the biggest, baddest caveman around with the face of an actor and the personality of your big brother. The other girls just want to ride him for a bit; you want him to hold you in those hugely muscled arms of his and tell you everything is going to be all right for the rest of your life. Nothing has changed now that you know his daddy's name."
The blush that was receding flamed to life again and I looked away from Sal's penetrating gaze. "Where does he live?" I asked, turning to face him, chin lifted defiantly.
Sal gave me a long look. "You know he keeps his private life separate from his work, right? I only know where he lives because I am his boss," he said gravely even as he took out a notepad and pen. A few scribbles and he tore the top sheet off, handing it to me. "You're not gonna find anything Jack didn't and you need to be back here in about an hour and a half or Rochelle is going to knife you in the face. She already had to tell two clients she needed to reschedule."
I stood and swiped the paper off his desk with a grim smile. "I know. She gave me the one-finger salute on my way in. I am just going to run over there and hopefully see something to set my mind at ease."
Walking back down the hall in a hurried step I saw Lou waiting for me. "Where do you think you are going runt?" he growled, making a grab for my arm.