By: Sienna Mynx

“My personal issues are your gain. Because with or without you I am going to take him down. You can either help me or get the hell out of my way.”

Daniel removed his eyeglasses. “You're young, you're driven, I get it. You go into his world and he finds out who you are, how he knows you, it could destroy everything I've worked for. Because we are tied together.”

“Then step back. This is on me. I only ask that you let me try. Don't upload your vlog. We aren’t ready to expose him and his family. You know that.”

“I don’t like it.” Daniel insisted.

“How about this? If I get close to him and learn anything of use to you, it’s yours 100% to do with as you decide. And if I get caught, that story of my past is my reason. Not your organization. I’m a lone wolf, with a childhood vendetta. And you can make that your by-line.”

Daniel stared at her. He glanced over to the brothers sharing a meal. Kassidy gaze followed. Tarek looked her way. He chewed. He stared at her. His eyes were even darker in the distance. They looked as black as his soul.

“Fuck. He's seen us together,” Daniel said.

Kassidy smiled. “Then there's no turning back. Is there? You set this up Daniel. At least have the balls to see it through.”

Daniel closed his laptop. He put it in his satchel. “I can’t stay. If he figures out who I am the game is up. I'm heading back to Texas tonight. I have a plane ticket for you on Delta. The flight leaves at nine out of Midway.”

She watched Daniel wrap his scarf around his neck and ease out of the booth. He gave her a half-smile. “You're probably as dangerous as him aren’t you? Just don’t be reckless Kassidy. You need to trust us so we can trust you.”

Kassidy shrugged. Daniel shook his head and walked away. Alone, Kassidy was served a fresh martini and kale salad. She switched seats at her table. She needed to face Tarek and his brothers without having to be caught staring. The men ate but none of them spoke or smiled. And then the first brother said a few words, got up, and left. The other two didn't glance his way.

If Daniel was right and Tarek finished his meal and left with his brother she’d have to come up with another plan to get close to him. Ideas began to form. All of them felt desperate. And she was.

The second brother, soon after finishing his wine spoke to Tarek. He seemed to be upset about something. Tarek barely shrugged off the comment and kept eating. After a tense moment between the two, the man got up and left. The waiter cleaned away the plates. He used a silver scraper to wipe off any crumbs left upon the white linen. He then served Tarek Marshall another drink.

Kassidy closed her eyes and the catalogue of memories flashed like an old picture show. She fast-forwarded past the girlhood dreams of unicorns and her father scaling a tall tower to rescue her from a fire breathing dragon. She recalled him speaking to Jesus Garcia about the Marshalls, and offering to help. The day the Turners and the Garcias became united.

She shuddered. She tried to calm her nerves. After all she had rehearsed this moment for years. The day she would stand before Tarek Marshall as a woman not a child. Once her nervous energy calmed and she opened her eyes and focused on her mission.

“Excuse me,” she said to a passing hostess.

“Yes mam?”

“Is that Tarek Marshall over there?”

The hostess glanced over. “Why yes. That's Mr. Marshall.”

“Can you give him this, and ask him if he'd mind if I join him for a drink?”

She handed over her business card. The hostess looked at it and frowned. She seemed hesitant. “He doesn't like to be disturbed,” the woman said.

“I understand. If he says no, I won't approach him. I'd like you to ask,” Kassidy insisted.

The woman nodded. Kassidy watched the hostess as she walked over to Tarek's table. When the woman placed the card before him and then pointed at her, Kassidy raised her glass to him. Tarek stared at her. Kassidy made sure never to lower her gaze. His face wasn't welcoming. He said two words to the hostess then finished his drink. If Tarek declined, then Kassidy would have over played her hand. She’d meet Daniel and catch that flight back to Texas. But deep in her gut she believed he'd take the bait. She'd come too far and waited too long for this moment.

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