Page 42 of The Dancer

“Yes sir. You leaving her here?” Another reason we’re so close, we can practically read each other’s minds. He didn’t like this place any more than I did. Maybe he too was remembering what it was like to live in a place like this.

“What do you think? If it was anyone else I’m sure I would have them out of there in seconds, but this one’s going to take some work. I have to come up with a plan though, this place is even worse than where we grew up.”

“Yeah, I kinda got that feeling about her too. She won’t give in too easily.” We went back to the car and I looked up at the building one last time before we drove away.

I felt more than a little bit uneasy as we pulled off of her street, but there was nothing I could do about it now.

As someone who’d grown up in this city, I knew there were some who had spent their entire lives in places like this without coming to harm.

But she stood out here and I knew very well how that shit could lead to danger. She’d already been accosted and I was convinced it hadn’t been a random act of stupidity.

What if someone else found out where she lives and made trouble for her here as well? I can’t let that happen. But first I have to find out why she’s here in the first place.

Tony’s voice broke through my inner musings just then. “I got some info for you by the way on Ray Morrison; the guy from the restaurant.”

I didn’t need him to tell me who that was. I had a feeling that for the next little while that asshole was going to play heavy on my mind.

“What did you find out?”

“He’s a low level skell on Wall Street. Didn’t do too well in college, so it looks like someone might’ve put in a good word for him and got him the job.”

“I didn’t find anything that he’s done here lately but he has a sealed record from his teens. I’m thinking someone like him didn’t stop being an asshole all the years in between, so I’ll keep digging.”

“You know what to do.”

“Already on it Max.” Of course you are. I may not be able to use the information we uncover from the sealed indictment for any legal purposes, but at

least I’d know what I’m dealing with.

Whatever it is, I’m sure not to like it. I just need to know how dangerous this fuck is before making my next move.

If he’s just your garden variety pervert, I’ll leave it to the cops. But if I find that he’s more than that, I’ll take him out myself.

Either way it didn’t sit well with me to let someone else handle the situation, but Tony was right. I had to be careful here.

Too many people had seen what happened at the club, and with my reputation it wouldn’t be hard to guess who was responsible if something happened to him now.

“What about the other thing, are we on the right track there?”

“I haven’t found the connection yet, but I’ll keep digging as I’m sure you will as well. He bonded out an hour ago by the way.”

“I expected that. I’ll keep on it. I’m not going to let this one go. I just hope for her sake that I’m wrong. Why would an intelligent person like her fuck up her whole life by doing some shit like this?”

“I didn’t think you would and you’ve known for a while that she was on your shit. It’s not the first time she slipped up, it just so happens to be the first time you’ve cared.”

He was right about that. It wasn’t the first time Arlene had warned off someone she thought was getting too close to me, but in the past I brushed that shit off. Now that Annabelle was involved things were a whole lot different.

“He picked the right time of the evening to pull that shit. Any later and he’d be picking up his teeth in the alley.” I folded my fists as he watched me in the rearview.

“I’m barely restraining myself from going after him now, so I can only imagine what your crazy ass must be feeling.”

“Don’t worry, he’ll get what’s coming to him sooner or later. I want the one who put him up to it first though. I’m thinking I should put someone on Anna just in case. I didn’t like that look he gave her earlier when he was being dragged away.”

“You think he might come after her?”

“I don’t know what the fuck to think. Everyone knows that bullshit doesn’t fly in my place. Why would he just show up out of the blue and ask to sit in her section only to do that filthy shit?”