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.Who’d have thunk it?Bob continues, “It’ll take me a while to recruit someone else, so for the time being, Frankie is being transferred to a Mirage desk and won’t be taking on any jobs.Tonight will be her last night for a long while, I think.”Stunned, I turn to my best friend.She smiles sadly and takes hold of my hand.She’s not happy about this.My heart sinks.I feel for her.What we do, fighting for justice? It’s freeing.To think of someone taking that away from me… I would probably go rogue.Clark appears by my side, placing a hand on my shoulder in consolation.“I’m sorry, Cat.”I shrug his hand off.“Don’t be.We weren’t a thing anyway.”I ignore Frankie’s curious stare and get in the car with her.The other three get into the other Mercedes and we’re set to go.After driving a short while, Frankie asks cautiously, “You wanna tell me what that was about?”I reply a clipped, “Not particularly.”Holding her earpiece to her ear, she mutters, “Moon Shadow offline.Night Fury offline.Give us a minute, guys.”She turns off her radio device and sighing, I do, too.“You don’t need to make a big deal about it, Francis.”Her brows shoot up.“Francis? Oh, ouch, Cat.Just…ouch.”I try my hardest to not smile, but it’s hard with Frankie.It’s damn near impossible.She spots my grin and chuckles, “There she is! Seriously, I’ve been worried about you.I haven’t seen you laugh in about a week.What’s going on? Give me the short version.I can’t be bothered listening to you whine.”I groan whilst snickering.“God, you’re such a bitch.”She laughs.“I’m joking! I’m always joking.You know that.”I do know that.That’s why I love her.Taking a deep breath, I stall a minute before I start telling her what I’ve been putting off.“So you know Clark’s birthday night?”She grunts, “Oh, hell yes.Talk about awkward.In my defence, if I had known he was bringing a date, I never would have told you he was in love with you.”“I know.But regardless, it still hurt, for whatever reason.I don’t even love him, but I did love him.When we were kids, I loved him.”She utters quietly, “I’m sorry.”I shake my head.“Don’t be.It wasn’t your fault.” I pause.“I did something.I screwed up.I really screwed up.”She remains silent, giving me time to get it out.“That night, Clark and I shared words.It was weird.I asked him to kiss me.He did.It was…okay.”Frankie groans.She gets it.“So I decide to clear my mind.I head over to Mirage, have some wine and listen to some music, when out of nowhere comes Marco.”Frankie’s body goes rigid.She knows.She always knows.I clear my throat.“One thing led to another.A small kiss here, a grope there.Next thing I know, I’m in his bed.”She whispers, “Oh, my God.”I grumble in agreement.“Yeah, exactly.So if that’s not bad enough, Clark is in bed with Michelle.And he hears everything.”Frankie gasps and her hand darts out, slapping my arm, “Shut.Up!” She gasps again, slower this time.“That’s what the argument was about, wasn’t it? That’s why he lost it.”“Yep.That’s why he ripped up my garden.”Frankie bursts into laughter.I glare at her.“What the hell’s so funny?”She snorts.“Who knew a nun would lead such a soap opera life.And it’s not even a good soap opera.It’s a Z-grade soap opera.” She turns to me and chortles, “And you’re the star!”“It’s not funny, Frankie!”Her face turns serious as she answers quietly, “You’re right.” She nods.“You’re right, Cat.” Her booming laughter fills the car.“It’s fucking hilarious!”I sigh and turn away, looking out the window, listening to Frankie laugh softly.“I can’t even.Like, I just- I can’t even.” Her laughter gets louder.“I can’t even can right now.That’s how funny this is.I literally can’t even.”A smile twitches at my lips.I whisper, “You’re an asshole.”Her laughter is borderline hysterical as she yells, “And you’re a fucking whore!”A chuckle escapes me.“You’re a rug muncher.A big one.With gorilla nipples.”She wheezes, unable to breath from hilarity.“Oh, my God, stop.Your ability to spot the obvious is going to make me pee.”My shoulders shake with silent laughter.We both put in our earpieces and turn the radio devices on.Chuckling, I utter, “Night Fury and Moon Shadow are online.”The car slows and then comes to a stop.We park down the street, open the doors and exit.Clark stays in the car but Bob and Ari join us.I put on a black silk mask that covers the bottom half of my face.I watch Ari put on her Marilyn Monroe mask as Frankie slips on a ski mask that has a skull printed on the front.Bob ties a bandana just under his eyes.Unrecognizable, we remove our weapons.My katana, Koneko, goes with me on every job.Ari removes a ten-inch hunting knife.Frankie wraps a thick chain tightly around her hands.Bob pulls out his.357 magnum.Frankie approaches the door and whispers, “This is my last party for a while.Seems appropriate that I make an entrance, wouldn’t you say?”She steps back, ready to kick in the door.Just as she’s about to let it rip, Bob clears his throat.He steps forwards and turns the knob.The door opens and we laugh as Frankie sighs, “Stupid motherfuckers.”She opens the door and we all enter.Three men immediately scurry through the back exit of the house leaving one haggard looking woman in the main room of the makeshift brothel.I’m going to take a wild guess and say this is Margaret Pinot.The woman who is whoring out her thirteen and sixteen-year-old daughters.High as a kite, she finally turns and blinks up at us.She slurs, “Who are you? What do you want?”Frankie steps forward allowing the chain to drop by her side with a jingle.She greets our target perfectly.“Evenin’, Ms.Pinot.” She pauses to smirk viciously.“We’re the X-Men.And we’re here to fuck shit up.”With lightning fast reflexes, she swings the chain out like a whip, bracing herself and extending her arm out gracefully.Ms Pinot lets out a bloodcurdling scream while holding her now-bloody face.Adrenaline pumps through my system making me lightheaded with blood lust.A cruel smile spreads behind my mask.I love my job.Chapter EightI spend what seems like hours cleaning myself.It doesn’t matter how many times I wash my hands, I see blood.I don’t dare close my eyes.The images in my mind are much worse than just oozing red blood.Floating in and out of my subconscious, I hear the growling, barking and cursing from Xavier as he tries to overcome his addiction.Sheets have been changed countlessly.He throws up and pisses himself like a fucking puppy.He’s constantly on the toilet or throwing up in it.Or throwing up on the ground.Or on the bed.Or wherever the hell he’s standing at the time.He looks pale, and shakes, although his body is burning like a furnace.It’s scary.I worry he’ll die from withdrawal.Bob assures me this is normal.Obviously, this did not placate me.With a sigh, Bob promised me that if he saw Xavier was taking a turn for the worst, he’d make sure he’d get him to someone who could help.That sort of helped.I wondered just how much worse he could get before Bob considered him taking a turn for the worst.However, it is now close to three a.m.I am tired.I am sore.The adrenalin of the job has worn off and my mood turns grim [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]