CHAPTER 14 – TURNING TRIX
When Liam arrived at the salon just before ten the next morning, Genevieve had already opened. The smell of freshly brewed coffee swept out from the back room to greet him. He smiled. He felt happier than he’d felt in a long time, even with all the drama going down at the club. He dropped his appointment book at the front desk and walked to the back of the salon. To his surprise, Fran was sitting in the last chair wrapped in foils and draped in a maroon robe. She looked up as he approached.
“Hey Irish, how’s it going?”
Liam did not hide his surprise.
“Aren’t you a bit early, Franny? I thought we all agreed to meet at noon.”
Genevieve rounded the corner from the staff room, carrying a mixture of bleach for Fran’s hair. She looked so perky and radiant it took Liam’s breath away. He just stood there like a dummy until he was brought out of his stupor by the women’s laughter.
“What’s with you, Irish? Fran said jovially. “Cat got your tongue?”
Then she continued. “I don’t think Irish is too happy to see me today? Wonder what that’s about.” Genevieve smiled.
“We just decided to touch up Fran’s color before our meeting, Irish. Is that okay?”
“It’s a little late to ask permission, isn’t it?” He laughed, and the two women joined in, Fran’s cackle filling the morning stillness. “No worries ladies, I have plenty to do before the rest of the bunch arrive.”
Liam disappeared into the staffroom but heard their giggles through the closed door. What is it with women when they get together? He thought, shaking his head. He was just glad to be alone, to gather his thoughts and get a handle on what was going on in his life. And what was going on? He was suddenly in the throes of undermining one of the city’s most notorious low-life crooks, while at the same time, was falling for his employee, who was dating one of the salon’s clients. Meanwhile, it was business as usual at Snippets, where he had to ensure that through it all, his many customers remained happy. He wondered if things could be any more complicated, but then he remembered his past life and relaxed. This was a piece of cake.
Still, he didn’t understand the fluttery feeling that had been rumbling around in the pit of his stomach every single day since he and G had connected in a special way. It was with him all the time, but was heightened when he was around her. What was he to do? Even with his first love, Simony Chiavary, he hadn’t felt the way he did now. Perhaps it was because of his and Simony’s youth and vagrancy at that time in their lives.
He had met Simony when he was twenty four, living the life of a street-wise thug, teetering on the edge. He was a bad boy, with a reputation that carried a lot of respect back in those days, respect earned by carrying out certain requests by those higher up the food chain, otherwise called misdemeanors. Simony had liked that about him. She didn’t know it at the time, but she was looking for someone cleverer than her, or her father, someone she could feel that common bond with. What she didn’t realize was that Liam was getting tired of being ‘in the business’. Between the street life and prison he’d seen too many things, had done too many things. Since he was a lad of twelve he’d been making his own way, and had hooked up with the only people who gave him a sense of family – street gangs.
From there he moved up to working with the big time thugs who ran the streets, and by the time he was eighteen, he was expected to up-the-ante from petty crime to jobs that carried some weight. As the money increased, so did his desire, and before long he’d served his first of two sentences in the Pen, the first for petty theft, the second for robbery. Even to this day he wasn’t sure what happened to make him shift, but one day he simply made the decision to move on. He had turned a corner in his life and there was no going back. This shift was happening right around the time he had met Simony, which, he thought in retrospect, was probably why it didn’t work – couldn’t work.
Simony wasn’t any trouble. In fact, she was extremely intelligent, and wanted more out of life just like he did. Her wants and needs were fed to her by the same hand that had fed his, however, Simony had chosen to work that system not just for her survival, but for her strength and benefit. Liam knew she had been taught to go out and do better for herself, and that was what she did. When there was something she wanted, she found a way to get it. What Liam didn’t realize at the time was that she was looking out for number one. He was just a pawn in her plan, their falling in love a mere, and unexpected glitch. That aside, they had fun together, and despite the circumstances, it had been love.
Liam sat down on a stool, lost in the memories of days gone by. It had been a long time since he’d let his mind take him back to those days. He had left them behind so long ago it seemed, and would just as soon pretend they didn’t happen. But, he thought, whatever this was, stirring between him and G, he knew he would have to look his past demons in the eye to reveal the truth – the whole truth – to her. He wouldn’t have it any other way.
Liam was jolted back to reality when the door opened and in walked Miguel.
“Hey, man. I didn’t know you were here.” Miguel seemed uncomfortable. “G asked me to grab her some toner, said it was on the middle shelf on the right.”
Liam rose, reached around and took down a purple bottle labeled Toner Tonic. Miguel thanked him but didn’t let his eyes stay on Liam’s for long. When he was gone, Liam took a coffee mug from one of the hooks, poured himself a cup of now strong Colombian coffee, and sat back down to wait. Fran, G and Miguel were already there. That just left Mitch and Della. From what she had told him on the phone that morning, it had taken several hours last evening, and several more that morning, for Della to reorganize things at the club. Staff had to be rescheduled to come in later than their usual two o’clock check in time, and deliveries had to be cancelled or changed to another date or time. She had told everyone some electrical work was being done, so the place was off limits until early evening. The six of them were expected to congregate at the salon around noon, where they’d have a short meeting to go over their plans before heading to the club. Any last minute changes or adjustments could be made then.
* * * * *
Liam, Genevieve, Miguel, Fran, Mitch, and Della arrived at The Lady around two o’clock, ready to set up their trap for Dom and his goons to walk into later that night. They accessed the club through an entrance in the back alleyway, walked past a string of dressing room doors, and entered through the the backstage doors. It was dark. Since she knew the layout best, Della went first, feeling her way to the main light panel beside the bar. All of a sudden there was a loud crash.
“Shit!” Cried Della. “What the hell was that?” The group heard her shuffling around.
“Della, what’s going on?” Asked Liam, concerned. He made his way forward, but he too stumbled on something that was lying across the floor. Able to right himself, and trying to maintain his balance, he crawled over to where he thought the light panel was. He reached it at the same time Della did. They flipped the switches and the place lit up, enlightening them to what had happened. Chairs were toppled over, tables were turned, bottles of booze were broken and strewn across the bar, leaving shards of glass and sticky liquid everywhere. If the place smelled like a bar before, now there was no question about it.
The stage sets were scattered across the stage, and across the partly drawn curtain MiTch’s WHorE HoUsE was emblazoned in orange metallic spray paint. Strobe lights were shattered on the floor, costumes were ripped and randomly tossed around the room. Nothing was left untouched. The place was trashed.
…stay tuned…Chapter 15 will be posted next Tuesday, October 25th…