I swallowed uneasily. Why was this guy wearing shades now anyway?
“All right,” I said carefully. “I’ll be with you in a minute. Will you be having food?”
The man nodded and then went back to the table. I quickly waved Camila over while their backs were turned to me.
“Who are they?” I whispered, pulling her close.
“I don’t know. They just sat down and said they wanted you to serve them. I said they’d have to ask you.”
“He’s weird. He’s wearing shades inside. And it’s nighttime.”
“The other guy is too,” she said. “In fact, the other guy looks familiar and not in a good way.”
The skin at the back of my neck prickled. “Familiar like he comes in here sometimes?”
Camila looked me dead in the eyes. “Familiar like I’ve seen his face on the news. But with the glasses, it’s hard to tell.”
I straightened up and looked back at them. The man who had spoken to me was watching me with an impassive look on his face, his hands folded in front of him like he’d been waiting awhile. The other man, the one that Camila said looked familiar, was sitting there rigidly, but I still couldn’t see his face.
I grabbed the menus and Camila squeezed my hand for good luck. I walked carefully over to them, reminding myself that these men probably just wanted a hot waitress to attend to them, that they didn’t have to want anything else, and that I would be tipped for my efforts.
I stopped in front of the table and smiled. “Hello, my name is Luisa. I’ll be your server tonight.”
The other man looked up at me and my breath caught in my throat. Camila was right. He did look familiar. Though his wide aviator sunglasses covered up his eyes, there was no mistaking the overly thick mustache peppered with grey or the mullet-like swoop of hair on his head. His face was scarred in places, with both scratches and pockmarks, and had that slightly bloated look that middle-aged men got. Though his clothes were simple—faded blue jeans and a western shirt over his beer paunch—they didn’t hide the immense power and notoriety this man had.
He was none other than Salvador Reyes, one of the most feared and well-documented cartel leaders in the country. And he was sitting in my bar, asking me to serve him.
I kept the smile plastered on my face while invisible fingers trailed ice down my back. This could not be a good thing. This wasn’t even his area; he controlled most of Sinaloa. Aside from Tijuana, most of the Baja Peninsula was relatively untouched by the cartels and the impending drug violence.
Untouched until now.
I was vaguely aware that both men were staring at me through their sunglasses, their faces grave and unmoving. I quickly placed the menus down on the table like they were hot to touch and launched into my specials. “Nachos are half price as are the buckets of Tecate,” I said, nervously tripping over the words.
The man I thought was Salvador picked up the menu and glanced at it briefly. The other man didn’t even look.
Finally Salvador smiled. It was nothing if not creepy. “Top shelf tequila, two shots. And the nachos. Please, Luisa.”
I nodded and quickly trotted back to the kitchen to place my order with Dylan. I felt something at my back and whirled around to see Camila staring at me expectantly.
“Well? Do you know what I mean?”
I nodded, trying to stay calm. “He does look familiar. But I don’t know how. They seem harmless.”
The funny thing was that I felt like if I told Camila it was Salvador, the infamous drug lord, things would take a turn for the worse. Right now he was in the bar, with his friend, probably his right hand man—the one who lives with the jackal—and no one seemed to notice him or care. This was good. This man had the power to murder everyone in here if he wanted to and completely get away with it. To him and to many others, he had a right to rape me in the back room and I could never press charges, or he could rape me in front of everyone, and no one—not even Camila—would ever dare say anything. This man was above the law, as so many men in Mexico were, and the less attention that was brought to that fact, the better.