“It’s more than complicated. There were witnesses there that could have seen me.”
“No one has come forward.”
“How would you know that?”
“Don’t you worry about it. Just trust me when I tell you that you are clean. The only real complication is the fact that you’ll have to get into the hospital. She’s being guarded, will be for some time. But I know you’ve handled dicier situations than that before.”
I frowned. “How much do you know about me?”
“Enough,” was his dry answer. “The price is now two hundred thousand dollars. You can keep that fifty we gave you. This is on top of that.”
Fucking hell. Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars would end all my problems forever. But that was way too much money for just a girl, unless she was more than just a girl. She was a death sentence.
Something was terribly fucking wrong here, and I would be an idiot to stick my nose in it for one minute longer.
“No,” I told him with steely resolve. “I haven’t survived this long to know when there’s something more at stake. I’ll meet your people somewhere, give you your deposit back if you want, but this is where we part ways.”
There was a heavy pause on the line. “Don’t be foolish.”
“I’m being smart,” I told him. “Whatever game this is, I don’t want any part of it.”
“I suppose raising the price wouldn’t help.”
“No. This is a job I don’t want to touch.”
“But you’ve already had your hand in it,” he said, and finally there was an edge to his voice, a warning. “It’s too late for you to back out now. You accepted the job, and now you have to finish it.”
“You’re telling me that the fact that the target was hit by a seemingly random car isn’t a warning sign to you? Right before I pulled the trigger? The fact that the dead body of a fucking flight attendant has a two hundred thousand dollar price tag on it? If you want her out so bad, there are plenty of other people you can pay to do your dirty work. This one though, I’m no longer a part of.”
More silence. I could hear his breathing. “Have you ever backed out of a job before?”
I swallowed. “No,” I said thickly. “I haven’t. But there have been jobs that I shouldn’t have taken, only I didn’t listen to my instincts. I’m listening to them now. This isn’t the job for me, and this is where we part ways.” I took a deep breath, feeling the monetary sting already. “Just tell me where to meet your people. I’ll give you the deposit back, I haven’t touched a single bill. I don’t want any trouble, we’ll just forget it all and move on.”
“Oh, you’ll be moving on,” the man said. “And so will she.”
The line went dead.
I stared at my phone for a good minute, feeling absolute dread coursing through me. I was trusting my gut on this one – I had made the right decision, hadn’t I?
Within an hour, I was out of the hotel room and booked into one of the swankier all-inclusive resorts close to downtown. I used my fake Canadian passport – Derrin Calway – and credit card. I tossed my phone and got a new one at a street-side kiosk. I still had an email address and a pager number that most people knew, and though many of the cartels didn’t possess the same high-tech tracking systems and surveillance the movies would lead you to believe, it never hurt to be careful. I was constantly getting cheap new phones, constantly changing names, constantly on the move.