It was worse. She wasn’t calling Knight. This meant bad things because it meant bad things were happening. Not bad, bad.
If Knight knew something bad was going down, he’d lose his mind which meant someone might lose the use of an appendage. She knew, if I hit the scene, I’d have a mind to carpet stains.
I screeched to a halt on the road outside her house in my blue 1968 Corvette Stingray then reversed, parallel parking expertly between two cars. In a second, I was out, hand to the gun under my leather jacket shoved in the holster attached to my belt at the small of my back. I shoved my keys in my pocket and approached the front door of her tiny house, my eyes peeled and scanning.
No noises, no sound.
It was late, after three in the morning. Her neighborhood was quiet. It was a nice neighborhood, not flashy, not family. Just a neighborhood if a bit rundown.
I hadn’t run Serena’s check. Another of Knight’s team did it. I didn’t know much about her, though I’d taken her to a few of her early appointments and stuck around until they were over. This was a service Knight provided to his new girls. Strike that, it was a service Knight insisted his girls have.
I pulled up what I knew about her and remembered she was an art student, earning cash to go to some fancy school in France. Parents gone, a car crash. If she wanted it, she had to do it on her own.
Fucking whacked, that shit. Sure, you couldn’t pull together money to buy a plane ticket, pay tuition and living expenses in a different country by waiting tables unless you had a decade to do it.
Each girl had their own story. Most of them were way worse than Serena’s.
Which meant Serena might not be all there upstairs.
Please God, I thought, do not let this bitch be seeing clients at her house.
I checked in the window first, seeing light coming around the blinds but they were closed. I couldn’t get a lock on what was happening inside.
I moved to the door, stood to its side, reached out a hand and knocked hard twice.
“Serena!” I called. “It’s Sylvie.”
I heard the locks open immediately.
Shit, she was waiting at the door.
It was thrown open and I saw her.
I heard the blood roaring in my ears and didn’t move except to speak.
“You need a doctor?” I asked.
She shook her head.
Then she whispered, “Sylvie –”
I cut her off, “You report this to Knight?”
“I… he’ll…” she shook her head again, “no.”
“You call someone other than me to help you out? Get you cleaned up?” I pressed on.
She nodded. “Cher. She’s on her way. She’ll be here soon.”
Good. Cher. That bitch was smart, had her shit tight. She’d see to Serena.
I nodded back then, “Who was he?”
“He was… he was new.”
I nodded again then, “Tell me you didn’t see him here.”
She shook her head. “Never.”
At least there was that.
“He do more than what I can see?” I asked.
She closed her eyes. I held my breath. She opened her eyes.
“No,” she whispered.
I studied her, not getting it.
She’d been worked over, eye swelling, lip fat and busted open but only a small tear. It didn’t look like she needed stitches. It looked like it hurt like hell but it wasn’t that bad. Unacceptable but not that bad.