Noelle sat on the edge of the bed, her skinny knee bouncing rapidly as she waited. She could still hear the men outside talking and she needed to pick the right moment so she wouldn’t get busted. A few more moments passed before she heard the car door slam and she made her move. She would lose them if she moved too slowly out the bathroom window or down the block to their car. Kyle had been excessively anal about their movements for years, for good reason. Noelle watched the black van pull away from the hotel parking lot as she jumped into their blue Honda. She’d wished her father was inside the car with her during her first pursuit, but she could hear his voice in her head as clear as a bell. Not too close, two car lengths behind. Stay in the next lane so they can’t see you. Be careful.
She followed the van to the entertainment district; a block lined with strip clubs, bars, and a movie theater advertising XXX classics. The van turned down the alley behind Club Solo, obscured in the darkness. Closed for the evening, it was a perfect mark. Noelle parked the car across the street and made her way back to the alley, hiding behind the few still cars that lined the street. She could see her father and the mysterious man breaking into the building and disappearing inside. Noelle leapt from her hiding place and raced to catch the door before it locked her outside. She found herself in a dark stairwell and had to use the red EXIT sign to find her way up the narrow stairway. She could hear voices as she approached the door at the top. The doorway led to a balcony above the abandoned dance floor of the club. The lights on the stage were on, shining purple and blue discs across the room. She followed the balcony and the voice to the hallway, where she could finally see her destination.
“You got a lot of fucking nerve, Santos,” the man said with a scowl. His palms were flat on his desk as Kyle rapidly relieved him of the contents of his floor safe.
“I’m just coming for what’s mine,” Santos said, shrugging his shoulders.
“Dirty pig motherfucker,” the man spat. Santos stepped closer to the man, his aim unwavered at his head.
“We’re good, let’s go,” Kyle said, standing. He swung the heavy bag over his shoulder, ready to escape.
“One more thing. Give me the ring,” Santos said. From the hall, Noelle couldn’t see the item he’d requested, but for a second, it drew the attention of all three men.