(Starring Bobbi Jordan and Julie Taylor)
The following short story takes place after the events of Chapter 101 of RED DIAMOND, on sale here, http://my.bookbaby.com/book/red-diamond
Bobbi parked her red Ford Mustang right in front of the dojo. She was tempted to just leave it running but given the way her day was going… she slid the keys into her pocket and went into the gym side of the building.
“Woah! Looks like we got a badass over here,” Julie said as soon as she saw Bobbi walk in.
After Nick left with Carol and the others, Bobbi took a quick shower to clean up. She spent the last ten seconds of it under ice cold water trying to snap out of her funk. Between that and the six Advil she popped it had worked to a degree.
She still felt like shit though. Which was one of the main reasons she was wearing her purple camo tactical pants. They offered her the room to move around comfortably. Her shirt was a bit more form fitting in that it was an Under Armour Women’s Tactical Heat Gear Compression T-Shirt. Despite it’s long name, Bobbi enjoyed it because of it’s signature moisture transport system, which wicks away the sweat to keep the wearer dry. And given the amount of sweating Bobbi had been doing lately, she needed all the help she could get.
“Okay first of all, you’re wearing the same shirt as me. Second, you have on black yoga pants with pink camo around the waist, soo…”
“Exactly. Have you not seen how amazing my ass looks in these?” Julie grinned and turned to wiggle her butt in front of Bobbi.
Bobbi frowned but tried to fake a smile for Julie’s sake, but it was too little too late.
“Wow, never mind.”
“It’s not like that…” Bobbi started to say and reached out to touch her.
Julie turned back around and held up her hand and said, “Nope, you had your chance.”
Julie crossed her arms and shook her head. Bobbi did look unusually pathetic today though.
“What’s your problem now?” Julie finally said.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Nick took Carol out on a mission and left me at the house,” she blurted out.
“I thought it was already established that if you’re PMSing you stay on the bus.”
“What, I’m not…”
Julie stared at her incredulously.
“Really. You want to rethink the bullshit that’s about to come out of your mouth?”
Bobbi scowled. Julie pointed at the purple camo pants than at her pants. Bobbi gave her the finger.
“So anyway,” Julie started. “Did I miss the part where Nick sent you down here to do a job for him?”
“No. It’s just not fair that Carol gets to go is all.”
Julie remained silent, not about to feed into whatever was going on in Bobbi’s head.
“So I’ve come up with a short list to help us,” Julie said after several seconds of uncomfortable silence.
“A list for what?”
“We’re suppose to find out where this Trevor guy is hold up at right?”
“Oh, yeah,” Bobbi half mumbled.
“Well if we need to know where Asian hookers are being sent to, we got a few options. Would you care to hear them or am I just wasting my breath?” Julie asked after Bobbi started starring toward the back of the gym, where the locker rooms were.
Bobbi turned back to look at Julie and said, “Sorry, go ahead.”
“Well the obvious choice is Lu Chenghu. If there was anyone who would know it would be him.”
“Yeah because he’s the party animal of the three Chenghu brothers. But I doubt we can get a meet with him at this time of day.”
“True. He’s probably still sleeping and that means going through Cong Li first.”
Bobbi made a face and shook her head. Cong Li was the head muscle for the Chenghu brothers and by muscle they meant muscle. The guy was jacked to begin with but as an Asian, he might as well have been The Hulk.
“Yeah. I don’t think that would go well for us. Which means we could go see Tai.”
“Ugg, not in my condition,” Bobbi was quick to reply.
Tai was Cong’s second-in-command of security for the Chenghu brothers and he was a fast bastard. Not to mention an expert at several martial arts. The last time Bobbi had gotten into a fight with him, she got a spin kick to the face for her troubles. She had that mark for a whole week. And that was going up against him when she didn’t feel like a sack of crap. She didn’t even want to guess the marks she’d get now.
“You know, I’m beginning to question my role as Nick’s number one ass kicker,” Bobbi said and tried to laugh but it came out more like a whimper.
“Tell me about it. When did you become such a pus-”
“Wait I know!” Bobbi exclaimed.
“Hold up, were you about to call me a pus-”
“Tell me your idea.”
Bobbi gave her a look while pointing her finger at her and said, “Ping.”
“Ping?” Julie asked.
“Ping,” Bobbi repeated.
“Ping,” Julie said with a smile and nodded.
“My car or yours?” Bobbi asked.
“Yours is already parked in the front,” Julie said with a grin.
“Fine. Go warm it up again. I’ll be right there,” Bobbi said and tossed her keys to her.
Julie stared at her for a second then shrugged and went outside while Bobbi headed for the locker room. She needed something out of her locker before she went and did this.
Tai’s Billiards was located at the corner of Hancock Street and Bass Street in Quincy, MA, ten miles south of Chinatown in Boston MA. Over the last few years, Quincy has turned into a sort of satellite Chinatown, what with the rapid influx of Hokkien-speaking immigrants from the Chinese province of Fujian. Located on the southeast coast of Mainland China, Fujian was more or less across from Taiwan.
The fact that a lot of these immigrants had also served time in China’s Navy, The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), had clearly been lost on those in the US Immigration Services.
A few years ago, Tai Xu had won an underground fighting tournament bringing great honor to the Chenghu family. For this he was given his choice of a reward. Besides being an excellent martial artist, Tai also loved playing pool and ping pong, so he asked to have a small bar opened up with that for its theme. His reward was granted. Jin Chenghu, the head of the Chenghu family gave him the keys to his new place personally.
The place itself had been really well done. Large glass front windows with a double door entrance. On the left was a small lounge area of three black leather couches in a U shape with glass coffee table. The bar was next, it wasn’t a huge bar, seating less than a dozen total, but they were known to carry a nice assortment of drinks, the best being their scorpion bowls, something that had become an unexpected hallmark of theirs, thanks in no small part to one of their bartenders. The restrooms were located past the bar. Three ping pong tables took up the center of the place. On the right side were the seven, high quality, pool tables that gave the place its name. Running along the whole right side of the wall were tall pub tables allowing seating for friends to enjoy a drink while watching or waiting for a game.
Even after the place was open for business and people were all a glow with rave reviews of its look and quality, what really got more than a few people whispering was that his bar opened in Quincy, not in Boston, the center of where things went down. This got people to speculate that even when you earned something, Jin would find away to keep you in your place. This of course was no where near the truth, though Jin didn’t mind it if that kept people fearful of her.
The truth behind the location was a simple matter of seeing the bigger picture, of thinking multiple moves ahead of your opponent. When Tai’s Billiards had opened a few years ago, it was believed to be in the middle of nowhere, outside of any action or important place value. But now, with the influx of said former members of PLAN, it was one of the most popular hangout spots around, especially in Quincy.
While Tai’s work for the Chenghu brothers kept him out of his bar most of the time, a small price to pay for the several promotions he’s earned over the last year and a half, it didn’t stop him from running various pool tournaments and competitions at his place. The bar making a fair amount of money in liquor sales and gambling on said tournaments. It’s real value to the Chenghu family though was when Lu Chenghu decided to use it as one of his enclaves for his mid-card girls.
Lu’s mid-card girls were far superior to those found hanging out on the corners in Chinatown late at night, not to mention cleaner, but weren’t yet good enough for the high rollers or the types of girls found at Alizarin. They usually worked at street races, car shows, fights, or parties. Now it wasn’t uncommon to see a dozen or more attractive girls lounging around Tai’s Billiards at night while waiting for assignments. Tai himself had even taken a half dozen under his wing to teach them pool, so as to flirt with customers there. Getting them to stay for an extra game or two, and an extra three or four drinks even.
With Tai’s Billiards serving as a legit business for the Chenghu family, Tai tried his best to keep some of the shadier stuff that Seng Chenghu, the eldest of the Chenghu brothers, dealt in away from his place. Hot girls in leather pants and short shirts playing pool was a lot easier to explain than drugs or cases of stolen shipments in the back storage area.
And while fights had been known to break out here or there when too much alcohol was consumed on the weekend, they were generally short and resulted in little more than a broken glass or two. It was a record Tai liked to boast about knowing that people were too scared of him to do anything too stupid in his place of business.
That record was about to be severely tested tonight though.
Ping played with the pretzel stick in his mouth like it was a toothpick. When it snapped, he reached for another one out of the bowl on the bar. His eyes darting between the three flat screen TVs behind the bar and the mirror that showed the guys playing two games of pool behind him. He made it a point to have his eyes anywhere but where the bartender was.
Tonight’s bartender, one Tia Lien, was used to Ping by now, as he was a regular at Tai’s Billiards. A skinny, dark haired nervous kid in his early twenties, Ping was never seen without wearing something green and couldn’t go for more than a few minutes without having to scratch behind one of his ears. Tia had never found out a real reason for it other than it must be some sort of tick for the kid, cause he was always well groomed and had good hygiene. Seeing as how Ping worked for Lu Chunghu, those two things were more of a requirement than a suggestion.
Ping considered himself to be a specialist when it came to the delivery of specialized items to his superiors. In reality he was an errand running gofer, pure and simple. He was in charge of making sure Lu’s mid-card girls had coffee, alcohol, snacks, meals, specific lingerie or toys needed for clients. Basically anything to keep the girls happy and in good condition for clients.
Because of his tick and general weirdness, Ping tried to stay out of Boston and Chinatown specifically as he was usually picked on there by the bigger fish. But here in Quincy he was held in a bit more of a high regard. He even had a couple of guys watching out for him here as they had come to recognized that Ping could hook them up with some fine ass and at a discounted rated too.
Tia didn’t doubt that as the main reason for Ping to avoid Boston, but she did suspect that Ping liked to hang out here because of her. With a mix of Chinese and Vietnamese heritage, Tia has long dark hair, long arms, long legs and got as many compliments on her breasts as she did her ass. She had spent several years working as a model while going to college for accounting. She could make a kick ass scorpion bowl, among other things, and has been driving in a lot of new traffic with them as the word got out around the area just how good they were. She didn’t work every night at Tai’s Billiards but when she did, the place was always hoping.
Ping over the course of the past year had picked up on this and was one of the first people to get there when the placed opened up, all but guarantying him a spot at the bar and some alone time with Tia.
She didn’t mind this as she considering Ping to be a well-meaning kid, in a younger brother sort of way, and she did what she could to stick up for him when some of the other guys gave him crap.
Tia had just finished wiping down the counter, when she heard music from a car then two car doors slam shut. She looked out the large front glass windows and knew instantly she wouldn’t be sticking up for Ping tonight.
Julie pulled one of the glass double doors to Tai’s Billiards opened and whispered to Bobbi, “Just let me do the talking and we can do this the easy way. All you need to do is stand there and look tough.”
“But I am tough,” Bobbi whispered back.
“Exactly,” Julie replied and went over towards the bar.
She was glad to see Tia working this evening. She was usually always there for the weekend crowds but during the week it was hit or miss. Her scorpion bowls were to die for and on more than one occasion Julie had tried to recruit Tia to come work at Alizarin, with a generous signing bonus that only got bigger with each offer. There was no denying she was hot too and would fit right in at Alizarin. Not hurting things was the back and forth flirting they had going on. Julie didn’t think Tia was full on bi like her but the fact that a night between the sheets, or on a pool table, hadn’t been completely ruled out of the question had given her hope yet. As to why she wouldn’t sign on to bartend at Alizarin, well that was mystery Julie had yet to solve and tonight wasn’t going to be the night for it.
Ping turned to see who had walked into the bar and quickly looked away. He gave a sideways glance and when it became obvious they were there for him and not to see Tia, he tried to get up. By then he was too late.
“Oh sorry Ping, are you in a hurry to go somewhere?” Julie asked as Bobbi’s arm came around him and put him back into his chair forcefully.
“Hey you two. Funny seeing you guys here on a…tonight,” Ping stuttered. This was not his first run in with Julie and or Bobbi. Things hadn’t always gone well for him in the past. Maybe tonight would go better.
“We’re looking for someone,” Julie started.
“I’m sure two beautiful women of your age should have no-”
“Did you just fucking call me old?” Bobbi said, much louder than she had meant to be.
The guys playing pool stopped to look at them.
“No no no,” Ping repeated.
“Crap,” was all Julie said as the six guys playing pool now walked over to them.
So much for the easy way.
“What happened to letting me do the talking?” Julie whispered as Bobbi let go of Ping and moved next to her.
“He called us old.”
“He’s like twenty-two, everyone is old to him,” Julie said just as the guys got there.
They were all of Chinese decent, a few might have even just gotten here from China. Only one looked familiar and that was going by the small scar under his eye. Julie thought his name was Qiao something. The rest looked like bored twenty-year-old punks who wanted to drink but forgot their ids at home.
“Is there a problem here?” Qiao asked. He was still holding his pool stick.
“Nope, no problem here. Why don’t you boys go run off and play,” Bobbi said with a sneer.
“Are these bitches bothering you Ping?” The punk next to Qiao asked.
Bobbi and Julie looked at each other. “Ah hell no!” They both punched the punk in the face and he crumpled like the sack of crap that he was.
Things escalated quickly at that point as Julie elbowed the punk right next to her. She connected with a solid shot right by the eye and he stayed down. Bobbi likewise connected with a side kick to the punk next to her, driving the air out of him, which would have taken him a bit to recover on its own, but Bobbi followed up with a muay thai knee to his face. He crumbled to the ground as well, no longer a threat. Qiao used that opening to swing his pool stick and hit Bobbi in the ribs.
“Owe!” She yelled with a flinch and turned to face him even as the other two guys tried to grab Julie.
He swung again and hit her. When Bobbi still didn’t drop, the look on his face said it all as he tried to back away. A roundhouse kick from Bobbi sent him back on his ass, the pool stick flying from his grasp. Julie flung one of the punks toward Bobbi who she hit with a jumping knee to the chin. The last one tried to let go of Julie but now she was holding him and driving multiple knees into his gut before slamming his face in the bar. Blood and a tooth, or possibly two, went flying from his mouth. He laid motionless on the ground.
“Hey I’m sorry. No hard feelings ok?” Qiao asked as he continued to back away from Bobbi, who had now picked up a pool stick. Blood covered his mouth, his lip busted open from her spin kick.
“Yeah no hard feelings,” Bobbi said and let him get back to his feet.
“Really?” He asked, his back up against a pool table.
“Yeah, not so much.,” Bobbi said and drove the pool stick into his gut.
“Doesn’t feel so good does it?” Bobbi yelled as she started beating on him with the pool stick.
Qiao fell back to the ground and tried to cover up from the vicious shots Bobbi was giving out.
Julie and Tia, who had remained silent behind the bar the whole time, looked at each other and grimaced.
Ping had remained in his seat, thinking that the six guys would have been sufficient to protect him. After seeing the look on Bobbi’s face, he wondered if even Tai could have protected him at the moment.
Bobbi finally stopped beating on Qiao and looked over at Ping, wiping her dirty blonde hair, soaked in sweat, out of her face. She pointed at Ping with the pool stick and said, “We’re looking for an Australian guy name Trevor, has a thing for Asian girls. You’re going to help us find him, or I’m going to shove this pool stick up your ass!”
No one currently remaining conscious at Tai’s Billiards doubted her for one second.
“Is it just me or was that exhausting?” Bobbi asked and collapsed on her couch.
“It’s just you. You really should start running again,” Julie said and sat on Bobbi’s lap. Bobbi’s hands grabbing hold of her ass on instinct.
“It’s been too cold out.”
Julie remained silent, not in the mood for another ’discussion’ with Bobbi tonight. After leaving their number with a shaken Ping, the two of them had hit up two other bars. They got the first bar on a tip from Tia, and found the second bar on a tip from someone at the first bar. They weren’t any closer to finding Trevor now then they had been when they started out, but at least they had feelers out and had put in some good ground work. Plus Julie got to see Tia if only for a bit, which was a win in of itself. If only they could have snuck in a scorpion bowl too.
Julie closed her eyes and took in a deep breath. She wasn’t physically tired so much as she was mentally fatigued after spending the last several hours with Bobbi. Perhaps they were spending too much time together and it was time for a bit of a break. She kept that thought to herself though, not wanting to have to deal with the nuclear fallout that was sure to cause if she were to tell Bobbi in her current state.
Julie opened her eyes and looked at Bobbi.
“Oh if only you could,” she said with a wink and gave her a kiss on the lips.
Julie stood up and turned her ass toward Bobbi and pulled her pants down just enough to give Bobbi a glimpse of the lacy pink boy shorts she wore.
“You suck,” Bobbi replied as Julie pulled her pants back up and walked over to the kitchen.
She had just taken a sip of her beer when there was a knocking on the door. Julie looked at Bobbi, who was clearly not about to get up off the couch. Julie rolled her eyes and answered the door.
Megan walked in.
“Hello, how are you two?”
“Okay. We don’t have anything to report on Trevor just yet though. Sorry. But we do have contacts looking into it.”
“It’s okay. Our opportunity will present itself, of this I am sure.”
“Huh?” Bobbi said and turned to look over the back of the couch.
“Are you sure you’re okay? You look rather ill,” Megan asked staring at Bobbi.
Bobbi scowled at her but said nothing.
“We got into a fight at Tai’s Billiards. She took a couple shots from a pool stick like the champ she is,” Julie said.
“I see. Well, we’re all to stay here tonight. I informed Nick that you would be staying with me, to watch my back if you will.”
“You want me to stay at your place tonight?” Bobbi asked slightly confused. She really wanted a drink.
“No, I shall be fine. I just told that to Nick to put his mind at ease.”
“Oh, okay,” Bobbi said and put her head back down.
“Is Carol back yet?” Julie asked.
And just like that, Bobbi was back looking at them.
“No, she stayed with Nick at The Compound to help unload the gear.”
“Well isn’t she just Miss. Useful tonight,” Bobbi mumbled.
Neither Julie or Megan could make out what she said.
“I’m going to leave Morgan’s number with you. When you hear from one of your contacts please give him a call first.”
“You don’t want us to call Nick?” Julie asked taking the piece of paper with Morgan’s number on it from Megan.
“No. Morgan is to be alerted first. Is that clear?”
“Yes ma‘am,” Julie said with a grin.
Bobbi waved an arm from the couch in agreement.
“Everything go okay tonight?” Julie asked as Megan turned to leave.
“Things could have turned out better. But there is always a silver lining in everything, yes?”
“Goodnight,” Megan said and left.
Julie left the door open though and brought Morgan’s number to Bobbi.
“I’m going to go now too. See you tomorrow?”
“Wha…yep,” Bobbi replied and looked up at Julie, who was upside down.
“You’ll be feeling better soon, and then,” Julie whispered as she leaned over the couch for another kiss and gave Bobbi’s breasts a squeeze.
Bobbi smiled and took the paper from her. Julie closed the door behind her, leaving Bobbi alone in her apartment. She found the strength to get up from the couch and went into the kitchen. She was out of Tequila but found some Fireball and brought it to her bedroom with her.
Five minutes and multiple shots later, she was passed out facedown on her bed.