Unleashed Ch. 14bycassandraharper©
If you're wondering why the text on the first page is the same it's because I posted the wrong chapter 13 which means you have to go back and read it. I'm really sorry. I'll do better. On that note, enjoy chapter 14.
Eithne slept the entire day away. Every time he tried to leave the bed he fell back asleep. He was drained. It had been awhile since he'd pulled an all-nighter. When he finally got up Jessica was back and it was seven in the afternoon.
"Hellion, why didn't you wake me up?"
She shrugged as she sipped a hot cup of mint tea. "I tried but you were too tired. I figured I'd let you sleep." She pushed her hair out of her face and smiled up at him. "Did you sleep well?"
"Like a baby."
"Too bad your breath doesn't smell like a baby's," she told him wrinkling when he leaned in to kiss her. They stared at each other briefly before laughing.
"Sorry, love, I'll go and brush my teeth right now."
"Okay, I'll fix you a cup of tea."
Jessica watched him walk away and grinned as her eyes stared at his ass. Nice, she thought. She was glad that she wasn't the only one tuckered out from their late night activities the prior evening. "Eithne, how many sugars would you like?"
"Two please," he answered coming up behind her to wrap his arms about her midriff and pull her against him. "Can you believe that I'm still tired after I slept all day?"
"That's why," she told him stirring in the sugar. She felt like a married couple cuddled up with him in the kitchen. He accepted the cup, kissing her temple before taking a sip.
"This is the best tea that I've ever tasted, love, thank you."
"I know," Jessica gloated lifting her head back to look at him. "Now usually I wouldn't ask anyone for permission, but I feel that since we're in a relationship, I should consider your feelings."
"All right," Eithne replied when she paused.
"I've taken your advice and I've rested for at least a week."
"I'm ready to find the last bastard," she said affirmatively. "You're probably going to say that my ribs are still in bad shape and blah, blah, blah, but I feel fine."
Eithne sighed as he drank some more tea. "Why do I get the notion that even if I said no, you would still do it?"
"I wouldn't," Jessica said shaking her head. "I would respect your decision and we would compromise. That's what you do in a relationship."
He searched her eyes then nodded his head. "You're right. So how do you want to go about this?"
"I already have a name," she stated turning in his arms to stop the discomfort in her neck.
"Okay. Have you looked into it?"
"No," Jessica refuted. "I wanted your consent so that you wouldn't bitch me out later for going behind your back."
"I do not bitch."
"Yes, you do," she retorted then puckered her lips for a kiss which he willingly obliged. "I know that you're apprehensive..."
"I am," Eithne admitted. "I'm afraid that you'll hurt yourself again."
Jessica shook her head negatively, "I made a promise that I would control myself. I don't want you to worry about me. I'll be fine."
"Do you want me to be there with you?"
"No, Eithne, you don't have to babysit me," Jessica replied rolling her eyes in exasperation.
"You know where to find me if you do. How was it today? Was Maria happy?"
"Oh Lord," Jessica rolled her eyes again. "Don't start."
"That bad?" He finished his tea and placed the empty cup in the sink then walked back to the living room to lounge on the sofa—something they never did. "Tell me about it."
Jessica sighed, "Remember how I told you that Maria wanted this big hoopla for the wedding?"
"Well, today when we tried to order the flowers, the fruits, and all that other wedding mumbo jumbo, we learned that there's a possibility the delivery could take three weeks. Certain stockers have exhausted their stocks for the upcoming Carnival season, but they promised to get in touch with us as soon as everything was straightened out. I informed Maria of the dilemma at hand and she almost flipped out on me."
"Yeah," Jessica replied nodding her head. "For a second I thought that she would bite my head off. I'm thinking that it's stress that has her so tightly wound because Maria is so gentle. Eithne snorted as he stretched out behind her. "But I guess I should give her the benefit of the doubt for trying to control herself. Sometimes I swear that she speaks cryptically on purpose just to screw with your head. I had to question myself a few times with a couple of the things she said."
"What did she say?" He asked then cringed at the hardness in his tone.
Jessica looked back at him startled by his reaction, "It was nothing, baby." His sudden display of anger had sent a chill down her spine. "That's a typical occurrence for me. I deal with "nice" bitches on a daily basis, don't get upset."
"I'm sorry, Hellion, I just...I don't know what came over me. I guess I don't like the thought of anyone belittling you when you're doing your best," Eithne excused.
"You're so cute, worrying about me like that." She kissed him and gently patted his thin cheek.
The corner of his lips upturned into a smile. "Did you all agree to disagree?"
"No," She laughed cynically. "She gave us a list of her personal "suppliers" that we need to contact no later than tomorrow. Poor Dasha and Grecko were running around like chickens with their heads cut off."
"Suppliers?" Eithne asked.
"Yeah, I don't know how I feel about doing business with outsiders. All of our products come from loyal partners...even our weapons. We do background checks on everyone and this time we didn't get the chance to do so with Maria breathing down our necks. At least everything ended well. They promised to have the delivery made by the middle of next week which is right before the wedding, but it's to the point where I don't care anymore. I just want this over with and I want Ashley to have a memorable ceremony. Does that make me a bad person?"
"Aren't you already a deviant, Hellion?" Eithne teased.
"Shut up, I don't know why I even asked you." She punched his shoulder initiating their five minute wrestling match in which she tapped out because she didn't expect him to be so powerful.
"I already tapped out, let go of my arms."
"Hell no, you might attack me. I'm not an idiot."
"Eithne, this feels awkward," Jessica whined wiggling about in futile.
"I kind of like having your breasts pressed up against me," Eithne whispered.
"Stop it, no," Jessica squealed. "You don't get to bully me around and then try to seduce me. It doesn't work that way."
"Are you implying that I should have allowed you to win first?" His masculine hand caressed her breast and stopped on her flat stomach.
His voice sounded deep and husky in her ear and Jessica wiggled about in protest to get him off. She had to be up early tomorrow and didn't want to wake up tired like she did this morning. "Eithne Brennan Forrester, stop it."
"Come on, love, I'll only give you a light petting," he swore. "Besides you had a tough day today and it is my duty as your man to make you feel good."
"Whatever makes you sleep at night," she giggled when he nibbled behind her ear.
"You two aren't even married yet and you're going through the honeymoon phase," Dasha said announcing her presence.
"No, we're not," Jessica denied. "Eithne was just being a flirt. What's going on?" She tugged on her restrained hands until he released her.
"It's about today, I want to apologize for going off on Maria. I know that she's not usually a psychotic bitch, but I didn't appreciate the way she was talking to us. I should probably apologize to her tomorrow, right?"
"What happened?" Eithne said in unison.
"Dasha finally had enough of Maria's shenanigans especially with April acting spoiled and snotty. She blew up. Even Grecko and I were shocked, but I thought it was funny," she explained.
"Dasha lose her temper? Never!" Eithne replied sarcastically.
"Funny," Dasha replied.
"Actually you can't tell that she's upset until she's kicking you in the chest or something," Jessica clarified. Dasha wasn't a hot head; however she didn't allow anyone to trample all over her either.
"I feel guilty."
"You shouldn't," Eithne reassured her. "From what Jessica told me, Maria deserved it."
"There's also a problem."
"What's that?" Jessica asked already tired from the impending argument she'll have to suffer with Maria.
"From the list of contacts she gave us, two were unreachable and I think one was rather questionable."
"We should look into that right now," Jessica replied standing to her feet. "Sorry Eithne—"
"I'll tag along," he said with a wink. "I need some human interaction today." They entered Grecko's partition and found her huddled before a computer with Marc. "Hey there!" he greeted clamping Marc on the back and kissing Grecko on the cheek.
"So he lives. You were out all day long. What did you do last night?" Marc asked.
"It's more like who did he do last night," Grecko mumbled with a naughty smile.
"Shut up," Jessica hissed before sitting on her lap to stare at the computer screen. "Dasha told me that there was a problem."
"Yeah," she replied getting straight to business. "After Dasha left to inform you, Marc and I did a little research and found out that there are three companies that are no longer in business. The contact information, once traced, led back to several different businesses under one big conglomerate. In fact, many of the shippers that we've dealt with are within a five mile radius of each other. They were once somehow linked to a corporation called Aimatia. It was shut down under the suspicion of drug and child trafficking almost fifteen years ago.
"Aimatia?" Eithne asked curiously. The name sounded familiar as if he had heard some of his superiors mention it before. "Where was this company located?"
"Colombia with a sister affiliation in Brasil."
"That sounds very strange," Jessica whispered. "Perhaps Maria doesn't know that it's no longer in business. She's been in the states for over a decade now. She wouldn't know."
Her sisters nodded in agreement. "We'll talk to her about it tomorrow and see what she has to say. However, I think it's best to tread lightly with her being so stressed about the wedding," Grecko said.
"Fuck that. This is fishy and I say we call her out on it," Dasha contested. She was still riled from earlier and refused to put on pretenses.
Jessica chuckled, "Don't you think that Grecko and I know that, but it's only fair to get her side of the story first before we go bat shit on her. Still, we can't lead on that we're suspicious or she'll be too defensive to give anything away."
"Good because I thought we were slipping," Dasha mumbled under her breath.
"Dasha, you have to learn to let go of these grudges," Marc commented when he noticed the glower on her beautiful face.
"I'm Russian, Marc, we never let anything go."
"Speaking of letting things go, there's one last bastard that we need to track down." Grecko reached her arm around Jessica and tapped furiously on the keys. "I've been thinking about him for an entire week." A file on Julio Benitez came into view and she looked at Jessica with a crooked smile. She could see her sister's black pupils dilate as the name registered in her mind.
"Julio Benitez, born in Bogota, Colombia the 12th of July, 1982," Jessica mumbled to herself. If he was the man that she was looking for, she wanted to know him better than he knew himself. That way the torture she planned to minister would be much more satisfying.
She wanted him all to herself. She would drag him off into seclusion where no one could find him and torment him as if Hell was on earth. She wanted to peel his flesh, bit by fucking bit, off of his bleeding body. She wanted him to understand the extent of anguish she experienced the night they ripped her father and her innocence away from her. Jessica felt herself slipping out of reality and reeled her vengeful thoughts back into submission. They would be unleashed when she found him.
Jessica's eyes quickly read over the remainder of his information before she stood up and walked out of the room. Eithne hurriedly glanced at the screen, his eyes grasping a brief image of the content, long enough for him to take note of what was displayed before him. Benitez? That had to be a coincidence. His moving legs took him to Jessica. She was standing, eerily calm, outside staring out at the large backyard. It was vast and empty yet it appeared that her brown eyes were following some sort of moving object.
"What are you going to do?" he asked standing beside her with his hands clasped behind his back.
"Hunt him down," Jessica replied softly.
"His file said that he's currently out of the states."
"Then I'll just fly to him if I have to. All that matters is that I find the answers I'm looking for."
"Hellion, look at me." Jessica slowly turned her head in his direction. He noted the barely controlled temper bubbling beneath the surface. She had left the room to compose herself, but it seemed as if she was having a hard time.
"You don't have to worry about me, Eithne. I'll be fine." They maintained eye contact for several more minutes before she walked away.
Eithne's pocket vibrated breaking him out of the calm that was settling over him. He knew it was Larry before he even answered. "Finished so soon?"
"Let's just say that I owe a lot of favors thanks to you," Larry answered. His country twang sounded hoarse from a lack of sleep yet nonetheless chipper.
"What's going on?"
"I have very important information for you."
Eithne's jaw clenched and unclenched as adrenalin rushed through his body. "What is it?"
"Let's start off with that piece of crap marriage certificate I had to beg Hartman to decode. You know how much I can't stand that son of a—"
"I do, Larry, now get on with it," Eithne encouraged before he got too lost.
"Well, it turns out that it's authentic. However the young woman you inquired about: Marisol Arroyo was Ventura's first spouse. She was said to have died in an unfortunate motor vehicle accident leaving behind her widowed husband and their two daughters."
"Adele and Ashley," Eithne said into the receiver.
"Get this though, not even three months after Marisol's demise, Ace and Maria were involved and they were married six months later."
"Damn, he barely allowed the dust to settle on Marisol's grave before he replaced her," Eithne commented. That sounded suspicious to him.
"Yeah, Karen would come out of her grave and kill me if I ever pulled a stunt like that."
"Marisol's accident, did it check out?"
"Yeah, the authorities ruled it out as a genuine mishap. It appears that she was speeding during a thunderstorm and her car hydroplaned several times, throwing her out the windshield. She died on contact. But that's not the kicker."
"What is?" Eithne asked looking over his shoulder for approaching figures.
"Remember how you asked me to research Maria Ventura's past?"
"Yeah, did you find anything?"
"It turns out that she was once married to an old friend of ours."
"Who would that be?"
"Antonio Perez. You remember him, don't you?"
Eithne's blood ran cold. Perez was found among the body count in Colombia. He had had his hands chopped off and his eyes gouged out. Out of all of the corpses counted, his was among the worse. The mutilation had been extremely violent. "You've got to be shitting me."
"No, I'm looking at pictures of the two of them as we speak. Before her marriage to Perez, she was known as Maria Esmeralda Benitez, a teenage mother who got caught smuggling crack cocaine across the Venezuelan border."
"She had a child?" Eithne already had an inkling as to who that child was. Julio's information cluttered his thoughts making it difficult to focus upon Larry's words.
"Has," Larry corrected. "And before you ask anything, I'm way ahead of you. His name is Julio Pedro Benitez. According to his records, he's had run-ins with the law since the age of thirteen. He would have been kicked out of the U.S. by now, but Maria seems to know some powerful people. The most he's ever gotten was a couple months in juvie and a year in state."
"Where is he now?" Eithne heard rapid taps on the other line before Larry responded.
"He was out of the U.S. for the past seven months, but it seems as if he just resurfaced a few weeks ago. He's in the Los Angeles area."
"Send me a photo of him, will ya? I'd like to verify something." He waited until it came through then checked the message nearly dropping his phone. Jessica was in over her head. It was time for him to take major action before everything was shot to hell.
"I'd like his exact location," Eithne replied. "I'm going to send some of the guys to bring him in custody. Let's just say that he's important to our investigation."
"All right, I'll let you know as soon as I find it."
"What about the diary?"
"Aside from bitchy complaints, the only interesting thing is that April is a selfish, stuck up brat who has been swindling money from her old man. He's forever clueless, of course."
Eithne grunted. He planned on having a one on one discussion with Ace that very night. "Thanks, Larry, and please try to get Julio's location as soon as possible. Tell Parker to be on the first plane out."
"Can do. Oh, Parker told me that you owe him three months of hard labor, and then some, for the strings he had to pull to get you reinstated after you disappeared. He said he practically had to pull magic out of his ass to get you unlisted as a Deserter. Basically, you're Parker's bitch until he feels as if you've made it up to him."
"Bloody hell," Eithne groaned. He appreciated Parker sticking his neck out for him, but the man was the type to never let go of a grudge. Even if he forgave you, he would still rub it in your face for the next decade. It's a good thing that he's close to retirement or Eithne would have to prepare himself for a world of hell. He focused his attention back on Larry instead of wondering what Parker would make him do as repayment. "The remaining guys and I will keep constant surveillance on Maria. I planted cameras into her house; you guys should be receiving video and audio feed. Turner has an eye on her."
"Is there something that you're not telling me?"
"There's going to be a wedding. Ashley is getting married and my instincts tell me that Maria will use this opportunity to solidify her hold of the underworld. There is a thriving mafia organization here and I have every right to believe that Maria is at the head. At this wedding, there will possibly be arms trafficking, drug smuggling, money laundering. I need all ears and eyes in my direction, Larry, this could be the biggest bust of both of our careers," Eithne explained.
"How do you know all this?" Larry asked suspiciously.
Eithne did something that he never thought he would: he withheld information from one of his trusted friends and confidants. "My girl and her sisters are the wedding organizers and after making acquaintance with the Venturas, I realized that something wasn't right. I don't want her or her family to be victims in this woman's sick plot for total domination."
"Okay," Larry replied appeased. "We have your back one hundred percent. And don't worry about Maria's files being leaked. A hacker would have to be Jesus to break all the security codes I placed on her. I figured we'd leave her basic information open to thwart arising suspicions."
"Thanks, I really appreciate that. And send Parker my best regards. I might as well start the ass kissing now. I should get going. You're doing a great job."
"Yes, Master, Dobby is very happy."