tagRomanceThe Perfect Pieces Ch. 09

The Perfect Pieces Ch. 09


Author's note: Chapter 9 of 13. Thank you Tim413413 for selfless editing.

The Perfect Pieces - Chapter 09

We drove until the sun went down. Amber was in charge of the radio, finding a new station as soon as we drove out of range from the last. We avoided talking about Pablo and spoke instead of Lizzy, future glass projects and the crappy radio stations available. We made good traveling companions. It didn't hurt that she felt it necessary to touch me whenever she made a salient point. For awhile we were quiet, looking at the scenery. Amber was playing with the hair on the back of my head. I could have driven all night with her fingers idly caressing the back of my neck.

The hotel we stopped at had a pool and jacuzzi. Amber was excited so we went across the street and bought some cheap ill-fitting swimsuits from a discount store. Around ten, the few kids in the pool vacated and it was only us. We quickly found ourselves necking in the jacuzzi, our hands exploring under the bubbles. Simply having fun with each other. An older man came in and began swimming laps. Though the bubbles hid us well, there was a little exhibitionist thrill to our play. Amber, of course, made it more fun. Teasing that would have to wait until we retired to the room to get busy.

When the man finished his laps, dried off and left, Amber straddled me. "No matter what happens," she whispered, "know that I love you." I was about to respond when I was muffled by her soft lips. I could feel the tension in her. It had been building since the phone call. I disliked her lack of confidence in me, though her lips were more than welcome.

"It will all work out," I said when she came up for air. Pablo's desire to meet made me think he too wanted this to end. I was confident of a good resolution. Amber's hands lovingly cradled my face.

"You will remember that I love you," she insisted. I nodded and my lips became hers again. Her body molded into mine, the heat of the water and the bubbles from the jets surrounding us. Her love was becoming arousing. She kissed me along my cheek, to my ear. I heard a small laugh that had become a sure sign she wanted to play. Her hand found my suit and fished up my leg to find me aroused. The bubbles stopped.

I quickly rose from the jacuzzi, Amber laughing, and walked, trying to hide my erection, to the timer mounted on the wall. I gave it another thirty minutes and rushed back to the cover of the reinvigorated bubbles. "You're kind of cute sticking out like that," Amber joked as I slipped back into the water.

"It's your fault," I said. Her hands slipped under the bubbles and lowered my suit. "I didn't bring anything," I said as my erection became free. Her smile was to die for.

"Then you'll have to be extra careful," Amber returned as she straddled me again. Her hand fiddled with her suit bottom. "I love you," she repeated. Again, I lost my voice as she lowered herself down on me.

"What if someone comes in?" I asked, not really caring if someone did.

"What if you last longer than thirty minutes?" she returned, her eyes laughing at the thought of me running to the timer with my suit around my ankles. She always mixed sensuality with fun and had no trouble getting me to join in with a full heart. I cradled her butt in my hands as she rose and fell, the bubbles tickling parts they weren't intended to find. "Now we're kinky," Amber announced. I had no choice but to laugh. She was so infectious. We made love in the heat slowly, enjoying the possible spectacle we could become. Amber lifted her knees, and I shifted my ass to the edge of the seat so we could find the perfect position. I loved how she began to use me for her pleasure, her hips grinding into me, which in turn made my desire spike. I held her as her fireworks ignited and her fingers dug into my shoulders. I strained to hold on, not wanting to ruin her experience to greedily accept my own. She saw it my face, her hips rose and I exited her. Shaking, she lowered her flower along the bottom side of my shaft, pushing it into my belly. She rode me to my pleasure, stroking me with her velvet lips. Her prideful smile when I erupted was well worth the strain in holding back.

"I love you," I said, or lips finding each other again. Between the kissing and the laughing, we straightened out our suits.

"That was fun," Amber said. Everything was fun with her.

"You like the risk," I observed. Amber smiled and I caught a sparkle in her eye.

"Once in a while, risks are good," Amber said, "it lets you know you're singularly alive and not just part of the masses." A philosopher and a sex goddess. I wondered what I had done to deserve to have her fall into my lap.

"I haven't taken risks in many years," I admitted, "you're expanding my mind."

"I'm your drug," Amber said. She was right. She was a very virulent drug that was taking hold of my mind and body. If she would leave, the withdrawal would be painful. We dried off and headed to the room when the timer once again stopped. We were kind of pruny by then anyway.

We arrived in Phoenix on schedule. A call to Pablo had me scheduled for the following morning, in the desert. I had to smile as a I brought up the satellite view on my phone. He chose the location because of the isolation. I suspected he thought I was an idiot to agree. I was counting on the fact that he would underestimate me. I could quickly set him off balance and we could settle this with as little bravado as possible.

Amber didn't like the idea of me meeting Pablo in the desert. Twice, she asked if there was another way. Twice, I answered that it played to my strengths. There was an aura of tension about her. She spent most of the evening trying to be as close as possible to me. I enjoyed the attention, but I wanted my fun-loving girl back. I was hoping all would go as planned and she would be back to normal in a day or so.

I called Frank. Gabby and he agreed that the meeting site was perfect. It was good to work with like minds. They would head out at sunset and be in position well before to the meeting. Frank sounded excited to be back in the saddle. His life had been pretty boring of late and this was giving him a small thrill. I was hoping Gabby felt the same way. I needed both of them to be at the top of their game to pull this off.

At Frank's suggestion, I had bought a six pack of beer in bottles. I probably could have found some bottles in the trash, but I liked the idea of relaxing with a few. Amber and I cuddled watching pay-per-view movies in the hotel room. It was the first time we made love that was strictly sensual. Her fear of my meeting removed her laughter. I missed the laughter. She, once again, made me acknowledge that she loved me no matter what happened. My reassurances fell on deaf ears. I was sure she thought she would lose me in the morning.

I woke early, my phone playing 'Taking Care of Business.' I thought it was a humorous alarm. Amber almost cried. She was wound tightly. I spent more time than I wanted consoling her. I really wanted to end this thing with Pablo. Somber Amber hurt my heart.

We agreed that she should wait in the hotel and not attend the first meeting. I needed to control the first confrontation and her presence could set Pablo off. If he went postal, all this would be for naught. I kissed Amber and told her I would return in a few hours. This time she cried. She smothered me and begged me not to go. Irrationally, she suggested we run away and hide for the rest of our lives. I was in too deep now. My mind was set on retrieving Lizzy and living without looking over my shoulder. I broke away from her, promising the same.

"Don't stop loving me," Amber begged as I was leaving. It was a strange statement. I was risking a lot for her. That should have been proof enough that my intentions were in the forever range.

"Never," I said, adding a smile. I closed the door and headed to the car. Amber's fear confused me. I could only assume she underestimated my abilities. I was wary, but not horribly concerned with this first meeting. I expected to be greeted hostilely and I expected to end that quickly. For some reason, my confidence didn't rub off on Amber. I shrugged it off. Hopefully, we would be back home in a matter of days, laughing at the whole ordeal.

The drive to the meeting site took about thirty minutes. I was able to find a decent radio station that played more music than talk. A rarity in the morning. I called Frank and verified he and Gabby were set. I owed them big time for spending the night in the desert. I could imagine how their backs felt. None of us were as young as we used to be.

I pulled off onto a powerline access road, heading east. It didn't take long to get to the spot where the meeting would take place. There was a clearing beneath a large transmission tower with lines leading to the north and south. The dirt road teed here, following the lines. I turned my car around to face the entrance to the access road and parked.

The power lines hummed as I exited the vehicle. I looked around and saw no signs of either Frank or Gabby. I smiled, knowing they could see me even if I had no idea where they were. I saw a few spots I would be if I were the shooter. I grabbed two empty beer bottles and set them up at opposite sides at the edges of the clearing. There was nothing but small shrubs and scattered cacti as far as the eye could see. A nice place to do away with an irritating person. I sat on the hood of my car in the dawn's light. The sun had yet to rise above the horizon. I memorized the colors, trying to envision it in glass. A few scattered clouds many miles away were bathed in a red that leaned toward purple. The desert itself seemed a pale, cool orange that disguised the coming heat. I wouldn't want to hang around in midday, but it was strangely calm and beautiful at that time in the morning.

A dark SUV came down the access road. The windows were heavily tinted as was expected. Every car in Phoenix had tinted windows. I was sure Pablo wasn't alone, though we had agreed to a private meeting. I lied. He lied. It was to be expected.

The SUV stopped a good 50 feet before me on the access road. I waited as Pablo surveyed the scene. When no one emerged, I rose off the hood, took a few steps forward and held my bare hands out to my sides and did a 360 turn so he could see I wasn't armed. Pablo emerged from the passenger side. There was at least a driver.

"Who is in the car?" Pablo asked in Spanish, waving a chromed pistol at me.

"No one," I replied as I sat back down on the hood, ignoring the gun. I could see my confidence had him on edge. "I thought we were here to talk," I said, gesturing to the gun in his hands. The driver exited the vehicle, armed as well. Pablo ignored my comment and waved the driver forward. I sat calmly as the driver walked around my car and examined the interior. I smiled at Pablo who seemed agitated.

"Where's the bitch?" Pablo asked, once his driver had verified the empty car.

"I know you're not referring to Samantha," I said coolly, "these talks will get nowhere if we start name calling."

"I'm talking," Pablo said, pointing his gun at me, "you're answering." It's wonderful when things work out just like you planned. Pablo completely underestimated me. I smiled which infuriated him. "I'm not going to ask again, where is the bitch?" I formed the shape of gun with my hand and pointed it at the beer bottle to the left. Half a second later, it exploded into hundreds of pieces. The sound of the shot followed quickly. I judged the shooter to be a little more than 300 meters away, though I saw no flash. Frank or Gabby still had it in him.

Pablo was looking around, unable to determine where the shot came from. The driver was backing toward the SUV, his gun pointed at me. I pointed my finger at the other bottle and it exploded. Pablo was now backing toward the SUV and I could smell his fear. They both knew they could be dropped in a heartbeat.

"We can talk or we can shoot it out," I said. I may or may not survive a shootout. I was content knowing that Frank and Gabby would guarantee Pablo wouldn't survive. Pablo slowed and looked at me, I assume looking for a weakness. I watched as he came to the conclusion that it was talk or suicide. I enjoyed the power it gave me.

Pablo set his gun down on the hood of his SUV and took a few steps away, holding his hands open at his sides. His driver followed suit. "What is the topic for discussion?" Pablo asked, his lips turning up at the corner. He realized that he had lost some control and tried to become suave as if it was all expected.

"Samantha, of course," I answered, "I would like to negotiate her and Lizzy's separation from you." Pablo gave me a look that confused me. His head tilted sideways as he seemed to digest my words. I did not expect my request to be surprising. It looked like he was having trouble trying to figure out my meaning.

"Samantha wants me to keep away from her?" Pablo asked incredulously. Now I was confused. I was beginning to think I had lost more Spanish than I thought. I nodded in silence, not sure what I was missing and not wanting to admit that I was. "And why should I believe such a thing?" Pablo asked with equal trepidation, "you have gunmen hidden," he continued, waving his hand out toward the open desert, "why have you not just shot me?"

"I am trying to avoid bloodshed," I responded. I tried desperately to hide my confusion.

"She told you to do this?" Pablo continued his questioning. Something was off kilter. I had meant to be in control by this point.

"I have devised this meeting," I answered strongly.

"Why are you in the middle of this?" he asked, pointing at me. I had lost control of the discussion and needed to get it back. I ignored his question.

"As you say, I have gunmen hidden," I said with authority, "I am well trained in the art of hunting down criminals, as are my friends. I am what you would call semi-retired. I wish to remain so and I think you would prefer me that way. I have no interest in your business as long as it doesn't find its way to my doorstep. Do you follow me so far?" Pablo nodded.

"Samantha is under my protection," I continued, "I intend to bring Lizzy under it as well. If you ignore our existence, we will ignore yours. She will never talk to the Feds and we all live happily ever after." Pablo laughed. I didn't see the humor so I waited patiently for him to stop.

"Who will protect you from her?" Pablo asked, not even trying to hold a straight face. I was beginning to wonder if we were talking about the same person.

"You will abide by this agreement?" I asked, trying to maintain control.

"She will never live up to it," Pablo said shaking his head no.

"Your agreement will be with me," I informed him.

"How much is she paying you?" Pablo asked, "no, no" he continued wiping the question away with his hand, "I would be dead if she were paying you. She must have something on you. Maybe I could help you with that."

"She doesn't...what the fuck is wrong with you?" I demanded, "you have her scared to death and on the run. She wants out and I'm going to make sure she gets out." I hopped off the hood when Pablo started laughing again. My anger was rising and I sensed things I hadn't felt in years.

"Scared?" Pablo choked out, "she has been described many ways, but fear isn't part of her make up." His eyes widened when he saw my face. I guessed I looked as angry as I felt. The driver moved next to Pablo, also sensing a fight coming. Pablo's laughter died away. "You, my friend, are being taken for a ride." I stopped my approach.

"I'm not your friend," I spat.

"Who do you think Samantha is?" Pablo asked. The love of my life, but I wasn't going to share that with him. "You think she is an innocent in all this?"

"She got in over her head," I replied.

"She was the head," Pablo said, smiling slyly, "she created our little empire and used me to build it larger." He had to be lying. "I was a mechanic and Roberto here," he gestured to the driver, "was working as a janitor before we met Samantha." I wanted to put a bullet in his head. Anything to shut him up. My subconscious had me standing still and listening. "I was nothing but her figurehead. Someone to take the fall." He pointed at me and I saw his own anger rising, "That bitch tried to hang me out to dry. Put me in a hole and keep the spoils herself. She will cut off your dick when she is done with you too."

What Pablo was saying didn't make any sense. Amber was not even close to who he was describing. My body was firm, but my mind was reeling. This guy wasn't smart enough to fabricate a complex set of lies. I was losing my moral high ground, or at least what resembled it. I looked over at Roberto and he was nodding in agreement. Fuck, he was nothing but a lackey. I had to find the truth. Right now, my heart trusted Amber...or was it my dick.

"I'll admit I want her dead," Pablo continued, "but trust me, it is strictly self defense. She set me up to lose a delivery and get bumped by the cartel. The bitch wanted it all and tried to give me up to get it. I figured it out in time, and people chose sides. Her side was lonely."

I took a step back, reeling at the information, trying to sort fact from fiction. It was an impossible game of he-said-she-said. I was no longer confident I was in the right. I felt weaker. Amber's nervousness about the meeting could now mean two things. Her 'no matter what, know that I love you' was now tainted. I looked down at the ground and rubbed the back of my hand across my lips.

"Fuck!" I shouted. Pablo jumped, thinking it was a signal. My head was hurting as all my thoughts got jumbled up. I was rethinking every word Amber had told me. I couldn't separate truth from lies.

"She will kill you," Pablo said. I pointed my finger at him and I saw the color leave his face. I was pretty sure Frank and Gabby would not shoot an unarmed man who seemed such a little threat, but Pablo didn't know that. I slowly lowered my arm, not sure if I was threatening the right person. Maybe the finger should be pointed at my head. An old sucker that should have known better than to let someone in. I closed my eyes and thought about the last two weeks. Amber liked everything, forgave everything and was perfect in every way. She was vulnerable at all the right times. It was too good to be true. I still wanted it to be true.

"Touch her before I know what is going on, and I will bring a war down on you," I said clearly.

"She will be coming after me," Pablo said, "I'll call off the hunt, but don't expect me to suck up her bullets to avoid yours."

"Go," I demanded. I stood there watching Pablo and Roberto rearm, climb into their SUV and drive away. I raised my hand in the air and drew quick circles. I saw Frank rise from a position I would have never suspected. Gabby was in one I had considered earlier. Both were decked out in ghillie suits that made them look like desert monsters. I spent some time thinking as they walked toward me. If I had been fooled and risked Frank and Gabby, I wasn't sure I could forgive myself, much less Amber. I wanted so much for her love to be real. I looked at the rising sun. It held no color I could enjoy. No glass could compensate for my weakness.

"How did it go?" Frank asked as he entered the clearing. I wasn't sure what to tell him. "That bad, huh," he continued when he was close enough to see my face.

"Long time, Mark," Gabby said as he came up on the other side. I smiled at the friends who were willing to risk all at my word. I felt like I just shit on them. I shook Gabby's grizzled hand.

"I'm glad you both still hit what you aim at," I complimented.

"Shit, bottles don't move," Gabby said, "how could we miss?" Frank laughed, knowing that it was a tough shot either way. They probably spent a lot of time at a range realigning their scopes.

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