As the girls battled their demons, Beth’s revenge continued to gather steam.
Following the disappearance of Rachael Walsh and her two daughters, the death of Thomas Walsh and the suicide of his father, the police thoroughly searched the Walsh home. They discovered a cache of flash drives with video clips of rapes and underage sex in a locked cabinet beneath the lounge television. Oddly, they did not find his personal laptop, but they assumed he kept it at his office.
In fact, Tim’s operatives had taken the laptop and numerous other flash drives. They had staked out David’s house beginning with the disappearance of his wife and daughters. They reacted quickly to the sound of the muffled gunshot that ended David’s life. An unlocked sliding door allowed them free access. They searched for nearly an hour, before their lookout heard the police message.
Tim’s team easily broke the laptop’s encryption. The information detailed his theft from his wife’s and daughters trusts. It recounted David’s involvement with major criminals, money laundering, extortion and outright theft. It had voluminous data on international organizations with terrorist ties. The information could have explosive impacts!
Then they came on a file named “LANA”. It contained several video clips and numerous pictures. Several former military men almost vomited while watching David send Lana to a hell on earth. They weren’t snuff films, just horrifying brutal treatment of a once beautiful woman.
They sent the financial and documentary files from the laptop to Michael and Peter Gardiner. They began to open the flash files.
Several contained photos and videos. By now, the team had grown callused to David’s perversions. One file, though, related to global financial accounts. They sent that flash drive as well.
A week later the forensic accountant had deciphered the data and met with Michael and Peter.
“Good news of bad first?” the thin, bespectacled man asked.
“Let’s start with the bad.” Michael said softly.
“He stole about half of the trust assets for Lynne and Susan and about 60% of Rachael’s. We should be able to get it back, but it will require them to sign affidavits which will require them to disclose at least what state they’re in.”
“It may actually get worse. He also stole money from some of his clients, including some pretty bad people and mixed it with some of the trust money. And he put Rachael’s name on the accounts.”
“The good news is that he was a pretty good judge of investments. He grew the trusts considerably. That’s how he was able to cover up the theft. He basically took the profits he made and hid them.”
After a long minute of consideration, Peter spoke. “Do we know who these bad people are?”
The accountant nodded.
“Was he money laundering or investing for these bad people?”
“Money laundering, mostly.”
“Give me the names and amounts.” An envelope changed hands. It contained a hard copy of the list and the flash drive. He also handed them the computer.
After the accountant left, Peter and Michael sat beside each other in their main conference room, reviewing the spread sheet the account had just delivered, the anti eavesdropping device humming in the corner.
“What do you think?” Michael finally asked.
“I think we know who is behind the hitters. Zapata is one mean hombre. And now money stolen from him is in Rachael’s name in Mauritius? Not good. The others are not really violent, but Zapata’s not going to stop.”
Michael nodded grimly.
“Let’s get some intel on him. Everyone has a weak spot.” Michael did not seem convinced as a fresh wave of fear passed through him.
Six hours later, he called Michael into the conference room.
Peter was old fashioned. He carried a paper notebook and hand wrote his thoughts.
“There may be some good news. This guy is vicious but he will negotiate. The only two things he seems to hold dear are money and family, particularly his sister and little nieces. Unfortunately, his sister is here in prison and the best lawyers with the best connections can’t get her out. She’s one mean bitch as well. She was raped a couple of times and nearly beaten to death. They branded her and cut her up bad. Ripped her plumbing up so bad, she can’t have kids. Educated in the States, before she and her family were deported as illegals. DEA dragged her across the border last year, but Homeland now has her under the Patriot Act.”
“PCHA (Post Conviction Hearing Appeals) petition or amnesty?” Michael asked.
“Can’t do amnesty – too much publicity and it’s election time. We can look into the PCHA route, though. There are a number of criminal judges on that list. If we can get her a new trial, bail won’t matter, but we’re getting way outside the lines here. I will not stoop to extortion. Someone will have to negotiate with him.”
Michael nodded agreement.
“Let’s have Marissa look over the transcript and see if there’s anything there. At least we know who is behind the hitters.”
A thought hit Michael. “Peter, what about a trade. You said she was being held by Homeland Security? What if we can give them some of this in return for her freedom? Some of the stuff David had on these guys could be real helpful to Homeland. CIA could squeeze them like an orange.”
“Same problem. Someone will have to negotiate.”
Grimly Michael said, “I’ll go if we have a deal with Homeland and CIA.”
Michael was numb from the bouncing of the jeep over the goat paths they called roads. They drove through the mountain passes and across the arid deserts. They wanted to confuse him. He smiled inwardly. Not likely.
Finally they drove through a small village and up to a high, reinforced steel gate. They roughly put a bag over his head. It smelled of sweat and feces. The jeep lurched up the driveway, almost throwing him out. He grabbed the handle below the windshield, certain they were toying with the “Gringo”.
He was led into a building, searched very thoroughly and led through another door back into the heat.
Michael slowly removed his clothing, holding each piece out to be taken. He stood still. Waiting. Not his first rodeo.
A small hand lifted his flaccid cock and giggled. “A shame to have to cut this off.” A girl said in Spanish.
“Te gusta?” (You like it?) He said, hoping to sound confident and unconcerned.
“Maria, get out of there!” The voice of authority. “She is right, though, it is impressive.”
The bag was removed and he gulped the fresh air.
A young man with an AK over his shoulder handed him a pair of swim trunks, motioning Michael to follow. They led him through another building and onto a pool deck, then over to a large table beneath a huge canopy.
A small, slightly cherubic man sat in the shade, slowly puffing on a cigar.
“May I sit Mr. Zapata?” Michael asked, showing respect.
“Of course.” Motioning to a chair opposite him.
After a long pause, “My sincere regrets on what those animals did to your daughter. I would have been a bit more direct in dealing with them.” Another pause. “You were once a man of violence?”
“Tell me. Why did you not feed them their testiculos (balls)?
Michael considered the question carefully. “16 years ago I left the world of violence for my little girl. She is my life. Had I returned to the world of violence, I would have lost her. I also wanted to get all of them.”
Mr. Zapata scanned this American’s hard gray eyes. “Not yet,” Michael said softly, “but it's in motion.”
“And now you are here to talk to the viscous drug dealer. Why?”
“My daughter is with the Walsh family.” Michael watched the brown eyes turn hard with anger.
“Then you should remove her. I have no interest in harming your daughter.”
Michael realized that intelligence of this man, so he laid the information on the table.
“Mr. Zapata, I cannot do that. When my daughter was broken, Rachael Walsh helped her to stay alive. I owe her my daughter’s life. I think I can, however give you a number of reasons to consider my request.”
Silence for several minutes as both men evaluated the other.
“You have his files?”
“You know he stole from me?”
“You wish to offer me my money to protect your daughter?”
“No. The money is yours and will be returned with interest when the girls are safe.”
Surprise registered on his face, though he quickly masked it.
“Then you offer your life in trade?”
“If necessary, yes.”
The little man laughed. “I like you Gringo.” He waved over a waiter and ordered a bottle of Tequila. “Please call me Miguel.”
“I already know your offer. As soon as we found the Laptop gone, I knew you would figure out how to use the information. You are offering to broker the deal for my sister, no?”
“I already have.” Miguel’s eyes widened noticeably and he stood abruptly causing the guards to un-sling their weapons. He motioned them down. Slowly Michael stood. He did not trust the guards.
“She has been transferred to a Arizona facility near the border.”
Tears filled the small man’s eyes. He swallowed hard, trying to regain his composure.
“As soon as I have your word that instead of being targets, the Walsh family is under your protection.” Michael held out his hand.
Instead of shaking Michael’s hand, the smaller man wrapped him in a bear hug and began to cry. After a few moments, Miguel fled into his house motioning Michael to sit back at the table. Michael saw him pacing inside speaking too rapidly for him to catch, but he sounded beyond happy.
After about an hour, he returned in swim trunks. The drink in front of Michael remained untouched.
“You said maybe tomorrow?”
“I take it we have a deal?”
Miguel nodded emphatically, “Yes, yes….”
“If I may have my satellite phone, I will put it in motion.”
He dialed Peter. “Mike here. Cherokee. Repeat Cherokee.”
“Where does he want her?”
“Where is she now?”
Covering the phone, ”She’s in Nogales now. If you don’t want her there….” Michael stopped as he nodded emphatically. “Nogales is perfect. I have many friends in Nogales.”
“When can we get her across the border?”
“As soon as you tell me you’re ready.”
Again covering the phone, Michael fought getting caught up in this man’s enthusiasm. “When can you have your friends ready to receive her. It looks like we can get her home today.”
He ran inside again. Michael heard the joy in Miguel’s voice as he spoke with his friends.
“They will be there in 20 minutes.”
“Half an hour to an hour OK?” Michael said to Peter, accounting for Latin enthusiasm and time accuracy.
“Done.” Michael simply hung up because he did not trust Miguel.
A squat, older woman in a bright dress came to the table. Michael rose and was engulfed in her arms as she repeated “Thank you” in Spanish over and over. Miguel told her to prepare some dinner.
Miguel saw the untouched drink. “You have manners, Gringo.” He reached for his drink as Michael reached for his.
“To family.” They said in unison.
Michael could not leave until Miguel’s sister arrived. At first, he thought it was to ensure she arrived safely, but they received confirmation of her release as soon as she crossed the border. He realized that he’d become a friend of the notorious drug dealer and he wanted to introduce him to his sister.
The festive preparations spread to the little town. Nearly a thousand people lined the street when her car drove through. She stood through the open sunroof and waived gaily to her people, a ransomed queen returning to her castle.
He didn’t want to interfere. The contagious happiness and Tequila had infected him as well. The thought of Beth overwhelmed him. At last he began to think of holding his daughter and lover.
“You seem far away, Gringo.” Maria giggled. Miguel had spoken of her. She was 15 and had lived in the compound ever since Miguel learned that her father had molested her. Her father died with his penis stuffed in his throat. She was very pretty, barely over five foot tall, maybe a hundred pounds with 32 C chest and a magnificent ass. She was also an outrageous flirt.
Miguel came over and pulled him to his sister.
“This is the Gringo. He comes here with no help to protect his family! A brave man. Gringo, this is my sister, Rafaela.” He bowed slightly, drunk.
“How do you do?” Perfect English, but then she had been educated in the US. She was slightly taller than Miguel, with smooth dark skin and brown eyes that seemed look into a man’s soul. She dressed in slightly baggy clothes, but he supposed that was from Prison food. He guessed she had 32 B breasts and probably weighed less than 110 pounds.
“Miguel has told me about you. You are a very clever and brave man. He said you offered your life to protect those you love.” Her eyes softened with kindness like Rachael’s. “I like you, but I must attend my other guests.”
He watched her move through the crowd, greeting this retainer but never fully a part of the celebration. It finally dawned on him! She headed this family.
No one had spoken about where he was to stay that night, so he stayed on the pool veranda as the party wound down. He lay down in a double chaise, realizing that he had been awake for more than 24 hours.
Just as he dozed off, Rafaela strode out, onto the deck and walked to him.
“I know it is terrible manners not to have you put in one of the guest rooms, but I wanted to talk with you.” She had delicate features. “Miguel says your daughter was raped.” Michael nodded silently. “And now?”
“I don’t know. The last time I saw her, she seemed to be coming out of it. She had just made love to a man for the first time and it convinced her there was a future. She’s with the family of a guy who stole from you”
“Walsh was a pig.” she spat.
“He raped his daughters and gave his wife as a sex toy for others. It was his son that led my daughter’s rape.” Even though he tried to hide the pain it was obvious the agony even talking about it caused.
“I have seen the photos.”
“Was this man who made love to your daughter a good man?”
“I can’t judge. I am her lover.”
“I know that as well, Michael.” Her hand rested on her arm as she gazed at the stars on this moonless night. “They are as safe as I can make them. I swear.”
“You have brought me a new life. But the past is always with us.” She continued, looking into his eyes wistfully, a vulnerable little girl.
She told him about herself, her words filled with sadness. She did not know her father. She had lost her mother long ago. She told hom how she had sold her body for a position with a drug kingpin who already employed Miguel. When the kingpin died, Miguel became the nominal head of the family. They spoke of many thiings, gradually drawing closer.
“Tell me about Beth.” She sat on the edge of the chaise. He slowly reached around and pulled her close, moving over so she could lie in his arms.
“She is funny, pretty, sexy and when she’s happy, she lights up a room. She’s a fighter. She hurt so badly, it tore me apart. She said she was damaged goods. She is so wrong. She’s tempered steel with a warm heart and a need to be loved. When she was fighting through the operations and the pain, I told her someday she’d find a good man to give her virginity to. She didn’t understand that the body is just a building. It’s the soul that matters and until she shared her soul, she had never made love.”
Something he’d said had soothed her. Rafaela snuggled against him and fell asleep, thoroughly exhausted. He smiled inside. He thought she had been coming on to him. He closed his eyes, feeling safe in the compound of a notorious drug dealer.
He was alone when morning dawned, covered in a blanket.
“Good, you’re finally awake!” Rafaela bounced out of the house. She wore the smallest of bikinis and dove into the water with obvious delight. She swam swiftly but was clearly winded after a couple of laps.
“Come on in! There are trunks in the cabana.” Pointing to an open door.
He was back in moments, dove into the pool and swam hard for the other side, flip turned and returned to her.
“I guess I was.”
Her eyes grew serious. “There is a problem. We have contacted all but one group. We cannot seem to find them. If you go back now, you may lead them to your family.”
“I do not know where they are.”
“Too many people know you are here. They can acquire you and bring the family into the open. I have sent the other groups to hunt the missing one. If they can get the message to them, there will be no death. If not, they will wipe out those still hunting your girls.”
They swam for a time, Rafaela getting called inside frequently, but always returning. They ate on the veranda enjoying the shade and serenity. Hearing her name called, she ran inside. When she returned, she read the terror in his eyes. She gently shook her head. No news.
The girls came out to prance in front of the Gringo. Maria “accidentally” brushed her breast against Michael’s arm when Rafaela had gone inside.
Frustrated and on edge, he dove back into the pool and began a rigorous workout. After several laps, he realized that he’d neglected his body for several months.
Be felt the ripples of another body in the water and realized Rafaela was racing him. She was much faster than he thought. He had to strain all his muscles to out-touch her!
“Wow! You’re fast.”
“Rafaela?” Instead of going to the ladder, she put her hands flat on the deck and launched herself out of the water, her bathing suit clinging to her labia, inches from his face. Her bottom jiggled as she ran across the deck and into the house. Across the small of her back, she’d been branded. It read SLUT.
Left alone with his thoughts, he felt depression. So close and now they are still in danger.
She returned smiling widely. “We reached the last group. They were in the mountains of North Carolina.”
She saw that he really didn’t know where they were, but that she had aroused his suspicions. His eyes hardened. She cursed herself inwardly. Stupid! Stupid!
“Michael. I swear on my brother’s life that I was not trying to make you betray them. I was just surprised that they may be so far from home.”
She took his face in her hands, staring into his eyes. “I swear they are safe.” His eyes remained hard.
She leaned forward and placed her lips on his, trying desperately to fix her gaffe.
He felt her breasts against his bare chest, felt the need in her kiss as she pressed her pelvis forward, causing his cock to inflate. He began to kiss her back, his fingertips caressing her neck just below her ears. Their tongues intertwined in delicate maneuvers.
She pulled back a little. Tears streamed down her cheeks. “Oh God, I’m sorry.” She began to sob.
She took his hand and drew him back to a private part of the veranda.
“Truth.” She paused and took a deep breath. “ We know where they are. We have for some time. The lawyers couldn’t get me out, so we had to try something else. It was really about Walsh. We knew Walsh had contacts, but we couldn’t get to them. After your daughter was raped, you became a wild card. We tried to make Walsh desperate and he blew his brains out. When we found out Beth was with the Walsh women, we had to make you desperate. I thought if I could get to you, you might think of something to force Walsh to use his influence to get me out. He didn’t steal from us. He was paid to get me out. When he killed himself, your people got there first and took all the information. Threatening Beth was my last card. Beth’s safety for those documents. You came to Miguel. A man reputed to be a butcher. No protection. No guns. No help. You come here and I find you had already made the deal I had been dreaming of!”
Michael started to speak, but she put a finger to his lips.
“Beth was never in danger. Neither were the Walsh women. In my business, fear is a tool. If we could have taken the Walsh women without violence, perhaps we would have. But I would never have harmed Beth. I know too well how she feels.” Her head dropped and tears dripped onto the deck.
“When I met you, I could not believe my eyes. Here was a brave, handsome Anglo who had taken his broken daughter and made her whole. Then you saved me. When we talked last night I hoped you would teach me to love. But I was too tired and so comfortable. All I have ever known of sex is pain.” She started to cry in earnest.
He put his arms around her and pulled her to him. Moving backward into a chair, bringing her to his lap.
After a bit, he realized she was no longer crying.
She looked up into his eyes, “Will you make me a woman tonight?”
He knew Beth would understand. It was part of the price for her safety; at least, he thought wryly, that’s how I’ll justify it if it ever comes up.
Rafaela looked up into his eyes, her lips parted inviting him to close the distance. Their lips met in a soft, loving kiss. Her lips tasted of tears. She reached down to his cock. He pulled back and said, “Slow, Honey, savor every moment and touch.”
He lifted her off his lap, picked her up, her arms around his neck and said, “Take me to your bedroom.”
As she directed him to her room, he saw her mother peak from the kitchen. She smiled her approval as he winked at her.
As he carried her through the doorway, a startled maid gasped and scurried away. He gently laid her on the bed and lay down beside her. Late afternoon light coming through the curtains lent a decidedly wicked effect to the room.
He reached to kiss her, bringing his hand behind her head. She instinctively stiffened. He understood. He used a light, whisper touch as his fingertips stroked behind her left ear and down the side of her neck. She groaned with pleasure into his mouth.
His fingertips seemed everywhere, yet her bathing suit remained intact. He broke the kiss, his fingers tracing across her lips, enticing her tongue to lick them. She sucked two fingers into her mouth, licking and caressing them.
He kissed her again, a firm, passionate exploration, his tongue invading her mouth. It curled to caress her palette. He leveraged himself over her with his left arm. His right hand continued to explore her body, feeling the building tension.
He unhooked her top and began to remove it. Her eyes snapped open in terror. She saw something in his eyes that comforted her. She let him take the top from her and held her breath. Now he understood. Her right breast was scarred. They had tried to cut her nipple off!
He leaned over the mutilated breast, his hand cupping it, bringing the nipple into his mouth. She exhaled, a long release of fear.
His tongue circled the dark, damaged aureole, gently sucking it into his mouth, his tongue flicking over the increasingly hard nipple.
He decided to take a chance. She let out a gasp as he gently bit down.
She pulled his head to her breast, a delightful fire burning inside her. He sucked harder and she held harder. He bit down again. She squealed her pleasure.
His right hand drifted along her waist to the flair of her hips, snagging the side tie of her bathing suit and releasing one side of her bottom. His hand softly caressed her ass, kneading her soft flesh. He brushed her pussy from behind and found the wetness he had hoped. Perhaps more than he hoped.
She released his lips as her breath became irregular.
He pushed her on her back, throwing the bikini top off the bed. He began to kiss and lick his way to her sex. He made it a long journey, paying particular attention to a small scar in her belly button.
When he reached her belly, he untied the other side of her bottom. She lifted her ass as he pulled it away and threw it after the top. He kissed and licked her belly to a point just above her sex. To a scar just below her naval.
He shifted to get between her legs, the aroma of a fresh woman filling the room. He kissed the side of first one, then the other thigh, trailing towards her shaved pussy. He could see moisture oozing from the inner lips. As he came near, he blew warm air across her labia. She gasped with a sharp intake of breath.
Her hands found his head and pulled him into her nether lips with an urgency that made him smile. He licked her from her asshole to just below her clit. Using two fingers of his left hand, he spread her inner lips while his tongue caressed first one side then the other. He blew on the little engorged head of her clit. Her head rocked from side to side, begging in an unintelligible language.
Palm up he slid first one then two fingers into her sopping pussy, while simultaneously sucking her clit into his mouth. He curled the two finger upward to caress the spongy area of her inner tunnel, his tongue moving in a dance of lust with her clit.
She screamed her climax. Again and Again. He continued to torture her oversensitive pea until she forced his mouth away.
“No mas, no mas.” She wallowed in her world of sensual pleasure, eyes shut to concentrate on other senses.
He moved beside her, wiping his face on the beautiful bedspread. He pulled her into his arms. She sighed contentedly, snuggling closer.
The sun was touching the horizon when she stirred. She levered herself on one elbow, looking at this man with a magic tongue. She giggled.
He levered on his side a few inches from her. He searched her eyes in the fading light and found joy. He leaned forward and kissed her. She tasted herself on his lips. She began to crawl down to return the favor when he stopped her. “I want to make love to you now.”
“Please. I need you. Make me a woman.”
He pushed her on her back, but stayed on his side, exploring her sex. She was still incredibly wet.
“OK lover,” he said as he lay on his back, pulling her to his chest. “You’re in control.”
She raised her leg and straddled him. They locked eyes as she slowly moved down his body. She rubbed his cock along her slit, drenching the head. She grimaced as the head of his cock stretched her open. She was incredibly tight.
He took her hips and began to rotate them around his cock. She understood immediately and began a sensual dance of lust as he began to penetrate her. He moved his hand to the point of their joining, slowly caressing her clit in time to her silent dance. Her arms above high, her head moving in circles throwing her hair in sensual patterns. He brought one hand down, leading it to her clit.
He reached a hand to each breast, squeezing, caressing and pinching.
The pattern of the dance changed. She slammed herself down on his engorged cock. He pulled her forward and began to slam upward, into her.
She screamed in delight.
Her pussy fluttered against his cock as they exploded together.
She collapsed on his chest. He pushed her legs straight.
She laid atop him with her face turned to the dying light. When she turned to face him, he said, “You are a beautiful, extraordinary woman.”
“I never knew.”
“What will you tell Alice?” he asked softly.
She bolted upright, looking at him with fear. When she saw no anger in his eyes she said, “When did you figure it out?”
“You knew my buttons. Your shaved pussy, some of the phrases you used….”
“Are you angry?”
“I should be, but, no, I am not angry. You were never the threat I thought you were. You made me feel so special giving yourself to me this way. It had to take enormous courage.”
“Even though I am a drug dealer?” she whispered.
“John Kennedy’s father was a bootlegger. The Rockefellers were so corrupt they passed the anti-trust laws. Americans are a strange people. If we don’t have the discipline to keep from using drugs, we export the problem and make the producers the bad guys instead of the users. How else are the farmers here going to feed their families when the government doesn’t help? When you rode through the village, I realized you headed the cartel. The people love you. Still, it’s dangerous. Sooner or later, they’ll drop a smart bomb on this house and I will lose someone I love.”
“What did you say?” Her eyes were pleading.
“That I love you? Do you think I was mechanical? I made love with YOU. I know more than you think. Gang raped at 15, again a year later. Mutilated because you refused to surrender. You will never have babies. I was surprised that you kept the scars, but they remind you of how tough you have to be. You and Beth are very similar. She would like you.” He smiled at her. “And that’s high praise.”
“Are you going to let me go tomorrow?” He said with humor in his voice.
“That depends on how you perform tonight. You still have two virginities to take.” She said with a broad smile on her face and a suppressed giggle.
Inwardly he grinned and thought, ‘that’s why I started early.’
They showered together in her enormous bathroom, and dressed for dinner. As we left the room, Rafaela spoke to two maids who scurried into the room to make it fresh for tonight.
They sat on the cool veranda. Two servants brought simple, but spectacular food and wine.
They spoke about little things, content in the knowledge that they had many hours until parting.
A simple fruit desert and coffee was served.
As they sipped the bitter blend, Rafaela began to speak. “What will you do when you get back?”
“I’m really not sure. I practice law to earn money, but now that I have enough money I’d like to take a break. After the last year, I’d like to find a place by the sea and be with the people I love and help Beth heal.” He said softly and paused. “Want to come with us or are you going to keep me as your love slave?” He said impulsively.
She laughed softly, but did not answer. “I won’t keep you as my love slave. But you’ll have to tell Beth that she may have to share.”
He saw the shock of his impetuous suggestion.
He stood and helped her stand, pulling her chair out. Hand in hand they climbed the stairs to her room