Okay, so I decided not to wait for the New Year and Reconciliation, Texas to trial the new daily posting. So, sue me. The good news, of course, is that you will get almost daily, though smaller, doses. I am just hoping it does not get too confusing. As always, feedback welcome.
Week 5, Wednesday morning – Somewhere on Highway 59 north of Houston and South of Nacogdoches
Will couldn’t believe he was doing this? He looked over at the man next to him. Roberto Garcia was not his favorite person. His involvement with Bebe would be reason enough to hate him. But this latest was…
The truth was this was not Roberto’s idea. This was Diego. And the man next to him was motivated just as much by survival and necessity as he was. “How much further?”
This time they had traveled the major roads. Actually, they had been on Highway 59 since Laredo, stopping only for gas and whatever drinks and food were readily available. They had passed through Houston a bit after sunrise. The morning commute had just started, and that had slowed them down. But they had left the city behind well over an hour ago.
“According to the GPS, it’s less than an hour.”
Will felt the muscles in his throat tighten. He did not like this. It went against everything he ever stood for. He almost laughed at the thought of ‘blood in, blood out.’ Killing an innocent man might have been easier than this.
“Trust me, I don’t like this any better than you. I’ve never been in favor of…”
“Kidnapping young girls? Selling them into prostitution? But you don’t have a problem screwing my cousin?” Will fisted his hands at his side. It would be all too easy to wrap his hands around the man’s throat and be done with it. He had made that decision – to give his own life for hers – once.
Then he had met her – his Mercy. And everything changed. Still, if it was just his life for revenge against this man, and in some small measure his family, it might be worth it. But he knew that giving in to that rage and anger meant sacrificing Mercy’s life and Bebe’s. That he could not do.
But could he do what they wanted? What this man asked of him? Even for the woman he loved and his cousin? Sadly, he had already answered that question. When he lowered that gun and got back in this vehicle with a man he hated, he had committed to the worst thing he had ever done.
“I promise, man. You have my word. Whatever it takes, I will find a way to get you and those women back across the border safely.”
“They aren’t women. Except for your sister, of course. But BeBe and Callie are kids. Little girls. And all your self-satisfying justifications in the world won’t change that.”
The man took his eyes off the road for a moment and turned towards him. “You know we are not going to agree on where you draw that line.” He went back to staring out the windshield at the road. It was silent for a couple of moments.
“But I know what all that shit has done to Bebe. The mind fuck that it is for her. And I promise you I won’t let that happen to this kid.” He chuckled, “She seems like a really sweet kid, as you say. And anyone that can beat my ass at gaming had earned my respect.”
“So, that’s how you found them? Her gaming? I warned the old man that iPad had to be destroyed. That they could be traced through it.”
“It must have worked, too. She went dark for over a month. But she got into some argument with her mother and the guy they are staying with. She took her revenge by logging back into her old account.”
“Dammit, Callie, why did you have to do it?”
“Cause we all have our weaknesses. Hers is being at the top of that leaders’ board. Mine is Bebe. And yours is your moral superiority.” Before Will could argue that point, Roberto snuck another of those glances and smiled, “And my sister, of course.”
“So, what’s the plan? I am not killing anyone.” And he was not entirely sure that he could allow Roberto to either. But he would cross that bridge when they came to it.
“Callie has agreed to meet me. Well, the older boy that she thinks Diablo91 is. We arranged to meet near where they are staying, about an hour from Nacogdoches.”
“But she’s a smart kid, so when she sees a grown man, you’re afraid she will run.”
“Yeah, and I don’t want to have to hurt her. Obviously, Diego wants her mother alive. So he can question her. But, if I can avoid it, I don’t want to come up against the guy that took them in either. He’s some former Marine. But no matter how hard Diego has dug, he can’t figure out what his connection to McBride or them is.”
“So, that’s why I convinced my brother that this would be the best test of your loyalty. We know that you and she got close. I think if she sees you, well, I’m hoping she won’t turn and run. It would be best to avoid any confrontation, but if one comes, it’s good to have you around for backup.”
Will knew that the man was probably right about Callie being reassured by his presence. And as Roberto said, it was best to avoid any encounter with Cassie or this Marine. Because Will still did not want to hurt an innocent man, especially one that seemed honor-bound to protect them as he was. But as Roberto said, he would do whatever it took to make sure that Mercy, BeBe, and Callie got out of there. He just hoped his plan worked. That it would be enough.
“Okay, but we do this my way. And if you touch her, I swear I will kill you myself.”