By: Alexa Riley

I walk down the hallway and make my way to the bar. Sal is standing there with his back to me, removing the upside down barstools from the bar top and setting them down.

He’s a big bastard at almost seven feet with dark black skin and even darker eyes. He doesn’t turn around when I approach, but nothing ever takes him by surprise.

“Didn’t think my bird would come see me so soon today.” His words are thick with his Cajun accent, a remnant of his Louisiana upbringing.

“I needed to clear my head.”

He turns around at my voice, opening his big arms and taking me in for a hug. He’s like a father to me, and though I don’t get to see him like I should, he always welcomes me home.

Letting me go, he moves over to one of the stools, taking a seat and patting the other one for me to join him. “Who is she?”

His smile is infectious, and it’s enough to shake off my dark mood. I smile right along with him and take the seat next to him.

“She’s my Tessa.”

“Does she know it yet?” He raises an eyebrow, and I’m always amazed at what he sees. He knows things before I say them, and he makes me feel like he can read minds.

“Not yet. But there are some complications.”

“There always are. You need help?”

I nod my head a little and tell him what’s going on. I tell him about the job and what’s going to happen afterwards, knowing that I’ll need his help when it comes time to leave. After I’ve finished telling him everything, he gets up and squeezes my shoulder as he walks away.

Saying goodbye won’t be easy.

* * *

Looking down at my phone, I see the tracker hasn’t moved, still showing Tessa at work. I put my car in gear and make my way back to her bank, feeling a little calmer now. My plans may not be what I had wanted them to be, but they will work. They have to. It’s far too late to pull back now that Heavy has locked on to the bank, then on to Tessa. There’s no going back, and I will do anything to make sure nothing blows back on her.

It’s before lunchtime but a little while after they’ve opened, so it shouldn’t be too crowded. I got the tracker in Tessa’s phone after the first time I followed her. I got the call about doing the job, and I started checking out the bank right away. When I saw her at the teller line, I stopped in my tracks and got out of there as fast as I could without drawing attention. She captivated me right away, and I didn’t know what to do. I’d never had a reaction to anyone like that before. I felt my heart pounding and need ran through me. It was unexplainable, and I didn't even try to fight it. It was like I was looking for something and didn't even know it until it was right in front of me.

Waiting for her after work that first time was pure hell. I counted the seconds until she left, and then I was careful to hang back as she got on the train. I rode it with her all the way to her apartment, getting off at the same time as her. She was completely oblivious the whole time I stalked her back to her home, and I watched as she went up to her apartment.

That first time I waited until the middle of the night and snuck up the fire escape—like I’ve been doing every night since then—but that night I opened the window in the living room and went inside. I placed the tracker on her phone and made myself leave before I did anything stupid. Like stand over her bed and watch her sleep.

Tessa works at Trust Bank, which is located in the heart of downtown Chicago. It’s not very big, but it just so happens to have contracts with the city and takes in close to a million dollars in cash each day from the surrounding municipalities. What makes Monday so special is that it’s their monthly reserve shipment, when they empty the vault of their normal shipment, plus any excess funds the branch deems unnecessary. Armored trucks will show up Monday afternoon to take it to the Federal Reserve, leaving them with a limited amount of cash until the next day’s deposits are made.

This equates to about fifteen million dollars bagged up and ready for processing bright and early Monday morning. It’s nothing to shake a stick at, but by the time Heavy takes his cut and divides what’s left between his people, I’ll only be looking at one or two million. That’s not worth a life sentence in a Federal prison.

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