Authors: K. R. Bankston
Thin Ice 2: Hide & Seek
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The work is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Copyright © 2009 KR Bankston. All rights reserved.
The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.
Dedicated to my True Fans
and Loyal Readers both old and new!
No matter how much things change, they remain the same. Ian was back in business; he and Ryan doing bigger and better things than before. Tweety and KiKi were still by their side, their right hands, running the clubs, handling the books, keeping the empire flowing. That was the nice thing about Atlanta. It was a very forgiving city. After a couple years hiatus in Gary Indiana, Ian and Ryan came back and began quietly buying up the shut down, foreclosed clubs in the city. They now owned a total of eight; each doing banner business on any given night. Once the clubs began returning profits, Ian and Ryan again set up their illegal and invisible business dealings in the other three states they’d taken residence in once more. They were far more careful this time. From the general observer’s point of view and even the police that dropped by from time to time, each business was legitimate. The proper paperwork was filed, the licenses up-to-date and kept in plain sight. No one was employed, or in the limelight, who had a criminal record or failed a drug test. Ian and Ryan were reformed as far as the powers that be were concerned. They operated successful businesses, staying within the confines of the law. The two brothers chuckled inwardly at how well they kept up the charade and continued to amass a multi-million dollar fortune.
Jaleesa was closing the Peppermint Club located in the NW part of the city. It was an upscale strip club catering exclusively to women. The city hosted multiple male oriented strip clubs but nothing for the ladies. The club was packed again tonight as the ladies enjoyed all the toned, oiled, nude bodies on display for them. Azibo disturbed her thoughts as he brought her the bar receipts for the evening. Jaleesa took in the tall, dark complexioned man smiling at her as he handed her the monies.
How are you tonight, Miss Jaleesa,” Azibo asked all the while taking in the beautiful woman.
He was well aware she dated Ryan, one of the owners, but he still thought she was sexy as hell and if she would give him a chance, he would show her how much he thought of her.
I’m good Azi,” Jaleesa returned using the man’s nickname.
He told her he was of Nigerian descent, which she could tell from his pronounced accent.
Have a good night,” she asked taking the cash and laying it on the desk in front of her.
Azibo told her it had been a banner night at the bar. Tweety laughed before answering him.
Yeah, it generally is when Exotic and Kaos dance,” she told him as Azibo smiled again and left her presence still thinking about the, what if.
Hey chick, wassup,” Kaitlyn heard Jaleesa chirp in her ear.
She was at another of the clubs on the SW side called Mardi Gras. This was the 25 and older club, where old school was the music of choice and the hunting grounds a bit more mature. This club also turned huge profits with the weekly male and female reviews. There were plenty of private parties booked each week which made Mardi Gras the spot to be.
Not a lot girl,” Kaitlyn returned as she finished up the deposit for the evening. “About to be up outta here and head for the house,” she added as Jaleesa grunted her acknowledgement.
How are you, KiKi, really,” Jaleesa asked softly.
Kaitlyn sighed deeply before answering, swallowing the huge lump in her throat. “I’m okay, Tweety,” she replied quietly.
Are you sure,” Jaleesa asked once more.
Yeah,” Kaitlyn returned quietly before her friend let the conversation go.
You going with Ice to Baton Rouge tomorrow,” Jaleesa asked changing the subject. “Not that I know of, but you know that shit is subject to change,” she replied as they both laughed. Kaitlyn chatted with her best friend a few moments more before finally disconnecting and rising to leave the club.
Walking outside she bid Dixon goodnight. He was the doorman at the club. Huge at 6’8”, 370lbs, he kept order both inside and outside the club.
Do you want me to walk you to the car, KiKi,” he asked as she passed where he stood directly inside the door.
No, I’m fine,” Kaitlyn returned as he glanced the .9mm in her pocket.
Smiling slightly he told her okay and let her out, watching as she walked across the parking lot. Just as she reached her car, Dixon was called away by the bartender needing help reaching a box. Kaitlyn removed her keys from her pocket and used the fob to unlock her doors. She threw the bank bag on her passenger seat and climbed in, placing the gun between the two seats. Her mind was still whirling thinking about the earlier question Jaleesa asked.
I still can’t believe he’s gone,
Kaitlyn thought of Tariq. It still hurt everyday to think about him dying. Today was the anniversary of his death. She’d gone out to the cemetery earlier and replaced the flowers in his urn, sat and talked to him for a while, cried herself to exhaustion, then finally left.
Sighing deeply, she thought of all the drama after he died even finding out about his body. The Medical Examiner’s office wouldn’t give her any info because she wasn’t next of kin. Kaitlyn had given up finally after hitting dead end after dead end; simply buying a plot at a private cemetery and having a beautiful marker placed.
I love you so much, Tariq,
Kaitlyn thought, never uttering the thoughts aloud, knowing Ice would blow a gasket if he knew she still carried a torch for her fallen love. Kaitlyn was so deep in thought she never saw the man approach her car until he broke the window, scaring the hell out of her.
What the fuck,
Kaitlyn thought as he reached through the window trying to grab her. Kaitlyn swung and the man cursed aloud, his hand bleeding from the cut she’d inflicted with the straight razor she still held. Taking the split second, Kaitlyn reached for the gun when the second man jumped into her passenger seat and put the chloroform to her nose.
Don’t pass out,
her mind told her as Kaitlyn tried to fight. Unfortunately her adrenaline had kicked in and her breathing was erratic. The darkness was closing in quickly.
The bitch cut me,” the man cursed as the voices started fading.
Top told you to be careful fool,” the other man told him as the silence became deafening and Kaitlyn passed out.
Ian was frowning deeply as he looked the Benz, glass shattered, empty. “Why didn’t you walk her out,” he asked Dixon, the irritation evident in his voice.
I tried too, but KiKi said she was fine,” he implored Ian to understand.
He knew firsthand how deadly his boss could be. He also knew how deeply the man loved Kaitlyn.
What did the camera’s show,” Ian asked.
He’d had the security cameras installed just last week to encompass the parking lot. Dixon told him the cameras were off.
KiKi always shuts them down before she leaves,” he replied as Ian’s anger grew along side his fear.
What the hell is going on
, he thought. They obviously weren’t trying to rob her. The bank bag was still lying untouched on the passenger seat. His cell rang and disturbed his thoughts as he answered seeing Ryan’s name.
Anything,” his brother asked as Ian sighed deeply and told him no.
Anybody you can think of right off hand with a vendetta,” Ryan asked again.
Ian sighed deeply and told him he could write several pages of names with that in mind. He had made plenty of enemies over the years. Ian just didn’t think any of them were dangerous enough to snatch Kaitlyn over their issues.
So what do you wanna do,” Ryan asked.
Ian immediately told him they would handle it. They wouldn’t involve the police at all. “Way too many questions there,” Ian told him as Ryan agreed.
I’m hoping they will call, give some sort of demand or something,” Ian added as Ryan told him right now that was about all they could do.
As soon as he disconnected his phone vibrated. Ian checked the message seeing he had picture mail. Clicking on the image he frowned deeply. Kaitlyn was sitting in a chair, bound, blindfolded, and gagged.
What the fuck is going on,
Ian thought as another text came through. ‘Act right and ur girl might live thru this,’ the message read as Ian cursed aloud. The third correspondence gave the message when to expect further instructions and how much it was going to cost him. Ryan pulled up just as he finished the message.
It’s a money snatch,” Ian told his brother as Ryan nodded his acknowledgement and two headed inside the club to work out a strategy as well as begin gathering the 1.5 million dollars that was requested.
Jaleesa arrived at Mardi Gras twenty minutes after Ryan, rushing inside to find the two men in the establishment’s office.
Has anybody called,” she asked looking directly at Ian.
They want money,” Ian replied calmly as Jaleesa sighed deeply.
Do you have any idea who took her,” she asked again, pouring herself a drink as her hands shook.
This was serious. Her best friend was being held hostage and even if Ice paid them there was no guarantee KiKi would live through it.
No,” Ian returned.
But we’re gonna shake enough trees to find the fuck out,” Ryan added irritably as Jaleesa nodded her understanding.
And it would have to happen today of all days,
she thought silently, recalling her earlier conversation with Kaitlyn.
Did they let you talk to her, make sure she was okay,” Jaleesa asked again.
Ian sighed deeply and told her so far all he’d gotten were a succession of text messages.
This shit bites,” Jaleesa mumbled aloud as she left them alone again. She needed to clear her head, to think and rack her brain of anything unusual that might give them a clue where KiKi was.
She returned to them for a moment asking if she could see the photo that was sent. Ian forwarded the photo to her phone and Jaleesa thanked him. Sitting now with her drink, Jaleesa poured over every detail in the photo. It was obviously someone’s house from the couple of portraits she saw hanging on the wall.
Fuck,” Jaleesa mumbled aloud angrily as the tears came and rolled down her cheek. There was nothing in the picture that would vaguely help them find Kaitlyn. Seeing her friend tied up and helpless like she was brought searing pain to Jaleesa’s heart.
Please don’t let these people be sadistic killers that hurt KiKi,
she prayed silently as she continued to cry. Moments later she felt arms encompass her, as Ryan held her and spoke softly in her ear.
It’s gonna be OK, Tweety,” he told her sweetly. “We’re gonna get KiKi back, and soon,” he added as she cried harder and clung to him needing his support.
Ian observed them, Ryan holding and comforting Jaleesa, as his heart ached. He loved Kaitlyn with his entire being and he was helpless to save her right now. Ian hated that feeling. Picking up his phone from the bar where he’d laid it, Ian finished his drink and headed to his car, praying he would find some answers as he drove the streets of Atlanta, beating the odds and getting information of Kaitlyn’s whereabouts.