Vivian had to give Danela credit for at least turning over the “Closed” sign at her boutique. Entering the store through the front door, Vivian went first, sandwiching the frightened girl between her and Pauley.
As Pauley took the younger girl by the arm, Vivian followed them into the back storeroom.
Danela was sitting at the desk chair, hunched over, her head in her hands, the stress and terror of the last several hours finally overwhelming her. Vivian stood beside her, hands on her hips, tapping an impatient foot.
With her skirt still tucked up over her holster, Pauley sat beside them on the table’s edge. Vivian, her arms crossed over her chest, shook her head and smirked at the emotional Danela. Pauley ran her hands over her thighs, measuring her words before speaking.
“Danela, Danela?” It took a few seconds for the girl to register Pauley was talking to her. “We can help you, and Artur and Marco, but it’s going to mean leaving behind the life you know here in Sao Paulo. Are you ready to do that, can you do that?”
Danela looked at Pauley, squinting, trying to comprehend what she meant. “I do not understand.”
“There are things Vivian and I will do that will put you in danger,” Pauley spoke slowly, waiting after each sentence to make sure Danela understood, avoiding any attempts at Portuguese. “To do these things, dangerous things, we will need you to tell us about the Sampas. Their names, where they gather, who is important. Do you understand?”
“Si, but I do not know how that will help you,” Danela, wiped at the tears wetting her cheeks.
“The less you know about how we use that information, the better for you, okay?” Pauley handed the girl a box of tissues, looking to Vivian who still had a sour expression on her face. “If anything goes wrong, the Sampas will know you told us everything.”
Pauley watched as Danela realized what her last statement meant. “They will surely kill me then, Artur and Marco too. I don’t know what to do!”
Vivian stood in front of Danela, grabbing her chin, she pulled the girl’s head up to face her. “If you don’t tell us, they will think you did anyway, and you’ll be just as dead. Better to tell us, trust us, and perhaps you all live another day.”
Letting go of Danela, Vivian turned and walked out of the room, the front door bell announcing she had a customer. Once Vivian shut the door, Pauley pulled up another chair and sat facing the girl.
“I need to know who Tomas’ underbosses are,” Pauley took Danela’s hands in hers, playing out her ‘good cop’ role. “Who does he trust the most? I need to know where they go in public. Do they have a favorite bar or cafe? Understand?”
Danela sat up straighter, but let Pauley continue to hold her hands. “Marco would know these things, I do not know if he would tell me, or tell you.”
Pauley patted her hands, then stood. “Don’t worry about that, Vivian and I will convince him it’s a good idea. But, first we have to do something about getting Artur out of jail, and I already have a plan for that. Now, wipe your face and go out on the floor with Vivian. You have to act as if nothing is wrong, can you do that?”
Pulling another tissue from the box, Danela wiped her face and blew her nose. When she had composed herself, she joined Vivian out front. Alone, Pauley called a New York number on her cell.
“Stan, it’s me,” after Vivian and Lenore’s teasing, Pauley was aware she was blushing. “It’s going fine, but I’m going to need some cash. I’m not sure, enough to bribe some prison guards.”
Listening to her boss’ response, Pauley couldn’t help but smile. “Are you sure? I think I can handle this on my own, but if you really want to fly down to help, I won’t complain.”
Check out these previous chapters:
Girl from Ipanema
Hello, It’s Me
I want you around
Point and shoot
Ain’t It Heavy
Out going mail
Lost in translation
Walk a mile in my shoes
Pretty in pink
Without a prayer
In Every Direction