Leaving the women to their breakfast, Stan went back into the room he was sharing with Pauley. If it wasn’t for her, this trip to Brazil would be a disaster.
Straightening out the bed cover, Stan tossed the pillows on the floor. He stood by the bed, lingering over the memory of his kiss with Pauley only an hour earlier. Piled with his other luggage, were two composite hard cases. He tossed the first carrying four handguns on the bed. Unlocking the case, he flipped open the lid, inspecting each gun in turn.
He selected two pistols he thought would be a good fit for Lenore and Vivian. From the second case he pulled out two extra ammo clips. From another bag on the floor, he pulled out two boxes of ammo, and a third box for Pauley’s ever-present Walther, and tossed the clips and bullets in his jacket pockets.
Tucking the guns back in the case, he steeled himself for another row with Vivian. Between Lenore and Pauley, he had to convince her to take the gun and be prepared to use it when she need it.
He hung back in the living room, watching the three women talking. It didn’t take a genius to notice the cool reception he got from Vivian. It was hard for him to decide if it was jealousy of his relationship with Pauley, or because of residual resentment from their last encounter. He wasn’t sure if Pauley knew he met Vivian before, back when she was Millicent Stingley. He couldn’t worry about that now, he had to get this job done, and quickly. He’d deal with Vivian and Pauley’s weird friendship later.
Their conversation ended abruptly when he stepped out on the veranda, all three women turning to look at him. Stan suddenly knew what being the odd-man out was like.
“Did you find guns for Viv and Lenore?” Pauley’s demeanor cool, and all business.
Stan realized he had a lot to learn about complicated women.
He put the case on an empty chair, Opening it, he pulled out a subcompact Beretta and a Baby Glock 9mm, laying the weapons and an extra clip for Pauley’s Walther on the table in the middle of the ring of tea cups. Pauley smirked and reached for the Beretta.
Cradling the grip of the handgun, she ejected the ammo clip making sure it was empty, then cycled the slide with a satisfying click. Checking the chamber, she replaced the magazine and squeezed the trigger, admiring the ease of action. Pauley picked up the Glock in her left hand, testing its weight against the gun in her right. She closed her eyes, a look of concentration wrinkling her brow.
With a quick flick of her hand, Pauley turned the butt of the Beretta toward Lenore.
“I think you’ll like this one, it has a nice heft to it, but it’ll be an easy conceal.”
Pauley turned her gaze toward Stan, who nodded approval of her assessment.
“I brought holsters for both of those,” Stan crossed his arms over his chest, feeling oddly vulnerable in a room filled with dangerous women. “They can be configured for shoulder, hip, back… any way you want to wear it.”
Lenore took the gun, testing the weight for herself.
“This will do,” she said. “Agora nós vamos caçar”
Vivian ignored the gun Pauley held out to her.
“No matter how adept you are at stopping a man’s heart, if he shoots you before you can reach him with your needle, it’s a useless talent,” Pauley kept her arm extended, the grip of the gun aimed at Vivian.
“Will this make you happy?” Vivian turned toward Pauley, but her eyes found Stanley.
“Delirious,” Pauley sighed heavily, missing the exchange between Vivian and Stan.
Maintaining eye contact with Stan, Vivian accepted the gun from Pauley.
“For you, to make you happy.” Vivian held the Glock loosely, almost dropping it. “Because, all I want… is for you to be happy.”
Stan watched a vein in Pauley’s neck begin to twitch. He wonder silently if Vivian would be killed by Tomas’ crew first, or by Pauley.
*Follow along with Pauley and Vivian as they take on the Brazilian cartel, their story can be found at Pauley: Dead Money. This week’s second chapter, penned by Lance at My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog, is “Ready to go“.
*Photo venue: Atrium at Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, NC