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Michael jumped off the couch as his ears detected the knock, confidently striding to the door. Opening it, he thrust his arm forward and firmly shook hands with Marcel, who looked at him with austerity.
“Michael. Good to see you. Let’s get down to business.”
The ostentatious crime boss projected relaxed authority, with brutality lurking beneath the surface. Four leviathans flanked him. The men must have had highly physical backgrounds because they looked like football players, wrestlers, or powerlifters. Michael only knew that each of them was about a foot taller than him and had at least 100 pounds more muscle.
Standing against the wall while he held the door for Marcel and his bodyguards, he was ecstatic about seeing his uncle. He was confident that he would help him resolve his dilemma. After everyone crowded into the cramped entryway, Michael glanced at the street in front of his house. The group had arrived in two black Cadillac Escalades. The front one was empty, and four more massive men were inside the one behind it.
Noticing Michael’s gaze, his uncle commented.
“I brought two more cars full of my security too. They’re parked around back. There’s no fucking way we can be taken advantage of this time. I wanted to make sure of that.” He placed his hands on Michael’s shoulders, looking into his eyes to convey his steadfast resolve.
“Thanks Marcel,” Michael grimly responded, relaxing slightly.
Marcel let his hands drop to his sides, turning to talk to Natasha. “Hi Natasha,” he smiled as he knelt down in front of her.
She looked at him hesitantly for half a second, frightened by the situation. Then she rotated toward him, taking one big step into her uncle’s comforting arms.
“It’ll be okay, sweetheart,” Marcel assured Natasha in a gentle tone. “Now, how does going to get some ice cream sound?” His voice went up a few octaves as he injected enthusiasm into it.
She pulled her head back from his shoulder, her childish face lighting up at the prospect of a creamy cold confection.
“Awesome!” she exclaimed.
“Good,” he replied, her contagious excitement making him smile from ear to ear. “Why don’t you go with your dad? We’ll stay here and make your home feel like home again. Okay?” He clutched her shoulders, looking directly into her eyes.
“Yes! Let’s go Dad!” She vibrated with anticipation as she turned to her father.
Michael joined in the enjoyment, beaming as his daughter looked up at him lovingly. “Okay, sweetie.”
Marcel stood up. “I’ll send a few guards with you. These guys are all part of my own personal security team, so they can handle anything,” he said with confidence.
“You two, go with Michael and Natasha, and treat them exactly the same way you treat me. Michael is in charge of you while you’re with him.” He gave orders to a couple of huge men in suits who he pointed to at random.
They followed Natasha and Michael out the front door. Before they stepped out of the house, the one closest to Marcel shot a look at Sarah, getting a silent instruction from her. The mob boss touched his shoulder, ignoring the exchange, and he turned to face him.
Marcel said, “I don’t think I have to stress how important it is to protect them, right?”
Both guards nodded. The one in the lead said what he believed his boss wanted to hear while his companions waited on the front steps.
“Don’t worry sir. We’ll die before we let anything happen to them.” His voice was virtually emotionless, conveying only determination.
Satisfied, Marcel nodded. The four people stepped into the swiftly approaching night and closed the door behind them. The sun was setting as they walked to the SUVs.
“All right. So first things first. Let’s get rid of all these bodies,” the ostentatiously dressed mob boss announced, turning to his bodyguards.
“Pack all of them into one or two of the Escalades, and two of you go to a secluded area so you can burn them,” he ordered. “I don’t care who does what. Everyone just gather up the bodies right now, but four of you stay outside to keep an eye on the house.”
The gargantuan men got to work. As they went outside to bring in their partners, Marcel looked at Sarah, acknowledging her for the first time since he had arrived. She had sat patiently in silence during the conversation and instructions.
“Sarah,” he greeted her with a professional tone. “After I make a few calls, we should talk.”
The curvaceous killer wore an expression of contained brutality and palpable boredom. No longer around people who would question them, she didn’t conceal these emotions. She turned her visible contempt toward Marcel.
“Good idea,” she responded, sounding like it was a massive inconvenience to speak to him. After talking, her head snapped back to the front door, which she had been staring at blankly.
Marcel nodded, heading to the kitchen. His security team would hear bits and pieces of his conversations, but he knew that they wouldn’t repeat anything. He leaned against the island counter top, settling in to exploit his influence. Sarah could hear his concise instructions as she motionlessly sat. The professionals would make the murdered police officers disappear. Being a cogent criminal is conducive for creative problem solving.
Finishing his phone calls, the aging crime boss walked to the living room. Saying a few words to Sarah, she followed him into Michael’s office. She closed the door, and they had a detailed discussion. The guards heard muddled voices as they worked, removing any traces of dead bodies. They meticulously cleaned every surface.