Author: Cynthia Taz
The explosion at the Sex Club 7 had not only over-turned Tara's car and almost killed her, but also killed Joey, Snake and a dozen of Mafias and Colombians. It did not take long for the fire department to determine the explosion to be caused by multiple bullets hitting fire arms and explosives that had stored inside the club; and even less for the police department to determine that there was a shooting inside the club just right before the explosion, presumed that it was a shooting between the Mafia and Colombians; and even lesser time for Toni to declared war against Colombians.
Everyone had pointed their figures to the Colombian Cartels. Not only Colombians' bodies were found in the club, there were also evidence of the use of assault rifles, one of their favorite types of weapons. Witnesses, including Tara herself, had spotted two Colombians fleeing from the scene, adding their suspicious.
But knowing the deals between Colombians and Joey, and the power struggle between Toni and Joey, Tara had to wonder if it was all the plots by the Yakuza. Now that Joey and most of his supports were died, Toni needed not to worry about his position in the Mafia, and in return, Yakuza got to ally with Mafia against the Colombians.
Tara never mentioned to anyone about seeing Willow at the scene though: Tara had actually met her twice, and no matter how deep impression the redhead had on Tara, the blond could not 100% sure it was her. She knew she had betrayed Faith and her real boss Angel - by not telling them her suspicious of Willow's role in the explosion, but somehow Tara could not make herself to tell them - could not make herself to put Willow in a position that might harm the redhead. After all, the redhead, if she was really there, had saved Tara's life; and the police probably wouldn't do anything about it anyway, she reasoned.
Sighing at the somehow depressing thoughts, Tara parked her car next to Toni's Momma's Restaurant. Now that Joey's dead, she had lost her place in Mafia unless Toni really decided to take her in, so to speak. "Toni."
"Hey kid." Toni waved at Tara, and the blond accepted the invitation and sat at the table.
But before he could continue, his mother's voice came from inside the restaurant. "Who is she Toni? Is she your girlfriend?"
"You know, a real man would have found himself a nice girl, bring her home, and knock her up by now! You spend all day around men, people will think I brought you up wrong! Your father, God rested his soul, would have cut your balls off if he saw you! You shame me, Antonio, you shame your Sicilian roots! If only you were more like..."
Tara did not get to hear the rest as Toni stood and pulled her away. While Toni's expression did not change much, she couldn't help but noticed the faint blush on the Mafia's Don face. "I heard you were there when Joey's wasted." He cleared his throat a bit before continued. "You okay?"
"Good." Paused. "Well, we gonna make the Colombians paid. Those sushi wants them pay too, so we can't let them out-do us, now do we?" He stared at Tara for a moment. "I think you got potential. And you used to be working for Jo, you're the best candidate."
Tara frowned. "Best candidate, sir?"
"I gonna lend you to the Yakuza, and you gonna help them taking care of businesses. But you'll still visit me from time to time, just to make sure you don't forget about your old family, and let those sushi buggers get in between us, ha?"
The blond suddenly felt dumb. "Do you want me to... spy on them?"
"You crack me up, kid." Toni laughed. "Though... they aren't too sane, you know? They eat too much raw meat and get mad cow or something. We better be there and give them some guidance, ya know?" Tara nodded. "Good. Go see Rosie's kid. She knows to expect you."
Tara was once again being led to the top floor of the Kenji's Casio, only this time she was led to a closed door. "Wait here." The Yakuza that had bought Tara up ordered, before nodding at the two guards that was standing at the either side of the door, and opened it.
Tara could not see the redhead from where she was standing, but she could spot, even if she had to blink a few times to make sure that she was not seeing it wrong, an Asian man on his hands and knees, his forehead pressing against the cold hardwood floor. Willow's soft voice came a second later, but Tara could not understand a word as she was actually speaking in Japanese.
The man that was kneeing looked up, and replied whatever the redhead told him. Not even the man finished whatever he was saying that everyone jumped on the sudden loud bang. "MOUTAKUSAN!" Willow shouted.
Everyone went silent, and the kneeing man immediately pressed his forehead against the floor again. The Yakuza that bought Tara up took a deep breath. "Willow-san..."
"O tesu desu ga... Mafia yori Tara-san..."
Long pause. "We will talk later." Tara could hear Willow said.
"I said not now!" Willow shouted, causing everyone to jump again. "Sorry." Paused. "But this is not the time yet. We will talk once judgment is served."
The man seemed to be satisfied with the answer. "I will see you then, Willow-san." He stood, bowed at Willow, and left without sparing a glance at Tara.
When the man finally left, the Yakuza gestured Tara into the room before leaving and closing the door behind her. It was then Tara saw the redhead, wearing the same black kimono last time Tara saw her in the casino, standing at the front of the window. "Toni sends you?"
Willow closed her eyes and took a deep breath, before turning around and gestured Tara to sit at the chair in front of the huge office desk, before taking the executive chair behind it. "Before there's any kind of working relationship between us, Tara, there's one thing we need to be clear about." She turned towards the three banners with some Japanese characters hanging on behind her. "Do you know Japanese?"
"These three banners represent the three most important things in Yakuza: honor, respect and loyalty. You may not be an official member of Yakuza, but we'll still expect you to follow these values. Do you understand?"
The redhead Yakuza smiled warmly at Tara. "Call me Willow." She said. "Well, since you're here... there's a package I need you to help deliver. Go find TJ at the parking lot. He'll tell you want to do."
Tara glanced at the reserve mirror for a second before turning back towards the road, half wondering about the bulk Colombian that was now sitting in between TJ and another Yakuza who called himself Ken. Tara was pretty sure the Colombian was one of the two Tara saw the day of the Sex Club 7 explosion. And while Tara was not sure why he was here, only knowing that her first 'assignment' was to drive them to a small warehouse that belonged to the Cartel, the fear on the Colombian's face was clearly visible.
Peeking at the man again, the blond felt like she was missing something... something important. The Cartel didn't seem to have any physical injury, but his eyes seemed... disturbed. The way his eyes kept shifting around reminded Tara of her old neighbor's bulldog - it was trained for illegal dog fight, and when the police arrested her neighbor the dog had went ballistic and torn one of the police officer's legs off - until another officer put seven bullets into the dog's torso before it finally stopped moving and died.
The drive was fairly smooth considering couple Colombians had spotted them and put some bullet holes in the Mafia Sentinel (how the Yakuza managed to get the car, Tara did not ask) while a Cartel Cruiser trying to run them down. With the police training back in the academy, it didn't take long for Tara to gain an 'upper hand' so to speak and out run the four-wheel drive. Tara could have taken the car out, but she could not let herself do it, not even if it was people who would kill her without a second thought.
Tara stopped the slightly damaged car just a bit away from the gate of the warehouse. TJ opened the door on his side, and smiled at the Colombian. "Be a good boy, or Willow-san will not be pleased." Tara noticed the bulk man had flinched at the mention of Willow. "C'mon."
Ken stepped out from the other side, leading the man out. It was then Tara noticed the explosives tied around his torso as the smaller Japanese held up his shirt and flicked some kind of switch on it. She gasped, but TJ took no notice as he took the shotgun while Ken stepped back into the car.
The gate of the warehouse opened for the shivering Colombian, and he stepped inside. A couple of seconds later, a series of explosions could be heard, the shock wave shaking the glasses of the car.
Tara turned back towards TJ, silently looking for answer. But TJ merely smiled and nodded at her. "Drive us back to the casino."
1: MOUTAKUSAN! = THAT'S ENOUGH!
2: Nan?! = What?!
3: O tesu desu ga... Mafia yori Tara-san = Sorry to bother you... Tara from the Mafia
4: Damo- = But-