Kitty glanced down at the manila envelope snuggled in her lap. She had taken a taxi to the address Bobby had given her; 323 West 74th Street. But she was having last minute reservations and questioning her judgment. Maybe I shouldn’t do this after all, she thought.
“Lady, you gettin’ out or what?” barked the cabbie.
“Yeah, keep the meter running,” Kitty said. She pushed her negative thoughts to the back of her mind. What’s the big deal anyway? It’s just a favor for a friend. A really handsome, sexy friend.
She made her way to the door and knocked.
A short, wiry man opened the door. His beady eyes looked Kitty over.
“I am,” she said. She wondered who the tiny man was. Bobby hadn’t told her his acquaintance’s name; he had only written down the address. From first impressions alone, the man was not anyone Kitty would care to associate with. His sour facial expression and pallid skin lent a sinister vibe.
“I hear you got somethin’ for me,” the man said, and pointed to the envelope in her hand.
“I do.” Kitty handed over the package. “And you are?”
The man cracked a smile. “I’m Don’t-You-Worry-About-It-Sweetheart,” he said with a wink. “I gotta make this brief ’cause I’m runnin’ late for an appointment. Thanks, doll.”
He slammed the door shut.
Kitty grimaced. Wow, a real charmer. From the looks of the man’s greasy black hair, it had been weeks since he had last seen a bar of soap. Definitely no one she would expect to be seen with the always-dapper Bobby Vitolli.
Night had fallen. Between her photo shoot earlier and Bobby keeping her up until four in the morning, Kitty was beat. She instructed the cabbie to take her home.
“One of us has got an admirer,” said the driver after a few minutes. “That brown sedan has been following us the last ten blocks.”
Kitty turned around to look at the car in question. The headlights blinded her and she couldn’t make out a mug. “You sure?”
“Am I sure? How long you think I been drivin’? Longer than you’ve been around, believe you me, and I’m pretty damned sure when someone is tailin’ me.”
“Maybe it’s just a coincidence,” Kitty said. But five minutes later, the same brown sedan was still behind them. Her heart skipped a beat. What was going on? Why on earth would somebody be trailing her, Kitty McClarren, of all people? The answer dawned on her: the paparazzi. Yes, those pesky bastards were spying on her, hoping to steal a shot to sell to the tabloids! Surely, it was the only logical explanation. Kitty’s nostrils flared. How dare they! Her eyes, normally a serene shade of green, morphed into an intense emerald hue, as was the norm whenever she became irate.
“Step on it,” she screamed at the cabbie. “Do whatever you can to lose him.”
The taxi made a sudden right before hanging a left down a side street. Another few turns later and no sign of the sedan.
“I think we shook ’em.” The smirk on the driver’s gaunt, wrinkled face revealed he was more than pleased with himself.
“I don’t know…” Kitty looked out the windows and tried to spot any suspicious activity. Nothing.
The cab resumed its normal route and Kitty breathed a sigh of relief.
The rear windshield exploded. Kitty dove to the floorboard with a scream. The taxi swerved as the sedan, appearing seemingly out of nowhere, sped past and out of sight.
“Holy shit!” The cabbie screamed over his shoulder, “You okay? Lady, you alive?”
Kitty squeezed her eyes shut and wondered for a split second if she were dreaming. Blood trickled down the right side of her face; chunks of glass covered both her back and the seat. Her breathing quickened and she became light-headed. Breathe, Kitty, breathe slowly, she told herself, but darkness was closing in…
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