The sun had set over the city of Salzava, leaving Quinn sitting in the dark while she waited for Zak to return. Her leg bounced in front of her as her patience wore thin. He had told her that he would be back more than an hour ago, yet here she sat in the van under a sky threatening to pour. If it rained, the job wouldn’t be able to happen.
Zak rounded the corner, followed by someone Quinn couldn’t clearly see. She pulled the pistol from its holster and placed it on her lap gently. She didn’t like surprises, and Zak had a habit of bringing one wherever he went.
Quinn watched Zak talk for a moment before he turned and came toward the van on his own, leaving the stranger standing at the end of the alley alone.
“Sorry that took so long, it was hard to find what I needed,” Zak said, “You ready? I got some help.”
“Who is that, Zak?” Quinn asked, nodding to the hodded person.
“Now, don’t get mad at me-”
“It’s Tilly, isn’t it?” Quinn said, shaking her head. “I should just shoot you both and leave you here in the alley. It would save a lot of trouble.”
“We work well together,” Zak protested.
“Please tell me you’re not bringing her,” Quinn said, pinching the bridge of her nose.
“She’s harmless!” Zak said, running his hands through his greasy black hair.
“She shot you, Zak,” Quinn replied, pointing to his leg, then to his stomach, “twice.”
“It was an honest mistake,” Zak shrugged, “Had I walked in on you doing what she was doing, you would have shot me too.”
“You know we can’t fuck this up, right?” Quinn asked. “We can’t afford for her to get trigger happy, or for anyone to find out we’re there, okay?”
“Alright! I promise Tilly can handle it. She’s a professional,” Zak said, waving Tilly over.
“She’s a professional idiot, Zak. You’re risking everything because you have a crush-”
“Hey! Let’s not talk about that,” Zak said as Tilly walked next to the van and opened the back door.
“Hi, Quinn!” Tilly said as she jumped in the van and slid the door shut behind her. “Zak says you’ve got a job that needs my expertise?”
“Not exactly your expertise,” Quinn said, starting the vehicle. “Just a job that needs three bodies is all. There won’t be any shooting, or killing, or shenanigans-”
“Hey, I got ya!” Tilly said, patting her stomach, “I only brought six this time. Zak said it was a delicate situation. What do you need me to do?”
“I need you and Zak to be my distraction while I get the job done,” Quinn said, putting the van in gear and driving out onto the main road. “I’ll be fitting you guys with earpieces and hidden cams so I can see and hear what you’re doing while I do my job. Did you happen to bring any nicer clothes?”
“I brought what I’ve got,” Tilly said, a big smile on her face as she pulled the hood back. Her blonde hair was curled and done up in barrettes. She unzipped her hoodie, revealing the top of a cocktail dress.
“That should work. Zak, get into your outfit and give Tilly the rundown while I find a good spot to set up,” Quinn said.
Zak awkwardly climbed over the center console into the back seat, then over the next row so he could reach his bag.
“So, you and I will be a married couple-” Zak started as he struggled with his jacket.
“Oh! Can I be Elizabeth? I’ve always wanted to be an Elizabeth,” Tilly said.
“Of course,” Zak replied as he pulled his shirt off over his head. “We are a little rocky in our relationship, so at some point, when we are in position, Quinn will give us the signal to start a screaming match.”
Quinn nodded and looked up to see Tilly spun around, her neck was craned as she looked over the seats while Zak struggled oblivious to Tilly’s attention.
“That’s when I’m going to sneak in the back and get to the safe on the fifth floor,” Quinn said. “I need about eight minutes in total to get there, get in the safe, and get out. Think you can handle that?”
“I can handle it,” Tilly muttered, though Quinn was sure that Tilly hadn’t heard her.
“That’s great!” Zak said, fumbling to button his pants. “See, Quinn, I told you that she would be perfect for the job.”
Tilly spun around a second before Zak looked up, “so, how many guns should I bring in with me?”
“It won’t be that kind of fight, Tilly,” Quinn said. “It’s a performance. You just need to keep security busy. You can do whatever you need to, short of killing people, to distract them, okay? Come up with something clever.”
“What if you found out I had squandered all our money,” Zak beamed as he pulled a shirt over his head.
“We can’t talk about it now,” Tilly said. “You aren’t a great actor, so it’ll be best if I keep the scenario to myself until showtime.”
“I don’t know-” Quinn began.
“Trust me,” Tilly said, winking at her. “It’ll be more believable if I catch him off guard.”
“You’re not going to do anything drastic, are you?” Zak asked, his voice a little shaky.
“Do you even know me?” Tilly giggled. “It’s going to get everyone’s attention at the party. I promise.”
“Why do I have a bad feeling about this?” Quinn muttered, shaking her head.
Quinn found a spot a few blocks from the house where the trio exited the van with appropriate gear. Quinn headed west a few blocks while Zak and Tilly interlocked their elbows and wandered down the street toward the party.
The house could easily be seen from a mile away as the tallest structure in the neighborhood, and Quinn had looked up every stitch of information available to the public and even paid a handful of contractors for things she wanted to know that wasn’t.
“So, how have you been?” Quinn heard Zak ask Tilly over the earpiece. She shook her head and ran around a corner, hiding behind a fence as a car crept by that belonged to Castor Fernando’s security detail. Following the wall on the house side, she arrived at the edge of Castor’s property.
“Are you in position?” Quinn asked through the mic on her shirt.
“This tree looks lovely,” Quinn heard Tilly say. “Where did you get it from? I will have to call my yes man and get one planted in my garden.”
Quinn took a deep breath and said a silent prayer. “Go!”
“You fuck!” Tilly screamed. “You told me you were done with her! You’ve been fucking her this whole time, haven’t you! I gained three pounds for Christ’s sake! It’s not like it shows!”
Quinn smiled as she checked over the fence to find the guards moving toward the front yard. She took the opportunity and scaled over it. Sprinting toward the first wall, she ran up it, grabbing the lip and pulling herself up to the second floor.
“No! I won’t be quiet!” Tilly bellowed. “What’s the problem, Greg? Do I not suck your dick enough when we’re at your favorite restaurants? Don’t your friends tell you what a great lay I am after you send me to their rooms?”
“Holy shit,” Quinn muttered. She could hear the heaves between the words. She could picture the running mascara dripping on the dress. Tilly was crying like a professional and selling it.
Quinn made a quick couple of calculated jumps, leading to the third floor before checking around her once again. No guards in sight, but from here, she could barely see the garden where the party was and was happy to see clearly that two people stood in the middle, and everyone else was standing in a circle around them holding drinks.
“Do you want me to fuck Castor too? Would that make you happy? Would I be good enough then? I told you when I married you that I only wanted to be with you, and you pushed me to sleep with everyone that would get you a leg up. Then you went and slept with every floozy you could find, ignoring me completely!” Tilly screamed. “Am I not sexy enough for you? Is that the problem? This does nothing for you anymore?”
Quinn looked over to see Tilly ripping parts of her dress, and swore that even from this distance she could see the woman had pulled too much off. Zak had his hands up and looked as though he were terrified.
Quinn proceeded to the fourth floor, finding a set of stairs that ran from one balcony to another. She thanked whoever was smiling down on her as she reached the fifth-floor door and found it unlocked. She ducked inside, shutting the door behind her, and crept to the walk-in closet.
“Are you fucking hard right now!?” Tilly yelled, “Are you kidding me!?”
Quinn couldn’t believe what she heard from the earpiece. She snorted as she pushed the clothes out of the way and punched in the numbers she had gotten as the safe’s security code. The door popped open with a small click.
“I’m in,” Quinn said into the mic as she pulled cash from the safe, stacking it on the floor until she got the false back entirely exposed. She pressed in the bottom right corner and felt another click. Moving the door, she could see a tiny drawer open on the side of the iron box.
“Jackpot,” Quinn said, opening the drawer to find a Micro SD card resting peacefully. She pressed the button on the mic, “I’m out, finish it up.”
Quinn darted to the balcony and went back the way she had come. Everything was going according to plan until she heard Zak.
“Where’d you get a gun, Elizabeth?” he said. “Put it down. We can talk this out.”
“Not again,” Quinn muttered as she jumped clear over the fence from the first story of the house and rolled into a run for the van.