Unedited Draft: WARNING: Intended for Mature audience

| La Mano  Part 8 |

Elena frowned down at the drool on her pants before looking up at Juan, her big burly body guard, who looked stone faced back at her.

"I want them replaced, today." Elena wavered her hands at the panting muts sitting before her in her compound’s courtyard. A shiver settled on the back of Elena’s neck. Her attention drawn to her study window when she saw the curtains move. She frowned. Did she leave that window open? She closed her eyes trying to hold onto her train of thought. "Take care of this. I'll be in my study tying up some loose ends with Diego Rivera." The big man nodded and started his steady stroll away to carry out her demands.

The damn dogs let someone into La Mano's compound. She made a note to break Javier’s wrist for selling her the pitiful lap puppies and calling them guard dogs. What was the point of a guard dog that doesn’t guard? Why was she feeding them, Charity? This wasn't the humane society. She had an operation to run. A reputation to uphold. Legs to break, a point to prove!

Elena wiped sweat off her brow as she made her way up to her study. Her mind straying to her next issue: Diego Rivera. Diego Rivera was a wild card in her world at the moment. She didn’t want to like the man but she did. His calm humorous nature was bizarre in her line of business but she saw the twinkle of crazy nestled in the depths of his eyes. An alliance of some kind with Diego was favorable, an excellent business move, but giving away some power, trusting someone, even if just a little bit was a risk. He wanted to meet La Mano de Diable after her people reached out to him. He didn’t know she was a woman, not many did. Elena sighed. She had to find some deal that would solidify his loyalties, further secure her authority, and hold onto as much power as possible.

Elena opened her study door her mind deep in thought. She shut the door quickly behind her when she saw Arillion's lean form resting on the window frame that overlooked the courtyard below. She knew someone was watching her. She tried to keep her heart beat settled, but the sight of him brought back erotic memories of their time together; not as a master thief and a vicious drug lord but simply Arillion and Elena.

"What are you doing here?" Elena masked the lightness of her fluttering heart with coarse words but they didn't seem to move Arillion one bit.

"What's going to happen to those dogs?" He nodded to the courtyard below.

Elena crossed her arms ignoring the chill his voice sent up her spine. Ay dios mio! What had he done to her? Heat started to rise in her body hovering just below her skin. "Muerte." She responded. Emotionless.

"Why?"

"They failed to do their job."

Arillion looked at Elena from over his shoulder his gaze lingering on her before bringing his attention back outside. "I'll take them."

"What?"

"Let me take them off your hands."

"Too late Juan is already seeing to their ...resignation." Elena strolled over to the bar and poured herself a drink. She had to do something to keep her mind busy.

Arillion grunted. "I’d like to see him do that.” Arillion mumbled under his breath before turning toward Elena. “Faust?"

Elena met his mischievous eyes his lips curled up in a smirk. "What did you do?"
Arillion shrugged pushing off the window frame heading her way. Elena abandoned her glass on the counter next to the open container and turned to face him using the countertop as support. She was sure her body would betray her. It was easy to act unaffected when he wasn’t so close, but with his presence surrounding her, making her body tingle, mind race… She wanted to do something crazy. Somehow she held her insanity at bay.

“Now that you risked life and limb to get Faust what will you do with it?”

“I paid a debt with it.” Why was she telling him this? Maybe that’s his game: makes people feel comfortable then he robs them blind. He had this casual way about him, nonchalant, confident. It irritated her and aroused her simultaneously.

“All of that and you don’t even have it in your possession?”

Elena smirked. “Not in my possession, at least as far as the rest of the underbelly is concerned which means they’re looking else where for it.”

Arillion laughed the sound pleasant to the her ears. “My clever lady.” Arillion was slowly making his way over to her. Running his hands along a statue behind her couch, lamp shade on a side table, as if they had all the time in the world. What was she doing? She had so many things that she should be doing.

“Well, I certainly didn’t get this far by being stupid.” Until she met Arillion anyway.

"To answer your question.” Arillion said finally close enough for her to smell his light cologne. “I thought my reason for being here would be obvious." He placed his hand on the small of her back and pulled her to him. She came without hesitation. Damn body! "I came to see you." Arillion placed a kiss on her forehead then rested his forehead on hers. Elena exhaled in what felt like the first time since she was last in his arms.

Elena pushed Arillion away. "Arillion no! You have to stop this. You can't come here anymore." With her back to him she could start to formulate logical thoughts.

Elena felt him touch her arm coaxing her to face him. She couldn't. She knew he would weaken her resolve with his charm, and his smile, and those eyes. "I promise not to ruin your reputation. No one will see me come or go."

"Eventually someone always sees."

Arillion wrapped his arms around her from behind. God she loved the heat from his body, the feel of his lips grazing the tiny hairs on the nape of her neck. "Then stab their eyes out."

Elena frowned turning toward him. "You're squeamish about killing a couple of useless dogs but are willing to poke someone's eyes out?"

"If it means seeing you, I don't care if we have to cut their tongues out or sow their mouths shut to keep them quiet."

Elena smiled for some sick reason the grotesque images his words conjured up brought her a giddy joy. "Oh how I love it when you talk dirty." Elena pressed her butt into Arillion's groin a sinister smirk pulling up the corners of his perfect lips. Elena's gaze settled on his mouth memories of where they'd been a few weeks before started playing through her head. She wanted to taste him.

"Do it then." Arillion whispered startling Elena from her fantasies.

Elena frowned. "What?"

Arillion presented his charming crooked smile. "Kiss me Elena."

Elena furrowed her eyebrows. Was the man a mind reader too? Stealing thoughts was yet another one of his skills?

Arillion stroked Elena's cheek, "Your eyes give you away." He leaned down closing the gap between them, hovering just above her lips waiting for her.

"You... you have to leave. You shouldn't be here." Elena pulled away.

Arillion frowned letting her slip from his hold. He crossed his arms and leaned on the counter that she abandoned to put some much needed space between them. She couldn't think straight when he was so close.

"If that's what you wish. I'll never darken your doorstep again."

A knock sounded at the door. Juan's heavy, slow voice flowed in from around the aperture. "Little Chico's waiting for you."

Elena cursed under her breath making her way to the door. "Arillion-" She looked behind her and found the room empty. She frowned gazing down at her feet feeling alone, cold. Elena shivered at her own loneliness. She took a deep breath and opened the door her usual look of distaste settled into place. "Make sure Chico is uncomfortable and ready my usual tools."

Juan nodded. "There's another thing." The large man, easily three times her size, rubbed the back of his meaty neck, eyes averted to the ground. "The machete's are...uh... gone."

Elena flared her nostrils but inside she laughed. That damn clever man. "Find the damn machete’s, get more, or shoot the damn beasts!"

Juan nodded. "What should I do about the dogs in the meantime?"

Elena shrugged. "I suppose they'll live another day. Kill them once you find something to kill them with." Elena strolled over to the window but the ropes that held the dogs to the well in the courtyard was empty. "Juan?"

"Si` La Mano?"

"Did you move the dogs from the courtyard?"

"No senora."

Elena crossed her arms over her chest. "Damn thief."

"La Mano?"

"Take care of Chico then set up the meeting with Diego Rivera."

"What about the d-.”

Elena turned toward Juan and crossed her arms annoyed by the man’s presence. “Unless we’re seeing two different things the dogs are no longer our problem. Now do what I asked you.”

“Si senora."



*

Elena tossed warm water on her face and cleansed her hands. Chico's blood stained the white sink basin as it swirled down the drain. She rolled her shoulders and cracked her neck. A most satisfying interrogation. Elena usually felt more fulfillment after a good thorough interrogation, but since... since the weekend with Arillion there was always some pent up energy that she couldn't work out with working someone over.

Elena looked at herself in the mirror. A fierce warrior looked back at her dark eyes, hard furrowed eyebrows, dark hair tossed this way and that matted to her head from sweating. She relaxed her face and turned on the shower stripping down to nothing.

She wondered what Arillion saw when he looked at her. Did he see a killer? See a dangerous foe? Or did he see, something else. Elena looked at her reflection again. Did he see her? See the woman behind the crazed creature that she had to be, the facade she put in front for the rest of the world?

Elena stepped into the shower. She exhaled and relaxed letting the water wash over her. She lifted her head when she felt a breeze blow in from outside. She peeked around the safety of the glass wall and found, nothing...no one. Now she was losing her mind. Did he really mean to never come back to her? She didn't really mean she never wanted to see him again. God Elena what do you want? She knew exactly what she wanted...who she wanted...

Elena's breath caught when two strong familiar hands wrapped around her naked body a solid, unyielding surface fixed itself to her backside. Elena took a deep breath breathing Arillion in. She remembered his smell from the first time she met him when he broke into this place.

"We never got to finish our conversation." Arillion breathed. His breath tickled the hairs on the back of Elena’s neck.

Elena looked at him over her shoulder praying her would never take his hands off her. "You stole my dogs."

Arillion cocked an eyebrow. "You have no proof of that."

Elena turned to face Arillion. "I thought you would never come back."

Arillion tucked a piece of her hair behind her ear. "If that's what you want I will oblige." Arillion ran his hands down her back and cupped her bottom pinning her against the wall. He slid a finger between her slick lower lips. "Mmmm feels like you missed me Elena." God she loved hearing her name on those lips. Elena smiled when she felt his desire grow pushing against her belly. Elena's insides did that delicious lava crawl and chills ran the length of her spin at the very thought of having Arillion on, around, and in her.

There was no mistaking. La Mano de Diablo could never let her guard down long enough to enjoy the carnal pleasures that this man offered her, but when she was with Arillion she was not a bloodthirsty, demon goddess that reveled in the pain she delivered to others. She was just Elena.

Elena pulled a knife hidden in an offset in the wall of her shower and pressed the blade against Arillion's side. He stilled. She pushed the blade into his side backing him up to the glass door. "You didn't think I wouldn't be prepared did you?"

Arillion slowly wrapped his fingers around Elena's neck and pushed her back to the tiled wall. Elena bit her lip as Arillion's head bent to consume her mouth. She breathed him in the knife falling with a clatter to the ground as she laced her arms around his neck.

THE END

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