Shadow had always lived in her father’s footsteps. It hadn’t been intentional. However, it had constantly been at her awareness. It would have been impossible to ignore, as her father was prominent not only to her, but to her the world around her. Even now, as Shadow walked through an old warehouse her father was present with her. Though the presence was only through constant text-messages, he was there, and he would know if she were to mess up. This had less insecurity, and more of a cherished attribute. Her father was a strong-willed man, and it would cost them both if she were to mess up.

As she walked through the dark space, she nodded towards a man outside a small office. He immediately made a gesture to her that was caught between a nod and a smile. She commonly wondered if men acted foolish around her because of her blonde hair, and small figure, or in fear and awe of who her father was. Perhaps it was both, as the man, twice her size, quickly moved out of her way, as though there would be consequences if he hadn’t. Which may have raised question, as to if there would? One call could end his job, which in this business may in fact lead to the end of his life.

 Now in the office, Shadow saw two other men at the desk. Quickly, they scrambled to make it look like they were doing something. When even an un-trained eye could realize that they had just shuffled their feet off a desk, and changed the television from some sitcom to the security cameras.

 “Seriously… one of the biggest shipments of the year, and you two idiots are watching American Idol?” She showed no emotion. She did not laugh, or crack a smile. This was common behavior for her; she never presented weakness, at least not at work.

  Unfortunately for her, the man behind the desk was not scared of her. He was well built, and perhaps if she were not who she was, she may admit that he was handsome. His face was defined, and hard, as though he had been through trouble, and he probably had. “Well if it isn’t the little princess.” He laughed as he spoke, a quality that Shadow loathed. This business was life and death; there was no place for joking.

  “Listen kiddo, your daddy called while you were taking your damn time getting here. The shipments been cancelled, some problem with the coast guard. I guess he didn’t bother to send you one of them little picture messages, now did he?”

Shadow scowled, stepping forward. “They are called text messages, and he was probably busy.”

  “Of course he was darlin’. You keep telling yourself that, while I go pour myself a drink. There’s a movie coming on channel 10, that’s got some pretty hot girls, thought I’d watch.” He smirked, his eyes focused on her body.
“You’re free to join if you want. We could keep each other company.”

Shadow stepped back away from him, turning towards the door. “Keegan, you’re retarded, and so lucky that your dad is my dad’s right-hand man, or you’d be nothing.” Her tone was blunt, and cold. There always had been something about Keegan that rubbed her the wrong way since she was ten. They had grown up side by side and Keegan had always been far too obnoxious to handle.

Keegan chuckled, and placed his palms together, both relaxed, and amused. “You’re exactly right, Cara,” He often used Italian words as some form of irony for the mafia. “I would be nothin’ without my father, but so in fact, would you. The mafia don’t need cute little blondies, your daddy just found it easier to let you play mafia, instead’a raisin’ you.”

She turned back to face him, whipping around at a speed comparable to a cyclone.

“How dare you! I have always been efficient. I get my work done, and I get it done right. This is a business, you have to take it seriously, or it’s life and death Keegan, how don’t you see that?” her voice could be heard echoing through the entire building. The other guard had seemingly woken from his television slumber and was listening intently. No one dared insult Shadow, for the fear of what her father may do if he were to find out.

Another smile played on Keegan’s face. It was all knowing, and arrogant. “Cara, I see things almost the same as you, ‘sept I’m not a hypocrite. I see things how they are, and then I react. You say its life n’ death? Yeah, you’re right. However, the way I see it, if you could die, isn’t this kinda your life? You can’t live your whole life bein’ so serious; the world isn’t all black n’ white like in books. Sometimes you gotta shoot to win, sometimes you shoot and lose, might as well get a good laugh out of it.”

She pursed her lips, her eyes burning intensely as she focused on his face. “What if those jokes of yours get you killed?”

Keegan moved his feet off the desk and stood, walking towards Shadow. His head was an entire foot above her, as he leaned down to whisper in her ear. “Then you’ll be sad, because I couldn’t a’ done this.” He brushed his lips across her neck, pressing them to her skin.

Stunned, Shadow didn’t move for a moment, trying to process what Keegan had done. Several seconds had passed before she could gather the strength to back up.

“I don’t think you should ever touch me again.”

The other guard had retreated from the room somewhere’s in the conversation. Perhaps from a signal from Keegan, she wasn’t so sure. Keegan’s hands were soon on her hips, holding her in place.

 “Shadow, why are you so stressed, if you don’t relax you might drop dead.” His voice had changed from a bubbly joke to a calm serious voice. As though he actually cared what she did.

 “I’m not stressed, I’m busy.” She lied through the tension in her neck, and the quiet shivering of her muscles.

 “Cara, you’re such a fool.” He laughed again, the serious tone from before disappearing back to his previous demeanor.

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