Hi friends. Now on to more creative things. Here is Chapter 3 of The Cleaning Lady. Sorry it took me so long to get it published. I hope you like hearing from Derek.
Derek awoke to a ringing sound. Light was shining through the curtains to the right of his bed.
He collected his phone from the nightstand and peeked at it through the slits of his eyes. Alicia Conta, the screen said. His brother’s assistant.
“Hello?” Derek grunted out.
“I’m sorry to wake you,” a very matter-of-fact voice said. “I have some terrible news.”
Derek sat up. He sighed. “Go ahead, Alicia.”
“Your brother was killed last night. In his bed.”
Derek didn’t miss a beat. “Thank you for letting me know.”
She didn’t say anything for a while. Then, “Again, I’m sorry to wake you. I will keep you informed of the funeral details.”
“Thank you, Alicia,” Derek said. He hung up the phone.
Derek looked at his phone. It was 9:30 a.m. He didn’t usually wake up until 11, since his shop opened at noon.
Images of his beautiful mother flooded his brain. He tried to go back to sleep, but it was no use.
Derek’s brother Evan was a horrible person. Derek did not care that he was dead. He was relieved, actually, so he couldn’t hurt anyone else.
Evan had been in league with an Italian crime family, the Calderones. It’s how he got to the top. He had them kill their mother, because he wanted the house. The house was supposed to go to both Derek and Evan of course, but Derek didn’t fight it when he moved in. There was no way in hell that Derek was going to live with his brother, the sociopath.
They weren’t Russian, but because he was a politician, the Calderones enjoyed having Evan in their pockets.
The Ivanov family, a Russian crime family, rose to be a significant enemy to the Calderones because they were running guns, taking all the Calderones customers and money. That’s when Evan started going after them, covering it up as an initiative to “clean the streets of Toulouse County.” Most likely, that’s what got him killed.
Derek took in a deep breath and threw the blankets to the side so he could get out of bed. He took a shower and shaved. He’d just go in early. Westwing Studio was his shop. He could do whatever he wanted.
The shop was about five minutes drive from his home in Cherrywood. Cherrywood was a college town, and its downtown area where Westwing was located popped, even in the daytime. Cars and people littered the street, even in the morning. But it was a weekday, and it was still early. Derek found a spot just a few paces away from his shop.
When he approached the small storefront, he saw a young girl sitting on the ground next to the door. She had long black hair and black glasses. She had a piercing through her eyebrow. She had a book in her lap and looked up as he approached.
Derek smiled. “Do you need help with something?”
“Um,” she ran her hand through her long hair. Her nails were painted black. “Are you opening up?”
Derek checked his watch. 10:15. “We don’t open until noon, but I could help you if you need something.”
“I don’t want to cause you any trouble.”
“No trouble,” Derek said. He unlocked the door and smiled. “Come on in.”
Derek hit the lights and turned off the alarm system.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
He must of gave her a look, because she laughed. “I know. I don’t look like a Candace.”
He laughed. “No, you don’t.”
“Yeah, my mom’s an asshole.”
He smiled. “So, what can I do for you today, Candace?”
She stared at him for a long time and started to shake visibly.
“Take your time,” he said quietly.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, then opened them. “I was wondering if it was possible to cover this up.” She lifted up her long black sleeve to reveal a four-inch vertical scar on her wrist. It was puffy and red, as if she had been rubbing it.
There was only one thing that left a scar like that.
Derek smiled at her. “Let’s see what we can do.”