Tijuana is the largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California. It is known for its economic prosperity, popular night clubs and shopping areas, but also because it is considered to be the Mexico’s biggest illicit drug and prostitution center.
Just like Miami is stronghold for Anti-Castro Cubans, Tijuana is stronghold of the Arellano-Felix brothers, leaders of the Tijuana Cartel.
The Arellano-Felix Organization (AFO) is one of the most powerful and aggressive drug trafficking organizations operating from Mexico; it is undeniably the most violent. More than any other major trafficking organization from Mexico, this organization extends its tentacles directly from high-echelon figures in the law enforcement and judicial systems in Mexico to street-level individuals in United States cities.
The AFO is responsible for the transportation, importation and distribution of multi-ton quantities of cocaine and marijuana, as well as large quantities of heroin and methamphetamine, into the United States from Mexico.
The only other organization that might be able to put the AFO in the shade is the Juarez Cartel, also known as La Alianza Triangulo Dorado (Golden Triangle Alliance) because of its leaders in three Mexican border states: Sinaola, Chihuahua and Durango.
The Arellano family, composed of seven brothers and four sisters, inherited the organization from Miguel Angel Felix-Gallardo, Hanna’s grandfather, upon his incarceration in Mexico in 1989 for his complicity in the murder of a DEA Special Agent.
Ramon Eduardo Arellano-Felix, considered the most violent brother, organizes and coordinates protection details over which he exerts absolute control. He oversees and directs the recruitment of enforcers and hit teams.
Enforcers are often hired from violent street gangs in cities and towns in both Mexico and the United States in the belief that these gang members are expendable. They are dispatched to assassinate targeted individuals and to send a clear message to those who attempt to utilize the Mexicali/Tijuana corridor without paying the area transit tax demanded by the AFO trafficking domain.
The Juarez Cartel has its own paramilitary members; Los Zetas. Ex Army-Special forces, regular troopers, police agents and common criminals. Some of those ‘Zetas’ have received special-forces training under the US Army. The members with military backgrounds could be considered as mercenaries working for the Cartels. Los Zetas are known to be extremely violent and have been blamed for an outbreak of violence along the border.
Just as the Juarez Cartel maintains ‘Los Zetas’, the AFO maintains well armed and well-trained security forces as well, described by Mexican enforcement officials as paramilitary in nature, include international mercenaries as advisors, trainers and members.
The AFO also maintains complex communications centers in several major cities in Mexico to conduct electronic espionage and counter surveillance measures against law enforcement entities. The organization employs radio scanners and equipment capable of intercepting both hard line and cellular phones to ensure the security of AFO operations. In addition to technical equipment, the AFO maintains caches of sophisticated automatic weaponry secured from a variety of international sources.
However, in spite of the fact that Ramon is the visible head of the Cartel, it’s still his uncle, Miguel Angel Felix-Gallardo, ‘El Padrino’, who is the one that pulls the strings in the shadows.
His last known location was a federal maximum security prison but ‘El Padrino’ vanished after he was allowed a temporary release from the institution for medical treatment; his whereabouts have been unknown since then.
Ricardo told me his location is an open secret and even though everyone around seems to know where he lives, not even the DEA is seriously trying to catch him. In fact they are protecting him somehow because since ‘El Padrino’ has been out of prison the bloody war between the Tijuana Cartel and the Juarez Cartel is enjoying a moment of relative peace.
It seems ‘El Padrino’ reached some kind of agreement with the Juarez Cartel’s leader, a fucker named ‘El Azul’, and they are sharing the benefits of their drug trafficking business in one of the Mexican border states; Sinaola. This territory is directly controlled by one of the factions into which the Guadalajara Cartel split after ‘El Padrino’ was arrested the first time.
The Sinaola Cartel has been led by former lieutenants who are loyal to ‘El Padrino’, so they are working hand in hand with the Juarez Cartel in order to keep that old wanted peace as much time as possible. Not an easy task though because the slightest slip can blow away that calm, unleashing the bloodiest mess anyone might dare to figure out.
‘Mad Doc’ came and removed the stitches, giving Hanna a few pieces of advice about how to proceed from now on regarding the rest of her wounds. He also told her to take it easy for a few days so that the internal stitches don’t end up jumping from their places. ‘Mad Doc’ even added he didn’t want Ricardo going after him because she has been messing around, playing the tough girl.
Ricardo and I agree Hanna is not ready to face Reynaldo, Santos and all the shit that is waiting for us as soon as we meet them in Baja California, but there’s no way to make her change her mind.
Hanna says she’s going to bring those two fuckers down along with all their fucking organizations, saving Crystal in the process. She says she couldn’t save Magdalena, but that she’s not going to let history repeat itself.
Hanna may be still weak and sure as hell she’s damn far from being healed physically and emotionally, but she’s using the ‘Ice Queen’ to accomplish her goal once more. Hanna can’t help it. She doesn’t know any other way to survive this hell but to use that hard cold pose she has been using for years. I wonder if she will be able to get rid of her when all this shit is done once and for all.
In addition, Hanna is more determined than ever before and that’s something considering she almost can’t take a step without letting out a hiss in pain, not to mention she’s still wincing and whimpering each time she takes a seat.
At least there are no more lies, half truths or secrets between us and even though sex is the last thing we have in mind, we’ve been sleeping together in the same bed for the last couple of nights.
I didn’t suggest it; Hanna had begged me to sleep with her. I’ve been holding her, cursing myself silently when she tensed her body, shivering with fear, unable to relax completely in my arms. However the worst part was the nightmares.
Hanna has been screaming, reliving what Snake did to her, tossing and turning, even fighting me just to start crying silently as soon as she realized it was me who was holding her. Hanna’s really doing her best to let me in, but she still tries to shut me out when she feels she’s losing control over her own emotions.
I’ve been forcing her to talk to me about those nightmares because I think it’s a good way to help her release all that fear and pain that are consuming her inside. Of course at first she didn’t want to and started to bitch about how she was sick and tired of me and how I only wanted to heal her fast so I could fuck her again. I could have ignored her, but I chose another line of action.
I replied damn right I was going to make love to her again, but not any time soon, so she better get a grip because I wasn’t going to go anywhere, adding she better stop bitching about spilling those damn scary dreams or I was going to kick her killer ass out of the damn bed. In response Hanna gasped loudly, cursing at the top of her lungs, but after a couple of minutes, she relaxed and told me about them.
Ricardo says I’m doing great and that he’s sure I’m going to be able to heal her, using endless amount of patience and love because that’s the only way to do it. I know he’s right but damn! This is a more difficult task than I thought it would be at the beginning. The daily routine is a bitch.
Ricardo has been openly ignoring William’s presence, not giving a shit if the old man might be feeling uncomfortable. Actually, Ricardo has been acting as if William wasn’t with us at all, giving him the cold shoulder since he showed up in the kitchen with the damn lasagna.
Ricardo hasn’t said a single word to him either, with the exception of ‘no fucking way’ when William said ‘El Padrino’ wanted to see Hanna alone. His tone of voice didn’t leave any room for complaint and William swallowed whatever he was going to say in reply. I figure he knows better than to push Ricardo’s limits.
Hanna didn’t say anything at all because Ricardo had already put her on a short leash, saying this time she was going to do things his damn way; no exceptions. Hanna opened her mouth to complain but no sound came out as soon as he fixed her with a cold gaze that cut her breath and mine in the process.
The flight to Tijuana from LA seemed to take twice the time it should have. The tension on board was almost palpable. Ricardo boarded the plane and took a seat, making himself comfortable. Then he pulled out his pack of cigarettes and putting his sun glasses on, he started to smoke non stop, cursing under his breath from time to time.
I didn’t know what to do exactly. On one side I wanted to be with Hanna but on the other side I knew Ricardo was having a hard time allowing William to be close to her. Finally, I made up my mind and decided to take a seat at Ricardo’s side, leaving Hanna to talk with William.
They spent all the time on board with Hanna recalling as much non official Intel as possible about her grandfather and William spilling all he knew about him. Nevertheless, I’ve been talking with Ricardo about ‘El Padrino’ too and I’ve realized big dark guy knows more interesting Intel about the drug lord than William knew.
Ricardo told me ‘El Padrino’ has stables with Spanish and Arabian horses he breeds and that he’s a gardening enthusiast. In fact it seems the drug lord spends a lot of his time surrounded by exotic flowers he himself cultivates in his own greenhouse.
‘El Padrino’ also loves books and he has the most extensive collections of old Spanish manuscripts preserved in private hands. He even handed over some of them to be temporarily exhibited at prestigious museums all over the world.
However, Ricardo also told me to not fool myself because Miguel Angel Felix-Gallardo may be a family man and sure as hell he has charisma, class and honor; but he’s also a very dangerous fucker. Ricardo even gave me a piece of advice: not to speak to him directly until I was asked first.
As a personal note regarding his current health, Ricardo said ‘El Padrino has 90% deafness in his right ear and 60% in his left one. It seems to be courtesy of the tortures he was subjected to while under arrest for his implication in the murder of a DEA undercover agent named Enrique ‘KiKi’ Camarena.
By now and by luck or misfortune I’m familiar with the kind of information an intelligence agency works with and that’s how I’m sure that thing with exotic flowers is not available that easily. So, I bet Ricardo’s connections with the Cartel run deeper than I thought at the beginning. However, big dark guy added without me asking in advance that he has done a couple of ‘jobs’ for ‘El Padrino’. Once more Ricardo didn’t go into specifics, not that I needed that kind of Intel either. I can figure that out on my own.
We landed around one hour ago at a clandestine airstrip the Cartel uses for its business. The place was crowded with men armed to the teeth and several black armored SUV’s with mirrored windows. No wonder. ‘El Padrino’ wants to make sure no one hurts his granddaughter. About damn time he’s worried about that. It’s a little fucking late for that shit.
Ricardo jumped out of the plane and headed toward one of the guys. They greeted each other and then the guy handed him the key to one of the SUV’s.
Watching Ricardo talking with them I’m starting to think we didn’t need William at all to make it possible for Hanna to meet ‘El Padrino’. So I guess the fact that Ricardo let him come with us is just a way to keep Hanna off his back.
Big dark guy knows Hanna is damn stubborn and he also knows if he didn’t back up a little, she was going to be messing around no end. I bet Ricardo is not so willing to be dealing with a mad as hell Hanna, much less knowing he already has to deal with a mad as hell Elaine.
Anyway as soon as Hanna saw all those guys surrounding the plane, she started to shake slightly, pressing herself to me. Ricardo and I glanced at each other and then Ricardo turned around and in a tone of voice that sounded more menacing and colder than ever he said not one single man was allowed to be close to Hanna with the exception of the two of us.
Those guys nodded firmly and they didn’t dare to contradict him. I guess all of them know who they are dealing with.
After that Ricardo, Hanna and I got into one of the vehicles and William got into another with one of ‘El Padrino’s’ lieutenants, and we headed toward La Hacienda, ‘El Padrino’s estate.
We’ve been driving through tracks between the hills for about an hour and every few miles we have been passing roadblocks and checkpoints. I swear I never saw such security measures in all my life.
Hanna hasn’t said a word since we got in the car and she has been fumbling with the hem of her shirt, sighing hard from time to time. I figure she’s nervous as hell and that’s the reason why Ricardo and I have been pretending we’re not here with her.
We all know that the evidence Hanna has is not enough to convince ‘El Padrino’ that Reynaldo was behind Magdalena’s death and we also know that Santos’ organization might mean a very profitable chance for the Tijuana Cartel to extend its business to Europe. Not to mention Reynaldo’s connections with the CIA and the fact he’s one of the biggest weapon dealers and represents a unique chance for the Cartel to reach a privileged place, awarding veto control over the Juarez Cartel.
Finally we make out La Hacienda. The land has an area of 10 square kilometers with a stream that divided ‘El Padrino’s’ estate in two big parts. All the property is surrounded by an impregnable security device with men patrolling the area with automatic weapons.
We drive through the main gates, finding an asphalted road that opens in two ways. We take the one on our left side, crossing a bridge, leaving behind what seems to be a little town and there is also a herd of horses, running free all over the place.
I look through my side rear view mirror and I notice our car is the only one that is now driving along this road, not even William’s car is following us anymore.
I frown deeply as I turned my head, looking at Ricardo and he grins lightly.
“They are not allowed to be near the house. El Padrino doesn’t like to be surrounded by bodyguards.” He explains to me and then he looks at Hanna in the rear view mirror. “Only his family and his closest friends.” Ricardo adds, winking at Hanna. In response, she chuckles softly and returns her attention to her shirt.
I turn around in my seat and gently I take her hand in mine. “You’re not alone, Hanna. We’re going to be with you all the time.” I whisper, squeezing her hand lightly. “You’re ready for this.” Hanna raises her head and staring at my eyes she smiles.
“I know, Dominic, it’s just that…” she trails off, frowning deeply, like she’s struggling with herself. “I’m nervous as hell.” Hanna breathes, her smile faltering a little.
Ricardo chuckles, shaking his head. “Coño, you were the one who wanted to meet him, Hanna.” He says, grinning. “You made the bed, now you lay on it, princess.” He adds, teasing her. Hanna narrows her eyes and grunting she flips him off, making the three of us burst out laughing.
I don’t know why but I was expecting ‘El Padrino’s’ house was going to be a super fancy mansion with big columns and indecently expensive shit, but his house is a nice big Spanish style country cottage painted all in terracotta colour.
There’s a big patio surrounded by arches that lead the way to the different sections in which the house is divided with a fountain in the middle. Countless flowerpots are spread all over the place as well as climbing plants and there are several ornamented Arabic plates hanging from the walls.
The air smells like jasmine and there’s no sound around us with the exception of the murmur produced by the water splashing inside the fountain.
I look through one of the arches as I knit a brow. There’s another house built in a similar style but smaller at the other side of the garden, past the swimming-pool area. It seems to be some kind of guests’ house and it’s surrounded by a large tiled terrace.
A Mexican old lady comes to greet us, introducing herself as Isabel, the housekeeper. She looks at Hanna, smiling tenderly and in Spanish she tells us ‘El Padrino’ is already waiting for us at the saloon.
Hanna takes a deep breath and exhales the air slowly through her nose, looking down. I frown slightly as I take her hand in mine, squeezing gently. Hanna lifts her head, locking eyes with me and an almost imperceptible shiver runs up her spine. Her gaze is as cold as ice itself and when her eyes flicker I shudder, staring at those two beautiful emeralds, sparkling like stars, holding my gaze.
“I’m ready to do this.” Hanna whispers as she tiptoe on her feet, kissing my cheek. Her lips linger their caress causing I shudder again, closing my eyes for a second. Her voice sounded emotionless and I find myself letting out the air I’ve been holding, opening my eyes as I nod ‘yes’.
The ‘Ice Queen’ is back.
We follow Isabel, crossing the spacious hall toward the salon with Ricardo walking a couple of steps ahead of us. We are walking hand in hand, our fingers interlaced as I look around, taking in each and every detail of the drug lord’s house.
Furniture is mostly made in wood and wicker and the design is classical. There are several paintings hanging from the walls, showing daily routine scenes of the life in a farm as well as farming implements. There aren’t expensive carpets and the floor has been made with paving stone mud.
Again I find myself frowning in puzzlement. For a guy who is the most powerful and rich man around ‘El Padrino’ is a man with simple tastes. I would even say his house may be considered plain in its decoration. There isn’t anything around that cost more than a few grand.
We enter the room and at once a mix of different sweet aromas assaults our nostrils. Jasmine, roses and sandalwood. Hanna shivers lightly as soon as she spots him. There he is, Miguel Angel Felix-Gallardo; ‘El Padrino’.
He’s staring at us and his expression is unreadable. His features are hard, like a man toughened, somehow weather-beaten. His hair is curly and mostly black with a few grey hairs spread all over even in his moustache. El Padrino is dressed in dark blue pants and a matching polo shirt.
My first impression is that I’m looking at one of those peasants that spent a lot of time plowing the land with his bare hands under a blazing sun and a strong wind. Nevertheless I snap back to reality in a second flat. ‘El Padrino’ may look like a farmer but he’s a drug lord, and not anyone for that matter. He was the one who began a working partnership with the Columbian kingpin Pablo Escobar, dealing in coke when everyone around was still trafficking in heroin. Not to mention the fact that he was present while that DEA agent was tortured to death, he was more than just a silent witness.
Miguel Angel Felix-Gallardo is not only a drug lord, but a very dangerous man, and all of sudden I have serious doubts about whether this is a wise decision at all. Even though he’s standing there, just looking at us I feel an almost overwhelming coldness and strong dangerous presence. Something similar to what I felt the first time I saw Ricardo but somehow more subtle. A threatening posture.
However and in spite of the fact that ‘El Padrino’ is who he is, this man seems to be a very traditional in his tastes; nothing to do with those two fuckers of Reynaldo and Santos. He’s not exactly living a drug lifestyle judging by the things he surrounds himself with.
There are no naked chicks around or blaring music and I bet he doesn’t tolerate drugs under his roof. I seriously doubt ‘El Padrino’ allows any of his employees to use them either. I think he would consider that as a clear disrespect against his person. I would even dare to think ‘El Padrino’ sees himself as one of those landowners, surrounded by peasants and I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes good care of all of them. I bet he makes sure the kids from the surrounding area are going to school, getting proper health care.
I notice he’s alone, no bodyguards around, at least that’s what look like but I bet if we give a false step a small army would show up in a second flat, ready to kill us without hesitation. A man like him doesn’t reach his current position trusting people around him for the hell of it. Even if the people around are his granddaughter, Ricardo and I.
‘El Padrino’ is sitting in a wicker armchair and slowly, never taking his gaze off Hanna he gets to his feet. Hanna squeezes my hand hard and I notice every single one of her muscles tensing in seconds. It’s not fear; it’s something else.
Hanna narrows her eyes, staring back at him. He softens the expression of his face as a tiny smile passes across his lips. I glance at Hanna from the corner of my eye as she lets out the air it seems she has been holding without any of us realizing it.
“Ana Maria…” He says, locking eyes with her. “I never thought I would see you again, mijha. You grew into a beautiful woman.” He has a strong Mexican accent and his voice sounds lightly hoarse and yet deeper than I guessed.
I can’t help it but his words shock me. I thought for a second he was going to dislike Hanna as soon as he laid eyes on her. However, here he is, calling Hanna ‘mijha’.
I bet he probably only saw her one time before or two times at the most. I can’t see a man like him, with his traditional manners and mentality, going to visit Hanna when she was a little girl. At the end she’s the illegitimate daughter of his only son and I bet he had a few words with Hanna’s mother. William told us he didn’t like her one bit and that he was very disappointed with his son because he was disrespecting his wife.
And all of sudden realization dawns. Hanna was nervous because she wasn’t sure if her grandfather was going to receive her at all. No wonder. Even though he made sure Hanna got his money that doesn’t mean he was going to welcome her with open arms. Who knows the hidden motivations that led his actions back then? He perfectly easily could have done that just so he could silence his conscience after he ditched Hanna’s mother and consequently Hanna herself.
I’m sure Hanna doesn’t need his love or approbation to be happy but at least the only person alive with her own blood running through her veins actually seems to care a bit for her. Nevertheless Hanna’s response to his words is not exactly what I was expecting. She’s staring coldly back at him, emotionless, and her chin is slightly raised, showing a defiant stance, causing the drug lord’s smile to disappear from his lips in a second.
Time seems to stop, wrapping us in a bizarre sensation that feels anything but pleasant. To say that the situation is awkward would be an understatement, a nice way to put it. The tension is so heavy it may be cut with one of big dark guy’s shivs. The air seemed thick and dense, and a deathly silence lies upon the large salon until after a long moment of unreal calmness ‘El Padrino’ narrows his eyes slightly, looking at Ricardo.
“Ricardo Montenegro.” He says, tilting his head to one side. “What an unfortunate circumstance, my old friend.” He adds, choosing to ignore Hanna’s attitude as he offers Ricardo his hand to shake it. Ricardo nods and glancing at Hanna, he closes the distance between us and ‘El Padrino’.
“Nothing I can’t deal with, Miguel.” He replies, shaking hands with him. Ricardo is talking a couple of tones higher than usual and ‘El Padrino’ has turned his head slightly to the right side, never letting his gaze off Ricardo.
I’d swear they are having a silent dialogue and I’d bet they are talking about Ricardo’s and Hanna’s relationship over the years. The three of us know William has been updating Hanna’s Intel to her grandfather, but surely leaving out those parts the old fox thought weren’t going to please the drug lord one bit. I wonder if this man knows about Hanna’s past in detail.
Hanna is so tense she’s almost trembling. I know she’s scared, mad and hurt all at once, but she’s doing a damn fine job at pretending. So without being aware of it, my thumb starts tracing circles over her wrist and she relaxes a little. My unconscious move causes ‘El Padrino’ to drop his gaze to our interlaced fingers as a tiny grin passes his lips. Then he raises his gaze, locking eyes with me like he’s trying to read me.
“You must be Dominic Toretto.” He says, glancing at Ricardo from the corner of his eye.
“Yes, sir.” I reply emotionless. In response, he chuckles softly.
“Call me ‘Padrino’” He replies, extending his hand to me.
Ricardo narrows his eyes lightly as he nods imperceptibly, and without a second thought I release Hanna’s hand, moving forward to shake his.
‘El Padrino’s hand is rough; his handshake firm. He keeps eye contact with me all the time while we shake hands. I didn’t realize it but I’ve been holding my breath until he released my hand. It’s not like I feel I need his permission for anything, but I’m glad at least that it seems I meet his expectations regarding Hanna.
He takes a seat, gesturing to us to sit and Ricardo turns his attention to Hanna, gesturing for her to take a seat at one of the armchairs placed at the opposite corner of the salon, near a large sliding door made of glass that leads to the garden outside.
Hanna narrows her eyes, clenching her jaw so tightly her neck muscles are rippling under the soft skin. She knows from now on it’s Ricardo’s way or the highway but still her gaze is flashing us with a mix of anger and pain. However she obliges without saying a word but not before she sends daggers to big dark guy. In response, he grins widely, winking at her.
The Ice Queen’s presence is heavy as her cold gaze fixes on her grandfather. I know she’s mad as hell, but she’s keeping her rage under control for now. Hanna doesn’t like it one damn bit to be ignored or mistreated. However, her knack regarding people’s weaknesses is as sharp as usual, and Hanna already knows her opinions mean nothing inside her grandfather’s world.
‘El Padrino’ tenses visibly under Hanna’s intense glare, but after a moment he makes himself comfortable, ignoring her for the second time. He didn’t say a word but his acts speak volumes.
Just as I figured, ‘El Padrino’ doesn’t care too much if he made Hanna mad. Actually I bet he doesn’t give a damn as long as Hanna stays quiet, not bothering us while we talk. Given this man’s traditionalism, women are considered to be good for nothing with the exception of mothers and wives. Women inside of his archaic mentality have no say in the matter. So consequently and in spite of the fact that Hanna is his granddaughter, the drug lord is going to ignore her presence, at least concerning business.
Isabel enters the salon, carrying a tray with four glasses filled with whatever ‘El Padrino’ asked for, placing it onto the wicker table. Then she turns around and after a quick glance to him, she heads toward Hanna, resting one of the glasses on a small table at Hanna’s right side, leaving the room, closing the door at her back.
“You probably don’t know it, but I met your dad once.” He says, breaking the uneasy silence. “One of the best cars racers I have seen in all my life and a very honorable man I have to say.” He adds, sipping from his drink.
I knit a brow at his words. I can’t explain myself but his words sounded more like a very subtle threat than a compliment. I had already suspected the drug lord has been receiving updates from William concerning anything regarding me and probably even Mia. I don’t like the idea one damn bit of this man having Intel about my family, but I guess the fact he thinks my dad was an honorable man means that at least I can expect some kind of respect on his part.
Diplomacy never was my strong point and the fact that he’s obviously on guard is not helping to ease the tension. However I figure Hanna disrespected him with her cold attitude, not answering him after he addressed her as part of his family and that fact can send her own plans to hell. I have the strong suspicion Ricardo and I have no other choice but to dance in the rhythm ‘El Padrino’ is playing if we want to stay in his good grace.
“I can’t fucking believe it.” Hanna mutters through clenched teeth as she gets out the SUV, slamming the door closed. “After all the shit we went through and now this.” I look at her, frowning deeply and then at Ricardo, who gets out of the car as well, pulling out two cigarettes, lighting them up, handing one to Hanna. “What the fuck are we going to do now?”
“Hanna, please, calm down, baby.” I say, stroking her arm up and down, trying to sooth her. “We will find another way to do it.” Hanna grunts annoyed as she looks at me, sighing hard.
“Reynaldo and Santos are now under the protection of the Tijuana Cartel, Dominic.” Hanna replies, taking a deep puff of her cigarette. “We can’t touch those fuckers without suffering the consequences of going against ‘El Padrino’s orders.”
Ricardo leans back against the car, closing his eyes, rubbing his chin as he keeps smoking. I look at him and he seems to be lost in thoughts.
Certainly ‘El Padrino’ may think about himself like a damn peasant, but at the end of the day he’s just a fucking drug dealer, no matter how nice he’s painted his lies for himself, acting like a honorable man. All he cares is about his damn business and his fucking money.
I frown deeply, lost in my own thoughts, recalling how he didn’t even blink while Ricardo was telling him how Magdalena was killed. We have been so absorbed during the last days taking care of Hanna that we didn’t check what those two fuckers were doing.
It seems they haven’t been wasting their time, at least not Santos. The Italian has bought a load of automatic weapons from Reynaldo, offering them to the Tijuana Cartel to somehow sweeten future deals.
“Santos is going to set Reynaldo up.” Ricardo’s voice pulls me out of my thoughts. “I’m not sure but I bet Miguel made a secret deal with Santos and that fucker is going to bring Reynaldo down as a gift to ‘El Padrino’, so he can prove his loyalty to the old man.”
“What?!” Hanna replies, arching her brows. Ricardo looks at me and then back to Hanna.
“Come on, princess, think about it.” He says, holding her gaze as he elaborates. “Reynaldo is like a fucking red flag in the middle of the damn snow, Hanna. He’s too flashy and that’s something bad for this kind of business. All those chicks, the coke, his parties… the Cuban is a liability and not even his precious connection with the CIA are worth it anymore for anyone, not even for ‘El Padrino’.” Ricardo chuckles. “At the end the three letters has hundreds of fuckers like Casamajor, messing around.”
Hanna narrows her eyes, looking at him. “El Padrino is going to use Santos so he can keep his advantage over the Juarez Cartel.” She says absently, frowning deeply. Ricardo grins devilishly, nodding ‘yes’.
“And because he can’t risk a war between cartels ‘El Padrino’ is keeping that damn deal secret to the point that not even his nephews knew about it?” I ask, narrowing my eyes, looking at Ricardo.
“That’s right, sir.” Big dark guy replies, his evil grin widening.
“But Reynaldo is not that stupid, man. I mean the fucker doesn’t trust anybody.” I say, looking back and forth between Ricardo and Hanna when all of sudden, she smiles a little, shaking her head.
“Quite the opposite, baby.” She says to me, her smile widening just like Ricardo’s. “I bet Santos has been keeping Reynaldo high on coke and drunk on tequila almost 24/7, so he didn’t notice what was happening around him because…”
“…He desperately needs a friend who can keep up with his sick lifestyle.” I finish Hanna’s line.
“Give my little kids a cookie!” Ricardo says, chuckling at his own words, looking at Hanna and me.
“What about Crystal?” Hanna asks, looking at him. “I’m not going to let any of those fuckers hurt her, Richie.” She says fiercely.
“We can’t kill Santos and Reynaldo is already dead even if he doesn’t know it.” I say, looking at Ricardo, frowning. “What are we going to do now?”
“Now we’re going to play dumbass and we’re going to join them in two days as it was planned.” Ricardo says as a matter of fact. Hanna and I look at him, narrowing our eyes in suspicion as his lips spread in that predatory smile. “Then we get Crystal out of the mess and we take care of unfinished matters.” Big dark guy adds, throwing his butt.
“And in the mean time?” I ask him, frowning lightly. Ricardo sighs hard, pulling out another cigarette.
“We’re going to make a stop in Rosarito, I want to see my kids, and I guess you’re dying to see your little sister before we go to Sinaola.” He answers, lighting his cigarette, grinning wickedly. Then he blows the smoke through his nose, chuckling. “And I gotta deal with a very pissed off Elaine.” He adds, laughing hard.