Delicate Touch

Chapter 6

Liang joined his wife and children on the sofa, fearing the worst. His son was seven and his daughter was five, and although they didn't understand what was happening, they knew something was wrong. At the moment he was powerless to comfort them.

Liang looked at the two men standing guard on either side of the room, pistols in their hands as always. Trying to stay calm, he addressed the man standing in front of him. "What's going on now?"

Zhu Bo Shi smiled. "Plan's changed. We move tonight."

Liang swallowed hard. He had no illusions whatsoever that Bo Shi was going to let any of them live, and now their time was almost up. "Why did your plan change?" he asked.

Bo Shi gave a little shake of his head. "Gettin' too hot, is all. I wanted eight girls, but Mu Jing just had a fight with the police, so I'll settle for six."

"Look, if it's money you want, I can get that for you," Liang said. "I'll buy all of your girls, I'll give you anything I own. I'll give you everything I own."

"We both know the only reason you want to buy the girls is to let them go," Bo Shi said. "And obviously, I can't do that."

"But why go through with this insane plan when you've got a source of money sitting right in front of you?"

"Bank transfers can be traced," Bo Shi said. "So can cars and boats. I don't want your money. I want the cash I'll get for the girls. Besides, I'm a business man, and my customers expect quality product. I take pride in being an entrepreneur. You can understand that."

"Please," Liang said. "You know it's going to end badly for you if you carry through with this. Just let us go, let the girls go, and your life will be better."

Bo Shi pulled out his pistol and aimed it at Liang's children. "Pick one."

Liang's wife cried out and tried to cover them. Liang clenched his fists.

"I'm sorry," he said quickly. "I was out of line. I'll never say anything like that again."

Bo Shi grinned and put his gun away. "You're right."

Mu Jing and Alex came in. Mu Jing was breathing a little hard, still amped with adrenaline from her fight. Alex was scowling; a makeshift bandage was tied around his arm. Mu Jing angrily threw her jacket onto the table.

Bo Shi spread his arms wide. "What is with you today?" he asked with a smile. "You bragged that the first gun battle with the police, you were gonna take out ten of 'em easily!"

Mu Jing could barely contain her fury. "This was no ordinary policewoman!" she spat. "She was good. Really, really good."

Bo Shi laughed, and asked, "Where's Chang?"

"Taking care of the car," Mu Jing said. "We had to ditch ours and steal another."

"Is he all right?" Bo Shi asked.

Mu Jing snorted contemptuously, but Alex said, "He's fine."

Mu Jing looked at the family on the sofa and asked, "What's this? Are they in detention?"

"No, just preparing to move out," Bo Shi said.

Mu Jing glared him. "What about our plan to get eight?"

"Too risky," Bo Shi said.

"We can't leave yet!" Mu Jing snapped. "Not until I get that police bitch!"

Bo Shi laughed. "Mom always said your temper would be your downfall. She was right. You've got to learn when it's time to stay and when it's time to move. You're too emotional."

"And you're paranoid," Mu Jing said. "You need to relax. Have yourself one of the girls. Hell, have all of them at once! Throw yourself a party."

"We don't touch the girls," Bo Shi said. "I keep telling you that. They're worth a lot more if they're nice and pristine. You don't have any business sense, either. That's why I'm in charge."

"Spare me," Mu Jing said. "Just please tell me there's a beer left."

"There'll be plenty of time for a beer later," Bo Shi said. "I need you, Alex, and Chang to prep the yacht."

"We just got back!" Mu Jing snapped. "And Alex is wounded."

"He's scratched. And I'm sending you three out again because you were stupid enough to almost get caught. That's your punishment."

Mu Jing fumed.

Bo Shi approached her. "Hey, it'll be all right. We leave the house at 9:30, rendezvous at 11:45, get rich by sundown tomorrow." He winked at her. "It's payday, just like I promised."

Mu Jing pointed a finger at his face, but it was obvious she was only being half serious. His words had mollified her, as he knew they would.

"Do I take dumbo with me?" she asked, jerking a thumb at Liang. "It's his yacht."

"No. I don't want to risk him getting away, and you know enough about boats that you don't need his help. Take the spare car. If you show up in Liang's car, people might wonder."

Mu Jing and Alex headed for the door.

"Check the cameras first," Bo Shi said.

Mu Jing stopped and turned. "Like I said: you're paranoid."

"Again, that's why I'm in charge. Your little gun battle has made me nervous."

"Too nervous."

"The CCTV system is one of the reasons I chose this family to take hostage in the first place! Not only do they have a nice boat, but they've got this fancy mansion with all these security cameras." Bo Shi's face darkened. "So use them."

Mu Jing sighed, but dutifully walked down a corridor, past the game room, the dining room, and the parlor, to a smaller room where Wan sat in front of a bank of monitors.

"Any activity outside?"

Wan shook his head.

Mu Jing stomped back to the living room. "We're fine. Satisified?"

"Ecstatic," Bo Shi said.

Mu Jing and Alex left. Mu Jing slammed the door behind her.

Chapter 5 Chapter 7

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