Page 48

I sat up and narrowed my eyes at the monitor where the video of the kid pushing the stacks of moving boxes inside was rolling. "That's a good fucking question." Even if I had gone overboard in proving my point to the kid, something still wasn't adding up. "Was he the one that let the rats loose in the club?"
Chuck grunted. "He was. He brings all the boxes in and then opens them all. He even dumped them into the HVAC ducts. That's how they got into the private rooms. So I scrolled through the tape on the nights of the rest of the incidents and found this."
The video brought up the kid standing outside the ladies' room talking to one of the cocktail servers who was clearly on her way in to use the restroom. There were several minutes of flirting and then the girl nodded and took what looked like a bunch of wadded-up cotton from him before disappearing inside the restroom. Chuck fast-forwarded the tape to the bathroom on the second floor and the same thing happened with another one of the girls. The kid flashed a shit-eating grin at the camera and then disappeared back into the crowd of people in the club.
"Son of a bitch." I shoved my hands through my hair and started pacing back and forth. "He's messing with my business because I jacked his hand up?"
Chuck and Stark exchanged a look. It was Stark who spoke up. "I think it's more than that." He motioned to his bank of computers. "You hired a Tyler Finch and that's what his info says on his W-2 and driver's license, but the only Tyler Finch I can pull up with the same Social Security number is a middle-aged doctor in Akron, Ohio. He definitely isn't some kid from the Point."
"What are you trying to tell me? I have an impostor on the inside of my operation?"
"That's exactly what he's telling you, boss. We've been digging through everyone and everything we could find, and so far the kid is the only one that doesn't seem to check out, and he was the one in the cooler before those shelves fell. I think he took the job here just to get in on the inside and mess with the business."
"Why?" Key asked the question that was on the tip of my tongue. "What did you do to him?" She looked at me over her shoulder with her eyes narrowed.
I shrugged. "Nothing that I know of or can recall off the top of my head, but that doesn't mean anything. His dad could owe me and Race money, his mom could be one of the girls turning tricks on my watch, and I could've slept with his girlfriend or put her on the pole. Hell, maybe I just cut him off in traffic. The reasons for someone to have it in for me are endless and we won't know until we have a chat with him." I didn't even want to voice all the reasons why someone I knew before I found my way to the Point would want to tear my world apart from the inside out, but I could see the knowledge in both Chuck and Key's eyes as they watched me.
"He's good at being someone else. I've been trying to pull up anything on who he might really be but I can't find anything. He's a ghost."
I grunted. "All the stuff he did to the club was really juvenile, really immature. He didn't even avoid the cameras. He doesn't seem like any kind of criminal genius."
"Maybe he has someone helping him." Key's softly spoken words made sense . I figured it was the only way he could've obtained a fake ID and how he was able to digitally disappear.
Stark shrugged his massive shoulders, making the ink visible on his neck move. "Probably. I know a few underground tech kids that would be able to throw together this kind of smoke screen for the right price. They usually make money by getting the Hill kids fake IDs to sneak into your clubs, but a few of them could pull this off. I'll poke around."
I lifted my eyebrows. "I can do my own poking if you give me the names."
Key rolled her eyes. "You're scary to regular people, Gates. There's no way a bunch of awkward computer geeks are going to open up to you."
Stark crossed his arms over his chest and lowered his eyebrows over his dark gray eyes. "Not all computer guys are socially inept. Just like not all strippers are easy."
Key grinned at him and I saw him gulp a little bit. That smile of hers could really be the downfall of a man. It made you want to give her anything and everything you had.
"True, though I have been that far more often than I care to admit. So what do we do now?"
"You don't do anything. We find him and I'll handle it from there." I made sure there was no room for argument in my tone but that didn't stop her from sputtering at me.
"This is my business too, Nassir. I need to be included in the things that affect it." Her tone told me I wasn't going to ever get away with simply telling her that I would take care of anything.
Chuck looked back and forth between us as I walked over behind her chair and bent to kiss her on the top of her head.
"This isn't about control or keeping you out of the club business, Key. This is about me handling what needs to be handled and you keeping your hands clean. I'll protect what's mine. I always have."
She tilted her head back so she could glare up at me. "So will I."
I adored her fierceness, but it was something that could get her into trouble. "This part of the business is on me. If things go south and someone ends up dead or behind bars, it will not be you-ever. I won't negotiate that with you." I inclined my head in Stark's direction. "Let me know as soon as you find anything. I don't care how much the information costs."
He gave me a lopsided grin. "That's a dangerous thing for a man with deep pockets to say."
I just grunted at him in response. "I have an errand to run. I'll be back before we open up for business tonight."
Chuck eyed me curiously as I asked to borrow the keys to his SUV. I needed to move getting a new car up on my priority list. "You need me?" He was a smart guy; he would know my request had to do with the address I'd asked him to pull up for me before Key and I got to the club.
"No. I just have a little something I need to take care of." I kissed Key on the top of the head again, but she surprised me by getting to her feet and walking toward the elevator with me. She practically dragged me into the little box with her once the doors swished open, and I was surprised how much force she had behind her shove when she forced me against the back wall and caged my head in between her hands as she loomed in front of me, striking and furious in equal measure.

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