Vanessa tucks her slim pedicured feet into a pair of black heels, then gets up from the hotel-room bed and moves to the dresser. She grabs her phone, taps 0-6-0-4-9-8, her younger sister’s date of birth, and the bright lock-screen disappears.
She logs into the escort site and double-checks the confirmation. This is all still new to her—fucking wealthy, powerful men for large sums of money. But tonight’s John is the one she’s been waiting for
A kaleidoscope of butterflies flutters around inside of her empty belly. She steps into a short black cocktail dress—a form-fitting number she picked up just for the occasion.
Standing before the bathroom’s full-length mirror, she looks herself over. Her auburn hair tucked securely beneath a black wig; twin strands of twisted curls frame her face. The dress is strapless, sexy. She clasps a new hand-crafted ruby necklace around her neck. And, of course, the heels, a pair of Louboutins. Black and open-toe, with matching midnight nail polish—per his request.
“I can do this,” she says to her reflection. A deep breath fills her lungs. “I will do this.” She exhales. She snorts two lines of blow—something she’d never done before coming to Las Vegas but something she needs now. Not enough to get high, just enough to keep sharp, alert. Glancing at the mirror. “This is for her.”
She hails a yellow cab, a safer choice than an Uber. Cash leaves no trace. She steps out of the cab ten minutes later, tipping the driver ten bucks. She struts down three city blocks before reaching his hotel. The click-clack of her heels on the pavement trails her like a shadow.
She breezes through the hotel lobby. A flurry of bright fluorescent lights flickers above as she floats across the casino floor like a supermodel moves across the runway. A classy, sexy strut she’s labored to perfect.
Stepping off of the elevator on the penthouse floor, she walks down the long carpeted hallway. She taps lightly on the wooden door and waits. Her heart beats heavily inside of her chest. She inhales. Is this how Sara felt when she went to meet him? She exhales.
Wearing nothing save her necklace and heels, she bites the pillow. Twenty minutes in, and he hasn’t stopped fucking her from behind. She wants to get on top of him and ride. Her knees are sore—her hips are locked. She can’t rush it, though; he’s paying her a grand for this.
His gruff voice cuts into the sex-filled silence.
“You remind me of someone.”
Pulling the pillow from her mouth, she moans,
“You want to get a better look, baby?”
“Hell yeah, I do.”
She straddles him, rocking her hips hard. She’s ready. Not for him to finish, but to finish him. Today isn’t about pleasure; it’s about pain.
She fingers her necklace, palming the ruby stone handle and twisting the thin, cork-screw blade from its sheath. A weapon hiding in plain sight. One she had made just for him. She places the blade right above his aorta, crosses her hands like she’s about to perform chest compressions—something she’s done as a nurse.
She whispers, “Did you get a good look, baby?”
“Yeah, but I can’t place it,” he says, opening his eyes again.
She drives the blade into his chest, twisting it clockwise deep into his heart. Bright crimson oozes from his chest, dribbles from his mouth.
She dresses quickly, then wipes his blood and her prints from everything she touched. His campaign staff will be back soon. He’d told them he needed “an hour with the whore.” She empties the cash from his wallet and then uses his fingerprint to unlock his iPhone. She resets his passcode with Sara’s birthdate and throws the phone into her purse.
She slips out of his suite; glances back and smiles. Such a poetic way to kill a senatorial candidate who owns a winery. Now she has to make it safely back to her hotel room and start digging through his iPhone. The location where they buried Sara’s body has to be in there somewhere. Vanessa will find her. She has to.