“A motel? Really?” I said. The acrid pollution of downtown air stung my eyes. Vincent never went downtown. I continued my tiptoeing, ducking behind a plastic tree that smelled of mold when he glanced back. Three…two…one. I peeked around the tree. He was getting away.
Vincent Moreno stalked through the narrow halls of the musty Duena Motel in a suit more expensive than a month’s stay here, carrying a bottle of white wine that cost enough to buy the place. The man I married ten years ago was a stranger now. A stranger who lied about business trips and paid cash to stay in shitty motels.
I pulled my black ballcap lower over my forehead and crept further down the hall. Smoke swirled around the “no-smoking” signs on either side of the hallway. Cream wallpaper with dark brown paisley print peeled from the walls as I passed by. Dark stains lined the pea-green carpet like they were part of the décor. The stench of urine violated my nostrils and I fought back a dry heave.
I lifted the cap up a bit. Shit! Where did he go? My steps quickened as I reached the edge of the hallway. A hand gripped my right arm and yanked me into room 108.
“Why are you following me?” Vincent asked. His words were quipped. Different from the gentle and easy drawl I was used to. He snatched the ballcap from my head. “Lorena?”
“What are you doing here, Vince?” I asked.
His eyes closed and his nostrils flared as he exhaled. “Business,” he said.
“Business? Downtown in some shitty motel? You don’t seriously expect me to believe that?” I asked.
His jaw clenched and he pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and index finger. “You need to leave,” he said. “Now.”
“What is it, Vince?” I asked. I pulled his hands into mine. “What am I not doing for you? Why am I not enough?” I asked. Tears streamed down my face.
“Lorena, now isn’t the time,” he said. His jaw ticked.
“Vincent, please –”
Three soft taps sounded from the door. My eyebrows furrowed and I yanked my hands from his. Vincent grabbed my face between his hands and pressed a hard kiss to my lips. “Stay quiet,” he said, gripping my shoulders. He stepped closer and I backed up against the closet door. “I swear, I will explain everything to you later.” He slid the closet door open. “I swear.” I fell back against the wall as the closet door slid closed.
I wiped the tears from my face and kneeled. I slid the door open until I could see out of a small crack. A blond woman in a short black trench coat stepped into the room. Her sunglasses covered over half her face. She wrinkled her nose as she looked around.
“Ew,” she said. “Why couldn’t we just get a room at Daddy’s hotel again?” she asked. Glittery blue shadow covered her eyelids as she removed her glasses. The powder was caked up in creases above her eyes. “I told you last time, I don’t mind paying.” She smiled and nibbled at the endpiece of her sunglasses.
Blondie moved further into the room and laid her sunglasses down on the table beside the wine. “Is this for me?” she asked. She lifted the bottle. “Chateau d’Yquem? Isn’t that, like, five grand a pop?” she asked. Her eyes and smile widened.
“Seven-thousand five-hundred. Plus customs to have it flown in,” he said. He grabbed the bottle from her hand. “Not for you, though.”
She giggled. “Oh, right. I have to earn it first,” she said. She unbuttoned her coat as she stepped backward toward the bed. Vincent smiled, but didn’t move.
I scoffed and my nails stabbed into my palms. As I stood up, my head clanged against the metal railing inside the closet. “Shit!” I winced and stumbled out of the closet.
“What the hell?” Blondie asked.
My head throbbed, but I stood up straight. “What are you doing here with my husband?” I asked. My nostrils flared as she took a step towards me.
“Who the hell are you?” she asked.
“I’m—” I flinched as blood splattered across my face and lips. Blondie dropped to the floor. Behind her, Vincent lowered a gun with a silencer attached to the barrel.
“Go shower,” he said, placing the gun on the table. “I’ll take care of this.”