The Right Price

Chapter 16

Evander

It was Friday night, and I was still pissed off.

Six days later, and Collins was still refusing to reply to my texts. So, here I was, at the club, done with being Mr. Nice Guy.

As soon as I walked into the club, Lita Rodgers noticed me and had immediately began to secure a VIP room for me. When I had made it clear that I wasn’t here for VIP, she hadn’t been able to mask her surprise. With nothing left to lose, I had made it clear that I needed a table for the night, and a single table. Surprised, but certain that I was here for the show and easy pussy, Lita had secured one of the club’s best tables for me.

Within minutes, I’d had a drink delivered to me by one of the hottest blondes that I’d ever seen. All of Carver’s employees were top-tier, but a few of them exceeded even that. The blonde was definitely a few notches above the top-tier. However, I couldn’t give two fucks about any blondes right now.

Nope.

I was here for a five-foot-three pain in my ass with black hair and blue eyes.

For twenty minutes, I had scanned the entire club in search of Collins. Knowing that they had breaks and lunches, I hadn’t been too concerned with not seeing her on the floor. Still, when it occurred to me that she could have called in sick, that’s when I had decided to ask the blonde where Collins was. After all, if she wasn’t here, then there was no reason for me to be here, either.

As soon as the blonde came back with my second drink, I said, “Excuse me, Miss.”

She stopped and smiled at me. “Yes?”

“Is Collins working tonight?” I asked loud enough for her to hear me over the club’s noise.

Her smile widened. “Oh, another one, huh?”

That had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. “Another what?”

“Well, ever since it was announced that she’d be dancing tonight, our regulars have all been asking about her.”

Blood started rushing through my ears, my body beginning to heat with a bit of anger. “I’m sorry, what?”

Oblivious to the fact that I was about to lose my shit, she said, “Yeah, everyone’s so excited to see her on stage. I hear she’s been practicing really hard.”

“Are you telling me that Collins is going to strip tonight? On stage?”

The blonde nodded. “It’s her debut.”

“The fuck it is,” I snapped, shocking the woman, then taking off to go find Lita or Carver.

As soon as I saw Lita, I made my way towards her, not caring that she was talking to one of the dancers. “Where’s Collins?”

Lita’s brows shot up as she turned to face me. Even though Lita Rogers was only five-foot-six, she was a formidable five-foot-six. With dark red hair, bright blue eyes, and a frame that a woman could only get from working out every damn day, Lita Rogers was just as beautiful as all the other women that Carver had working for him. However, Lita was tough in a way that warned people not to fuck with her. After all, she was Carver’s club manager for a reason.

Still, I wasn’t too worried. I’d never had any issues coming here before, and Lita knew that I wasn’t a bad or troublesome client.

“Why?”

“Where the fuck is she, Lita?” I bit out. “I’m not fucking around.”

Lita’s back straightened. “She’s getting ready for her set,” she answered firmly. “What’s it to you, Evander?”

“I need to talk to her,” I stated, not giving her the entire truth.

“About what?”

“What do you think?” I kept snapping. “And unless you want me ruining a very profitable Friday night for the club, I suggest that you go get her for me.”

“Or I can just have you escorted off the premises,” she countered.

“I’m not afraid to get arrested, Lita,” I Informed her. “Now, where in the fuck is she?”

Lita stared at me for a very long time before she said, “I want you to understand something here, Evander.”

“Yeah, and what’s that?”

“What I’m about to do is because I don’t feel that Collins should be on our stages,” she said. “I’m not doing this for you, your threats, or because you scare me. I’m doing this because Collins is a good girl that doesn’t need to go down this path.”

“I agree.”

“However, you better do right by that girl,” she continued. “Collins isn’t one to be toyed with. She’s more than this club or what it represents.”

“You think that I don’t know that?”

“Yeah, but do you fully understand what you’re about to do?” she challenged.

“Meaning?”

“The girl works hard to take care of herself and her grandmother,” Lita answered. “You are about to prevent her from making the money necessary to do that. So, if you’re going to pull her from the stage, then I expect you to make up the difference in her paycheck, Evander.”

I stepped to Lita, not caring that she was the difference between me talking to Collins and me getting thrown out. “If Collins will let me, I’d have her quitting all three of her fucking jobs, so that she can stay home and take care of her grandmother,” I replied truthfully. “I’m not in this for some pussy, Lita.”

She studied me for a bit before saying, “I’m going to have to tell Carver. You know that, right?”

“I don’t give a fuck,” I told her. “All I care about is that Collins does not get up on that fucking stage.”

“And if she does?”

“Then you better have your men on standby,” I told her. “I’m not letting her get up there, Lita.”

Lita smirked. “I knew there was a reason that I liked you, Kendrick.”

“I care about her, Lita,” I finally confessed. “I really, really, really like her.”

She gave me a terse nod. “Collins is a good girl,” she repeated. “She deserves someone that’s going to be good to her.”

“I know that,” I replied. “I know that like you wouldn’t believe.”

“Follow me,” Lita instructed, not saying anything more.

Silently, I followed her down the hallway near the restrooms, and when we came upon a door with a nameplate that read manager, I knew that we were at her office. I also appreciated how Lita was willing to give me some privacy for this. She could have easily had Collins meet me outside or at my table, so this really was a point in my favor.

Once we entered her office, she turned to look at me. “Make yourself comfortable.” I noticed a little smile playing on her lips. “Better yet, pour yourself a drink. I think you’re going to need it.”

“I’m good,” I semi-lied. “I’m pretty sure that I’m going to need all my wits about me for this conversation, and I’ve already had one drink.”

Her smirk widened. “Good call.”

I shrugged. “I think so.”

Lita let out a deep sigh. “Okay, well…I’m going to go grab Collins,” she said. “Just remember something, Evander.”

“What?”

“Everyone in this place is on Collins’ side, whether they realize that sides are forming or not,” she informed me. “If this thing goes sour for you, you have no allies here.”

“I understand.”

“Do you?” she asked, eyeing me. “Because Carver doesn’t fuck around, Evander.”

“Yeah, well…neither do I,” I fired back.

Lita just lifted a brow before heading off to go get Collins. However, I was pretty sure that I heard her mutter ‘good luck’ under her breath.

Glancing around the room, it looked like a standard office, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Lita had a snazzy, little, registered-or unregistered- handgun locked somewhere in her desk drawers. Her warnings about Collins weren’t just words, and I knew it. Even if Lita didn’t have a way of avenging Collins, I had no doubt that Carver would come after me.

While the bar on the far side of the east wall was whispering to me, I wanted to be completely sober for the fight that I was certain that Collins and I were about to have. I was pissed, and I was pissed at more than her just not returning my texts. Collins had decided to dance for money when she’d had ten-thousand dollars waiting for her in an envelope, and I wanted to know why.

I wanted to know why, and I wasn’t leaving without an answer.

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