Chapter 5

“LIVE show!” shouted a man wearing a brown jacket and washed-denim jeans. “Live show!

The man clapped his hands loudly and shouted again as if selling something on the streets. He was standing in front of a narrow alley surrounded with red curtains, and on the side of the entrance was a hall of pictures of different naked women. But, the woman on the hanged tarpaulin caught Gray’s attention. She was wearing a thin red net dress that barely covered her intimate parts.

Gray stared at the woman’s masked face. He doesn’t know why he felt a sudden sadness just by looking at her brown eyes. The side of her face up to her eyes was covered by a red feathery mask, but even with it, her plump red lips were enough to say that behind that mask was a beautiful face.

‘Red Angel…’ Gray whispered in her mind.

“`Wanna see her dance naked, sir?” The man that’s called a ‘barker’ of the club approached and asked Gray. “Red Angel is one of our premium dancers here.

Gray smirked and lowered his head. He stepped closer to the barker and whispered. “How much will it cost me to take her out?

The barker smirked. “You’ll bid for her, sir. Every weekend we are conducting a bid for the club's premium women,” he said in a low voice that seemed unnecessary because of the noise around the streets. “And, only a few can take her out.

“Give me an estimation of her value,” he said and looked at the tarpaulin. “How much is her time?


“WHAT happened to your eyes, Mom?” Aleli asked Angela as soon as she went out of her classroom. “Did you cry?” she asked worriedly.

Angela shook her head. “No, I didn’t. I think it’s just because of my headache,” she lied. “I haven’t sleep, right? When your sleep is not enough, you’ll get these puffy eyes.

Aleli gasped. “Oh, but it’s different from Aunt Meera. She has dark circles under her eyes—”

“It’s because I watched too much Kdramas at night,” Meera said, rolling her eyes heavenwards. “Come on, let’s go to the mall.

Angela’s daughter jumped in excitement. “I can’t wait to buy a new dress and shoes and a lot of dolls!

“Don’t run, Aleli!” Angela called for her daughter when she started to run away from them. “Aleli, you’ll get tired. I told you, it’s bad for you to get tired.

Aleli stopped and looked back at her. Her eyes and furrowed brows were like throwing her questions. “But, the teacher said, running is good for the health.

Angela held her daughter’s arm. “Yes, it’s true. But, you’re still too young to exercise, sweetie.

Aleli pouted her lips. “Okay. Then you have to carry me,” she said and smiled sweetly at her.

Angela felt a lump in her throat. She can’t cry in front of her child. She doesn’t want Aleli to see her weakness. She has to be strong for her daughter and for her friend, Meera.

“`You okay?” Meera asked.

She nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine…” she said and smiled. “Thank you for everything, Meera.

Meera snorted. “I hate dramas,” she said and took Aleli. “Let’s ride a pedicab. Your mom is sleepy and can’t walk anymore.

“What’s pedicab? Was it the bicycle with a carrier?” Aleli asked curiously.

Angela smiled, her daughter never ran out of questions. “You got it right, sweetie. They’re called pedicab because they run via peddling. Ped for Pedal and Cab for Cab, just like in TaxiCab. In some other countries, it's called cycle rickshaw, BikeTaxi and many more.

“Wow!” Aleli exclaimed. “I want to ride a pedicab, Mom! Please?

Angela chuckled. “We will. We’ll just wait for one to pass by here.

“They’re everywhere,” Meera added. “Some of our neighbors are pedicab drivers.

Aleli nodded. “Lesli’s father has a bicycle, and he uses it to bring and fetch her to school…”

Angela knotted her forehead when her daughter suddenly stopped talking. “Why, honey? What’s wrong?

Aleli hesitated to answer, and it upsets Angela. “Mommy…” she paused and then looked at her. “What’s a prostitute?

Angela caught her breath. She doesn’t know what to answer to her innocent daughter’s question. Even Meera was speechless. She shot her a questioning look.

“A-Aleli… where did you get that? Who told you about that word?” Angela asked. The panic was starting to eat her sanity.

Her six-year-old daughter bit her lip, and then after a few seconds, she started crying. “Lesli told me my mom is a prostitute… I asked Teacher what does it mean, and she said that it’s a bad word.

Angela took Aleli from Meera. “Shh… Don’t cry. You promised mommy that you’ll never cry again, right?

“Mommy, it’s not true, right?” Aleli asked, tears streaming down her rosy cheeks. “You’re not a prostitute, right?

Tears stung her eyes. “No, I’m not…” she murmured and hugged her daughter. “You’re mom isn’t a prostitute.


“YOU’RE going alone tonight?” Tac asked Gray. They hang out in a KTV bar near their apartelle to watch the people around their assignment city.

Gray drank on his bottle of beer. “Get the owner’s details then ran research on our database for hints.

Tac groaned. “Can I just go with you to the bar? It bores me to just sit in front of the laptop. I wanna see sexy women dancing in the spotlight.

Gray scowled at his partner. “Then why did you accept to be an IT specialist?

“Because it’s easy for me,” he said in a bored tone. “But, ‘easy’ doesn’t mean ‘fun’ for me.

Gray shook his head. “Let’s switch job for tonight. I need to take a break. The barker saw me twice yesterday.

Tac’s smile widened. “Then it’s a deal.

“Don’t make any stupid move, Tac. If you don’t want your ass to be hauled out from the team, behave yourself,” Gray warned him. “We can’t afford to lose this case now.

Tac clacked his tongue and winked at him. “Don’t worry, I’ll just watch the famous Red Angel sway her hips on the stage.

Gray paused upon hearing the woman’s code name. Her sad brown eyes, luscious lips, and sexy body flashed before his eyes. Gray felt something familiar inside him, and he also knew that this kind of feeling shouldn’t be entertained.


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