Chapter 7

“DO you have insomnia?” Dr. Clyde asked Angela when he visited Aleli for a home check-up. “You’ve got dry eyes and—”

Angela looked away from him. “Doc, I’m not the patient here,” she said and stood. “What do you want? Coffee or… coffee? We don’t have teas here.

“Coffee, but please, keep it black, and no sugar,” he said and winked at her.

Angela quickly turned her back. Every time the doctor does that, her heart flutters, and she hated it. If she could just request for another Pediatric Cardiologist, but she can’t do that, Dr. Clyde can calm Aleli’s tantrums, and she can see that Aleli is fond of the doctor. Maybe because he always has something for Aleli whenever he visits for a home check-up.

“Did you like my gift for you, Aleli?” she heard Dr. Clyde asked his daughter. His calmed voice was like a lullaby in her ears. “I’m going to give you the complete collection of those dolls if you promised me that you would not cry again at night.

Angela placed the coffee mug on the small table behind the wooden chair that Dr. Clyde occupied. She looked at her daughter, who was now busy with her new doll. Aleli looked at Dr. Clyde, then pouted her lips.

“Then, you should tell my mom not to leave at night,” she said and lowered her head. “I don’t want her to go to work at night.

Dr. Clyde looked at her. “Is there a way that you could change your shift at the convenience store you’re currently working on?

Angela avoided the doctor’s eyes. She sat on the stool in front of him. “I have filed my resignation,” she answered and looked at her daughter. “Next week, Mommy’s gonna find a new job.

Aleli’s smile widened. “You’re not going to leave me at night?

Angela nodded. “I won’t, sweetie.

“Where are you going to apply for a new job?” Dr. Clyde asked. “My sister has a restaurant if you want, I can recommend you to her—”

“Thank you, Doc. But, I have received calls from new employers,” Angela said, but it’s just a lie.

Aleli’s doctor doesn’t know about her job as a pole dancer in the club. Even their neighbors and friends to where they’re staying don’t know anything about her. About what she does at night was only between her and Meera. She doesn’t want her child to know that her mother was a prostitute. It’s also true that secrets are meant to be revealed no matter how good you hide it.

“Angela, you should take care of yourself,” Dr. Clyde told her. His handsome face was showing concern to her. “You’re all she has.

Angela pressed her lips together and lowered her head. She didn’t know that she was shaking until Dr. Clyde held her hand. Angela’s heart almost leaped from her chest when she felt his palm touched her skin.

“Angela, if you could just let me take care of you—”

“No,” Angela said in a stern voice. She pulled her hand back from him. “I don’t need anybody. What I want is just…” she glanced at her daughter, who was busy with her new toys. She lowered her voice when she continued. “What I want is Aleli’s safety.

Dr. Clyde looked straight in her eyes. Angela felt as if he’s relaying something to her discreetly. When she can’t take it anymore, she looked away.

“Do you think I don’t I don’t know, Angela?” he asked in a low voice, almost a whisper. “I saw you that night, Angela.

Angela froze in her seat. But, she can’t just reveal herself. She looked up and stared in his eyes, blankly. “Is it another mistaken identity story?


“FOUR o’clock, the man with greying hair,” Gray spoke over his lapel. “Keep an eye on him—”

“Why? He looked like just a dirty old man waiting to see naked women dancing,” Tac complained from the other line. He arrived at the club at the past eleven, just before the show started.

“I saw him last night talking with the club owner,” he said. Then, he did some clicks to the laptop to zoom in the lens from Tac’s body-worn hidden camera. “On your left, the short-haired woman, she’s known by her alias Krista. She’s a runner. Keep an eye on her.

He heard Tac groaned. “I’m not an insect to have many eyes. I only have two eyes, and these were meant for a beautiful girl on the stage.

“That’s not Red Angel,” Gray commented when a slender woman appeared on the laptop screen. Tac wasn’t doing a good job covering the whole club. “Switch tables, I saw familiar faces from your right side.

Tac turned to his side, and a couple of men appeared. “Sounds like the tramp’s features were marked in your mind,” he said and laughed. “I am hoping to see her tonight.

“Too bad for you, she’s not gonna show up tonight,” he said, then zoomed in the lens. “On your right, black bonnet, gray hoodie, he’s the barker.

“How did you know?” Tac asked. “The barker’s talking to the man that talked to Krista a while ago.

“That barker told me that Red Angel is available only on weekends,” Gray answered. “I can see lots of big guys on the corner. Focused on the owner, zoomed in…” Gray waited for the blur to clear. “F/2.8 aperture and gotcha!

“Is it on HD?” Tac asked, his voices sounded far from the microphone.

“Did you just swallow your microphone?” he asked as he converted the camera into a large depth field. “Don’t chew on the cables—”

“It’s wireless,” Tac said with a groaned. “Stop leaving under the rock. Are you Patrick Starfish?

“Stop baffling and do your job, Tac.” Gray printed all the shots in an A4 coupon bond and pinned them on their wall. That looks old school, but it’s effective on him. “The barker looks busy talking with the owner.

“They’re glancing at my direction,” he said. “Should I shoot them?

“Play dumb,” he said and refocused the lens. “You dressed like a wealthy businessman, what do you expect?

Tac chuckled. “Oh, right. I’m the man with multiple credit cards tonight.

Gray’s brows furrowed when the woman alias Krista went to the corner of the stage and disappeared behind the red curtains. “Be alert, Tac.

“I’m born to be alert,” he whispered back.

The lights in the club went out. A moment later, flashes of red and blue lights flooded the stage, followed by a piece of loud sensual music. A roar of whistles from the audiences filled the background. Some were screaming Red Angel to come out from the stage.

“Tac, get the first girl that will interact with the owner,” Gray said. “But, don’t fuck. We gotta do some catfishing.

“Hey, Gray. It looks like you’re misinformed,” Tac whispered from the other line. Seconds later, a woman in red sexy lingerie stepped out from the curtains. She sauntered towards the center stage, and the audiences get crazy. “Wow, she’s so popular. And hot! Tell me to capture the angel, Gray.

Gray leaned closer to the laptop screen and studied the woman on the stage. “Hold on, Tac. I’ll be there in a minute.


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