Lilly had just arrived at the loft, Mozzie's latest residence. She pulled into the garage and was just hopping from her Blue Ninja motorcycle when her cellphone chirped, alerting her of a newly received text message.
"What in the world?" she muttered, her brow furrowed. It was from Mozzie, he had used the code, asking how Atticus—her favorite character from To Kill a Mockingbird—was. The message contained an address and, upon seeing 911, Lilly knew it was urgent. "You could have sent it earlier, Mozzie." Lilly said to her phone, as if it could hear her or talk back.
With an annoyed sigh, Lilly pulled her red hair in a ponytail, deciding to forgo the helmet because the damn thing made her head hurt.
Moments later she was back on her bike, weaving around cars and driving with her usual reckless ease. Her thoughts drift back to the first time she had met the strange man who had, much to her surprise, become her friend.
Four Years Ago
Thirteen-year-old Lilly often visited the less-than-pristine parts of town; it was hardy for enjoyment. It was all about money. A girl had to eat, after all. After three hours in a dimly lit smoke filled pool hall, she slipped out the back exit. Once out of the site of the two men she had just hustled, she allowed a satisfied smile to show. It's never a good idea to agitate the marks, and grinning was a definite no-no. Being observed leaving with large amounts of money was just asking to be robbed. Of course, it was especially dangerous for her. She was a young girl, an easy target for grown men. Using a trip to the ladies room as an excuse, she had quickly picked the lock on the back exit door, a crime perhaps but she wasn't to blame. After all Lilly, wasn't even old enough to be in there, so the real criminal was the bouncer at the door.
Soundlessly, she stepped out the door and into the alley that ran behind the bar. She was not alone, as she noticed right away, and she quickly slipped beside the nearby dumpster, unseen. Making no noise, she listened to the conversation taking place and snuck a glance from behind the dumpster.
"You really thought you could leave before the job was finished?" the larger man whose back was to Lilly said. He was brandishing a gun in his left hand as he advanced closer to the other man. She had a clear view of the other man. He was short, bald, and wore a very ugly pair of glasses. She immediately felt sorry for him. She knew what it was like to have bigger people mess with. Not to mention the fact that the he was, rather unfairly, unarmed.
"I made it very clear that I would bail at the sign of any violence. That's not part of my job description." The bald smaller man replied somewhat nervous.
Did this little man not realize the danger he was in? Lilly wondered. A harsh laugh from the gun-wielding jackass made it all too clear to Lilly that if she didn't help right away the other guy would soon be dead.
Moving from behind the dumpster, thankful she had decided on her purple sneakers today instead of her usual steel toed boots,
Lilly quietly advanced on the man. Kojak was smart enough to not acknowledge her presence much to her relief. When she was within a foot of him she smelt his cologne and wrinkled her nose. She had no plan when she approached. Improvising, she reached out and snatched the gun from the foul man's hand.
"RUN!" Lilly yelled at the other man, as she took her own advice. Lilly couldn't believe that had worked. The gun owner's immediate chase was enough incentive to get the other man pounding the pavement as well. He wasn't fast enough, apparently not used to having to flee on foot, and a loud grunt from behind her made Lilly stop in her tracks and whirl around. Did the moron not know she had a gun for goodness sake?
The furious and out of breath man who smelled like a French whore had caught the be-speckled man and was now kicking him.
"STOP!" Lilly screamed as he connected another kick to the figure on the ground. Pausing, he looked at her, taking in her freckles, red hair in a sloppy ponytail, and brightly colored clothes. His gaze finally rested on the gun she had stolen right out of his hand.
"Hand me the gun and walk away, and I won't kill you, kid," He spoke to her like she was a child.
Flashing a bright grin at him she shook her head saying. "How about you walk away now or be carried away in an ambulance?" She couldn't suppress a giggle at the look of rage on his face.
She adresses the beate man on the ground. "Hey Kojak, get up and come over here." She kept her eyes on the larger man, and her smile in place as the smaller man stood and made his way to her side.
"Let's just go!' the still out of breath man said. Lilly stood her ground, an amused expression on her face. "Marcus, don't!" her new friend continued, much to her confusion. It seemed Marcus was advancing towards her.
"You're not gonna shoot me, little girl. Bet you haven't ever shot anyone!" Marcus says as he continued closer and an unpleasant glare appeared on Lilly's expressive face.
"Well I haven't shot anyone today. But it's still early." Her voice chirped up quickly as she continued. "Take one more step, and we can test your theory." As she expected, the man she now knew as Marcus continued to advance.
"Don't!" she heard from her apparently ungrateful-to-be-saved victim.
"How about I find your parents and tell them what you've been up to today?" Marcus suggested.
Laughing, Lilly replied with a convincing lie. "You would never find their graves. I didn't exactly mark them." She shook her head slightly at the gasp from behind her.
Growing tired of this whole conversation, she shot the advancing Marcus in the knee, her eyes wide at the blood and the cry of anguish. "Hm. I reckon he'll listen next time." She tucked his gun in the back of her pants and tilted her head at the surprised man behind her. "Well we better split. Come on." She grabbed his hand and pulled him away. "I'm Lilly, by the way."
After a long moment, as they hurried away before the gunshot was investigated, she wasn't sure he was going to answer her. Finally, she heard him murmur softly, "Mozzie"