Several plans ran through Taeyeon’s mind as she lay on the mattress next to Tiffany. It was safe to say Cassie had been given orders to hurt Tiffany. She noted Cassie’s unhappiness too. It could be a turning point for Tiffany when it came to the crunch. Being free of bonds, Taeyeon knew she had just one chance to make an escape. Should she fail, Tiffany would suffer and they would not be given another chance to get away. Over on the other side of the shed, Cassie was raising her voice again. This time, Taeyeon could hear one of the men too. And it didn’t take her long to identify him as Hoon, the meaner of the two men.
“What’s the fucking problem? You too scared?”
“Use your brains, Hoon. They’re just using us.”
“Cut the friend’s finger. They won’t know the difference.”
“Her father isn’t a stupid man. He’ll know.”
“If you too scared to do it, I can.”
“They didn’t pay us for it. And it’s not the same when you start cutting them up. That’s another charge.”
“You just scared.”
“Fuck. This is business. If you gonna do things your way, get out.”
A sudden slam of the table jolted Taeyeon’s eyes open. Hoon was shouting vulgarities now. Cassie going head to head with him. The other guy yelling at them to stop. Next to her, Tiffany was trembling so Taeyeon squeezed her arm to assure her.
“Stay still,” she whispered.
Right then a gunshot rang out, deafening her. Inevitably, Tiffany screamed and that attracted their attention.
Damn it. Taeyeon peeped over Tiffany’s shoulder and saw Hoon storming towards them, gun in hand. It was now or never.
Despite the slight throb in her head from the fever and medicine, Taeyeon held Tiffany still until the very last moment. Then, with a swift roll, Taeyeon lifted her leg and swung it at the gun just as it got within reach. The next kick was aimed at the injured wrist. It provoked a pained cry and brought a grimace to Hoon’s frowning face. Taeyeon lost no time in using the momentum to flip onto her feet and then it was a race for the gun.
There was shouting and yelling but Taeyeon zoned everything out as she dived for the gun. Hoon’s hand almost got to it but she managed to push it out of the way and grab the gun with her left hand. Once she got it, it was a matter of putting enough distance between herself and the man. But Tiffany’s scream ended it all.
“Drop the gun now!” Cassie hollered.
Taeyeon kept her gun pointed at Hoon and shifted to get vision of Tiffany. Cassie had her by the throat and a gun to her temple. There was a very real possibility of Tiffany dying even though Taeyeon knew it was the last thing Cassie wanted. It was time to cool things down.
“You know I would never have done this,” she began, gun still trained at Hoon’s head.
“Shut the fuck up Taeyeon! Fuck!”
Taeyeon pressed on. “I promised you and I intend to keep my promise. But I am Tiffany’s bodyguard and I won’t let anyone hurt her.”
“Put the gun down!”
“LISTEN TO ME!” Taeyeon screamed. “Leave Tiffany alone and I won’t do this.”
“You’re talking too fucking much,” Hoon snarled. “Fucking shoot her now!”
Cassie didn’t, however. Taeyeon saw the hesitation in her eyes and capitalised on it. “I swear. I just wanna protect Tiffany. It’s my job. We’ll stay here if nobody hurts her.”
Cassie seemed to consider Taeyeon’s bargaining but Hoon did not have the patience. He charged straight at Taeyeon, forcing her to pull the trigger. The bullet hit an ankle and the big man went down with a broken cry but Taeyeon didn’t even flinch. Instead, she kept her eyes on Cassie, holding the woman’s gaze with all the calm in the world.
“I won’t shoot you, Cassie. Not if Tiffany is unharmed.”
“Drop the gun and we’ll talk.”
Taeyeon shook her head. “I need the gun. Your man is not listening to you and I need to protect Tiffany and myself from him.”
“You fucking shot him!”
“He was gonna attack me.” Taeyeon backed away from the crying Hoon. “He didn’t listen to you, Cassie. You never used to allow that.”
“You don’t know shit.”
“I know enough.” Taeyeon could hear Tiffany sobbing but kept her eyes on Cassie’s. “I know what a promise is.” Cassie’s face was flaming up and she looked like she was about to burst but Taeyeon held her ground and she maintained her stoic expression even when Cassie pushed Tiffany to the floor.
“Take your woman.”
“She’s not my woman. She’s my client’s daughter.”
“Don’t fuck like a bitch, Taeyeon. This isn’t over.”
Still pointing her gun at Hoon, Taeyeon moved to shield Tiffany who was crawling towards her. “I believe you will let us go as you promised. I’m willing to wait for it without anybody else getting hurt.”
The anger did not abate in Cassie’s eyes but she lowered her gun and moved to Hoon. “Fucking idiot,” she swore at him before turning to the other man who had stayed by her side in silence during the entire exchange. “Hyuk! Help me to stop the bleeding.”
Hyuk stepped forward, taking off his shirt. He pressed it against the wound, making Hoon scream in pain again. Together with Cassie, they secured Hoon’s ankle and hoisted him up. Hyuk’s strength showed in how easily he supported Hoon’s weight while helping the man to the door.
With their captors’ attention diverted to Hoon, Taeyeon sneaked to the table on the other side and stole Cassie’s phone. Stuffing it under her dress, Taeyeon returned to the mattress where Tiffany sat with tears running down her cheeks.
“Hey, hey . . . no more tears, okay?” Taeyeon coaxed as she gathered Tiffany into her arms.
“It was so scary,” Tiffany said between sobs.
“I know. It was very dangerous and you were very brave.”
“I just wanna go home, Taeyeon. Please bring me home.”
Taeyeon stared at her blackened bare feet, willing herself to stay strong despite their situation. “I’m working on that.” Nudging Tiffany’s chin, Taeyeon smiled when the woman met her eyes. “Do you trust me?”
Tiffany nodded. “I trust you.”
“Good. Because I have a plan and I need your help.”