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Hands Up, Baby Hands Up

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Valentina and Juliana were sitting right next to each other at one end of the dining table, both of them eating in silence and lost in their own thoughts. Both of them were very hungry - but could not find it in themselves to eat. Juls was playing with her food with a fork, slumped back in her chair and thinking about all the recent events. Val was sitting in her typical fashion - one long leg bent and foot resting on the seat of the chair and her other leg outstretched. She was toying with a piece of toast, too distracted to actually eat.

The two were like this for a while, not eating at all - when a random thought came to Juliana.

"How did you find out I'm El Caballero?" she turned to ask Val, who looked back at her with her characteristic face of playfulness and a cheeky expression.

"Who do you think gave you the name?" Val answered playfully, taking a bite of her toast and her gaze not leaving Juliana's face.

"What?" was all Juls could respond, sitting up in interest. Val laughed seeing Jul's amazement, and continued.

"I wrote that article." she admitted, her smile becoming too wide to contain. Juls laughed out loud hearing that.

"Really?!"

"Yes, yes - But I'm sorry - I didn't know it was a woman who was behind everything." Valentina conceded, and Juls waved her off.

"No no - Val - it was perfect. No one suspected me at all!" she laughed, and Valentina grinned in reply, pressing her fingers against her face, doing her best to hide her glee and control herself.

"You should be careful next time though." Juliana gently teased - her own smile growing wide seeing Val so playful. Val bit her lip and could not stop herself as she pressed her hand to Jul's face, softly caressing her cheek with her thumb.

"I might call you Mi Caballero by mistake. " she softly replied, and Juls heart was so full at that.

"Ah Uhm." Sara cleared her throat loudly - she was sitting at the other end of the table and pretty much stabbing at her food, glaring at the two smitten girls in annoyance.

"Are you serious? Right in front of my salad? And when we don't know what to do about Alacrán?" she grumbled, and Juliana became serious at once, and Val was keen to listen to the upcoming plan as well.

"We're going to attack Alacrán now - there's no question about that; he's scared and stupid and it's the best time to get him." Juliana reasoned out and Sara grinned hearing her cousin's intentions.

"So, we attack soon then?" Sara replied, eager to get back to business. Juls shook her head.

"But to attack him at his place is too much of a fight. I was thinking of an ambush." Juliana said, and Sara nodded in agreement - and Val silently agreed with this idea as well.

"I'm not sure how to draw him out though." Juls stated, still thinking of schemes to fight Alacrán. Sara saw Juls lost in trying to figure out a plan and Val staring at Juls intently and an idea struck her.

"I've an idea." she offered, her eyes shining and Juls looked up at Sara intently - keen to hear more.

Sara looked at Val with glee and she was almost bursting with her idea. It was perfect.

"Live. Bait.", was all she could manage - and Juls had to calculate a bit mentally to understand what her cousin was suggesting. She saw Sara looking at Val and quickly figured it out.

"NO!" was her resounding response and Sara got up and moved to a seat closer to the two women, ready to defend her proposal.

"It's perfect! You said it yourself - Alacrán is scared and stupid, he's going to come after her - " Sara debated with her cousin, who was absolutely against this plan.

"Sara - could we please not use a plan that's from the Lion King?" Juls snarked at her cousin.

"Why not - it worked for Simba." Sara jibed back and Juls was close to strangling her cousin herself.

"It's too dangerous - she could get hurt or - " Juls argued, and Val realized that it was her they were discussing, though she was a little lost.

"We'll be there to protect her of course! Juli we've waited forever for something like this to strike Alacrán and - "

"No - I won't let her." Juls pronounced and Sara scoffed at that.

"At least let her decide for herself." Sara retorted - pointing at Val. Val sat up and gently patted Juls arm, as if to get Juls to take a step back.

"Yeah Juls, I'll decide - but I don't understand what the plan is." Val said, and Juls was so surprised at this that she actually stopped talking. Sara seeing her cousin dumbfounded, was quick to explain the idea to Val. She was still scared of Valentina since the threatening at gun-point a while back - but she could see that if she convinced Val - convincing Juls would not be a problem.

"El Alacrán is looking for you - if we agree to offer you to him on our terms; we could just about ambush him. He's desperate and has to save face now, he is most certainly going to agree to this." Val was quite taken by this idea.

"That is a good idea, but why would Alacrán agree to meet Juls if they're from rival cartels?" Valentina questioned and Sara slumped back considering that. It looked like the idea was going to be dropped and Juls was slightly relieved till Valentina sat up again, having thought of a solution.

"I know - you could pretend to betray Juls and join sides with him - and offer me as a token of confidence." Valentina proposed - pointing at Sara, and Juls looked at Val in wide-eyed disbelief. Sara however immediately perked up at that idea.

"Wha-" was all Juls could get in, and Sara jumped at the proposition.

"YES! THAT IS A BRILLIANT PLAN! YOU'RE A GENIUS!" Sara exclaimed and Val nodded vigorously with a wide grin. Sara then quickly ran out of the room - as if to immediately set the plan in action - before Juls could actually say anything.

"Sara - I DIDN'T AGREE TO THIS!" Juls yelled after her cousin, horror gripping her as she realized she could not stop her cousin now. Valentina was pleased with herself as she sat back in her chair. Juliana on the other hand was feeling overwhelmed a little.

"Val - why did you tell her that!?" Juls asked, mouth agape with dread and disbelief.

"It's a good plan Juls - " Val responded but Juliana cut her short.

"It's too dangerous for you!" she tersely explained, but Val did not see anything wrong with that.

"Juls - the whole city is dangerous for me till we deal with El Alacrán. Besides we both want him gone - and this way we're both dealing with it." Valentina clarified. Juliana was distraught but she knew she had to convince Valentina otherwise.

"Val - this isn't one of your investigations. This plan puts you in the middle of a very risky situation where things can go sideways very easily - this is not a pretty profession Val - please don't do this." Juliana begged, her desperation more apparent with every word, her fingers on her mouth and half biting her nails. Val saw Juls' distress, but she could also see that there was no other way to deal with the scenario.

"Do you know why I named you El Caballero?" Valentina quietly asked, trying to get Juls to calm down. She took Juls hands and held them both tightly in her own.

"What? No.", Juliana replied - not sure what that had to do with anything.

"For months I knew what the Professor was doing to those girls. I went to every police official about it. No one did a thing." Valentina described sincerely - looking into Juls' eyes.

"I couldn't publish articles about it in MY OWN newspaper - because the Professor had too many important connections apparently. And I was close to giving up. And then I heard he was kidnapped, and I thought - maybe, maybe he would finally pay for the horrible things he did. And when I heard he was dead - it was such a relief." Valentina said earnestly and Juls was slowly calming down.

"I know what you do isn't a pretty profession Juls - but I also know it's something someone has to do, I understand that. And if it helps people out - I don't mind being a part of it."

Juls' shoulders fell in defeat, seeing that she could not talk Valentina out of this outrageous plan.

"Besides, you'll be there, and I know you won't let anything happen to me." Valentina finished, gently pressing her forehead against Juliana's. Juls sighed heavily, but she was still a bit agitated internally.


 

Juls was staring blank out into space - worried about what was to come. Sara bustled into the room - she had set up everything for the meeting and was raring to go. Val was taking a shower and they were almost ready.

"Meeting with Alacrán at 4." she chirped, and Juls shook her head.

"That's too soon."

"I've got everything set up - don't worry. In fact - here." Sara handed Juls her bullet proof vest which she had been carrying - and Juls looked at her cousin in surprise.

"It's for her." Sara mentioned with a slight shrug.

"What about - " Juls questioned, and her cousin interrupted her.

"I think she needs it more than me." Sara waved off, and Juls' jaw dropped in shock.

"Sara - you're not going out there without a jacket!" she panicked, and Sara looked back at her cousin as if she were stupid.

"I'm not - I'll just use my old one from the car." Sara explained and Juliana breathed out in relief.

"Wow - I'm not that dramatic. But I would die before I let anything happen to her. " Sara assured her cousin, and Juls looked at her cousin with a faint smile. She did not want anything happening to either her cousin or Val, but she also felt unprepared for this sudden attack.

"Are you ready for this?" Sara inquired, seeing her cousin looking restless. Juliana shook her head no and ran her fingers through her hair in agitation. Sara saw Valentina enter the room, dressed in the same leather clothes that she was wearing when she kidnapped her.

"Looks like your girlfriend is ready." Sara elbowed her cousin and Juliana turned back to see Val all set to go. Valentina joined the duo and took a look at them, sliding her hands into her back pockets.

"Let's do this?" she asked both of them. Sara was beaming with pride, and Juls could see that this plan was going ahead - with or without her.

She took in a deep breath and nodded to assure herself.

Let's do this.