It was a cloudy day, and Ricardo had had enough. He threw down the paper he was holding, it had already run too many articles against Servando Armenta, his boss - and he couldn't stand it anymore.
"Someone has to put that girl in her place!" he spat out, while Servando didn't look very interested. He was more curious about El Caballero, and most importantly, how to get rid of them.
"That's the second time she's ruined one of our operations with her reports." Ricardo went on, and Servando pricked his ears at that.
"Well, send her a message then."
Juliana was sitting at the reception of the Carvajal Media Office building, going over the next day’s plans mentally. The plan was to smuggle a container full of computers that was to be delivered at the port, and she was personally overseeing this affair. She was to meet up with Sara to go over the plans for the next day, and Val's office building was perfect neutral ground - no one would ever suspect anything.
Being Valentina Carvajal's girlfriend and a formidable person at several negotiations meant that Juls had to dress the part. She was wearing her preferred style - jeans, a white shirt and a slim dark blue blazer - not too formal but it was an elegant look. She was quite engrossed in her thoughts and forgot where she was, till a bulky man stomped into the reception and barked at the receptionist.
"Where's that bitch?"
Juls and the two security guards wasted no time in marching right up to this man, who appeared to be in a blind rage. Juliana's mind was immediately on alert.
"WHAT?!" Juliana retorted, getting up in the man's space. She figured out instinctively who this may be, and why he was here. The man stopped to look at her, while the two guards where struggling to get him outside.
"You're her girlfriend, aren't you?" he barked again, and before Juliana could reply, he threw a powerful cross at her, his sharp ring slightly tearing the skin on the side of her face, just above her eye. Juliana was about to pull out her gun on this fool, but somehow remained calm while the guards wrangled him and dragged him out.
"Tell that bitch she doesn't know who she's meddling with!" he yelled, as he was being dragged out. Juliana was out of breath by this whole scene but remembered that she could not just walk outside and deal with the guy like she would have in the old days.
Got to be patient.
She looked at the receptionist, who looked pale and walked to her to tell her to calm down. The receptionist shakily held out a tissue for Juls to wipe the side of her face with, and it wasn't till she saw the blood on the tissue did she realize how bad the pain was. She quickly wiped it away, anxious to not let Val worry about this.
"Don't tell Valentina." she told the receptionist, while rubbing the blood from her face. The receptionist pointed to a glass door on the right and Juls turned to see. On the other side of the door was Valentina and a bunch of other colleagues, gathered as if they had just finished a meeting. Val was quick to notice her, and Juls saw her face fall as Val pretty much ran towards the reception, towards Juls.
"My love, are you okay? What happened?" Val enquired in one breath, her eyes going over Juls to see if she was OK.
"It was nothing, I just slipped and fell and cut myself on something." Juls quickly replied, hoping the receptionist would not give anything away. Val ordered the receptionist to get the first aid kit and was quick to draw Juls into the now empty conference room.
"Val I'm fine!" Juliana argued, but Val didn't seem to be in the mood for listening.
Juliana felt like a kid as Val made her sit on the conference room table, while she carefully inspected her face. The receptionist gave Val the first aid kit and scuttled away. Val carefully wiped away at the little blood that was on the cut while Juls softly smiled seeing Val's concentrated face. She jerked a bit when Val dabbed the wound with antiseptic, and Val had to hold her steady.
"Stay still." Val stated, and Juliana pouted.
"Val I'm OK!" Juliana repeated, and when Val was satisfied that it was just a skin wound, she placed a small band aid over it. Val's phone was buzzing but she ignored it.
"For a Don, you really can't lie, you know." Valentina began, assuming her 'cut-the-crap' demeanor. Juls knew she couldn't keep things from Val and sighed in reply.
"What happened?" Val asked again, her hands holding Juliana's face.
"I'm not sure, but I'm going to guess that was one of Servando Armenta's men - I don't think they like your articles about them." Juliana explained, slightly ashamed to look at Val.
"They're not exactly flattering." Val replied, and Juliana shrugged.
"Aren't you going to tell me to stop writing about them?" Val asked shyly, and Juliana immediately looked at Val.
"Val, I would never tell you what to do with your newspaper -" she stated looking at Valentina, but left the sentence hanging at the end.
Juliana sighed. "If you're going to piss off some angry violent men, I suggest you need more protection." she finished and looked at Val with worry. Val's shoulders slumped at that, and her hands dropped to Juliana's lap.
"I already have 3 bodyguards!" she whined, and Juls was quick to counter.
"And none of them where near you just now."
"It's not like I can have them at every meeting!"
Juliana’s look of anxiety didn't fade, and she knew Val could see she had a point. She took Val’s hands and pulled them near her chest.
"You know if I could I would be by your side all day." she softly explained, hoping Val would agree to extra security. Val smirked slightly at that.
"It's a shame you have to be the head of a cartel."
"What do you want me to do." Val acquiesced, and Juliana had the perfect person for the job in her mind.
"Sara, she can pretend to be one of your assistants, and I would be much better knowing you're safe." Val didn't look very convinced at that suggestion.
"What about you?" she countered, but Juls brushed it off.
"I'll be fine, I'll get other guards. Besides, he was after you today, not me." Juliana insisted, and Val had to agree.
Juliana smiled at that and brought one of Val's hands to her mouth for a soft kiss. Val gently kissed the top of Juls' forehead, when her phone began buzzing again.
"GO, go, we can talk later. You've got a newspaper to run." Juliana told Val, and Val realized that she had quite a bit of work pending, and quickly began gathering her things.
"Come home tonight, okay? I want to see you out of that shirt." Val told Juliana and Juliana smiled widely at that.
"I love you." Val kissed Juls on the lips for a moment.
"Love you." Juls replied, and Val rushed out of the room back to her work.
Juliana pulled out her sunglasses, hoping they would make the band aid on her face less obvious. She thanked the receptionist on her way out, and found Sara waiting for her at the reception.
"Everything's set for tomorrow- Oh what's with your face?!" Sara asked, surprised at this.
"Never mind. I've got something else for you to do. I need you to get hold of one of Servando's men." Juliana replied, her mind already plotting her next step.
"Okay? What's this about?"
"I've got to send a message."
Sara grinned widely at that. She loved sending messages alright.
The next morning, Sara was waiting for Juliana at the Carvajal mansion. She had already gotten things set up, and she was just waiting for Juls approval to give the go -ahead. Juls had told her to meet about 45 minutes ago - but Sara knew better than to disturb her cousin now. She was fiddling with Instagram for the seventh time when Chivis came in to check on her.
"These girls - they've kept us waiting long. Even the breakfast is going cold!" Chivis complained to Sara, and Sara chuckled.
"Oh, I'm sure they've eaten - " she began, and then she remembered who she was talking to and fumbled.
"I mean - I'm sure they're hungry and they'll be down soon." Sara quickly covered up, sweating at Chivis' curious look. Chivis sighed to herself and then bustled into the kitchen to get started for the days lunch. Sara was feeling bored - and had the vague idea that her cousin was going to take much much longer.
"I could help you with the cooking", Sara offered, and Chivis looked back at her skeptically.
"I mean, I could cut vegetables or something." Sara pleaded, bored with her phone by now. Chivis gave up and let Sara help her, much to her relief.
It was about thirty minutes that Sara was helping Chivis - and the two of them grew quite chatty indeed.
"What do you think about Juliana?" Sara asked, cutting potatoes. Chivis considered it for a second before replying.
Sara was surprised at that answer; she hadn't expected her to be this open-minded.
"So - you don't mind that it's two girls or anything-?" Sara prodded, pointing at Chivis with the knife. She shook her head.
"Oh no - in fact this is much better." she replied, and Sara was mildly surprised at that.
"Yeah! This way if she hurts my girl, I can kick her ass myself." Chivis finished in a serious tone, and Sara had to force down a laugh at the thought of this woman chasing down poor Juliana. Presently Juliantina (as the media had dubbed the couple) came down to the massive dining room - and as it was late there was no one else there. Valentina was wearing Juliana's shirt from yesterday and short shorts that she had clearly just worn, and Juls was wearing Val's red and grey baseball pullover with a pair of shorts. Valentina in her typical fashion gave Chivis a bear hug and a hard kiss on the cheek, and Juls sat at the table and looked at her cousin in the kitchen but thought better of asking anything. Val after hugging Chivis sat down on close to Juls with a little giggle and Juls slid her hand under Val's shirt.
"Oh, what happened to your face?" Chivis asked, serving the two of them breakfast. Val looked amused at Juls, who mentally scrambled for an answer.
"I - was - it - was - I fell and cut myself on the tiling." she quickly managed, and Val gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.
"Hmm yeah - she has to be more careful, she's very clumsy." Val finished, with a cheeky look in her eye, and Juls bit her lower lip and shook her head at Val.
After breakfast - Val had gone to shower and Juls was going over the day's plans with Sara, out of Chivis' earshot.
"You know, forget Servando - I think your next rival is Chivis." Sara joked, and Juls didn't exactly understand the joke - but she let it slide.
"Also - I have a new assignment for you." Juls remembered, and she knew she had to be delicate with this. Sara sat up eagerly.
"So - you have to - you have to take care of Val. Discretely." Juls gave up - she really couldn't put an enticing spin on that. Sara was indignant.
"WHAT!? I already increased her security!"
"And I don't trust them. Sara - come on - you said this was getting boring - this will be a nice challenge for you." Juls reasoned, and Sara considered it.
"But what about you?"
"I'll be fine, I'll get other men - I need Val to be safe and I know she'll be safe with you." Juls earnestly explained, and Sara knew this was probably the most important thing Juls would ask her to do.
"Valentina's okay with this?"
"You're going to be her assistant at the office."
Sara sighed, but considered the new assignment's intriguing aspects and gave in.
"Guess I'm getting your girlfriend coffee then." Sara drawled and Juliana had to give her a hug.
Juls was sitting on the top of two wooden crates, in one of the warehouses on her turf. It was dark, save one light - though it was only 10 am. She knew exactly where her men were, and she was grateful to Sara for organizing all this. She truly didn't know how she was going to manage without her cousin - but she knew that Val's safety was the most important thing to her.
Ricardo was bound in a chair, drugged and quite badly bruised. It was clear he hadn't given in without a stiff fight.
"I wish it didn't have to come to this." Juliana began, her voice echoing through the warehouse. Ricardo laughed in response.
"If your bitch of a girlfriend doesn't stop what she's doing - it's going to be worse." he spat out – and there was no fear in his manner.
"First - stop calling my girlfriend that." Juliana retaliated, grinding her teeth and her tone angry. Ricardo laughed again.
"Who do you think you are - El Caballero?" he scoffed, and at that Juliana jumped down from the crates and walked up to the guy - her manner deliberate and face merciless.
Ricardo took one look at Juliana's determined demeanor - and the blood drained from his face. He began squirming, realizing who Juliana was all along.
"NO. Please. PLEASE! Don't kill me!" he pleaded, quickly realizing he was already a dead man. Juliana took one look at the man and dismissed him immediately.
"It's nothing personal Ricardo. I just need to get a message to your boss. He can't keep threatening my girlfriend whenever he feels like." Juliana mentioned in a flat tone.
"I won't tell anyone who you are - I swear." he begged, but things were already long decided.
"Take care of him." Juliana ordered her men, walking out towards the exit and wearing her sunglasses. She had a shipment to intercept.
When Servando Armenta heard what had happened to Ricardo, he didn't worry too much. It led him to a more important conclusion - the Carvajal paper's articles never being against El Caballero, Valentina's tightened security after Ricardo's confrontation and now Ricardo dead - all this led the old man to one obvious conclusion.
The Carvajal girl is El Caballero.