Mickey sat stock still in the driver’s seat, his knuckles white on the steering wheel. Rudy, upon hearing the news that he might have some competition, had insisted that Mickey go and find out what he could. Rudy had sent him on many such trips; he relied on Mickey’s honesty, charming disposition, and physical presence to intimidate, win over, or put an end to his enemies and rivals. No, it wasn’t the assigned task that had Mickey scared stiff.
Mimi van Heest sat beside him, sharpening and polishing her little curved daggers.
“You aren’t still mad at me, are you?”
She said nothing.
“That was a year ago. And in my defense it was an accident. If I’d have known you were there, I’d have let you stab me just on principle. And I certainly wouldn’t have hit you.”
Mimi continued to administer to her weapons, her eyes moving over the blades with a lover’s look. Mickey swallowed hard against his fear. Rudy must have known what he was doing in sending his assassin on this trip, but Mickey sure couldn’t figure it out.
Even though they were about as smart as clams, Rudy's heavies at least talked on the long drives up and down the river road; Percy even had quite a good singing voice. But Mimi's silence unnerved Mickey more than anything she could have done with those foul little blades.
"Will you say something? Anything? I'd even settle for a grunt or a hiss. Anything."
Mimi turned her dark, lethal eyes on Mickey and smiled. Mickey suddenly wished he'd kept his mouth shut.
"Doo aye scare yoo?" In the whole year since he'd joined Rudy's company, this was the first time Mickey had heard Mimi's voice. It was deep and heavily accented, sounding like a garbled mixture of British and Dutch. It would have been comical coming from anyone else, but Mimi made it sound positively threatening.
"Are yoo afraid of me?"
"Everyone is afraid of you." Mickey blurted out.
"Good." Mimi said nothing else for the rest of the drive, and Mickey didn't object.