Kit turned to face Rex head on. He kept his pistol steady and his smile a little too wide. The scruff of unshaven facial hair and the tossed appearance of the light brown locks on his head could have seemed charming in the right setting. In the alley, it showed his true nature, a thug and scoundrel. Kit studied his grip on the pistol wondering if she could close the distance between them before he could squeeze off a shot.
The overhead lights flickered. Kit poised herself to move if the darkness lasted more than instant, but it didn’t. Behind Rex a figure moved in the shadows, closing the distance and clearly carrying a much bigger gun. The glint of a badge told her it could be local law enforcement and if that was true, he could be there for either of them. Either way there was a good chance he’d distract Rex long enough for her to get away.
A click followed a whir when the man pumped his rifle, revealing his presence to Rex. “I thought I smelled trouble,” the shadow man said, “then again, maybe old Rex here just needs a bath. Care to weigh in on it little lady, or should I just mind my own business?”
Rex glanced over his shoulder at the man. “You’re a little out of your jurisdiction, casino guard. Why don’t you lower your weapon and scamper off like a good little boy before someone gets hurt.”
The guard stepped out of the shadows into the light. “You’re a little young for hearing loss. I was talking to the lady.”
Rex kept his eyes on the guard while keeping his pistol pointed at Kit. The lights flickered again. Kit jolted forward and swung her case into Rex’s gun hand. The pistol clattered against the wall and fell to the ground. Rex spun toward Kit, his hand cocked to strike her in the cheek. The guard moved fast as lightning and grabbed Rex by the shoulders. An instant later the lights steadied and Rex was laying on the ground looking up at Kit and the guard. Kit held the pistol in her hand.
The guard pulled out his phone. “I’ll just give the authorities a quick ring and by midday, old Rex here will be joining that poor woman in the square.”
Kit swallowed panic at the thought of the authorities asking questions. She laid a gentle hand on the guard’s phone. “We don’t need to do that. I’m sure Rex was just upset and not thinking straight. Right Rex?”
The guard raised an eyebrow at Kit. She smiled back at him. He looked a couple decades younger than the typical private security guard for places like Gorda’s casino. If not for the gray hair Kit would have pegged him for his late twenties or early thirties. He was attractive in his uniform and something about the twinkle in his blue eyes told Kit she could trust him.
Still lying on the ground, Rex said, “Yeah, I was just foolin’ around. No harm done, right kid?”
“I guess we’re done then,” Kit said, focusing a stern gaze on Rex. “No hard feelings, but I’m rather hoping we don’t cross paths again anytime soon.”
Kit and the guard took a step back. Rex climbed to his feet. He said, “No promises, kid. It’s a small planet.” Rex left before things could get reheated.
The guard watched until Rex was out of sight and then turned to Kit. He extended his hand. “I’m Quinn Greyborne.”
Kit shook his hand. “Thanks for the assistance, Quinn.” She turned away and started back down the alley in her original direction.
Quinn said, “This isn’t exactly the safest part of town. Can I get you a taxi to get you wherever you’re going?”
Kit turned around and waved the pistol in the air while walking backward. “I can handle myself.”
Quinn nodded. “So you’re looking for trouble?”
Kit shook her head, smiling at his question. “I didn’t say that.”
He started following her. “You didn’t have to. Whatever it is you’ve done, it’s not worth getting yourself killed.”
Kit stopped walking. “Who said I did anything?”
“You weren’t avoiding the authorities for Rex’s benefit,” Quinn said. He stopped with a few feet still between them. “I’m sure you don’t want to hear it, but it’s pretty obvious you’re in over your head.”
“You don’t know anything about me,” Kit said.
Quinn nodded. “My shift is over. Why don’t you come back to my apartment and we’ll see if we can’t figure you a way out of your trouble.”
Kit laughed. “It’s too late for that.”
“Maybe,” Quinn said with a tilt of his head, “but where else do you have to go?”
“Give me a chance,” Quinn said. “I might just be your white knight.”
“Don’t you mean gray?” Kit chuckled, nodding at his hair.