I got business to do, Odo.” Mala grumbled, pushing Odo off of her.
“I jus’ need ya for a few minutes, girl.”
“A few minutes?” Mala laughed. “You already done wasted my time. You gonna come back with me and tell Miss Iolanthe why it’s takin’ me so long to get…”
“To get what?” Odo asked.
“None ya.” Mala growled.
“Is it somethin’ I can help ya get? Maybe we can help each other. I wasn’t foolin’ when I said I’d get Mr. Cage to buy ya from Miss Iolanthe. See, he gonna owe me. You help me, I’ll help you.”
“Quit your talkin’, Odo,” Mala said turning her back on the man. “Talkin’ ‘bout sellin’ me… I ain’t your kind, Odo. I ain’t gonna be sold to no one.”
He reached for her again.
“If you goin’ to touch me again, Odo, you gotta be ready for to eat some gravel!” Mala spun around.
Odo withdrew his hand.
“That’s what I thought.” Mala smiled.
“You got spirit,” Odo grinned.
“That’s all an ugly girl’s got.” Mala retorted.
“You ain’t so ugly.” Odo winked again.
“Sure.” Mala frowned.
“No, you ain’t. Sure, your face is ugly and your figure ain’t so pretty, but you got a fire in ya that’s kinda nice.”
“Fire burns.” Mala scowled.
“Fire makes things, too.” Odo answered.
“What you want from me?” Mala sighed.
“You know the safe house?”
“Sure, I do.” Mala shrugged.
“You been there?”
“Sure.” Mala nodded. “Get a lot of our girls from there.”
“They let you take them girls?”
“Naw…” Mala laughed. “I gets ‘em before they go in.”
“But, you know folk there?”
“Yep.” Mala chortled. “They don’t like me none.”
“I need for ya to take me there.” Odo pleaded.
“Take your own damn self there. You got a better chance of gettin’ in than I do.”
“Not the way I figure doin’ it.”
“What you want wit’ the safe house, Odo? You like where you is. You’re the one always sayin’ how grand Mr. Cage’s houses are and how soft ya got it. Why you need to get away?”
“I ain’t tryin’ to get away!” Odo exclaimed in exasperation. “Fine, girl. I’m gonna trust ya. You know the Duke?”
“Sure—he hit me on the head.”
“Well, his little nephew is in the safe house with one of my people. You know that my master wants that baby for his own. I get the baby back, I’m a hero.”
“Now I understand.” Mala grunted. “What you need me for?”
“I can’t jus’ walk in there like I am. That Routhe woman’ll know me straight away. I gotta sneak in like I ain’t no threat. That’s where you can help me, girl.”
“I sure do hate that Englishman.” Mala narrowed her lopsided eyes.
“And, jus’ think how happy Miss Iolanthe’ll be when she hears you helped get Mr. Cage’s baby back to him.” Odo grinned—his teeth thick and yellow.
“You gonna help me?”
“Sure,” Mala nodded.
Did you miss Chapters 1-408? If so, you can read them here.