Darine folded her arms over her chest and glared at the young man sitting across from her at the circular table. Despite her slightness of frame and apparent lack of strength, she still managed to look imposing. Maybe it was the harshness of her stare, or maybe the determined set of her jaw, but it was clear that she meant business, and Israel was visibly sweating as he sat there, nervously holding her gaze.
The silence was almost deafening. Every eye was riveted on that table where Darine and Israel sat. The tension between the two gang leaders hung ominously in the air around them and throughout the bar.
Israel was the one who broke the silence.
"I know your lackeys have been creeping on my territory," he said firmly. "Call them off and I won't bust up your operations."
His tone was confident, but the sheen of perspiration above his brow gave away his agitation. He was scared, and Darine could see that.
"I have no knowledge of such a thing," she replied in a cool tone, leaning back in her chair. The only outward sign of her anger was in the intensity of her gaze. "If any of my brothers or sisters have been on my land, it's not under my orders."
"Just 'fess up," Israel blustered, wiping sweaty palms on his dress slacks. "We may have mercy on you if you do. Otherwise we'll destroy your business."
At this, Darine gave an easy laugh. "You and what army? We both know my forces are stronger than yours, and we outnumber you five to one."
"Don't be so sure," Israel warned, but Darine had had enough.
"Oh, you're all bark and no bite," she snapped, finally letting her annoyance show. "And we're done here. You may leave now."
Israel sprang to his feet and whipped out his revolver.
"I don't think so!" he snarled. "I'm not going anywhere until I get what I want."
Darine made a clicking sound with her tongue and two burly women who looked like they could've been pro wrestlers jumped up from neighbouring tables. One snatched away Israel's gun while the other pinned his arms to his sides and held him firmly in place. He opened his mouth and out flowed a string of cuss words. Darine stood up and stared coldly at him.
"Quit acting like a teenager, you douche," she spat. "Oh wait, you can't - because you are one. Callie, would you please show our friend the door?"
"You're a teenager too!" Israel called over his shoulder as the strong Callie roughly escorted him away.
"Yes, but I'm not as immature as you," Darine replied loudly as the other woman handed her the revolver. "Thanks, Tayla. This'll make a nice addition to my collection."
Unbeknownst to Darine or Israel, or anyone important for that matter, a man had been watching the scene unfold with more avid fascination than anyone else in the bar. Kyle looked on Darine with respect and awe. He knew she was way out of his league, but still, he'd had a secret crush on the 17-year-old gangster since he first set eyes on her. Unfortunately, as well as being out of his league, it was also a well-known fact that Darine was not interested in having a relationship. There were some who speculated that she might be asexual, but Kyle held onto the hope that it was simply that she hadn't met Mr Right yet - and he also hoped that it would be him.