Timeline: December 19th, 2008
Ramiel had gone with Lyla to Boston to join Ann-Marie and Jesse for an evening out, and they were joined by Michael as well. Lyla had a meeting she said she couldn’t miss at 11 but said that she would very much like it if Ramiel would join her. The evening, it was planned, was really for Jesse and Ann-Marie in the sense that Lyla had promised to tack them to one lesbian bar at least. She intended, however, to also take Ramiel someplace the boys would be more welcome and have some fun for themselves, too.
When they arrived in Boston, she took Ramiel to her condominium. She couldn’t help but notice that through his silence, he looked annoyed, even angry as he looked around the little-used but finely furnished condo. That surprised her. She’d hoped he’d be impressed that her little “project”, actually a major business for her now, had been so profitable. Clearly, not bringing him in sooner was a mistake.
She had planned to speak with him about it, though. Just as she brought Rey in to help her because she foresaw circumstances that would take her away from the “business”, she knew she would have to explain to Ramiel why she needed to make trips overseas.
Lyla, dressed in a handsome outfit that made her look very professional, took Ramiel by the hand and led him to the bedroom. There she asked him to raise a spell to prevent any eavesdropping. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust Michael, but rather she felt their conversation was to be between them alone. Once he finished, she began to explain.
She explained to him all about her illicit but very profitable business, how she’d begun with her black market contacts to find out where demand was, and then began moving illegal items between cities. From her base in Eldon Well she met with various individuals who had very particular distribution problems. She was in a unique position to facilitate movement of various materials — illegal guns and drugs were the big money items. Once she’d begun, she rapidly expanded by contacting many individuals personally in Boston. It was to Boston she had gone in order to satisfy the Urge brought on by their mysterious, shared curse and, practically under the noses of both Rey and Chaska who’d both helped her in this time, expanded upon her list of contacts there. Generous use of resources she had at hand opened a lot of doors.
Finally, she even moved into prostitution rings as a way to ultimately manipulate criminal business from a street level. She identified women who chafed under the heavy-handed practices of gang-related pimps and offered them a way out. Before most pimps could react, she’d organized a fair number of them into a few groups, independent and with adjoining territories. Some pimps, enraged at the encroachment on territory were taught a tough lesson when they attempted to reclaim their resources. Others were bought off with bribes of drugs and/or cash.
With prostitutes now organized under leaders hand-picked by Lyla herself, they began to clean themselves up, raising the standards of the sex trade in Boston. Meanwhile, in order to establish this as a permanent, ongoing “cash cow”, Lyla continued her black market movements, using profits there to secure her latest prostitution business venture by paying off the mob as well.
Most meetings involved discrete visits to the Blood and Brew in Eldon Well, but her newest employees and clients didn’t have that kind of freedom of movement, requiring Lyla to make regular visits to Boston. This, plus unsteady state of relations with the mob, meant she needed to show she had a base of operations in Boston. So, to this end she purchased a condo. She now used it solely as a base of operations, when needed, but it was not, to her, a home. That was where Ramiel was, in Eldon Well.
But there was more. Lyla explained also to Ramiel that she had just gotten herself well setup when FBI Agent Bailey Thindle caught up with her. Insinuating that he could order an investigation into her business, he blackmailed her into assisting him with an investigation he’d been working on cracking for years. Claiming that her business was the lesser of evils, he said that he could watch what other investigative teams were up to and divert attention from her activities — if she was willing to help him.
Lyla said his attempt to control her pissed her off to no end, but there was one golden rule in this business and that was you don’t kill cops. She decided to hear him out, and when she did, she agreed to his terms. That’s the reason she might have to leave the country from time to time. There was something out there far worse than any of the stuff she’d become involved with. Worse than drugs, prostitution, or gun running. And that was the human slave trade.
“You see,” Lyla explained, “certain organizations — such as the Russian mob for instance — have discovered that there is a market out there for buying and selling people. Women, mostly. What they do is kidnap them from the streets, their families, especially in countries that are having a hard time right now, such as eastern block countries, previous members of the Soviet block, and southeast Asia. Or, they can force families to sell them their own daughters to pay debts. They then send these victim — and they can be any age from puberty to adult — to these… camps I guess you might call them. There they are abused until they have no will of their own left. At that point, they’re ready for market.
“These girls get sold then to criminals who use them as slaves. The vast majority are sold into the sex industry. That’s where Thindle made the connection with me. He knows that these people would try to get into contact with me if they hadn’t already and try to sell me some of these girls for use in my prostitution houses.” Lyla shook her head in disgust. “I may be an amoral bitch, but I’m not a fucking bitch. No one who works for me ever is made to do anything against their will. I don’t own anybody, and everyone is free to leave my organization if they want to. I choose who works for me carefully, and I expect those under me who have the ability to hire people to choose at least as carefully because I hold them responsible for their actions.
“But Bailey needed me to use my connections, to not turn those slave-traders away. He needs to crack the rings doing this and for that, we have to find out who they are and where they operate. That means cooperation from me. So I have had to do business with them. But I don’t keep anybody the government makes me buy. They go to youth shelters far from Boston or any place those bastards might have contacts. That’s how I know the youth shelter in Manchester so well,” Lyla said. “I’ve sent a couple of the girls I’ve liberated to them. It’s risky, and if the mob finds out or if the slave traders find out I’m not keeping these girls, they could get suspicious. But it’s not like I have a choice. I’ve seen what they do to these people, Ramiel, and blackmail or not, I can’t stand by and let it happen.
“When Thindle asked if I’d be willing to make contact with the bigger folks up the social ladder from the representatives I meet in Boston, I told him I’d do it — when I’d gained enough of their trust. If I can finger who’s doing this, that’s when the FBI and Interpol can act. That’s how we’ll shut them down. It won’t be easy.
She stood very close to him, reached up and affectionately smoothed his hair. “I know that my business isn’t something you’d want to hear. What I do is very illegal. But the part where I’m also working with the FBI, well… I hope you understand that part at least.
“So all this is why I have a condo in Boston. I’ve been concerned that when I told you this, you’d want to help. It’s just that when I started all this, I was in a dark place. I was angry. Instead of taking it out on everyone, I tried to channel it and build something. I ended up with this. I was afraid that if I told you all this you’d want to be involved, and if that happened, then the FBI might blackmail you, too. I couldn’t allow that.
“But now here it is, all out in the open.”
“Fine we are even,” he said.
Lyla blinked in some mild surprise at his reaction. “My love, I didn’t tell you all this now to even some kind of score. I told you because you needed to know sooner or later, and now, even if it really is a bit late, is better than later.”
“Well I don’t know what to say then. It doesn’t really matter what I say, it is all in the past, right.” He said in mild tones.
“No,” Lyla said. “This is present tense. Are you keeping up here?” She wondered where he’d wandered off the path.
He sighed with agitation. “What you have done is in the past, what you continue to do is your business. It only upset me to learn that you have an entire life that you deemed me not worthy to share, I was pissed but realized that is how you felt about me going to look for my daughter. I have learned in the years that once you have started something, when you are determined to throw your ass in the fire that I stand back and watch, and be there to help you when you need it, when you ask.
“So while I want to throw a bitch fit that you have done all this I simply can’t. Part of me says that it is payback for my actions, as you perceived them. Part of me simply doesn’t care, and part of me is glad that you told me so I know what kind of hell I will be walking through to get you back.”
Lyla smiled. “I’ll try not to make that necessary. Do you have any questions for me?”
“Nope, not right now. You have told me what you wanted to.” He said as he flopped down in a chair.