I opened the door of my room and saw Paige waiting outside. He was wearing a black over-sized shirt, going way down his knees which made him looked a hundred times adorable than he already ways.
“Paige!” I excitedly called out his name, “what’s wrong?”
He was pouting, kicking something on the ground.
“You’re going?” Paige asked.
I blinked at him and slowly nodded.
“Yes, unfortunately,” I answered.
All of a sudden, Paige rushed towards me to hug me tight.
“I don’t want you to go!”
I felt my heart melt. I hugged him back, trying not to cry.
“I’m sorry, Paige. Even I don’t wanna go but I still have things to do back home,” I said while comforting his back, tapping it and shushing him to make him stop crying.
He pulled back and I saw how red his face was (A/N: I finally did it right. I don’t have dyslexia). His eyes were swollen and I felt guilty that I had to leave him. I’m probably the first person he befriended for a long time and after hearing Clark’s story, if I could, I wanted to hang out with him a bit more.
I looked to the right and saw Hiro approaching us, hands inside his jean pockets. He raised a brow seeing Paige and I in close proximity.
“What’s wrong?” Hiro asked, stopping beside Paige.
He cupped his cheeks and wiped Paige’s tears away.
“Drew is leaving,” he answered and I panicked when he began crying again, “I don’t want him to leave.”
Hiro smiled in defeat. Taking out his phone, he gave it to me.
“Add your contact details there. I’ll let Paige call you once in a while,” he said.
I took his phone and the first thing I saw was his wallpaper. It was a picture of a sleeping Paige, dressed in the same over-sized shirt in a different color, surrounded by pillows.
I smiled without knowing and Hiro saw it.
“What?” he asked.
Shaking my head, I replied, “nothing!”
After putting my contacts in Hiro’s phone, I gave it back. Paige snatched it away from his hands and was grinning wide while looking at his boyfriend’s phone.
“I have Drew’s number! Yey!”
Hiro only shook his head in defeat, smiling kindly at Paige. He then looked at me and the smile was disappeared.
“I’ll go talk to Clark. Go downstairs and eat breakfast,” he instructed before opening the door to the room we slept.
Clark was still taking a bath and he really spends a lot of time cleaning his body, which I find amusing.
“Okay,” I said.
I shifted back my attention to Paige.
“Let’s go eat,” I suggested to which he nodded enthusiastically.
While eating, Paige was clinging on my shoulder, letting me see the hundred of pictures he had taken with Hiro’s phone. There were a lot of stolen shots, photos of their friends and what seemed like their parents. Pictures taken back from where they were in school were also there and I caught some where Clark was in. He looked very serious and he wasn’t even smiling in every single shot they took.
I couldn’t eat well because Paige was persistent in showing me the photos but I didn’t mind since I was interested, especially because I could see another side of Clark, Hiro and Paige. The pictures they took when they were still in the Philippines, everyone looked different. I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of life they had there. Hard to admit but I was envious. During those times, who knows what I was doing back home. Maybe chasing someone’s ass only to end up getting beaten up.
Paige and I both looked at Marco who was now standing beside us, a somber expression etched on his face.
He was eyeing Paige.
“Sir Michael is here.”
Paige’s eyes widened in shock. He suddenly pulled away from me and began jumping up and down, face warped in fear.
“B-but, but Clark is here!” he stammered.
Marco slowly nodded.
“Yes, he’s waiting in the living room. He wants to see you and the boss,” he added.
I tilted my head, confused.
Who’s Michael and why was Paige acting in panic?
“I need Hiro!”
Paige ran out of the dining room and he was followed by Marco who briskly walked after him. I was left alone in the table.
What just happened?
I continued eating my breakfast, feeling down because I had no one to talk to. I was about to take out my phone when Isaac suddenly entered the dining room. He had the same expression as Paige and it brought worry in me because I could tell something was not right.
“W-what’s wrong?” I asked Isaac.
He forced a smile.
“We’re ready to head off. Are you finished?”
Standing up, I was perturbed.
“What’s wrong? Is everything okay?”
“Yes,” Isaac answered, nodding, “but we need to go.”
He turned his back against me and started walking away.
“Wait! What about my things?!”
“It’s already in the car. Raul’s waiting for us,” he replied.
I gaped. Why’s everyone suddenly acting weird?!
“What? Where’s Clark?” I inquired, my heart beating fast.
Isaac didn’t answer me. While walking out of the house, we passed by the living room and I caught a man sitting on the sofa. I couldn’t see him since he had his back facing us but for some reason, I was feeling intimidated by his presence even though I haven’t seen his face yet.
I turned around and saw Clark walking down the stairs. His brows were furrowed and I noticed he was pissed off.
But I felt relieved when I saw him.
“Clark, I -- ”
I silently gasped, hearing the man calling Clark’s name. His voice was deep and I ended up shuddering in terror.
I don’t know why but I was terrified of him. He’s different than Clark and Hiro, far different. This man, he’s in another level of scariness. I haven’t met someone like him and it scared me what my reaction would be if he ever talk to me.
Clark pursed his lips. He approached me, putting a hand on my shoulder.
“Go with Isaac,” he said.
“What? What about you?”
“I have to take care of things here. I’ll follow soon.”
I shook my head to reject him. The anxiousness I was feeling made me nauseous. The thought of Clark leaving me and going somewhere I don’t know scared me.
“No!” I exclaimed, “come back with me!”
He glanced back at the man and he gulped.
“Clark!” I called out, clenching my fists.
I’m not going anywhere without him with me. Everything was going fine, why was this happening?
“Clark,” the man spoke his name again and I felt Clark twitch.
“You have to go,” he said, pushing me away.
I got hysterical.
“No, Clark! No!”
Clark looked behind me and motioned Isaac who was waiting for me at the door to pull me away. I kept screaming his name, begging Clark to come with me but he was ignoring me. Before Isaac could fully drag me away from the house, I heard Clark say something.
“I’m coming, father.”
Isaac looked at me and sighed.
“Drew, please stop asking too many questions,” he muttered.
I crossed my arms, trying my best to give him a glare that I imitated from Clark.
“Do you know who I am, Isaac?” I asked and the tone I made surprised me.
I was confused, pissed off and disappointed at everything. Not only did Clark stayed in Italy, I didn’t even get to say my farewells to Hiro and Paige. Isaac just shoved me inside the car and told Raul to drive to the airport as soon as possible. I didn’t know what was happening but I’m sure it’s all because of that man who arrived.
Isaac pursed his lips.
“You are turning into the boss, it’s scary,” he commented and hard to admit it but I really am taking after Clark which was indeed, scary.
Never in my life did I talk like this but like what Clark had said before, I am going to be the leader of the Orlov group. It’s my duty to become strong so people would respect me.
Although the anger I’m feeling was the main reason why I’m acting like this. Nevertheless, I wanted to use it to make Isaac tell me what I wanted to know.
“Tell me why Clark stayed.”
Isaac stared right into my eyes and finally, he sighed in defeat. He slumped back on the chair and looked at Raul who shrugged his shoulders.
“Better tell him,” Raul said, smirking at him, “you know he’s not going to let you go.”
I looked at Raul and back at Isaac, nodding in agreement.
“He’s right,” I added.
Isaac eyed me for the longest time and when I was about to convince him again, he yielded.
“The man you saw back there, he’s the boss’ father,” he informed.
“So what’s the big deal about him? Why did everyone acted like they were in chaos?” I asked with furrowed brows.
Paige, Marco, Isaac and even Clark who’s not easily rattled was in panic when the man arrived. Was he that much of a big deal? Clark told me his parents helped Hiro and Paige. If they were close to the both of them, they’re already considered as family friends, right? So what’s the reason why Paige feared him?
“B-but, but Clark is here!” he stammered.
No. Paige wasn’t scared. He was worried for Clark.
Remembering Clark’s expression back there, it was evident that he was afraid of that man and seeing him like that worried me.
“The boss has been hiding from his parents after he got home from the Philippines. He took off without telling them where he’s going and up until now, they had no idea where he is,” Isaac informed, eyes looking at a distant, “his parents, they’re not ordinary people”
I figure that out. I could tell they’re not ordinary. Heck, bringing up Clark like that, I’m sure they’re not ordinary folks.
“If you’re asking me what kind of life I lived in the Philippines, it wasn’t something special. I told you before, I wanted to escape from my family. I wanted to,” he paused, putting his hands inside his pants pockets, “I wanted to experience something new. I was tired of doing the same thing over and over again. Training, fighting, training, killing, fighting, doing merc jobs, it’s exhausting.”
I looked out of the window and thought.
Clark wanted to escape from his family. Were they treating him bad?
“I’m…I can’t go back,” I said, snapping my head back at Isaac, “I need Clark with me.”
Isaac’s eyes softened.
“Drew, please understand, the boss’ father, he’s the only person he fears,” he said and it made my eyes widened in shock, “one wrong move and the boss will face a grave punishment for what he had done. He has to be careful not to wake up his father’s wrath. He might force him to come back home.”
I gulped and said, “you know you’re scaring me, right?”
“Don’t worry. Everyone’s scared of him too.”
We arrived back at the hangar and saw the private jet that took us here parked in the runway. There were people walking around the field, busy in whatever technical stuff they were doing. I noticed a lot of men dressed in black, carrying weapons behind their backs.
Isaac guided me to the jet. Raul met up with some guys and I saw them engage into a conversation. They were talking about security and how Clark had to stay because of some issues he had to solve.
I held my phone and stared at it, hoping that Clark would call me and say that we should wait for him because he’s coming back to Russia.
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.
I was already inside the jet, sitting beside the window with Isaac in front of me. He was talking to his phone with a hushed voice and I already knew that he doesn’t want me to hear what they’re discussing. It’s not new to me anymore, everyone in my life were keeping secrets from me.
And they blame me for being clueless.
Gazing out of the window, I imagine a car halting on the street, revealing Clark who was hurrying to come to me.
We’ve only been separated for a short time and I’m feeling depressed already.
The voice of the pilot echoed, telling us that we’re about to take off. Isaac was finished with his phone call. He went to me and secured my seat belt.
“Is he really not going to come back with us?” I asked him.
Isaac weakly smiled.
“No, Drew. The important thing for the boss is to make you safe.”
He returned back to his seat, putting the seat belt on him.
“He really didn’t want me to meet his dad,” I mumbled to myself, my heart aching from rejection.
“It’s not the right time to meet his parents, Drew,” he commented, smiling at me still.
I lowered my head as I stared at my phone.
I think I would die if ever I meet his parents.
I wasn’t happy returning back to Moscow. Of course, I was excited to see Valery but other than that, there’s no reason for me to be glad that I’m back home. The ride back to the house was awkward and silent. No one was speaking in the car, only the radio provided us with a dull entertainment.
I was sitting alone at the back seat of the vehicle. Raul was driving and Isaac was sitting beside him. I busied myself gazing out of the window, watching the scenery pass by in a blur. I leaned my head on the glass, resisting the urge to cry in sorrow.
Clark’s not here with me. What’s the point?
I was just feeling like I’m in heaven these past few days and now, everything’s ruined.
Taking my phone out for the nth time, I messaged Clark. I couldn’t count how many times I tried contacting him, calling his phone and sending him messages but he never answered nor replied.
I’m acting like a crazy person but I couldn’t stop. I needed assurance that he’s coming back here with me.
“...one wrong move and the boss will face a grave punishment for what he had done. He has to be careful not to wake up his father’s wrath.”
I stopped myself from banging my head on the window. Stop thinking about those stuff, Drew! You’re only making things worse!
I tapped on the screen.
Please tell me when you’re coming back. Please.
I dropped my arms on my lap dejectedly.
“Isaac,” I called and he turned to look at me.
“After going back at the house, can I visit Valery?”
He narrowed his eyes at me.
I chewed my bottom lip and I felt I’m about to burst into tears.
“I need her.”
We arrived back at the house. I was gone for days but I never missed this place. Raul began taking my bags out of the trunk but I didn’t wait for him to finish. I went straight back to my room, silently praying that dad wouldn’t see me but luck had never been on my side.
I met him in the corridor. He just got out of his office and when I saw his face, I was irritated. If it wasn’t for him and his plan to get Hiro’s alliance, I wouldn’t have been separated with Clark.
I know it’s childish to blame him but I was frustrated.
Dad’s face lit up but mine didn’t. I was frowning at him but he didn’t noticed it, just like every other things that happened in my life.
“I heard from Clark,” he said, walking to me with his arms open for a hug, “you did a good job, son.”
He pulled me in for in an embrace, patting my back but I stayed frozen.
“Yeah,” I uttered, “congratulations for you.”
Dad tore himself away from me and blinked, a questioning look appearing on his face.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, finally noticing the bleakness of my face, “did something happened?”
I rolled my eyes at him. All this person ever cared was his money and power. He never cared for anything else, not me, not my mom, not our family.
I thought I would be happy to see him proud of me but realization hit me. He only wanted a son to have an heir. He never cared for me, never there for me as my father. He never attended any events in my school, never talked to me about life except when it’s about the group, never hugged me for anything else.
I gave dad a fake smile and relief washed over his face.
“I closed a deal with the Blaise. We’re officially partners now.”
“I’m glad Clark made you go to Italy. I’ve always known it, you do have what it takes to become the next me,” he said.
My lips twitched, my smile widening at him.
I entered my room. The curtains were closed and not a thing was touched since I left. I didn’t bother switching the lights. I walked straight to my bed and threw myself on top of it. My phone began vibrating inside my pocket and I quickly took it out, expecting that it was Clark but it wasn’t.
Valery’s name flashed on the screen. I answered her call and the moment I heard her voice, a dam exploded inside me and I started crying.
“Drew,” she softly called, “Isaac told me you’re -- wait, are you crying?”
I clasped my hand on my mouth to hide my anguish.
“S-sorry…I’m…so pathetic,” I said in a muffled voice.
“Oh Drew, please don’t cry,” she cooed but it only made me cry even harder, “it’s going to be alright.”
“I wanna see you now, Val, please…”
Valery and I met up in a coffee shop in town. The streets were busy, congested with vehicles and people walking here and there to go to their destinations.
I could see the view of the black Mercedes car parked on the other side of the road. Isaac was there, looking out for me. He was adamant in coming with me, saying that they have to double the security. It’s because Clark wasn’t here to protect me.
“So,” Valery began, putting our cup of coffees on the table before sitting down, “what exactly happened in Italy?”
I grabbed the cup and stared at my reflection on it.
“Clark stayed there,” I replied.
Valery made a face.
“So what’s the big deal? I’m sure he’s going to come back here.”
I shook my head.
“No, I don’t know…I just…everything’s going fine. For a very long time, I finally found someone who accepted me for who I am a-and…now he’s gone.”
She rolled her eyes at me.
“It’s not like Clark broke up with you.”
There was a pang on my chest and I flinched from the pain.
“His father, he met his father in Italy. Isaac told me he might take him back home…I’m not going to see him again if that ever happens,” I said, tears escaping my eyes again one more time, “I’m scared, Valery…”
“Well, if it’s Clark’s father we’re talking about, that might really happen.”
I gasped and she instantly regretted what she said.
“But knowing Clark, he won’t let it happen, Drew! He’s too in love with you, he’ll do anything to get back to you.”
I blinked at her.
“A-are you sure?”
“Yeah, I’m sure. I’ve known him my whole life, I know how his brain works,” Valery said, winking at me. “You don’t have to worry about it, Drew. Trust me. He’ll come back.”
I twiddled with my thumbs, thinking about the times we spent together in Italy. I discovered a lot of things, Clark’s history with Hiro and Paige, how he wanted to become the Pakhan but couldn’t because his father, how he wanted to me to become one. Now that he’s temporarily gone, I should do things that would make him proud.
Not for my dad but for him.
I wanted to prove to him that I’m not going to be his weakness.
I clenched my fists, finding a new verdict to distract myself from missing Clark.
“I made up my mind, Val.”
Valery looked at me, stopping midway of sipping her coffee.
“I want to become strong.”