The Truth About My Scars
The Truth About My Scars
James has been working with us for nearly a month, though it seemed like it was much longer. Throughout that month, James and I did not spent every second together, be that as it may, seemed as though we had. It felt as if I had known him all my life, how easy our conversations were, how whenever I walked into a room, he looked at no one but me. I truly believed I was falling for him, that was to say, he was falling for me as well. At least I hoped. There were some moments I would catch him staring at me, slight grin, without saying anything, just staring like I was his Goddess. Those moments always made me smile and feel like I was the only and most beautiful woman in the world for him.
As a congratulations, Gaelan invited James over for a quick brunch before a meeting was to take place. Gaelan asked me to sit in on the brunch and I had, though I barely listened as I flipped through a magazine. I had only been invited as I had stepped out of the shower by Stacy, who asked if I was going shopping with her or to the brunch that was happening. I couldn’t stand her that much, so I chose the brunch. My father didn’t really mind it too much, he seemed like he was in a great mood that. A great enough mood to let me in on more business.
“James, welcome. Something to drink?” my father asked. “Orange juice? Coffee?”
“Coffee is fine. Two milks and two sugars.” James walked into the dinning area where I was sitting with Francois. In nothing but a silk robe, I stood smiling, my wet hair slowly dripping down my chest.
“I trust you remember Lylie and Francois?” James nodded as Gaelan showed him to the dinning hall. “Good, then this meeting won’t be wasted on introductions.” As Gaelan was saying this, food was being brought in on trays. A plate filled with fruits, eggs, bacon, sausage, and breakfast potatoes, were placed in front of each of us. I loved sitting in the dinning area, even if I was alone eating, the large fireplace, beautifully carved, and sculpted, the high ceilings, the art work that hung on the walls, the large carved chairs that reside at the head of the table. That room was a piece of history with every chapter frozen in time and placed around the area.
Gaelan started talking about the latest deal with the Japanese and since the cocaine deal with the Columbians worked out perfectly, there was no need of James for that. However, the Japanese were a lot more strict than the Columbians and Gaelan wanted to see if James could handle it, which is why he only brought him in when he did. I told Gaelan he could, but he never truly trusted my opinion.
The Columbians were friends with Andy, a man who worked for Gaelan, and his wife Sylvie. Her brother grew up with one of the Columbians so, instantly, we were trusted and did not need to deal with gaining their trust. Gaelan introduced himself to Juan, Sylvie’s brother’s friend, and my father told him what he wanted and how he wanted to go about doing the deal. It was fairly easy, Gaelan was to give Juan a boat and they were to fill the boat up with cocaine; more like hide the cocaine in the boat so that when they crossed the boarder, nothing would be found. Juan agreed and a few months later, a boat appeared at the dock behind our home one morning and my father sent out the money for it that afternoon. The deal was done.
As Gaelan was explaining to James the deal, Andy walked in. “Sir, can I speak to you privately?” He was always recognizable by his height and the snake tattooed to his neck.
“Why? I’m eating. Get on with it,” Gaelan said. Andy dropped a bloody human head on the table, right as I was about to take a bite out of a sausage. James looked over at me, though before our gazes could meet, I had looked away, trying not to gag. “I always said I love a little head in the morning. Andy, be sure to send a card to her kids and her tits to her husband.” Andy took the bag off the table and left. Gaelan stabbed his plate a few times collecting eggs and put them in his mouth. I pushed my plate away. “James will you excuse me a moment, I need to make a phone call.” He stood up and left the room.
“God, that was disgusting,” James said wiping his mouth on a napkin.
“Better get used to that boyo,” Francois said, continuing to eat.
“Yeah,” James said, the look of pure disappointment and utter disgust spread all over his face.
“Fucking disgusting and inhumane,” I said sipping my orange juice. “What did this one do to Gaelan, besides cheating on her husband? Look at another man as he took her out on a date? Not kiss him goodbye? Sucks as blow jobs?”
“What did you say?” Gaelan said walking back into the room. I immediately looked down afraid of what he might do to me. “Lylie my dear, stand up for a sec will you?” I inhaled deeply and stood face to face with the devil I called my father. He grabbed my face with one hand. “I told you never to give lip while we have our meetings, didn’t I?” and slapped me across the face with the other, cutting my lip with his ring. “Sit the fuck down and keep your fucking mouth shut you hear me.” I didn’t look up at him, I wiped the blood from my lip and sat back down. The taste of metal filled my mouth. James was standing, unsure on what he should do. Gaelan motioned to the chair for him to sit, though pure hatred and disgust was spread across his face once again. “James I am sorry you had to see that, I didn’t raise my daughter, she was already a disrespectful cunt when she came to me. I’m trying to tame her to be the respectful business partner I want her to be, but there are times that she just doesn’t know when to put away her emotions. One day she’ll learn. Women right?”
My father picked up his fork and continued eating. As did Francois, who touched my hand to make sure I was okay. I nodded, still not looking up. That wasn’t the first time that Gaelan had hit me. I wished it would stop, though I had come to understand what my mother was going through and why she left that man so many years ago. I knew he hated me because of Rose, but sometimes I wished he would just talk to me about it or something, instead of beat me for it. I had nothing to do with my mother and her actions, I was barely one years old at the time. If I had known where my father was as a child, I might have called him or asked to come visit. Nonetheless, my mother did nothing of the sort but tell me horrible stories about him. To me, he walked out on us, if I had known more than what I did then, maybe I would have tried to reach out to him sooner, to try and mend things between them, but he got to Rose before I could even conjure up such a thought.
“So, James, in a month from now, Mr. Yokatomi will be flying in from Japan to deliver us the new products. I think that you should be there with us. Now Mr. Yokatomi is, how can I state this, a fucking psycho. If he thinks you seem fishy or anything, he will kill you in the most gruesome way possible. So, I suggest you keep your distance,” he looked at me. “And act accordingly.” Gaelan was always one for competition, and knowing that Mr. Yokatomi was a ‘fucking psycho,’ I had a feeling that things around there were going to start to get a little more crazy than usual. The chopped head in the morning, being the perfect example of my father slowly losing his mind.
Stacy walked past the dinning area purse in hand and a beautiful hat on. Taking a few steps back, she stopped at the door way where we were. “My dear I am going shopping, no telling when I’ll be back.” She blew a kiss to Gaelan and walked out. We all knew that she was cheating on Gaelan with one of the columbian dealers, except for my father himself. He thought she was a queen, he treated her as one too, for what reason, no one knew. He also had many other women walk in and out of that house, Stacy was always his number one.
For the next couple of hours they continue to talk about nonsense, mostly about sports and women. However, they did talk a lot about James’ life and who he was before he got into the life and before he joined Gaelan.
James was born in New York, grew up in Brooklyn as well. James was definitely a man to trust as he was never once caught by the cops, nor did he ever affiliate with them, so he says. I had found it fishy that he was never arrested or taken into custody for questioning. I mean, I was even arrested once for: “wrong accusations,” thanks to Evan, but the point still stands. Especially with the fact that a file with his name on it, remains hidden within the walls of rats the themselves. James Costa’s photograph, may not have been of him, but surely something was up. There was something about the look on Evan’s face when I said James’ name in that conference room that told me otherwise, but I dare not say another word anymore at that meeting than need be said. James used to live with his father, his mother had left them a long time ago while James was still in diapers. She passed away a few months ago, which James said was tough on him, yet he also was not as sad as he thought he would be, until his father got sick and was put in a home, so he says. Gaelan kept asking him about his father, how he was, what he did, where he was. James kept the answers vague, but I knew that my father would send me out to seek those answers. I did not know why.
When brunch was over Gaelan led James out of the house and came back to see me. Gaelan told me he liked James and that he was a good asset, not only did he know how to pick a lock as well as he knew how to sneak around the cops, he was also very good at computers and that was the only thing missing from the crew. Brunch had actually gone on longer than expected, Gaelan decided to postpone the meeting with the rest of the crew to another time and told them to just have fun a tMario’s because the meeting was off. I was in my room now, hair in curls, letting the robe slide off of me. I stood by the window that over looked the willow tree. I thought about James and how I might want to be with him. How I actually thought that maybe I would get out of the business, out of the city. Or maybe I would lead the business. Maybe James was my saviour. Though Gaelan said he likes James, I bet you if James was ever killed, it would be by the hand of my father.
The rain hadn’t let up for days. I was sitting in my room counting the raindrops that came in through the open window for hours. I hadn’t seen James since the brunch so I decided to head over. I tiptoed out of my room and down the hallway to the stairs. The only keys I could find were the ones to the motorbikes. Without hesitation, I stepped outside and sat on the motorbike, driving off into the stormy night.
I wasn’t even able to make it to the end of the driveway without being fully soaked. The streets weren’t as empty as I thought they would be. Cars sped by splashing me even more. I could have just called a taxi and I wouldn’t have been in that predicament.
No lights were on at James’, solely flashes in the living area. I parked the bike on the street and ran toward the front door. I could hear the gentle creeks in the floorboards as he made his way toward my knocking. I attempted to fix my hair quickly as I took the helmet off, though it was no use, my hair was completely soaked and started to curl. A light ignited above me and the door opened slowly revealing the most beautiful face. James stood there, eyes red and watery. I smiled.
“I know it’s kind of late—”
“Just come in,” James said, pushing the screen door open. “You want something to wear?”
“If you don’t mind love.” I walked in and let my helmet fall to the ground. James disappeared for a second. I made myself at home and walked on into the living area. A home movie was playing, of which I assumed was him as a child. I sat down and watched a pudgy blond run around a yard with a woman. She was chasing him and he was laughing.
“Here, don’t really have anything that will fit but I think this is good,” he handed me a dress shirt and quickly grabbed the remote from the table, turning off the television.
“Was that you?” I asked taking off my boots.
“Uh, yeah. With my mom,” James watched me as I stood and unbuttoned my pants. “Wait, um, would you want to shower? I don’t want you to get sick or anything.”
“No, love, I’m fine,” I said, sliding my wet leather pants down, not the brightest idea of mine to wear leather pants in the middle of summer. However, they did make my behind look astounding. James sat down still staring at me, although he seemed distracted, disturbed. I unbuttoned my shirt and left it on the floor with my pants. I looked up at James who caught my eye and quickly looked away. “Is this the family member you were talking about that passed away? Your mum?”
“Yeah, yeah she was,” he repositioned himself in his seat. “What are you doing here Lylie?”
“I just wanted to see how you were doing.”
“Mostly,” I put my head down and grinned.
James stood. “You drink wine?” I nodded and watched as he walked out. His living area was cleaner than the last time I came here. I guess he took my advice and got a cleaning lady or he was trying to impress someone, and I hoped it was me. On the walls there were nothing but old black and white photographs from the fifties or sixties. Though, one single photograph hung above the television of James and some woman, that didn’t look like his mother, maybe a sister. The thought of it perhaps being a lover, enraged me and I squeezed my fists tighter. James reentered the room and handed me a glass. I instantly gulped it down and smiled.
“Who is that?” I asked pointing at the photograph.
“That was my best friend,” James said pouring more wine in my glass. “She ran away when we were teenagers and I never heard from her again.”
“Was she your girlfriend?”
“No, no, nothing like that,” he said. I signed in relief. We sat in silence for a moment as we drank the wine. James looked at my lip, then met my gaze. “You okay?”
“Yeah, you’ll get used to it. He really doesn’t like me.”
“But he’s your father. He shouldn’t fucking treat you this way!”
“When he looks at me he sees the whore of a mother of mine who took me away from him. He resents her for it because he truly loved her. I don’t know why but he did.”
“You still don’t deserve this,” James leaned in and put his hand on mine.
“I know, but I have nothing else,” I took a sip of wine.
Silence spread over us.
“You tired?” he finally said.
“Not a wee bit, why?”
He took the glass out of my hand and placed it on the table. Leaning forward, he put his hand out in front of me and I placed mine in his. I stood to face him and smiled. Caressing my face, he kissed me ever so gently. The wine and lust that has been running through my veins shot out and I kissed him back, his strong jaw beneath my fingers. The rush of ecstasy. Sliding his hand down my thighs, he lifted me up, still kissing me, as I wrapped my legs around his waist. He walked us down the hall to his bedroom, pushing me up against the wall and grabbing my breasts as he attempted to undress himself as well as I. Frames fell to the ground, breaking and shattering. He didn’t seem to care about it either, I was the only thing he cared about in that moment. He led us to his bed where he gently dropped me and slowly pulled off my undergarments. He kissed my knee and made his way up my body to my lips. My nails dug into his back as he let himself inside me. He held my hand most of the time as our breaths met and our lips touched. We finished together. James put the blanket over us and pulled me close to him, kissing my shoulder. We spoke about love and life. We spoke about us and if I wanted to call myself his. I smiled, but inside I was like a ticking time bomb of fright. What if Gaelan were to find out? I don’t know how I would be able to handle that. Though, I still smiled because I believed I finally had someone to call my own. He asked me to stop working for my father, though I did not want to only because I couldn’t. If I did I knew I’d be as good as dead.
We kissed, and drifted off holding each other.
Morning came as quick as the night went. James woke up to a car alarm blaring in the distance. I, on the other hand, was still half asleep and refused to move. I felt him sit up, maybe he looked at me, maybe he didn’t. I was on my stomach with one arm under the pillow and my head opposite him. He leaned over and kissed my shoulder, moving the sheets, he slid his fingers down my back, over my scars. I never liked talking about them, then again, it was Gaelan’s fault I received them in the first place.
It was a while back, I was still new at the whole thing. I have rules now, though I wasn’t allowed back then, according to Gaelan. There was this one business man that my father made me visit. The deal was so important that if I messed up or was not to his liking, the wealthy business man would walk away from Gaelan and would not invest in the cocaine deal. Of course, like any other client, I wore the most sexy and revealing outfit. When I entered his loft, soft jazz music was playing and lit candles were scattered around the area. The man stood at his sofa with a whip in his hand. He told me to turn around, get on my knees, and take off my jacket. I, sadly, made a joke about being a naughty school girl as I got down on my knees, and, without a moments notice, he swung the whip at my back. I jolted upwards and backed away from him. The rage in his eyes, I knew that was supposed to be for Gaelan.
Gaelan supposedly charged these men more for the cocaine than other clients and the cocaine hadn’t even been derived to us yet. The wealthy business man sought revenge before even getting a taste of his purchase. Two more men had come running in and held me down as the business man undressed me and continued to whip me. In my defence, if I had said anything or ran out of the loft, Gaelan would have killed me himself if that man didn’t get to me first. So, I just lay there, taking every hit, nearly seven of them, before a tear streamed out of my eye. The man threw me out of his loft, naked and vulnerable, with nothing but my jacket. I had no ride since Francois and Gaelan were at a party. I had no one to turn to, and going to the hospital was not an option. I called my half-brother Evan and asked if he were busy. He picked me up at the local cafe.
“Lylie?” he said, out of breath, stepping out of his car. I had been waiting outside the cafe, since, according to the barista, I wasn’t allowed inside. “What the fuck did he do?” Blood was dripping down my legs and mascara down my face. The beige trench coat, now drenched in blood, had imprints of every whip I received.
I got into his car and he drove me to his apartment. We walked in and I asked to use the washroom.
“Show me what happened Lylie,” Evan asked.
“It doesn’t concern you. I don’t want Gaelan to find out I asked you for help.”
When I took off my jacket, revealing myself, he put his hand to his mouth in shock. My back was covered in gashes that over lapped one another, blood was everywhere. Evan took me to the washroom and called his girlfriend Michelle, who at the time was still in school to become a doctor, needless to say, it was very convenient on my behalf. Evan helped me get into the bath as he turned on the water. It slowly filled up as Evan was gently washing my wounds. I winced at every touch.
She arrived shortly after. I was sitting in the bath with little water, though it looked as though I was sitting in a shallow pool of jello. Evan grabbed a towel and helped me to the kitchen where he laid me down on my stomach. She patched me up and put some stitches in where I needed them. Michelle assured me that they wouldn’t get infected, so long as I cleaned them and stayed away from dirty water. However, she did tell me I’d have permanent scars. Another thing I got to thank Gaelan for.
James kissed my back again and slowly walked out of the bedroom. I could hear faint swearing as glassed crushed under his feet. Moments later, I decided to get up from smelling the smokey bacon. I rolled onto my back and propped myself up on my elbows, the white sheet draped over me, barely covering my body. I inhaled and slowly moved my feet off the bed. I grabbed the nearest shirt and put it on, making my to the hallway, what once were memories on a wall, were now on the floor in pieces.
“Whoa, watch it,” James said, popping out of the kitchen. “I heard the bed squeak when you got up.” He walked over and picked me up, leading me to the kitchen.
“Interesting outfit you’ve got on there,” I said as he put me down and pulled a chair out for me. James chuckled and walked over to the stove, his bare behind draped by two strands of ribbon.
“Steel toes and aprons are in, what can I say?” James said. “You sleep all right?”
“Yeah, I actually had a full night where I slept and didn’t wake up once.”
He walked over and kissed me, placing a plate in front of me. “A perfect meal for my perfect woman.”
He walked out of the kitchen and came back a moment later with boxers on. He sat down next to me and started eating.
“So what do you have planed for today?”
“Going to the fair with Stacy and my father,” I was going to the fair, though I wasn’t there to go on rides or play games. Gaelan and I had a meeting with someone, and I don’t know why I didn’t tell James, most likely because I wished he didn’t know what I did with my life. I wish he just knew me as Gaelan’s daughter, nothing more.
“Sounds like fun. I actually have to see Christof and Francois about something, don’t know what exactly.”
“Probably going to see how tough you are,” I said picking up a piece of bacon he placed on the table.
“What do you mean?”
“They’re probably going to bring you on some petty business run to collect money. That’s what they usually do with newbies.”
“Newbies?” he said and chuckled. “Let me guess you sleep with all the newbies as well?”
“That came out wrong I didn’t—”
“You’re damn fucking right that came out wrong, and extremely uncalled for.”
“Lylie, I would never hurt you. I just don’t like you whoring around. I want you out of this business.”
“That’s not an option for me and you know it.”
“I don’t want to feel like one of the other guys.”
“I have never slept with any man on my father’s crew. Jesus James, I thought you were different than this. I opened myself up to you and this is how you treat me.” I stood up and walked into the living area where I took my things and walked out the door. James came running after as I was walking on the lawn toward the motorbike, trying to put my boots on.
“Lylie please, I’m sorry, I just—”
“James, just leave me alone.”
“I’m sorry that was all uncalled for, you’re right. I just I hate the fact that—fuck who knows, maybe tonight or tomorrow, some other guy that works for your father is going to have his way with you. I just don’t like it.”
“Yeah, well, get used to it James, this is my life and I’m stuck in it until that pig of a man is dead,” I sat on the motor bike, put my helmet on, and drove off.
I couldn’t believe James looked at me that way. All that time I thought we had actually grown a connection and a mutual understanding of our lives and the choices we were forced to take for it. Then again, it seemed like all James cared about was getting in bed with the bosses daughter so that he would be safe in the business. I was falling for him and that was how he treated me. He had a lot of nerve.
There was only two things I could think of to do, either get Gaelan to kill him, or take the stand and show James that I was not some hussy he could fuck and treat like dirt. Was I overreacting? Maybe, but I guess I started to love him and even in my pit of rage, I knew I’d end up forgiving him and everything would go back to the way they were. Then again, I understood that he wanted me done with all the “clients” I had, but he needed to understand that the job was all I knew from the biter age of eighteen. James may not have lived the life of a criminal for long, there are boundaries and things that need be set.
It wasn’t that easy to just say good bye.