Cyril: Its been a year
I check my watch for the nth time as I wait for Dawson to show up in his office. It’s midnight and the music from the floor above is loud enough to make furniture in the basement vibrate. Dawson is probably having his moment but why did he order me to show up early?
I get up from the sofa and walk around the office. The basement of the club is divided into three rooms. One of the rooms is Dawson’s personal, the other is a storage that has the club’s best drinks and records. The third room is the main office where Dawson sits all day long except around midnight. There are CCTVs installed in this room so it is impossible for anyone to dig out records.
I have tried to stay away from this place for the past one year since Jia disappeared but I find it hard to do so as Dawson monitors all my activities. Something tells me that he knows the truth about his daughter and is under the impression that she will contact me sooner or later. Well, I snort, he can bet all he can for I know I lost Jia forever the moment I walked away from her.
She told me that she will contact me but I know the truth, she never will. She is too smart to contact me again and if she finds someone with whom she is happy, she will never come back. Her life had been a hell hole and she always craved happy endings. She had always loved the fairy-tales.
I pause in front of the further wall of the office where Dawson has hung a couple of pictures of his family. I study all the features and smile of the face I’d fallen for years ago. The face I still wish to see, to touch. I shake my head and step away, the pain is unbearable even though it’s been a year.
I met her in elementary school when she had been the most gorgeous and famous girl in our school. She had a lot of friends but for me, she was a kind-hearted, loving yet broken girl who used to cry under a tree in the school’s abandoned backyard. She used to cry for her mother, her dead father, and later her dead mother, at her wounds made by her stepfather and school mates who used to say bad things behind her back. She always knew the ugly face of the truth and always kept it to herself.
She spent three years pushing me away whenever I tried getting closer to her but she gave in on her eighteenth birthday. Her stepfather had beaten her so badly that she had a broken rib. In that condition, she hadn’t gone to the hospital but had come over to my house for help. Since then she had let me stay by her side and started opening up to me. She gave up on college despite really good grades and entered her stepfather’s business. Dawson didn’t trust her but he had no other heir than her so he started teaching her things he knew, little did he know that she had entered his underground business for only one purpose that was to bring him down. Dawson used to let out his frustration on his wife and daughter so Jia wanted to avenge the years of abuse.
I wanted to work for her so she let me. Dawson had performed a complete background check on me before giving us an OK signal. Within three years, we successfully had one of his faithful dealers behind the bars for smuggling drugs into the club.
Things got ugly and out of control when Dawson found out what Jia was up to so before running away, Jia went after his other right-hand man David and killed him. I’m the only witness. I couldn’t stop her nor fight with her as I was knocked out from a single kick to the stomach. Jia had always been a better fighter than me. She’d pulled the trigger at David as soon as she got the chance and fled the scene. One of David’s men called the police and I gave my statement as a witness not as Jia’s accomplice because she’d asked for it. I’d stated that it had been a usual gang fight which had ended with David dying. What surprised me was that Dawson backed me up in the case and police gave up on the investigation, later I found out that he had my mother and he aimed to use her as leverage against me.
With the tables turned, I was the only one who could bring Dawson down but I couldn’t do a thing because of my sick mother. She’s still in his captivity for months now and I have no choice but to do whatever he asks of me.
Tonight, he keeps me waiting for three hours before he comes down the steps into the basement laughing at some joke the girl on his arm has made. When he sees me, he sends the girl away and settles into his seat.
“Oh, my boy Cyril! Did you wait long?”
He chuckles as he takes out his cigar and lights it up.
“You know why I have called you here?” He releases a puff of smoke in my direction and I try my best not to flinch.
“Find her. Find Jia and I will let you and your mother go and if you don’t...” He pauses and looks at me irately. It is hard for me to keep still and not let anger or shock show on my face. I give him a tight smile and he bursts out laughing.
“Sir, she died!” I try my best to be polite.
“DEAD? Go and lie to someone else boy for I raised that witch for years and I know she’s too smart to jump off a bridge.” He slams his hands on the table and comes to stand in front of me.
“So what if the police didn’t find her body and closed the case concluding that her body probably flowed out towards the ocean? I know she lives and you are the only one who can find her.” He pokes me in the shoulder, hard, and points towards the door.
“Get out and don’ show me your face till you have something on her. Remember, I have your mother!!”
I nod and walk out of the room, rubbing my shoulder. This is not a good sign. He's never asked me to find her before, then why now? I have to find out!
I look around me once more to make sure no one is following me and dive into the bookstore.
“Adam!?” I call the guy behind the counter. Adam looks up before signaling his part-timer to take over the counter and drags me into the storeroom at the back.
“Where were you? What took you so long?” He asks me as he picks up books from the floor and shoves them in the corner to make some space for us to stand.
“Dawson called me. He wants me to find Jia!” I pick up a random book from the floor and throw it on the pile Adam is shoving towards another corner.
“She died, didn’t she?” Adam asks without looking up at me.
“Yeah, she did but he thinks otherwise” I reply casually for no one other than me knows that she lives. Police were unable to find her body and the case was concluded as suicide. Police would've searched there as well but the case was suddenly closed which I'd found suspicious then.
“I did what you asked me to.” Adam stands up and faces me.
“And are you sure no one followed or suspected you?” I ask him as I sit down on a pile of books.
Adam shakes his head, “Not yet.”
I raise my eyebrows at him and he sits down on another pile, “Look, Dawson’s business might not be of another level but he still has his men spread all over since last year. I followed his delivery man as you said and I got this” He takes out a folder from within the books and throws it at me.
Catching it, I look back at him without opening it.
“Dawson is pretty clear from the police because he has never been caught doing something illegal but when I followed his man two days ago, he went towards Plymouth. On the way, he delivered a bag to a girl around our age in an abandoned parking lot. What was in that bag I don’t know but I got some good shots of that girl. If you can search on who she is then we might have a lead or something but one thing is for sure that I won’t be doing the following thing next. Its scary dude!”
I chuckle at that, “Scary? Really?”
Adam glares at me, “Try following a man armed with a gun, did I mention he was carrying a gun?”
I nod, “Even if you hadn’t, I knew he would be carrying a gun.”
Adam stands up, “You’ve got to be kidding me! You could have told me!”
“Had I told you, you wouldn’t have done it. You were my only option.”
Adam throws up his hands, “Honestly, Cyril?”
“I’m sorry, man! I have to do everything I can to wipe him out.”
“She is alive isn’t she?” Adam says undertone. I somehow know that he is asking about Jia.
I look up at him, stunned “How....?”
Adam shakes his head, “There must be a reason why you're doing this. Police never found her body and since I was her class fellow for three years so I knew her enough to know that she is not stupid enough to jump off a bridge!!”
“Dawson said the same,” I laugh at myself. At times like this, I really get angry at Jia. I gave up everything for her and now that she has run away, here I am avenging her. I don’t want this but I can’t sit back and let her suffer as well as my mother.
“Thanks a lot, Adam,” I say and give him a bear hug.
“No need! You know you can ask me if you need help again.” He winks at me and leads me out of the room.