Jade: Running Away
“Man, can’t you stop ringing for a minute or two!?” I growl at the cordless phone and throw the towel aside. It’s been ringing for the last fifteen minutes. I was in the shower.
When I pick it up, I badly want to shove it down somewhere where I can’t hear it ring, but it’s not my house or not my phone, to begin with. Sighing, I attend the call.
“Jade?” I hear Cyril’s worried voice.
“Where the hell have you been? God, I was scared to death.” He says, troubled and concerned.
“Listen, Jade, whatever happens, don’t leave the house. I know Zoe is planning on getting you a job in a nearby restaurant, but please, don’t go or leave the house. Got it?”
“What happened? Why are you calling this late?” I look at the phone and then at the clock before pressing the phone back against my ear.
“Things got messed up. We have to figure this out together. Stay in the house and keep the doors and windows locked. Please don’t open the door or ask who it is. Be careful about the calls as well.”
“Cyril, you are freaking me out. What happened?”
“I will tell you soon enough. I have to check on Zoe and Adam.” Saying this, he disconnects the call.
I keep looking at the phone for a few minutes and jump up when it rings again. I swallow before attending the call. It could be Cyril again?
“Hi, baby doll.” I hear mom’s excited voice filled with pure love. It’s the first time I’m hearing her voice since I got here. All I did was send a letter.
“Hi, mom.” I sniff. I miss her terribly and dad. Especially dad.
“Are you crying?” She asks.
“No, I’m just happy that you called.”
“Well, you didn’t call since you left, so we decided to give you a call. Your dad thought you might have been busy looking for a job or place to stay, so he asked me to leave you be for a while.”
“It’s ok, mom. Adria’s friend took care of me, and I’m staying with one of his friends. She is so cool and takes care of me, so you don’t need to worry. I mentioned as much in the letter.”
“It’s a relief.” I feel her sniff.
“Mom, are you crying now?”
“No, baby, I’m just too happy to hear your voice. Don’t send letters when you can call.”
“I love you, mom!” I smile on the phone.
“I love you more!” She laughs, and I laugh with her.
“Hey, your dad wanted to talk. I’m handing him the phone.” She says goodbye and hands over the phone. I was trying not to cry with mom, but when I hear my dad’s voice, I start crying.
“Is everything okay, Jade??” When I don’t stop crying for the next two minutes, he gets worried.
“Yes, it is! I didn’t realize how much I missed you guys.”
“We miss you too, babe.”
“Dad, Zoe might call so moving to more important thing; where is Adria?” I ask blithely as I perch uncomfortably on the chair near the window.
“Listen, Jade, about that, she hasn’t been back since she left the morning you left.”
“WHAT?” I slip from the chair but balance myself quickly. “Why? Did you look for her?”
“No. I’m afraid she won’t be coming back any sooner.”
“Dad, you should look for her. She said those people in the forest are not dangerous. Try to go in there and ask?” I suggest weakly knowing well that it’s not possible.
“I wish I could, baby.” He sounds plaintive.
“Dad?” I whisper. “Dad, I need her. I need to talk to her.” I sniff again, for I miss her too much, and I want to talk to her about so many things.
“Mrs. Headley’s butler visited us yesterday to ask about her. We told him the truth that she has vanished into the forest. People around here said the same. He also mentioned if anyone had seen a tall guy with chocolate brown hair and green eyes with her, but no one has. Any idea who he is?”
“Eric. Eric Amery.” I murmur.
“What does he have to do with Adria’s disappearance?”
“I don’t know, dad. It’s all the more reason that you should visit the forest and ask for her. Don’t go deeper, just try calling her?” I suggest.
“I can’t, Jade, and you know that! If anyone sees me, I won’t be able to come back either. Won’t be able to live with my head held high.”
“I know, dad, I know, but can’t you do it at night?” I try again.
“You don’t know that Mrs. Headley has positioned guards around the openings on both sides.” He sounds dejected and afraid now.
“Dad, you have to try for Adria and me. It’s more than just me wanting to talk to her. Please?”
“Your mom won’t allow it!”
“Actually, I want to know if Adria is safe more than you, Ben!” I hear my mother’s voice behind him, and I laugh out loud. Count on mom to take my side when I’m not there.
“It’s settled then. You guys are going to go into the forest and try to talk to her. Don’t go deeper, though. Adria said those people live beyond some golden trees. Don’t go there. Just call out to her, anyone might show up. At least we should try.”
My father sighs, and I can picture him running his hand through his hair in frustration and worry.
“It’ll be a fine dad. If Adria is there, she won’t let anything happen to either of you.”
“I know, baby, I know. Anything else? What about the job?” He changes the subject.
“Zoe is looking for one for me. I don’t want to start big yet. I want to know how to socialize before anything. I’m so nervous and awkward around Zoe and her friends. I don’t know what to talk about half the time.”
“I know, baby! You will learn, though! Ok, I gotta go. I think it’s Alastair outside the door. He shouldn’t know about this phone or anyone else.”
“Love you, dad, and tell mom I love her tons.”
He chuckles, “Love you more, baby! Talk to you soon then.”
“Good luck!” I say before he disconnects the call.
Just as I take out the blow dryer from Zoe’s draw, I hear the front door ring. I stop myself from calling out who it is when I recall Cyril’s warning. I hope everything is ok. Silently I put back the blow dryer and hide in the kitchenette.
Bell keeps on ringing for about five minutes before whoever it is leaves. Had it been Cyril, Adam, or Zoe, they would have used the keys instead of ringing the doorbell.
A strange shudder went through my body, and I slowly creep into the bed.
I wake up on Cyril’s call, and I’m surprised at how I’d gone to sleep, hiding in the kitchenette behind the concrete slabs.
“Hello?” I yawn and look around. It’s probably night, and the house is in the dark.
“Jade, take whatever little stuff you can and come out quietly. I’m waiting in the car with Adam and Zoe!” Saying this, he disconnects the call.
I avoid turning on the light just in case and pack what little stuff I had, thanking God that it wasn’t scattered all over the place.
When I get out of the house, I see Cyril wave from across the road near the payphone with a new car behind him. I rush on towards him quietly, and he takes the bag from me as soon as I reach him.
“What’s going on? What happened?” I ask anxiously.
“I’ll tell you in the car, but for now, get in.”
I notice that Zoe and Adam are in the back seat, and both are awfully quiet, which is so unlike them. I get into the passenger seat as Cyril gets behind the steering wheel.
“So, the main body behind Dawson is Verona Amery.” He announces as he starts the car.
“Verona? No way!” Zoe speaks up.
“Believe it or not, she knows Jia’s name. It was the name only her mother or I knew, and now Jade does.” I notice how he keeps looking into the review mirror as he drives.
“I called Chadwick as soon as I got out of the club to tell him about this situation. He sent one of his guys with this car and his downtown house keys for us to hide there for the moment. Verona is definitely following all three of us, and she does not know about Jade yet, and I want to keep it that way.”
“How do you know that she has been following you guys?” I ask weakly.
“Oh, yes. I noticed the same car following me for the last two days. I thoughts its just a random car, but this afternoon I tried driving my motorbike aimlessly around the city, and that guy kept following.”
“How do you know it’s not Chadwick but Verona?” Zoe frowns.
“Because Chadwick promised me that he would aid us. He didn’t do it directly. He did a complete background check on us. Then he agreed to help.”
“But still, we should know who we are dealing with here?”
“It’s Verona because Chadwick dug up some info on her and found out that her brother Eric Amery stole some important documents from the shareholder meeting in Germany, and he is now missing. Chadwick’s friend lost another fraud case against Verona’s father last year because of a lack of evidence. Chadwick’s friend believes what Eric stole was the evidence since it was hidden in the German office. Eric brought it into the country, and the shareholders already had police aid to catch him. No one knows how he managed to get away, but now Chadwick thinks Verona and her father were behind his escape.” Cyril speeds up the car as we leave the traffic behind and turn on an isolated road.
“Oh my God!!” I take deep breaths.
“Eric is missing from Baskerville towns as well. I got a call this morning on your phone Cyril.” I tell them without making eye contact.
“What?” Car jerks a little as Cyril takes in the news, and I feel Zoe’s eyes piercing into my back.
“That’s not all. Adria is missing too! Both of them vanished together.” I close my eyes as I deliver the news, and as I had expected, Cyril hits the brakes, and we all jerk forward.
“Cyril, don’t kill us at least!” Zoe shouts at him while all he does is gape at me.
“Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
“To tell you exactly what’s going on Adria’s end, I’ll have to tell you everything I know about Adria and those towns. I promised her I wouldn’t, but if it means that her life is in danger, I can tell you guys.”
Cyril furiously starts the car again, “Start talking!”
And I do from the very beginning.