Jade: Unexpected turn of events
I wait impatiently by the stairs in the subway and twirl my fake blonde hair. Not that I needed them but Zoe said we ought to be careful.
I couldn’t help but howl with laughter as Cyril chose curly blonde wig, Adam went for fake mustache and beard while Zoe went for long pink and purple dyed wig.
There are security guards around here so disguised was a must according to Zoe. She doesn't want to have a record on her resume.
As I anxiously put weight on my left leg, I see Cyril wave at us and raises two fingers before pointing them at the lockers. Seems like there are two guards there.
Before any of us give any signal, I see Zoe get up from the waiting benches and make her way towards the guard on the side where Cyril is waiting with files and registers in his hand which are fake. He's brought them along to fool the guards and reach the lockers.
I watch as Adam clenches his hands around the newspaper he's holding and try not to laugh. He's so jealous and protective of Zoe, even when we're doing something this dangerous.
As soon as Zoe engages the guard, Cyril casually makes his way towards the lockers and vanishes in the second row where Verona’s locker is.
Just to be safe, I head towards him as well. I have a bad feeling about this. About everything going sideways.
A moment later as I'm on my way, I notice third guard dragging Cyril towards the other. There shouldn’t have been a third guard. I lower my cap and make my way around the guards who are questioning Cyril now. I don’t have much time so I dive in the second row.
I spot Verona’s second name ‘Amery’ at one of the lockers located in the dead center. I quickly type in the first code Eric told me. It doesn’t work.
Frustrated, I type in the second guess code.
“Its her child’s death date.” I hear someone say behind me and jump up, shocked.
I slowly turn to face the woman standing behind me, dressed in black from head to toe. She's wearing tight black t-shirt with black jacket thrown over it. Her black capris go with her black cap which hides her eyes to an extent. She looks like she is around mid-thirties.
“Who...” Words die down on my lips for the woman standing in front of me wears great resemblance with Adria.
She has same delicate nose and thin lips with almond shaped eyes. The only difference lies in the eye color. Where Adria’s are violet with bluish hue, this woman’s are ice blue. She has black curly hair where Adria’s are sleek raven black.
She raises her eyebrows at me as I stand there and stare at her, “Move aside. What do you want from her locker anyway?”
“Are you....are you...related to Adria Emerson?” I stammer. At the name, her eyes widen.
“Adria? How do you know her?”
“She is my best friend.”
“Best....? Where is Cyril?” I gape at her when she says Cyril’s name. I point behind her as one of the guards appears.
“Ladies you need to show me the ID!” He demands and the woman takes out a card and hands it over to him, “She is my niece!” She points towards me. The guard looks at the card then at both of us.
“Ok, you're clear.”
As soon as he leaves, that woman brackets my shoulders a bit forcefully.
“Where is Cyril?”
“Guards caught him, he was just here before me.”
“What do you guys want from Verona’s locker?” She shakes me a little and I cower.
“She is after us and she threatened to hurt Adria. Sorry but who are you?”
“Oh God!! I will tell you but first we need to open this thing!” Saying this she quickly enters the code and throw open the locker.
I peer over her shoulder to see what is inside it. All that locker contains is an envelope. That woman takes it out and turns it over before shutting the locker door, with a bang.
“Follow me. And all of your friends or you will get yourselves killed!”
I hesitate for a moment or two. She could be anyone and might hurt us but her resemblance with Adria is something which makes me want to trust her. So when I follow her out of there. I motion others to follow us as they stand gaping at us.
Moments later, they appear by our side and I watch as Cyril stumbles to a halt as soon as he looks at the woman.
“Hi kiddo! Follow me! Verona will send someone here to retrieve this!” She holds envelope up and waves us to follow her.
I fall in steps with Cyril, “Is she the one I think she is?”
He nods grimly as he keeps looking at Dianne.
We get into Dianne’s car which she has parked farther away from the subway. Cyril sits with Dianne while the rest of us pile in the back seat.
“I know you must be surprised to see me.”
“Surprise is an understatement. Its not every day that the dead come back!” Cyril says sarcastically and looks out the window.
“I know you are mad! But I had my reasons!”
“What were those reasons that you left Jia with your abusive husband for years?”
“I got to know Verona and what she knew. I knew she won’t make a move unless I’m out of the way so it was better to stage my own suicide than actually giving her a chance to wipe me out. I could help protect Adria from far away than by staying with her. Who do you think made the court declare her innocent of the murder and dead later?” Dianne starts the car and throws envelope in Cyril’s lap.
“You knew, you knew she killed someone.” Cyril says, his voice heavy from withholding emotions.
“I knew. But I couldn’t help! She's a strong girl. She will overcome that.” Dianne’s fingers turn white as she grips steering wheel with more force.
Cyril keeps looking at her, “And how did you know about Verona? She didn’t appear in the club until Jia disappeared!”
“Kayley! I owe that girl a lot and right now I have to get her out of the prison!”
“I still don’t understand!” Cyril shakes his head.
“Verona met Kayley before she appeared in front of anyone else. She wanted to know about the club and in short about Dawson and his family. I take it that she is related to someone in Baskerville towns. No one knows who I am except the people there.
When Verona started taking interest in me, Kayley told me about her. I made her ask frequent questions without alarming Verona but she caught on that someone was behind Kayley so she disappeared for a year when I did. I took some of Dawson’s guys with me and tracked her down. I’ve been on her since Adria disappeared. With her gone, I don’t have anyone to lose.”
“Do you even care where Jia is!?” Cyril asks disbelievingly.
“Yes I do Cyril. I lost track of her when she kil....killed that guy and since then I have no idea where she is. This is why I brought you guys here. I knew that she had only you as her friend and I planned to come to you for her. Only you know that I called her Adria but this girl mentioned that she is her friend too which made me think that maybe you guys probably know where she is or met her.”
“She is in Baskerville towns!” I say without looking at her.
“SHE... WHAT?!” Dianne hits the brakes hard.
“Yeah! She got there one year ago. I used to live there but I got into trouble and she sent me here to meet Cyril.”
Dianne keeps staring at me, her face pale in the rearview mirror.
“We should get somewhere safe and I need you to tell me WHOLE story!”
She takes us to her small apartment in totally different part of the town. We all stare around as the car moves deeper into the town.
There's litter on the roads everywhere. Kids are playing around just in shorts with their hair messy. People move about doing their jobs in somewhat old and tattered clothes. The buildings in this area have broken or dirty windows and walls with their paints peeling off.
“You were hiding in area like this?” Cyril asks her, wide eyed.
“Yes. One can totally hide here."
“How did you escape Dawson anyway?”
“I left a note behind in which I wrote all the reasons stating how I was unhappy and didn’t want to live. I wrote him that I will jump off the bridge because I can’t take it anymore and if he tries to stop me, I will let the world know about his abuse. When he used to beat me, I didn’t feel anything. I felt as if I deserved it for the choices I made in my life but when he first raised his hand on my daughter, my eyes snapped open. I tried to stop him from going after Adria but he still got to her sometimes when I wasn’t around or tried to save myself.”
“Got it, no need to mention it. Your daughter is the one who needs to head this and more.” Cyril scoffs.
I shudder when I hear Dianne mentioning the kind of life Adria led. I didn’t ask her anything nor did she tell but listening to Dianne made me realize the reason Adria was distant. Her past sucked and she was afraid of the future.
We climb up the stairs in a building for the elevator isn’t working, no surprise there.
Dianne unlocks fifth door on seventh floor and ushers us inside before locking it up.
We all sit down on old sofas as Dianne starts fixing coffee in small but neat kitchenette and ask me to tell everything I know about her daughter. I do and when I mention her going to the forest and someone inside my head, she practically bangs the pan and cups in anger but doesn’t say anything.
When I finish up my part, she sits down with her coffee cup hand pressed to her forehead.
“They will kill her!”
“Adria said they won’t hurt her!” I tell her, my heart beating uncomfortably.
“Yes they won’t but they will ask her to make the sacrifice for them to go home back into the mountains.”
“Care to explain those people?” Cyril speaks up, bitterly.
Dianne keeps looking at him for a moment before she starts explaining what those people are. All the while she explains them, I keep looking at Cyril and the way his expressions change especially when Dianne mentions them about having some abilities. In this room, I'm the only one who has a bit of experience with Adria’s abilities first hand.
“She never did anything that would indicate having those abilities."
“Cyril, she did. I experienced it. She saved my life.” I look at him. He punches his seat and gets up, “I’m going to take a walk!”
As he gets up with his fist clenched and lips pursed, we all watch him go and don’t try to stop him.
“He has always been there for my daughter but we both kept so much from him.” Dianne say hopelessly as the door bangs shut behind him.
“I’ll be right back!” I say and run after him.
I catch up to him on third floor.
“Cyril wait!! Please!” I hold his arm but he jerks it away from my grasp.
“What do you want me to do, Jade? I'm pissed alright.” He says witheringly and clenches his fists before going down the stairs.
I follow him anyway.
“You're pissed because Dianne and Adria kept so much from you?”
“No Jade!!! It's not that. I ruined my life following Jia around thinking she might stop and notice me but she never did. When I confessed she said she doesn’t feel the same way. It's not her fault. I would have hated myself more had she tried to love me back when she didn’t.” He bites down his lower lip and looks up at me. I'm standing two steps higher than him but he is still a little taller than me.
“I'm mad because I couldn’t do anything for her, I'm mad because in following her I lost my mother, I'm mad because I had hoped that Dawson will turn over and return my mother. I thought Verona will help us out. I was so, so wrong about everyone and everything, Jade. In last ten years, I don’t remember if I did anything right. It annoys me. It's like....it's like I’m useless. I didn’t know anything." He says softly this time.
“I know love does that to people. Cyril, you tried! Now its time to let her go! Let us help you. Let me help you.” I say quietly and reach out to hold his hands.
“I just want to talk to her once. Just see her once and let her go.”
“We all will get to see her. Deep down I know it. Dianne is not going to leave her there if it means she is in danger. We need to deal with Verona before going there for Adria.”
He nods and puts down his head on my shoulder “Let me stay here for a while.”
I stop breathing for a moment but then envelop him into a hug. I feel my own tears flow. Life is unfair. It's so unfair.
“You did a lot for her you know. Maybe not big things but you were there for her and do you how it feels like when there is just one person you can turn to? I can bet on this that you were very important to her. She might not have loved you but you are very precious to her. You are precious enough that she trusted you with me.”
I feel him nod his head.
“So just...just forget the past and think about the present? Dianne is worried for her daughter. You said you'd hoped that Dawson would change, Dianne married him so there must be something about him that made her trust him.”
“God, how do you do that?” He lifts up his head and looks at me.
“Do what?” I ask, a little confused and breathless for he is standing so close.
“Make every bad person sound like a good person. Making me think that's good somewhere.” He smiles before he kisses me on the cheek and climb up the stairs.
I don’t follow him back. Instead, I stand there and touch my cheek, not believing what just happened.