The Wheel Of Fortune

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Chapter 24-Once again

ELODIE CARMAN’S POV

As the clatter from the kitchen continues, I plug in my headphones and increase the volume of the music. Rock music starts blasting through my headphone and I turn on my laptop to complete the case report. I lean back on the couch till I am half-sitting position against the armrest with my legs crossed at the ankle and put my laptop on my stomach.

After working for 30 minutes, I rub my eyes and shut my laptop. Now, all that is left is to print the report, I will ask Liana to do it before I go out. I remove my headphones and put in on the glass table before stretching my arms. Grabbing the laptop, I place it on the study table.

I let out a yawn and look around the room. My eyes pause at the torn posters pasted all over the room. Should I clean up? When did I last clean my room? Was it last month? Two months before? I am not even sure. I look down at the clothes thrown on the chair and the bed, the electric guitar on the side, and the books sprawled on the study table. I will clean next time, seeing the state of the room it will take at least an hour to sort everything out.

Walking out of the room, I make my way to the kitchen in our apartment to find Liana cooking. I look down at the cookies she just placed on the counter. It smells fresh, did she just bake them? I take a peek at Liana to find her turn the other way before picking up a cookie and putting it in my mouth. Luckily, it’s the choco-chip one, I never like too much chocolate in anything.

As soon as I notice Liana turning around, I turn my back to her and cover my mouth with my hand. “You are here? Weren’t you going to meet your parents?”

I dust my hands, rapidly crumble the cookie in my mouth, and answer, “I think it would be better to help than going out to meet them. And today is my turn to cook.” Finishing the cookie in my mouth, I turn around to face her and walk around the counter. I put on the apron without giving her time to object.

“Nah, go and meet them. I am going out with Valencia and Hiroyuki. And I have baked some cookies, I hope your family will like them.” She says while tying a ribbon on the packet which contains her cookies.

Of course, they will like them, my mom and dad like Liana a lot.

“Hey, why don’t you come with me? I really don’t want to go there alone, you know how my parents are...I don’t want to go but I don’t have any other choice.” I take off the apron when she starts cleaning the kitchen. The only reason I am going is to meet my dad as it has been 5 months since I last saw him. He is on a business trip most of the time.

“Will your sister will be there as well?”

“Yeah, otherwise why would I be trying to avoid the dinner?”

She puts the washcloth aside, washes her hand before facing me. She hesitates for a few seconds and opens her mouth, “Elodie, however, may your family be, they are still your family...You know the line of work we are in, we never know when we will die. Don’t you think you should spend more time with your family? I just don’t want to regret anything later.”

I take a deep breath to not lose control of my emotions, “Don’t bring that topic up.” I pause for a second before continuing, “And I am damn sure I will never regret not spending time with her instead I am more likely to regret the time little I spend with them.” I turn around and walk back into my room.

I pull open the door of the wardrobe with some force which leaves a space full of jeans and a t-shirt and with only two dresses at one side in my sight. I pull a sky blue a-line dress from the hanger and high-heels from below. After putting on the dress, I walk towards the mirror and look over once before applying light makeup.

I just want to throw this ruffled dress out in the garbage but I don’t have any other choice as well. Gloria chose it for me but this is just not my taste. If possible, I would choose simple black jeans and a white t-shirt. With time, I have more realized how important clothes are in showing a glimpse of a person’s personality.

Like how Liana prefers casual but cute dresses, how Gloria likes girlish and ruffled style, while Fajah is the one who tries mixing different outfits and creating her own style, Nadya goes for a graceful yet effortless look and at last how Valencia prefers revealing dresses which showcase her figure. It does represent their personality a lot.

I grab my purse and walk out of the room after turning off the lights. Liana stops in the middle of the living room with her hands full with files on seeing me. I walk past her and enter the kitchen to pick up the cookie packet. I give her a wave while walking out and passing her, “I will be leaving then.”

“...Come on, smile a little, it will not be that bad. Just have dinner with them and come back like you always do.” Liana encourages me as she sees my flat expression. She puts down the flies on the coffee table and puts her hands on her hip.

“You wish.” I roll my eyes. Whenever I go there is no way I will come back in good mood. That is something almost impossible. I exit the apartment with a goodbye and stop in front of the lift after a backward glance. After driving for 20 minutes, I park the car in the empty garage of my house and step out.

As soon as I reach the door, I take a deep breath before knocking on the door. A minute later, the person I have been wanting to see opened the door and I release a smile. “Dad”

“Elodie.” He engulfs me in a hug and pats my back. I close my eyes and return the hug with a sigh of comfort, “My little fighter is back.” The smile on his face is clear from his tone.

He releases me and pulls me inside, “How have you been? How is work?”

I pass him the cookie packet and open my mouth to answer but before I could even utter a word, a familiar voice rings out from the kitchen. “Are you both just going to stand there all night? Bring her inside.”

I sallow back my words and press my lips in a thin line. Dad starts ushering me inside, “You know how much your mother misses you, she is waiting to meet you.” Even though he is saying this, we both are aware of just how true the statement is. I bit the inside of my cheek to stop any sarcastic remark which was going to flow out of my mouth.

As I step into the hall, I hear the thumping from the stairs before I find my elder sister running down the stairs. She slows down as soon as she catches sight of me, “Elodie, you are back? I was waiting for you.” She smiles and starts coming towards me but I walk past her without a word, “Elodie?”

“Jeanne, let her be.” I hear dad saying from behind. I ascend the stairs and directly make my way to my room for the time being. I don't want to face her for now. With some hesitation, I turn on the light and find the whole room covered in a layer of dust. Nothing has been moved an inch. I scan the room and stop my gaze at the photo frame on the study table.

“Why is that photo here?” I whisper to myself and walk up to the desk before picking up the frame with force. Didn’t I throw it out? Why is it still here? After thinking for a moment, I raise my hand and wipe the dust off the glass with my palm.

The photo of the girl in long black hair becomes visible before I shift my attention to the boy in brown hair. As soon as I catch sight of him, memories start flooding in and I throw the photo frame back on the table. I grit my teeth, I clearly remember all the photos with that bastard away, how did I leave this out?

I snatch the photo from the table but stop on the second thought, forget it, it’s not like I will be coming back home anytime soon. And why should I throw out my group picture when he is the one I don’t want to see? He is not worth enough to throw all my group photos in the dustbin.

Fifteen minutes later, I go downstairs and take my seat on the dinner table while eyeing Jeanne on the other side. Once the dinner is all set, we start eating. Not even five minutes later, I hear my mom’s voice “Elodie, didn’t I tell you to buy another dress? Why do you keep wearing the same dress whenever you come here?”

“Mom, what is the problem? If she likes it, let her wear it.” Jeanne suddenly interjects.

“If she doesn’t have money, she can ask me, but does she keep wearing the same dress?” She releases a frustrated sigh and shakes her head. “I will take you shopping with me next time, your taste is deteriorating day by day. You should learn from my sister.”

I tighten my grip on the fork and keep my head down. Money? Why would I need money when I have plenty of cases in my hand. Payment from them will be enough to buy twenty more dresses like this one. And why would I ask her for money even if I don’t have enough?

“Honey, she is back after so long, why are you talking about her dress? She should wear whatever she wants. Elodie, don’t mind your mother, I like your dress.”

Jeanne chuckles, “Dad, you don’t even know anything about dresses. You always say we look good in everything.” While the conversation continues, I keep my head down and focus on eating. After all, there is no place for me here.


NADYA SHARMA’S POV

The hustle and bustle surround me as the roof above me provide me shelter from the sun. I look down at my watch for the third time in the last thirty minutes. I straighten up and peek at the door at the end of the corridor. Shouldn’t the hearing be over by now? Why aren’t they coming out?

After standing at the same place while leaning against the pillar for another 10 minutes, I start walking around in a circle and stop once I see Kang coming out with officers. He pauses when he notices me at the end of the hallway and whispers something to the officers standing behind him before making his way towards me.

“Hello, Miss Nadya How come you are here?” He stops a meter away from me and looks around, probably searching for Ryou. “And alone at that.”

“I was free and remembered the case, so I came to see how the hearing is going. How is it going? I heard the president of the company was coming today.”

He rubs his hands together, “He came and left long ago since the person-in-charge admitted his crime so now the case is closed...But I don’t think there was a need for you to come here. I would have informed, His Grace about the result. He helped us in the investigation after all.”

“I see, I see...” I look over Kang’s shoulder and watch as more people pour out of the room. Where is she? She should be here by now. Not even a minute later, I catch sight of Isra. I look back at Kang and hurriedly runoff, "Excuse me, I have to go."

I jog and join the crowd dispersing from the archway exit and push through the crowd.

As soon as I notice Isra almost out of the court building, I call her out. She stops in her tracks and looks back, I push past the last of the crowd and stop before while panting, “Isra, right? I wanted to talk with you. Do you remember me from last time?”

She stares at me with wide eyes and points at me, “You...you are that girl from before. Why are you here? What do you want from me?” She almost looks sacred enough to make a run for it. By now, I am sure she knows of my identity so I continue without further introduction. “Follow me, there is something I want to talk about. Since you know who I am, please listen to me.”

Despite looking scared, she looks around before following me to a quiet corridor. I take a quick look around and come to stop and face Isra. “Who did you and your husband talk to get your brother-in-law killed?”

“Why..why...why would I tell you?” She raises her voice with anger and frustration clear in her voice, “Do you think just because you are His Grace’s duo, I will help you and you can do anything? Because of what I told you before now my husband is in jail? Do you think I will answer you after what you did? I am not telling you anything.” She turns around to leave after throwing a glare at me.

I fold my arms and put my body weight on one leg, “I heard you don’t have money to pay to your debtors. Are you sure you don’t know anything?”

She freezes for a moment before turning back to face me, ’...Will you help me if I tell you?” She asks cautiously.

“Of course, if you help me, I will surely help you. Now that your husband is going to prison, don’t you think you should have some money for yourself?” I step forward and grab her arm, “I heard you used to always tell your friends how rich you are, think about it if they found out suddenly about your situation, what will they think? You will have to give up your house, sell your expensive furniture. I don’t want that to happen to you, I want to help you. If you help me, I will help you.”

I give her arm a squeeze and let go. “Think about it, there were many families involved in the arsenic case but I came only to you because you were the family of the person in the first case. But...if you don’t want to help me then I can ask others, there are so many cases, I can find anyone. Who will help me, I will help them.”

She thinks for two minutes as she keeps fumbling with her hand and biting her lips, “Okay, I will tell you but you have to pay the money once I am done.”

I unfold my hand and nod, “If you help me, I will help you.”

She keeps looking at me with suspicion for a few seconds before answering, “Everything was done by a call, we never met the person. He always gave instructions from the phone. It was a phone booth number. We received the money in cash once the work was done, he parceled the money.”

“Did he ever say his name? Do you remember anything else about him?”

She thinks for a bit before shaking her head. “No, he never told us anything about himself and we never asked...Anyway, now give me the money, don’t forget you promised me.” She extends her palm towards me.

“Thanks for answering, ” I say and give her a smile, “But that was not helpful for me so there is no need for me to help you. The condition was that I will help you if you help me. So please go ahead and help yourself. I will be leaving then.” I lean forward and whisper at her face as she looks back at me with a horrified expression, “Though it was nice meeting you, I hope we never meet again.” I shoot her a small smirk before managing my expression. I turn around while ignoring her shrieks and shouts and walk away.

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