York Police Station.
Panting heavily, Josie Maran stopped the motorbike she had been driving very fast and came down quickly. Removing her helmet, she brought out her phone and dialed the last number on her call log kicking her feet earnestly for the receiver to pick up.
“Please, please pick up.” She muttered to herself.
The call went unanswered, making her sigh in frustration and giving her no other option than to try again the second time and then a third time. She was about giving up after the third trial when her phone suddenly vibrated.
“Hello customer!” She talked quickly. “I'm calling for the delivery you requested for. "I'm in front of the address you gave. How do I get to you?”
“Really? Do you usually take this long to deliver?" A clear masculine voice sounded from the other end.
“No, not at all!” Josie defended quickly. “Something happened on the way, that's why I'm here this late. I'm really sorry. Anyways, how do I get to you?”
The customer hesitated for a while before replying. “That can't be possible for now. I waited for you and I had to leave when I had an emergency.”
Sighing, she nodded as she tried to understand the situation she was in. “Ah. So customer, what do I do about the delivery?”
“Go in and ask someone for the Squad leader of the homicide department's desk.” The voice at the other end continued. “Someone is waiting for me there. You can leave it on my desk or hand it over to him.”
“Should I wait for you afterwards?”
“I'd advise you not to wait because it'll take a while before I get back.”
“Ah, but customer, we don't do things that way. How about—“
Before she could complete her statement, the call was disconnected. Surprised at the sudden action, she took a look at her phone before placing it back to her left ear.
“Customer? Are you there? Customer? Customer? Aishhh! Seriously! How can he hang up like that?” She shouted at no one in particular as she kicked the motorbike frustratingly. Holding her phone up, she took her anger on the inanimate object. “Hey! Do you know how hard it was for me to locate this place and how hard it was for me to rush down here because of your delivery and you're there telling me you had an emergency! What emergency!” Looking up at the police station signboard, she raised her fist up as if to punch it. “It's a police station, not a hospital!”
Putting her phone in her pocket, she brought out the delivery box from the bigger metal box at the back of the motorbike and walked into the station scanning through. There, she approached an officer.
“Excuse me.” She called her attention.
Looking up, the officer stopped what she was doing. “How can I help you?”
Placing the box she was carrying on the table in front of the officer, she cleared her throat. “You see, the thing is I got a call this morning from someone here to make a delivery, but I had to make two other deliveries before this one.” Pausing, she raised her hands up to demonstrate to make it easier for the officer to understand before continuing. “Before I got here an accident occurred and my second customer was involved, so I had to call 911 and wait for the ambulance to get there before leaving. So, when I got here, I called the customer that asked me to deliver here and he told me to walk in here and ask for the desk of the Squad leader. Where is it?”
Folding her hands, the officer gave her an unbelievable look. “So, in essence, you're asking for the squad leader's desk?”
Josie mimicked her by folding her hands too before nodding in agreement. “Well, if that's what you understand all I have been saying as, then yes.”
“Unbelievable. I asked a simple question and just to answer that, you gave that long explanation?”
“Well, so you would understand and not ask me again.”
“Seriously? What department?”
“Eh? Department? What do you mean?
“The squad leader of what department?” She asked, looking at her closely. “You don't know? You didn't ask?”
“Well, about that. . ." She muttered as she tried to remember.
Shaking her head, the officer sighed. “I should have known you don't know what you're doing. Do you know how many squad leaders we have in this police station? How do you intend to find the one you're looking for if you don't know the department?”
“Well, I was. . .” Pausing for a brief second, she suddenly remembered and clapped her hand. “That's right! Homicide department! He said homicide department!” She exclaimed, smiling before giving her a weird and annoying look as if she just remembered what she just said. “What do you mean by I don't know what I'm doing! I just forgot it for a short while. No one is above—"
“Go upstairs and ask for Squad leader Jared Nittolo's desk.” The officer interrupted before walking away.
"Whoa, look at that!” She exclaimed as she watched the officer leave. “I haven't even finished talking and she walked out on me. What kind of people work in this station? They have no manners at all! First one hangs up on me and another walks out on me. Is that how they serve the citizens? Seriously!”
Getting pissed off, she found her way upstairs as she had been directed. Taking a few steps forward, she read the inscription written boldly at the first door; Homicide department before walking in. The office was empty as she scanned through, and she had no choice than to go back outside to confirm if she was at the right place.
“What's this?” She asked herself as she walked back in.
"There's no one here. Is anyone here? Hello? Anyone? Seriously, what's this? The whole place is empty. But he told me I'll meet someone here waiting for him. What do I do about this delivery box? I can't just take it back.”
Turning back to leave, she found a guy standing with arms folded at the door making her startled at his silent and sudden appearance.
“Hey! You startled me!” She exclaimed as she walked up to him. “Who are you? Are you by any chance waiting for the squad leader?”
Ignoring her, the guy walked up to the desk of the supposed squad leader and sat down, going through the book in front of him. Adjusting her hair, Josie tried to compose herself well as she followed him and stood in front of the desk with her eyes closed and then opened again in order to contain her growing anger.
“Excuse me, I was talking to you just now.” she started in between gritted teeth. "I usually don't like asking a question twice, that's why I take my time to explain things to people, but since I didn't explain anything to you, I'll ask again. Are you the one waiting for the squad leader?”
“Uhn.” He replied without looking up at her.
“That's a relief! This. . .” She explained raising the delivery box up before placing it on the desk. ". . .he asked me to leave it with you.”
For a brief moment, the guy took a look at the box, at Josie, and then finally at the book, ignoring her and concentrating on what he was reading.
“Excuse me, I'm talking to you.”
“Do I have to reply?” he asked folding his arms.
“Of course! If you don't reply, how do I get what I want?”
“What you want? What do you want?”
Folding her arms too, she gave him a surprised look. “What I want? I mean, do I have to spell it out? Do deliveries come for free?”
“Ah!” he exclaimed sarcastically. “Money?”
“Exactly!” she exclaimed smiling. “Of course, I have to get the money for this.”
“But I didn't order for that.” He replied with a fake smile and she was taken aback.
“I said I didn't order for that. Why should I pay for it?”
“How can you say that? I mean, the guy I called earlier asked me to give this to you. How then can you say that?”
“But he didn't ask me to pay for it, right? Or did he?”
“Who is going to pay for it then?” She asked tired and frustrated.
“The person who ordered for it of course.”
“But he's your friend!”
“How can you conclude that he's my friend?”
“Then, if you're not his friend, why are you here?” She asked, puzzled.
“Are you forgetting that this is a police station?”
“Ah!” she exclaimed nodding. “That's right. That's right. Are you by any chance a. . .” Giving a pause, she closed her mouth and opened her eyes wide. ". . .a criminal?”
“What!?” He exclaimed, surprised at her sudden conclusion.
“You're a criminal, right? What is your offence? What did you do? Did you steal anything? Or did you kill someone? Or are you a stalker? What exactly did you do?”
“I'm not a criminal!” He defended quickly.
“Right! If you're not a criminal, then pay me!”
“Grab a chair and sit. You have a long time to wait.” He told her before diverting his attention back to what he was reading.
President of Hernandez Group, Chazz Hernandez walked into the boardroom after receiving a call. Walking round the boardroom, he waited for about five minutes before a woman, Rita Oliver walked in.
“You're not supposed to be here.” He said after making sure the door behind her was closed.
“Is that how you greet someone you've not seen for a while now?” She asked as she sat down opposite him.
“It's not even up to a week.”
“So are you saying you didn't miss me one bit?” She asked folding her arms.
“Mum!” he called as he walked up to her. “Why did you come back? I told you not to come here.”
“Why can't I? My son is the president here and you're telling me not to come here. Is there any tangible reason why I can't come here? Tell me.”
“There isn't, but you can't just come here as you wish. You should have called me.”
“But I did.”
“That was after you got here. Mother, this is my workplace. You should—”
“They're back.” She interrupted.
“Your siblings. They're back.”
“When?” He asked, surprised.
“Today.” She replied as she turned to look at him. “Do you now know why I'm here? I hate the fact that the house is going to get noisy. It was better when they were away.”
“They're grownups already.”
“That's the problem! They were never young before. It's been fifteen years already and it feels like I'm about to start my life from where it all began before they left." Standing up, she held his hands tightly. “Chazz, be careful. Always remember what I told you about them. Your father favours them than you. You're on a different path, okay.”
Removing his hands from her grip, he held her instead. “Don't worry, mum. I can handle this myself. Don't worry yourself too much.”
“Where is your father?”
“I haven't seen him today.”
“Make sure you don't get on his bad side okay? And be mindful of those kids, especially Alexander.”
“Mum, I said I can handle this. Go back home.” He told her as he brought out his phone and dialed a number.
“I have nothing to do at home.”
“Have you found what you're looking for?”
Sighing she shook her head. "How many years has it been? It's been so long yet I haven't given up.”
“I need you to come here and escort my mother back to the car.” He spoke to the receiver before hanging up.
“You should give up on that. I don't know what you've been looking for and neither do I seem interested, but just like you said, haven't you been looking for that for quite a long time now?”
“Never! Not now! I won't stop until I find it. You might not realize it, but I'm doing it for you, Chazz, it's all for you. Especially now that those two good for nothing siblings of yours are back. They have no other purpose here than to steal what you've been working for ever since they left and leave you who has been doing all the work with nothing. Can't you see it? What I'm looking for is just like a plan B. If anything happens and they succeed without a plan B, you'll be left with nothing. But with this, you can be able to take control of everything; even your father won't be able to do anything.”
“Don't worry about it. You just concentrate on getting your father's company. I trust you with that.”
Seconds later, Chazz's secretary, Rachel Lakes came in.
“Escort her back to the car.” He directed Rachel.
“Yes sir.” She bowed respectfully as she helped Rita Oliver with her bag before facing him. “You have a visitor in your office sir.”
“Alright. You can go.” He ordered with a wave of hand.
Rachel escorted Rita out of the boardroom while Chazz stayed behind. He was the supposed first son of the current chairman of Hernandez Group, Chairman Gabriel Hernandez and he just assumed the post of the acting president the previous week. His plan was to take over Hernandez Group and he spent the past fifteen years of his life pursuing that goal with the help of his mother. He tried to get on the good sides of his father ever since his two step-siblings left the country, but, to the chairman, he never did anything right.
However, Chazz didn't stop trying and because of his determination, he was able to allow the chairman trust him with the position of the president. However, his plan of taking over the company was about to be ruined due to the fact that his siblings appeared back home out of nowhere after his fifteen years of hard work.
Walking round the boardroom, his mind flashed backwards as he recalled the first day he stepped into the Hernandez's household.
Fifteen years ago
Gabriel Hernandez, Chairman of Hernandez Group sat on the dining table with his two children, 14 years old son Alexander Hernandez and 9 years old daughter, Phoebe Hernandez. The three of them sat together for the first time after the death of Gabriel's wife, Hannah Oliver. Alexander and Phoebe were not happy when their father told them about taking both of them out of the country to the states, especially Alexander, who felt indebted to one of his close female friends who died recently.
Clearing his throat, Gabriel, their father proceeded to talk. “You two will leave next week. I've gotten everything prepared already."
“Dad,” Alexander, who was obviously not happy about the decision called him. “Do we have to go? Phoebe and I are fine staying here. We promise not to cause you any trouble. Please let us stay.”
“You can't!” he objected. “I can't let you stay. Leaving this country is what is best for you.”
“But Dad—” Phoebe started.
“I don't want to hear anything from you.” He interrupted her. “Your step mother would be arriving anytime soon. You two should get prepared.”
“Stepmother?” Alexander asked.
Just then, while Alexander and Phoebe watched, a woman and a young boy presumably of Alexander's age or slightly older than, came in. The two children didn't recognize them as that would be first time they'll be seeing them. They watched earnestly as the mother and son walked closer to the dining table while Gabriel asked them to join them on the table.
“Who are they?” Alexander asked.
“Alexander, Phoebe, meet your step mother, Rita Oliver and your half brother, Chazz.”
“Step mother and half brother?” he asked as he glanced at Rita and Chazz. “Is he your real son?”
“Alexander!” Gabriel raised his voice. “Mind your manners and say hello.”
Hitting his cutleries on the table, Alexander stood up. “What manners! It's not even up to three months that mother died and we're having a step mother already! You kept the fact that you had a mistress away from us and I guess that was one of the reasons mother had to die early.”
“Keep shut and sit down!” his father ordered angrily.
“Fine! You're right! There's no point in staying here if we'll be having company! Be it next week or tomorrow or even this instant, we're ready to leave!” He voiced out before storming off to his room angrily.
“Alexander! Alexander Hernandez!” his father shouted after him.
“He is right.” Phoebe supported as she also took a quick glance at Chazz and then Rita. “I don't want another brother not to talk of another mother. Brother Alexander is my only brother and mum is my only mother.” Pausing, she turned to look at her father before standing up. “Dad, you too, you're my only father.” With that, she also left the dining table.
“Phoebe! Phoebe Hernandez!”
Gabriel slammed his cutleries on the table irritated at their behaviour. “How exactly did their mother raise them?” He asked no one in particular before facing Rita who stood silent with Chazz all the while. “They won't be leaving until next week. Give them a good impression until then.” Standing up, he glanced at Chazz who looked up and met his eyes but all he could see was utmost rejection.
Alexander left for the states few days later while Phoebe was asked to stay behind for a short while before joining her brother. Before she left, she disliked Chazz and he also disliked her. Both of them didn't hide their hatred for each other. Phoebe would deliberately frustrate Chazz and Rita and he would also do the same thing to her. It went like that for three years until Phoebe finally left for the states.
Chazz left the boardroom minutes after and went to his office to check on the visitor Rachel told him he had. Before getting to his office, he met Rachel on her way out who confirmed that his visitor was still very much around. Opening the door to his main office, he noticed a pair of female's shoes at the entrance, one of the things he hated.
Walking in further, he noticed a handbag on one of the couch present and a Smartphone on the table. The last time he witnessed something related to such was fifteen years ago when Phoebe had deliberately scattered his room in her own way of giving him a hard time since he really detested having a messy place to stay in. Giving a puzzled frown, he turned towards his desk and just like in slow motion, his office chair which had been backing him started turning slowly towards him revealing a female figure with crossed legs. Walking closer, his puzzled frown cleared as he realized who it was.
Of course, he should have thought better that no one ever tried that same act with him except her, although he didn't recognize her.