Chapter Twenty - Six
Apollo pulled up to the edge of the property in Olney, and immediately began to relax. As he made his way down the dirt road that lead to the house, he began thinking about what his life has been like since he first laid eyes on Sateria. He was happy that he allowed himself to fall in love again. He couldn’t have been happier with his choice. She was perfect. Now she was missing. Apollo knew with everything he’d done in his past, he was being punished for his evil and greedy ways. Perhaps this was the higher power’s way of telling him to get out of the business. He didn’t need to rob and steal anymore. He only continued to do it because of the rush. Now he didn’t need it. He had all the rush he could handle when he was close to Sateria.
Getting close to the driveway, he noticed a car he’d never seen before. He knew that the team would often come down and play paintball, that’s what they did for some group fun, but they were, or should all be at work. He immediately thought that there were some squatters in Sateria’s house. He decided to get rid of them. Backing up, he decided to go in on foot. This way whoever was in the house, wouldn’t hear him coming.
Parking his car a bit from the house, he got out and loaded his gun. In his current mood, he was ready for anything, and would definitely shoot someone if they rubbed him the wrong way.
Avoiding the front of the house, Apollo chose to go the back way, hidden amongst the tall trees and brush. Looking at his watch it was just a little after one in the afternoon. He wondered how many people were in the house, and what they could possibly be doing at the moment.
Moving slowly making sure to be as quiet as possible, he crept up to one of the ground level windows and peeked in. The window he looked in was to the den. The television was on, and no one was watching. Apollo waited three minutes, and no one showed. He moved to a different window.
Sneaking a peek into the living room window, he still saw no one, but there was an empty wine glass on the coffee table. Evidence that there was at least one person in the house. Eventually peeking in all of the windows on the ground level, and not seeing a soul, he decided it was time for him to go in.
He backed away from the house, and removed his key from his key ring. That was all he was going to need. Someone to hear his keys jingling when he wanted to keep the element of surprise. Tiptoeing up to the back door, he quietly put his key in and unlocked the door. Sneaking in the back in true thief fashion, Apollo quietly closed the door.
Entering the kitchen, the smell of garlic and oregano filled the air. Spaghetti. Noticing that there was a pot on the stove, Apollo put his hand close to see if it was hot. It wasn’t. Not hearing any movement in the house, he quietly moved upstairs to take a look around, hoping that he wouldn’t be surprised by anyone. With the exception of the hallway bathroom door being closed, the large country house seemed to be empty. There was one place that he hadn’t looked. The basement. He figured that the sole occupant was in the bathroom, and hurried to the basement.
Going quietly, he slinked down the stairs remaining vigilant. When he reached the bottom of the stairs, he rounded the wall leading into the unfinished basement, and couldn’t believe what he saw. There she was, quietly sitting on the floor. Blindfolded, with her hands tied behind her back, and her torso tied to one of the support beams.
His heart leapt with joy at the sight of her perfect legs in her camel colored skirt. Tears streaming down his face, he wanted to surprise her without letting her captor know he was on the premises. He quietly moved in front of her and sat down.
“Well it’s about time you showed up,” Sateria said. “I’m starving, and I have to go to the rest room again.”
Apollo was elated that she hadn’t been treated poorly. Keeping quiet and grinning widely, he reached out and stroked her cheek. Sateria didn’t cry out, only moved her face away letting her captor know she didn’t want to be touched.
His heart beating a mile a minute, he leaned in close, so she could recognize that it was him. Though no one could see it, her eyes grew wide behind her blindfold, and she immediately began to cry herself.
“Apollo?” she said quietly.
To let her know that her guess was right, he leaned in for the kiss. He kissed her deeply, relieved that he had found her. Removing her blindfold, he allowed her to see that she was safe. He put his finger to her lips, letting her know to be quiet. She nodded.
“I’m gonna get you outta here babe,” he whispered in her ear. “I just need you to be quiet.”
Again she nodded, and Apollo moved to let loose her bonds.
Getting her untied, he pulled her close and kissed her again, happy that she was unharmed.
“Where are we? How did you find me?” She whispered.
“I was worried about you, so I came here to relax. We’re in Olney, babe. Don’t you recognize your own basement?”
Suddenly, footsteps came closer to the stairs and Apollo hid.
“My momma’s meatballs wait. Are you gonna tell me what I want to know, Miss Murphy?” Her kidnapper said descending the stairs.
“No. Because I don’t know what else you want me to tell you.”
“The collection. Where is it? And how did you get loose?”
Her captor had no idea Apollo was in the house. Apollo cocked his weapon so all could hear, and her captor froze.
“It would be wise for you to leave here now,” Apollo said, moving from behind the wall. Sateria’s captor faced Apollo with his skull cap over his head, and voice box in place, replied, “I only want to know where the collection is. I learn that, and you both can leave.”
Apollo chuckled. “Funny. Someone who knows my woman would have never brought her here. Who are you?”
“That isn’t important. Just tell me. Where is the collection?”
Apollo attacked the man. He hit him in the face with the butt of his weapon. He fell backwards from the force of the blow and remained silent. Apollo walked over to him and pulled his hood from his head. He was very surprised at who was under the hood.
He nodded. “Yeah. Sorry, Apollo. I was just doing a job.”
“It’s really not important now, is it? You caught me, and you didn’t kill me.”
“It is important. Who hired you?”
“Sorry, I can’t say. However, I will tell you this. Troya will be very upset if I don’t come home. We have recently married you see. I would love to go home to my wife.”
Apollo immediately knew that Troya was in on the torching of his house. He was disappointed. “So you are working for Troya then?”
“I already told you. I’m doing a job, and it’s not important.”
“Jayden.” Sateria whispered.
“What?” Apollo turned and asked.
“Jayden. That’s who is behind all of this.”
Though he believed her, Apollo shook his head. “He said he didn’t know where you were.”
“Don’t believe it. He’s been acting a little weird ever since we let him read Johnny’s letter.”
“I didn’t know that you noticed that.”
“Jayden is a bit off, but after he read Johnny’s letter, his actions were weird even for him.”
Apollo smiled slightly at his woman’s observation. “So, what do we do with Nate?”
“Johnny would say, kill him.”
Nate grinned nervously. “Please don’t.”
“Let him go?” Apollo asked.
Sateria shook her head, remembering that he was not cruel to her; she didn’t want to be cruel to him. Especially since she knew him. “No. Tie him up. We will take him back with us in the morning.”
Apollo tilted his head. “You sure?”
She nodded. “Yeah. I am sure with him hostage, we’ll get more answers.”
Their hostage tied to the same post Sateria was, they went upstairs and made love like they had been apart for months.
Driving to neighboring Wisconsin, Jayden, and Venus followed in Apollo’s footsteps. Quite impressed at the house Brad bought, Jayden thought that it was too bad he wasn’t going to get to live in it much longer. He also noticed the brand new Mercedes in the driveway. Yup, he definitely robbed me.
“You stay here,” Jayden barked.
“I wanna come in too.”
“No. It’s not gonna be pretty.”
“Oh come on, Jayden. You never let me do anything.”
“Stop acting like a baby. I just don’t want you to watch your former lover die, cause I am gonna kill him, Venus.”
“Well why did you make me come with you, if you weren’t going to let me come in?”
Jayden rolled his eyes. “I swear woman, you are beautiful, but not very smart sometimes. I made you come with me to keep you safe from Apollo. You know the crazy man who had a gun to my head?”
“Oh come on, Jayden. Apollo wouldn’t hurt me.”
“Oh really?” Jayden asked raising an eyebrow. “Now that he knows you’re directly connected to me, I think he would. So just sit here and be a good girl. I’ll be out in a few.”
Jayden opened his car door and walked up to Brad’s front door. Ringing the doorbell, he waited. Moments later, the door came open, and Brad got the surprise of his life. Attempting to close the door and keep Jayden out, he failed. Jayden pushed his way into Brad’s house and closed the door behind him. Brad backed up slightly, afraid for his life.
Smiling wickedly, Jayden pulled his weapon from his pocket and pointed it at Brad. Brad froze.
“Jayden, what are you doing here? How did you find me?”
“I’m here to kill you. And I found you because you are an idiot. Running off with my money. What ever possessed you to sell your house with Venus still living in it? Had you not done that, I wouldn’t be standing here.”
“Had you not been sleeping with my woman, you would’ve been able to find me sooner.”
Jayden threw his head back and let out a booming laugh. “Your woman? Venus was never your woman. We set you up a long time ago. When we found out that you were a collector, it wasn’t hard for us to find out if Johnny ever sold any jewelry to you. Once we were sure that he had, I let Venus move in with you. I thought that this would be an easy way to get my hands on some of Johnny’s collection. However, Venus was enjoying you too much to stay focused.”
“Did you kill Johnny?”
Jayden shook his head. “No. Why does everyone keep asking me that? Sateria killed Johnny to get her hands on his money. She knew he would leave everything to her, so she took him out.”
Brad shook his head remembering Sateria was way too docile to kill anything more than a fly. “No way.”
“Yes. I still have yet to find a way to prove it, but I’m certain she did. Now if you don’t mind, we have some business to take care of. Please get on the phone and transfer what’s left of my money back to me.”
“Can’t or wont?”
“Can’t. It’s gone.”
Jayden sighed. “Dumb ass,” he said, shooting Brad in the head and leaving him to die.
Storming back to his car, he got in and slammed the door. Putting the key into the ignition, he started his car and backed out of the driveway.
Venus sat in silence, feeling the tension coming from Jayden. She knew what happened, and she wasn’t going to talk about it until Jayden was ready. They rode in silence on the way back to Chicago.
Waking up the following morning, Sateria went down to the basement to ensure Nate was still there. She was ready to move on with her life, and with this jewelry collection business behind her, she could start down the road of real happiness. Maybe she would do what Johnny intended to do for her. Give up everything and leave Chicago for good. There was nothing keeping her there but Johnny’s memory.
Nate was asleep.
Sateria slapped him awake. “Wake up, asshole.”
Nate grinned. “Good morning, beautiful lady. You gonna let me go now?”
Shaking her head, “No. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, you are going to tell me who hired you. If you don’t, well then you get to go back to Chicago with me and Apollo, and stay with us until you do. You did say that you and Troya were married now right?”
Nate nodded. “Yes.”
“Well I’m willing to bet that she is gonna wonder where you are when she doesn’t hear from you. So just tell me who hired you, and I’ll let you go.”
Not aware of his affection for feisty women, Nate egged her on. “Can I get some breakfast first?”
Staring at him, she couldn’t believe that he was throwing her own words back in her face. She didn’t intend on being so nice to him. She was almost positive that not only Jayden, but Troya had something to do with her kidnapping, and well, she was pissed about it. She just wanted Nate to confess.
“Tell me Nate, who hired you?”
“If I tell you, will you cook me some breakfast?”
Rolling her eyes, she was about to answer when Apollo came down the stairs.
“Sateria, go get dressed. We can eat on the way home.”
“But what about him?”
“I got this babe. Just go put your clothes on.”
Sateria went up stairs to do as Apollo asked. Apollo glared at his friend, hurt and angry. “Why?”
“Why not? I was bored.”
“Jayden was the one who hired you right? And don’t deny it. I set him up before you took my woman. I already know it was him. I just want you to say it.”
Nate sighed. “All right, All right. Yes, it was Jayden.”
“What does Troya have to do with all of this?”
Defending his wife, Nate quickly said, “Nothing. Leave her out of it. She doesn’t know what I’m up too. She thinks I’m on a business trip,” Nate lied.
“Why does Jayden want the collection so bad?”
“I don’t know. I just agreed to do this. I thought it would be fun.”
“What’s he paying you?”
Apollo glared at Nate, disgusted. “I’m gonna get you back home to your wife. But you are not to breathe a word to her. You do, and I’m coming for you.”
Nate grinned. “Okay, fine. I just wanna get home.”
Just then Sateria descended the stairs. “I’m ready, babe.”
“Good. You drive my car, and I’m gonna escort Mr. Excitement back in his car. Where is your cell phone?”
“I don’t know.”
Apollo turned to Nate. Where is her phone?”
“Upstairs in the room I was sleeping in.”
“Sateria, untie him, go get your phone, and meet me outside.”
Untying Nate, Sateria followed Apollo’s instructions. Locking the house up tight, Apollo made his way outside with Nate in front of him at gunpoint.
“Babe, we’ll be just behind you. When you get hungry, stop, and we’ll follow you. Preferably somewhere with a drive-thru. I’m not gonna let this shit head out of my sight.”
Sateria got into Apollo’s car and pulled away. Nate got into the driver’s seat, put his key in the ignition, and followed Sateria. Hours later they made their way back to Chicago and pulled up to Nate’s apartment. He parked his car in his reserved space, and Apollo got out.
“Not a word. I’m thinking that I may have to kill one of my friends, don’t make me kill you as well.”
Happy, Nate grinned. “Not a problem.”
Apollo got into his car, allowing Sateria to continue to drive.
“Where to babe?”
“Let’s go back to the house, and get some clothes. We’re gonna go into hiding for a while. My guess is Jayden is gonna be a bit grouchy that he couldn’t get the answer he was looking for.”
“What about work?”
“We go in separate cars. All meetings with outside companies are to be held in our office. You are not to leave my sight. Understand? We’ll be safe as long as we are around other people.”
“So where are we going to stay?”
“I was thinking with my parents, but that would put them in danger. Perhaps we go stay in a hotel?”
Sateria groaned. “Ugh. I don’t want to stay in a hotel. Why can’t we just stay at home?”
Apollo suddenly had an idea. He grinned widely as his plan formulated in his head. Sateria glanced over at him waiting for the answer to her question, and she noticed his cheesy grin.
“Why are you smiling like that?”
“Let’s go to Sears, babe.”
“Because I just figured out where we could stay, and no one would ever think to look for us there.”
“Just drive to the mall, will you? I’ll tell you when we’re done shopping.”
Nate made his way into his apartment to find a teary-eyed Troya waiting for him. When the door opened, she jumped up and ran to hug him.
“Where have you been? When I didn’t hear from you I thought something happened.”
“Well something did happen.”
“Did you find out where the collection was?”
“No. But Apollo found Sateria.”
“How? Where did you take her?”
“Jayden should’ve known better than to send you down there. That would’ve been the first place Apollo looked for her. Have you called Jayden to let him know?”
“I can’t. I’m not even supposed to be talking to you. If Apollo finds out I said anything, he told me he would kill me.”
Troya smirked. “Oh please, that was an empty threat. He’s a big ole teddy bear.”
Nate shook his head. “No. I’m thinking that when it comes down to Sateria, he is very serious.”
“So what are we going to do?”
“I say we just get the hell outta here.”
“No. I’m not leaving my sister. I already told you that.”“Well can we at least tell her we got married? I’m looking forward to what she may buy us as a wedding present.”