Chapter Twenty - Seven
Later on that evening, Troya and Nate went to give Pheonix the news. Angry at first, she fussed at her sister.
“I can’t believe you just ran out and got married without telling me! How do you know I didn’t want to help you plan, and do the things that sisters do?”
Troya hung her head. “I’m sorry, sis. It kinda just happened.”
Pheonix paced the floor for a few seconds. Suddenly she thought of their father. “Does papa know?”
Troya shook her head. “No.”
Throwing her hands in the air, “Ugh! You know how he dotes on you, Troya. Papa is gonna flip!”
“Papa doesn’t dote on me. You are his favorite and always have been. Maybe I did it so I would get some attention from him for a change.”
Realizing her sister was right; Pheonix calmed down, and spoke quietly. “That doesn’t make it right, Troya.”
Nate not wanting to sit there and watch his beloved bashed by her sister in front of him attempted to come to her defense. “It’s my fault.”
Pheonix glared at him. “Your fault?”
“I pressured her into it. I have never felt like this for any other woman. Your sister is the first.”
Pheonix turned to her sister. “Is this true? Did he make you do this?”
“Not in the way you make it seem. I do love him, Pheonix. I just wasn’t quite ready. He just pushed the way he knows how and I folded earlier than I planned. But he didn’t hold a gun to my head if that’s what you’re thinking.”
In truth, Pheonix felt deprived. Perhaps she would plan a ceremony for them anyway. In hindsight she was happy for her sister, but wondered how this was going to affect their night job. Was Nate in the know? Pheonix couldn’t say anything at the moment because Max was around, and he certainly had no idea of the after work activities she and her sister shared. Did the rest of the team know and just not say anything because Troya was her sister? She decided that it didn’t matter. She was going to be there for her sister no matter what.
“Congrats,” Pheonix said faking a smile.
“Thanks,” Nate said. “It has been killing me not to say anything, but I honor my wife.”
Pheonix faked a smile again. “I’m glad,” she said wondering why she wasn’t married herself.
Sateria and Apollo sat in the middle of his newly remodeled penthouse celebrating each other. They slept on an air mattress in the middle of the living room, totally secluded from the rest of the world. Sateria was happy to have him to herself for a while, and really didn’t look forward to going back to work. However, Apollo insisted. They went to work the following day and pretended that all was normal.
When Jayden saw Sateria walk past his office, he was livid. He still didn’t have his answer, which could’ve only meant Nate failed; twice. He didn’t get the answer he sought, and he also allowed Sateria to be rescued. He had no idea what he was going to do next, but if he was going to get part of his fortune back, he still needed to know where the real collection was located.
Sateria, knowing Jayden was behind her kidnapping, no longer wanted him to be able to track her movements. She had to fire him. Sighing heavily, she picked up her phone and called him to her office. Minutes later he stuck his head in.
“Come in, close the door.”
Jayden closed the door, and sat down in the chair in front of Sateria’s desk. “What’s going on boss?”
She smirked and rolled her eyes. “Give me a break, Jayden. Please don’t come in here and pretend that everything is normal, because you and I both know it’s not.”
“What do you mean?” Jayden asked.
“How did things go without me here?”
“Fine. I mean some folks asked where you were, and I just told them that you were sick.”
Sateria glared at him hard. “But you knew were I was, didn’t you?”
Jayden shook his head. “No.”
She smiled slyly and nodded her head. “Okay.”
“Sateria, what’s going on? I mean you’re acting all weird.”
“I’m acting all weird because I never have had to fire someone before. Jayden, you are outta here. I don’t want you to be on either team. It’s not like you need the money anyway. I’ll give you an hour to pack up your office. I don’t need you anymore. And before you even open your mouth, I know it was you who orchestrated it all. You’re lucky Apollo didn’t kill you.”
Jayden’s mouth turned up slightly. “Maybe he should have. I know you are the one who killed Johnny. And when I can prove it, Apollo will drop you, and then he will most likely kill you.”
“Apollo wants nothing else to do with you either, so I’m not worried about that. Now if you don’t mind, please leave my office before I have to call security.”
Grouchy as hell, Jayden got up and did as Sateria commanded. Getting to his office he growled. “You will get yours, Miss Murphy. Believe me.”
On her way to the rest room, Troya passed Jayden’s office. “Hey.” Poking her head in.
Jayden didn’t even look up. “Hey.”
“What’s going on? Are you taking some stuff home?”
Jayden nodded. “Yeah, all of it. Sateria just fired me.” Jayden put another item in his box.
“Fired you? She can’t do that can she?”
Jayden exhaled. “She knows everything thanks to Nate’s screw up.”
Immediately taking offense to the obvious insult, Troya defended her husband. “Hey now, he tried.”
“I know Troya,” Jayden sighed. “I’m sorry. It looks like we’re never gonna get our hands on that collection.”
“Well she hasn’t fired me, so I’ll keep my ears open okay?”
“Fine. Now if you don’t mind, I only have an hour to clear out, and I’d rather do it in peace.”
“I’m gonna miss you around here, Jayden.”
“Go on, Troya. I don’t want her to fire you for just talking to me. I’ll talk to you later.”
Troya walked to the door, turned around, and watched her friend in pain.
A few hours later, Apollo walked into Sateria’s office, curious. “Where’s Jayden? His office is all cleaned out.”
“I fired him,” she said with confidence. After all she was the boss.
“Aw babe, why did you do that?”
“You don’t think I should have?”
Apollo sat down in the chair in front of her desk. “Several reasons. But the most important one is now he can watch our movements all the time, and we will have no idea what he is doing. Babe you really should’ve talked to me first.”
“I didn’t want him around me anymore, Apollo. He’s dangerous.”
“Shit Sateria, given the time of day, we’re all dangerous.”
“I’m sorry, Apollo. I just acted on instinct.”
Rolling his eyes, Apollo shook his head. “Well it looks like I have to take an extended vacation…again.”
“Why babe? You just got back to work?”
“Well, someone is gonna have to keep an eye on him.”
“It doesn’t have to be you, does it? We can hire a private detective or something to watch him.”
“No. It does have to be me. You come to work everyday, and I’ll tail Jayden.”
“I don’t want to hear it, Sateria. I was scared to death when I couldn’t find you. I didn’t want to think about it much, but I was certain you were dead. So if you are here, you are safe.”
“Okay. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. Now how long has he been gone?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Well, you are not to leave here without me, got it?”
“I have some things I need to take care of, so I’m leaving the office. I will call you when I’m on my way back.” Apollo looked to the left and noticed the Chicago skyline. “Oh and close your blinds.”
Apollo smirked. “You do remember how Johnny was murdered, don’t you?”
Apollo kissed her on the cheek and left her office. He went to tell Mark how to reach him if he needed anything, let Donna know he would be out of the office for a while, and he left.
Getting in his car, he drove to Sateria’s penthouse and not to their hide away just in case Jayden was following. When he arrived, he called all of the luxury car rental places he could find until he found two cars identical to both his and Sateria’s. He also reserved a Rolls Royce, for Sateria to move around the city in. Reserving them for an unknown amount of time, Apollo was out of a huge amount of money, but the money was nothing compared to Sateria’s safety.
Then he called his parents. He wanted them to drive the cars to Sateria’s garage. He immediately went to pick them up, and picked up the vehicles. He thanked his parents and took them back home. Afterward he drove back to the office and drove the parking garage looking for Jayden’s vehicle. It wasn’t there. Relieved, he called Sateria on her cell phone.
“Hey, what took you so long? I’m starved.”
“I’m in the garage. I have a car waiting for you on the north side of the building. It is a rolls limo. Come down to the garage, and get into your car. I will be watching. I want you to drive around for a bit, and come back and park your car, but not in your designated parking space. Preferably somewhere else in the lot. Get out, get on the elevator, and go to any floor but the one we work on. Catch the north elevators back down to the garage and leave from the north entrance to the garage. Get into the car. The driver will drive you to your building. I want you to wait inside the car. I will pull my car into the garage, and join you in the limo. From there, we go to my penthouse.”
“Sateria do not deviate at all. I will tell you how this is going to work when I get into the limo with you.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t.”
“See you in a bit.”
Sateria followed Apollo’s instructions to the letter. When he got into the limo, he grinned and gave her a peck on the lips.
“Nice job babe.”
Grinning back, “Thanks.”
“So here is how this is going to work. It is quite easy really. This is how you are going to get to and from work everyday. I have rented two other vehicles identical to ours, and hired people who look like us to drive them. Our cars will be in the parking garage at work, and the rented ones will be at your place. Everyday you will do exactly what you did today when you leave the office. Someone will be close by watching your every move. If something goes wrong, they are to contact me if I am not in the area. For the most part, I will be on Jayden’s ass. If he comes anywhere near the office I will call you on your cell and let you know not to leave until I get there. I will enter in from the north side of the garage and come up to the floor, and escort you to your car. We will drive back to your place where the Rolls will be waiting at your place to transport us to my place.”
“A lot of thought has gone into this, hasn’t it?”
“I don’t want to lose you babe, it is definitely necessary.”
“Okay, okay, go on.”
“When you wake up, the rolls will escort you back to your place, but do not get out of the car. The driver is to wait inside your building for fifteen minutes, and then he will drive you to work and drop you off at the north side of the garage. Go up to your office and do what you do. If by chance Jayden is waiting for you in either place, I will know. I will call you and let you know what is going on. If Jayden is anywhere close the driver knows to keep driving.”
“Babe, this is all well and good, but what if I have a meeting?”
“Have the meeting come to you, and keep your blinds closed.”
“Now, after tonight, you might not see me for a couple days, but I will be in constant contact with you, do you hear me?”
Sateria nodded. “I do. I hate to sleep alone now but I know it’s for my safety. Thank you, Apollo.”
“You’re welcome. If we manage to get through this alive, I have another surprise for you, and I think you will definitely like it. But you have to do as I say, okay?”
Sateria grinned widely at the thought of the surprise she had waiting. “A surprise? You got it babe.”
The next few days, Jayden watched both the office and Sateria’s home. When he did see her out in the open, she was either meeting Apollo or he was coming to pick her up. He had no idea that Apollo was watching his every move. Jayden drove a different car every day, but it didn’t matter. Apollo tailed him everywhere he went. He alerted Sateria when Jayden was near, so Jayden never got his chance to kidnap her again.
That was Jayden’s plan. Kidnap her, and kill her. He wanted to dump her body in Lake Michigan and be glad to be rid of her.
He missed his friendship with Apollo, and he wanted it back. All he had to do was prove that Sateria was a murderous black widow, and they could be friends again. Desperation would not allow him to go home. Desperation would not allow him to sleep. He had to kill Sateria, and all would be well.
It was early, before the workday. Jayden was already in the street, when he got a text message.
Honey, I miss you please come home.
Venus I’m busy, I can’t come home now.
Please. I bought a new nightie. I will wear it for you.
In order for us to get away, I have things to do. I will talk to you later.
Venus scowled and went about her business. Jayden was on his way to his former office to wait on his former teammate to show. Apollo was right behind him. Do not bring Sateria to the office. He instructed the driver. The driver steered clear of AJG headquarters, and took a scenic route. Not long after he passed the building, Sateria got a phone call.
“Jayden is in the garage waiting for you. I believe he is aware that you aren’t driving your car. Stay away until I call you.”
“Okay babe.” And she hung up the phone.
After an hour, Sateria looked at her watch. She had a meeting in thirty minutes. She had to be there. She immediately called Apollo.
“Babe, I have a meeting in a bit. I have to go back to the office.”
“He is still here, you can’t come back now.”
“Apollo this meeting is important. I’ve already moved it twice. I have to be there, or the deal is off.”
Rolling his eyes. “Okay, okay. He hasn’t moved from his spot. He is watching your car. Come in by the north entrance. I will keep an eye on him. If he moves, you may not get to have your meeting.”
“Apollo, I can’t miss this meeting. It is with the president of Rhys and Associates. James Rhys is a very impatient man. If I have to reschedule, he will defiantly cancel the deal. AJG is going to get three million dollars out of this. We need that money to settle with Longs.”
Rolling his eyes and throwing back his head. “Gah! Okay, okay. But please be careful going into the office.”
“Thanks babe and I will be careful.”
“Let me know when you are leaving the office.”
“Yeah, yeah, I got it, agent five.” Sateria burst into laughter.
“Sateria this isn’t funny. Just do what I told you.”
Clicking her teeth. “Fine. But I need some loving tonight. You better find a way to make it home.”
Sateria made it to their hideaway unharmed. Waiting on Apollo, she started on dinner. Making enough for two, she hoped he would come see her. Though it had only been a couple weeks, she was already tired of the cloak and dagger routine.
Figuring Apollo was following him everywhere, Jayden was also tired. He had to think of something else if he was going to catch Sateria off guard. Thinking he was justified in killing her, he decided to throw Apollo off his trail if only for five minutes. Risking everything, including his freedom, he was going to go into the office and take her out there if he had too.
Waiting in the parking garage, this time parked between the north and south entrances, he made up his mind what he was going to do. Sitting in Venus’ car, he spotted Apollo. His Lexus was not hard to miss, nor was his very large friend sitting behind the wheel. Jayden grinned, and waited for his victim to arrive. Thirty minutes later, Sateria entered from the south end of the parking garage on foot. Jayden grinned and rolled down his window. His weapon forever planted in the passenger’s seat, he reached over and picked it up.
Keeping his weapon low, he aimed directly for Sateria’s head. His plan was to drop her and race out of the garage with lightning speed before Apollo knew what was going on.
The silencer on his .45mm was sure to mask the noise. She was almost at the elevator bay when he fired. Sateria dropped out of Apollo’s sight, and he immediately got out of his car and ran to her side.
As he did, a red BMW sped away. Apollo didn’t care. The only thing on his mind was Sateria. Reaching her in record time, he was frantic.
“Sateria, babe, talk to me.”
Blinking slowly, she couldn’t respond.
Examining her body, he noticed she was bleeding remarkably close to her head. Jayden missed. “Hold on, I’m calling an ambulance now.”
Sateria shivered in his arms as he called 911. “Hold on babe, please don’t die on me.”
Sateria passed out from the pain, and she was still bleeding like crazy. Apollo knew what he had to do, and he was willing to take his time to get the job done. His first priority was the love of his life lying in his arms.
Hours later, Sateria woke. Unsure of where she was at first, the sight of two people she knew, reassured her.
“My goodness. Why the long faces?”
Pheonix and Apollo sat at her bedside. Apollo grinned when Sateria spoke.
“Glad to see you alive, babe.”
“Of course I’m alive. Pheonix stop crying.”
“What happened?” Pheonix asked, tears streaming down her face.
“Someone shot me.”
Apollo glared at his long time friend. “Do you really want to know? Because if you think about it, you already know.”
Pheonix thought for a moment and the first name that came to her head was Jayden. How could he? He single handedly was tearing the team apart. A year earlier, she told her sister she wouldn’t leave Chicago, because she felt there was something she had to do for Johnny. She heard his voice in her head, and then she knew.
Leaning over and gently hugging Sateria, Pheonix had things to do. “I will see you tomorrow.” Getting up heading towards the door of Sateria’s room.
“Pheonix, where are you going?” Apollo stood up. He didn’t want his other two teammates involved in his problems.
A smile that didn’t reach her eyes, shown on her face. “Home. Max will want to know where I’ve been and what’s going on.”Trying to trust that she was telling the truth, Apollo had no choice but to let her leave. “Okay. See you later.”