“Been a while..isn’t it?”
The dark room enlights up when Max turned up the lights and the two of the hostage looked up squinting their eyes when the light hit their eyes.
“You son of a bitc-”
“Nicholas!” his father cut his son off and shook his head no warning him not to open his mouth.
“See? Your father is such a polite man and indeed...intelligent...” I chuckled as I took a seat on a chair before them.
“Why have you kept us alive?” Vito talked to me for the first time. He has been tight-lipped from the day they have been captured and that captured my interest.
“Well, someone is in talking mode today,” I mocked earning a glare from Nicholas.
“Honestly, I take my words back. You two are the dumbest people I have ever met in my life,” I sighed as I folded up my sleeves and crossed my arms across my chest leaning against the chair as I lift my leg up and kept it on the other one as I took in their appearance.
My people totally forgot what the word sanitization actually means because it was how they had kept these two all these while my absence. They were wearing the same clothes in which they were captured. Their shirt dirty and bloodied, hair messy, bruises and blood stains on their skin and they smelled like rotten rats.
“Jeez!” fanning the air before my nose, my nose scrunched up when the scent of raw blood assaulted my nose and it was when my eyes fell on Nicholas’ leg.
“Seth!” I called the guy who was supposed to be the caretaker of the two guests.
“Yes, Boss!” within a minute he entered the room and stood in between us exchanging glances towards our guest.
“What is this way of handling our guests Seth? Where are your manners?” I asked and even though he didn’t understand what I meant he hung his head low and waited for me to continue.
“Look at his leg. He is bleeding. What do you think you have been doing? From now on, take even more good care of our guest, do you understand?” my voice raised a little at the end and all he did was to nod his head.
“Now what are you waiting for? Go! serve our guests. His leg is bleeding...go and bring a cloth and mop the floor. Do you have any idea how costly the flooring is? His dirty blood is ruining my floor and moreover, this place has started to stink. I don’t want people who come to my house think this place as a butcher shop or something. It’s terrible!” I huffed at the end.
Seth nodded and left out of my sight leaving the four of us including Max who was standing in the corner of the room to talk privately.
“You little! Unhand me this instant and I’ll show you what I have got!” Nicholas spat enraged all of a sudden.
“Easy there tiger...I believe you don’t want me to hurt your father now, do you? hmmm?”
“Nicholas...” Vito whispered yelled at him.
“Why have you kept us alive? What do you want?” Vito spoke up.
“Why? Do you have a desire to die soon?” I asked as I raised an eyebrow at him.
“But...” I moved forward in my chair as I stared straight into his eyes “Even though my desire is to kill you here this instant...I won’t. I won’t until and unless both of you beg me to kill you. You fucking rats have the guts to look straight into my eyes even after what you did to my sister and you dumbasses of the century thought barging into my territory and abducting Juliette would have been a good ide-”
“Huh! What’s the point anymore? The bitch is already dead.” Nicholas spat cutting me off in the middle.
The room was instantly marred with silence as I stopped in the middle and stared at him with a blank expression. Even though I didn’t move in my spot still I could feel as if pins were continuously stabbing my skin all over my body. My chest tightened up and my jaw locked up as my fingers formed into a tight fist.
“Have Rafael Amputate his hand. Torture him to the extent until-”
“What! Wait...No!” interrupted Vito’s shaking voice.
“Until he is on the brink of death. But be careful, don’t kill him just yet. Let him breathe and suffer little more. He should understand what it feels when a person is on the brink of death. He should feel how my sister was feeling when he killed her mercilessly. Record everything and send it to me,” I got up as I adjusted my suit.
“No! No! No!” Vito yelled at me.
“It was all my plan. Not his. Don’t kill my son. Kill me in his place. No!” begged Vito.
“Don’t worry your turn would come soon after,” I said icily as I turned around avoiding Nicholas’ curses and Vito’s pleas.
“Unlike you. I won’t separate a family because I know how it feels when the person you love goes away. The sadness you feel is a lot stronger than any physical pain. Heart aches like hell. I won’t let you suffer that heart-ache. Even though I want to be the one to kill him with my own bare hands, I can’t. I don’t want to be marred by his filthy blood. So, that is why I’m letting you have this honour, Max.”
“It would be my pleasure,” smirked Max as he picked up his phone and seemed to call Rafael.
“Make sure that he has the pain visible in his eyes and make sure he begs for his life. Have it all record up and sed it to me. Then kill him,” I ordered as he nodded and I walked out of the room where both of the father and son continued yelling at top of their lungs too let them go.
“You asked for it!” I found myself muttering venomously.
“Is this all okay?” I heard Cristina asking me about the pile of files that she arranged previously.
“Hm? Yeah. You may go now. It’s too late already. I’m sorry I had you working this late Ms. Dimir” I said as I checked the estimation file rolling the pen in between my fingers and adjusting my reading glass up using my index finger.
“It’s perfectly fine for me...” I heard her saying and just hummed in reply “...sir” she finished and somehow her tone seemed to change at the end which made me to look up at her.
“It’s already nine in the evening. Get going...it seems as if it would rain outside today. Wait! Let me have my driver drop you home...”
“No! I have my car, sir and I live nearby. Thank you for worrying about me. I shall be leaving now,” she smiled and I chose to stay quiet at the part where she thought I was worried about her. I wasn’t worried about anyone but just wanted to fulfil my responsibilities as her employer. I kept her working late for helping me and it was my responsibility to make sure she gets home well.
“Good Night, Sir!” she smiled and bowed a little. I looked back at my file and just nodded in response.
I heard the door closing and it was when I looked up from my file and towards the window. Surely, it was a cloudy night and I could even see the lightning far away, striking somewhere clearly indicating it would pour soon. I was anything but interested to go back to the place which was supposed to be called as my house. It is nothing but some blocks of bricks and concrete for me. Juliette was my real home.
All of a sudden I found myself wondering how it would have been if she were here today. She would have definitely called me back home because that woman was scared of thundering and even though she never told me about all that I had a perfect idea of the things that frightened her. At the beginning when we were strangers and fought to each other...the time when she loathed me was the time when she slept at the edge of the bed maintaining as much as the distance between us. But in the night when it used to thunder outside she used to jolt up from her sleep frightened, as she would clutch the duvet close to her chest and look up here and there.
Even though I were awake and witnessed her waking up to the sounds, I pretended to sleep when she would wave a hand before my eyes wanting to check if I were awake. And then when it would thunder for the second time...I found her close to me. She would snuggle to my side making sure the duvet played the biggest role of playing as a partition between us. She had zero trusts upon me yet she would stick with me whenever she frightened.
I would hear her trouble breathing and to ease her tension I would have her covered and keep a hand on her body still pretending to sleep. She would gasp and check multiple times if I were awake and when she made sure I was sleeping she would snuggle comfortably and sleep with my arms over her. It was the only time when she wouldn’t push me away. Somehow I made her feel comfortable and it was what I was glad of.
Not only thundering but the woman was even scared of little things like snakes, rats... I still can’t stop myself from laughing whenever the scene of her yelling at top of her lungs frightened just by a mere dirty rat comes into my mind. She ran all across the room screaming and frightened by the poor thing. If it wasn’t because of Hilda shooing the rat away I was sure that she would have fainted that day out of a panic attack. It was like a rat was enough to kill her than a gun’s bullet.
Amidst all this, she never told me the things that scared her. Because it wasn’t necessary, as I knew it all. If it weren’t for me noticing her every move I would have never known about it all. But then I started to take care of it all. I did my best to keep her happy even though it was the time when she didn’t love me or neither was I aware of my own feelings for her. Still, I would found myself taking care of her.
Still, I failed.
A notification on my phone had my attention as it broke me out of my thoughts and I closed the file that was in my hand and threw it frustrated on the table before getting up and wearing my suit as I picked up my phone and walked out of my office handing the cabin keys to the guards.
“What is it, mom?” I asked as I kept the phone on loudspeaker and got inside my car ready to drive off back home.
“What is this tone Zac?” she sighed and I drove past my office building and switched the wipers on as it began to pour.
“I’m driving back home mom. Let me have you call back after I reach bac-” I stopped in the middle when my eyes fell on the car parked with its lights on and hood open at the side of the road. But it wasn’t the car but the lady who paced around completely soaked in rain before the car looking terrified as she continued to click on her phone.
“I will call you back mom,” I said as I hung up without even hearing her reply.
“Ms. Dimir?” I said once I parked my car next to hers and rolled the windows down.
“Mr Sullivan?” she seemed off guard for a moment but then as she got her senses back she ran towards my car and looked in.
“What’s wrong?” I found myself asking.
“Thank God! Mr. Sullivan...Oh, it’s my car. It gave up upon me,” she cried and it was when we looked up towards a group of built up guys coming towards us crossing the road.
Not wanting to create a scene or let Dimir know about my night duty I took a decision and looked back at her to find her staring at them looking frightened.
“Close the hood, lock your car and get in...” I said and her head shot up towards me. She nodded frantically and without even second thoughts she ran to her car and closed the hood and took her purse out before locking the car and ran back as she got in and closed the door in a hurry. I locked the door and looked at her to find her inhaling in deeply and exhaling out. She looked terribly frightened because of the situation.
I pulled up back to the road crossing the group of guys who banged on my window yelling at us seeming drunk.
“Oh god!” I heard her whisper as I sped up and turned the heater on.
“There’s a towel in the backseat. Use it to dry yourself before you catch a co-” she interrupted me by sneezing “cold...” I finished up and looked at her as she gave me a sheepish grin.
“Excuse me,” she murmured and fetched the towel from my back and used it to wipe herself dry before wrapping it around her body.
As I drove silently...I could feel her gaze on me all the while to the extent which made me uncomfortable and I stared back at her raising an eyebrow to which she shook her head no whispering a low ‘nothing’.
“Yes, that building over there...” she pointed at the building and I nodded in response as I drove towards the direction. As my car came to a halt I unlocked the door and waited for her to get out because it was still pouring heavily and in the moment anything but to be back home where I could rest peacefully after working continuously for days.
“Thank you so much for dropping me today,” I heard her talking and I nodded in response. Her eyes brightened up even in the dark and she smiled widely as she opened her mouth once again to speak up “Would you like to have some coffee up in my place?”
“No. It’s alright. Thanks for inviting me Ms. Dimir,” I said and witnessed as looked a little sadder after hearing my reply.
“Then... I guess I will be leaving now,” she smiled and I waited patiently for her to exit.
“Good night,” she said as she finally opened the door and walked out to the rain.
I thought she would run straight into her the building’s wing but she stood there with her purse over her head that had me rolling the window down as I spoke up “Go in Ms. Dimir,”
“No, you go first,” she said and I found myself little irritated by the situation.
“Ms. Dimir, Just go in!” I heard my irritated voice to which she seemed little taken aback. But then once again she regained her composure as she smiled and turned around running back into her building.
“What a woman,” I muttered to myself as I rolled up the window and drove off towards my home.
As I parked my car and got out avoiding the umbrella that was under my back seat and the still pouring rain...I walked towards the house with the rain drenching me but at that moment it wasn’t what that got my attention but the figure that came running towards my direction. As I squinted my eyes and wiped the rain away from my eyes I recognised the person who came running towards me completely drenched...but it looked she wasn’t alone.
“Kiara?” I heard myself.
“Zach-Zachary!” came out her croaked voice as she came running towards me and stumbled before me but if it wasn’t for me to catch her by her arms then she would have tumbled down.
“What in the world are you-”
“She is alive...She is ALIVE!” she cried as she looked up at me avoiding my question.
“Kiara...” it was Kristian who was running after her. He ran up to us and stopped right next to me completely, drenched.
“What are you-”
“She is ALIVE! I saw her!” Kiara cried as she pulled herself up and got hold of my forearms as she shook them frantically trying to gain my attention.
“What? Whom did you see? Who is ali-”
A loud thundering was heard followed by flashes of lightning and suddenly the rain stopped with three of us standing motionless on our spot staring wide-eyed at each other.