The room was marred by silence as the three of us including me, Kiara and Kristian stood at different places in the room facing different direction lost in deep thoughts.
“Bro-” Kristian was cut off by Kiara as she spoke up for the first time.
“So? What do you plan on doing now? Believe me or not but the woman I saw there in that mall was Juliette. I can never misunderstand Juliette for someone else. I just can’t understand anything. It’s really hard for me to-” she held her head as Kristian made his way to her and kept a hand on her shoulder staring down at her with concern.
What is this?
“Please! I know this might sound weird...heck! you must be thinking of me as some insane woman but please believe me...the woman whom I saw was Juliette. I don’t know how in the world it’s possible but I did saw her. And the worst part was she seemed a little bit different and she even refused to recognize me,” she sighed and looked down with sadness filled eyes.
“Kristian please tell him to believe me,” she muttered as she leaned against him and he wrapped his arms around her shoulder.
“Yes! Look brother I know you probably won’t believe us but not only Kiara but me...I was also present in that scenario. I saw the woman’s face and she clearly resembled Juliette. I don’t know how it’s possible either but she dashed as soon as Kiara tried to talk to her,” Kristian said and all the while all I did was stare at them blankly.
All of a sudden I felt my heartbeat raising up and blood rushed throughout my body as I turned around facing the window where the rain still continued to pour. Raking a hand through my hair I stood there silently but all the while I could hear both of them murmuring and talking to each other with Kiara crying out and asking Kristian to make me believe her.
Juliette is alive...
“Mr. Sullivan I know this is hard for you to believe but please...I beg you to believe me for thi-”
“Take me to that mall where you saw her,” I said and like before the room was once again filled up with silence.
“Wh-What?” I heard her shocked voice.
Inhaling a deep breath, I turned around holding a look of determination as I repeated myself once again “Take me to that place.”
“I want the CCTV footage,” I asked one of my men as I took out a cigarette and lit it up using a lighter that Kristian provided me. Kiara sat stiffly on her position as Kristian sat next to her holding her hand murmuring something to her while I waited for the guy to bring me the footage, patiently waiting for him sitting inside the limo.
“Please, God! Please...” I heard Kiara whispering as she kept on chanting the words.
As the guy went out for the work the three of us waited patiently in the limo for the result that was anticipated patiently by all three of us. Hours passed by and I dropped my third piece of cigarette end into the ashtray. My eyes felt on a couple that walked past my window hand in hand enjoying their time oblivious to their surrounding. I couldn’t blame them. It was how I felt when I used to be with Juliette. The world did not matter whenever I was with her. It seemed as if my whole interest was only upon her. And it was what I always wished for.
“I want to know,” I heard Kiara and I turned up to look at her to find her already looking at my direction.
“Do you believe us?” she asked and I watched as Kristian squeezed her hands.
“I am not here because I believe you,” was my stern reply before I turned my head to look out of the window.
“I am here because I want to believe myself,” I said as I felt the inside of me tightening with a gut feeling that Juliette is alive. I refused to believe that the woman we found dead was Juliette. I refuse to believe that my Juliette has left me forever. She is here and I know it.
I felt my phone vibrating and took it out from my suit pocket to read the caller ID an incoming call from Ms. Dimir. Not wanting to answer her call I rejected the call and kept the inside the pocket and adjusting my suit waiting for the guy. A few minutes later, he appeared as got in and handed me the pen drive in which the footage was supposed to be loaded.
“I got the footage from two days back as you had asked me,” he said and I nodded as I inserted it in my laptop and played the footage.
Kiara clasped her hands and closed her eyes chanting and praying the lord while Kristian sat on the edge of the seat as he tried to peak a look ion the footage. Taking a deep breath I pressed the enter key and watched as the video played of that day.
“Right! Look here! Here we are!” Kristian pointed on the screen in which he and Kiara were walking towards the shoe store with him following Kiara with shopping bags full in his hands.
I looked up at him to find him too engrossed in the scene that he didn’t even notice my glance towards him. I chose to ignore him for the moment and looked back at the video to find them entering the store. Both of them seemed too engrossed in their work but then they disappeared from the screen as another couple replaced their place on the screen.
“What the...!” Kristian swore under his breath looking visibly astonished and distressed.
“What happened?” Kiara voiced out.
“We disappeared from the screen!” he muttered and Kiara looked up towards me.
I looked at the time and checked the video thoroughly only to find the footage that we were searching for to be missing. The time changes in a certain scene of the video and looked as if somebody knowingly took it out.
“Wh-What happened? I don’t understand!” Kiara said as she sat on the edge of the seat visibly distressed.
“Relax!” Kristian was immediately on her side but I had all my attention fixated on the screen.
“It seems somebody took it out from this video. Someone tampered the clip knowingly...” I answered as I leaned against the seat.
“Wait! Somebody did that? Does this mean someone knew we would come searching for this clip? But why would someone do that? I mean what would they get from all this?” Kiara asked.
“It doesn’t make sense either to me. Wait! the clip in which we met that woman who looked like Juliette is missing...” he muttered to himself.
“Then search for the clip in which that woman enters the shop. She was present in there before us. I’m sure we would find something out,” Kristian said and Kiara bobbed her head agreeing with him.
“I had already looked for it. It’s missing...” I said and watched as Kiara finally broke down.
“What do we do now? We can’t find her anymore. What do we do?” she cried and immediately Kristian encircled his arms around her pulling her to him.
“What do we do now? Kristian?” she cried.
I looked out of the window. The small ray of hope that I had a few moments ago seemed missing until I was pulled out of my thoughts when I felt my phone vibrating for the second time. Irritated by the constant calls I brought it out of my pocket and rejected the call without even glancing towards the caller ID thinking it would be Ms. Dimir.
“Do you have the second one?” I asked the man and he nodded as he handed me the second the pen drive.
“Wh-What is this?” Kiara asked looking at the drive.
“Second footage of the parking lot.”
This seemed to catch her off guard as she sat back in her position restless.
As I played the video I waited patiently and skimmed through the video even though it took me an hour but still, in the end, all we got was the disappointment. My hands shook as I reached for the pause button and sat on my seat staring blankly at the screen.
“What do we do now? We can never find her...” sadness laced up in Kiara’s voice as she held her head.
“There should be any other way to find that woman...” Kristian voiced out but all I did was to stare at the blank screen.
“Look I can understand how you might be feeling right now but trust us we are not lying. The woman whom we saw was Ju-”
“Juliette...” I spoke as my hands reached out towards the paused screen. There was this woman who was visible in the safety convex mirror of the parking lot and she seemed indeed like Juliette.
The same face, same figure... as she walked towards a car with another old woman.
“My Juliette...” I whispered as I could feel the corners of my eyes stinging as I traced my fingers over her picture.
“See? Oh my god! She is her. She is Juliette...” Kiara cried out happily.
“Greg!” I spoke to the guy beside me.
“Find out this woman. Now.” I spoke as I fist clenched in a tight ball determined to find the woman.