Fatal Alliances

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Chapter 16

The past few days were surprisingly tolerable. The chances of my internship becoming a permanent job at the hotel seemed very realistic. The new HR manager was substantially more co-operative than the previous one Mrs. June. And Vandermir, on the other hand, well I never really saw him much around but at times when I did I always saw him glaring at me. He always looked so intense, and his gaze on me was constantly harsh and angry. Honestly, I never understood why, maybe it was because I sneezed on him before? But, I doubt it was because of that, if Adrian Vandermir held a grudge against me because of that silly mistake then what kind of a man is he really? I never really got to meet anyone else. Besides being around with Lissa, I occasionally saw Finny who only met up with me once just to say hi. And, well, I always saw Donnie who always winked and me whenever he passed. Ricardo, on the other hand, I hardly ever saw. It was almost hard to believe that two weeks had already gone since I started working in the hotel.

Throwing on my grey shirt top and black skinny jeans which could pass for a dress pants hopefully and not to mention my dark pumps I was practising to walk in, I left the house. Upon arriving at the hotel, as I was walking in, I saw Vandermir coming out. Stopping in front of me, he glared at my outfit.

Huh, maybe I shouldn’t have worn the jeans today.

He held that grim look on his face.

“Can’t you smile for once?” I asked as he brought his endless grey eyes upon mine still plastering that bitter look of his.

“Get out of my way.” He stated.

What a swine he was, there was another door yet I had to move to let him through. Oh, how I wanted to tell him off but I held myself back.

Think professional Greene, don’t flip.

Forcefully, I moved to the side but he also did.

Didn’t he just tell me to move? Then why did he move?

I moved back to where I was but apparently he did the same as well. I hoped he didn’t think I was spitefully doing this.

“This is so childish.” He muttered angrily as he found his way out the door.

Despite that incident my day continued quite well, when I was on my break I munched on a granola bar and talked to the receptionist girl Sasha. She wasn’t that bad really, always with her weird jokes and crazy stories. I saw Adrian again at that moment walking forward, he looked imminently displeased with me. What’s wrong with him? Why was he always looking at me like that? That guy should seriously do some yoga or something.

“Greene, we need to talk. Now.” He said as he walked past me.

Okay, what? Why did he need to talk to me? Obediently, I followed behind him as he went up the stairs and into a small room.

“Close the door.” He stated.

“Umm...alright,” I replied as I complied with his request.

He walked closer to me with his dark atmosphere and gloomy eyes. He was so near to me I could even smell the scent of his rich aftershave. His eyes flickered a bit as he looked at me, studied me.

“This isn’t working out Greene.” He continued as he looked away, although, it seemed like he forced himself to do so.

“Excuse me?”

“You being here. Working here.”

Wait. Was he? No way…I don’t understand, I didn’t even do anything wrong.

“You’re firing me?” I asked unbelievably, yet he didn’t bother replying.

It was true. All my hard work here, didn’t it mean anything? Just when I thought this man had a heart he- he proved otherwise. I didn’t want to ask him the reason why he was doing this, my ego didn’t want to. All I wanted to do right now was slam a lamp in his face but logic and maturity told me otherwise. One thing was sure though, I wasn’t going to cry about this, there were other jobs out there but I needed to know the reason why he was doing this to me. I needed an answer even though I hated the mere sight of him right now.

“Why?” I strained my voice to question.

He didn’t expect me to ask him anything, maybe he thought I would have slammed the door in his face and walked out. The question almost seemed to make him a little uneasy….unsettled? He locked eyes with mine and I swore I saw a hint of softness in them but then disappeared.

“I don’t like your presence here, your attitude, the way you carry around yourself.” He said dryly.

None of that made sense. I had a bad attitude but I never used it at the workplace, I never behaved inappropriately with anyone here, I worked hard, I tried my best, tried to do everything perfectly. Even Mrs. Luna said that I was one of the best trainee’s she had ever met. Then why was Adrian saying that was the reason? None of that was even right. I felt so broken down. I hated being accused wrongfully, for something I never did. I hated him.

“No Mr. Vandermir,” I poisonously began as I stressed on his name, “It’s not because of that. It’s because you don’t like me. You never did, and you never would.”

His eyebrows furrowed together. “If you need the money, I can give it to you.” He said.

“No! I don’t need your bloody money! It isn’t even about the money anyway, it’s about trying to prove to my sister that I’m capable of doing something. It’s about her to stop treating me like a baby. But why am I even telling you anything? You won’t even care, you –you brute!”

“Greene.” He stated warningly but I ignored him.

“You know, out of all the things I thought of you, I had never thought you would be an unfair man. But I guess I was wrong, you’re just like the rest of them, deceitful, egoistic filth. You’re just one of the bastards.” I spat.

He didn’t like that, not one bit. I noticed how tightly he clenched his fists together but I didn’t care again.

“My decision won’t change.” He stated calmly yet his eyes seemed to be eating into my soul.

“I don’t care if it even did because I don’t need this job.”

“Well how nice to know.” He frowned as he folded his arms.

He was such a pig.

“Oh why don’t you get to hell already!” I hissed as I walked out and slammed the door.

Don’t feel like a sap Greene, it’s his fault not yours.

I have never felt so destroyed and crushed. No matter what I said, I knew deep down that this job had meant a lot to me. How could he even do this to me? He was such a devil. I knew I never meant anything to him but I never got in his way after the incident. I always tried to say away from him.

“Juliet,” I heard the receptionist girl call out to me, “Mrs. Luna wanted to know where you were so I told her Mr. Vandermir wanted to speak to you.”

“Oh, can- can you just tell her to speak to him then. Concerning me that is.” I replied back.

This was so shameful, it was so humiliating.

“Oh alright, is everything okay?” she asked.

“Yeah, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it.” I said as I went into the office and took my stuff to leave.

As I walked back home, the sun stung me mercilessly. The wind battered my once neat hair and the birds seemed to be cawing instead of humming sweetly. What was I going to tell Jenna? And the Dawnlys? Jenna would surely not trust me being on my own again. Upon arriving back home, I heard the musical melodies of Beethoven and Mozart classics playing on Mrs. Dawnly’s recorder. The room was filled with the aroma of sweet caramel and chocolate.

“You’re home early.” I heard Jenna’s voice as she came in from another room.

“I…yes…well.”

“Well that’s good.”

“Huh?”

“It’s Mr and Mrs Dawnly’s anniversary, so I was just baking a cake for them.” she said as she pushed the hair out her face, “I could use some help.”

“Why didn’t you just buy a box cake or something Jen, you know your baking skills aren’t….you know.” I said as I helped her mix the batter for the cake.

What would I tell her? Is now the right time? I mean, she’s already looking so tired. She been so cold to me these past few days, and today right now surprisingly she was trying to let that go.

Suddenly, I heard a knock on the kitchen door and Mr. Dawnly came with his bright smile.

“Is the cake finished Jenna?” he asked.

“No, not yet.” She replied, “How long until Mrs. Dawnly gets here?”

“She’ll be home later, don’t worry we have enough time.” He laughed, “Hopefully she’ll like this little surprise.”

“I bet she would.” Jenna said, “And the trip is just the bonus.”

“Trip?” I asked.

“Yes, I was planning to take Ginger on a trip to Paris tonight. We could get to spend a little time together.” Mr. Dawnly answered.

“Oh that’s so cute, I know she would love that.”

“Julie, I wanted you to help me with something though.” The old man said as he kept his gaze towards me.

“What’s that?”

“Well, I would like if you come along with me to collect a gift for Mrs. Dawnly. Once I get something upstairs and come back down we’ll head out. You’ll come along, won’t you?”

“How could I refuse Mr. Dawnly.” I smiled.

As he went back his way, Jenna placed the cake in the oven and I convinced myself to tell her the truth. It was better if I did it sooner than wait till later until she found out herself.

“Jenna, I wanted to talk to you. It’s about my job.” I began.

“I know, I know.”

“What?” I asked quite confused.

“Julie, I’m so sorry. I know I was never helpful to you and supported you in this new step you took. I just, do you know how hard it is for me? I was just worried and angry at the same time. I know I always treat you like a little baby Jules but….what can I do? To me you’ll always be my little baby sister. You do crazy stupid things, and get yourself into trouble all the time I just….and this job….” She sighed as she took my hand in hers, “I’m so sorry.”

Great, now do I tell her the truth now? She’s so proud of me already. Can’t I just give her this little bit of happiness?

“Got it.” I heard Mr Dawnly’s voice echo from behind, “Are you ready Julie?”

Turning around, I saw the old man with his sweet gentle smile.

Everyone’s so happy today, who was I to ruin this for everyone?

I gave a quick nod at Jenna and left with him, he just seemed so elated and full of life. This day must have been so special to him.

“Where are we going Mr. Dawnly?”

“To the jewellery shop. I had planned to get Ginger a ring and I’ll give it to her when we arrive in Paris together.”

“Oh, that’s adorable. I wish every man could be like you.” I laughed as we walked to the car.

“Julie, can we walk? I really think I need some exercise, the place isn’t that far anyway.”

At first, I didn’t want to give into that but this was his special day. I wasn’t going to say no to him. Instead, I just gave in to his request. We even took a creepy shortcut through an old abandoned car tunnel, leave it up to me and I’d never go there but the old man was so persistent saying that he always passes through there. In the end, I was actually surprised because it saved us about ten minutes, he was right. When we arrived at the jewellery shop, he quickly picked up a lovely diamond ring for his wife. The ring was quite extraordinary, one of a kind because he himself had designed it for her.

“Wow, I know she’ll love your gift Mr. Dawnly.” I said as we came out the shop and walked alongside each other back home, “Are…are you sure you want to pass through back the tunnel?”

“Yes, don’t worry. The lights would be on. I’ve walked through there a lot of times at night.” He smiled.

I didn’t know why but I felt a bit scared. I trusted Mr. Dawnly, he was like family to me but I didn’t like the idea of walking back home in the night. Last time I did that, well, it didn’t end too nicely.

“Maybe I should get us a taxi?”

“Julie, don’t worry. I’m with you.” He said as he continued walking.

The further and further we walked, I felt more and more uneasy. I felt like I was being watched, like we were being watched. I didn’t like this sinking feeling. The tunnel had light but it was dimly lit yet Mr. Dawnly seemed so calm and safe. Didn’t he sense that we were being watched? The ambiance was so silent that I could hear the beating of my heart vigorously pumping a thousand times per second. Maybe he could hear it as well because he laughed to lighten the mood.

“Juliet, are you scared? I never thought you knew how to be scared.”

I softly returned a laugh and continued walking forward, “No…no it’s not that.”

“You know, there was a time when Ginger and I went to a haunted house together. You should have seen her face. It was-”

Suddenly I heard him stop, his footsteps behind me stopped as well. There was a loud thud. I didn’t want to turn around, fear ate me.

No, no, no please, no.

“Mr. Dawnly!” I screamed as I ran up to his slouching body on the ground.

From a distance I saw an image I feared, an image I learnt to fear after that incident, a man in a mask. A mask I had seen before. He was about to shoot me but he stopped and ran off. Mr. Dawnly held his neck were I realized there was a needle sticking out from it. Blood trailed down his neck like a flowing river.

“M-mr Dawnly.” I whimpered as I tried to keep him up.

“Juliet, I- I should have told you before…” he strained, voice hoarse.

“Shhh, you’re going to be alright. I’ll-I’ll call an ambulance.” I panicked as I was about to take out my phone but he stopped me.

“No, it’s already too late. I need to tell you something.” He croaked painfully.

“No! No what are you saying! You can’t die! This- this is all my fault!” I cried knowing that if I hadn’t gotten myself in that situation that night then he would have been alive. No masked person would be looking for anyone.

“It- it isn’t your fault Juliet…it’s the—the covert partnership…I-I should have told you.” He said weakly as tears escaped his dimming blue eyes, “I should have told you when- when I saw the Harrison b-boy.”

“What?” I sobbed.

What was he talking about? Why was he talking about Finny?

“It-it isn’t your fault. It-it’s the partnership –not your fault- none..the…Dawnly’s, the-the Evans, Harrisons,-Perez, your family, Rocillie he…Julie—the Vandermirs.” He rasped, gasping for air.

I pulled away from his grip and grabbed my phone, he wasn’t going to die. He…this wasn’t supposed to happen.

“Juliet…please…” he gasped again.

“No! I..you can’t die! I love you, you…please don’t leave me. Please…please don’t leave us…Mrs. Dawnly….she….Please.” I sobbed while dialling the ambulance number with my shaking hands.

“Juliet…..the partnersh—contract—finis….” He sighed as his hand fell down dropping the ring.

“Please…please….no…” I cried bitterly and hugged the body of a lifeless man.

A man I once considered to be the only living father figure in my life.

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