In this late breaking news, chaos has broken out at Bright Industry and Technology this afternoon. We have just received confirmation from an inside source that gunshots rang out inside the building just a little while ago. We are understanding that a total of four shots were fired. And reports indicate that three of those shots were fired on the top floor and a short while later a fourth went off in the stairwell to the right of the lobby. Twenty-six year old billionaire extraordinaire Lucas Bright, founder and owner of Bright Industry and Technology and this building right behind me, has his office on that top floor.
Can you confirm if anyone has been injured?
At this time, I cannot tell comment on that but we can see that the police have sealed off the area around the building and medical personnel have been allowed inside at this point. We’ve also gotten reports that Mr. Bright’s current girlfriend; young woman by the name of Alaine Knight; is rumored to be in his office with him. Again that is on the top floor, where three shots were fired just a little while ago. The two of them were seen entering the building not too long before these events unfolded and we have this picture up on the screen, time stamped 1:43 p.m. when the pair were seen entering the building together.
Is there any information on the shooter or shooters?
Right now Jonas everyone is tight lipped. We are receiving no more information from inside but there are multiple ambulances here which suggests that there could be multiple casualties.
Sixteen years ago...
Lucas stares at the opened suitcase on his bed. He needs to empty it out but the mere thought of doing so causes his ten year old little heart to break.
Claudia stands leaning against the door frame looking on, not an ounce of regret on her perfect face.
“I told you you shouldn’t bother,” she tells him. “Your father has his new family, you shouldn’t be surprised that he doesn’t want you there,” she adds and enters the room to ruffle what's left of the hair he hadn't chopped off his head
Everything in Lucas wants to pull away from her touch, yet he doesn’t. It’s the closest thing he will ever have to affection from his mother and he craves it. But, by now, he understands that his mother is a cold woman.
“Don’t sulk Lucas,” she continues callously inflicting blows to her son’s already wounded spirit. She doesn’t know that he wishes that she would hit him instead and then hug him and say that she is sorry. “It doesn’t suit you. How old is little what’s his name now?”
“Carter,” Lucas tells her as he begins unpacking. “He will be four tomorrow.”
“Well it’s just a stupid birthday party, Lucas,” Claudia says patting his bruised back without care - an action that draws a short and soft grunt of pain from Lucas. “Who cares if Arlington doesn’t want you there. I’ll throw you a party for your next birthday and they won’t be invited,” she says doing her damage before exiting his bedroom.
Lucas has long learned not to hold on to his mother’s promises. She says things like that all the time. They’ll go to Disney world and she’ll throw parties and allow him to attend sleep overs. She won’t allow Kurt to hurt him anymore. They’re all empty. But the idea of Arlington not wanting him hurts more than anything she's ever done to him.
He tries to swallow the pain as his trembling fingers restock his clothes into his closet. The tears come anyway after they seem to form in a burning hole in his stomach.
That day he spent the afternoon sitting in the corner of his bed in hiding, knowing that Kurt could return at any time. Lucas wants to keep out of his way. Hopefully, even if it’s only for a little while, Kurt will think that he’s gone to his father’s after all and won’t come in search for him. At least not today. He’s not sure if his body can take another beating.
That’s why he so desperately wanted to spend the weekend with his father and his family. Even if they don’t love him like Claudia says, at least nobody hits him there.
The doorbell rings, then the loud angry pounding on the front door makes Lucas jump and his eyes go wide with fright. Something’s already angered Kurt. His mind tries to think of somewhere to hide, escape, as he shoots up from the corner beside the bed. Maybe he could climb out the window and run - just keep running. To where? To who?
A familiar voice, filled with rage, causes Lucas to step tentatively forward.
“How dare you,” Arlington demands. “Where’s my son.”
“I told you,” Claudia replies. “He doesn’t want to go to your son’s stupid party. He said he doesn’t want to go.”
“Grow up,” Arlington tells her. “He’s ten. You get to decide where he wants to go and today he is coming with me. I’ve warned you Claudia, don’t try to keep my son from me. You won’t like how it ends,” Arlington commands before brushing past her and Lucas hears his stomping footsteps on the stairs.
“Where are you going? You can’t just barge in here. You don’t live here anymore,” Claudia cries in outrage.
“It’s still my house, and Lucas is the only reason you’re still in it,” Arlington replies not bothering to turn to look at her. “Don’t forget Claudia, Lucas is the reason you still have all this. And if you try to keep him from me, I will fight you for custody and win.”
“How?” she asks cackling bitterly. “You’re never around. You’re always on a plane to somewhere. You think you will take my son from me,” she spits. “And live him in the care of that black bitch?”
Arlington spins around then, catching Claudia completely off-guard, so she stumbles down two stairs away from him. The genuine fear on her face gives him pause as he regards her with suspicion. “I’m taking my son to his brother’s birthday party,” is all he offers her with finality.
Lucas stands in the doorway of his bedroom waiting for his father to rescue him. Although still sad, he can’t help the excited little smile - not a wide one - just a little inclination of his lips as Arlington appears there grinning at him and ruffling his hair, before he pulls him up in his arms into a firm hug.
Silencing his grunt of pain, Lucas winces and accepts the show of affection that he is so starved for.
“How are you, my boy?” his father says and places a kiss on Lucas’ cheek. “I hope you don’t think just because you turned ten you’re too old for these.
Lucas chuckles in reply. “I don’t,” he answers timidly, while shaking his head and regarding his father with awe.
“I’m sorry I missed your birthday kiddo, but I’ll let you in on a little secret. That birthday party is also for you,” Arlington admits. “I know it’s late, but there’s a cake with your name on it and everything.”
“Really?” Lucas questions not wanting to get his hopes too high.
“Shanice and I planned it all, but it’s supposed to be a surprise,” his father whispers. “So, you should practice your surprised face on the way or else she'll kill me.”
“Okay,” Lucas agrees still reserving his delight for when he actually sees it.
“Your mom says you’re not packed. That you don’t want to come. What’s going on, buddy?” Arlington asks.
“I...” Lucas begins but pauses when Claudia suddenly appears at the door. She regards him with a threatening look over his father’s head where he is crouched before Lucas, sitting on the bed. “I’ll come if you want me to,” he offers instead of admitting that he was already packed. Claudia nods to him in approval and Lucas feels like he’s done something right.
“Of course I want you to, Luc,” his father says to assure him. “Even if we don’t live together you’re my son and Shanice and Dion and carter, they’re your family too. I love you, Lucas. Come on let’s get you packed. What are you wearing in this heat?” his father notes.
Panic spreads through Lucas as he tries to come up with an excuse for wearing the long-sleeved sweater in the middle of a Nevada heat wave. He can’t say it’s to cover the bruises on his body. “I was outside playing. The sun is dangerous for your skin, you know,” he recovers quickly.
Arlington nods like he understands.
“And you’re wearing a jacket,” Lucas adds to make his lie more believable.
His father chuckles again and ruffles his hair. “New haircut? Trying to impress the ladies, are we?”
Lucas is tempted to tell Arlington that he is just trying to survive, instead he mutters, “something like that.”
“Well you’re going to need to put on some weight, buddy. Girls like a guy with a little meat on them. You’re too skinny, Lucas.”
“Can I talk to Lucas before you leave?” Claudia asks.
Arlington agrees and gives them privacy.
“Why did you agree to go?” she accuses Lucas after ensuring Arlington had gone downstairs. “You’re just trying to make me look bad. You're trying to make trouble for me," she accuses. "Don’t you dare say a thing and pack your sweaters,” she warns.
Lucas nods and runs to retrieve the neatly folded stack he’d just returned to his dresser.
“Don’t ruin this for me, Lucas,” she reminds him again and like the dutiful son he nods.
The wait in the waiting room at the hospital makes Arlington crazy. He’s about ready to pull on his hair. No one has told him anything about the condition that his son is in since he got here thirty minutes ago. All they've told him is to wait.
He decides to take that as a sign. A good sign. If no one’s come to report that his son is dead, maybe he is still alive. Or maybe they’re drawing straws to decide who delivers the bad news.
Grown weary of his incessant pacing and Shanice’s guarded look, Arlington goes to stand by the wide glass window and gives all the curious eyes on him his back. There, his tears fall silently as he remembers his son.
When was the last time he prayed?
Arlington doesn’t know the answer to that quetion, but today, since he dropped his glass of water on the kitchen floor of his home, when the breaking news interrupted regular programming, he’s been repeating, please God, like a mantra. Don’t take my son from me.
“Arlington,” Shanice’s soft, strained voice calls to him.
Turning Around, he reads the sorrowful look on the face of the woman approaching in green scrubs and one of those little caps on her head. Nothing can prepare a father for this news, Arlington realizes as his attempts to be firm and strong shifts like water. He crumbles before the doctor is able to speak while Shanice muffles her own whimper.
“He’s alive,” the doctor reports, hating this part of the job. She would prefer to tell a family that a loved one died rather than offer this false hope. “But it’s touch and go,” she adds quickly, when both Arlington and Shanice gives her that shocked gleaming look.
“He’s alive?” Arlington questions praying that he'd heard right.
“Apparently, medical services at your son’s building did preliminary work on him before paramedics arrived on scene. If it wasn’t for that he wouldn’t be alive but like I said, we’re working just to keep him stable,” she announces. “If we can accomplish that, then he is going to need extensive surgery to remove the bullet and that by itself will be tricky considering his condition. There is still a very likely chance, ninety percent, that he doesn’t make it.”
“What’s the surgery for?” The doctor in Shanice asks.
“The bullet fragmented and has caused injury to his spine. It’s a corrective procedure but if he comes out of this alive we have to wait and see how he recovers.”
“And leaving the fragments?” Shanice questions.
“He will live a life of pain. One with neurological deficits,” she explains. “Again, that’s if he survives.”
“What does that mean?” Arlington asks.
“If,” Shanice replies, hoping to ease the blow of the doctors words. “If Lucas makes it...”
“If?” Arlington interjects. “Don’t talk to me like a doctor Shanice,” he scolds. “I need you to talk to me like my wife. Like Lucas’ mother. You don’t say if,” he chokes on a sob.
“I’m sorry, my love,” she whispers, holding back her own tears. “When,” Shanice begins again to explain the doctor’s words to her husband and the father grieving for his son.
When she is finished, he nods and says, “Okay. Do the surgery. Whatever you need to do. What about his driver?” Arlington remembers to ask. “And the girl? She’s my son’s girlfriend. Can I see her?”