Chapter 13: Anything
Unravel Him Playlist on Spotify.
Song; (Christian Reindl- Untold) & (Christian Reindl- Sleepless)
Getting out of the hospital, undetected, was a bitch.
It didn’t help that is was a BourneFell hospital, so security was tight.
I had to wait for nightfall before I conducted my well-elaborated plan which, if you think about it, wasn’t elaborate at all.
Just more luck then anything.
After about an hour of sneaking through corridors and hallways, I finally managed to leave the hospital and caught a ride to the NYPD where I heard Marlen is still awaiting his hearing.
Given he did brought the entire Downtown Ring down, it would explain why he’s been stuck there for a solid few weeks until the authorities knew what I do.
I was suppose to talk to him about establishing new order at the harbor but...
A lot of things happened.
“Keep the change,” I closed the cab door and pulled my hood up once seeing the bright flashing symbol of New York’s Police Department.
The sun had longed set on the horizon so I quickly make my way up the steps and into the entrance doors.
For a fighter, being in places like this was a no-go area but I didn’t had much of a choice.
Dire situations calls for dire needs.
I’m stopped by a short closeted walkway, ending in a police officer by the front desk.
People line the walls, all sitting meticulously as though waiting for news.
I kept my frown hidden from my face and approached the desk.
The police officer glances up at me, bored. Her name tag barely glimmers in the lighting.
Officer Riana Peeves
“What can I do for you?” Her dark skin and chocolate colored eyes compliments the blue in her uniform although I can still see well-rounded areas.
“Um,” Swallowing, I tucked my red hair back up my ears. “I’m here to see someone? He’s been here for quite some time now-”
Officer Riana takes out a clipboard from the table beside her and shoves it through the gap in the glass window that blocks either of us from going through.
“Write your name and the person, we’ll get back to you later.”
I take the clipboard and glance at the people behind me who are either on their phones, bored,or staring at me curiously.
I wonder how long they’ve been here.
Either way, I still had to get back to the hospital before anyone notices I was gone.
I’m running on borrowed time.
Keeping a steady gaze, I shake my head and forced my lips to a confronting smile as Officer Riana raises an eyebrow at me.
“Are you deaf, girl?” I recognized the heavy southern accent.
“No, no, I heard you it’s just...” Desperately, I whacked my brain for a possible solution. “I’m here to see Marlen Gall, have you heard of him?”
She pauses, brown eyes conflicted. “Marlen Gall?”
For a second I thought she didn’t know who he was until I watch her glance backwards momentarily before going back to me. “I only know one Marlen and it ain’t Gall, It’s a Marlen Venetia.”
“No, that’s what I meant,” Quickly correcting my lapse, I gave her what I hopefully think would like an amused expression. ”Gall is an inside joke, he lost a bet so we call him Marlen Gall now.”
“Mmhm.” The chair she sat on squeaks under her weight. “Miss, I’m going to have to ask you what you’re relationship is with the man you’re asking for.”
“He’s my-” What was he? I can already tell I was getting in Officer Riana’s good graces, I just had to continue playing by luck.
“Mr Venetia has been charged for illegally contributing illicit activities under jurisdiction of law, he'll be in court.” Officer Riana continues, expecting a response.
“Yes, I heard, I’m his family.”
“Family?” She drags out another row of files and flips through the papers all the while casting me wary looks. “Says here he only has a daughter, are you his daughter, Miss?”
Marlen has a daughter?
Oh, the surprises keeps on coming.
“Yeah, I’m his daughter. I’m sorry it took me this long to come.” Giving an almost ashamed look towards her, Officer Riana flips back the files and twists in her chair before getting up.
“The detainees are only allowed one phone call per week, he’s been here for almost a month and a half and he’s never made a call.”
That sentence struck me hard.
Marlen had no one to defend him. He could have been released on bail but something told me that calling his daughter would just add more problems.
I guess I wasn’t the only one with family issues.
“I’ve been out of the country. Didn’t know he was in here until I got back. That old man always gets himself in all kinds of trouble.”
Officer Riana is staring at me up and down with a calculative expression. I don’t know if she believes me or not and my heart halts in my chest.
After a long silence, she picks up a set of keys and approaches the wooden door by my right and unlocks it.
“Right this way, Miss Venetia.”
Without bothering on correcting her on the name since it wasn’t mine, I quickly followed Officer Riana through doors and winding hallways.
We past by several Officers and detainees before finally coming to a stop behind barred cells.
She steps backwards a bit, allowing me to maneuver around her and I peeked into the cells, instantly spotting Marlen and his disheveled hair.
The grey colored jumpsuit looked bland on him and I could see facial hair sprouting across his unshaven face.
From a distance he even looks sad but when he glances up to look at me, I watch his eyes go wide in disbelief.
“Your daughter is here to see you Mr Venetia,” Officer Riana announces, making the older male stand up hesitantly.
Marlen sees that I somehow got to see him through calculative ways so he nods along in agreement. “Thank you Officer Riana.”
“Don’t get comfortable,” She humps annoyingly, brown eyes narrowing at him and mine.
“Can I please get some privacy with my Dad?” It sounded odd calling him that but I shoot her a desperate look. “Just 20 minutes, please.”
Officer Riana looked like she might protest but decided against it. “15 minutes, that’s all you have.”
She locks the door after she leaves, leaving Marlen and I to stare at each other with questioning glances.
“Grey looks good on you, Mr Venetia.”
He rolls his eyes at my comment and sits down over the bench. “Sarcasm gets older the more I see you, Red. Excuse me for lying about my last name.”
“Jokes on us then,” Crossing my arms over my chest, I circled the bars and take a good look around the empty room.
He’s been here for four weeks, staring at nothing but white walls and metal bars.
I don’t know how he does it.
At least I was asleep for most of my time in the hospital.
“Thought you would’ve disappeared after what happened,”
“You mean after the stunt you pulled?” Stopping mid pace, I twisted myself around so I faced him head on. “Thanks for the heads up by the way.”
Marlen’s dark eyes narrowed. “I don’t regret it, I would have done it again.”
“Yeah well, maybe you should’ve thought about that before throwing everybody else under the bus.” My voice wasn’t loud but it was certainly rising. “You betrayed the Ring, Marlen. Downtown is gone because of what you did.”
“That was the idea.”
“Oh come on!” Throwing my hands up, I let them fall. “Don’t give me that bullshit about suddenly wanting to turn over a new leaf, I know you better then that.”
“I mean it Red.” He glares at me, unblinking. “What I did to the Ring, I did it because I wanted it to stop.”
“You’re lying.” I pressed myself so close to the bars it was a wonder I didn’t go through them. “The Ring is your home, you said it yourself, you’ve been in it for decades, why give it up now?”
Marlen doesn’t answer and I know I’ve truly gotten him.
As complicated as our relationship was, I didn’t want to waste the time we have talking about useless things.
The truth is, I have been worried for him, just as he had been worried for me.
“Look, you can spend the next 13 minutes lying to me or we can have actual progress on this conversation, choose.”
I give him a few seconds which he replied with a defeated nod once noticing that it was pointless arguing.
“How you’ve been Red..?” Genuine concern flashes in those eyes, his tone hesitant. “These past few weeks went by too slowly, figured you left poor old me behind.”
“You know I wouldn’t have done that.” Shaking my head, I leaned back on my heels and cringed at the burns that shoot pain up my spine. “I would’ve seen you sooner but I got sick.”
Sick and many things.
There was no point keeping it a secret, if he was going to get out of here and work together with the rest of us he’ll know at one point.
Lifting up my shirt from it’s tucked position, I allowed Marlen a look at the damaged skin.
Those dark eyes went still before he gets up and clenches his fists against the bars.
Both of us went quiet as we took in the new sight.
The bandage and stitches may have been removed but that didn’t stop the skin from looking magnificently scarred.
Ugly fractions of white rippled across the area, making it look that much more terrible with uneven bumps and carves.
The doctors had cut out part of my side due to the fact that the skin was black and dead.
Over time I know it will heal.
Even so it was going to leave one hell of a scar and a story to tell my kids.
“How...” Marlen swallows hard, his temper boiling. “How did this happen?”
“It was partially my fault.” Letting go of my shirt, I placed one hand on my jeans pocket. “I didn’t take care of it and it got infected.”
“What was it?” The gears in his mind was turning. “A Shiv? A knife?”
“A knife,” I held my forefinger and thumb up to tell him how long it was. “Bastard went in pretty cleanly.”
“How’d it happened?”
“The Ring,” I explained, watching the glare in him get darker and darker. “Everybody was running, it was chaos, I, was running but then I saw Chuck. You know, the guy who had a gun and cheated in the Race?”
“I know him,”
“Yeah well, he had a knife this time and he was heading for King.”
The shock showcasing in Marlen’s face was real. “You pushed him out the way?”
“Truth be told, I had no idea what I was doing.” Which was real, because even after, I was cursing myself for letting it happened.
“Red, I thought you were smarter then that.”
“I was!” Biting my lip, I hid a scowl. “But Chuck wouldn’t have seen an opportunity if the Ring hadn’t gone up in flames.”
The fire in Marlen eyes dimmed a bit when he realized what I was implying.
Chuck took the opportunity to stab King which makes me at fault because Marlen stopped the fight for me.
So instead of protesting and denying or pointing fingers since we all made our own choices, the older man just bows his head. “Guess we’re all stupid then huh?”
I don’t say anything. My eyes are trained on the walls behind Marlen. “Look, we can say our apologies later but right now I need your help.”
He gestures around him in bafflement. “I’m stuck in a cell Red, what do you want me to do?”
“You have connections... There’s someone I have to find.”
“On whose benefit?”
My sponsor scratches his gruff beard and thinks silently. “Details, Red?”
“I can’t give you a lot.” Knowing the room it was monitored and there wasn’t much I could say without exposing certain things.
Like let’s say, a name people will freak out over it it gets out into the press.
If Marlen truly knew who King was then he’d know what I’m asking for.
Time to resort to code names.
“I need you to find King,”
“Are you out of your mind?” He doesn’t bother hiding his disgusts with what I just said. “You risk your life for that bastard now you want me to find him?”
“He didn’t leave me behind when I got stabbed Marlen.” I understood Marlen harbored dark feelings with King but that shouldn’t get in the way of what I was asking him. “He helped me out there, hell, he even stitched up the wound when I was unconscious.”
“I’m not doing it Red.” My Sponsor is taking no shits today. He’s as stubborn in or out of jail. “Besides, I don’t know his face.”
“Yes you do,” The tone is enough to reprimand him in his place. “I know you do, you trained him.”
Marlen wavered. He didn’t want to lose this fight but I was slowly gaining ground. “He showed you who he was yet?”
“He doesn't have to, I already know who he is.”
He doesn’t ask for more further elaboration and I’m grateful he chose that. It would’ve been difficult to explain.
Despite everything we’ve gone and been through, Marlen should know the secrets around us.
Who was I in real life and who King was in real life.
It’ll all come to light soon, it’s just a matter of time.
“I’m gonna bet the two of you actually know each other in real life.” Marlen shakes his head and actually looks worried this time. Like he doesn’t know how to react to this new information.
I can’t help the rueful smile that appears on my lips. “Believe me, I didn’t know either.”
“Small world.” He chuckles bitterly before finally sighing. “Alright, when’s the last time you’ve seen him?”
“When I was unconscious in the hospital.” Realizing how that sounded liked, I hastily recapped what the boys told me and how he was hunting down the people who did this to me.
I also told him everything necessary that I felt like he should know, including; establishing order at the harbor, getting Uppertown to join us and throwing Chuck under the bus.
When I was done, I had five minutes to spare and Marlen looked at me like I’ve grown two heads.
“Jesus Red, you couldn’t choose a charmer could you?” He didn’t mean it as an insult but it still made me wince. “Just had to go for the baddest of them all.”
“Alright you done?” Glaring offensively at him, I shrug my fingers in my pockets and waited expectantly.
Marlen shrugs in response, not affected by my glare.
“From what I can tell, best you can do is let him go off by himself. He’ll come back, he always does.” There’s a bitter note to that part but he quickly smothers it. “He’ll come when he wants too.”
Growling beneath my breath, I eyes him angrily. “I told you to give me a solution not an answer everyone else is telling me.”
“Look Red, you said it yourself, King is nearby, if he was willing to do all that, then you bet your ass he wouldn’t have gone far while you were unconscious.”
Couldn’t have gone far? Did that mean he wasn’t in Brooklyn?
“So he’s in the City?”
“He probably never left,” Marlen says exasperatedly. “That boy’s a pain in the ass but he’s a resourceful pain in the ass. Got his own friends running around like headless chickens.”
Come to think of it that was exactly what’d he do and it made me even more pissed off that he was avoiding us.
“I’ll take you’re word for it then,” It was down to the last few minutes and as I got ready to leave, I momentarily stopped to look at Marlen.
Something has been bugging me throughout this entire conversation.
I knew if I left today without saying it, it would have haunted me for the rest of the days.
“I didn’t know you have a daughter.”
He blinks at that, caught off guard by my forwardness. The edges of his eyes hardened before softening all at once. “Had, I had a daughter.”
That sentence was open for interpretation and as curious as I was I didn’t want to open up a can of worms.
Not until he was ready.
“Was that what King meant? When he said I couldn’t replace her?”
The memory of when King and I first met in the Ring comes back to me.
He had accused Marlen of using me because I reminded him of someone he knew.
Again, Marlen’s face showcased his shock at how I figured it out so easily. It eventually melted away into despair and guilt.
Guilt for using me like that. “Red, you were never her replacement.”
“But you saw something in me didn’t you? If not you wouldn’t have approached me at the bar on New Years Eve.”
My Sponsor looks absolutely sick.
Not at me, himself.
The door opens and Officer Riana peeks her head in, brown orbs narrowed into a heated glare. “Miss Venetia, you’re time is up, say you’re goodbyes to you’re father.”
As much as I didn’t want to leave I had no choice. He betrayed the Ring and this was the consequences of doing so.
Sure, they may let him off a bit easier because he reported it, but that didn’t change the fact that he was still probably going to go to jail.
So with a heavy heart, I followed Officer Riana out and shot Marlen an apologetic expression to convey my feelings.
He smiles sadly. “See you later Roys,”
The door closes behind me and I’m led out the same doors and hallways before I find myself behind the glass window once more.
Officer Riana hands me a clipboard and asks me to write in my details.
I write; Roys Venetia
Left imaginary addresses and phone numbers before giving it back to Officer Riana who took it from me in a closeted way.
“You’re pops loves you, you know? I can see it. He may not have called you but whatever ya’ll went through will pass.”
The amount of willpower I needed, to not break facade is excruciating when I hear what she said.
I want to tell her I wasn’t his daughter but stopped myself before I could blow my cover.
“Will you be at the hearing?”
“When is it?” I asked.
“A month from now.”
“I’ll go if work doesn’t catch me at a bad time.” I don’t stop to see if she disapproves because I’ve pulled up my hood and was already exiting the building.
“You’re pops loves you, you know? I can see it. He may not have called you but whatever ya’ll went through will pass.”
But I wasn’t his daughter, I want to protest.
It irks me that Marlen spent four weeks in a cell and didn’t make a single phone call to his only family.
It was becoming obvious that he was quickly turning into one of the most important people in my life.
Cursing from exhaustion and how terrible my feet ached, I took a cab back to BourneFell hospital.
The entire ride back was filled with silent questions and unfulfilled answers.
Who was Marlen’s daughter?
Where was King?
Why was I bothered by it all?
When the hospital came in view, I pushed all the thoughts away, needing to focus in order to sneak back in without getting caught.
I paid the cab driver and told him to drop me off a few blocks away.
He zoomed off once getting payment and I went through the emergency doorway making sure the double doors close silently behind me.
The familiar area makes me breath out a sigh of relief.
It was soothing to be where I am right now which was funny considering the hospital is where sick and dead people are.
I couldn’t wait to be discharged.
My phone starts vibrating in my pocket so I took it out and instantly answered. “Hello?”
“Dead end,” Mason’s tone of voice is beyond agitated, gone was his patience. “He’s not here.”
In the background I can hear sounds of traffic and distant thumps as though someone was kicking something.
"Elios, not the trashcan!"
"Get off my back Mason!"
“What did you expect?” It was fairly dark and the floors were quiet as the elevator reached ground floor. The clock hanging against the wall lets me know it was nearing midnight. “You knew this was a long shot.”
“I know, I know.” The heir of BourneFell releases a long sigh. “I’m sorry I couldn’t find him Vanessa. I swear I won’t stop looking.”
“No, you don’t have to do that for me.” Shaking my head at his determination, I waited for the elevators to reach my floor before carefully ambling my way towards the room. “You’ve done enough already.”
“Even if you said it like that you know we won’t listen.”
I slid into my room and locked it behind me in fear of a nurse possibly coming out to check.
“It’s getting late Mase,” The lights are off so I resort to walking towards my bed without a guide. “You don’t have to come over the hospital, you all need rest.”
Luckily, I know where the bed was and I start stripping out of my clothes from the earlier night activities.
“Alright...” His resignation allowed me to finally see just how exhausted he was behind all that act. “We’ll see you tomorrow.”
He hid it well, just not that well.
“Try to get some sleep?”
We both laughed at that and I desperately grope for a way to express my gratitude. I decided the old fashion way was best.
“Thank you for trying... it means a lot.”
The line is silent at the end for a while before I hear a shaky inhale. “Anything for you,”
“Goodnight Mason,” A smile breaches my lips.
He hung up first and I stared at the ended call on my screen, finding the light, glare back at my face.
A dark figure in the blackest corner of the room emerges.
Glints of blond hair appear visibly from the moonlight peeking through the curtains before I hear him speak again.
“-the fuck, have you been?” Thomas snarls.