Chapter 24: Patience
Unravel Him Playlist on Spotify.
Song; (The Score- Under the pressure)
"Are you sure?"
My eyes darted over to the ticking clock as I uncapped the bottle and poured it out on a glass.
"You know what, I might not be home by then,"
"Where are you going?"
"Mason's house." Taking a sip from the orange juice, I splayed out my tongue when the sour zest burst on my tongue.
"Well this really can't wait. Will Hailey be home perhaps?"
"Uh, I'm not sure-"
“Woah, what’s with the rush?” Veronica's dark eyes glowed dimly with playful concern as she takes a seat onto the bar stools.
Her usual wild red hair is tied back into a sleek pony tail today. I distinctively remembered her saying today was an off day at the office.
"Actually," Tapping the phone on loudspeaker-which was quite difficult given it had a major crack running through it-I held it out to Veronica. "You'll be home, right? David needs to drop by a couple papers."
"Yeah of course," She nods, in response. "I'll be here, Mr Cain."
"Okay, that's great." I could hear shuffling in the background followed by the squeak of a chair. "I'll get back to you later once the paper work is settled,"
"Okay, thanks." I hung up and cracked my neck, exhausted by the sudden change of events.
"You okay?" Veronica's dark eyes swirl in concern.
"Yeah," Smiling at her, I shook my head. “Figured I could go for a jog, clear my head.”
“This late in the afternoon?” She arches an eyebrow and glances out the window. “Make sure you put on sun block. Wouldn’t want you to get burnt.”
“Not the worst thing that’s happened to me before,” Placing the glass and plate in the sink, I quickly washed up and grabbed my Ducati keys.
“What time will you be back?”
“Late?” Momentarily stopping, I furrowed my eyebrows and did a rough calculation. “Don’t wait up, I’ve got to head over Mason’s house later.”
“Oh,” Blinking at my response, she crosses her arms over her chest, the sweater riding up her left arm to reveal a peek of black ink that swirled out into a tiny cross.
“Landscape work has you painting you’re own arm?” I hinted at her, amused.
She takes a look at the ink before shaking her head in exasperation. “The company wanted me to design a new logo. I didn’t have any canvases.”
“Nothing like going back to the stone age,” Picking up my sling bag, I unlocked the door and waved behind me. “I’ll see you later, Veronica!”
The door closed shut behind me and my feet picked up the pace as I descended the elevator.
Traffic was terrible today.
Even riding my Ducati did nothing to escape it.
I was already anxious enough, the fact that the deadline neared the more time passed.
“Come on, come on,” Finally, the traffic cleared up and I drove straight towards my destination.
Central Park was just up ahead and I slowed down to park my bike near a hot dog stand.
“One hot dog please,” I told the owner of the stand as I took my keys out of the ignition.
“No problem.” The man got to work preparing my hot dog.
I took the time to pull my cap out of my bag and tug it over my hair.
All the while, my eyes inadvertently watched my surroundings, hoping to catch a familiar face.
“Here you go,”
“Thank you,” Taking the hot dog, I took a dainty bite out of it before making my way into park.
It was late afternoon and the sun shone brighter then any other day. Already, I can feel sweat form at the back of my shirt.
I passed a throng of screaming kids that were playing before finding a suitable bench at the corner that had a full view of my surroundings.
Casually taking a sketchbook out of my sling bag, I flipped open the pages before choosing a scenario to draw.
For added measure, I even put on a pair of circular glasses.
The digital watch I wore vibrated several times before I switched it off, not once looking up from my sketchbook.
Through the chatter from the people around me, I can’t help but notice a familiar face making his way across the park to sit on the bench I was on.
His bread is scruffier and his clothes looked haggard on him.
Despite that, I can’t help but notice his expression entailed peace.
He was at peace?
Holding a breath, it was seconds later when I felt him sit beside me on the bench, hands clasp together.
I pulled my cap tighter over my head and clenched my fingers tighter over the pencil.
“Do you know,” I begin, keeping my voice low. “How hard it was to get ahead of you’re schedule?”
Not only did it take me a solid week.
I had to bribe.
I had to do everything.
All this to find out, Marlen’s freaking schedule.
House arrest would make anyone go crazy but when I found out what’s he been doing every day over the past few months I nearly slapped myself.
Every 12 pm of the day, he would be at Central Park, sitting at the exact same bench, at the exact same spot.
He really was an old man.
Marlen raises his head at my words but doesn’t look at me. I can tell he’s surprised I managed to worm my way into meeting him but covered it up as quickly as anyone could.
“I have two detectives watching me Red,”
His gaze is in front of him in fear of letting the others know something was up.
“I know.” Kicking my head back, I pretended to draw obnoxiously.
Observing someone for a few days had their perks. “I saw them when you came in. They still keeping a close eye on you?”
“I’m going on trial Red. Any new evidence that comes up is more years to put me away.”
Shaking my head, I look up at him and faked a smile before holding my hand out.
“Hi, I’m Marilyn.”
“Mack,” He replied, giving me a friendly smile.
The two of us shook hands before continuing to fake a pleasant conversation.
In the background, I notice two detectives stood guard nearby. One of them I don’t recognized, but Detective Harret who was buying a hot dog, I did recognized.
“Happy belated birthday by the way.” He smiles at me only this time I know it’s genuine.
Rolling my eyes, I clicked my teeth together and pursed my lips. “You know distracting me isn't going to get you anywhere.”
"And here I thought we were making progress.” Marlen smiles, a ghost of a smile uncurling over him.
Pulling a stray piece of hair up my ear, I pretended to show him my sketch work but in reality only wanted an excuse to get closer to him.
“I need the details Marlen.”
He shrugs, expecting this. “I’m not going to give them to you.”
“You’re an asshole you know that right?” Gritting my teeth, I glower at him and took a deep breath.
People are watching, I had to be careful.
“Just because you bought off all the fighters you have won’t stop me from finding out where that douche bag lives.”
“No, but it will slow you down.”
He knew me so, well.
“Marlen, this is my fight. Not yours. What I will do to him is my business and my business alone.”
“And what will, you do to him?” This time he places an arm around the back of the bench so he could view me head on.
Biting my lip, I refused to give him an answer making his expression darken even more.
“You don’t know who you’re messing with Red.”
“Yeah well, he should’ve thought about that before he abused my best friend, broke into my house, got an innocent girl pregnant and proceeded to leave her to fend for herself before she jumped off a four story building.”
When I was done speaking, I was practically breathless.
Everything I’ve wanted to say was out in the open and as Marlen took in my words, his dark expression evaporated into a sorrowful one.
“There’s no going back if you do this.”
“I’ve long crossed that path.” Sighing out loud, I crossed my arms over my chest and look straight ahead in front of me. “Marlen there’s still so many things you don’t know about me. I’m only just figuring this out myself.”
“That’s what makes you dangerous, Red.” He snaps, his anger intensifying. “Have you ever stopped to think, maybe I don’t want to tell you because I know what might happen?”
“What’s the worst it could do anyway?” I respond, just as heated.
The two of us locked eyes before withdrawing our emotions.
Reel it in, Vanessa.
Shakily, I released a steady exhale. “Trust me enough that I will do the right thing.”
“This isn’t the right thing.” Marlen looks like he was on the verge of breaking character to shake me hard. “What’s gotten into you? Before hand you knew when to pick fights and when to back down. What’s changed?”
“What’s changed? What’s changed is that I realized bad people will never stop doing bad things. Not unless someone does something about it.”
I can feel it.
It was crawling up my throat, threatening to choke me dry.
Even after all the terrible things Karen had done to me, it was just building to this, finding out Travis impregnated Malorie.
Everything that’s happened, chipped at the wall I built around myself. Eventually when the last brick fell, nothing could stop the turmoil of hate I felt.
Bad people need to suffer.
He, needs to suffer.
I’m sick and tired of doing the right thing.
Sometimes doing the right thing isn’t enough.
You’ve got to make them bleed.
I don’t know what expression crossed my face because Marlen instantly looked away. He bowed his head and clutched his temple, a sigh slipping out of him.
“Nothing I say is going to convince you otherwise?”
“No,” I shake my head, stern. “Either you tell me and make this easier or I do it the hard way.”
He knows I’m not lying.
I mean it literally.
No matter how long it takes, how many people get hurt along the way, I don’t care.
It’s time for me to do what’s right for myself.
“Fine.” Manifesting a defeated look, he takes my sketchbook before drawing a simple plan. “I don’t know if he’s still there. He may have moved. Just in case he did, call Vi.”
“Vi?” I raised an eyebrow more then surprised. “I thought you broke ties with all of them when you had a fall out with King.”
“You’d be surprised.” He comments vaguely making me wonder if something might have happened before this conversation.
“Thank you Marlen,” Picking up my sketchbook, I gave him my half eaten hot dog before waving in a friendly manner so the guards watching him won’t think something was odd.
“Before you go, Red, just please...” He pauses, clearly at lost for words. “Please, be careful. As I said before, he is involved with Aitenev.”
I’ve heard that name several times before but never bothered digging into it.
One look from my former Sponsor and I know this was something I needed to ask the boys.
Sooner rather then later.
Nodding stiffly, I viewed my watch and set an alarm. “You watch out for yourself, Old man.”
Marlen doesn’t even look at me as he plays with his fingers distressingly. “When the time comes, do you know what to do?”
“I guess we’ll have to find out.” Walking away, I slip my glasses off my face and put them back in my bag.
From behind me, I hear Marlen let out a murmured prayer.
“May god have mercy on his soul.”
“I need a favor.”
“What?” Zanthus is looking at me like I just asked for the sandwich he just ordered.
From behind, I spot Kale ordering drinks for us and didn’t waste anymore time.
I had pretended to bump into them as to not rouse any suspicion about what I was doing.
Which was hunting.
So I needed to be as vague as possible without giving any inclination of my change in manner.
Shouldn’t be difficult.
“I’m wondering if you can help me find someone? It’s... kinda personal.”
Zanthus picks up his sandwich and thoughtfully munched on it, obviously confused given this is the first time I’ve asked any of them for help.
“Who’d you want me to find?”
“This guy,” Taking out a piece of paper with the name hastily scratched on it, I watch as Zanthus analyzed the name, brow furrowed.
“The name doesn’t sound familiar,”
“It’s not like you can keep track of every human being, on planet Earth.” Rolling my eyes, I swipe my hair back up my head and warmed my hands into my sweater.
“No you’re right.” Smiling stiffly, he lets out a bored yawn before resting his head at the back of his head. “Who is he? Ex?”
“Don’t say it too loud, Thomas might catapult himself out of the Office.”
Zanthus barks out a laugh thinking I’m joking.
When I don’t laugh with him, he leans forward, not before glancing around in fear as he lowers his voice.
“Are you serious? He’s you’re ex?”
“I told you, it’s personal.” Rolling my eyes, I give him the stink eye. “You know how sensitive Thomas is, so don’t go opening you’re mouth now.”
“Oh you don’t have to tell me twice,” Surrendering both hands upwards, Zanthus whistled bitterly. “What did he do? Did he bother you?”
“I guess?” I shook my head. “I’m just here to settle a score. You and I both know when people bother me they never come back for round 2.”
“Heh.” He nods, thinking it over. “Yeah, you’re right. If anything I should be worried about the guy that pissed you off.”
That was... actually true.
It’s not that I don’t know where the guy was, Marlen told me the details.
I just want to be prepared in case he turned tail and ran.
Better to know now then later.
“Alright, I’ll do it. But what do you want from him anyway?”
“He banged up my Ducati. I want to get revenge.”
“Not the Ducati!” Zanthus moans in agony, hands to his chest. A couple people nearby, stared in alarm. “Is it alright?”
“She’s fine.” I comforted him despite feeling a twinge of guilt for tricking him.
No one could hurt my Ducati.
They could try.
“I’ll send you the details in a couple hours. I assume you have somewhere else to go?” He’s all business now, fired up over my supposed injured motorcycle.
“Yeap,” Rising from my chair, I picked up my things and gestured to Kale saying I have to go.
He responded with a subtle wave in return.
Zanthus watches the interaction, warmth growing in his eyes for Kale’s actions.
Right there and then, I knew everything I’ve gone through was worth it in the end.
If it was the other way around... and someone was going to hurt the person I cared about... I won’t hesitate either.
“Does he know?” I indicated, my tone soft.
“No...” Zanthus bows his head and pockets his hands. “I don’t know if I should tell him.”
“If it’s serious then you need to get the secret out. Kale knows something is up with me. He knows I’m hiding something but never bothered asking.”
Almost panicked, the older male whips his head back and forth between Kale and I. “Do you think he suspects me?”
“I think... it’s only a matter of time.” Carefully, I picked up my sunglasses out of my bag and put them on, followed by my blue scarf.
“Both of you are in a relationship so it should come from you first. Once that’s out of the way it won’t take long for Kale to click the pieces together.”
Zanthus could only sigh, obviously conflicted. “Maybe... just not right now.”
“Yeah,” Straightened my sling bag over my shoulder, I shot Zanthus a pensive expression. “Thank you, Vi.”
He nods in return, gaze dark. “Anytime, Red Devil.”
Patience is something all people should have.
Patience is something I never learned.
Patience is something that always screws me over.
Patience... is not my strongest suit.
Which is why after hours of scouting the place, I decided, fuck it, now or never.
Night had fallen and the streets were slowly becoming empty.
It was the perfect time to strike.
I had everything covered.
No one knew where I was.
My Ducati was safely parked away in the basement of my Apartment building.
I had given explicit instructions to Zanthus without him wondering what I was up too.
Veronica thinks I’m at Mason’s house so if anyone asked she’d tell them and they won’t bother wondering about it.
I had everything planned.
Everything... but this.
Guess who decided to call me at the worst possible time as I climbed the fire escape?
“For fucks sakes-” Ignoring the ache in my upper arm for having to support my whole weight, I fished out my phone and answered the phone.
“I’m-” My foot slipped and I sucked in a curse before grappling my hand over the bars. “-kinda busy!”
“I can tell,” The voice at the other end chuckled. “Where are you?”
“Home?” Pressing my phone onto my shoulder, I hoisted my whole body up the landing before huffing. “Please don’t tell me the lot of you are heading there. I just want some peace and quiet.”
“Peace and quiet is not usually you’re forte if I recalled you’re birthday.”
“I was drunk and it was a dare.” Rolling my eyes, I carefully unlocked the window panel and slid the pane open. “When are you going to let that go?”
“I’m pretty sure I enjoyed that.” Another voice spoke up, amused.
“Is that Mason with you?” The whole room was dark and in fear of being found out, I quickly lowered my voice. “Why are you both on call?”
“Don’t ask.” Thomas responds, exasperated.
“Well then seriously, why are you calling me? Did something happen?”
“Yeah.” He exhales heavily, annoyed almost. “It involves a certain someone getting involve in certain things that will certainly make the certain someone get hurt if they are not certainly careful.”
My brain spun at his words.
What the hell...
“Are you alright? Do you need to see the doctor?”
“That’s not the point,” He hissed agitated.
I can barely hear Mason chuckle at the other end. Clearly, he was enjoying this.
“Why don’t you take a break hmm?” Stepping one foot over the other I made it into the building and landed on tile floors.
Apparently I was in a bathroom.
“Do you want me to pick you up? We’ll head over to Graymoore Hospital-”
“Well it’s nice to know you care for me now.”
I frowned into the darkness and squinted around for any source of light I could find.
What was up with him? Why was he being so... petty.
Ultimately, I let out a dejected sigh having given up on trying to understand my significant other. “Mason, tell me what’s wrong with him.”
“Yeah, I know he’s mad. Did something happen at the Office?”
“Well...” There’s a long trail as Mason tries to grip the words.
“You can always fire them if they give you too much trouble.” Unlocking the bathroom door, I stepped out and looked left to right. “Being an heir to a billion dollar company has it’s perks right?”
“Yeah,” Thomas retorted. “It does.”
Coast clear, I headed towards the living room, all the while keeping my footsteps small and subtle.
Why was it so dark?
“But here’s the thing...” There’s a shuffle at the other end.
Coincidentally, it could also be heard on my end.
Right in front of me.
Light illuminated the dark room, revealing Thomas’s blank expression followed by Mason’s as they sat on different arm chairs.
“She happens to be my girlfriend.” He ends the call.
“And right now I’m fucking pissed.”