"What do you mean there's nothing you can do?" I asked sergeant Morris Mitchell, accusingly. After all I been through and this the crap he's giving me.
"I'm sorry Maria. I know how important Laura is to you, but this is out of my control. We are at a dead end here."
"I don't understand... I'm giving you all the information needed. The last time we had word on my sister's whereabouts, she was in a brothel. That was nearly three months ago. The man who owns that brothel is known as Dean Dubois. I can also show you the location where it's all going down."
"No, you will stay out of it. Dean Dubois is a powerful man in the criminal world. The district been trying to take him down for years and failed each time. If you know what's best for you, return home and forget this whole mess." My mouth parted in shock, unable to find the words to express my bewilderment.
I could not believe he was suggesting for me to turn my back on my sister. Regardless of all the problems and chaos I was forced to play a part in, she is and will always be my sister, the only family I have left. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I was to leave Laura and try to forget she ever existed. There's no way in hell...
"How could you ask that of me? You of all people should know how much Laura means to me. I could never do that to her." Morris sighed, his eyes full of pity.
"Look Maria, you are a good person and you shouldn't ruin your life because of Laura. She already caused you so many years of trouble. I'm only looking out for you when I say, move on." I said nothing, only watched in disbeliefs as his words repeated in my head, almost like a broken record.
What started off as a slow shake of my head then became more aggressive as determination flowed within me. Morris took a step forward and I immediately took a few steps away from him, suddenly feeling suffocated.
"I always thought you were my friend. You were the only one who stayed by my side through it all... but I was wrong. You're just like the rest of them." Not waiting to hear his response, I turned on my heel and walked out the police station, without looking back.
I couldn't sleep at all that night. I couldn't stop thinking about Laura. I know she can be a handful, and at times I wish she would stay out of my life, but I remember her before everything went down hill... before the drugs. She was so funny and had a sassy side I'd always admired.
Growing up, she did all that a big sister was suppose to do and more. She cheered me up when I was down, she encouraged me although my ideas were ridiculous. No matter what, she was always there to defend me... she was always there.
I couldn't just forget these memories because she fell off and traveled down the wrong path. At a very young age mom and dad got into a tragic car accident that took both their lives. Laura was forced to take on the huge responsibility of that of a parent and look after me. It was during those times that I no longer saw her as only my sister, but as my protector and caretaker also.
All her actions from that moment on were always for my well-being. She no longer did anything for herself. I was like her prized possession that she thrived to keep safe. She even went as far as dropping out of college so she could take care of me. At such a young age, she was bombarded with such a big responsibility.
It was years later that I began to notice the changes in her behavior. Although it was barely noticeable in the beginning, I was able to catch the small changes in her. She would snap over the smallest issues then become real needy and leave for days, sometimes weeks even. I tried to help her, god knows I tried, but she continuously refused. In the end, I almost became penniless trying to pay off her debts. Due to lack of money, I sold our family's home and moved out of the crowded city. I settled down in our family's farmhouse, where we usually stayed during vacations.
Laura would visit me occasionally, and each time I would see her, her appearance would be worse than before. It broke my heart to look into her dull blue eyes. They were so empty that it scared me.
As time went on, I stopped hearing from Laura completely. She no longer called for money, or made her usual drop by the farm. One day I tried calling her cell, but the number had been disconnected. This only made me worry all the more. I moved back into the city and made it my mission to find her. It's been a year and a half since I last seen her and this was the closest I ever gotten to finding her. I'll be damned if I let her slip from my grasp once again.
"You are seriously about to do this Maria. It's too late to turn back now. You can do this, just... just don't think too much into it. It will soon be over and you can return home safe and sound... yeah, that sounds like a plan. Don't think too much into it." I continued to give myself a nervous pep-talk as I drove to the gate of the incredibly huge mansion.
"What's your business here?" A female's voice came from the gate intercom. My eyes lingered on the many guards surrounding this place before returning my gaze to the intercom. I swallowed, hoping my uneasiness wasn't evident in my voice.
"Um... I'm looking for Dean Dubois. I was hoping I would be able to speak with him."
"Mr. Dubois don't have time for little things." She answered, almost instantly.
"Please, I'm desperate." I begged pitifully. "All I'm asking is for just a moment of his time then I'll be on my way." When there was no response, I explained further. "My sister works in his brothel. Her name is Laura Holland... please, I won't be long. I only need to talk with him."
I let out a long heavy sigh of defeat. Just as I was about to tuck my tail and return home, the gates abruptly opened. I couldn't stop the loud squeal that came from me. One of the guards gave me a weird look, but otherwise said nothing.
Walking to the large entrance door, bad scenarios started to flood my mind. I was beginning to doubt if coming here was a good idea. No Mariah, this is for Laura... always for Laura. With that, I quickly dismissed them bad thoughts and extended my arm, ready to knock. Just as I did, the huge doors opened and a woman stood staring at me with a blank expression.
I couldn't help but to notice how gorgeous she is. Her black hair was thick and straight. Her heart shaped lips were painted a light pink and her brown eyes somehow only added to her every feature. She was every man's wet dream. I felt so plain standing beside her. My blonde hair looked almost silver. My lips were full and pouty. The one best feature memorable about me are my eyes. My eyes easily stood out and gained much unwanted attention.
"Follow me," She did not wait. Turning on her heel, she began to walk down the corridor with me following closely behind her. I took in all my surroundings cautiously. The mansion looked like something that could come out of a gothic film. There were many weird antique objects, and strange art paintings covered the walls. The lights were dimmed, adding to the darkness that settled in every room. Although it was very beautiful it was also very scary. I could only imagine the cost of this fortune.
The woman led me into a very big dining room. I would have took in the view if it wasn't for the man sitting at the head of the table. He didn't bother to glance up upon our entrance. He continued with his meal and focused on something on his phone, ignoring both our presence.
"Mr. Dubois," Finally he looked up and I drew in a sharp breath. I could not deny the man in front of me was extremely handsome... nothing I was in to, but nonetheless handsome. Not being taken by his looks, I instantly saw the dangerous man that lie behind his handsome facade. His nice in shape muscular body peeked with tattoos.
There was a scar that ran from his left cheek down to his sharp jawline, but that only enhanced the dangerous aura coming from him. His eyes were unlike anything I have seen before. They reflected only the green almost leaving no pupil, resembling those of a cat. He was completely different than the image I had in mind. I pictured he'd be a fat over weight perverted old man, call it stereotypical.
There was a long silence before I realized both the woman and Dean Dubois were staring at me expectantly. I let out an awkward cough not understanding what it is I was suppose to be doing. Dean Dubois raised a brow causing me to shift uncomfortably.
"State your business." The woman spoke out. Oh... ohhh.
"Um... Hello," I started with a nervous smile. "I'm Maria Holland and I presume you are Dean Dubois?" I mentally scolded myself on my witty introduction. When Dean did not respond, I scratched my nose and looked at him through my lashes. He was staring at me with no emotion in his eyes. "I was hoping I could speak with you-"
"Leave us." His deep voice carried throughout the silence in the room. I turned to walk away, knowing that I messed up the only chance of finding my sister.
"Not you," The woman whispered to me harshly before leaving out the way we came. I slowly turned around and faced Dean. The way he was looking at me made me uncomfortable. It was almost like he was studying me. The intensity in his dark eyes was so consuming that I felt as though they would pierce through me at any minute.
"Take a seat." With a small nod, I went to sit in the far corner of the long table only to freeze at the sound of his voice. "Here," He smoothly gestured to the seat beside him. Very slowly I complied. Doing as he said, I sat in the seat that only separated us by a few inches. "Speak," He demanded.
I couldn't stop the shiver that made its way down my spine. His voice was deep and unnerving, I felt obligated to answer. He was the kind of man that demanded respect. The way he held himself, the way he spoke... he was a dangerous man alright, and I wanted nothing more then to get as far away from him as possible. I now understand why Morris was so against my coming here.
"Well... I'm looking for my sister." I stated trying to sound more confident then I felt at the moment.
He said nothing, only watched me blankly.
I continued, not allowing him to intimidate me. "My sister, Laura Holland, has been missing for the past year... I have been searching for her ever since but came up empty, that is until I recently found that she works in your brothel." Dean didn't give nothing away.
He leaned back in his seat, his dark eyes never leaving me. "You seem so sure that she's here..." I hesitated.
He was messing with me... he had to be. "I am," I answered, refusing to deter.
"And if she's not?" I didn't respond, no longer having an answer. She had to be here... seeing my moment of panic, the corner of his mouth twitched up ever so slightly. "Come,"
Before I could process what he said, he stood and began heading down the long hall. I quickly got to my feet and followed him, not wanting to get lost in this creepy place. He did not glance back at me to see if I was following behind and that seemed to irritate me. He was so confident that I would follow.
"Where are you taking me?" No answer. I huffed and followed quietly. He led me to what I believe is his office. Taking a seat behind the big desk, he silently indicated for me to sit. Hesitantly, I took a seat in one of the chairs that were placed in front of the desk. "Why did we come here? The dining room was comfortable enough to discuss my sister's whereabouts."
I didn't want to be shut in the room alone with him. Hell, I did not want to be anywhere around him. He seemed like a man that got off on people fearing him... toying with their head. I was already uncomfortable being around him, and the intensity in his dark eyes as he watched me made it all the more worse.
He ignored my question. "Tell me about yourself." He spoke shocking me to the core.
"What?" Not bothering to repeat himself, he waited expectantly. "Why?"
Amusement flickered in his cat like eyes. Raising a brow, he answered. "Lets say, I'm interested." Weird...
I eyed him out skeptically before shrugging. "Well... there's not much to tell. I live out of the city and on a small farm that I had purchased a couple years back. I have a cow, a cat, some chickens... um..."
"No friends? Boyfriend?" I shook my head slowly. As if I would tell him about the people close to me. He hummed, taking in the information. After a minute of uncomfortable silence, I quickly put an end to the conversation.
"That's pretty much it... for the past year I been searching for my sister."
"Your drug addict sister." He added, making me freeze. Hope blossomed within me as I realized that she was here... that I had finally found her. But with hope came disappointment, for I knew her condition was no better, if not worse. "You wasted a year of your life trying to help someone who does not want to be helped... why?"
"She's my sister... I will do anything for her." I said passionately meaning every word. I was willing to do everything it took to get my sister back and get her the help she needs.
Suddenly the doors opened and in walked the stunning woman from earlier. She had some kind of file in her hands. Handing them to Dean, she left as quickly as she came. I turned towards Dean questioningly. He carelessly placed the file on his desk and I watched him warily. Hesitantly, I reached for them.
The second I opened the folder, I was met with a picture of Laura. Tears of joy filled my eyes, and I let out a shaky breath I did not know I was holding. She was here... Dean has her.
Subconsciously, I placed my fingers on the picture and traced her pale cheek lightly, as if she would break if I pressed too hard. I was so engrossed with the picture that I missed the flicker of emotion in Dean's dark gaze. His greens orbs refused to look away from me... watching my every move.
"She's not here." He spoke making my insides drop. My head snapped up to meet his sharp gaze.
"What?" I whispered.
"She stole a fair amount of my money and ran about two months ago." He watched me closely, gauging my reaction as he spoke his next words. "Shame, after all your searching you will never see your sister again... that is alive." His eyes suddenly became dark and I was sure my heart skipped a beat.
"What... what do you mean?" As soon as the words left my mouth, realization seemed to dawn on me. "What, no! You can't kill my sister." I snapped, the fear and desperation evident in my voice. He was expressing my greatest fear.
He raised a challenging brow, a faint smile playing on his lips as his eyes glistened with amusement. "Well, we will have to wait and see." My breath got caught in my throat, realizing he was serious. I mentally cursed myself. Of course he was serious Maria, he's a man of business. He probably kill without even blinking.
"I'll pay you." I said before I could think. Dean leaned back in his seat and eyed me out. "How much... how much does she owe? I'll pay it." He was silent, thinking over my proposal.
Suddenly, he gestured to the open files. I flicked through them until I found a page with numbers painted everywhere. I looked through the numbers having no idea what I was searching for. There was too much for me to understand. The different prices and words that did not make any sense to me. At last, I was able to find the even amount Laura owe and felt my eyes widened as I gazed down at the large number. I looked up at Dean in disbelief.
"Three hundred thousand?" Silence. There was no way I could come up with three hundred thousand dollars. The little money I have in the bank was surely not enough and besides that, I am currently trying to pay off Laura's old debts. "I-I don't have three hundred thousand."
"Then your sister dies." He said simply, as if it was nothing out of the ordinary.
"What if I give you ten thousand now and later-"
"Don't disrespect me, Maria." His voice took on a hard note. I drew in a deep breath, hoping to calm down my pounding heart. Damn, this man sure can be scary.
I knew it would not be smart to take this man on, but I was unwilling to go down without a fight. "I will not let you hurt Laura." I said with more bravo then I felt at the moment.
He grinned and my for some reason my insides quaked with fear. "You believe you can stop me?" The answer to that would be no, but I was willing to die trying.
"I... you have more than enough money. A few hundred thousands is nothing to you. Leave Laura alone. I'll find a way to get the money. " I said trying one last time to get him to make sense of the situation. Anything to get the thought of killing my sister out of his head. He did not respond right away and I felt a glimmer of hope.
"Now, where's the fun in that." I stared at the man sitting only a few inches away from me in outrage...
He was sick.
As if hearing my thoughts, the corner of his mouth twitched up and his eyes twinkled with amusement, horrifying me all the more. My distress entertained him...
"We're done here," He stood and I felt my heart drop into my stomach. I watched him frantically as he began making his way to the door, attempting to come up with anything to change his mind. In a moment of panic, I all but jumped out of my seat and latched onto his arm, instantly stopping him.
"Please... please don't harm Laura. I'll find a way to get the money just don't hurt her. Please... I'll do whatever it takes." I begged pitifully. The tears that I was trying so hard to keep inside finally escaped.
For a moment, he did not make any attempt to respond. We stood in silence for what felt like hours but were merely seconds. His eyes gazed into mine and for a moment I saw something flash behind them, but it was gone the second it appeared. I held my breath when I caught a small movement from him. He tilted his head ever so slightly, staring down at my shaky hands that are clutching his arm. As if I was suddenly burned, I released him and took a step back. He turned around and faced me fully.
"What if I don't want anything from you." And just like that my world stopped. More tears gathered in my eyes and I knew it was game over. There was nothing more I could say to convince this cold hearted man.
"Your sister... you love her, yes?" I eyed him in confusion, startled by the sudden question.
"Y-Yeah, of course I do."
"And exactly what are you willing to do to assure she is safe?"
"Anything... I'll do whatever it takes to get the money. I... I just need a little time, but I promise-"
"Work for me." The color drained from my face and my eyes widened in shock. Work? What did he mean by work.
"What?" I whispered.
"I want you to replace your sister, but unlike her you will not be working in my brothel. You will stay here and work for me personally." The seriousness in his eyes told me this was no game. I could not believe what he was saying.
"I'm not a whore."
He raised a brow, the amusement returning to his eyes. "You're whatever I say you are. That is, if you want to protect your sister." I drew in a sharp breath, accepting defeat.
"Why?" I asked, not understanding why it had to be me.
He shrugged. "I'm what most would call a sadist. My taste is very... particular. I'm sure you are aware of your beauty." He watched closely, as he continued to explain. "The question 'why' can only be stretched so far. The focusing question is 'why not'." I simply blinked at him, my voice stuck in my throat.
"Okay," Was all I could say.
"Don't sound so defeated, the fun haven't even begun." An icy shiver ran through my body and my heart sped up roughly with fear. I did not want to know what he meant by his statement.
"How long will I have to stay here?" I asked, needing to keep my mind stable. I needed to stay focus and not think too much into this, if I did it will only make this harder to accept.
He eyed me out silently, looking for any signs of emotion on my face. "Once you have replaced what your sister has stolen you are free to go." He made it sound so simple. I nodded wordlessly, not knowing what to say. "Sophia will show you to your room" My mouth parted in disbelief.
"What? No... this is too soon. The least you can do is allow me sleep on it." The way he stared at me was almost laughable, it was like he was trying to understand me.
"I'm by far a patient man, Maria." Before I had the chance to object, he swiftly turned on his heel and exited the room, leaving me alone and stunned. I stared at where he once stood trying to understand what just took place. A cold shiver ran down my spine and I could not stop feeling as if I just sold myself to the devil.