Chapter Twenty Five
I slowly place my feet on the gray asphalt, only lightened up by the dim streetlights. I’m walking like my shoes were too tight, making short little strutting steps like a clockwork soldier. Unusually slowly, almost robotically, as if my brain was struggling to tell each foot to take the next step. But I know it’s just my mind, my heart; because I don’t want to get back into the house.
Then, we will all have to face the truth. Beverly. Avery. Brent. Everyone will find out that I’ve lied to them, and that both of the girls might be related. But after the things that Daryl told me, I’m almost sure this is the truth. Giving me a terrible headache, more unanswered questions. How?
“You know, that’s the beauty of marriage. You’re not afraid of anyone that could kill you, but you suddenly become afraid of your wife. Oh… women.”
“Keep talking and I’m going to be the one who you’ll be afraid of.”
“No need to be so irritated, Diabolus. They’ll understand, eventually, but they will. People tend to forget how important solicitude is when they see it every day.”
I purse my lips as the irritation keeps growing inside me, yet I want to argue with Daryl… but I can’t. I know he’s right, I know that eventually, they’ll understand. But to watch Beverly’s eyes when she’ll realize I kept things from her will break my heart.
I had to find out those things myself, to make sure I will be able to deliver them to Beverly, and others the way that they wouldn’t get too shocked, or mad. Maybe I shouldn’t blame myself, but I do. The guilt is ice in my guts, and I can't melt it on my own, I can't shift it at all. I need this confession, to share this with my family; it’s destroying me. It makes me feel like I’m turning into a person I always avoided to become. A liar.
Honesty is the key to a healthy, happy marriage, and I just broke it. My actions show just how selfish and controlling I am, maybe even overprotective. I always kept telling myself I do things to protect Beverly, but am I, really? Maybe it’s just because I want to control everything around me. And that thing just started to eat me from the inside.
“I’m glad we made a deal, Diabolus. Other assassins wouldn’t be as smart as you are, but we both know you’re not a usual one.”
As I lift my head up to take a look at Daryl, I notice we’re just in front of his car in the driveway to the house. I turn to face him one more time, his usual robustly ruddy complexion is pleased. Happy. His weathered skin lay in folds like ice scraped from a mid-winter windshield, but the face is warm with a hellish smile.
I can’t get rid of the thought that there’s something that I’m envious of. That I admire. Maybe, how calm, relaxed he is. How he manages to stay cold. But perhaps it happens when you don’t have such a big family, a wife to take care of.
“What exactly happened between you and Caden?”
Daryl turns away, as if he was admiring his shiny black BMW. I hear a silent, show sigh leaving his lips before he turns back to me; his eyes got dark and something suddenly flashes in them, something sad, or the feeling of longing. I try to catch that glimpse in his eyes, but before I can, that annoying smile creeps on his face again.
“Does it matter right now?
“If I can’t trust you, you can kill Caden yourself.”
Evil laughter escapes his mouth and he lifts his head up, counting the stars, and I know that he’s just avoiding talking about his past. And I can’t blame him. I was avoiding to talk about Kevin for eight years.
“Caden was my friend. Once. Before he killed somebody very important to me.”
“You couldn’t call his father a parental person, it wasn’t a surprise that he let him take his car drunk, and having no driver license. And that evening, my daughter was crossing the street…”
I feel the cold wave running down to my toes as I imagine the things Daryl had to go through. The pain. The loss. The grief. And most importantly, the patience that he has. The murderer of his daughter is still alive, and a broken father, who’s making a plan on how to kill him.
“Annabelle died in an instant. Her brains were all over the road. The blood. It happened six years ago, but I still remember the moment I lost her.”
When he turns back at me with a serious face expression on, I can actually feel the pain that he’s feeling. Like an icy wind choking the breath from my lungs and making a noose around my neck.
“It’s not the same as losing your friend, or a lover. It’s a part of you, a part of your soul, ripped out of your body and leaving emptiness inside you until the very end of your days.”
“I had no idea, Daryl.”
“I don’t care if it was an accident. he has to die. He has to die the day we attack him, no matter what. And I hope you do what you can do the best.”
Something starts to gnaw, deep inside my, perhaps, in my soul; relentless, unceasing. The need for revenge is like an abscess on the skin of the soul that could only be cured by the cruel sharp steel point of revenge. Into Caden’s heart, who hurt, used so many people. And I will be the one who will give him exactly what he deserves.
“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure he goes through hell before he dies.”
It’s been two hours. Two long, hard hours that seemed to pass like two days. It felt like forever. My stomach shifts uneasily and I notice that the hands that I am hugging myself with are pinching into my skin. I release my hands but then I can't figure out what to do with them, so instead they clasp and unclasp each other as if in constant need of touch and reassurance. But what they need is to be able to touch Kai, to drink him in by running over his weathered skin.
Who knows what could’ve happened to him. Who knows what that weird man is up to. Who knows if Kai is still alive, or if Daryl did something to him?
But after all, I had to trust him. I had to give him the chance to know that I trust, respect his decisions, even though my heart is beating like it’s about to jump out of my chest. Like it was searching for Kai, like the distance would be too hard to handle for hearts that are beating in the same rhythm.
Until I hear the door slam opened.
I quickly jump from the couch as if I was startled, and everyone around me freezes on their spots like there was some danger coming. I rush to the hallway, to see the front door and Kai, his inked face in an anxious frown, his eyes, running around the room as if they were trying to find a place to hide. He kicks the door backwards and it swings close with ease, a blast of chilly night’s air streams past him; though his eyes keep searching for something on the ground.
“God, Kai, I was so worried-”
“I need to talk to you.”
My heart twists and sinks with nerves as he finally lifts his eyes at me, as icy as the weather outside, no readable emotion in them, as if he was angry; but he’s not. I’ve seen him angry so many times that I can already tell when he’s about to lose the control of himself and get ferocious, and this time, it’s not it. It’s more like fear. Or guilt.
“You, Avery and Brent.”
Without any more words, or glances that makes the chills run down my spine, he turns around and heads to the dining room. And I just can’t believe my eyes. I don’t want to, anyway. I have never seen Kai being so cold, mysterious, even when he was the nameless assassin prepared to kill me for money. He always had the warmest eyes, the rightest words, and understood me better than anyone else I’ve ever met.
“Avery, Brent. Come.”
I shout so they could hear me from the living room, without waiting for them, I quickly follow after Kai, though my mouth runs dry and my stomach turns in an uncomfortable way. I feels as if my brain is full of static, either firing off a million unhelpful thoughts at once or offering nothing at all. What the hell happened between him and Daryl?
As I enter the room, Avery and Brent behind me, shutting the door, I see Kai standing by the window, looking somewhere deep into the night. His hands in his pockets, and even a sound of us entering the room doesn’t make him turn around at us.
“Kai? What’s going on?”
“Did something happen?”
He finally turns back to us, his emerald eyes glimmering in the yellow lights around the room. His pursed lips, slightly furrowed eyebrows make me straighten my back as I feel like my every nerve is on fire, because of the suspense.
“What happened is… That I lied.”
“I lied about the note, and you all might want to sit down before I start talking.”
Each one of us hesitantly pull ourselves a chair, carefully sitting on it as if we were afraid it could break. The anxiety inside me keeps growing; it sits on me like a pillow over my mouth and nose. Enough air gets by it, allowing my body to keep functioning, but it's crippling all the same as no word can leave my mouth, I can only focus on Kai’s words as he sits down in front of us.
“So the Phoenix exists?”
“No. The note actually said that there’s no Phoenix, but there was more. More that I was a little unsure about.”
“What was it?”
“I need you to understand that I haven’t told you about it, only because I wasn’t sure how, before I realized what it actually means. I’m still confused about it, but it’s better if you all knew and would be prepared for something a little unbelievable.”
Kai clears his throat before continuing to talk, and I feel how my feet start to tremble. Not because I am afraid to hear what he says; it seems like I don’t care about it at all. But it’s a strange feeling that filled up my body when I realized this is the first time when Kai lied to me. As if his words sucked a part of my soul away from me, but probably, it slowly keeps destroying my trust in him.
“There is a way to find the treasure, actually. It’s difficult to explain, even more complicated to understand, yet after the conversation with Daryl, it seems to be more true than anything I’ve believed in before.”
I sit knee deep in silence, only listening to every sound that escapes his mouth, watching every movement of his lips. And feeling how the anger boils, in my every vein, in my brain, blocking every possible thought about forgiveness. Asking myself, how could he do this. We never kept secrets from each other. Why now, he had decided to work alone?
“The only way to find the treasure is a girl with hair made out of gold, and eyes that see the future. Her powers will lead to it only being close to a person from the same bloodline.”
“What the f*ck?”
“It makes no sense, Kai.”
“Actually, it does.”
He draws his eyes to me, as I keep watching him, then they stop on Avery, before locking his eyes with mine again. His every word, fueling the fire that burns inside me. Every phrase, every sentence, like gasoline to my brain and my already boiling veins, my fists begin to clench under the table, as well as my jaw jocks; yet my feelings doesn’t stop me from hearing, and understanding the words that he says.
“Think about it. Avery, a blonde, with eyes that see the future - that just means she’s clairvoyant, and she can find the treasure being close to a person that is related to her.”
“Even if that’s the truth, how are we supposed to find her relatives? She was adopted when she was a baby!”
“I don’t think we have to search for anyone. We already found her.”
The dreams. The strange dreams that me and Avery had about each other, finally make sense. Why else would I dream about her, about a girl that I haven’t even met before? Why would she dream about me, too, even if she’s clairvoyant? Everything makes sense, and as much as unbelievable it is, I don’t fight my thoughts that tell me it’s nonsense.
My breath gets heavier with every second as I keep thinking about it, as my mind keeps coming back to Chicago, when it replays the images of my father. No, I just can’t be adopted. I knew if I was. This can’t be it…
“No. This can’t be the truth.”
“I couldn’t believe it, either, but Daryl just told me to look at both of them. They look so much alike. Just think about it, they had dreams about each other before they even met. And with Beverly’s father, well… I wouldn’t be very surprised.”
“Why did he gave you the script, anyway?”
“We made a deal. He will help us to kill Caden. I’m sorry I had to hide it from you, but at least right now we are aware about the truth.”
Brent turns to me and for the first time, really looks at me. Then back at Avery. His eyes suddenly widen in shock as he, perhaps, sees our similarities. Our hair color. Eye color. Our facial features. When I turn to Avery, for the first time, I honestly see it myself. As if I was looking at my own reflection, just a little bit taller, with fuller lips and a little darker skin.
My breath stops completely and my hands start shaking as if I was outside in the middle of the icy winter, with no clothes on. I can feel how my heart sinks to my toes, everything that I believed in, everything that I thought was true suddenly blows up inside my mind like a balloon. Every inch of my body burns. In shock.
But also, in anger, suddenly furrowing my eyebrows and pursing my lips.
“Beverly? What are you thinking?”
I slowly stand up from the chair, my gaze piercing through Kai. He leans back, as if his body was pulling away from my anger, but his eyes getting softer, glistening with regret.
“How could you, Kai!? How could you lie to us? How could you not tell us this important detail, instead deciding to share it with a person that you don’t even know!?”
“I’m sorry, Bev-”
“I can’t believe you replaced all of us to get a partner to kill Caden! How could you, Kai? How could you?”
I feel the tears bursting out of my eyes that I didn’t even knew were existing, when Kai stands up from his chair and lifts his hands closer to me, trying to soothe me with his words, or actions. But his every move now feels like electricity, connected to me, coursing through my body in burning pain as I take a step back from him, still not able to believe what I just heard, and most of all, that he betrayed us like that.
“Baby, please, I’m sorry. I know I was wrong.”
“I just can’t listen to this.”
I quickly turn around and with fast footsteps, almost running, I storm out of the room as I feel everyone’s gazes behind me, watching me with shock. And Kai’s voice, as much as sad it is; it makes my mind burn in anger even more.