Forgiven

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The Truth

Chapter 17

Kim was asleep when Alec called her and notified her that there was a pressing matter that they needed to discuss. She realized instantly that something was wrong because he was not supposed to call or contact her unless it was a matter of great significance. The fact that he had called her after midnight and requested that she sees him immediately meant that something bad had happened. She waited for him until he had arrived, and ushered him into her study. He was clearly angry and anxious. On top of that, there were traces of blood on his shirt. It took her a moment to discern that the blood wasn’t his. However, there was nothing reassuring about the sight at all.

Kim waited for him to have a seat, but he didn’t. He just stood there and waited for her to shut the door to the study so they could talk in private. She saw to the task before she sat down and waited for him to explain the reason behind his visit. However, before he managed to say anything, his phone began ringing. He picked it up and listened to what the person on the end of the line wanted to say. He wore a frown on his face the entire time and did not speak until the other person finished reporting something. He began giving a set of vague instructions to the other person, and then hung up. This prompted Kim to inquire about the seemingly grave matter that was taking place.

“Jacob, I thought we agreed not to meet unless it was absolutely necessary.”

“I’m afraid it can’t be avoided.”

“Something wrong?”

“Let’s just say it’s one of those moments when I wonder if I could ever have you or the old man figured out,” he responded calmly while trying hard to keep his anger in check.

“I don’t understand.”

“Lesly Collins,” he said in a low controlled tone, “What happened to her back then?”

“Why are you asking about her all of a sudden?”

“Answer my question,” he commanded.

“I told you. We got to her before anything bad happened,” Kim answered in her usual placid tone.

Alec began rubbing his temples in annoyance. He tried to keep his seething anger in check, but the task had always proven difficult around someone as cold and composed as Kim. He had long resolved not to let her get to him, but now that she was blatantly lying to him, he found his weakened control over his temper slipping away with every passing second. He shut his eyes, took a calming breath, and tried one more time to get her to talk.

“Kimberly,” he began in a low restrained tone, “I might have believed you before because I desperately needed a comforting lie, but I want the truth now.”

Kim did not answer his question right away. She just looked at him with that unreadable expression of hers before she voiced a request, “Sit down, Jacob.”

“I asked you a question.”

“You need to calm down.”

“I am calm.”

“Jacob…”

“Answer my question,” he said assertively while emphasizing every word in his command.

He could tell that she did not like the way he was talking to her, but she was wise enough not to oppose him. She leaned back in her seat, crossed one leg over the other, and gave him the confirmation he needed.

“You seem to know what happened,” she commented calmly.

“So it’s true? The story didn’t end with her saving my life.” He asked with a quiver in his voice.

“Yes.”

“Why did no one tell me?”

“It’s complicated.”

“What’s so complicated about it?”

“Given your condition back then, your father made the decision not to tell you.”

“Great,” he said in a hollow laugh.

“Try to understand,” Kim explained. “You were unconscious when it happened. When you finally regained consciousness and began showing signs of recovery, it had already been weeks since it happened. We did not mean to keep anything from you.”

“So basically you felt that the matter was so insignificant it was not worth reporting.”

“That’s not it.”

“What is it then?” He asked with exasperation evident in his voice.

“You were still dealing with Francis’s death. You held yourself responsible for what happened to him every minute of every hour. You had nothing but guilt and suicidal thoughts in your head. Your father could not have you blame yourself for what happened to that woman, too, not when your condition kept on getting worse. He thought he was going to lose you.”

Alec sat down in defeat. The matter of Francis’s death had always been a sore subject for him. He was a close friend of his who had fallen on hard times since college. Alec did his best to help him. He got him a job, aided him in paying back his college debt and assisted him in finding a better place to live in. He thought he was helping a friend turn his life around. What he didn’t know, though, that that friend would die a horrible death just because he was connected to him. Francis was nothing more than collateral damage to the people who abducted Alec. He was shot and left to bleed in alley where no one saw him. He would have survived if someone got to him sooner, but sadly nobody knew where he was. The coroner’s report showed that it took him hours to die. Alec’s chest would tighten whenever he imagined what Francis’s last moments felt like. He was left conscious, cold and alone with no help in sight until all signs of life left him. This loss was not something that Alec was fully able to overcome, even after he came to blame himself less and to blame the culprits more for what had happened.

Alec was beginning to understand why no one told him the truth when he asked about the woman who saved him. It was true. He was in a horrible state both physically and mentally. It took him months to recover and years to finally comprehend that Francis’s death was not his fault. Still, the fact that nobody told him what had happened to Lesly even after he recovered made him mad.

“You should’ve told me,” he finally said in defeat.

“Your father did everything he could do to help her, but by the time we got to her, the absolute worst had happened. There was nothing else that you could have done,” Kim explained.

He did not say anything. He walked over to the gigantic window in her study and kept his back to her. Kim could tell that he was trying hard to keep his seething anger under control while processing everything she had just told him. She gave him the time he needed, but when she noticed from his tense stance that he was still mad, she tried to reason with him again.

“Jacob, tell me you wouldn’t have done the same thing if you were in your father’s shoes.”

He still did not say anything. She began to wonder if he was ever going to let the matter go, but it did not seem likely. He turned around a moment later and began asking calmly, “What did you guys do to remedy the situation back then?”

“Your father took care of it.”

“Took care of it how?”

“You know your father and you know the way he works. He made sure it wouldn’t happen again.”

“That’s interesting because she was assaulted again tonight,” he said with an expression devoid of emotion.

Kim was alarmed. She did not know what to make out of the statement. For the first time since he began talking to her, her calm demeanor diminished, and she became concerned.

“Is she okay?” She asked when he did not explain what happened.

“She’s fine, but it seems that the person who assaulted her knew exactly what happened to her back then.”

“Impossible! Everyone who was involved in that incident died. Your father made sure of it. He even honored her request that no record of her being confined in that house exists.”

“She asked him for that?” Alec inquired curiously.

“Actually, she called me. I first met her under your father’s instructions shortly after she was rescued and taken to a hospital. He wanted me to assure her that he took care of the matter. I gave her my number and told her to contact me if she needed anything. She did. She called and asked if we could clean all records of any possible mention of her name.”

“Did she say why?”

“No,” Kim replied, “I could only speculate.”

“Did she contact you again after that?”

“Never. That was the only time she called for a request. We assumed that she would contact us if she needed help.”

Alec mulled the matter over in his mind once more before he voiced his observation, “Someone who is connected to the incident is still out there.”

“Why strike now then? It’s been five years,” Kim asked hoping that he had already figured out what was happening, but he had no answer.

“I don’t know. This whole thing is driving me mad,” Alec said in reply before he sat down and allowed himself to go over the details one more time in his head.

Kim decided that he needed a drink, so she poured him a glass and brought it over to him. He reached out to it almost absentmindedly. Kim examined him as he drank it in silence and did not say anything. She too was trying to figure out what was happening exactly. However, there was a matter that she hoped that she could speak to him personally about, and now that he was here, she decided to approach him about it.

“Jacob, there’s something else that we need to discuss.”

“What is it?” he asked while staring into space.

“It’s about Lesly,” Kim began. This earned her his full attention before she continued, “Greg tells me you’ve been in contact with her a lot lately.”

“So?”

“You do understand that we faked your death and gave you a new identity for a reason. The longer you hang around her, the more likely your cover will be blown.”

Alec stared at her silently with a not-so-amused look on his face before he asked, “You expect me to turn my back on her now?”

“Your father and I will handle this.”

“No, I’d rather take care of this matter myself,” he said before he finished his drink and placed the glass on the table.

“Jacob, be reasonable.”

“Knowing you and the old man, I’d say you you’re still in possession of everything the private investigators gathered, don’t you?” he asked, fully intending on ignoring her request.

“I do.”

“Email those files to me,” he instructed before he stood up and walked towards the door.

“Jacob…”

She tried to reason with him one more time, but before she could get any word out, he left and slammed the door behind him.

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