The Call of a Lifetime (18+)

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Let the War Begin

Arin

“I want you to tell me how it happened?” I asked, watching his hung head.

Roger was escorted by police a while back. Brandon filed assault charges again him. The words of an aged man and his battered face were enough for the police to take action. They didn’t consider who was right or wrong. Merely doing their job, they ensured the wrong man went behind bars.

Roger held his head, nodding. His hands clutched at the hair roots. A frustrated growl later, he looked up with a half-smile. “Leave and save yourself,” he whispered.

My reaction dances between planning on slapping across his face or shoving him off the chair he was tied onto. Instead, I tried the calmer method.

“I am not going anywhere and if this is too hard for you then I would have to just go check the security cameras at the mansion to see what happened. But that would only take longer for you to get bail.”

My argument may have been calm on the outside, inside I was aflame. There wasn’t a person who could have pacified me other than the one who sat in front of me. The situation was ideal for me to lose my temper.

My fiancé, the head of the Murphy enterprise was held up, captive. But I knew better, being taught by mom to have patience in dire circumstances.

Roger placed a hand over mine, patting. “Sorry, I am just...” I knew he was frustrated but so was I. But this was the time to act and not brood.

“Tell me.”

“Brandon spoke how I was never able to protect mom. That I was a bad son and now I was the rapist who was tying you to...” I stood up from my seat.

Brandon was a vile man, no doubt. But walking into a party uninvited was more than just a coincidence. It was something fishy to begin.

I convinced Roger of help to come before leaving. A part of me died in the cell where was being held up. Leaving him alone even if it was merely a few hours for bail posting wasn’t going down well for me.

Outside, I dialed dad and waited. My eyes roamed the area with all my senses on high alert. This wasn’t just a coincidence, my mind kept reminding me. Upon receiving the call, I narrated the incidences since morning.

Dad, being his true self screamed and yelled at me. Just like mom, he lost his cool when it was time to stay calm. The ticking clock inside the station reminded me of time running out.

“Dad, you can yell all you want later. For now, please do as I say.” I pleaded. Dad reiterated the instructions on the phone before ending it.

As I walked back inside, another thought hit me. It was already late in the afternoon and the sun’s warmth was fading away, letting cold come in for the evening. I hopped in my car and drove. Dad would need a couple of more hours to do what I asked of him. In the meantime, I wanted to verify if my gut was hinting right.

Walking into the Oswald office, I pushed through the doors before landing in Xavier’s office. He looked up. When a smile ran across his face, my inside burned. My fiancé was sitting in prison, awaiting bail. All that could have been avoided had I not been away.

“Are you working with Brandon?” My voice roared inside his office. The staff outside looked at the commotion as the door creaked close. Xavier stood up from his chair, walking over. His flattened expressions only added fuel to my raging fire. “Tell me, dammit.”

With his hand running across his face and helping his neck to straighten, I knew the answer.

“Traitor,” I called out.

Under those words, Xavier’s face turned red. His nostrils flared, beating out warm puffs of air over me. Pulling me to a corner, he ensured that no voices leaked outside.

With gritted teeth, he blurted. “Stop pointing fingers at people because your fiancé is in prison.”

Pushing his closeness, I moved away. The feeling of respect and care for him seemed to be fading, replaced with hurt and anger. My hands shook, when I raised it, pointing at him. They trembled like autumn leaves, ready to fall off. I was the tree that was withering away with every minute I was away from Roger.

“So you are telling me that it was a coincidence that I was taken to the roof at the same time Brandon arrived. It was a coincidence that Brandon said those words, asking Roger to leave me, the same words you too said.” I moved closer, bridging our distance. “It was also a coincidence that nobody knows about his arrest other than dad and he was asked not to tell anyone.”

With his flushed face, Xavier squeezed his eyes shut. Upon opening them, they glistened. Surely they might have teared up and had it been any other time, I would have been a sad mess, unbarring of his pain. But this wasn’t any other time.

“Answer me, Xavier. Or am I so useless of your time that a reply, a closure...” He placed a finger on my lips, I tossed it aside. “How dare you touch me with those hands after your plan of bringing down the man who trusted you the most.”

Xavier’s jaw muscles twitched, yet no words came out. I was prodding him to speak. If this was Brandon’s plan all along, incriminating Roger then he would have planned ten more steps. I wanted to know it all.

Knowing that Xavier wouldn’t confess, I decided to play my trump. It broke me, knowing I had to play the man’s heart over him. I never thought even in my wildest dreams to be subjecting Xavier to this.

“Maybe, at the party what you said was right,” I said. Xavier tilted his head back. With his eyes remaining glued to me, I walked around. “Maybe you never loved me, Xavier. You only loved the idea of ​​me. The me whom you thought you could have. And then you saw my contract at the call center and thought, hey this girl is a slut. A whore whom you could sleep with...”

The back of my head hit against the softer part of the wall that moved when Xavier shoved me onto it. His hand remained pasted on my jaw. There was no pain that I felt on me but his eyes swirled with the hurt my words created.

“You think I thought of you as some whore? After all this time this is what you think of me?” he growled. He left his hold, letting me all off the wall. Moving away, he stood near his table, looking out. While I scrambled back on my feet, Xavier looked over his shoulder. “You never knew me Arin if you think my love for you was only an imagination of a one night stand.”

Tears dripped down my face. I gasped for air, unable to keep the rising ball of fire inside of me. Xavier turned at that voice and rushed back, holding my trembling body. “I am sorry. Did I hurt you? God! I am so sorry, love. Let me see where does it hurt?”

He placed his hand on the back of my head. I leaned back, kneeling in front of him as the feeling of growing weight on my shoulder increases.

I placed my hand over my chest, indicating the answer to his question. “If you really love me then tell me,” I said. Xavier held my hand, nodding.

“It wasn’t Brandon, it was Dad. He asked me to distract you. I was told that Roger may have some discussion with some clients and that he might try to sleep with some woman. I assumed it was all true and that’s why I asked you to leave him. Only when I came down, did I realize why I had to distract you.”

Xavier matched my level, kneeling in front. His eyes were dilated, displaying a range of emotions. He was telling the truth.

“Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?”

Pulling us up, Xavier placed me on the couch, walking around. “I was scared for this reason. That you would blame me for colluding with Brandon.” Placing his hand over mine, he knelt before me. There was genuineness in his eyes. “It was Malcom. He is working with Brandon. And I was too late to know it but Charles still doesn’t.”

This mother-lode of information was a slow burn for me. While driving me back, Xavier didn’t utter a word. His concentration was on the drive and occasionally checking on me as I heaved, replaying the ruse placed by Malcom and Brandon.

Outside the courthouse, our lawyers held the bail papers. With a smile on his face, he nodded at me. The bail was granted. Roger’s release was kept a secret for now. As Roger re-emerged through the doors, my feet soared through the floor till my hands wrapped around him.

The warmth from his body calmed the riled sensation in me. I was trembling till he gave me steadiness. My life’s anchor.

“Hey, don’t cry, babydoll.” Roger wiped away my tears that fell unknowingly. Kissing my forehead, he walked us back into the reality that was today. After thanking dad and the lawyers, he looked at Xavier and then back at me. When Xavier gave him a tight smile, Roger read something about the situation.

“How bad is it?” he asked as if already knowing something was wrong. I sighed, raising my hands in the air.

Nobody expected Malcom Oswald to help Brandon. He was the pawn who moved the pieces enough to get Roger into troubles. I knew what was coming. The same answer that I whispered.

“Bad enough that we need to be on the attack mode than defense,” I said with my head dipping low.

Roger nodded, holding me close to him. “Then war it is, my love.”

~

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