Thyself

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27 - SUCH A FOOL

(LADY KONSTANTINA)

“My sweet sweet boy. Why must you make your poor Gram Gram suffer?”

“I apologize wholeheartedly. My life has been a tad bit busy as of late.” He slyly replied with a charming smile.

“Uhmm hum. I see you have been terribly busy. Let’s see. You got married. With that grand mind you possessed, you have acquired a doctor for a wife and I am certain you have irritated her to death with your incessant need to be loved.” The elderly lady spoke disinterestedly with a glint in her sharp clear sea-green eyes.

“Really... are you going to shame me in front of my wife?” He chuckled at the game that was ongoing between the two of them.

“Well, I once was the only woman you smothered requiring my undivided attention. Now, I have been cast away like a pair of well-worn old boots.” The elderly thespian huffed and heaved as if she was despondent by her grandson’s attempt to replace her. Entirely unsuccessful in her act, she gave in to a fit of rolling laughter.

“Lydia... dear heart. I am so glad to see you again. Come give your Gram Gram a big hug.” Following those instructions, Lydia gave the elderly woman a tight squeeze and a kiss on her lightly powdered cheek.

“You see. That is how you greet your grandma. She has only known me for a short time and she already knows how to get next to my heart.” Lady Konstantina continued to zing her grandson.

His mother, however, hadn’t even ventured to lift her head to take in the sight of them. Still not at ease with her son’s choice for a wife, she opted to behave as if nothing was taking place in her presence. Ryder was sure she made sure she was far enough from the couple to ignore them in the grandest fashion.

From where she sat, a distance across the grand sitting room, the woman actually had the best seat in the house. There along the wall were mirrors from the ceiling to the floor. It was inspired by the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

“I know you are dying to find out why I have called you here?” The old woman got straight to the point.

“Now that you mention it, I am curious about the reason for your summons.” Ryder grinned not sure of the reason for his grandmother’s request.

“To be honest, I need you and Lydia to do me a huge favor.” The gleam in her eyes spelled all kinds of trouble, but they were helpless in the face of a request from Lady Konstantina.

“And what might that be?” He inquired apprehensively.

“How can we help?” Lydia asked.

“Follow me to my study and I will explain it all to you.” She instructed as the young people shadowed her every step walking hand in hand as they followed her down the hall.


(BACK TO BASICS)

After the visit with his grandma, Ryder and Lydia went back to their lives with brand new confidence. Because his grandma insured them all was well, Lydia traveled to work every day with her security team as did Ryder. Michael sent his team with Lydia and assigned Fionn to become Mrs. Thornton’s shadow.

Two weeks passed by without so much as a peep from anyone.

“Dr. Thornton, you have a call from Dr. Malik on line 2.” The receptionist informed her.

“Thanks, Natalia.”

“Hello, dear. How are you?” Lydia addressed her friend.

“You were supposed to visit me 3 months ago. Where have you been?” Ruha responded with frustration evident in her voice.

“I’m so sorry. There has been so much mess going on, I forgot to call.”

“I know I have easily called you a thousand times.”

“Ruha... I said I’m sorry.”

“Lydia... I hope you are sitting down?”

“Why? What’s wrong?”

“I thought you were going to call Hyun?”

“I was but everything happened so quickly. Someone tried to kidnap me and when my husband found out, he lost it.”

“I wish you had thought to call me just once.”

“Ruha no. Please tell me you didn’t?”

“Liddie. You promised you would call him and when I didn’t hear from you, I got worried.”

“Oh no. Please tell me you know where he is?”

Her question was met with nothing but silence. Lydia’s hand went up to her mouth. She wondered if he had made his way here and if maybe... No, she didn’t want to think about it.

“Where is he? Ruha... tell me.” She cried out to her friend.

“I don’t know. I haven’t heard from him in a few weeks.”

“Do you know what you did? What if he kills him? Why do you think I didn’t want to tell him?”

Lydia was no fool. She knew Hyun had a crush on her since they first met, but her mind wasn’t on any sort of relationship while she was in medical school. All she wanted to do was get her medical license and help people. Just before she graduated, she listened to her mother’s poking and prodding her to try and console Kemi after her sister’s death. She was completely naive about her mother’s motives.

Unaware of the woman’s schemes, it wasn’t until it was too late to back out of the situation that she came to realize that she and Kemi were being matched up. Under normal circumstances, she would never have pursued a man like him because she believed him to be far out of her league.

After her family explained to her that she and Kemi would be getting married, at first, she had no idea how to respond to the news because she knew he was supposed to marry her sister. When her mother insisted they would be married or else, she wasn’t strong enough to resist her mother’s demands in any way.

If only she had said no and walked away, her best friends wouldn’t have to worry about her or this sordid mess after all. But, she also would have never met Ryder and that was something she didn’t even want to consider.

As much hurt as she suffered, he showered her with enough love to heal all of her wounds for a lifetime. The thought of not having Ryder in her life... she didn’t even want to think about that.

“Liddie... Liddie... LYDIA!”

“What? I’m sorry. What happened?”

“There was another reason I’ve been trying to call you.”

“Okay?”

“Have you been feeling alright?”

“I’ve been under a lot of stress lately.”

“Do you have any unusual aches or pains?”

“Lately, I had some massive headaches, but I figured it was just the stress of everything that’s been going on.”

“Anything other symptoms?”

“From the frontal bone radiating down to the T1.”

“How long do your headaches last?”

“Ruha... what the heck is going on?”

“Sweetie, I don’t know how to tell you this. But, you have...”

“What? What do I have? Ruha. Just tell me.”

“Liddie you...”

Before the other doctor could finish her sentence, her office door shattered. It sounded like a bomb went off as pieces of wood showered the room. Lydia dropped the phone not aware that the screaming she heard was coming from her.

Several large figures rushed into her office surrounding her as she threw her hands up in the air.

“Get on the ground bitch. Get down now.”

She was frozen in her seat. Even though she was petrified by the sight of the people dressed in black ski masks wearing all black, she froze as a hand shot out and roughly grabbed her by the neck. The massive figure slammed her on the ground and threatened to shoot her if she moved.

Six or seven men surrounded her as a beeping sound went off.

“Fire in the hole. Clear.” They pulled her on the other side of the desk and then ducked down behind it before the sound of another bomb went off. When Lydia looked over at the wall, she saw the grass. In a matter of seconds, the men had lifted her up off the ground and she was walked out of her office through a hole that now created an exit through her office.

“Liddie... Liddie... Liddie...” She heard her friend’s voice disappear as they carried her away from the building.


(NOT SAFE)

“Lydia Kensington, wake up.” The voice sounded familiar. It finally happened. She knew it was a dream the whole time.

Just when everything was going well, it all started to fall apart. When Ruha called her about Hyun, that should have been her clue that it had all been a dream in the first place. Nothing in her life was ever easy. Just because God blessed her in small ways, the people around her often made sure she didn’t get a chance to enjoy it.

People often commented on how beautiful her eyes were. Her mother would tell her she was still ugly and not to be conceited. Sometimes they would compliment her on having the prettiest smooth complexion, and her mother would quickly state that it would be beautiful if she wasn’t so bark. And of course, if anyone said her hair was thick and long, she was always reminded of how nappy it was.

Honestly, Lydia hoped she would never hear that voice again. She once loved her mother despite all of the mean things she said about her.

“Wake up you stupid bitch.” Of course, it was her.

“What do you want?” She said groggily from only God knows what.

“You really thought those white folks could keep me from getting my hands on you.”

“What white folks are you talking about?” Lydia finally opened her eyes. She had no idea where she was. The room she was in didn’t look familiar at all.

“Stop acting stupid girl before you make me smack you,” Nelda yelled at her.

Lydia realized she hadn’t been dreaming. Her disgusting mother was behind all of this. Her psychopath of a mother actually had her kidnapped. The woman must have finally lost her mind.


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