Runaway Highway

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Chapter 15 - The Butler

George’s POV

When I woke up, my head left like it was going to explode. My eyes offered resistance when I tried to open them. The light of the hospital room was dim, which I was thankful for. I brought my hands to my head and noticed immediately that an IV line was connected to my hand. My head was also wrapped in gauze.

The memories came to me slowly as I rested. The last thing I remember was being struck on the head with a barrel of a gun. God, I was getting too old for this.

Mr Collins was a very, very private man, but I knew I had to keep an eye on his dealings for my own sake. Whenever I could, I looked through his documents and listened behind closed doors to try and get a sense of what was going on in that man’s life.

We were too deep into shit for him to dismiss me. I knew too much, and he knew I knew his dark side. Besides, I knew what he did to liabilities, and I wasn’t planning on becoming one.

Our relationship was interesting in that way. I was more than his butler. I was a witness to all his crimes, yet I would never tell anything. In some way that quality made me the best butler in the world: one who knows everything but says nothing, criticises nothing.

Yesterday I did as I always did. Some unsatisfied clients thought it would be a good idea to barge into Mr Collin’s home and seek revenge with their own hands. I made myself look innocent, as if I had no idea who those thugs were, but of course on the inside I was trembling. I knew they were out for blood: in this line of work, this was only the last resort when dealings went south.

That was when Mr Collins came in the room. It felt strange to be laying down in the presence of my boss. Come to think of it, I don’t think he had ever seen me even sitting down.

He looked stressed to say the least. He had never shown too much concern for me, but I know he cared. After all, he didn’t have many friends, and I was his most loyal one.

“George... I’m fuming. Those fuckers think they can terrorize me like this? Who do they think I am?!”

“Well Sir, pardon my bluntness, but it’s not like you wouldn’t do the same if the roles were reversed.”

Mr Collins knew I was right. He didn’t like being intimidated, but those were the rules of the game we willingly plays. He sighed in frustration, pacing back and forth.

“Have you spoken to Sam? Where is he?” I asked. I genuinely cared about the kid. The last thing I saw was him dashing away in his car, the criminals pointing their guns in his direction.

“I spoke to him, yes.” Master Collins said, growing even more exasperated. This was a high stress topic for him. “He thinks it was the Stark boys because of some petty fight they had, he claims they came to teach him a lesson... I immediately called Ambrose Senior and he gave me his word they weren’t involved.”

Mr Collins sat at the edge of the hospital bed and puffed. I knew what was going through his mind.

“It’s getting harder to hide it all, isn’t it?” I asked. My master didn’t respond, he didn’t need to.

Mr Collins was close with the other gang leaders, keeping their relationship secret from their families, especially the younger members. They let their kids believe the feuds they had were between them over petty races and insignificant theft, but in reality, that was all an orchestrated plan to keep them distracted and entertained.

Sam had no idea what his father actually did. Mr Collin’s business of car dealings was all smoke and mirrors. Something way sinister and darker was happening under his roof, and these small (yet illegal) activities he believed his father was involved in was just a mask to hide his true business.

The business of all the gangs.

“You won’t be happy about this, but I must tell you.” I said. Master Collin’s head turned to me suddenly. “Sam has been taking a girl to his house to fix his car. He didn’t introduce us, but I’ve heard the talk... She’s Johanna Myers, Sir. She was at the house at the time of the break-in and they fled together.”

I had never seen Mr Collins’ face so angry.

“I have been keeping an eye on them through the security cameras. All she does is fix his car. They do sometimes leave together, but I wouldn’t say their relationship is intimate.”

"Fuck!” Mr Collins uttered in frustration. “One more fucking problem... Do you think she knows? Do you think HE knows?”

“I can’t be sure, but from what I could pick up from their conversations, neither one of them has a clue.”

“That fucking bitch...” my master said, getting up from the bed. “She could ruin everything... Alright, I’ll deal with it. I’ll deal with everything. I just need to calm down. Tomorrow I’ll have a talk with Sam.”

“Master Collins, Sir, I genuinely believe Johanna knows nothing. Same for Sam. Don’t do anything you might regret. Your relationship with Sam isn’t, well, the greatest, and this could push him further away.”

“This is the difference between you and me, George. I don’t trust her. She has all the motive to use my dumb and horny son to finish what her father started.”

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