I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.
~ Susan Sontag
11 hours 10 minutes.
That is how long the road journey from New Rochelle, New York to Summerville, South Carolina is.
Which, I must say, also means that Roman and I have to bear Ryder and Chris in our car for that long. Exactly, what we have been doing right from the past half an hour, ever since we left New York after a hell lot of traffic. But, trust me here, sitting in the same car as your enemy is the easy part, whereas sitting in the same car with a flirty dork isn’t.
It’s the most difficult and irritating part of a road journey until, finally, after what seemed like years, my phone buzzed with a message from Rihanna, the signal to a halt. The most awaited moment in this whole half an hour journey.
We r going to stop after ten minutes. - Ri
Ten minutes more, I sighed, telling Roman about it too. Just ten more minutes, I reminded myself again and again as another growl passed through Roman’s lips, after Chris threw another pick up line at me.
“Now you know how irritating it was when you did it.” Ryder commented, reminding Roman of the day he had gone around, throwing pickup lines at me.
“Ignore him.” Chris scowled, turning to me. “So, angel. I believe, on a scale from 1 to 10, you’re a nine.” He continued dreamingly.
“Uh-huh?” Roman grunted.
“And.” Chris added, looking at both the boys first with a smirk and then turning to face me in the shotgun, beside Roman. “I am the 1 you need.” He said, flipping his hair back as I bursted into a laugh.
“Seriously?!” Ryder snorted, throwing his head back with a grunt while Roman gripped the wheel harder.
“Ten minutes, please.” Roman sighed. “Just shut up for ten minutes.” He said, forcing a smile at Chris.
“Chris.” I purred ignoring the fact that my boyfriend sat next to me, as I slowly traced his jaw seductively.
“Yea?” He gulped, shock filling his eyes, as well as Roman’s and Ryder’s, who both turned to look at us with shock.
“Frankly speaking, my dear.” I muttered, sweetly, coming a little closer to his ears as I felt all the three bodies around me stiffen. “I don’t give a damn.” I added after a few seconds, yelling into his ears.
“WHAT THE HELL?!” Chris snapped out of his trance, moving away from me while rubbing his ears.
“That’s my girl.” Roman laughed, as I gave him a high five while throwing a wink towards Chris who rolled his eyes at me.
“Go ahead, roll your eyes. I hope you find a brain back there.” I told him, as Ryder let out a snort, shaking his head.
“You guys are unbelievable.” He chuckled, but for some reason there was an unknown bitterness in his voice. I don’t know if the others caught it, but for a second, I did. I saw his eyes stop at mine, with bitterness dripping in them.
I saw his facade drop down for a second.
“BITCH!” Rihanna spat, coming out of the washroom stall with her phone.
“What now?” I asked her.
“Stacy told everyone, I mean everyone from our batch, about my pregnancy.” She snapped, with her head in her hands. “Oh god, Scarlet. What am I going to do?!” SHIT.
We are literally seven hours away from Summerville and the teenage drama has already begun. Stacy, that little shithead of a minion of Rihanna back then, hated her with a passion. Everyone knew that, except Rihanna, who got all her work done from her. Stacy and Drew stuck to her, worshipped her, did all her dirty work and then, finally by the end of the day, back bitched about her in front of everyone. No one, I mean, not even a single soul had the guts to go against three of them. They listened from one ear and took it out from another. Those three girls were my personal hell. Just three of them alone, without Adrian, had the capacity to take me down on my strongest days and hurt me the most. How time flies, yes, three years from that time, I stand in front of their head, consoling her, but now she isn’t the drop dead bitch but my best friend for whom I will do anything, in order to protect her.
“Rihanna. Stress isn’t good for you, okay? You’re entering your third month.” I reminded her, making her sit on the couch in the powder room of this fancy restaurant we had stopped at for breakfast.
Rihanna needed a good washroom break, okay?
“About Stacy and Drew.” I added, brushing her hair lightly as we both looked at each other in the mirror, her eyes vulnerable, whereas mine, staring into hers with determination. “They cannot break you, or me. Trust me, seeing you all messed up will be a treat for them tonight.”
“You’re right.” Rihanna nodded shaking her head. “I.. I need to tell you something.” She added as I continued to brush her hair. I looked up at her, to see her cheeks pink. No, that’s not pink. That’s red. Bright, tomato red.
“Uh-huh? What’s the blush for?” I asked her with a smirk as she blushed more.
“Your cousin brother, I mean.. Adrian.. T-the father-”
“Of your child, yeah. Go on.” I nudged her, grinning at her now as she smiled shyly.
Please tell me the talk last night did some good to that knucklehead.
“He...” She continued. “He came to my room last night while I was in the washroom. And..”
“And?!” I yelled, sitting beside me, the brush long forgotten. “Come on, get to the point, you.” I nudged her shoulder again.
“He came to me, and I was like, shocked. Totally shocked.” She began, animatedly and trust me, she’s a love sick puppy because her eyes are literally screaming happiness. “He hugged me and then placed a kiss on my forehead!” She squealed.
“OH MY GOD. THEN?!” I screamed, even though I am not one of the those *Gossip Girls* types but hey, I am a girl, okay?
“He whispered a sorry and then we slept!” She chuckled.
“That’s it?” I pouted and she slowly nodded.
“But, he was really serious last night. I was afraid of him for a second but he slept like a baby the whole night. He didn’t move or anything. The best part, he kept mumbling sorry in his sleep as he held me to him. Girl, it was so so so cute.” She babbled.
“See, now you have him too.” I told her with a smile. “When we go there, tonight. I want you to show them the girl whose proud to have a baby with the man she loves and knows. I’ll be there for you all the time, and I know Ryder will be there too, Ri. Show them what they don’t expect from you. Don’t be embarrassed of this child, embrace this whole pregnancy thing and let them be jealous of the woman you have become.” I told her, giving her a hug.
“Same for you, Scarlet. I am going to do wonders on us tonight. And trust me, we’ll crash the party. They won’t expect four of us the way we’ll show up.” She said, referring to her, me, Adrian and Ryder. “And yeah, I will be there for you too, but I have a feeling you’ll do just fine on your own as well.” She added, getting up as we gathered our belongings and went out.
Summerville, South Carolina. Population 44,000 approximate.
Summerville is a town in the United State of South Carolina with the motto, The Pine is Sacred. Situated next to the beach side, along with a clear strip of pines, it is a beach paradise, as well as the town of pine lovers. Also, it is the town from where all four of us have escaped in our own ways. First, I went away. Oops, ran away. Then, all three of them, Rihanna, Ryder and Adrian worked their ass off to get admission in NYU, in order to get out of the town. We all succeeded. But as our car crossed the welcome board, I could almost sense Ryder, who sat behind me, holding his breath. I could see Adrian and Rihanna holding hands as I sat in the shotgun, their car, and right beside us.
“You good?” Roman asked me, holding my hand in his.
“Yea.” I nodded, because surprisingly, I had expected this. I wanted, no, I needed to come back here because of what Roman had told me. Running away isn’t the solution all the time. Sometimes, you need to turn back and face what awaits you and fight it so that you can stop running.
I will go to the reunion; I will face my whole batch that tormented me for years along with the three people I will show up with tonight. No one will recognize me, no, not after Rihanna does my make-up. But I will wear my name tag because I want them to recognize me and talk to me. I want Stacy and Drew to see Rihanna and I, and bitch about us. Because I want to stand up for myself, something I never did back then. A small smirk left me, as we came near to my old house. I remembered the street and the directions to it, by heart now. I knew how far we were. I was prepared to see the white colored beach house on the outskirts of the town, again. But this time, it won’t be a bad memory, it would be my motivation.
“We are here.” Ryder announced, getting out of the car in a haste.
“You guys go ahead. Roman and I have somewhere to be.” I told Chris with a smile, getting out.
“What?” Rihanna pouted.
“Yea, we haven’t even gone inside the house.” Ryder added, a little hurt, a little suspicious.
“We’ll be back in half an hour, guys.” I told them, hugging Chris. “Take my bag and take care of it.” I whispered in his ears and caught him nodding at Stephen who already had my special bag in his hands.
The house had five rooms, which means some of us would be stationed together. We decided, after a lot of grunts and disapprovals that Rihanna and I would take my old room. Whereas Adrian will sleep in my aunt’s. Chris and Stephen were being stationed in the first guest room, with Roman beside them and Ryder got Adrian’s old room.
“We’ll be back soon.” Roman called out as I sat in the car again, after they took our bags out.
“As we turn on the street, drive faster.” I whispered as Roman began to drive away slowly but the moment we turned, he picked up speed following my directions as I blabbered them. We had less than half hour to reach where we had to. Fifteen minutes to be exact.
Ten minutes of crazy driving and breaking a few rules in the sleeping, calm, old town of Summerville, we finally were on the highway on the other end of the town, waiting for the dirt road.
“No one’s following us.” I told Roman, looking back and checking with the device Chris had given us in the morning.
“Good, because the turn is here.” As soon as he said that, the SUV turned to the dirt road as we sped, our bodies rocking from side to side because of the speed and rocks on the road.
“There.” I pointed as he turned into the clearing where a man and a woman in a black coat stood waiting for us. As they saw our car nearing them, the woman pressed a button on a device and a big, underground, steel door opened in the ground, where she signaled us to take our car. We expected this. As we slowly entered it, the ramp led us to a huge Basement where three cars were already stationed and the gigantic door above us closed. This was the main safe house of FBI in South Carolina.
“They better have some information.” Roman spat, showing his disapproval of meeting with the cops but then Mason wanted us to do this as it was the most vital part of the plan.
“They will. Get to the point and talk business.” I told him, getting out of the car, only to be greeted by the woman.
“Please follow us this way.” She said, with a formal smile which I returned.
“I am Meredith John. And this is my partner, Damien Grayson.” The woman, continued. She looked like she was about five or six years elder to us and her partner was a man in his late twenties. She opened a room, an interrogation room on the other end of the Basement which we entered.
“Weapons here, please.” Her partner, Damien instructed us.
Roman, reluctantly took out his guns from his back pocket and ankle as I lifted my denim skirt and placed the small revolver and the other one in my high ankle boots and kept it on the table while they did the same thing.
“Firstly, take a seat.” Meredith said.
“Thank you.” I nodded as Roman and I sat in front of her and her partner who placed a file in his hands.
“Secondly, we appreciate what your.. Company is doing in order to help us take down Jason and his whole gang.” We nodded at her, Roman silently impatient.
“You can call us a gang as well, you know?” He muttered under his breath.
“As part of the deal, we have taken out every information we have on Jason.” Damien added, ignoring Roman’s remarks.
“Jason Carter’s record is probably more difficult to get than the President’s himself but we got help-”
“Can we skip to the information?” I asked before Roman could.
“Sure.” She nodded. “There is only one picture of Jason in the whole world where his facial features are visible and not hidden or deformed as he is usually seen with a hat and a pair of shades, covering half of his face. This photograph was taken when we asked a group of kids to knock on his door last Christmas when he was staying at a hotel in Hawaii. One of the kids had a camera in his collar which captured Jason, who didn’t really expect them.” She pulled out a picture and showed it to us.
It was a little hazy and showed an old man with a rugged beard and a tired face. He didn’t look like the century’s deadliest gang leader and murderer but this was Jason. I didn’t recognize this man at all. For a minute I tried to remember Ryder’s father’s face but this man looked nothing like him so I scratched that possibility out almost immediately.
“Anything else?” I asked, still staring into the man’s eyes and planning how I would murder him after torturing him for hours.
“We got the address to his own house in Miami but he isn’t the only one staying there.” Damsel told us.
“What do you mean?” Roman asked.
“His most trusted men, about four of them stay there in that mansion with him.” Meredith said as we nodded.
“What about his family?” I asked, wanting to know if the man who destroyed so many families had his own.
“It is said that Jason got married about twenty years ago and the very next year they had two children but no one, I mean, not a single person has seen his wife or kids. That information just died as a rumor with no lead, whatsoever.” She informed us as I nodded. If he really didn’t have a family, it won’t be painful to kill this monster.
“Thank you. We’ll be leaving now.” Roman told them, getting up.
“I need one last help from the FBI, Meredith.” I told her as she nodded, asking me to continue. “I need you to find me information on a Ryder Hunt and his father JC Hunt.” She scribbled in her pad. “We suspect that they are related to Jason somehow.”
“We’ll find whatever we can.” Damien assured us, shaking our hands.
“You kids are doing a very dangerous job, I must say.” Damien commented as we walked out with the details.
“Anything for revenge.” I told them with a smile as we sped out of the Basement. I clutched the photograph in my hand as we began to drive our way home, the sun setting beside us. We remained silent, taking peeks at the picture of the man in my hand who would soon be killed by us or because of him, we would be killed in cold blood.
Either way, I was going ahead with this, to kill this man.
The man who killed my family.