He, who is not courageous enough to take risks,
Will accomplish nothing in life.
“S-Scar. Baby, is that... Really you?” A voice called me.
I looked back, seeing nothing but a well-furnished foyer, with a lot of expensive antique. I furrowed my eyebrows, confused at the location of the voice.
“Scarlet...” I heard the familiar sound of the woman again and this time it came from upstairs.
I looked up to see a beautiful woman descending from the stairs. She must have been in her mid-forties, the exact age my mother would have been if she was alive. If only. This woman had jet black hair, cascading on her slender waist, unlike my mother’s brown ones. She was almost as tall as me, her heels making her a few inches taller than me, for now.
Her eyes were a storming grey, her lips curved in a brilliant smile. I noticed once she was near me that her eyes were watering more and more with every step.
“Mrs. Jonathan?” I asked, uncertain about her being the one.
“Oh Baby.” She cooed, wrapping her arms around me. Her familiar lavender scent hit my nose almost immediately and my eyes started to water for some unknown reason. She seemed so familiar. She felt so familiar.
So did your aunt...
I moved away from Mrs. Jonathan, my arms pulling her away gently. “Is everything alright?” She asked with concern.
“Why should I trust you?” I was amazed at the icy voice which came out. I was giving this woman a cold shoulder by blocking my emotions without even realizing so. What’s happening to me? “If you think putting up my surname on the board outside will prove that you’re my godmother, then no, it won’t. Give me a reason to trust you.” She looked at me with a confused and hurt expression.
“You don’t remember me? And please, call me Cara. You always did.” She pressed my arm, before letting it go.
“I like her already.” I heard a deep voice coming from behind Cara so I shifted to see who it was.
A man in his late forties was climbing down the staircase, eyeing us with his hawk eyes. His built proved that he must have been a wrestler or something in his early years. He had grey hair, with shining violet eyes, which were now boring into mine.
“You’re so much like your mother.” He mused. “Call me Marcus. I am Cara’s husband and your godfather.”
“Nice to meet you.” I shrugged. “But I need answers.” I hadn’t even entered the house yet, but I knew what I needed. And until and unless they won’t give them to me, I wasn’t going to leave.
“Why don’t we ask each other questions? I need some answers as well.” He shrugged back.
“Fine.” I nodded. Only if he answers to my question first.
“Freshen up. We’ll meet here after half an hour, okay?” He said with a smile. A part of me demanded answers right now but no, I had to be a little more patient.
“I’ll take you to your new room.” Cara said, holding me by my waist. “I have a few fresh clothes which are my daughter’s, laid out for you. Feel free to take a bath.”
“Why are you being so nice now?” I asked her, with an irritated voice as we walked to the staircase.
“Because I couldn’t have you when your parents died. I was meant to keep you, but I couldn’t. You were everything to me, Scar. Everything. You were just like my own daughter but I knew I couldn’t have you after your parents died. I am happy that you’re here now, but I am not as well. You aren’t meant to be here. Your father would have never wanted this.” She said with only regret dripping from her voice.
Does she really mean that?
I looked up into her grey eyes which were looking at with.. Love. This woman here claims to be my godmother and her eyes gold nothing but love for me. Can I trust her? Should I trust her?
What if it’s another mistake?
I stopped the internal debate within my mind and turned to her. “I cannot trust you until and unless I have answers.” I told her.
“I understand.” She nodded. “You deserve answers which Amanda never told you. She was... Unfortunately waiting for this day to come.” She said, opening the door to the room. The room was based in white, with blue curtains the only color around. For a minute, I was shocked that unlike my aunt, Cara knew that I liked my room white with a little color. If I know her, then why don’t I remember her from the last years with my parents? I would have remembered seeing her when I was five or six, those memories were still fresh.
“What if I never ran away?” I whispered into the room, Cara behind me.
“You won’t have ever known about us. Your life would be simple as you passes through college and then got a job. This.. Us.. Would have never happened.” She said with a smile that held happiness and sadness at the same time.
“I…I’ll take a bath.” I told her, turning away from her.
“Take your time, please. My husband won’t be free for half an hour now, I know.”
“Oh… Okay.” I nodded as she closed the door behind me.
Pair of jeans and a plain white top was sitting beside the closet on a table, and I picked them up. Soon, a woman came in with my bag and I took out the essentials and toiletries before entering the huge bathroom. The shower was the only thing that made me smile. I stood below it, after having locked the doors properly, thinking about the possibilities. I knew I couldn’t go back now. It was too late for that, plus, these people could not be trusted until I was shown some proof. I don’t care about what Amanda said. I need to see and trust them for myself. Yes, my father’s surname on their board made me wonder if they have a connection, which I know they do. But I don’t remember them from my childhood. I don’t remember being anywhere except New York in the last years with my parents.
What is the story behind all of this?
I stepped out of the shower, the towel replaced by my undergarments. I picked up the jeans and wore them swiftly. Surprisingly, they fit me perfectly which they usually don’t. They were a little short, so was the white top but not embarrassingly short.
I combed my hair, taking out the main tangles in between and then heard the door open, thinking it was Cara and came out, smiling a little.
There stood a little girl with pigtails and a similar white top. She smiled my way, flipping her blonde pigtails back. I realized the clothes were hers, so I smiled back at her. She was Cara’s daughter.
“Hi, I am Maddie. You’re Scar, aren’t you?”
“My parents want to meet you in the library, Scar.”
“Sure. Where’s the library?”
“That’s what I am gonna telling you, Silly. Follow me!” She chirped, coming and grabbing my arm. I groaned as she had held a scar which was caused from the beer bottle which Adrian had broken on my arm. “Oh my god. I am so sorry.” She cried out, seeing my scars. I realised the top was sleeveless so she could see every scar from the side view.
“It’s okay.. It doesn’t hurt.”
“You better talk to the doctor about this, girl. It’s.. Freaky.” She laughed and I joined her. Even though she’s two years younger to me, supposedly, I knew we would be really good friends.
She took me out, making me walk through different corridors. What I noticed was that there were many men in the corridor looking like Steven. Big, badass, bodyguard types but they didn’t seem to affect Maddie at all.
“Here.” She pointed at the door.
“Thank you.” I smiled at her. “Won’t you come too?” I asked her.
“Oh.. No. My brothers will.” She shrugged.
“Yea. I have an elder brother whose twenty and another one whose sixteen.” She said and then turned and left.
“Oh…” Was all I could say. The knob to the door wrapped around my hand, as I pushed it open.
I had no time to look around because I was tackled to the ground by two huge boys. They came running to me, one was blonde like Maddie and the other one had light brown hair and looked my age.
They wrapped their arms around me, as I heard Cara chuckle from behind.
“Scar. Oh my god.” The elder one laughed into my ears.
“I… Uh.” He moved away from me, giving me a second to breath before the other one hugged me back. His arms pressed around my waist so hard that I was bound to shout out in pain. I had bruises and scars all over my waist and arms, which he had managed to press.
“Oh god. Are you okay?” He asked, fear filling his eyes.
“No… My arms.” I muttered and his eyes became wide with concern.
“Mom! Dad! We need to show her to a doctor!” The younger one cried out.
“I am okay. I need answers not medicines.” I scowled.
“Of course.” Somehow I feel Marcus is the only one whose really understanding me here. “Come here, Scarlet.” He called me out. I ignored the two boys and walked past them towards the plush leather sofas, taking a seat in front of Marcus and Cara.
“Let’s begin then.” I said, smiling at him.
“Sure. Why don’t you ask the first question?” I looked at him thoughtfully. Asking advanced questions would mean jumping to conclusions and he may or may not answer them.
“Tell me my parent’s name.” Cara and Marcus both smiled at me. Cara got up as Marcus answered to my question.
“You parents were” He gulped, as if regretting saying it in the past tense. “my best friends and your father was my business partner. Our families have been partners for ages now. His name was Richard Christian Winters and your mother’s name was Amelia John Winters, born Amelia John Taylor.” I nodded my head at him, signaling I knew they were right by the time Cara came back.
She placed an album on the coffee table in front of me. A group of people stood in it, smiling at the camera. I recognized a younger version of Cara and Marcus, holding a little girl of one or two. Beside them, my parents stood, smiling at each other. Below them, a four year old I was sitting with my tongue out as two other boys laughed at me. I must have picture, obviously not But I had a faint memory of it, which confirmed that I knew these people. I recognized the boys as the ones who had hugged me before and then turned to the library. The younger one, who must have been my age, was long gone. The elder one stood smiling at me, eyeing me with his hawk eyes which he got from his father. I gave him a faint smile before Marcus’s question caught my attention. The door opened as he placed his question to me, the younger brother entering inside and standing next to the other one. “How did you get those scars?” He asked.
“My cousin has been hitting me ever since I was seven.” I confessed with a little hesitation.
“Your question.” I figured out that they already knew about the abuse from Amanda because none of them were shocked except the young boy who growled a little as I answered.
“What business do you and my father do? I mean... Did.”
“Before I answer that question. I need you to know something, Scarlet.”
“Are you sure about staying here? Because once you know about this, we can’t let you leave us until and unless you have learnt the business well enough.”
“But I don’t want to get into any business.”
“That’s your choice whether you want to get into it or not. We are only going to train you to be like us, not make you into one of us and work with us later. My younger son, Roman, doesn’t want to join in too. But we are teaching him as well. For his own protection.”
“What is it that you do?” I asked, because this wasn’t sounding good at all. Am I scared? No. I know they won’t hurt me. They never would. Would I escape? No. I will not, I cannot escape after this.
My money has been transferred into an overseas account so that no one can access it by Amanda. As soon as I escape, my passport will not work anymore and the old one is long gone and fake in the eyes of the cops.
“I know you won’t trust us. So we have a video which your parents recorded a few years after you were born.” Cara replied as I felt the younger boy, Roman cross the hall and switch on the black television in the end. I got up as everyone else did and walked to the other end.
“I am Mason.” The older one said, as he came beside me. “I don’t know if you remember me, but, you were like my sister when you were younger.”
“I.. Don’t remember you. I am sorry.” I said with a small smile.
“Long time. I was eight when I last saw you, you were four-”
“Dear Scarlet.” I turned around to see my mother and father on the screen. My heart skipped a beat as I noticed my mother’s smile and remembered it as if she has always been there, smiling at me. “I hope you never see this video. But, if you do, then I am so sorry, baby. We never meant it to end this way for us.” Her voice broke in the end as my father’s arms wrapped around her shoulder, shaking a little as he continued in her place after giving her a short nod.
“If you receive this video then you’re with your godparents and not even 18, yet.” My Father continued as I listened to him patiently. “You can trust them and Amanda more than anyone else, Scar. They are the only ones who can protect you, trust me. I will be long dead by the time you see this video, but I want you to know that what I and Marcus are involved in is something very dangerous for you, Roman and Mason. You must listen to them patiently, at least for your own safety.” He explained.
“I know you’re wondering what we did which caused our murder.” My mother continued for my father. “You may not like this, Scar, but we were bound by generations. We are what you can call, a gang. But a little more elite organization and unlike others, we have been around for years and years.” My head whipped to Marcus who nodded, confirming the information.
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!
“I know it’s a lot to digest but we are one of the most important ones on the West coast. We have dangerous enemies as well, a lot of them in fact because of our long history.” My Father said.
“This.. Is not possible.” I mumbled but then I remembered Steven and the other men. They weren’t bodyguards. They were ruthless gangsters who had killed people as if it was their job.
“Scarlet. You must understand that it is upto you whether you want to carry this on or not. Ever since your grandfather, we have been helping the police as well by getting hold of important and dangerous terrorists before they enter our land and handing them over. But we don’t want you and Roman to get involved in this.”
“Take care, baby. We love you a lot.” They said before the video went out.
“I don’t get it.” I whispered.
“What are your questions now?”
“Why don’t I remember you when my parents died? And.. What were they doing in New York.. Because dad said you’re based on the West Coast ?” My mind raced with hundreds of questions as a part of it tried to make peace with the fact that my parents were very dangerous criminals.
“Your father took up a deal with the FBI. All he had to do was pass our information to them. But someone from another gang got to know about this and they killed your parents.” Marcus said in a breath, avoiding eye contact and not wanting to go in detail.
“I.. Uh..” I didn’t know what to speak anymore. I felt.. Nothing. I felt no tears, no happiness, no shock. Nothing.
“I know it’s a lot to take in-”
“Why did my parents say that Roman and I didn’t have to be a part of this?” I asked, cutting Cara in between.
“Because Maddie wasn’t born when this video was made so they had no idea whether she would want to or not want to. But you and Roman didn’t want this, we knew.”
“My parents were right. I don’t want to be a part of a gang, for god sake.” I spat.
“And we are not forcing you. They never forced me, Scar.” Roman said, coming beside me.
“But you could train if you want to.”
“I am not killing anyone, Mason.” I replied.
“No.. We didn’t mean about actually killing. We’ll make you practise on dummies and stuff.”
“Why?” I asked irritated. Why do this at all.
“Two reasons.” Marcus replied. “One, you’re emotionally and physically unstable as we speak and learning how to become stronger will only help you. Two, your parents wanted you to know how to fight if worst came to worst and you were attacked as well.” Oh shoot, he did have a solid point here.
What will you do now?
I should train for my own safety..
BUT what of this changes you! What if they recruit you as well?
They won’t. My parents and my godparents don’t want this. Roman is out of it too.
Imagine, Scar. What if-