My Baby Could Be Hurt
An hour later, Leon and Maria had already boarded his private jet. Maria was fascinated with with the decor of the lavish interior that spoke of the affluence that went into furnishing such a beautiful transport. Polished mahogany furniture complimented by a soft creme color that was used for the walls. Light softly lit the inside, reflecting the refreshing atmosphere.
Seeing the way Maria was captivated by the jet, Leon couldn’t help but smile – satisfied that she liked what she saw. They sat by the window, on a sofa at opposite ends, both wanting to see the nights sky – Maria’s eyes strained on the outside, while Leon sat watching her with admiration.
“Would you like something to drink?” He broke the silence with a tone as rich as himself.
Maria turned to look at him, smiling faintly, while replying, “No thank you, I’m fine,” she reassured once again looking on the outside.
It wasn’t that she was completely captivated by the darkness she was staring into, but she got the chance to think about some things and the darkness of the scenery was proving to be a good head clearer.
Leon found the silence awkward; he wanted to talk with her about what laid ahead or even anything for that matter, but he was not at all enjoying the unnerving silence. He however, understood that Maria might have needed the time to compose herself and free her mind of the trials the days had presented.
“What will we do once we get there?” she asked finally, still looking on the outside.
Leon swallowed. “I was planning on visiting my parents before heading up to the cabin,” he informed softly.
Maria looked at him. “Your parents?” she asked, wanting clarification to the words that seemed unreal.
“Yes,” he replied. “Is everything OK?”
She had read somewhere in the papers about a year ago that the Oakley’s were getting a divorce. Apparently, Sean Oakley was having an affair with a younger woman and was caught in the act. Maria had thought it to be pitiful; she had met them once while she was with Leon, and at the time Maria had thought they were the perfect couple and had hoped she and Leon’s relationship would be just as beautiful. But it seemed beauty was quite illusive.
“Maria.” Leon’s concerned tone came, pulling Maria from her thoughts.
Her head snapped up to meet his gaze. “Yeah?” She asked with questioning brows, after which rubbing her forehead. “Oh sorry, I was just lost in thought.”
“You OK?” he asked, his eyes searching her face.
She briskly nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine,” she said, a thought suddenly occurring to her. “Damn! I need to call my boss,” she said when she remembered her actual job and the fact that she had left everything behind without thinking everything through.
As soon as she was about to get up, Leon’s voice put her to a halt.
“It’s already taken care of.”
Maria quickly snapped her head in his direction, her eyes wide with disbelief. “What?”
“I called your boss while I was at the hotel, letting him know that you would be unavailable for some time. After hearing whom I was, he obliged; he even wished you all the best,” he smiled proudly.
Maria sat, gawking at him, trying to put his words into perspective.
“You had no right!” she shrieked, unable to belief the audacity of the man.
Leon sighed lightly. “I did what I thought was best, what’s the big deal?”
“Oh and you always know what’s best, don’t you?” She asked rhetorically. “This is my life and I don’t want you interfering in matters that does not concern you,” she quipped in an almost bitter tone.
Leon remained silent as he studied her through narrowed gaze. She sighed heavily, swiped her hand across her forehead and continued to look through the window, clearly frustrated. Did she not see that he was doing what was best for her? Leon heaved a lengthy sigh at her ignorance and they were once again left in companionable silence.
He reached for his laptop that was on the small table before him and went to the email his PI had sent him, wanting to review the information a little more. He read thoroughly and efficiently, making sure to retain the sufficient information so he wouldn’t have to refer to his mail again. He paused after reviewing Samuel’s familial background, looking over his laptop to address Maria.
“Did Sam ever mention his parents while you were together?” He asked, holding her gaze and noticing the way her brows suddenly knitted.
“He uh– he told me his mother died when he was five and his father had cancer– that’s why he was looking forward to the deal so he would pay for his medical expenses, but I have never met his dad before,” she shrugged and cleared his throat. “He said he didn’t want me to see him like that; I didn’t protest.” She informed, swallowing when she saw Leon’s expression.
He scratched his head and raked a hand through his hair. “Samuel’s parents are Gertrude and Simon Carter, both alive and well and living in Miami, Florida.”
Leon expected a gasp or a sob to break out from Maria, but neither came. She merely scoffed, shaking her head. What in hell could manage to surprise her now? She was always going to feel betrayed, but as for being hurt – that was slowly being replaced by common sense and a feeling of independence she felt to do things solo.
“Is there anything else I need to know?” she firmly asked him.
“No, my PI said he’d let me know if he found anything else,” he trailed off, grinding his teeth,saddened by Maria’s sadness and the coldness that had seemingly blanketed her gaze. “Maria, I’m sorry.”
She choked a mirthless laugh. “For what really? My fuçked up life?” shaking her head, she eased back in the chair, hugged her shoulders and went back to staring out the window.
Julia Chandler repeatedly knocked on Hannah’s door, hugging her shoulders in an attempt to bar off the chill night’s air. She didn’t like being out this late, but circumstances beyond her control left her with no choice.
The door opened and Julia suddenly gasped, seeing Hannah all bruised-face.
“M– Mrs Chandler what are you doing here?” she stuttered, not at all expecting a visitor, least of all, Maria’s mother. She didn’t want to see her after what she had done.
“Dear child, what happened to your face?” She worriedly asked, moving closer to inspect her daughter’s best friend.
Hannah shifted her face from the woman’s prying eyes. “I uh– I fell,” she lied, managing a tight smile.
Unconvinced, Julia scoffed. “On what, a fist?”
Hannah swallowed. “It’s late, what can I do for you?” She asked.
Julia sighed, seeing that she wasn’t going to tell her what happened, but realizing Hannah was currently not her concern, she let it drop.
“Marianne has left the house, there is no sign of her and I think she has my phone. I can’t find Maria either and –” Julia explained before breaking off, unable to compose herself when a sob left her lips.
Hannah swallowed hard, nervously clutching the hem of her night gown. “Maybe they both went ou–”
“No,” she shook her head. “I fear something is wrong, my baby could be in trouble – Marianne might…” she tried to blink back the tears, but they rebelliously fell. “She might hurt her– Maria is not even at her apartment. I checked and everywhere was disheveled – Hannah, there was even blood,” she cried.
Hannah ground her teeth in an attempt to compose herself, not knowing what she could do now that she was defenseless.
“I tried calling Sam on a pay phone but can’t reach him either, he might know where Maria is… He’s not picking up his phone and my baby could be out there, lying somewhere hurt,” she sniffed, her lips trembling, wanting her sorrow to prevent her from saying anything, but she managed nonetheless. “I always thought that they had learned to get along while Marianne was away– when she came back, she told me that they patched things up, and I believed because she was always such a good liar,” Julia leaned against the wall for support.
“I think Maria is fine,” she blurted, unable to see Julia like that.
The woman’s eyes brightened, her eyes searching Hannah’s face for an answer.
“Where is she?” Julia eagerly asked.
Hannah bit her jaw. “I think she’s with Leon at the hotel and I think that Sam and Marianne are after her–”
“Leon? What are you saying? They broke things off ages ago and–”
“He came back and Sam found out she was with him and…” Hannah trailed off and raked her hand through her hair in utter frustration.
“You’re gonna have to sit for what I’m about to tell you.”