Thank You For The Info
After relaying everything to Julia – everything – Hannah eased back in the sofa, waiting to get a reply from the woman who had a stricken expression on her face. Her shock was expected; heck, it was a lot to take in, but as Hannah sat with her heart hammering in her chest, she feared her confession would result in failure to a once beautiful relationship between her and Julia.
She swallowed when the woman finally looked up and met her gaze, which was as cold as ice. Her features seemed stoic, a bit pale and her already thin lips were drawn into a thinner line. Julia’s assessment of Hannah was bitter, and that was how she felt looking at the person who had betrayed her daughter – her. But she knew this was not the time to go off on a tantrum and harshly interrogate Hannah– interrogating her by asking the how’s and why’s. Currently, her only intention was set on finding her daughter. She would deal with Hannah later.
She clenched her teeth and swallowed the lump in her throat, developing within herself the courage to say something decent to the woman before her. She was not thinking decent thoughts but she forced herself to do so.
“We– we’ve got to find her before they do,” she exclaimed sounding a bit harsher than intended.
Hannah was speechless for a moment, not believing that those were the words that actually came out of the woman’s mouth. “I uh– I– how?” she stuttered.
Julia heaved a sigh. “Give me your phone, I’m going to try calling Maria again,” she said with outstretched hands.
“S– she won’t pick up my calls. She hates me.”
Julia couldn’t protest on that. “Even I know how to block a number,” she said while shaking her head at Hannah’s ignorance.
“Oh,” Hannah flatly replied before handing her phone to the waiting hands of Julia Chandler.
“You better pray my baby’s OK,” she stated sternly, while dialing Maria’s number. Hannah swallowed hard, starting to nibble on a nail in eagerness.
It rang twice without anyone answering. “Come on baby, pick up” Julia whispered softly, nervously shaking her knees.
Maria jumped, startled when the ringing of her cellphone sliced through the silence in the jet. She glanced at Leon who was already up and eager to know whom it was, and then immediately began to rummage through her bag, in search of the phone that she seemingly forgot about.
With shaking hands that feared it would be from Sam or Marianne, Maria glanced at the screen to see that it was private. She immediately looked up at Leon who gave her a suggestion.
“Do you want me to answer it?” he asked, hands already outstretched to do so.
She swallowed, shaking her head before she briskly swiped the screen and placed it to her ear.
“Maria honey, it’s mom. Where are you?” The voice came and Maria suddenly realized she had been holding her breath until she heard those words.
“Mom, I uh–” she glanced at Leon, unsure of what to say. Her mother didn’t know about her newly formed relationship with Leon, she reflected. In fact, she didn’t know about any of it.
“Are you with Leon?” she asked in Maria’s silence, causing Maria to suck in a startled breath in disbelief. “Hannah told me everything,” she added.
Maria gasped in shock, snapping her head towards Leon who stood there in eager anticipation to know what was going on. He couldn’t properly hear what was going on, on the other end, but he was able to tell it was her mother.
“Hannah is a traitor!” Maria snapped when she was reminded of her friend and what she did. “Don’t you trust a word she says.”
“So you aren’t with Leon then?” Julia prodded.
Frustrated, Maria answered. “Yes, but that’s not the poi–”
“Are you safe?” Julia cut in.
Maria sighed. “Yes mom, I’m fine.”
“Where are you? God, I’m here worried sick thinking Sam and your sister are after you. I still can’t believe they would do that to you. Hurt you li– like that…” She trailed off as a sob broke way from within her.
“Mom,” Maria released almost breathlessly. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine. Just don’t trust anyone there –”
“I’m a mother, I’m supposed to worry about my child, especially when she’s in danger.”
“I’m not in any danger now, mom.”
“Where are you?” Julia insisted.
Maria sighed, glanced at Leon and bit her lips before answering. “I’m headed to California with Leon,” she provided.
“California?!” Julia gasped.
“Yes. Look, I’ll call you once I’m settled. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you any of this before leaving but it’s probably for the best. I love you.”
A sniff came. “OK honey, stay safe. I love you,” Julia announced brokenly before slowly disconnecting the call.
Maria sighed, leaning against the seat and trying her very best not to cry.
“Bravo Julia, bravo!” a low and raspy voice came with slow, taunting claps.
Hannah’s gasp could be heard from behind. Julia’s head snapped around swiftly to find Samuel with a devious smile on his face, while Marianne lingered behind with a stone cold face.
“You bastard!” Julia sneered, her lips trembling with a load of hurt, coupled with a ton of anger.
“Nice to see you too, although I must say, crying doesn’t suit you too well,” he teased as he slowly approached them.
Hannah’s back was already against the wall with fear for the man and his wicked intentions.
Samuel chuckled at her obvious fright. “You know, I was fuçking furious when I went to the hotel and heard that Oakley had checked out, but I was never a fan of failure so dear old Marianne and I decided to come and see if her good for nothing ass could get through to Maria,” he said in reference to Hannah – who was in a corner, crying.
“But it seem like we didn’t need Hannah after all…” He trailed off and spared her a glance. “You really should keep your door locked sweetheart,” he winked, returning his gaze to Julia. “You told us where our Maria is without me having to ask,” he cackled, finding his own words so funny that tears came to his eyes.
His mirth ended almost abruptly, his face turning to stone again. “Seems like your little bitch is in California with lover boy; thanks for the info,” he snarled lowly.
Julia’s lips tightened as she quickly rose a hand and strike him forcefully across the face. It echoed within the confines of the room and Samuel’s head was automatically snapped to the side. Fire pulsed in his veins as newly formed anger consumed every fibre of his being. The visible muscles in his jaw worked up as the hinges repeatedly clenched, trying to suppress the raw anger that surged through his body.
The atmosphere was so eerily quiet that you could probably hear a pin drop on cotton but it was startlingly sliced through when his laughter suddenly filled the room. Julia swallowed, not from relief, but from the blood curdling effect his bitter laugh had on her.
Sam turned to Marianne, still laughing, his eyes daring her to join him and that she did. She forced a snicker and then released a satisfying chuckle. Sam’s face fell instantly as he returned his gaze to Julia and used the back of his hand to strike her across the face. She yelped, falling to the floor with the force of his administration. Hannah released a screech, trying to back up more against the wall– almost wanting to go through it– but she had nowhere to go.
Marianne ran in front of him, breathing heavily. “Are you crazy?! That’s my mother!”
“Are you trying to make a point dear?” he asked flatly. “I think you need to try harder,” he bit out curtly.
Marianne ground her teeth, dashing towards her mother.
“Don’t you dear insult me,” Julia snapped, easing up on one hand, while the other clutched her bloodied lips. “You are no child of mine!”
Marianne sucked in a breath, her lips trembling with hurt.
“Don’t you see, you fool. You are nothing to them, Maria is their princess, while you are just a little piece of rag that they use and discard!” Samuel hissed from behind. “Julia always spoke about Maria; Maria this, Maria that and sadly…” He scoffed. “You only came up when the conversation grew dull.”
“Maria is your sister, your twin, and you’re doing this to her?” Julia spat.
Sam scoffed. “Well I’m assuming you hold no relation to the two, since you so clearly announced that she was nothing to you. Please, enlighten because I’m afraid I’m a bit lost,” he exclaimed wryly – tauntingly.
“Maria has never once hurt you and you are now going beyond the limits to harm her!” Julia quipped.
“She’s making it about Maria again. I’m sorry Marianne, but it seems your name is exiled from her lips.”
Both were trying so hard to get through to Marianne who stooped there, completely hurt by the words of the two. Realizing his efforts were being wasted, Sam decided to go a bit further.
“We both want to see Maria at our feet with her pretty little hands in the mud Marianne. That woman has cheated everyone enough, it’s time she pays. She feels she can run around with her bag of lies, giving everybody a share; she is a slut and a conniving little bastard and if you WON’T help me clip her pretty little angel wings, then I’ll do it myself. But remember this Marianne, you won’t get to experience the sheer joy that I will after I bring her to her demise,” a smirk formed on his lips when he completed his sentence.
Marianne stood at that, her eyes shooting daggers as she walked towards Sam, pausing right in front of him. Her expression was grim, her features seemingly metallic beneath her bundle of jet black hair. Hurt marred her face, but she tried very hard to maintain a cold demeanor.
“Have a passport Sam?” she asked, her voice flat and void of emotions. “I think it’s time we pay my dear sister a visit.”
Sam smirked approvingly, as he flung his hand around her shoulders. He barely turned his head to glance at Julia who was trembling with anger.
“Thank you once again dear, I’ll make sure that your information is fulfilled,” he chuckled and within the blink of an eye, they were gone.
Hannah suddenly broke out a sob, sliding from the wall to the floor, where she clutched her knees to her chest and buried her face in the small space between.
Julia pressed her lips together, a part of her body wanting to join as she blamed herself for Samuel’s new mission. But she knew that this wasn’t the time to break down; she knew she had to be strong for her child– she knew she had to do something to stop them, and so she determinedly walked towards Hannah and stooped before her.
He shook her knee, craning her neck to see her face – to meet her gaze. “Hannah!”
Feeling as horrible as she did, Hannah didn’t want to hear words that would make her further feel worst about herself.
“Please,” she sobbed. “I don’t want to hear it.”
Julia lightly sighed, briefly closing her eyes. “Hannah honey, if you want to make things right, you’ve got to do the right things,” she gently said.
Hannah looked up with tears streaming down her face, eyes and nose red. “What?” she sniffed.
“Honey, you’ve got to help me find Maria before they do.”
With newly formed interest, Hannah briefly eased up. “What do you mean?”
Julia wanted to roll her eyes, but she instead managed a short smile. “We’re going to California honey so you better go pack your things.”
Hannah swallowed, her eyes searching the woman’s face. She then nodded, which earned a smile from Julia.
“But before we go, I’ve got a stop to make,” she said as she began to stand.
Hannah sniffed, using her hands to wipe her face. “Where?” She questioned curiously.
Julia paused to spare her a glance. “I’ve got a friend,” she said, wiping her still bloodied lips. “I think he can loan me a gun.”