The Memory Bank

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CHAPTER 7

You know what happens when a deer sees the headlights of a car? It freezes and just stares. That was what happened to Derek when he saw Mr. Pablo, his eyes bulged out like they were about to be dislodged from their sockets, his body was rigid like he was a sculpture. I did not know what could possibly have prompted this reaction from Derek; he was someone who always expected the unexpected, rarely was he ever caught unawares. The one time I managed to do that was during training, when I successfully was able to forge his signature and mimic his mannerism. He was angry that day and told me to swear I would never do that again, which I promptly did.

Looking at him now, completely still like a deer, waiting for the vehicle to cause his imminent death, I did not like it one bit. Unlike Derek, Mr. Pablo was not fazed, he looked at Derek and then back at us, his face still cheerful as always. There was something there, although to the outside eyes one could say Mr. Pablo did not know Derek, but I noticed his lips twitch. It surprised me to notice such subtle action, the numerous trainings with Derek were paying off.

“Hey, Derek,” Victoria broke the silence with her cheerful greeting; it also helped bring Derek back to the present. He blinked and quickly arranged his facial expression to one I was familiar with—indifference.

“Hey, Vicki,” he replied her greeting, his head bending slightly.

“Are you off now, kid?” asked Mr. Pablo, coming to give me a shoulder hug.

“Yeah, I just have to get these into the car,” I said, raising my hands high to indicate the bags I was carrying.

“I see.” Mr. Pablo turned to Derek and said, “Hello, boy. You wouldn’t say hi to an old friend?” It was my turn to become the deer. I looked at Mr. Pablo, and then to Derek, my eyes moving from one individual to another. The questions of how, when and where of their story was making headlines in my mind.

“You too know each other?” asked Victoria.

“You could say that, my dear. Isn’t that right, Derek?” Mr. Pablo drew Derek’s name like he was familiar with it. A grunt was all Derek gave. It seemed there was a bad blood between them and I was curious to know.

I used my elbow to tap Victoria, and when she looked at me, I raised both my eyebrows to signal to her to ask more about the situation. I knew I would not get answers if I asked, but a different person with an open aura like Victoria could get these two men spilling their guts. Derek could not refuse Victoria and in the few times they have met, she had him charmed by her wits. He made it a point to remind me of how lucky I was to get her, some of the underdogs and few of the underlords have been talking about our relationship, it was a shocking discovery to find out Victoria was sought after by some of my people.

She got the signal and winked back at me, she perfectly understood my plan, “How did you guys meet each other?” she asked. Mr. Pablo turned to her and smiled.

“Ain’t you a curious one?”

“I try to know my enemies,” she fired back playfully and they both laughed.

“Are you done, Michael?” Derek asked. It was not often he called me by Michael; it meant he did not like what was going on here and wanted back control—Derek was a control freak.

“Now, now, I think they would be happy to know the story,” Mr. Pablo retorted and Derek scowled.

“Yes. I would love to know how two of the few people in my baby’s life know each other. Please, D,” Victoria pleaded, making adorable faces at Derek, which she knew he would not be able to turn down.

Derek sighed. “Have a go at it old man,” he said. It was said with no enthusiasm.

“I think it is best we talk in my apartment. Shall we?”

We all turned back and headed to Mr. Pablo’s apartment. Derek took the bags Victoria carried, walked behind, grumbling all the way to the apartment. He really did not like this, but he was outnumbered, and there was something more to his reluctance to have the story known. He kept trying to make eye contact with Mr. Pablo.

We all trooped into the apartment, taking different seats. Victoria sat on my lap, while Mr. Pablo took his favorite spot, Derek chose to stand, his eyes surveying the room. It was still new seeing Derek not in control of a situation and I felt a little bad for him; it must be difficult feeling whatever control freaks felt.

Mr. Pablo watched Derek with keen eyes, it was unnerving to be watched like that, he once did it to me and I felt like he knew everything. I still had the inkling he did not believe the lie I told him the day I met Sylvester. Derek returned the stare with the same ferocity, not once blinking; it was like the staring contest of alpha males to prove their dominance.

“Would you like to go first, Derek boy?” asked Mr. Pablo.

“Just spill the beans, old man.”

“Still lacking a sense of humor, I see. I shall begin, then. But are you sure that is wise, Derek, I might say more than I should?”

“Can one of you just start, please!” Victoria whined.

“We shouldn’t keep the young miss waiting, eh. So what happened was…”

“I’ll start,” Derek cut off Mr. Pablo. Mr. Pablo laughed like he knew he had won something and that Derek had played right into his trap; his laughter rang strangely in a way I had not seen him laugh before. I frowned, there was something this two knew, and Derek did not want me to know. Mr. Pablo probably would not say, but he wanted Derek to believe he would.

“I am orphan like you, Michael. My mother abandoned me at the orphanage, and that time Mr. Pablo was the caretaker of the orphanage, so he took me in.” While he talked his did not look at me, but at a picture hanging on the wall, the same picture I’d asked Mr. Fredrick about. I guess he was one of the children holding Mr. Pablo. “He was like a father to me and took great care of me. When I was twelve, I was adopted by a couple, but someone did not run a proper background check on them. It turned out they were bad people, who hurt children in ways that would make the devil cringe,” he said angrily, this time looking at Mr. Pablo who was now sober.

“I am so sorry about that, Derek. I blame myself everyday for what happened, and when I came to look for you, you were nowhere to be found.”

“Maybe if you had done a proper job in the first place, maybe if you had looked harder, maybe…!” Derek shouted, his nose flared and I knew he was more than angry.

“You could have returned to the orphanage, the doors were always open for you,” Mr. Pablo said quietly, tears fell down his faced and I felt sympathy for him. I was feeling my own rush of emotion. What would I have done if I was in Derek shoes? I saw him in a different light now and felt pity for him, also I felt more connected to him since we shared a similar background story.

“And have myself thrown out later at eighteen?” Derek countered. He stood up, took the picture from the wall and asked again, “What about them?”

Mr. Pablo stared without a word and that got Derek more angry, his whole body was shaking with anger and he could have beaten up Mr. Pablo. Instead he took a deep breath and sat back down, clutching the frame tightly, “They all went to good homes, stayed with good adoptive parents, all except me,” he said it like he had come to the realization that he was born unlucky.

“I am so sorry, D,” Victoria said, moved to where Derek sat and hugged him. I did not know what to make of this; Mr. Pablo felt remorseful about his negligence, but Derek was still hurt by it, and that experience molded him into the person he was today.

“I am really sorry, my boy.” Mr. Pablo held Derek’s hand that held the frame, he kept saying he was sorry and I was certain he was sorry. He must have left the orphanage because of that, and that showed how much he was trying to make up for his mistake. I was expecting some drama, but not this amount of pain. I sat where I was, just staring as one of them cried, while the other just bowed his head.

***********

They say one does not know pain until he or she has heard the story of several people. I thought my life was painful, but hearing the story of Derek opened my eyes to other forms of pain out there, made me wonder if Victoria had her own pain she had never told me of. Still I loved the person he became; he had a kind heart and was a good friend. Not that I would ever tell him that he was a friend, he would skin me alive.

We said goodbye to Mr. Pablo at the gate, Derek stayed back to have a few words with him, while Victoria and I waited in the car. I watched them through the window, they held out for bit, and then Mr. Pablo hugged Derek, but Derek did not return it. Mr. Pablo let him go and patted him on the back, but the look on Derek face was that of annoyance, especially when Mr. Pablo smiled. Derek got into the car with a stream of curses against Mr. Pablo. I got some of it and it was, “That old crook be acting like an A list actor.”

“What did you say?” I asked

“Nothing, just trying to get all anger out,” he said, started the car and drove off.

Derek drove to my new house, it was situated in the richer side of town, where popular celebrities owned properties; it was an area where rich businessmen also bought houses for their mistresses. It was not for the likes of Mr. Pablo or Mr. Fredrick. Derek owned a property here too, but he did not like to stay here often, he rather stayed in his condo in the city. My house was close to a lake and I liked to wake up every morning to see it just there, many times I had seen men fishing at the lake and I’d joined them a couple of times.

Victoria liked to go swimming in it, although we had a pool in the house, she preferred nature’s gift as she termed it. It was nice having a good paying job that paid six digits; I could now buy anything I wanted anytime I wanted it.

When we got to my place, Victoria said she wanted to take a shower, while I stayed in the bedroom to sort out the extra baggage I brought. Derek asked why I did not just get the new ones since I was making more than I did before, but they meant much to me, they told a story about my beginning and it was something I did not want to forget yet, in a way it meant forgetting Mr. Fredrick too.

“Honey, come help me out!” Victoria shouted from the bathroom. I took off my clothes, leaving only my boxers on, if it was Victoria and the bathroom, I knew I was going to get wet. I had gotten taller and more muscular—not big like Derek, but enough to look intimidating. I walked into the bathroom, to see Victoria in the Jacuzzi, sipping a glass of champagne; she did not look like she needed help with anything, except her womanly needs, which I could tell by the way she ogled my body.

“What do you need help with, love?” I asked. I folded my arms across my chest, and my biceps bulged.

“I have this itch I can’t scratch and I need a certain tool to help me ease the itch,” she said with a seductive smile, parted her thighs to give more incentive. I could feel my lower region getting bigger at the sight of her pinkish folds.

“As you wish, but don’t hope I would go easy on the itch. I have to rub hard on it to ease it.”

“Do to me whatever is necessary,” she moaned. It was like a siren call, and with Victoria in the water, her body lathered with soap was not far from the image. I waddled into the Jacuzzi to join her, our bodies joining together as she climbed on top of my laps, her sex touching mine with only my brief acting as the barrier. Yet she felt it poke her sex, teasing and making promises of what was to come soon.

I gripped her curvy waist, squeezing the flesh to get a feel of those tempting curves. Her arms went around my neck to play with my hair that fell to my neck, she bent her head and kissed me, a tentative brush of her lips, and then she added more pressure till our tongues began a sensual dance. A groan left my mouth as she moved her sex against mine slowly, rocking back and forth, creating that delicious friction that had my little man pumping out his essence.

“I love you,” she whispered. Victoria said she would only say the three words when she really meant it, and her saying it now meant she was one hundred percent into me.

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