The Murderer's Daughter

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Chapter XX

Being back in the parlor and the sunlight as though nothing was different ended up being somehow easy to Lena as she was shown the rest of the house, the large library that made her heart react in ways it haden't before, the large kitchen that every culinary master dreams of, and even the pool on the balcony, the water as clear as a lake you would see in a cave. The luxury was only one of the very few things she enjoyed about California. The rest was barely worth her thoughts as the room was revealed to her, large, dark and with a high ceiling. It felt like she was a doll in a perfectly detailed dollhouse, nothing out of place, every color matching the furniture. Hayden left her to unpack the bags that were waiting at the foot of the bed, the bed larger then her own and the blanket a deep purple, the material thick yet light in her hand as she tested it. Piles of pillows lined the head of the bed in a decorative array. While it was beautiful, she found it unnecessary but she made no complaints as she unpacked all of her things, found a place for them and decided to explore on her own. Hayden had told her that he had a meeting to be at so she would be here alone, it would either be a perfect opportunity or another test. She decided on the latter to be on the safe side.

Her hand trailed over the three dimensional design and carving in the walls, porcelain statues of gypsies, reenactment character displays of French novels from Fantine of Les Miserables in Jean Valjean's arms, even a statue from the ballet Giselle, the peasant girl clenching her heart at finding out the truth of her true love, dying. Lena spend several minutes lost in the expressions, not wanting to disturb them with touch, only glance. She intended to keep Giselle once Hayden was dead. Her father, if she forgave him, would be given the statue of Fantine, perhaps her strength would make him realize how pitiful he had been. Finally she had ceased looking at the statues and walked towards the library, no book out of place, no hint of dust on anything. She was instantly in love. What was she looking for exactly? His own journals? More secret documents? It didn' hurt to search. She needed a plan, a fool proof plan. This man, showing her false kindness after some of his most cruel work, having him dead would grant her freedom, grant her a sort of new beginning so she would not have to act like she was walking on egg shells.

Could she manipulate him? She hadn't been able to see what was in the syringe that he injected her with so if she were to somehow make it into his that wasn't an option, he would have to be there with her. Any sneaking around would just ruin everything, she needed fast results so she could move on, do things for herself. And the secrets of her mother were also digging into her brain. Wild scenarios played of hidden siblings, her death, it kept her up at night as much as everything else. She rolled her eyes as she assumed the position of craning her head to read the spines of the books, trailing her finger over each one, almost absorbing the beautiful and rich history before even opening the pages. She wondered how many languages Hayden spoke. The strain in her neck was almost unbearable until she saw something sticking in between the pages of Romeo and Juliet. With a new wave of burning interest, she pulled it off the shelf and removed the photograph, the creases permanent and faded.

Her eyes widened. She focused on the man's face instantly, the little girl holding so tight to his arm as he knelt and hugged her. Her dark curls were spilling over her eyes, the smile contagious. The smile on Martin's face was one that seemed so natural, yet like a forgotten action. Whenever she looked at him now, a smile seemed to have never crossed him. Perhaps there was a reason for its absence. But why would he be so careless to leave it here? The tragedy of Romeo and Juliet seemed to be an ironic placement if she was supposed to find it. "You discovered it earlier then I imagined." The voice said quietly from behind. Lena spun on her heel in anger. Her mind was so focused on this photo that her hearing failed her and Martin now stood in front of her with a look of desperation in his eyes as he glanced down at the photo held tightly in her hand.

"Excuse me?" Her warning tone replied. She saw his hand shake to reach for the photo. "If I am supposed to find it why not just tell me, I am not in the mood for more mysteries and secrets. If there is something important for me to know, I need you to tell me. Now." Silence and then a sigh as he ran his fingers through his hair. "That is my little sister, Marissa. She was killed 9 months ago and I am certain that you know who had involvement in it. Go ahead and guess." This time he was the one with a harsh tone, speaking more words then she had ever heard. She wasn't allowed to answer, he had been silent far too long and his explanation poured out of him. "Let me explain, please." They made no move to leave the spot they were in, among the volumes of Shakespeare.

"Marissa was only six years old when I lost her. My parents were devastated of course, the story was that she had gotten kidnapped and that was it. But when I accidentally found her body being disposed of...she was being burned by Hayden. Of course he didn't't do the dirty work, he had a different assistant before I happened to get involved in this life." He paused, the length of speech was more then he had done in a long time and it surprised them both. His shoulders were no longer pushed back, his stance now was slightly relaxed, almost broken as his story continued. Any questions she had would have to be saved until after she heard the last of these secrets. The quieter voice in her head warned her of being tricked, of being manipulated just so she would be distracted from her original goal of trying to find more information of Hayden's past, secrets that would help her get leverage in breaking him. Death would follow soon after.

"It was a wooded area, the trees were dying so afterwards when the job was done then there story of the fire could be blamed on the drought. A forest fire that would completely dispose of her. I was hiking to clear my head, certain that she was dead and gone but of course the little bit of hope inside told me that maybe she could still be saved. I was wrong as I saw the flames touch her gasoline soaked hair." His jaw tightened, his eyes seemed to gaze over as the images of what happened played in his mind, leaving Lena in the silence and her own recreation of the scene behind her own eyes. In her mind, she saw Hayden, wearing his same beautiful suits and watching the flames scorch and seemingly melt her skin into the ground for nature to take her bones deep down in the only burial she would get. The picture in Lena's hand had more meaning now as the once laughing Marissa didn't even reach her seventh birthday before she had somehow met the cruelty of the world.

"When Hayden heard me clear my throat to get his and his assistant's attention, he almost looked pleased that I saw him. His smile was truly the smile of the devil. All Marissa had done was accidentally heard a conversation he had while she was playing. He didn't want to risk information getting out since she was six and liked to talk. Anyway, I am not sure if he knew who I was but he had asked if I was employed and at the time I wasn't, so he hired me on the spot, the other man seemed surprised but he didn't say anything, just made sure that Marissa kept burning. I even remember the blue dress she was wearing." His jaw tightened even more, giving him a new expression of anger Lena was slightly shocked by. "Why accept the job, knowing of what he did?" She asked, choosing now to ask what she needed to.

"Because I needed the money, and even though his knowledge and motivations are more then i could imagine, I want him to suffer for what he had made her do. I don't know how long she was kept alive. I never dared to ask any questions. I just had to do what he wanted, and I am sorry for my involvement of your punishment, I wanted to help you, but if I did, then I would lose the once chance I had to kill him." Lena frowned.

"I guess you could say that I know how your sister feels." She said coldly, and his eyes widened at her harshness. She was not god at sympathy, she never received it and would not give it. There was not time to get into feelings, she wanted answers so she could get results and finally move on with what she wanted most, and even at the moment she wasn't sure what that was. "Why try to make me hunt down a photo I was not looking for instead of just talking to me when we were alone like at this moment?" Their eyes met again and he sighed, putting his hands in the deep pocket of his jacket and shrugging. For some reason the way he was standing was annoying her, making her feel like he was not serious about what he wanted. If she was going to consider his help in killing Hayden then she needed someone completely devoted to the actions and rules of this plan that wasn't even worked out yet.

"I don't know, I have no idea how to plan things, I just want her death to not keep haunting me." She clenched her jaw now at his poor answer. "If this was all about planning then Hayden would just kill himself, but that kind of time I don't want to waste. I want him dead and gone, which that requires skills, technique, devotion, acting, and so much more that I don't want to teach you. I'm sorry about your sister, but using her death as a motivation to get revenge is not enough to keep your head level. Hayden obviously is smarter then you, I know that he is aware that you are her brother. Of course he would do some sort of background check on you. I also know that he is expecting you to do something against him, so therefore us spending any second too long together will just end in disaster. And to be honest, I do not want to have to worry about you." He was nodding in agreement but the surprise at his secret about Marissa being known to Hayden was clear in his eyes.

"Fine you're right, but I am getting tired o doing more of his dirty work, I don't want to just be this person who ends up doing nothing for someone."

"I understand that but you are in a better position to let me do this. If I need you then I will ask, plain and simple." She raised an eyebrow as though he would not agree with the truth. More silence and another sigh as he nodded. "Fine. But I need you to promise me something."

"I am not in the mood for making deals. I will get what I need to get done completed. You will be able to walk away from all of this again and I get my own life choices." Her anger was getting too sensitive now, and if she showed her anger then all of the things she said to Martin would mean nothing. Keeping a level head applied to her as well.

"Hear me out, I want to have some sort of satisfaction in ridding all of this killing. I know that I can't change the rest of it that goes on in the world but at least I would be able to be a part of ending the company he made." For a moment, her heart stopped. Hayden was a monster but the killing motives were smart, and she was good at the killing almost as much as Hayden was. She couldn't just tell Martin no, he would figure out her wishes. And she wasn't even fully certain of them yet. "I want to make the decisions, plan everything out so nothing can go wrong, do not mess this up, do not disturb me until I come to you. That is it, here is your photo." She said and held the photo out, Martin happily accepting it, his eyes scanning every detail in the photo and putting it in his pocket. "Okay, but I want you to do something soon, I don't know how much pretending I can do. Which clearly is pointless anyway if he knows who I am."

"Forget that. I told you I would do the work, you just do your role of his assistant and do not get in the way." She left the library once placing the book back so the conversation could finally end and she could focus her mind on the little bit of motivation that kept her from spilling her anger out and going into a frenzy of only seeing blood.

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