Monday, March 19, 2012
I blinked as I came back to the present: 15th of November. I relaxed my tense shoulders against the tree trunk and I patted Dash’s head. I took a deep breath to erase the picture on my mind.
It’s hard to forget someone who gave you so much to remember. But as I looked up to the perfect blue sky and at my anklet I can’t help but smile.
He would be turning 20 now, I realized. I regret nothing – not a single bullet shot, not a single tear that fell and even the scarring words. It was all worth it to last a lifetime. Even the pain. Xavia and my family helped me a lot and my grandfather had been a blessing. But sometimes, an uncontrollable feeling of sadness grips me and I could do nothing but succumb to it. Surrender to it.
I’m still in love with him, you see. I really don’t think I can have anyone else as I remembered lighting snow globes, Bella Notté, Monopoly cookies and all those kisses in between. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I have a different view on that. It makes you better. It just has to. My intuition skills never left me, by the way. And I can feel it now – I have a feeling that when my time comes, Sky and I will have each other again. Longer this time.
Chapter 42: The bullet shot (Wattpad)
No more sounds and voices were heard from them. But after the shattering silence, Imah laughed. It was nothing like the warm, comfortable sound that I used to hear and it made my blood curdle. It made me see red. She speaking, “It’s a wonder actually –the fact that they had no idea I was putting a tracking device on the dog since the first time I met Cavanagh. You people are so blind.”
“You betrayed us.”
“That I did. It’s a pity you haven’t realized that sooner. Not very good with guns,” she scoffed, “I’m better than you at that. Look at you now, no weapon, no anything. Once I got acting, you gave me your trust immediately. You are so stupid. Ryne didn’t even realize why ushered her to get closer to Sky. Ice knew this would happen – ”
“She’s dead. And you’ll be with her soon enough – ”
The next thing we heard was scuffling and the sound of metal hitting – something. Then I’m sure, so sure, it was a body that could be head falling to the floor. The instant we heard the footsteps, Sky got ready to battle as he clicked his gun and I followed suit. When her silhouette can be discerned from the black drape and her hand swept it to her side, Sky fired.
She drew cover automatically and retaliated – multiple times. There were splinters of floorboards and wood flying everywhere. Sky threw the table nearest us to its side and used it as a makeshift shield. It faced the source of the bullet shots and we did our best to keep our head low, the thick oak wood protecting us from dangerous injuries.
I looked at the gun in my hands. I took a deep breath. Just fire, don’t think. Thinking is what makes you fall dead on your feet. I adjusted my position and pulled the trigger. Quickly, I pulled myself back before a bullet can graze my arm and I avoided the pieces of wood falling from the ceiling. I breathed in hard, and then felt Sky’s hand gripping my arm.
“She’s not alone. I know it. There are others with her behind that partition.” he said that as best as he could under all the noise around us, blanketing us. It was deafening.
“What do we do?” I asked with my eyes wide. He shifted closer to me and got out his phone and stuffed it in my hands. “We call for help too. Now.” He started firing again and my breath drew in realization. I started rummaging through the contacts with my both hands shaking, still holding the gun. I pressed call and placed it in my ear immediately.
It picked up.
“Grandpa? It’s me! We need – ”
“On our way.”
The call ended and I turned to Sky. I gestured yes and started shooting. I love my grandpa. The never-ending stream of gunshots still rained upon us between seconds. Minutes. It could’ve been years but all we needed to hear was the grenade explosion to recognize their arrival.
The floor shook and my ears hurt. I closed my eyes shut for a few seconds, unbelievably disoriented. This is fucking insane. I heard men shouting then, giving orders and bullets were being fired again, but this time, it was aimed at the opposite direction; not at us.
“Ryne.” Familiar hands shook my shoulders, I opened my eyes and my gaze landed on Sky. And the two people beside him.
They were crouching on the floor as well, keeping their heads low to avoid damages from the commotion and they held their firearms out. “Ryne, my dear.” The older of the men put his hand on my shoulder, his brown eyes darkening. “Act now, talk later. We have to get out now.”
Sky was right. He must’ve been handsome once and he looked as if he just had a hard-fought battle. His grey hair was in a buzz cut and he looked ready to kill someone.
I nodded soundlessly in response. The younger, handsome guy turned to me then but he didn’t say anything. He came closer to me and pecked me on the cheek.
“Hi, sis. We have to get going.” Mark said urgently.
George Cavanagh spoke to the three of us after my brother had his greeting. “My men are few. If we go now we can all – ”
He was cut off from completing what he was saying when something caught flame, and the endless piles of woods are already burning and releasing chocking smoke into the room. It crept up quickly, catching everything it can and turning it into black ash. It was hot already but the bullets never ceased.
“Let’s cover Ryne, and get the fuck out of here.” he finished, coughing.
“I don’t need to be covered – ”
“Not now Ryne.” said Mark. They started taking positions around me and I saw –
“Fuck it, Sky. Why are you covering out front? Are you fucking insane? You’ll get shot – ”
A pillar gave in and crashed to the floor, almost shattering our eardrums and the fire rose higher and roared louder. The heat was intensifying. The experienced leader now said, “Go.” The four of us stood up, we sped through the entire space of the room, shooting at visible enemies and avoiding the shots they fired. The fire made it hard for us to see and the smoke made us cough violently. Everything seemed to go in slow motion. We were halfway across the other side – the exit – when it happened.
Underneath the sounds and disturbing visions, I saw a mane of blonde hair. I had no trouble figuring out who that person is.
She was holding a gun, which seemed to be gleaming in the light of the fierce fire and it was pointing straight at me. Before anything else registered, the bullet shot she fired seemed to drown out all the other things.
The bullet shot that changed my life.
That ruined my life.
My world turned blank and all the other things in the world became impotent as Sky fell down to his knees and unto his side. Blood was already seeping through his shirt and his breathing was ragged, even as he pulled the table down and used it as a cover. And nothing made sense.
I ran to him but felt iron grips stopping me and pulling me away from him. I struggled as I never had in my life.
“Get off me! We have to go back – we have to – ”
I felt myself being put down on the floor hard and we used the table as a shield again. We were almost to the exit – just mere meters – but I won’t go out. I can’t. I clicked my gun furiously and started standing up but they held me down, and wrestled the gun out of my hands.
“NO! Get back! I have to go back – ”
“You won’t make it – ”
“I can! I can get him! I can – just let me fucking go – ”
“You can’t do anything, Ryne.”
No. That’s not true. Not true. I searched with my eyes through the smoke and I – I found him.
He’s there. Still on the floor, but now he’s sitting up with his back on the table he’s using for defense and he was looking at me.
His chin was dripping with blood and his hand was covering his chest and as he pulled it away, it was smeared with blood as well. Blood. He looked at me like never before but his breaths were becoming shallower, his eyes getting blanker. I never noticed it, but anguished sobs tore at me and unstoppable tears were streaming on my face. I unconsciously struggled, but deep down I knew. I knew. But I don’t want to believe.
The fire behind him crept closer. Closer and closer, but he reached out for me.
My heart. I can feel it dying. I feel it. His hand fell to the floor right then and his eyelids fluttered. I saw him take his last breath and I remembered. I remembered.
“Have you ever thought of Britain?”
Whoa. Where did that come from? I faced him, saw that he was still paying attention to the road and then I replied, “Sometimes. Why?”
He never took his eyes off the road as he said, “I’d like to take you there someday.”
His green eyes lost their light and he closed his eyes.
Chapter 41: Traitor in the midst (Wattpad)
“Imah, you filthy traitor. I can’t even look at you.” said Xavia.
“Is that even a question?”
He squeezed my hand after zipping his backpack close. “I’m being thorough.”
“You can be thorough when pigs fly.”
“Insult me all you want. I know you love me.” I laughed loudly as I carried my bag and held Dash with the other hand. We’re just about to get out of this hotel – no more hotels, praise the Lord – when suddenly, a thought occurred to me as I looked at my anklet. Then at the bangle on my shoulder. “I never thanked my own grandpa for giving me the birthday present, haven’t I?”
“Yeah.” He paused in thought but took my hand and dragged me headfirst. “You’ll meet him anyway. Let’s go.” I barely got enough time to look around for the last time in the room where thousands of memories are when we were already outside of the room, all out valuables in hand. It’s another day again – another agenda.
But my thoughts keep coming back to what happened yesterday. Good God, he really –
“Checking out aren’t you, dears?”
I turned my neck so fast I cricked my neck. Ow. Sky responded to the unknown person in a friendly tone. “Yes, we are. We’re headed to the beach.”
We are facing an old woman. And you know what the freaky part is? She seemed to know us. You know what I’m talking about, right? When there’s this old woman and then suddenly she turns into a huge snake who is incidentally a Horcrux – ahem, ahem, Harry Potter – I was still ogling like a goldfish when she replied in her raspy voice. “Ah, the beach.” she nodded like what she just said is incredibly vital. “So this is your wife?”
I knew there was something fishy. I turned to Sky with my devil-from-hell stare as he fumbled for an explanation. “Yes, uhm. This is my wife Avery.”
“What the hell are you – ”
“Yes! My wife Avery.” Sky almost shouted as he put a firm arm around me. “Honey, I met this kind person when we were checking in – you were asleep though.”
Aargh. That explains it. But it doesn’t erase the fact that it’s quite weird to talk to a stranger in the hotel hallway when you’re expecting them to turn into Nagini. She then hobbled down the direction of the stairs, but not before saying, “Well, goodbye now, Anthony.” We stood still in the hallway, directly in front of our door until she was out of sight and earshot.
“Anthony and Avery.” I turned to Sky and continued my rant. “Should I clap my hands and give you a Nobel Prize?”
He only laughed as he adjusted the bags on his shoulder and got Dash’s rope from my fingers. “The old woman crept on me from behind. To be honest, she scared the living daylight out of me.”
I burst into a fit of laughter as we made our way to the lower floor, already eager to be outside of walls. And in what seemed like a second, we were already speeding through the road, after dealing with a sleepy receptionist and an unwilling Dash.
“Where are we going?”
He winked at me from the driver’s seat and keeping his hands on the steering wheel. “It’s a really charming place. And your brother came along, too. So you’ll have two people waiting for you.”
“Really? So which charming place is it?”
He deflated suddenly. “Uhm, actually, I lied. It’s an abandoned factory.”
Wha – this is just unacceptable.
“So a former Mafia Lord decides to meet his long-lost granddaughter in an abandoned building. And oh right, he’s insanely rich.”
“You know Ryne,” he said, stepping on the brake as the light turned from green to red. “Once you’re in a Mafia, you never really get out. You watched those Mafia movies, didn’t you?” That made me pause. That must be a hell on earth situation. I clicked my tongue and stayed silent all the way to our destination. Our lack of conversation was more than made up by his arm comfortably around me.
Who knew that a completely useless building would be hours away?
“I’m – ”
“Tired, I know.”
“When – ”
“Two hours, Ryne. And a half.”
I almost cried in despair. “But I’m practically drained. I can’t even lift my head – ”
“I must’ve really exhausted you last night.” he replied with a slight smile and a sparkle in his eyes. Predictably, I blushed. “You’re such a prick.” Hu chuckled but then his tone turned serious as he replied,
“I’m glad that happened.”
I felt his arm tighten around me. All I could do was close my eyes and relax.
And right there, with my eyes closed, I felt him kiss my head and I drifted off to a peaceful sleep.
Two hours later. And a half.
Two hours later. And a half.
I never ever slept like that in a car before. And it feels really, really comfy. Blinking my eyes open, I found myself on the backseat, complete with a blanket and a pillow.
So that solves the comfy issue.
I looked at my side and sure enough, he’s there. As always. My head was on his lap while I was sleeping and now he met my gaze after looking out of the window.
I blinked several times more and tried to look outside as well. As much as I could figure, we’re in the middle of nowhere.
“Where are we?”
“You slept seven hours straight, you know.”
“Yes. It’s almost 5pm.”
I gave a little laugh. “The sleep feels good.” He chuckled and resolved himself to rubbing my shoulder with his other hand across my stomach. I can’t help looking outside again. “So where are we?”
“Where we should be. The factory is just around the corner. But it’s still quite early to go there.”
My brow creased as I looked at Dash on the front shotgun seat though my thoughts were zeroing in something else entirely. “What time are we supposed to be there then?”
“Around 5:15 or 5:30. Why’d you ask? Are you nervous?”
“No, it’s just that…wouldn’t it be more convenient to meet in the morning?” I actually wanted to use the word ‘safer’ but I changed my mind. I continued speaking before he could open his mouth, “You know, because there’s a lesser chance of an attack or something?”
He just looked down on me, his green eyes clouded in concerned thinking. Deep thinking. “He had business to take care of before going here. And the building was searched five times before he chose the location.” he bit his lip and asked, “Do you think something bad will happen?”
Well, that’s just weird. It’s just a feeling. It’s probably nervousness – I haven’t laid eyes on the man in my whole life and now boom. He’s my grandfather. “It’s just a feeling. I’m nervous, that’s all. You did say that he’s extremely intimidating.”
He smiled slightly at my response and kissed my forehead soothingly, but the tension in his eyes didn’t fade. But in a matter of seconds, I saw him shrug it off. That’s more like it. I sat up with minimal difficulty and faced him, legs crossed.
“I was thinking, Sky. When I meet my brother and grandpa, where will you go?”
He held my hand and said, “Do I have permission from you to make your life hell a little bit longer?”
Happiness overwhelmed me as I laughed uncontrollably. “Absolutely.” I happened to glance at the dashboard and I looked at the time. 5:10. Sky noticed this too and I looked at him. “Shouldn’t we go now?”
“One second.” he started grabbing our stuff at the floor of the car, but the car which he’s rummaging through is mine, not his.
“What are you doing?”
He didn’t answer but pulled out the snow globe. He said, “I found out about this when I was awake two nights ago.”
“Found out what? It’s the snow globe you gave me.”
“It’s surprisingly more special than I thought.” How the bloody hell can that thing be more special? “Does it uhmm, I don’t know,” I chuckled, puzzled. “Does it have laser or something?” He grinned amusedly. “Close, but no cigar.” He started bundling up the blanket and shifted closer to me. I have no idea, absolutely no idea, of what he’s doing. He said, “Look.” then he put the snow globe inside of the dark, think blanket, but left enough space for us to see it. The globe was entirely covered in darkness but when Sky shook it once, the snow fluttered like mad.
And the snow was shining. Sparkling like stars. You can see and distinguish it from the darkened castle – it’s absolutely wonderful; like real snow. He shook it again, harder this time, and my name at the bottom of the globe lit up like the little snow did, only it’s not white, it’s blue.
He turned to me again, his profile braced for my reaction. “Well?” I shook my head wordlessly and kissed him on the cheek. He laughed delightfully and said, “That was for you to keep your chin up.” He started stuffing the blanket and the present back into the bags. “Now, my dear, we introduce you to your life.”
It’s normal to be nervous, right? I mean, you’re not just meeting your long-lost relatives – you’re meeting a Mafia lord and his…sidekick. The Mafia lord and his sidekick aren’t really helping anything to soothe my nerves.
“What if they don’t like me?”
“They love you, Ryne.” he said, rolling his eyes. Easy for him to say. He’s not the one actually meeting them for the first time. In seventeen years. With absolutely no recollection of them. Ever.
Sky pulled up in front of a humungous abandoned factory and it’s just the same from my imagination of how it would really look like. It’s really old, and a little bit historical. It could pass for an old landmark.
I wanted to run.
I faced Sky, biting my lip. “Maybe we should go back. I don’t like what I’m feeling.”
“It’s okay to be nervous, Ryne. It’s understandable. I’m sure they would say the same thing, too.”
“But – but – I can’t.” God. I know I’m being a whiny, little spoiled brat but who the hell could blame me? I gazed at the door of the building, wondering what could be inside and I felt my worries triple.
“I don’t like what I’m seeing, too. So, in a way, we’re in the same boat.”
“In a way, yes. But in every other way, absolutely no way.” I heard beeping right then and Sky took out his phone, which is lighting up and vibrating like a little bug and I noticed that it was different from the one I used yesterday.
“They’re inside already. Let’s go.”
“No! Just – just let me breathe, okay? And is it exactly smart to do that? I mean, you said they are incredibly influential people, but they’re inside that place without any protection?”
“They brought guards with them. And they’re really eager to see you.”
“What do you expect from me? Do I just waltz inside that place or something?”
“Ryne,” he released a sigh, “what do you want me to do?”
“I don’t know!” I replied hysterically. “Sweet talk me or something. Say something nice.” He chuckled amusedly. “Something nice?”
“I thought you wanted me to calm down?” I replied wringing my hands. He replied to me, “Okay, something nice.” He looked at me deeply. “Your eyes.”
“Your eyes are nice.” then he twirled a strand of my hair. “Your hair is, too.” I chuckled when I realized what he’s doing and he cupped my face with both hands. “Your face is nice.” Then he leaned towards me and whispered. “No. It’s fucking beautiful.” Then he kissed me.
I kissed him back and I felt the tension slowly desert my shoulders as he backed me towards the window, his lips so soft against mine. When I started to tighten my grip on his hair, he pulled away, smiling.
“I did calm you down right?”
I chuckled. “That was really effective.” I giggled some more, then he gave me a quick peck on the lips and held my hand. He opened the car door. “I think you’re ready now.”
Wait. “But how about Dash?” we both looked at my dog at the backseat and he looked back at us with blank eyes. “I think,” Sky said, “he can stay right here. I’ll lock the door.” He interlocked my fingers with his and then we both got out through the driver’s side. We started walking.
My feeling of unease was quieted down by our little escapade earlier, but now as we continued our steps, I felt it bubbling below the surface again. It’s the nerves, I told myself. It’s going to be fine. Sky’s hand on mine did a lot to relax me as we pulled the heavy metal doors open. We were greeted by a miserable sight.
The pillars were still sturdy and dependable around the front room, but the floorboards were obviously in need of repair after all the years of neglect. There was a pile of rubbish on the side – all scraps of metal and splinters of wood. The ceiling was very high and – fortunately – it looks like nothing would fall down on us.
“Well. This is rather…”
“Splendid?” he supplied, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes.” I nodded. “Just splendid.” Then I took the first step forward and he followed my lead. “This place has been searched right? Five times?”
“Yes. It’s going to be fine.”
We opened the creaking door on the opposite wall – the only door, I mean – and as we opened it, a larger room lay in front of us. There were rows and rows of tables up to the other side of the room and there was a very thick partition on our left side, the only entrance to the other side being the thick, black and tattered draperies.
I don’t like draperies.
Sky closed the door behind us without so much as a sound and I shifted closer to him with my hand clasped on his arm. With my other hand, I felt for the gun, which is inserted at the back of my jeans. He shot me a look, with his eyebrows drawn together. He opened his mouth to speak but before he can utter a single word, a female voice sounded through from the other room – the drapery room.
A familiar female voice.
“Fuck you. I don’t even know who you are anymore – ”
“Hold your tongue. If you value your life, do as I say.”
No. But – but that voice is –
Sky covered my mouth and he stealthily led me far away from the partition as possible. He never hit as much as a piece of metal or anything for that matter, and then he pulled out his gun and gestured for me to do likewise. I did as he asked and looked at his face. My eyes searched his green ones.
They were burning in pure-white rage.
His jaw was clenched and he made the effort of mouthing two words to me – stay here.
Bloody hell no.
I gave him a look of strong defiance and grabbed his wrist before he can even take a single step back. This concerns me as well as him. And he knows it.
He took a silent, deep breath to calm himself down and to keep his remaining composure. But then there were more words coming from the pair of people on the other side.
“You can’t get away from this. The building will be searched again in 10 minutes and Sky will kill you. I know he will.”
“Sky? I don’t care about Sky; I have all the protection I will ever need. The same cannot be said for you, though. What shame.”
No, no, no! I can’t believe this. It’s not possible! That person is –
Chapter 40: Time too soon (Wattpad)
I laughed when he wasted no time and began nuzzling my ear. “Okay, Captain La Brea.” As the afternoon sun began to dip down on the horizon, I should’ve known right then and there that things don’t really go to plan.
The instant I said those words, Sky reached out to my shoulder and pulled me towards him. I barely heard what my own grandfather was saying on the other line as his lips covered mine.
I kissed him back, one hand going up to grip his hair and kept him in place.
I pulled away from Sky for a moment, remembering how to breathe as I answered the phone, with Sky still nuzzling my neck.
“Yes?” I responded breathlessly.
“If what you’re saying is true – ”
“But…Ryne, my dear – ”
“Do you want to talk to him?” I looked into the deep, green, glazed eyes of Sky’s as I waited for an answer.
“Yes. Give him the phone.” he said in a curt voice. Uh-oh. Without hesitation, I did. Sky straightened but his hand continued to caress my cheek.
He held breath as he listened, waiting for the voice to come out on the phone and to his ear.
“Just what the fuck do you think you’re doing?”
“Sir – ”
“I told you, La Brea. For God’s sake. Is a simple instruction so hard to do?”
“I never intended for this to happen, sir. Believe me – ”
“I ordered you to bring my only granddaughter to me and – ”
“I will, sir. I promise I will.”
“You better.” Then the line went dead.
He shrugged. Well, that was easy.
I touched his hand that was holding my face. “Well? What did he say?” he threw the phone on the bed and came to me. “What? I really can’t remember.” then he kissed me again, and I felt him smile against my lips. But when one of his hands started gripping my hair, I felt the mood shift.
At that kiss, I felt something melt inside that hurt in an exquisite way – all my longings, all my dreams and sweet anguish, all the secrets that slept within me awake. Everything was transformed into something enchanted. Everything made sense.
The room was dim, despite the early hours of the day and he slowly lay me down on the bed, still in the kiss and took off his shirt.
It’s obvious we won’t be having a word said for the meantime.
The maelstrom. The maelstrom inside me is beating the living shit out of me. I drew the covers higher up to my chin. That was the most glorious mistake – that doesn’t feel much like a mistake – in my entire life.
Sky sat up, his chest bare and he ruffled his already messy hair. For one second, he gazed practically nowhere then he looked at me.
To be honest, he looked adorably disheveled.
He started smiling slowly and I can’t help but smile myself, then I covered my face with the blanket. I started giggling. He said amusedly while chuckling, “What’s supposed to be funny?”
“You should ask yourself.” I answered right back. Then he asked me, “Wait, you’re 17, right?”
I looked up at him and gave him a withered look. “I’ll be 18 in less than a month. Just a few more weeks.”
“All the same, you’re still 17.” He grinned at me. I can’t help smiling back. “You look as if that’s no big problem.”
“Few weeks.” he shrugged. “Little difference. And, oh wait. Was that your first?”
That. Was. Insulting. Oh, no. Wait, you’re getting the wrong idea. Intrusive is the word. Yes, intrusive.
I sat up as fast as lightning, pushing him off the bed. “Get out, you stupid – ”
“Hey! I was asking! Politely, mind you.”
“I don’t give a damn.”
He laughed loudly as he took hold of my hands and kissed each of my fingers.
“Your face could compete with a tomato, Ryne.” I shot him daggers but then he grinned. “You’re beautiful.”
Aargh. I blushed deeper. “Thanks.” I said begrudgingly. He just laughed louder in response, then shifted closer to me, pulling his arms around me and burying his head on my hair. He started raining kisses on my head.
“You’re such a romantic git.” I chuckled.
“One of my best qualities.” he said, pulling away and winking at me. I asked, “So what did he say, really?”
“No. My gardener, Sky. Really.”
“Oh! Of course, how stupid of me.” then he pulled my chin up and kissed me.
I laughingly pulled away. This guy must be part British, part cannibal. “God, I want to know! I’m dying here.” he shook his head, a sparkle in his eyes. “Since you’re dying, okay then. It was gloriously short and full of…stuff.”
“You know, he short of lashed out at me – ”
“Lashed out at me.” he replied, shrugging. “It seemed like he knew it was going to happen sometime – ”
“And then? What else did he – ”
“Relax, Ryne. Your grandfather doesn’t just rip someone’s head off.”
“It’s just that…he sounded really…tough.” But that doesn’t just cover it; I don’t think there’s even a word to describe him, to be frank.
“He just said to bring you to him and – ”
“Stop shooting questions at me!” he gently kissed my temple. “Just one at a time, my dear.”
He grabbed the phone that dropped to the floor when we…you know. You can use your imagination, can’t you? Yes, you can.
Sky checked it for a moment and his head came up to me sharply. “Tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow? Let me see – ”
“No! I’m sure it’s tomorrow. You don’t have to see.” he protested, putting the phone away from my reach.
“If there’s nothing wrong then why aren’t you – ”
“There’s a bit of a, uhm – ”
“Lashing out?” I guessed, raising an eyebrow. He nodded his head yes, and my eyes clouded in nervous thinking. Tomorrow.
Why does it have to be so soon?
“Hey.” Sky came to me and settled me on his lap easily. “I’m sure it would be okay. There’s nothing to worry about; they all love you, you know.”
“They? You actually met them?”
He pursed his lips then he answered, “Yes, I did.” I bit my lip, thinking further. “The file doesn’t say much about my grandfather.” I turned to him and continued speaking, “What does he look like?”
His gaze turned to one of deep comprehension. “He must’ve been handsome once. Just imagine George Clooney being a lot older. Lots older, then you have your grandpa. They even have the same name.” he mused.
“Lots?” I repeated. “Is he that old?”
He shook his head vigorously as he said hastily, “No, no. It’s more like, when you look into his face, you know he has it hard. And no white hair. Only grey. So you can breathe.”
“I wasn’t thinking of that! But anyway. Is he tall? Intimidating? Moderately intimidating? Extremely intimidating?
“Extremely, yes. And he’s tall.”
I gave a low whistle. “He must be really something.” He grinned. “Oh, yes. He is.”
“So what about my cousins?” I continued asking as I relaxed my body against his, my head on the crook on his neck. He replied, “Your cousins. Which one? Alexa?”
“Let’s start with her.” I was attentively listening even as I took hold of his hand and started tracing the lines of his palm. “Alexa is the brainy one. She’s every inch a Cavanagh.”
“What do you mean, Captain Obvious?”
“She is uhm, regal, in a way. Your grandfather said that with strangers, she could be aloof but with family and friends, she could be quite fun. Long hair, brainy, average height.”
I blinked as I took it all in. I wonder if she’s going to be aloof when I’m with her. To divert myself from troubling thoughts, I asked another question, “And Colleen? Is she uhmm, the outgoing cousin or something?”
“Hardly. You could say that she jokes quite a lot. And she’s kind of loud, but she definitely prefers indoors.”
“How do you know?” I said, eyeing him.
“She told me she never used a paddle in her life.”
Whoa. A smile started showing on my face. “I think we’ll go along well.” he laughed at that, and then surprisingly, he rubbed the tip of his nose to mine. I love it when he does that. “Perhaps.” He paused right there, still looking at my eyes closely. He said, “I feel weird; I remember thinking about you in the middle of the night after we went shopping. You were pestering my mind, I should say.”
I laughed. “My mom used to say – I mean my mother Leia. She used to say that if you can’t get someone out of your head, maybe they’re supposed to be there. Even if they are pestering.”
He smiled. “Mmm.” was his only reply as he kissed both of my wrists before moving to my mouth. When I finally pulled back to breathe air, I asked. “How are going to get to them tomorrow?”
“We have a plan.”
Chapter 39: The call (Wattpad)
He drove away like the hounds of hell itself were after us. His tensed muscles only relaxed when we were completely away from the goddamned place – the landscapes outside were now different from earlier even in the dark night. I looked at the clock on the dashboard. 6:30pm.
I heard him stop the engine right in the middle of the road. And before I could even react, he turned to me and reached out his hand I violently shook it off with my shoulder, no looking at him.
“Don’t touch me.”
“I need to uncuff you – ”
“Why don’t you just start acting like a real kidnapper this time?”
“I – I won’t do that. You don’t have to be – ”
“Just shut the fuck up and do what you’re supposed to do.”
He sighed and I sensed that he wanted to say more but nonetheless, he started the engine again and started driving. I twisted my wrists, trying to stretch them through the cuffs. Even Dash seemed to notice that something’s wrong.
I shook my head. I didn’t even know who I really am these past 17 years. Seventeen years. All these things I’ve been doing had been false, fake, a façade. A lie. My eyebrows pinched together and tears gathered in my eyes. Sky looked at me, his eyes tortured.
“Ryne, I – ”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
His voice choked as he answered back, “I was afraid that you’d hate me and – ”
“And you kept that from me?”
He spun the car and positioned it haphazardly, parking it in a hurry and he didn’t make the trouble of turning off the engine this time.
“What did you expect me to do? If you were in my position – ”
“I would fucking tell the truth the second I’ve handcuffed you – ”
“You weren’t supposed to know!”
“But not doing it later? After all these days that you – ”
“It wasn’t easy!”
“I never said anything about it being easy! If only you told me, it would save us a lot of lies and misery and – ”
“I fell in love with you before I could do anything, okay?”
He pounded the steering wheel in frustration, his tendons exposing. “And by then I just knew this would happen; you hating me – ”
“What do you want me to feel?” I raged at him, finally facing him and looking at his torn and tortured features. “Do you want me to be happy because this happened?”
He tore his hair out, breathing in and said right back, “I want you to understand!”
“I understand completely – ”
“No, you don’t! You have no idea what I’ve been going through! After Sam was killed – ”
“That’s what you always say! Sam! Even when you’re sleeping, you just have to – ”
“I’m trying to explain to you! Why don’t – ”
“And then you tell me that you love me? You see her, not me – ”
“You’re the only one I see!”
“No! You – you don’t – ” I paused, catching my breath. “I don’t know what to do, okay? I don’t even know what to feel. So please, just – ” I sighed, my voice shaking. “Just leave me along right now.”
He breathed in and looked away. He didn’t say yes, he didn’t nod, but he stayed silent, granting my wish in an instant. Then he relaxed his head, “Let’s just find a place to stay for the night.” And he slowly started driving again, seeming not in a hurry. I stared blankly on the outside view.
I want out.
I had no idea when I started falling asleep inside the car. But now I started blinking my eyes open and breathed in. The air felt different. And for some reason I found myself lying on a bed. With different clothes on. I sighed a little, not bothering anymore and slowly getting used to it. Aside from that, I now had bandages on my body and some Band-Aids on me, as well. I found and put on my glasses automatically and scanned the area. There was no sofa.
He was there. In a sitting position with his back on the wall. He also had bandages on him and a Band-Aid on the cut below his lower lip. And he was deeply in sleep. I looked at him and bit my lip.
What am I supposed to do?
Now that the events of last night had come and gone, I gave the gist of it to register in my brain in a more welcoming manner.
So my mother is Danae.
I’m quite surprised, but I actually wondered what she looked like. And I had the feeling that somehow, it was from her where I got my chocolate brown eyes. I just…know.
And my father id Ryan. Ryan Cavanagh. Our names are so much alike. I remember on my childhood days, when my classmates teased me because of my almost-male name. But the fact that it’s a combination of Danae and Ryan gave me a different feeling.
I just haven’t figured out what feeling that is yet.
My heart throbbed as I remembered the parents I’ve grown up with. They’re the ones who really formed me and nothing, nothing, can ever take that back. But when my mind wandered back to the names from yesterday who seemed to be in my generation – Alexa, Colleen, Mark and Trisha – I felt slightly apprehensive. What do they look like? Do they act like me? My lips were pursed as I thought of Mark. I’ve always wanted a big brother. And Trisha.
It would’ve been wonderful to have a little sibling – I’ve never experienced having one in my life.
I was stirred from my daydreaming when out of the corner of my eye, Sky started waking up. He rubbed his sleep-filled eyes and stretched himself awake, eyes landing one me instantly. He didn’t say anything, he just stood up. Then he said without coming near me, “I didn’t think you’d like it if I slept…yeah.” He bit his lip and continued speaking, “There’s already everything if you need it. If you don’t want to ask me, just look for it.”
He didn’t wait for my reply but started walking towards the door and shutting the door behind him, leaving me alone with my thoughts. I sighed and dropped back to the bed. This feeling of entrapment is killing me.
I got out of the bed and stepped lightly on my feet, glancing around to find the bags. It was a slight shock when I saw the old, tattered ones at the floor at the foot of the bed. I walked briskly towards it and zipped it open, expecting the old set of things I always bring with me when we transfer hotels.
The first items that greeted me as my backpack was opened, was the snow globe. Surprisingly, the beautiful castle was still intact in the middle of the globe and the snow was still flowing up and down. And then there was the four-lettered name in sky blue writing.
I’m such a whiny drama queen.
I squat on the floor, almost laughing to myself. Laughing at your worst problems is easier than mourning about them. I shook the globe and watched as the snow fluffed around the castle. In some ways, it’s better being inside that miniature kingdom.
The bedroom door suddenly opened and there was Sky, standing a few steps away from me, fully-clothed,
Where was he going?
He walked towards me and held out a folder. “I have a copy of everything from the briefcase.” I took it from him as he continued speaking. “You can take a look at it – you might want to before I take you to them.”
Wait. “You’re taking me to them? Like, today?” He shook his head in response. “No. But within these three days, I will.” I stood up and asked him hesitantly, “Where are you going?” his voice was steady as he answered, “He might want to replace me for someone else.”
“What do you mean ‘replace’?” I asked in an almost demanding voice. He shrugged lifelessly. “Replace – substitute.” What? “Why?”
Then his green eyes were fixed on me instantly. “You know why. I told you in the first place.” I blinked, puzzled. He did? My eyebrows drew in confusion, so he elaborated. “That day after what happened in the car.” My eyes widened in realization, then I had a flashback –
We were sitting on the sofa during the blackout.
“You don’t understand.” He said, shaking his head slightly. “And by the way,” he looked up into my eyes. “Mr. Mafia told me not to fall in love you.” He smiled gently. “But to hell with it.”
I came back to the present as he asked me, “You remember, don’t you?”
I nodded soundlessly. “And that one day, too. When you said you’d prefer your head being attached to your neck?”
“That was a figure of speech, but yes. He did mean that.” No. He can’t mean that. “So you’re going now?” he raised an eyebrow at the question, “Do you want me to?”
“No – no, I just – ” I responded hastily but I was stopped by the look on his eyes. It was a look of total surrender. I was just about to ask him what it is when he spoke up. “After you read the file, you can call him if you want. Your grandfather.”
“I can call him?” I asked in a disbelieving voice, my mouth almost gaping open. Sky smiled slightly in endearment. “Yes, you can.” he answered, still smiling. “Just tell me, I’ll be outside if you want to stay here – ”
“Stay here? I – ”
I stared at those emeralds, which were both hoping and dreading for an answer and I almost stepped forward, but I held my ground. I answered, “Yes, I’ll just stay.”
He nodded once and walked out of the door for the second time.
Do you know that awkward moment when you feel like someone has been viewing your life since you were fucking born? When they know every single thing about you that you even forgot yourself.
I feel like it when I read the file, now after taking a quick bath and with Dash dozing outside, leaving me alone with my thoughts. They know every detail of my life! They even know how many moles I have on my head and, oh right. My head is completely covered by my hair, so I have no idea how many there are.
It says here five. Like, how the fuck did they know that?
And the other pages contain my childhood years – actually, it’s one page per year and there were pictures. That’s the worst part. And they even know what my favourite things are.
And that’s just intrusive.
This is ridiculous. They have got to be kidding me.
There are even names of my friends – and the fake ones, too – and I was surprised to find out that Carsh had one page, complete with a picture of him and the details, as well. The Terminator had a page dedicated to her, too. Now the Terminator, I know almost everything there is to know about her. My eyes were drawn to the image of Carsh. As I read his page, my fingers skimmed downwards and then I read the last information.
With Mia Lorette.
I scowled as I read it twice. I can’t believe he just found another one like I was nothing. If he really loved me, he wouldn’t do that, right? If I really meant something to him, he wouldn’t just run off to find another one, wouldn’t he? His angelic face was staring back at me in the photo, his clear blue eyes smiling. I remembered once when I first saw him eye to eye, I fell or that azure colour. But when he talked to me, we just clicked.
Where’s the fucking click now?
I threw away the paper in frustration. If I held it for one more second, I might actually crumple it. And right then, I remembered that Sky gave a picture of Carsh three days ago. I sighed, annoyed.
I’ll get rid of it later.
After I finished reading every single thing about me to date, I flipped the page and when I did, I was surprised to find out a woman’s face on the next page. She has elegant features like royalty. And her eyes. She has chocolate brown eyes.
I sat up straighter. Name – Danae. And her nickname is Dani. I smiled a little bit and proceeded reading. She loved books, too. And on the picture, she has black hair. So that means I must’ve got my hair colour from my father. She engages in sports, too. That’s the only thing we haven’t got in common, I think. Everything else I’ve inherited from her. Except the looks, of course – she’s much too beautiful. Even better than Xavia. And I didn’t get my temper from her either.
She has a horrible temper. From what I gathered from reading about her, her husband Ryan seemed to take the blunt of her fury on a bad day. But surprisingly, he handled it well. I bet he was the only one who can calm him down. Why else would they marry?
Feeling energized, I turned to the next. Oh, God. It’s like I’m looking at the male version of me. He’s a lot older than 17, but all the same. Wow.
So this is my dad. I was practically cloned from him. But the similarities stopped right there. In personality, he is nothing like me. He is outgoing, always jolly, active in sports and stranger-friendly. A complete smile is now on my face as I turned another page. Mark Cavanagh. He is attractive in a strange way. There’s something about his face that just draws people. Then I scanned the information and found the perfect word.
My older brother is a charismatic guy who draws women effortlessly. That’s just what I summed up from the article. Then a sudden chord struck me. Struck me hard. I remembered Xavia and her reaction on that day in the car when she and Imah went away.
So this is the guy Xavia had a thing with. God help them.
And then there was Trisha. In the image, she’s just about 5 years old. I skipped the other brief details about her and read the one I’m looking for.
Death – 2nd of March (classified year)
Then I read the cause. They’ve been ambushed in their vacation house. Mark being the eldest one had to take care of the family business and was not included in the murder.
And then there’s me.
In a weird way, I feel like I fit in.
I heard a knock on the door and Sky poked his head in, he’s on the phone and he seemed distracted. I instinctively got off the bed and shot him a quizzical look as he walked towards me, speaking to the person on the other line.
“Yes, sir. Here she is.”
Sky handed me his cellular phone – a different one – and as I held out my hand to put it in my ear, he mouthed, your grandfather.
My eyes widened almost instantly and my heart rate increased considerably. I put the phone on my ear, hearing the sounds from the other location. I held my breath, keeping my head together. I said hesitantly, “Hello?”
The second I heard his voice, something clicked. I responded, still unsure. “Yes, it’s me. Uhm, Grandpa?”
I heard his hearty chuckle and even Sky smiled. “Yes, you can call me that. So how are you, my dear?” as he talked to me, Sky put his hands on my shoulders and steered me towards the bed, both of us sitting down.
“How’s La Brea treating you?” I looked at the person in question. “We get along well, actually.”
“Too well, I fear.” I barely took to notice that his accent is a strange mix of American and Russian as we talked about Sky. Speaking of, Sky arched an eyebrow as the both of us continued speaking. “Uhm, it’s really very complicated to talk about that right now. We – ”
“I told him not to tell you. I’m sorry for that, my child. You must understand that I had to do everything in my power to keep you safe.”
“So you know everything?” For some reason, his voice didn’t sound annoyed or irritated. He even sounded welcoming, open-minded. “Yes. Sky let me read the file.” I could tell that he knew I would find out.
“I knew this would happen at one point. Nothing but the truth comes out, eh?” I laughed lightly. “Yes. I suppose.”
“I take it that you’ve read about your parent and siblings already?”
“And myself, yes.” He laughed at my response. “You’ve got my son’s sense of humour. Well, that’s a relief.” he paused talking and I heard muffled voices at the other end of the line, then he spoke to me again. “Ryne, my dear, I’m a little tied up here. I’ll call you later again and we’ll do a hell of a catching up, okay?” I hesitated before answering back – there is something I really want to ask from him. More like a favour. “Uhm, Grandpa? If it’s not much to ask, can I have a favour?”
“Anything at all! Go ahead, darling. You can abuse me around for all the 17 years of my absence.” I laughed nervously. You’re the granddaughter of a Mafia king, Ryne. You can do this, you’re awesome.
“Can – can Sky stay?”
Sky looked like he’d been electrocuted and the person on the other line paused in surprise. “I’m sorry?”
“Can he stay?”
There was another pause, shorter this time.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea – ”
“Please?” I begged shamelessly, looking into Sky’s eyes as he held my hand and he kissed it, his gaze never leaving mine and the shell-shocked look still on his face.
“Ryne, my dear, I’m going to ask you a question and I want to answer honestly.” I bit my lip. “I think I know what it is, but it’s better if you say it word by word.” I added hastily, “I think.”
“Do you love him?”
I gave a strangled laugh as I looked at his face.